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Archive for November, 2015

Heroin Becomes Law Enforcement’s Biggest Concern As Use Skyrockets

800px-HeroinBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Law enforcement nationwide believe heroin abuse is the largest drug threat, overtaking methamphetamine, according to a new DEA survey.

NBC News reports that the seizure of heroin has nearly doubled over the past five years, while the 51% more people are using the highly addictive drug.

“Heroin availability is up across the country, as are abuses, overdoses, and overdose deaths,” says the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, released Wednesday.

One reason heroin has become so popular is because of prescription painkiller abuse. Painkillers and heroin are both opiates.

The number of deaths in 2013 – 46,471 – is the highest on record.

“Roughly half of the overdose deaths are related to abuse of prescription drugs and another 8,000 involve heroin. So combined those two things account for two-thirds of the overdose deaths,” said DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Agent Who Assaulted Teenager and Threatened to Shoot Him, Still on Duty

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent caught on video assaulting a much smaller teenager and then pointing a gun at the victim remains on active duty despite an assault conviction stemming from the incident.

FBI Agent Gerald Rogero was off-duty outside of a high-rise apartment building in Chevy Chase, Md., when he struck the 15-year-old in the chest.

Rogero then pulled out a gun and placed the teen under arrest.

“If I have to shoot you, I will,” he said. “Don’t make me shoot you.”

Rogero, who served as a chief in the FBI’s counterterrorism division for nearly 20 years, was found guilty last week of second-degree assault, The Washington Post reports. 

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 20.

“At the end of the day, we are here because of the defendant’s conduct, off duty, while armed,” Assistant State’s Attorney John Lalos said.

Rogero’s attorney argued that the agent should be allowed to carry a gun.

“It’s clear that in order for him to continue to be an FBI agent, he needs to be armed 24 hours a day,” Marlon Griffith said.

School Administrator Who Defrauded Chicago Public Schools Accused of Similar Crimes in Detroit

Detroit-Public-Schools-DPS--jpgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –– A former Detroit Public Schools official who pleaded guilty last month to defrauding schools in Chicago is accused of illegally steering a $40 million book deal to DPS, according to court records obtained by the Detroit Free Press. 

The records show that Barbara Byrd-Bennett, who was the accountability officer for DPS from May 2009 to June 2011, had a conflict of interest and lied about her relationship with the book publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

While she worked later at Chicago Public Schools, Byrd-Bennett helped steer $23 million in no-bid contracts in return for $2.3 million in kickbacks and bribes.

She pleaded guilty last month in the Chicago Public Schools case.

A search warrant for her AOL account uncovered the new allegations.

The FBI believes there is “probable cause” that Byrd-Bennett committed theft, fraud and conspiracy while working for DPS.

DPS officials said they are cooperating.

“Detroit Public Schools takes seriously any allegations of misconduct against its employees and/or vendors,” DPS spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski wrote in an e-mail. “As with any matter where there are allegations of misconduct, DPS investigates internally and works cooperatively with the law enforcement agency handling such matters.

Wu-Tang Clan Members Were Investigated by FBI for Allegedly Ordering 2 Murders

wu tangBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Newly released records show that members of the Wu-Tang Clan were investigated by the FBI for allegedly ordering the murder of two men in 1999, Billboard reports.

The documents stem from a federal trial of two Staten Island drug kingpins, who may have been murdered in retaliation for robbing Wu-Tang founding members RZA and Raekwon’s family members.

The drug kingpins, who are brothers Anthony and Harvey Christian, were found guilty last October of running a major drug-dealing operation.

One of the defendant’s lawyer requested police files related to Wu-Tang Clan’s alleged involvement in the murder of two men.

“These reports seem to suggest someone else was liable for those murders. I’m not suggesting that Wu-Tang committed these crimes. The FBI did,” Anthony Christian’s lawyer Michael Gold told theStaten Island Advance. “What I’m trying to ascertain is their stated belief in an official file that Wu-Tang ordered this homicide.”

The information was shocking.

“A couple of weeks before the Boo Boo [Estellashooting, Uncles (the street name of drug supplier-turned-informant Paul Ford) told Humphreys about a Blood named Boo Boo who just came home from jail,” the filing reads. “He stated that Boo Boo had robbed RZA’s little brother and had also gotten into something with the Christian brothers.”

It continues, “Uncles was talking about Boo Boo and said that he had just come home and robbed RZA’s brother and that they would likely come after him for that. Humphreys believes Uncles was referring to members of Wu Tang.”

Fiscal Times: When It Comes Criminal Justice Reform, FBI Director James Comey Is Wiser

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Liz Peek
Fiscal Times

When it comes to criminal justice reform, whom are you going to believe? James Comey, the nation’s top cop, or politicians eager to curry favor with the black community?

