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September 2011


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for September 29th, 2011

Rumor Mill Works Overtime in Controversy Between FBI and LA County Sheriff’s Dept.

Allan Lengel

The rumor mill has been working overtime involving the controversy between FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Lee Baca is fuming that the FBI didn’t tell him about its investigation into inmate abuse, or the fact that the FBI, in an undercover sting, paid a sheriff’s deputy about $1,500 to sneak a cellphone into an inmate who happened to be an FBI informant. When  Baca learned of it all, he was none too happy.

The sheriff announced an investigation into the whole matter and into the sheriff’s deputy who snuck the phone in the jail. The deputy has since resigned, the LA Times reported. It is a crime to sneak a phone into the jail.

Things have been heating up.

A source tells that sheriff’s deputies on Monday night visited the home of the FBI case agent in the matter and told her they planned to arrest her. They did not on Monday. On Wednesday, after reported the incident, Sheriff Baca told the Los Angeles Times of the possibility of charging the agent:  “No, I don’t think so. It’s not worthy of pursuing, in view of the greater good.” He said the agent directed the deputies’ questions to her supervisor,and Baca dismissed suggestions the visit by deputies was intended to intimidate the agent.”

At the same time, word began circulating this week that the case agent’s supervisor,  Victor Cockrell, an FBI supervisor in the Los Angeles civil rights division, which was handling the case, suddenly decided to retire. Some suggested there might be a connection between the retirement and the case.

But Cockrell told on Wednesday that his decision to retire has nothing whatsoever to do with the case.

“It was time to retire,” he said. “I have served my country and it’s time to do something else.”

He declined to comment on the case, saying it would be inappropriate to comment on any case.

Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI Los Angeles office, told on Wednesday via email: “Mr. Cockrell’s comment speaks for itself and we wish him the very best.”

Regarding the overall investigation, she told the Times: “With regard to the investigation, FBI agents at all times were acting within the course and scope of their duties and were in compliance with FBI policy and practices.”

Whatever the case, people in law enforcement in Los Angeles have been talking about the controversy, which is sure to percolate  for a while.

Sting in North Texas Nets 28 “Outlaw” Motorcycle Gang Members

By Danny Fenster

“Rebel Rider Ben” may ride no more. The 58-year-old of Alvarado, Tex., known to his mother as Benjamin Edward Neuner, sold five guns, 15 boxes of ammunition, smoke grenades and gun magazines to undercover FBI agents, reports the Star-Telegram newspaper. Neuner changed the rifling on the guns to make the bullets harder to trace, alleges a criminal complaint, and also possessed a machine gun.

Neuner was one of 28 “outlaw” motorcycle gang members — most of whom are in the Ft. Worth, Tex. area — charged in criminal complaints in a major crackdown on trafficking guns and drugs. The gangs included the Bandido Motorcycle Outlaw Gang (BMOG) and its affiliates the Bandidos, Homeboys and Rebels.

The charges are the result of a multi-year investigation into motorcycle gangs, says the Star-Telegram, mostly in the Fort Worth, Tex. area, but arrests were made in Denver and San Antonio as well.

Others arrested sold drugs to undercover agents, including John Pena Medellin, 61, also known as “Papa John” and “Uncle John.” Medellin is being accused of conspiring to possess more than 100 grams of heroin with intent to distribute.

To read more click here.

FBI’s Counterterrorism Goes Under Water

FBI Agents’ Email Show Concern Over Anti-Muslim Bias in Training

By Danny Fenster

NPR has some new coverage of the anti-Muslim bias in FBI training.

The radio station has obtained real-time emails from agents in the controversial Quantico training session which indicate that some agents, distressed by what they were being taught, complained to superiors and sought council from experts.

“Generally, Mohammed was portrayed as a warring military leader,” reads one email, according to NPR. “And the instructor said that for one to be a true Muslim, they have to engage in jihad that either supports or directly engages in killing non-Muslims.”

NPR also reported that the instructor taught that Mohammed was epileptic, the Quran coming to him not by divine inspiration but as an epileptic fit.

Officials confirmed to NPR that they had been made aware of the course and were taking moves to ameliorate the situation as early as last spring, and the instructor was removed.

To read more click here.

To listen to the NPR report click here.

Ex-Secret Service Agent-Turned Executive on Trial in Foreign Bribery Sting

By Allan Lengel

A former Secret Service agent, who rose through the ranks to become a deputy assistant director, is on trial in federal court in Washington in what Bloomberg news reports is the first prosecution of a foreign bribery based on a government sting run inside the U.S.

Ex-agent R. Patrick Caldwell is on trial with five other security executives, Bloomberg reported.

Prosecutors in court on Wednesday accused Caldwell, the former chief executive officer of Protective Products of America Inc., with joining an illegal business deal by agreeing to make payments to an FBI agent posing as a representative of the west African country of Gabon, Bloomberg reported.

“Most corrupt deals are never discovered by law enforcement, but this time someone was watching and someone was recording the deal — the FBI,” Laura Perkins, a Justice Department trial attorney, told the jury, according to Bloomberg.

Bloomberg reported that the trial is the second in a 22-defendant kick back scheme that involved a fake multi-million weapons deal.

Bloomberg reported that “it’s the biggest U.S. prosecution of individuals accused of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”

To read more click here.


Feds Bust Mass. Man for Plotting to Attack U.S. Capitol and Pentagon

By Allan Lengel

The FBI on Wednesday busted a 26-year-old Massachusetts man in a sting in which he plotted to damage or destroy the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol “using large remote controlled aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives,” according to the Boston U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Authorities also charged Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen residing in Ashland, Mass,  with attempting to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda to help carry out attacks on U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.

“Our top priority is to protect our nation from terrorism and national security threats. The conduct alleged today shows that Mr. Ferdaus had long planned to commit violent acts against our country, including attacks on the Pentagon and our nation’s Capitol,” U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said in a statement.”Thanks to the diligence of the FBI and our many other law enforcement partners, that plan was thwarted.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office said the public was never in danger as the FBI, which conducted a sting, kept close tabs on the defendant and the explosives were controlled by undercover FBI employees.”

The FBI affidavit alleged that Ferdaus, a Northeastern University graduate with a degree in physics, began planning to commit a violent “jihad” against the U.S. in early 2010. He obtained mobile phones, each of which he modified to act as an electrical switch for an IED, authorities alleged.

He then supplied the phones to FBI undercover, who he believed to be members of, or recruiters for, al Qaeda. According to the affidavit, Ferdaus believed that the devices would be used to kill American soldiers overseas.

During a meeting June, authorities said he appeared gratified when he was told that his first phone detonation device had killed three U.S. soldiers and injured four or five others in Iraq.

“That was exactly what I wanted,” he responded.”

According to the affidavit, after each delivery, Ferdaus was anxious to know how well each of his detonation devices had worked and how many Americans they had killed.

In recorded conversations, beginning in January, Ferdaus stated that he planned to attack the Pentagon using aircraft similar to “small drone airplanes” filled with explosives and guided by GPS equipment, authorities said.

In April, his plan then included attacking the Capitol.