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Archive for June, 2015

FBI, ATF Join Investigation of Spate of Suspicious Fires at Black Churches

AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and ATF are helping local authorities investigate a string of recent suspicious fires at black churches in the south.

The church fires broke out in four states, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. Three of the four were determined to be arsons, and the other is under investigation, Buzzfeed.com reports.

“They’re being investigated to determine who is responsible and what motives are behind them,” said FBI spokesperson Paul Bresson. “I’m not sure there is any reason to link them together at this point.

Officials were investigating a fifth fire in Elyria, Ohio.

The fires follow the deadly, racially-motivated shooting by Dylann Roof at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Testimony Wraps Up in Case Accusing Border Patrol of Racial Profiling in Ohio

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Were Border Patrol agents profiling Hispanics in Ohio?

Two groups have filed a discrimination suit against the Border Patrol in Ohio, claiming agents have been targeting and detaining Hispanics along Lake Erie.

Testimony in the case wrapped up in federal court in Toledo last week.

Border Patrol officials denied wrongdoing and said they don’t tolerate racial profiling.

A ruling is expected in several weeks.

Border Patrol Team Hunts Down, Kills 1 of 2 Escaped Murderers in Upstate NY; Second Captured Alive

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol tactical team shot and killed one of two murderers who escaped from a maximum-security prison in upstate New York following a massive three-week manhunt, CNN reports.

Richard Matt was killed Friday in Malone, N.Y.

On Sunday, a New York State trooper shot and wounded the second fugitive, David Sweat, near the Canadian border.

The Border Patrol tactical team was part of a search involving more than 1,000 law enforcement officers in rural towns near the Adirondack Mountains.

The team was searching in the woods when they heard a cough. That’s when Matt emerged with a 20-gauge shotgun. After refusing to comply with verbal commands, Matt was shot and killed

“You never want to see anyone lose their life,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday. “But I would remind people that Mr. Matt was an escaped murderer from a state prison. Mr. Matt killed two people who we know about. Mr. Matt killed his boss in a dispute and dismembered him. He fled to Mexico and then he killed another person in Mexico and was imprisoned in Mexico.”

 

Federal Authorities Warn of Possible Terrorist Attack in U.S. on Fourth of July Weekend

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities have warned of the potential for a terrorist attack targeting the Fourth of July holiday in the U.S.

The bulletins prepared by Homeland Security and the FBI urged local law enforcement to be alert because of ongoing threats posed by ISIS and other homegrown terrorists, the USA Today reports.

There were no specific threats.

The warnings come just days after three terrorist attacks in three countries Friday.

Federal officials recently arrested Americans allegedly invovled ISIS-inspired attacks.

DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson said local law enforcement should be “vigilant and prepared.”

“We will also adjust security measures, seen and unseen, as necessary to protect the American people,” Johnson said. “We continue to encourage all Americans to attend public events and celebrate this country during this summer season, but always remain vigilant.”

Other Stories of Interest


FBI Looking at Similarities of Women Killed Or Missing from Ohio Town

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents who are investigating a possible serial killer are looking at similarities in the lives of he six women who have been found dead or have gone missing in a small Ohio town, a former agent told ABC News.

ABC discovered that most of the women “ran in the same circle” and “a majority knew each other, often sharing similar personal stories.”

The lived in Chillicothe, Oh.

“They’ll start looking for any type of connections, whether they know each other whether their circumstances were similar — if they were all involved in drug use or maybe a majority of them, or were they involved in prostitution, were they from a certain area or did they frequent a certain area,” said former FBI Special Agent in Charge Steve Gomez.

Many of the victims had drug problems.

The FBI also likely has a profiler to determine the traits of the suspect.

Weekend Series on Crime: Mobster Frank Costello

FBI Investigating Columbus Mayor Over Questionable Real Estate Deal

Mayor Michael Coleman

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has launched an investigation into the Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman in the midst of a bribery scandal, WBNS-10 reports. 

The investigation involves a 2010 real estate deal.

The questions by the FBI centered around the sale of the mayor’s home, where she lived with his wife and their three children until they filed for dissolution in 2009.

The home sold to a woman abroad for $520,000 in 2010.

Coleman issued the following statement:

The sale of our home to Mrs. Li was an arms-length and fair transaction with everything aboveboard. Our original asking price for the home was $750,000. This asking price was recommended to us by our independent real estate broker who was very familiar with comparable home sales in the neighborhood. Also, before we sold our home, we put $570,000 of improvements into it to repair and replace fire damage. But we sold the home to Mrs. Li for substantially less, for $520,000. We also know that several other homes in the neighborhood sold for more than ours on a per square foot basis, according to an independent professional appraisal report.
In view of these documented facts, there is no basis for anyone to suggest that we sold our home for more than it was worth or that there was anything inappropriate about the transaction.

Kevin Oaks, Chief of Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector, Retires

Kevin Oaks

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The head of Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector announced Thursday that he is retiring.

The Monitor reports that Kevin W. Oaks spent his last day on the job Thursday following three decades with the federal agency.

Oaks’ former positions included operations division chief in Washington D.C., chief patrol agent of the Buffalo sector and the commander of the agency’s Tactical Unit.

As chief of the Rio Grande sector beginning in April 2014, Oaks oversaw more than 3,000 agents, nine stations and three traffic checkpoints.