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October 2011


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for October, 2011

Sen. Grassley Says FBI/Justice Dept.’s Resistance Likely to Stifle Re-examination of Deadly Anthrax Case

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Allan Lengel

You needn’t go to the oddsmakers in Vegas to predict whether the anthrax case will be reopened for a fresh examination.

Just ask Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.).

Grassley, one of several politicians who have been skeptical of the FBI findings that government scientist Bruce Ivins sent the letters, said it would take a powerful grassroots movement or startling new evidence to reopen the probe, according to an article authored by Greg Gordon of McClatchy Newspapers, Stephen Engelberg of ProPublica and Mike Wiser of PBS’ Frontline.

The FBI and the Justice Department have insisted that Ivins was the culprit, citing a collection of facts and circumstances. Ivins committed suicide in July 2008, shortly before the feds planned to charge him in the 2001 mailings that killed five and sickened 17 others.

Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee,  said in the article that adamant opposition from the FBI and Justice Department is likely to block further inquiry

Even if he were the committee chairman, Grassley said,  according to the article:  “I would question my capability of raising enough heat (to reopen the case) when you’re up against the FBI. And I’ve been up against the FBI.”

His comments came after  PBS’ Frontline, McClatchy and ProPublica, in a joint investigation, cited evidence in a lengthy article that challenged some of the government’s scientific and circumstantial evidence.

To read more click here.

Weekend Series on Crime: The Mexican Mafia Gang

Mexican Drug Traffickers Dug Tunnels Under Metered Parking Spaces in Az

By Allan Lengel

Mexican drug dealers are getting pretty darn imaginative when it comes to using tunnels at the border.

ABC News reports that authorities found smugglers had dug more than a dozen tunnels at the border in Nogales, Az, that opened up right under a parking lot with meters.

ABC reported that the smugglers cut neat rectangles out of the pavement under parking spots.

People on the U.S. side then parked cars with false bottoms in the spots and fed the meters. Then someone would come under the car and load it with drugs.

After that, someone would put the concret blocks back in place, using jacks, ABC reported. Then someone would drive off with the car.

ABC reported that U.S. Border Patrol agents found 16 tunnels leading to the 18 metered parking spaces on International Street in Nogales.

“It’s unbelievable,” Nogales mayor Arturo Garino told Tucson, Arizona ABC affiliate KGUN. “Those are the strides these people take to get the drugs across the border.”
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Feds Expected to Pass on Using Star Prosecution Witness From Gotti “Junior” Case

John Alite pictured in big photo/ny daily newsBy Allan Lengel

Allan Lengel

Using “mob turncoats” to testify in court doesn’t always work. It comes down to credibility.

Apparently, jurors weren’t buying what “mob turncoat” John Alite was selling as a star prosecution witness in the the fourth and final unsuccessful trial in 2009 against his ex-best friend, John (Junior) Gotti, son of the late Godfather John Gotti.

Alite, a convicted murderer and associate of the Gambino Crime family,  testified that the younger Gotti, who was a childhood friend,  approved multiple murders.  Apparently, his word was no good, at least in the eyes of some jurors. The case ended with a deadlock jury in December 2009, and the government decided after failing four times, not to go for a fifth trial.

Jerry Capeci, an expert on the mob who runs the website Gang Land News, reports that “Brooklyn federal prosecutors have figured out how to keep the flawed mob turncoat John Alite off the stand in a companion case to the failed prosecution of John (Junior) Gotti.”

Gang Land News reports that the feds have “rounded up a slew of better witnesses” in a multiple murder case against John Burke, a Queens gangster. One of the witnesses is expected to be Peter (Bud) Zuccaro, who was a defense witness for Gotti Junior, Gang Land News reported.

Gang Land News reported that “Burke is awaiting trial for three gangland-style slayings from 1982 to 1996, including one that Gotti allegedly ordered.”


NY US Atty. Preet Bharara Takes on the Cabs


By Allan Lengel

Let’s hope this doesn’t make it tougher for Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara to hail a cab.

The New York Times reports that the U.S. Attorney is taking on the cab industry in the city.

The Times reports that his office is concerned about the lack of wheelchair-accessible cabs in New York, a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

He’s urging a federal judge to address the problem and support a lawsuit brought against the city in January by several disability rights groups,the Times reported.

The Times noted that “it is unusual for the United States attorney to formally present a position on a pending lawsuit.”

