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Archive for November, 2014

FBI Investigating Discovery of Drones Flying High Above New York Airports, Bridges

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

High-flying drones have been spotted near airports and bridges in New York, prompting the FBI and Federal Aviation Administration to investigate, CBS Local reports.

The drones were spotted by three pilots near commercial aircraft approaching John F. Kennedy International Airport. A helicopter pilot spotted two more drones near LaGuardia Airport

The drones are troublesome because they were flying at altitudes of 2,000 to 3,000 feet, far in excess of the 400-feet limit. They are seen as a distraction, and officials don’t know why they are in the air, causing some unease.

“They’re the fun toy to have now, but they have real, serious and dire consequences if misused,” said aviation attorney and pilot Daniel O. Rose.

 

 

 

 

Horn of Plenty: Middle East Heroin and Meth Is Bound for the U.S. Through East Africa

By Jeffrey Anderson
For ticklethewire.com

An indictment in U.S. District Court in Manhattan of a major international drug trafficking enterprise in the Middle East and Africa is shining a light on law enforcement operations and the diplomatic challenges the United States faces in such foreign cases.

The complications of investigating international conspiracies and dealing with foreign treaties and corruption in foreign lands are among the obstacles U.S. law enforcers face in a case out of Kenya that illustrates the continued rise of East Africa as a global drug hub.

The indictment charges a suspected organized crime family in Kenya and associates from India and Pakistan with running a large-scale operation to transport heroin and meth from the Middle East, through East Africa, and to U.S. ports by sea.

Ibrahim Akasha and Baktash Akasha, Kenyan nationals and sons of the elder Ibrahim Akasha, who was murdered in Netherlands in 2000, face conspiracy and drug trafficking charges. They were arrested last week in Mombasa.

The Akasha organization is managed by Vijay Anandgiri Goswami, known in India as “Vicky” Goswami, the indictment states. A Pakistani man named Gulam Hussein, “Old Man,” is identified as the narcotics supplier for the alleged transportation network. They too were arrested in Mombasa.

Hussein has acknowledged transporting tons of heroin by sea, which he procured from one of the largest suppliers of white heroin in the world, the indictment states. He and the Akashas allegedly planned to import the drugs into the U.S.

People Daily, Daily Nation and others reported the arrests of Hussein, Gowami and the Akashas last week as the indictment was being unsealed in New York. The indictment states that Baktash Akasha met two confidential DEA sources posing as representatives of a Colombian drug trafficking organization in Mombasa, in March, and discussed a plan to import hundreds of kilograms of pure heroin, known as “100 percent white crystal,” into the United States. Akasha offered a discount to one of the DEA sources if he paid for the heroin up front, the indictment states.

He also told the source about a European communications company that provides secure cell phones to evade American or Israeli intelligence, according to the indictment.

During an April meeting in Mombasa that included his brother Ibrahim and Goswami, Akasha told the same DEA source that he had contacted a heroin supplier in Pakistan about buying 500 kilograms of “carat diamond,” referring to high-quality heroin, for importation into the U.S., the indictment states. Akasha told the DEA source that the supplier, who is not named in the indictment, could provide 420 kilograms.

In a recorded telephone conversation in June, Akasha talked to the DEA source about sending a sample of the heroin to East Africa. Later that month, Goswami talked with the DEA source about establishing meth labs in West Africa, offering that he could procure “ton-quantities” of the chemicals to produce meth in East Africa, the indictment states.

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FBI Changing How it Assigns Agents to Handle Cyberattacks As Crackdown Intensifies

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As the FBI steps up its crackdown on cyberattacks, the FBI is changing how it assigns agents to handle the crimes.

The Hill reports that the bureau will stop assigning agents to cyber crimes based on the location of the victim.

Instead, the most talented FBI divisions will handle the most serious cyberattacks, FBI Director James Comey said.

“Notions of traditional ‘my division, your division’ don’t really make sense in that environment,” Comey said at the Overseas Security Advisory Council annual briefing on Wednesday.

“For the first time at the FBI, we’re going to approach cyber by not being bound to traditional notions of area of responsibility,” he explained.

