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Archive for May, 2015

Border Remains Open Despite Border Patrol’s Best Efforts

Bob Casimiro of Bridgton is former executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform.
 
By Bob Casimiro 
Bangor Daily News.

It’s a cat-and-mouse game, and the mouse is still winning. In spite of the best efforts of our Border Patrol agents, drugs and humans keep coming across our border with Mexico.

I recently returned from my seventh trip to the border. Our Border Patrol agents are trying to do their job, but they are being hampered by bureaucrats and “open border” initiatives put in place by President Barack Obama’s administration.

On this trip, I went out with two local groups, the Arizona Border Defenders and Arizona Border Recon, both comprising activist citizens who want to help us secure our borders by augmenting what the Border Patrol does.

The Arizona Border Defenders are from Tucson. Their members come down on weekends to service cameras they have placed in the desert that transmit live video images when the camera’s sensors detect movement, which may be cattle, illegal aliens or Border Patrol agents. They see the video images on their cellphones, wherever they may be, and alert the Border Patrol if they see anything suspicious.

Arizona Border Recon is a veteran-based organization. Tim Foley, the field operations director, and his communications director, “Spartan,” recently moved permanently to Sasabe, Arizona, less than a half mile from the Sasabe Port of Entry. Foley is a slender, chain-smoking, U.S. Army 82nd Airborne veteran who roams the smuggler trails with a shotgun in one hand and his dog, Rocko, complete with ABR K-9 jacket, close behind. “Spartan” handles communications with law enforcement.

On our second day we caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure disappearing down the back of a mountain inside the U.S. border; it was a cartel “scout.” The “scouts” operate on the mountains and monitor the movement of the Border Patrol and let the smugglers know when it is safe to bring across drugs and human cargo. Keep in my mind they operate in the mountains on U.S. soil as far as 100 miles inside our border.

Sasabe is in the Tucson Sector, which extends 262 miles from the New Mexico border in the east to the Yuma (Arizona) County line in the west. The Border Patrolapprehended 87,915 illegal aliens in fiscal year 2014 in this sector. In the same fiscal year, 479,371 illegal aliens were apprehended across the whole 1,954-mile length of the Southwest Border.

So, how many get through? Chris Cabrera, vice president of National Border Patrol Council #3307, estimates in a recent video that only 30 percent of illegal aliens coming across the border are apprehended.

In the time I was there, I noted the whole array of devices used at the border: Border Patrol and Arizona National Guard helicopters, an inspection station on Highway 286, “virtual fence” towers with radar and cameras sweeping the horizon, Border Patrol trucks racing up and down Highway 286 from their base in Tucson, quads on trailers used to go in the desert where other vehicles can’t, drones, sensors.

I was thinking about all this on my last day as Foley and I stood beside the 13-foot fence separating the United States from Mexico.

I asked him, in exasperation: “Why the hell aren’t we stopping everyone coming across the border?”

His answer: “We are waging a war with a shift mentality.”

He was referring to the fact that the cartels operate 24/7 while the Border Patrol, with shift changes, have gaps in their coverage. Border Patrol agents are further hampered by the Obama administration’s “open border” policy, such as theacceptance of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied alien children last year; the suspension of the Secure Communities program in November 2014, the use of “prosecutorial discretion,” and the sharp decline in Interior Deportations from 236,000 in 2009 to 102,000 in 2014.

To read more click here.  

Bloomberg: Time to Put ATF Out of Its Misery, Consider Folding into FBI

By Bloomberg 
Editorial Board

Many members of Congress seem to view the U.S.’s most deadly criminals — those who carry guns — as a protected class. For decades, they’ve tried everything imaginable to cripple the agency charged with enforcing federal laws against illegal gun buying, trafficking and possession. Meanwhile, advocates of stricter gun-law enforcement have fought a losing battle to strengthen the agency’s hand. Now, it may be time to admit defeat and change the strategy.

The ATF, as it’s known, is charged with overseeing federally licensed firearms dealers, most of which are responsible and law-abiding — but not all. Criminals know the difference, but even when the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has figured it out, it has lacked the resources and leadership to crack down.

A new report by the Center for American Progress recommends that the ATF be merged into the FBI. It’s worth considering. It would be hard to do worse than the status quo.

The ATF has long been a political punching bag, maligned by gun-rights advocates as an unnecessary intrusion on the Second Amendment. Just last week, the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would stop the ATF from requiring licensed gun dealers in four border states — where Mexican gun-running is a problem — to report when someone buys multiple semi-automatic rifles. Merging the ATF into the FBI wouldn’t stop this sort of meddling, but the FBI director would be in a stronger position to rebuff it.