But the paper reported that Bharara in a letter to the judge wrote that the federal government had “a strong interest in this matter” and urged him to rule in favor of the plaintiffs.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office argued that it was it was “untenable” for the city to remain in violation of the disabilities act, the paper reported.

To read more click here.


Intelligence Research Specialist for ICE is ICED; Admits Ripping Off Agency and Misusing Passport

By Allan Lengel

A former supervisory intelligence research specialist for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso, Tex. pleaded guilty Thursday to misusing his diplomatic passport and submitting fictitious expenses that amounted to at least $70,000.

Ahmed Adil Abdallat, 64, pleaded guilty in federal court in El Paso to two counts of misuse of a diplomatic passport and one count of conversion of public money.

Authorities say that in March 2007 Abdallat was issued a diplomatic passport in order to perform various temporary duties at the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia and several other foreign countries.

Abdallat admitted he used his official diplomatic passport on two occasions for the personal purpose of travel to and from Amman, Jordan after he was permanently assigned to duty in El Paso and no longer had any official embassy, mission, or related activities.

Authorities said he also admitted that from Feb. 15, 2009 to , through Sept. 10, 2010, he submitted 13 vouchers for travel from El Paso to Washington, D.C. and received $116,392.34 in travel fund reimbursements.

Authorities said multiple vouchers contained fictitious charges for lodging, vehicle rental and parking. Authorities said the government was taken for at least $70,000, but the exact amount has yet to be determined.

Authorities said that Abdallat remains in federal custody pending sentencing. A sentencing date has yet to be set.


Bill to Name Az Border Facility After Slain Agent Brian Terry Passes Committee

Brian Terry

By Allan Lengel

Congress moved one step closer to naming the Border Patrol station in Bisbee, Az., after slain agent Brian Terry, who was killed in December 2010.

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Thursday approved a bill to name the facility after Terry. The bill was authored by Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA)and has 68 Democratic and Republican cosponsors. The bill must now go to the full House for a vote.

“Brian Terry gave his life in service of his country. With today’s vote, the naming of the Bisbee station in his honor is one step closer to reality,” Issa said in a statement. “Naming this facility after Agent Terry is just one small tribute to an officer who gave the ultimate sacrifice, and to his fellow agents who face that same risk every day.”

Terry’s name has become central in the controversy over ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious, which encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to middlemen, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican drug cartels.

Problem was that ATF lost track of quite a few guns, some of which surfaced at crime scenes on both sides of the border.

Two of those guns were found at the scene where Terry died last Dec. after being shot on patrol 14 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border near Rio Rico, Ariz.

Authorities have been unable to determine whether the guns were actually used in the shooting of Terry, according to some media reports. Nonetheless, those two guns have been repeatedly mentioned by Issa, who is investigating the shortcomings of the program.



Atty. Gen. Holder Needs to Step Up and Take Responsibility for ATF’s Fast and Furious


Atty. Gen. Holder before House Judiciary / file photo

By Allan Lengel

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. is an honorable man.

So I believe him when he tells Congress he didn’t know about ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious until the controversy exploded in 2011.

The problem is that he needs to take responsibility for it. Period. He’s the top dog. People in his organization had some inkling last year that they might be sitting on a political stink bomb. They should have given him a heads up. They need to take responsibility as well.

It’s like the household where the kids hide matches in the house and play with them all the time, and one day burn down their neighbor’s garage. Yes, the parents can tell the neighbor “sorry”, but they also have to take some responsibility even if they had no clue the kids were always playing with matches.

CBS News recently reported that “two Justice Department officials mulled it over in an email exchange Oct. 18, 2010.”

“It’s a tricky case given the number of guns that have walked but is a significant set of prosecutions,” said Jason Weinstein, Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division. Deputy Chief of the National Gang Unit James Trusty replied “I’m not sure how much grief we get for ‘guns walking.’ It may be more like, ‘Finally they’re going after people who sent guns down there.’”

That sounds to me like someone in the Justice Department figured out the department was playing with matches by carrying out a program that encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to middlemen, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels. Yes, they contemplated that someone could get burned.

We need to clean up this mess sooner than later. One helpful step along the way would be for Holder to say something to the effect: “Sure I didn’t know about Fast and Furious until the controversy erupted, but I take full responsibility and I want to find out why I wasn’t apprised of something so significant that endangered lives and had international implications.”

p.s. Atty. Gen. Holder, feel free to use that quote.