FBI chief James Comey earned himself a summons to the Oval Office last week by telling the truth about the war on crime. President Obama suggests that racial bias has led to too many black men being locked up and vows to combat “disparities in the application of criminal justice.” Comey argues that tough policing in minority neighborhoods has saved thousands of black lives and that the recent upsurge in homicides may reflect the “YouTube” effect — making police officers nervous to do their jobs. The good news is that Comey, imbued with an impressive independence streak, has another 8 years to serve. Even though Obama could presumably pressure him to resign, he can’t fire him.

Democrats and Republicans alike have hopped aboard the criminal justice bandwagon, noting the large incarceration rate in the United States and the disproportionate number of prisoners of color. Hillary Clinton hit a common theme when she noted in a speech last spring, “It’s a stark fact that the United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population, yet we have almost 25 percent of the world’s total prison population.” She fails to note that the disparity stems fromhigher crime rates. Homicides in the U.S. run seven times the rate in other developed countries, according to a 2011 study from the Harvard School of Public Health and the UCLA School of Public Health.

Clinton also gets it backwards with her next statement: “The numbers today are much higher than they were 30, 40 years ago, despite the fact that crime is at historic lows.”

Many would suggest that crime is at historic lows because so many criminals have been put behind bars. Comey made that case recently, speaking at the University of Chicago Law School. He reminds us that not so long ago, urban crime, especially in minority neighborhoods, was horrific. In New York City, 2,000 homicides a year was considered the norm in the 1980s and 1990s; last year there were 328.  As Comey notes, “White people weren’t dying; black people were dying. Most white people could drive around the problem. If you were white and not involved in the drug trade as a buyer or a seller, you were largely apart from the violence.”

To read more click here. 

DEA Agent’s Gun Fires As Suspect Tries to Wrestle a Gun from Him

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It was a tense moment for a DEA agent who was trying to arrest a drug suspect.

The suspect tried to remove a gun from the agent, causing the weapon to fire as the suspect and a female suspect fled in a hotel parking lot near JFK Airport on Tuesday, the New York Post reports. 

A witness saw the incident unfold and initially thought the agent was the aggressor as the female suspect screamed.

“He was running after her and she was running back towards the Hampton Inn parking lot. He jumped and tackled her here behind the car, like a football tackle,” said Tyesha Davis, 29.

“I ran over and started hitting him, saying, ‘Get off her!’ He reached in his shirt and pulled out a badge and said, ‘Stop, I’m a DEA officer.’”

“I asked, ‘Who is she?’ and he said, ‘She’s a drug trafficker, I’m making an arrest,’” Davis continued.

The man who tried to wrestle the gun away from the agent was still at large Tuesday night.

Other Stories of Interest

Retired FBI Agent Makes Living Administering Polygraph Tests

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

fbi badge

Jay Cherry has been around long enough to separate truth from fiction.

After retiring in 2012 following 21 years with the FBI, Cherry opened Eagle Eye Polygraph in  The retired FBI agent open Eagle Eye Polygraph in Batavia, Il., in June 2014, Kane County Chronicle reports.

“I did criminal work, investigating federal crimes and did polygraph testing as a specialty since 2004,” said Cherry, of Batavia. “To beat the polygraph, it is very difficult. … To a trained examiner, it is really obvious.”

Cherry said the polygraph is more sophisticated than it used to be.

“The technology is more sophisticated, but basically uses the same principles from 100 years ago,” Cherry said. “We have better ways of recording physiology. I’ve had … guilty people who … think they can beat the test through force of will.”

Cherry charges between $250 and $1,000 to administer a polygraph test, which takes between 90 and 120 minutes.

USA Today: FBI Director Comey Fans Flames without Evidence on ‘Ferguson Effect’

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Editorial Board
USA Today

Since the mid-1990s, violent crime in the USA has dropped by nearly half. From 713.6 incidents per 100,000 people in 1994, it had fallen to 365.5 by last year. Apart from a short-lived uptick in 2005 and 2006, the downward trend has been persistent.

Criminologists initially attributed the decline to the ebbing of the crack cocaine epidemic. When the rate continued to fall long after the crack turf wars were over, the experts turned to other possible explanations. Changes in policing? The rising rates of incarceration? No single explanation was particularly convincing.

But now that preliminary data show an increase in violent crime in certain large cities this year, one man says he already knows why. FBI Director James Comey  says the spike is at least in part the result of what is being called the “Ferguson effect” — the increased scrutiny of officers in the wake of several highly publicized police brutality cases, including the shooting of an unarmed man in Ferguson, Mo., last year. This scrutiny, Comey says, is causing police to be more cautious and criminals to be more emboldened.

It is possible, of course, that Comey is on to something and will be proved right over time. Surely, no officer wants to be the next YouTube sensation. But given the history of crime theories, confidence in a gut-sense explanation is unwarranted. Blaming the crime rise on police criticism is provocative and shouldn’t be done without firm data to back it up.

To read more click here.