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Archive for April 3rd, 2015

Ex-Detroit Mob Boss Tony Zerilli, Who Triggered FBI Dig for Hoffa, Is Dead at 87

Tony Zerilli/ from WDIV video

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit
DETROIT — The former acting boss of the Detroit mob, Anthony (Tony Z) Zerilli, who triggered a massive FBI dig in northern Oakland County in 2013 in search of James R. Hoffa, died several days ago of natural causes in the Ft. Lauderdale area. He was 87.

Scott Burnstein, a local mob expert, who runs the website, Gangster Report, wrote that Zerilli was the last of the upper-echelon old guard in the Detroit mafia. He was an underboss and acting boss and son of the local Godfather Joseph (Joe Uno) Zerilli. He was also the son-in-law of the New York don Joe Profaci.

Less than a decade ago, he was stripped of his duties as the syndicate’s No. 2 in charge, Gangster Report reported.

After being out of the spotlight for quite a long time, Zerilli surfaced as a very public figure in January 2013 when he told NBC 4 New York reporter Marc Santia, formerly of WDIV  that Hoffa was buried in northern Oakland County, but he had nothing to do with the 1975 disappearance. At the time of the Hoffa disappearance, that property belonged to another top-ranking mobster.

The statements put the FBI in a bind. Embarrassed before in its never-ending hunt for Hoffa, the agency would have preferred to avoid another failed dig, and the accompanying skepticisim and wisecracks from the public. On the other hand, it was hard for the agency to ignore Zerilli’s claims considered he was a guy who was once high up the chain, who could have had some knowledge.

So, in June 2013, the FBI started digging up a property in Oakland Township, but came up empty after more than two days and called it quits. Few were surprised.

Several months before the dig,  Zerilli told the New York reporter that the mob intended to move Hoffa’s body to a hunting lodge in Rogers City at the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula, but never did. He gives no names, saying he’s not a snitch.

At the time, the NBC 4 correspondent Santia says Zerilli, who was hurting for money, came forward in hopes of profiting from publicity and showing he had nothing to do with Hoffa’s abrupt disappearance outside a Bloomfield Township restaurant on July 30, 1975. He has a website to promote a book in the making.

“Finally, a book will soon be published with all of the facts surrounding the Hoffa disappearance,” his website said, adding: “Many have long speculated that Anthony J. Zerilli was the ‘boss’ of the Detroit Mafia, and that he ordered the killing of Jimmy Hoffa. This is absolutely untrue.”

 

FBI Confirms Most Wanted Terrorist Killed in Philippines Raid

Zulkifli bin Hir

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists was killed in a raid in the Philippines in January, CNN reports.

Zulkifli bin Hir, the Malaysian bomber known as Marwan, was confirmed dead following DNA tests, the FBI said.

“After a thorough review of forensic data and information obtained from our Philippine law enforcement partners, the FBI has assessed that terrorism subject, Zulkifli Abdhir … is deceased and has been removed from the FBI’s list of Most Wanted Terrorists,” David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, told CNN in a statement.

 

Marwan was accused of being a me member of a southeast Asian terror group, Jemaah Islamiyah’s central command.

Columnist: Federal Charges Against Sen. Menendez Are ‘Avoidable Mistake’

Robert Menendez

By Gerald Krovatin
Star-Ledger Guest Columnist

Let’s take a deep breath and put the indictment of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) in perspective.

Every few years, the Public Integrity Section of the Justice Department in Washington seems to bring a case against a high-profile elected official that turns out to be a waste of time and resources. From the unsuccessful prosecution of former Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy to the train wreck of a case against former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) to the bewildering charges against former Sen. John Edwards (D-North Carolina), when the dust settles, the prosecutions have ended up posing more of a threat to public confidence in the Justice Department and its judgment than anything else.

This year, the “public integrity” roulette wheel has stopped on Sen. Menendez. And, like many of the cases that have come before it, the prosecution of Sen. Menendez has all the signs of being another foreseeable and avoidable mistake.

In the case just filed, the prosecutors have charged Sen. Menendez with accepting gifts from Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen. The government contends that, in exchange for these gifts, Sen. Menendez met with administration officials to advance his friend’s interests in a Medicare billing dispute and a port security contract in the Dominican Republic.

But according to news reports and a court opinion already decided during the investigation, the senator and Melgen have also been close personal friends for more than two decades. Their relationship reportedly includes weddings, funerals and other family events that close friends typically share with each other.

This friendship poses a serious legal problem for the government. How can the government prove that any efforts by Sen. Menendez on behalf of his friend were caused by any gifts, as opposed to their long-standing personal friendship? And, if the Justice Department now is charging that soliciting or receiving campaign contributions is the quid pro quo of corruption, it better abolish our current system of raising political money or build a whole lot more jail cells for contributors and candidates.

Gerald Krovatin is a criminal defense attorney and a past president of the Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey.

To read more click here. 

Border Patrol Supervisor Pleaded Not Guilty to Bathroom Peeping Case

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol supervisor accused of hiding a video camera in the women’s bathroom at the agency’s station in San Diego pleaded not guilty Thursday.

U-T San Diego reports that Armando Gonzalez, 46, pleaded not guilty to 19 counts related to the camera.

Authorities said at least a dozen women were captured on at least 170 videos, and the identities of some of the victims are still unknown.

Gonzalez maintains he installed the motion-activated cameras to investigate suspicions that an employee was using illegal drugs.

“He’s been a very good employee for the Border Patrol for two decades,” Anthony Colombo, who represented Gonzalez on Thursday, said.

Saudi Arabian Man to Be Deported After Pleading Guilty to Punching TSA Officer

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Saudi Arabian man will be deported after pleading guilty this week to punching a TSA officer in the face at the Orlando International Airport in January.

Mohammed Abdullah Alomaim, 43, was sentenced to time served and a two-year supervised release, The Orlando Sentinel reports.

“As a result of his conviction, Alomaim will be deported from the United States,” a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida said.

In January, a TSA officer approached Alomaim for acting erratically and leaving his bag unattended. Alomaim responded by punching the officer in the face.

“Alomaim was immediately taken into custody,” the statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The FBI handled the investigation.

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House Committee Subpoenas 2 Secret Service Agents Over Crash

secret service photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two Secret Service agents have been subpoenaed for more information on an incident involving a pair of agents involved in a drunken accident outside of a White House barricade, The Huffington Post reports.

A House of Representatives committee said earlier this week that the subpoenas were necessary because the Secret Service has not been cooperative.

“We therefore must take the regrettable step of compelling the agents for interviews before the Committee,” Republican Jason Chaffetz, head of the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement.

Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson criticized the action, saying his department has been forthcoming. He called the subpoenas “unprecedented and unnecessary.”

The committee did not identify the agents who are being subpoenaed.

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