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November 2011


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for November, 2011

Face of Mexico’s War Against Drugs Dies in Helicopter Crash

By Danny Fenster

The face of Mexico’s drug war went down in a fatal helicopter crash caused by foggy weather on Nov. 11, reports Bloomberg. Authorities ruled it was an accident and not sabotage as many had suspected.

Interior Minister Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, Mexico’s point man in the war against drug traffickers, died in the crash, along with 15 others,  Bloomberg reported. Mora was traveling from Mexico City to Cuernavaca for a meeting of prosecutors.

After initial suspicion of sabotage, or other nefarious causes, authorities determined the crash was caused by foggy weather. Mexican authorities said radar readings show the pilot did not lose control before crashing, Communications and Transportation Minister Dionisio Perez-Jacome told the press, according to Bloomberg.

A team of 16 experts including US National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration officials are working on the investigation.

To read more click here.



Grassley Questions Justice Dept. Commitment to FBI Whistleblowers

Sen. Grassley/official photo

By Allan Lengel

Sen. Chuck Grassley is questioning the commitment of Attorney Gen. Eric Holder and his Deputy Attorney General James Cole to FBI whistleblowers.

In a press released issued Monday, Grassley said one FBI whistleblower case “continues to languish for nine years and a second case sits in limbo for more than four years.”

“Whistleblowers are key to unlocking many of the secrets hidden deep in the closets of the federal government,” Grassley said in a statement. “Allowing a case to sit in limbo for more than nine years shows a lack of commitment to resolving issues for these courageous people.

“The excessive time to make a judgment on these cases indicates that the process for adjudicating FBI whistleblower claims is broken, and needs to be fixed,” Grassley added. “The Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General have significant say over the speed at which these matters are addressed, and the recent decision by Deputy Attorney General Cole to remand a nine year old case for further proceedings is mind boggling and calls into question his commitment to help support whistleblowers.”

Grassley, in a letter to Holder, urged the attorney general to address whistleblower cases in a more timely manner.

Grassley mentioned former FBI agent Jane Turner who was fired in 2002 after disclosing to the Justice Department Inspector General after discovering that FBI agents removed items from Ground Zero following the attacks of 9/11.

Grassley said in his release that due to the Inspector General’s delayed decision, Agent Turner was forced to file an appeal with the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management, which ordered the FBI to issue back pay, attorney’s fees and other relief.

After an FBI appeal, the Deputy Attorney General remanded the case for further proceedings and it now continues to languish nine years after Agent Turner’s original complaint, Grassley said.

Grassley also cited the case of Robert Kobus, a 30-year non-agent employee of the FBI who more than four years ago disclosed time and attendance fraud by FBI agents. The Inspector General substantiated his claims of retaliation for protected whistleblowing, yet his case has been sitting with the Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management for four years.

“I presume you would agree that DOJ is sxending the wrong message to whistleblowers by taking an inordinate amount of time to issue final declarations for Agent Turner and Mr. Kobus,” Grassley wrote in the letter to Holder.

Read letter to Holder


DEA Beats FBI in Charity Hockey Game

FBI-DEA game/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel

In case you’re keeping score, yes, the FBI still has far more agents than the DEA.

But on the ice that didn’t seem to matter Saturday when the two agencies squared off at the Ashburn Ice house in Virginia to play a friendly game of hockey to raise money for the DEA’s Survivors Benefit Fund.

AOL’s website Patch reported that DEA won by a score of 7-4.

The website reported that the ceremonial puck drop was dropped by Loudoun County sheriff-elect Mike Chapman, and the DEA hung jerseys behind its bench of fallen agents Chad Michael, Forrest Leamon and Michael Weston, who were killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2009.

fbi photo

“We gave it a good try,” said FBI player-coach Dan Storey, according to Patch. “They did skate really hard, and we’ll look for a rematch against our buddies here at the DEA.”

The TSA May Not Appreciate Your Wrap

By Danny Fenster

The TSA has got the Christmas-time itch for unwrapping gifts.

The agency has announced a zero-tolerance towards wrapped gifts after one passenger was found to be carrying marijuana in a wrapped gift, reports CBS Los Angeles. That means the TSA will unwrap your wrap if it’s suspicious.

The TSA realizes there  are many other items that could be disguised as gifts during the holiday season, says the CBS report. “Certain sporting items such as bats, bows and arrows and pool cues cannot be brought on board unless checked,” it reads.

To read more click here.

Atty. Gen. Holder Packs Up the Toothbrush This Week

file photo/doj

By Allan Lengel

It’s a pack-your-toothbrush kind of week for Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr., who plans to travel to the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Port of Spain and Trinidad and Tobago to meet with local leaders and law enforcement counterparts and to attend the Organization of American States Conference.

In the Dominican Republic, Holder is expected to sign an agreement at the Dominican Prosecutor General’s office with Dominican Prosecutor General Radhaméz Jiménez Peña to share forfeited assets, the Justice Department said.

Holder also plans to participate in a ministerial conference on combating crime and on cooperation with Dominican President Leonel Fernández at the Presidential Palace.

He returns to Washington on Friday.



ATF in Thailand Training Police to Probe Explosions

By Danny Fenster

Two hours outside of Bangkok, Byron San Marco, an ATF special agent, explodes a hidden bomb slung over the back seat of a motor bike, according to a report by Time magazine.

San Marco and his ATF team will blow up two more improvised explosive devices (IEDs) at the US-funded Tactical Training Center in Cha-am, Thailand. There, they are training Thai police in post-blast training to officers who most sift through wreckage to find evidence of the explosions causes, reports Time.

“The IED has evolved into the weapon of choice for insurgent, terrorist and even criminal networks throughout the world,” the Australian Bomb Data Centre (ABDC), a part of the Australian Federal Police, said in a recent statement.

There are approximately 30,000 government troops and thousands of armed police and paramilitary soldiers deployed across southern Thailand where, like many fragile regions of the earth, IEDs are increasingly threatening.

“We train them to collect anything and everything the bomber brought,” says San Marco, according to Time. “If he delivered the device in a box and that blew up, you want 100% of the box. It may contain DNA, a bar code, a fingerprint.” A cell phone was used to denote the The motor bike bomb, which San Marco hopes his trainees will figure out through the phone’s SIM card or lasting fragments.

To read more about ATF training to Thai police click here.

NY Muslim Groups Resist Cooperating With Police

By Danny Fenster

After all the efforts by law enforcement to forge a lasting cooperation — particularly in the post-9/11 era —  some in the Muslim community in America remain skeptical.

The Associated Press reports  Muslim groups in New York are discouraging people from going to the New York police with concerns about terrorism, and are teaching members how to identify informants.

The distrust grows from allegations that the NYPD has spied on Muslim groups in many different ways, the AP reported.

The distrust goes far beyond NY. One national Muslim organization in California put a poster on its website warning Muslims not to talk to the FBI, thought the poster was later gotten rid of.

To read more click here.

FBI Report Says Hate Crime Rate Held Steady in 2010

By Danny Fenster

Hate crimes held steady in 2010, new FBI stats show, with 6,628 hate crime incidents reported for the year. That figure was slightly up from the 6,604 in 2009.

Almost half of all incidents were motivated by racial bias, according to the FBI report released Monday. Roughly 20 percent of the incidences were motivated by bias towards religious orientation and 19.3 percent because of sexual orientation.

Almost 60 percent of offenders were white, compared to the 18.4 overall black offenders.

Most incidents–31.4 percent–occurred in or near homes, while 17 percent took place on highways, roads, alleys and streets. Almost 11 percent occurred at schools or colleges.

To read more click here.