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October 2010


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for October, 2010

Suburban D.C. Cop Sentenced in Not-So Smart Scheme to Break Into ATM Machine

pg.  countyBy Allan Lengel

This was not the smartest of schemes.

And because of that, U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte on Monday sentenced former Prince George’s County Police officer Eddie Lee Smith, Jr., 42,  of Maryland to two years and six months in prison. He was also ordered to pay $10,170.94 in restitution for damage caused to the ATM machine. Prince George’s County is a suburb of Washington.

Smith admitted in a guilty pleas that while in uniform he met with Earl Blake and told him he had a job for him, authorities said.

Smith drove Blake in his marked police cruiser to the SunTrust Bank in Temple Hills, Md., and gave him a black bag with an electric grinder/saw and other materials. He then instructed him to cut open the ATM safe, authorities said.

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Imprisoned Wife of Rep. John Conyers Wants to Withdraw Guilty Plea for Corruption

Monica Conyers/facebook

Monica Conyers/facebook

By Allan Lengel

Former Detroit City Council member Monica Conyers, the corrupt wife of Rep. John Conyers, who is serving time in a West Virginia federal prison, is appealing a ruling by the sentencing judge, who refused to let her withdraw her guilty plea before sentencing, the Detroit News reports.

Her lawyer claims in papers filed with the Court of Appeals that Conyers was unable to resist pressure to plead guilty from her lawyer, the government and the news media, the News reported. She has a law degree, but was inexperienced in the criminal system the court papers said.

“That inexperience coupled with the intense public scrutiny of the matter caused her to momentarily surrender to the pressure to plead,” her lawyer Douglas R. Mullkoff wrote, according to the News. He is asking that the case be returned to the U.S. District Court for a hearing.

Conyers, a divisive figure on the city council, was sentenced to 37 months in prison. She pleaded guilty in June 2009 to taking at least $6,000 in cash bribes.

Supreme Court to Hear Case Against Ex-Atty. John Ashcroft

John Ashcroft/doj photo

John Ashcroft/doj photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to examine an interesting issue regarding the aggressive 9/11 practices of the Bush Administration: Can a U.S. citizen who claims he was illegally detained sue former attorney general John D. Ashcroft?

The Washington Post reports that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Abdullah al-Kidd, a one-time University of Idaho football star who converted to Islam in college, can proceed with his suit that personally holds Ashcroft liable for his detention.

Ashcroft is claim immunity,  and the Obama administration, which is representing him, is asking that the suit be dismissed.

Al-Kidd was headed to Saudi Arabia to study when he arrested at Dulles International Airport in 2003, the Post reported, adding that he was held 15 nights in three states under the federal material-witness statute. He was never charged.

Al-Kidd believes his arrest was part of a bigger plan by the Bush administration to round up Muslims who did not have ties to terrorism.

To read more click here.


Mexican Cartels Beefing Up U.S. Presence

US Mexican borderBy William Booth and Nick Miroff
Washington Post Foreign Service

SAN DIEGO — When a major Mexican drug cartel opened a branch office here on the California side of the border, U.S. authorities tapped into their cellphones – then listened, watched and waited.

Their surveillance effort captured more than 50,000 calls over six months, conversations that reached deep into Mexico and helped build a sprawling case against 43 suspects – including Mexican police and top officials – allegedly linked to a savage trafficking ring known as the Fernando Sanchez Organization.

According to the wiretaps and confidential informants, the suspects plotted kidnappings and killings and hired American teenage girls, with nicknames like Dopey, to smuggle quarter-pound loads of methamphetamine across the border for $100 a trip. To send a message to a rival, they dumped a disemboweled dog in his mother’s front yard.

But U.S. law enforcement officials say the most worrisome thing about the Fernando Sanchez Organization was how aggressively it moved to set up operations in the United States, working out of a San Diego apartment it called “The Office.”

To read more click here.

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

bronx-imagesBy Allan Lengel

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

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

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

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.