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June 2012


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for June 8th, 2012

Weekend Series on Crime: The Violent Mafia in Italy

Column: Woodward and Bernstein, 40 Years Later, Nixon Was Far Worse Than We Thought

By Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward
Washington Post

As Sen. Sam Ervin completed his 20-year Senate career in 1974 and issued his final report as chairman of the Senate Watergate committee, he posed the question: “What was Watergate?”

Countless answers have been offered in the 40 years since June 17, 1972, when a team of burglars wearing business suits and rubber gloves was arrested at 2:30 a.m. at the headquarters of the Democratic Party in the Watergate office building. Four days afterward, the Nixon White House offered its answer: “Certain elements may try to stretch this beyond what it was,” press secretary Ronald Ziegler scoffed, dismissing the incident as a “third-rate burglary.”

History proved that it was anything but. Two years later, Richard Nixon would become the first and only U.S. president to resign, his role in the criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice — the Watergate coverup — definitively established. Another answer has since persisted, often unchallenged: the notion that the coverup was worse than the crime. This idea minimizes the scale and reach of Nixon’s criminal actions.

To read the full column click here.

ICE Busts 190 People in Child Porn Crackdown

ICE Dir. John Morton

By Allan Lengel

Fed agents arrested 190 people in a month-long, nationwide crackdown on child pornography, Immigration and Customs Enforcement  announced Friday.

Additionally, authorities said they rescued 18 victims.

Operation Orion was carried out through the month of May by agents from ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents during a month-long.

The operation targeted individuals who possessed, received, transported, distributed, advertised or produced images or videos of child pornography.

“With the advent of summer vacation, children may have more time and access to the Internet, making this a good time to talk to them about online dangers. Many of the child exploitation cases under Operation Orion began with a child or teen chatting with someone he or she met online,” said ICE Director John Morton.

“Let this operation be a warning to anyone who would think they can use the Internet to exploit children: we are out there looking for you, we will find you, and you will be prosecuted.”

The majority of arrests were in the U.S., but there were some overseas in such countries as Spain, the Philippines, Argentina and the United Kingdom.

Read press release



Maggie Gyllenhaal and Channing Tatum may Play Secret Service Agents

Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal

Shoshanna Utchenik

Word on the street is that actress Maggie Gyllenhaal may play a Secret Service agent in the upcoming film “White House Down.” Channing Tatum has already been cast as a Secret Service agent.

Gyllenhaal is in talks to play a patriotic Secret Service Agent, reports Film School Rejects.  Jamie Foxx is in talks to play the president.

Can’t hurt the film to cast a woman with layers; it also seems like great PR for  an agency steeped in the manly scandal of late.

To read more, click here.


Drug Trafficking Rings Exploited Commercial Airlines

Shoshanna Utchenik

Details of Thursdays’ massive drug bust reveal an ongoing game of whack-a-mole between the DEA and drug smugglers working the commercial airline systems.

In this recent bust the DEA and FBI, in concert with Puerto Rican and local authorities, disabled two rings trafficking cocaine into the U.S., primarily through Puerto Rico Muniz International Airport.

ABC reports that one ring was allegedly led by Maribel Rodriguez Fragoso, known as La Flaca or “the Skinny Woman.” Between 2010 and 2012, La Flaca’s ring used airport baggage handlers to load cocaine-stuffed luggage onto commercial flights headed to cities all along the East Coast.

The second ring’s nine year run ended with the 2009 DEA operation Heavy Cargo. Allegedly led by American Airlines worker Wilfredo Rodriguez Rosado, fellow American Airlines employees smuggled more than 9000 kilos of cocaine into the U.S. mainland, says ABC. Heavy Cargo saw 23 people, including 9 American Airlines employees, indicted. Rodriguez and 21 others pleaded guilty.

Wednesday the DEA announced 20 more indictments related to Rosado’s American Airlines ring.

DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Caribbean Division, Pedro Janer said of the repeated and ongoing incidences of drug smugglers exploiting holes in airport security, the “DEA will continue to dismantle these organizations that think they can blatantly use legitimate entities to carry out their smuggling operations.”

This weeks’ 45 indictments and 36 arrests are a good start.

To read more click here.

Pakistani Man Arrested for Posing as FBI Agent to Swindle Victims

Shoshanna Utchenik

Hayat Khan, a 48 year old Pakistani man, was arrested Thursday for impersonating an FBI agent in Pakistan, swindling victims out of millions of rupees, reports the New York Post.

Khan earned victims’ trust by exchanging $500 to $1000 of authentic currency, telling victims there was more where that came from because agents could access large stores of cash.

He then gave them counterfeit dollars in larger transactions. He finished such deals with sacs full of rupees totalling up to $50k, out only the costs of printing the fake money and engineering his FBI disguise, which included a wig.

To read more click here.

House Votes Down Proposal to Downgrade TSA Uniforms

Shoshanna Utchenik

Can a uniform itself lead to abuse of power? If the uniform in question belongs to TSA airport screeners, the House says “No”.

Thursday the House voted down a proposal that would have stripped Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport screeners of badges, shields and police-like uniforms, reports The Hill. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) had proposed the uniform downgrade in response to complaints of abuses by undertrained TSA agents who appeared dangerously similar to trained police, especially to vulnerable travelers.

The House voted against her amendment 131-282. Those against Blackburn’s proposal seemed to agree that there is power in uniform, but of a positive nature.

Rep. David Price (D-Ga.) asked, “Why would we do this? What an insult to these people.”

“What is a badge? It is a dignity that is allowed to those who are on the front lines of the nation’s security.” confirmed Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas).

Though Blackburn’s main concern was reported abuses by uniformed TSA agents, she said TSA had spent more than $1 million in taxpayer money on badges alone since 2009.

To read more click here.

Puerto Rico Airport Was Hub in Major Drug Trafficking Bust

Shoshanna Utchenik

Things got hot in Puerto Rico Thursday for two criminal organizations busted for massive-scale narcotics trafficking.

Thirty-six arrests were made in a major bust, culminating a collaboration between the DEA, the Puerto Rico PD, FBI, and San Juan Municipal Police.

It was all part of an effort to disable two criminal organizations which had based much of their drug trafficking out of Puerto Rico’s International Airport, reports Reuters.

Two indictments unsealed Wednesday charged 25 individuals with trafficking cocaine, and 20 more including American Airlines employees who exploited their security access to aid drug couriers, according to an FBI press release. The indictments allege that more than 61,000 pounds (28,000 kg) of cocaine have been smuggled out of PR on commercial flights to the U.S. mainland since 1999.

Laila Rico, a DEA Spokeswoman for the Caribbean Division, called the bust an important blow. She told Reuters, “The Puerto Rico airport is sought-after by drug dealers because it’s basically a mid-point between South American countries and the United States and offers an easy entry point,” Rico said.

To read more click here.