The ATF has been a target for Republicans — and many Democrats, too — ever since 1980, when presidential candidate Ronald Reagan promised to abolish it. They’ve had plenty to shoot at: The agency has a record of poor management, although Congress is partly to blame for making the agency go years without an executive director. During President Barack Obama’s first term, when the ATF badly botched an investigation into gun trafficking across the Mexican border, criticism reached a fever pitch, and has barely abated since.

Merging into the FBI might push the ATF out of the congressional crosshairs. The FBI, for all its troubles, is generally well-regarded by both parties, and its reputation could give the enforcement of gun laws greater credibility.

True, a merger would carry risks. Layering a poorly run organization onto one that works reasonably well could lower morale and harm performance. It could also distract the FBI from its most important work, including counterterrorism. There’s no doubt it would be a mammoth management challenge, but the two agencies have missions that are largely compatible, and a merger would streamline their overlapping responsibilities. The FBI and ATF both target violent street gangs. They both oversee forensic training programs for explosives, and operate forensic labs to process evidence from violent crimes. They both have response teams trained to handle hostage and explosives-related investigations. And while the FBI operates the National Instant Criminal Background Check System used for guns sales by dealers, the ATF licenses the dealers.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The St. Valentines Day Massacre of 1929

A Ranking Agent and A Telecommunication Specialist for DEA Charged in Connection With Strip Club That Hired Illegal Aliens and Had Prostitution

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
A high-ranking DEA agent, who retired last month, and a telecommunications specialist for the agency were arrested on charges they flouted their duties by running a lucrative strip club in New Jersey where prostitution was captured on security video, the Associated Press reported.

AP reports that court papers in New York state that DEA agent David Polos and Glen Glover, the telecommunication specialist,  are part owners of Twins Plus Go-Go Lounge in South Hackensack, N.J. They both work in New York.

A criminal complaint stated the the club offers scantily clad and sometimes topless dancers, many of whom are from foreign lands and are in the country illegally.

Polos was a assistant special agent-in-charge in the Manhattan office until he retired last month.

 

Suspected Terrorist Accused of Threatening to Kill FBI Agents

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

One of the 7 Minnesota men charged with trying to join ISIS in Syria is accused of threatening to kill FBI agents,WCCO in Minneapolis reports.

The station reports that the suspect, Mohamed Farah, said to a government informant who was recording the conversation:

“If our backs are against the wall, I’m gonna go kill the one who punks me. You know the one.”

Federal prosecutors say the then named three FBI agents.

FBI: Private Prison Staff in Idaho Is Incompetent, Not Criminal

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

An FBI investigation into a private prison in Idaho uncovered no criminal wrongdoing, but agents did find plenty of incompetence among the staff, the Associated Press reports.

Investigators also found that state and federal officials failed to properly communicate and monitor prison activities.

Following a 15-month public corruption investigation, the Justice Department said it won’t file criminal charges.

At issue was the state’s largest prison, which was operated by Corrections Corporation of America and considered a violent place for inmates.

The FBI was trying to determine whether the company committed fraud by falsifying records and understaffing the prison. Agents also investigating whether officials tried to sabotage the investigation.

The FBI said the missteps mostly occurred among lower-rung staffers who would have nothing to gain by committing fraud.

Man Convinces Jury He Was Drunk, Not Intent on Assaulting Border Patrol Agent

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Shawn Miguel acknowledged he hit a parked Border Patrol truck with his mom’s pickup truck, narrowly missing an agent.

But the 36-year-old’s attorney was able to convince a jury that his client struck the Border Patrol truck because he was drunk, not because he was trying to assault an agent, the Arizona Republic reports. 

Miguel was facing 20 years in prison for assault.

After Miguel struck the agent’s truck, the agent fired his weapon at Miguel, striking him in the face and injuring a passenger.

Miguel and his passenger have filed a civil suit.

1 of FBI’s Most Wanted Criminals Was Hiding Along Appalachin Trail

James Hammes was captured.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the FBI’s most wanted criminals often spent time along the Appalachian Trail, befriended hikers and traveled with a woman whom he called his wife, the Dispatch reports.

A hiker who met a bedraggled, friendly man along the trail last year was watching “American Greed” several months ago when the program featured his hiking companion, fugitive James T. Hammes, who faces 75 charges, including 37 counts of money laundering.

“Nicest guy ever,” the hiker told The Dispatch on Tuesday.

The Mississippi man called authorities, who managed to track down Hammes.