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Archive for June, 2015

Weekend Series on Crime: The Rise of the Super Drug Tunnels

FBI Investigates Death of Man Shot Multiple Times with Taser at Border Crossing

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating whether CBP agents went too far when they shot a man multiple times with a Taser at a San Ysidro border crossing, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. 

Francisco Cesena died after of cardiac arrest caused in part by multiple Taser shots after authorities said he attacked them. According to the federal government, Cesena was wanted on a warrant and attacked agents when they tried to arrest him.

An autopsy revealed seven pairs of puncture marks from a Taser. CBP’s use of force policy bars agents from delivering more than three “cycles” from an electronic weapon.

CBP declined to comment.

 

 

Senate Committee Approves Bill to Stop Federal Crackdowns on Medical Marijuana

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal agents would be barred from using tax dollars to crack down on medical marijuana operations in states where it’s legal.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 22-8 to approve the measure, which would block the Department of Justice and DEA from using federal funds to interrupt medical marijuana programs, Huffington Post reports. 

If passed, the bill would protect marijuana users and growers in 23 states and the District of Columbia, where medical cannabis is legal.

Despite the state laws, the federal government still does not recognize marijuana as having medicinal benefits.

Other Stories of Interest


FBI Accused of Using No-Fly List to Coerce Muslims into Becoming Informants

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is accused of removing people from the no-fly list in exchange for becoming informants.

Al Jazeera America reports that four law-abiding Muslim men were removed from the no-fly list just days before a federal district court in New York hears their case.

According to their lawsuit, Tanvir v. Lynch, the no-fly list is used to coerce Muslims to become informants.

“The fact that the government has confirmed that all four of our clients now can fly really affirms our claims in this lawsuit that the only reason they were ever on a no-fly list is … they were refusing to be informants. There was never any valid reason for their placement,” said Diala Shamas, a senior staff attorney at CLEAR (Creating Law Enforcement Accountability and Responsibility) at the City University of New York School of Law, which brought the lawsuit along with the Center for Constitutional Rights and Debevoise & Plimpton.

The lawsuit alleges Muhammed Tanvir, of New York City, was barred from flying after he refused to become an informant. Then agents offered to remove him if he helped provide information.

“Had Mr. Tanvir actually presented a threat to aviation safety, [FBI agent Sanya] Garcia would not and could not have offered to remove Mr. Tanvir from the list merely in exchange for his willingness to become an informant,” the suit states.

 

Wack: The FBI’s First Use Of Airplanes & The Original Pilot

Retired FBI Special Agent Larry Wack maintains a website as a tribute to the early FBI and the G-Men of the 1930s. More can be found at this website.

By Larry Wack

The FBI’s First Use Of Airplanes & The Original Pilot Retired FBI Agent, Murry C. Falkner was actually the only FBI Agent during the ‘30s who was an “authorized pilot.” Falkner became an FBI Agent in 1925.

He obtained his pilot’s license in 1936 at the Albuquerque Airport while assigned to the El Paso FBI office.

Most of his official flying duties were in the West Texas and New Mexico areas. Falkner recounted some of his career in a 1967 interview for the FBI’s internal magazine, “The Grapevine.”

Among other high profile cases, Falkner was involved in the Dillinger and Bremer kidnapping investigations and received a raise in salary along with others for their work.

He used his raise to learn how to fly. In 1939, he was on special assignment in Seattle and bought his first plane. Before delivery, he was transferred to San Francisco, FBI and then had to travel to Detroit to arrange delivery. After a short sprint in San Francisco, FBI he was transferred to Alaska but found problems financially in taking the plane with him. Falkner retired from the FBI in the ’60s and maintained a residence in Mobile, Alabama.

At the time of his retirement, he had a new career in mind – writing. In a recently found July, 1965 news interview with Falkner, it’s revealed “Writing is not new in the Falkner family.

He (Murry) is a brother of the late William Faulkner and John Faulkner, also a novelist. William Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 1949 and the Pulitzer prizes for fiction in 1955 and 1963.”

Said Falkner in the same interview, “I’m going to try to do some writing. I have no illusions that I have the talent my brothers had but I am going to try my hand at it.”

At the time, Falkner was 66 years old. Falkner retained the revised spelling of the family name when his brothers, on the other hand, restored the “u” dropped by their great-grandfather.

 

FBI Linked Chicago Home to Massive Leak of Nude Celebrity Photos

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has linked an unassuming brick home in Chicago to nearly 600 hacked personal data-storage accounts, many of them belonging to celebrities, the Associated Press reports.

Some of the photos contained nude images of female stars.

According to recently unsealed court documents, the FBI seized computers and cellphones from the home in October but has not filed charges.

The affidavit states that investigators suspected a computer was used at the home to access Apple iCloud accounts of celebrities.

No one answered the door for an AP reporter.

FBI Arrests Correction Officers in Beating Death of Rikers Island Inmate

Photo by Tim Rodenberg - Flickr: Rikers Island Jail.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents arrested two New York correction officers Wednesday accused of beating to death a Rikers Island inmate, Newsweek reports.

A pretrial detainee, 52-year-old Ronald Spear, was killed in December 2012 from bunt force trauma to the head.

Agents arrested former officer Brian Coll and officer Byron Taylor.

According to the complaint, Coll “willfully kicked Ronald Spear multiple times in the head while he was restrained, which resulted in injury to Spear.”

Both officers “agreed to make false statements to multiple investigators about the assault of Ronald Spear…in order to cover up the fact that Coll had unlawfully assaulted Spear,” according to the complaint.

New York City settled a wrong death lawsuit in the case for $2.75 million.

Secret Service Agent Investigated After Sexting with Woman at Michelle Obama Event

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Secret Service agent is under investigation for flirting with a woman he met while screening bags at an event featuring First Lady Michelle Obama.

The agent, whose name has not been released, is accused of sending a racy picture to the woman after the pair had exchanged text messages all night, according to the New York Post.

The woman worked for a private organization.

“He’s an agent, but he’s out by the [magnetometers]. It’s an exterior post. He’s not on [the first lady’s] detail,” a government official said.