Each threat, Comey said, will be examined for its dangers and then will be assigned to up to four regional field offices to help the local hacking victims.

Comey said it’s a work-in-progress, and he’s open to suggestions.

“We’re going to try that,” he said. “We want to get feedback.”

Other Stories of Interest

Off-Duty Border Patrol Agent Killed, Another Injured in 2-Car Crash in Texas

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An off-duty Border Patrol agent was killed and another injured in a two-car accident Thursday morning near Laredo, Texas.

The San Antonio Express-News reports that the agents were driving near the Cotulla station at 1:40 a.m. when a car traveling the wrong way crashed into them.

The collision killed a six-year veteran of the agency. Another agent was taken to the hospital by helicopter, and his condition was unknown at the time.

Border Patrol didn’t release the identities of the agents.

Border Patrol Agents Find $1M Worth of Cocaine in Single Bust of Mexican Man

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

This was not your ordinary drug bust.

Border Patrol agents found more than $1 million worth of cocaine in a car driven by a 25-year-old Mexican man, Breitbart reports.

The man was crossing the Pharr International Bridge when agents stopped him for a secondary inspection.

Agents found 15 packages of cocaine weighing more than 37 pounds.

“Excellent teamwork from our frontline officers contributed to this significant seizure of hard narcotics,” CBP Port Director Efrain Solis Jr. said. “The ability to detect inconsistencies and anomalies with travelers and vehicles is how every smuggling interception is initiated and ultimately how drugs are kept from being introduced into our communities.”

President Obama to Unveil New Immigration Plan Tonight During Speech on TV

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Obama plans to reveal his plan today to overhaul the immigration system in what is likely to set off a contentious debate with Republicans, CNN reports.

Obama’s plan will involve new rules for deportations, a move that will have ramifications for millions of undocumented immigrants.

Obama is expected to announce the deferment of deportation for the parents of U.S. citizens.

“Everybody agrees that our immigration system is broken. Unfortunately, Washington has allowed the problem to fester for far too long,” Obama said in a video posted on his Facebook page Wednesday. “And so what I’m going to be laying out is the things that I can do with my lawful authority as President to make the system work better, even as I continue to work with Congress to encourage them to get a bipartisan, comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem.”

Obama is taking action with an executive order, as opposed to waiting for Congress.

Obama will address the nation live during a speech at 8 p.m. tonight.

New ‘One-of-a-Kind’ Homeland Security Policy Center to Open in Oklahoma City

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Oklahoma law school is creating a national center for homeland security law and policy, the Associated Press reports.

The new Judge Alfred P. Murrah Center for Homeland Security Law and Policy is being established at the Oklahoma City University of Law.

“This will be a one-of-a-kind center that will be a national resource for legal analysis and policy for our country’s homeland security issues, especially in regard to domestic terrorism,” Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb said.

The center’s advisory board will be chaired by former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating and John Whitley, a former general counsel for Homeland Security.

The center’s launch will take place on the 20th anniversary of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in April.

“Because of this event in our history and the way in which our city has rebuilt in these two decades since, we are uniquely positioned to help our nation and members of the private sector confront these issues,” said Josh Snavely, dean for advancement and external relations at the law school.

Other Stories of Interest


FBI Tracking Nearly 150 Americans Who Recently Traveled to Syria, Possibly to Fight

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is monitoring nearly 150 Americans who traveled to Syria recently and may have joined armed groups, Reuters reports.

FBI Director James Comey said he’s worried that Americans may return to the U.S. with training and connections to launch a terrorist attack on the homeland.

“We have tracked coming up on close to 150 people who traveled from the United States to Syria, for all manner of motivations. A significant number of them to fight,” he told reporters at a briefing in Boston.

“We are determined not to allow future lines to be drawn from a terrorist diaspora out of Syria to a future 9/11,” he said.

The FBI’s biggest concern is Americans who are joining Islamic State because of effective recruitment campaigns on the internet.

“There we see somewhere in excess of a dozen (Americans who have joined Islamic State) that we have a pretty good handle on,” Comey said. “I don’t have high confidence that I see the entire universe,” he added.