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Archive for December, 2011

FBI’s Most Wanted Man in Houston Surrenders

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s most wanted man in Houston has turned himself in, reports the local ABC affiliate. The bureau had posted billboards with the man’s photos just days before.

Patrick Simmons is a suspect in a bank robbery where a Harris County Sheriff’s Office deputy was shot, according to ABC, putting him on the Houston FBI’s most wanted list on Thursday. Simmons turned himself in on Sunday evening at the FBI Houston office.

The 27-year-old and a group of eight others were said to be heavily armed when targeting banks, usually inside grocery stores–at least eight of them since August of 2010.

To read more click here.

Column: Money Laundering is Not Gun Running

Anthony Macisco has over 30 years of extensive leadership and management experience for agencies in the Departments of the Treasury (USSS Executive Protective Service and US Customs-Investigations) and Homeland Security (Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Investigations), in investigations and intelligence fields, in both a covert and overt capacity. Tony is currently a partner in The Densus Group, an international consulting firm that specializes in public order management techniques for foreign and domestic government agencies.

Anthony Macisco/sec debrief photo

By Anthony Macisco
Security DeBrief

It was recently reported that Congress is launching an investigation into the Drug Enforcement Administration, following claims that the agency helped drug cartels launder money – an operation some in Congress say bears striking resemblance to the failed “Fast and Furious” anti-gunrunning probe.

While most of America is appalled at the “Fast and Furious” operation, myself included, money laundering investigations are a completely different, proven and accepted investigative technique when conducted properly.

Long-term covert money laundering investigations have been around since the early 1980s when the U.S. Customs Service Office of Investigations conducted one of the first successful investigations known as “Operation C-Chase.”

It was one of the most successful undercover operations in the history of U.S. law enforcement, and the evidence gathered during the investigation proved critical to the conviction of General Manuel Noriega.

To read more click here.

 

FBI Called In to Help with Local Paramilitaries

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Local authorities in southern Mississippi have contacted the FBI for help investigating a paramilitary group known as the Savior Unit, reports the Hattiesburg American. The group is comprised mostly of teenagers and young adults.

Michael Shaun Schaffran, the 32-year-old believed to be the group’s leader, and Cody Jacob Rogers, 18, were arrested after breaking into a mobile home on December 6. In the arrest local police seized an operation manual of the groups which promoted “Christ, helping law enforcement, doing community service, reconnaissance, infiltration, apprehension and ‘retrieval,’ according to the Hattiesburg American.

Schaffran’s wife said police have the wrong idea. They’re just a bunch of kids trying to do good and stay out of trouble, she said. The break-in was in response to a perceived domestic violence at the home, which Schaffran and Rogers went to correct.

To read more click here.

What’s in a Name? Ask Blackwater

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Blackwater, the controversial security contractor that got in a whole lot of legal trouble for its deadly cowboy antics in Iraq, is trying once again to  scrub clean that bad image.

First it tried by changing its name to Xe Services LLC. But inevitably most articles included the phrase “formerly known as Blackwater.” Now, the company will try it again.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Virginia based company on Monday will unveil a new name once again along with logo. The name: Academi.

The Journal reports that Ted Wright, president and chief executive, said he will try to make Academi more “boring,” the Journal reported.

In April, a federal appeals court reinstated the federal criminal case against a group of Blackwater security guards charged in Washington with manslaughter and weapons violations for their alleged roles in a shooting in Baghdad that killed more than a dozen civilians, according to the Blog of the Legal Times.

 

Number of Drug Tunnels at the Border Dramatically Increase Under Mexican President

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A crackdown on drug smugglers has resulted in a dramatic jump in the use of sophisticated tunnels under the Mexico-U.S. border, Reuters reports.

Reuters reports that authorities discovered more than 100 tunnels during President Felipe Calderon’s five years in office. That number is double the ones found over the previous 15 years.

Reuters reports that the cartels have been perfecting the way the tunnels have been built.

The more sophisticated tunnels have hydraulically controlled steel doors, elevato and elecric rail tracks and are built with expensive drilling equipment, Reuters reported.

“It’s evident that those who constructed these tunnels are specialists, not only for the size but also because it requires study of the soil to prevent it from caving in,” General Gilberto Landeros, a Mexican army commander, during the recent discovery of a Tijuana tunnel told Reuters. “The machinery they use for construction is really sophisticated.”

 

Move to Replace FBI Headquarters Inches Closer to Reality

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The legendary but outdated FBI headquarters building in in the nation’s capital moved a step closer to its demise.

The Washington Post reports that the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works passed a resolution late last week authorizing the General Service Administration to find a consolidated headquarters. The Post reported that the resolution is subject to approval by Congress and subject to appropriations.

The headquarters building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, in the shadow of the Capitol, is burst at the seams.

Before Sept. 11, 9,700 headquarters staffers worked at seven locations; now there are about 17,300 employees and contractors at 40 sites across the nation, 22 in the Washington area, according to the Post.

The Post reported that the resolution said that the government would have to own the land and the location would have to be within two miles of a Metrorail station and 2.5 miles from the Beltway.

To read more click here.

 

FBI Agent Calls Staffing Against NY Mob “Dangerously Low”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Is the N.Y. FBI allocating far too little to fight the five Organized Crime Families?

The answer is a definite Yes, according to a story by mob expert Jerry Capeci, editor of Gang Land News.

The site reports that the number of agents investigating New York wiseguys is at an all time low. One agent, the site reports, calls it “dangerously low.”

Still, Gangland reports that “G-men and women from other federal agencies have jumped into the fray to fill the void against the thousands of wiseguys and associates of the infamous Five Families.”

An example, according to the site, were the arrests last week by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Diplomatic Security Services (DSS) agents with the State Department arrested three wiseguys and four associates of the Gambino and Bonanno crime families on racketeering charges.

Gang Land reported that the FBI has reduced the number of squads that investigate the Five Families to three and the number of agents trying to keep tabs and arrest 700 made men and 7000 associates to about 45.

“It’s pretty obvious that there are other people locking up people that we used to lock up,” one veteran agent who has worked on mob squads for more than a dozen years told Gang Land. The agent called the number of FBI agents going after the mob “dangerously low.”

“In terms that the numbers-crunching bureaucrats can understand,” said the agent, “it’s impossible for 45 agents to do the work that 65 or 70 – or even more – were doing without losing effectiveness.”

“Across the U.S. the mob’s influence and power is not what it used to be, even in cities like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

But New York is different,” the agent said, according to Gang Land News. “They are still a viable force here. But for some reason the organized crime emphasis here is on non-traditional OC, not the LCN,” which is FBI-speak for La Cosa Nostra.

FBI spokesman Jim Margolin told Gang Land News: “The FBI’s allocation of resources isn’t etched in stone. We continually monitor and assess how best to deploy agents and other resources. We’re continuing to address the threat posed by organized crime in New York, including the five La Cosa Nostra families. But we have to do that with finite resources, spread across all of our investigative programs.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST:

Weekend Series on Crime: Thug Life in D.C.