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July 2013


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for July, 2013

Toxicology Reports May Shed Light on What Killed Former ‘Whitey’ Bulger Witness


Updated Bulger photo/wbur

Steve Neavling

Officials have not yet determined the cause of death of an alleged extortion victim of James “Whitey” Bulger who was found dead a day after learning he wouldn’t be testifying in the racketeering and murder trial of the suspected mob boss, The Boston Herald reports

An autopsy of Stephen M. “Stippo” Rakes provided inconclusive evidence, and officials are awaiting the toxicology reports. 

In the meantime, Rakes will be mourned Wednesday at the William F. Spencer Funeral Home on East Broadway in South Boston, the Herald reported.

Rakes was 59 and left behind three children and two grandchildren.


Fed Judge Clears ex-FBI Agent Pete Norell Jr. of Wrongdoing

By Allan Lengel

An ex-FBI agent who pleaded guilty in 2010 to illegally accessing an FBI computer has been vindicated.

Scott Schwebke of the Orange County Register reports that U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford ruled this month that ex-FBI agent Pete Norell Jr. was “factually innocent” of the misdemeanor charge he pleaded to.

The paper reported that the ruling removes the conviction.

Norell Jr., a veteran agent out of Orange County who was popular among fellow agents, was sentenced to one year probation back in 2010 for illegally accessing FBI records and pressuring someone in 2005 to pay a $500,000 debt owed to an acquaintance and other investors. He resigned from the FBI.

Judge Guilford at the time said he did not believe Norell deserved jail time, but added, “I do remain concerned about people in positions of trust and do think the sentence should reflect that.”

He also ordered Norell, the son of a former Superior Court judge, to 100 hours of community service and a $3,000 fine.


New School Dedicated to the Late DEA Agent Enrique Camarena, Who Lived a Life of Bravery

Photo of the news school

By Ross Parker

The opening next week of the Enrique S. Camarena Elementary School in Chula Vista, California celebrates the legacy of a courageous DEA agent who was murdered by Mexican drug cartel members in February 1985.

No doubt Special Agent Camarena’s family, especially his son Enrique S. Camarena, Jr., will pause this week, particularly because the school opening coincides with their father’s birthday, and remember what a special father and husband he was.

The rest of us can remember him for his sacrifice and commitment to contributing to a safer world.Like Special Agent Terry Watson, whose life and recent death were the subject of a column a couple weeks ago. Enrique “Kiki” Camarena lived a full life of bravery and service. He was born in Mexicali, Mexico, but his family moved to the United States in Calexico, California.

He became a naturalized U. S. citizen and served in the Marines, as a firefighter and police investigator before joining DEA.

Assigned to the Guadalajara office in 1981, he was fearless in pursuing the illegal activities of the drug smugglers in the area. Despite the danger he acted undercover and had infiltrated the cartel. In 1985, his investigation led to the discovery and destruction of 2,500 acres of marijuana worth an estimated $ 9 billion.In spite of information, that he had been targeted by the cartel, he stayed on to continue his investigations.

On February 7, 1985, in broad daylight, he was kidnapped as he left the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara. He was on his way to meet his wife Geneva for lunch. For two days he was tortured and then bludgeoned to death by cartel henchmen with the aid of corrupt police officers.

A massive manhunt by U.S. federal law enforcement resulted in the capture and conviction of his killers and their aider and abettors. Special Agent Camarena’s life continues to make a difference. The activities of the Camarena Foundation support education and drug-free living for America’s youth.

Every year in October thousands of schools and law enforcement offices around the country participate in Red Ribbon Week to support the goals of the Foundation.Enrique Camarena Jr. was 11 when his father died, but he made a commitment to follow in his father’s footsteps. With the support of the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund he went to law school and became a Deputy District Attorney for San Diego County, where he continues to serve.

He is also active in the work of the Camarena Foundation and in contributing to the efforts to support other children who have lost a father or mother who were killed in the line of duty. The new school bearing Agent Camarena’s name will employ innovative teaching methods and the latest technology to provide a quality education to its 975 students.As they stream into their beautiful new school, boisterous with excitement, Kiki Camarena will be somewhere watching, no doubt proud and happy for the promise that they hold for America’s future.

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Weekend Series on Crime History: Al Capone


Witness in ‘Whitey’ Bulger Case Found Dead under Suspicious Circumstances

Updated Bulger photo/wbur

Steve Neavling

Stephen “Stippo” Rakes waited decades to testify against accused mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. 

Rakes will never get the chance because he was found dead in what is being described as a suspicious death, the Boston Globe reports.

Rakes, who had accused Bulger of stealing ownership of his South Boston liquor store, was found dead near a popular walking trail in Lincoln.

But authorities believe Rakes’ body may have been dumped there, the Globe reported.

An autopsy is underway to determine the because of death.

“I can assure you my ex-husband did not commit suicide,” Rakes’s former wife, Julie Dammers, told the Globe.

NSA Takes Steps to Strengthen Security of Sensitive Information Following Leak

Steve Neavling 

Hoping to strengthen its security to avoid another leak, the NSA is examining how former contractor Edward Snowden was able to access and remove sensitive information, The Los Angeles Times reports.

“This failure originated from two practices that we need to reverse,” Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said at a security forum at the Aspen Institute.

“In an effort for those in the intelligence community to be able to share with each other, there was an enormous amount of information concentrated in one place,” he said. “That’s a mistake. Loading everything onto a server creates a security risk.”

The second problem, he said, “You had an individual who was given very substantial authority to access that information and move that information.… We’re acting to reverse both of those things.”

Carter said the NSA was converting to a system that would have prevented a single person from accessing the information, The LA Times reported.

FBI Advises Local Police to Keep George Zimmerman’s Gun, Evidence

Steve Neavling 

The Sanford Police won’t return to George Zimmerman his gun and other evidence used at his murder trial after the FBI urged against giving back the weapon, The Orlando Sentinel reports.

It’s a sign that the Justice Department is moving forward with an investigation into whether Zimmerman violated the civil rights of Trayvon Martin, a black, unarmed 17-year-old who was shot dead, The Orlando Sentinel wrote.

The request comes less than a week after a six-member jury acquitted Zimmerman following 16 hours of deliberations.

“The evidence is just in a hold status, pending their DOJ investigation,”  Sanford police spokesman Capt. Jim McAuliffe told the Sentinel.