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Archive for February, 2017

Drug Trafficker Busted with Marijuana Stuffed in Bundles Resembling Limes

Marijuana was found stuffed inside bundles that resembled limes.

Marijuana was found stuffed inside bundles that resembled limes.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol officials found nearly 4,000 pounds of marijuana hidden in what looked like a large shipment of limes.

The Jan. 30 raid near McAllen revealed nearly 35,000 lime-shaped bundles inside a tractor-trailer at the Pharr International Bridge, CBP said in a press release Tuesday .

The value of the marijuana was about $789,000.

Federal authorities continue to investigate.

Former Special Agent in Charge of Oregon Office Lands New Job

Greg Bretzing

Greg Bretzing

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Oregon office, Greg Bretzing, wasted no time finding a new job after retiring after 22 years with the FBI.

Willamette Week reports that Bretzing is the new director of global security and special projects for the Lake Oswego-based Greenbrier Companies. 

At Bretzing’s new job, he will involve overseeing security at the barge and railcar manufacturing operations in the U.S., Mexico, Europe and Brazil.

“We are fortunate to have a seasoned individual of Greg’s caliber join the Greenbrier team,” Furman said in a statement. “As a proven leader in the security field, he is a valuable addition to our team as we continue to execute on our international strategy and expand our geographic footprint.”

Petition Calls for Termination of Secret Service Agent Under Fire for Trump Comments

secret-service-3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service agent who said she would not take a bullet for President Trump should be immediately fired, according to a petition circulated by spouses of several Secret Service agents.

The spouses, whose names have remained anonymous, said they don’t believe Special Agent Kerry O’Grady can safely lead the Denver district office.

The online petition urges Secret Service Director John Clancy to “act now and terminate Kerry O’Grady from the duties she badly stated she will not perform.

“This petition is to make known the sincere concerns that many special agents’ wives, loved ones and American citizens have with the written statements made by Kerry O’Grady regarding her unwillingness to conduct herself in a professional manner and to uphold the oath she willingly took 23 years ago,” the petition states.

O’Grady was placed on leave pending an investigation.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Data: Terrorists Using Border with Canada to Gain Entry into U.S.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

While President Trump focuses on security at the U.S.-Mexico border, he may want to shift his focus to the northern border with Canada.

The Daily Beast reports that “far more suspected terrorists try to enter the country from the northern border with Canada than from the south.”

The media outlet analyzed monthly domestic encounter reports from the FBI Terrorist Screening Center, which details encounters with terrorists.

“We are looking the wrong direction,” said a senior DHS official familiar with the data. “Not to say that Mexico isn’t a problem, but the real bad guys aren’t coming from there—at least not yet.”

President Trump has claimed that jihadis are “pouring” into the country, but White House press secretary Sean Spicer declined to disclose any evidence.

FBI data shows there is more urgency at the northern border with Canada.

“We often hear about security concerns on the Southern border, but bad actors intent on entering our country will always seek the path of least resistance, so we must have the necessary tools and resources to secure both the northern and southern borders,” Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) said in a statement to The Daily Beast.

Judge Rejects New York Mafia Informant’s Lawsuit Against FBI

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Joseph Barone was a former Mafia informant for the FBI when he spent 19 months in a Brooklyn prison before a federal jury acquitted him in 2010.

Barone, now 55, sued the FBI, saying the bureau wanted to discipline him for refusing to trick a gangster from the Gambino crime family into confessing criminal activity, Reuters reports.

But on Monday, a New York judge ruled against Barone, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to provide that agents conspired to discipline him by charging him with a crime he didn’t commit.

Barone was accused of participating in a murder-for-hire plot.

Judge Andrew J. Peck ruled that the FBI did nothing wrong and had probable cause to arrest Barone.

Justice Department Defends Trump’s Travel Restrictions in Appeals Court

Protest at Wayne State University in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Protest at Wayne State University in Detroit. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is defending President Trump’s travel restrictions, saying the executive order was a “lawful exercise of the president’s authority” and did not amount to a ban on Muslims.

The Justice Department filed a 15-page brief with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is taking up the case today to determine whether a federal judge in Seattle made the right decision to lift the travel restrictions nationwide.

The federal judge said Trum’s executive order violates the constituent’s guarantee of due process and discriminates on the basis of religion.

“But even if some relief were appropriate, the court’s sweeping nationwide injunction is vastly overbroad,” the Justice Department argued in the brief.

Trump made an unprecedented attack on the independent judiciary, saying the Seattle judge was putting Americans in danger.

“If something happens blame him and court system,” Trump tweeted.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also is expected to determine whether the Seattle judge had the authority to lift the ban nationwide.

No Arrests Made After Suspects Exchange Gunfire with Border Patrol Agents

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Four days after Border Patrol agents exchanged gunfire with two people inside a van near the Rio Grande in San Benito, no one has been arrested.

Agents attempted to stop the van, which authorities said contained bundles of narcotics, KRGV reports. 

The van managed to flee in the direction of Mexico.

No one was injured.

“We had an agent and a trooper receive gunfire back in December,” Border Patrol spokeswoman Marlene Castro said. “Although the agent was not hurt because he was wearing his bullet proof vest, the trooper was struck in the hip area.  Both are doing fine now. DPS is in charge of that investigation.

“These types of incidents, narcotics smuggling and assaults on agents, do happen beyond the fence.  The main reason being that smugglers are willing to do anything to protect their drug load.  They often attempt to drive their narcotic-laden vehicles into the river to avoid having them seized by law enforcement and ruthlessly resort to assaulting agents to avoid arrest.”

Sally Yates Sends the Right Message to the Trump White House

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates wasn’t going to be around very long at the Justice Department considering she was a holdover from the Obama administration.

Nonetheless, she should be commended for standing up to President Donald Trump, who implemented an executive order that was poorly thought out and executed.

Hopefully she has set a tone and a message to the White House: Federal law enforcement will not compromise its principles when asked to do something that violates the law.

It’s not likely to be the last time the administration directs federal law enforcement officials to do something questionable.

The president on Tuesday, when announcing his Supreme Court nominee, talked about the importance of the Constitution and the rule of law. We should take him at his word that he places great importance on upholding the law, not bending or breaking it.

In the coming months and years, some law enforcement officials may be forced to make a choice between doing the right thing for the country or keeping their jobs and following a White House order.

Hopefully they’ll do the right thing.

They can always get another job.

They can’t always get another reputation.