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Archive for October 18th, 2010

4 Men Convicted in Plot to Bomb NY Synagogue and Shoot Down Military Planes

bronx-imagesBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Four men were convicted Monday by a federal jury in an FBI sting in which they plotted to bomb a synagogue and Jewish community center in the Bronx and fire missiles at military planes, authorities announced.

Defendants Onta Williams, Laguerre Payen, James Cromitie and David Williams IV — face up to life in prison.

The defense claimed they were entrapped by an FBI informer who worked undercover, an argument the jury of six women and five men apparently rejected after eight days of deliberation.

“Homegrown terrorism is a serious threat, and today’s convictions affirm our commitment to do everything we can to protect against it,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. “The defendants in this case agreed to plant bombs and use missiles they thought were very real weapons of terrorism. We are safer today as a result of these convictions.”

Read Press Release

Read NY Daily News story

Homeland Security Warns of Mexican Hit Squads in Arizona

Mexico border mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

More signs of the Mexican drug cartels reaching into the U.S.:

The Washington Times reports that the Department of Homeland Security is warning Arizona authorities that Mexican drug gangs have sent assassins or “sicarios” into the state to kill bandits who are ambushing and stealing loads of cocaine, marijuana and heroin,

A Homeland Security memo, which  first circulated in May, said a group of “15, very well-equipped and armed” assassins complete with body armor had been sent into the state to carry out the executions.

To read more click here.

FBI Reports 48 Law Enforcement Officers Slain in 2009; Up 7 From Year Before

Slain Border Parol Agent Robert Rosas Jr

Slain Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas Jr

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Forty eight law enforcement officers in 2009 were either shot and killed or hit by cars that were used as weapons, up by seven from the previous year, the FBI said Monday.  Additionally, 47 died in accidents while on the job.

One of those slain in 2009 was  U.S. Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas Jr., 30. He was shot and killed at 9 p.m. on July 23 while following a group of suspicious people near Campo, Calif. A 17-year-old was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the shooting.

The FBI also reported that 57,268 officers were assaulted in the line of duty in 2009.

Of the law enforcement officers killed in violent acts, the average age was 38 and the average time on the job was 12 years, the FBI said. All but one of the victims was male; 42 were white, 3 black, 2 American Indian/Alaskan Native and one Asian/Pacific Islander.

Of the 48 killed, 15 were ambushed; 8 were killed during arrest situations; 8 were killed while performing traffic stops; 6 while answering disturbance calls; 5 during tactical situations (e.g., high-risk entry); 4 while investigating suspicious persons/circumstances; and two while handling, transporting or maintaining custody of prisoners.

Additionally, 45 of the 48 were killed by firearms and three by vehicles that were used as weapons, the FBI said.

Geographically, 23 occurred in the South, 13 in the West, 7 in the Northeast and 5 in the Midwest. Two of the deaths took place in Puerto Rico.

Thirty-three of the assailants had prior criminal records, and 13 of the assailants were under judicial supervision at the time.

Ex-FBI Veteran James Wagner to be Named Inspector Gen. of Ill. Tollway

tollwayBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Life after the FBI comes in many forms.

James Wagner,67, former head of the Chicago Crime Commission and a 31-year veteran of the FBI, is expected to be named to the newly created post of inspector general of the Illinois Tollway on Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

In January, Wagner was named chief of investigations for the Illinois Tollway. From 2000 to 2005, he headed up investigations for the Illinois Gaming Board.

Wagner’s job will be to probe allegations of fraud, waste and corruption involving employees, officials and contractors.

President Obama’s Comments Unfortunately May Reflect Attitude Toward DEA

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — President Obama is a busy guy with a lot of worries. So he might be excused when he commits a little Washington faux pas as he did last week during a town hall meeting with young people.

While discussing  “federal drug enforcement”, he mentioned the Justice Department and FBI, but not the  DEA,the lead agency in the war on drugs.

“We have to figure out who is it we’re going after because we’ve got limited resources,” he said. “So decisions that are made by the Justice Department or FBI about prosecuting drug kingpins versus somebody with some small amount, those decisions are made based on how can we best enforce the laws that are on the books.”

In many ways, it was not a big deal. But the comment rubbed some folks at DEA the wrong way. Plus, agents felt it was reflective of the administration’s overall attitude toward the DEA.

“I don’t think he’s given any thought to the DEA,” one agent told me. “We’ve become an afterthought, the stepchild when it comes to the FBI and Justice Department.”

So frankly, you can’t be totally dismissive of those sentiments.

For one, Michele Leonhart, the acting head of the agency, was nominated by the president in February, but has yet to be confirmed. To boot, she’s been acting head of the agency since 2007.  The absence of a confirmation is unsettling for some in the agency.

With Mexico raging out of control, and  the cartels tentacles reaching far into the U.S., the DEA may not be   the agency the administration wants to short change — and that also means when it comes to giving a shoutout publicly about federal drug law enforcement.

Column: Pres. Obama’s Comments May Unfortunately Reflect Attitude Toward DEA

Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — President Obama is a busy guy with a lot of worries. So he might be excused when he commits a little Washington faux pas as he did during a town hall meeting last week with young people.

While discussing  “federal drug enforcement”, he mentioned the Justice Department and FBI, but not the  DEA,the lead agency in the war on drugs.

“We have to figure out who is it we’re going after because we’ve got limited resources,” he said. “So decisions that are made by the Justice Department or FBI about prosecuting drug kingpins versus somebody with some small amount, those decisions are made based on how can we best enforce the laws that are on the books.”

In many ways, it was not big deal. But the comment rubbed some folks at DEA the wrong way. Plus, agents felt it was reflective of the administration’s overall attitude toward the DEA.

“I don’t think he’s given any thought to the DEA,” one agent told me. “We’ve become an afterthought, the stepchild when it comes to the FBI and Justice Department.”

So frankly, you can’t be totally dismissive of those sentiments.

For one, Michele Leonhart, the acting head of the agency, was nominated by the president in February, but has yet to be confirmed. To boot, she’s been acting head of the agency since 2007.  The absence of a confirmation is unsettling for some in the agency.

With Mexico raging out of control, and  the cartels tentacles reaching far into the U.S., the DEA may not be   the agency the administration wants to short change — and that also means when it comes to giving a shoutout publicly about federal drug law enforcement.

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