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Archive for December, 2016

FBI Launches Investigation into Massive Breach of Yahoo Accounts

Yahoo headquarters

Yahoo headquarters

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a massive hack that may have comprised more than 1 billion Yahoo accounts, the White House announced Thursday.

The technology company recently announced the 2013 breach, just three months after disclosing a 2014 intrusion involving roughly 500 million accounts, USA Today reports. 

In September, Yahoo said it had evidence tying the previous hack to a state-sponsored hacker. It’s unclear who was behind the most recent attack, but Yahoo said it doesn’t believe the two are linked.

The FBI declined to comment further on the September disclosure.

“We take these types of breaches very seriously and will determine how this occurred and who is responsible,” the FBI said at that time. “We will continue to work with the private sector and share information so they can safeguard their systems against the actions of persistent cyber criminals.”

Border Patrol Agent Charged with Accepting Bribes for Delivering Phony Drugs

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent has been charged with bribery after prosecutors allege he accepted $10,000 in bribes to deliver what he believed was methamphetamine and cocaine dropped off at the border fence with Mexico.

Noe Lopez, 36, is accused of receiving the cash from a confidential government source lat week for delivering the phony drugs, the Associated Press reports. 

Lopez was placed on unpaid leave.

“Border Patrol agents are held to the highest standards, and we remain committed to performing our duties for the American people in the most professional way,” said Richard Barlow, chief of the Border Patrol’s San Diego sector.

Lopez is a 10-veteran of the agency.

DEA Helps Seize 20 Tons of Drugs in ‘Largest Known Seizure of Heroin in Afghanistan’

DEA makes major drug bust in Afghanistan.

DEA makes major drug bust in Afghanistan.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA, with the help of American Special Forces and an Afghan counternarcotics, seized a whopping 20 tons of drugs in what officials have described as “the largest known seizure of heroin in Afghanistan, if not the world.”

“This drug seizure alone prevented not only a massive amount of heroin hitting the streets throughout the world but also denied the Taliban money that would have been used to fund insurgent activities in and around the region,” DEA spokesman Steven Bell told ABC News Thursday. 

The estimated street value was $60 million for 12.5 tons of morphine base, 6.4 tons of heroin base, 134 kilograms of opium, 129 kilograms of crystal heroin and 12 kilograms of hashish, all of which was seized during an Oct. 17 raid that was just made public.

“If that was Pablo Escobar‘s stash, that would be considered a lot of frickin’ heroin,” said one combat veteran of the DEA’s 11-year counternarcotics mission to blunt the country’s heroin trade, referring to the Medellin, Colombia, narcotics kingpin killed two decades ago. “That’s going to make a dent in the European market.”

Other Stories of Interest

Secret Service Wants NYPD to Deploy 150 Officers a Day to Trump Tower

Trump Tower

Trump Tower

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service wants the NYPD to deploy 150 police officers a day to checkpoints outside the Trump Tower to protect the president-elect.

Law enforcement officials complained to New York Post that the deployment would divert resources from other parts of the city. 

The officers would be stationed outside the building where pedestrians are required to have their bags searched.

“They want the NYPD to handle all those checkpoints,” the source said. “They want 150 cops assigned every day.”

There are currently 84 officers outside the Trump Tower.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said the demand at Trump Tower could hurt other parts of the city.

“It does have an impact,” O’Neill said. “We’re taking resources from around the city.”

Chicago Alderman Who Pledged to Clean Up Graft Was Indicted on Corruption Charges

Chicago Alderman Willie Cochran

Chicago Alderman Willie Cochran

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Willie Cochran, a Chicago alderman who pledged to clean up corruption, was indicted Wednesday for allegedly stealing tens of thousands of dollars in charitable donations for poor children and seniors.

The 15-count indictment alleges Cochran used the funds to gamble and pay for his daughter’s college tuition, the Chicago Tribune reports. 

Cochran also is accused of sharking down a liquor store and taking a bribe in connection with a blight-busting federal program.

The 64-year-old South Side alderman was charged with 11 counts of wire fraud, two counts of extortion and two counts of bribery.

Cochran’s arraignment is scheduled for Dec. 23.

Former Homeland Security Investigations Agent Accused of Stealing Drug Money

homeland-security-investigationsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Homeland Security Investigations agent faces numerous federal charges alleging he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug cash and laundered it through real estate transactions and banks.

Tyrone Cedric Duren, 46, and his wife, Jennifer Lynn Duren, face charges of money laundering, bank fraud conspiracy, making false statements to federal agents and structuring financial transactions, the San Diego Union Tribune reports. 

Authorities arrested the couple on Nov. 30.

“The evidence obtained during the investigation and detailed in the complaint, paints Duren as an intelligent but deceitful person, sophisticated in the art of concealing assets and engages in international travel to hide assets,” Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Rapp wrote in a motion arguing for Duren’s detention. “He has used his position as a law enforcement agent for illegal financial gain to support himself and family with a lavish lifestyle.”

The couple was released on bail after pleading not guilty.

In 2008, Durant began his career with Homeland Security and was assigned to the Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force, which focused on drug trafficking.

Former DEA Agent Sentenced to Year in Prison for Witness Tampering

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former DEA agent who demanded cash in connection with a drug trafficker was sentenced Tuesday to a year and a day in prison.

Samuel Murad, 62, was hired to help secure the early release of a marijuana trafficker whom the agent helped send to prison in the 1990s, the Tampa Bay Times reports. 

“I have no excuse for my behavior,” Murad said in court. “I’ve hurt my family. I’ve hurt my friends.”

“You’ve also hurt the DEA,” U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew interjected. “You made law enforcement look bad.”

Other Stories of Interest

Google Releases Eight FBI Requests for Customer Data After Gag Order Lifted

google1By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Google published redacted versions of a secret eight FBI requests for customer data after a gag order was lifted.

“In our continued effort to increase transparency around government demands for user data, today we begin to make available to the public the National Security Letters (NSLs) we have received where, either through litigation or legislation, we have been freed of nondisclosure obligations,” Richard Salgado, Google’s director of law enforcement and information security policy wrote in a blog post on Tuesday, Intercept reports.

Major tech companies have receive several hundred thousand subpoenas a year, but rarely do they go public.

The records released by Google show the type of information the FBI is seeking and demonstrate the company’s history of fighting the subpoenas in court.

Intercept wrote:

For a long time, companies weren’t sure whether or not they could even approach an attorney to discuss the letters, let alone challenge them in court, though the FBI explicitly mentions these rights in current letters.

The use of national security letters comes with a long history of controversy and alleged abuse. Government watchdogs, technology executives, and civil libertarians have criticized their use as being overbroad, and impinging on First Amendment protected speech, while limiting people’s rights to seek redress. The Department of Justice inspector general issued several scathing reports over the years, reprimanding the FBI and suggesting reforms.

The FBI is now legally required to review the gag orders on the letters, either three years after the date they were sent, or at the conclusion of the relevant investigation. Still, the public has only seen a small handful of those letters in full.