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Archive for May, 2020

Drug Cartels Are Losing Millions of Dollars Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Drug money seized in a Los Angeles bust, via DEA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the illegal drug trade, costing cartels million of dollars.

In the first week of March, law enforcement seized $10 million in cash, more than twice the amount seized during the same period last year, NBC News reports.

Drug traffickers are having a harder time moving around without being spotted because of the state’s stay-at-home order, the DEA said.

“When there’s less hay in the haystack, it’s easier to find the needle,” Bill Bodner, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Los Angeles field office, said. “It’s caused the drug cartels and money launderers to take more risks, and that’s where we can capitalize.”

On the East Coast, DEA agents are seizing more drug money than usual. The New York City field division, for example, has seen a 180% increase in seizures over last year.

FBI Launches Hate Crime Investigation into Shooting Death of Ahmaud Arbery

Ahmaud Arbery

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Justice Department have launched an investigation into the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, a black jogger in Georgia whose attack by two white men in February was captured on a graphic video recording, according to an attorney for the victim’s family.

The bureau is exploring whether the suspects, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, 34, committed a hate crime, said Lee Martin, who represents the 25-year-old victims family, The Guardian reports.

Martin said he met with Justice Department officials, who told him the FBI also is looking into why no arrests were made until two months after the Feb. 23 shooting.

Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34, were arrested by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) and charged with murder on May 8, three days after a video of the attack sparked outrage. The GBI also arrested the man who captured the attack on video.

Weekend Series on Crime: Ex-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Talks About His Case

FBI Investigating Fatal Police Shooting of Black Woman at Her Louisville Home

Breonna Taylor

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI has opened an investigation into the fatal police shooting of a 26-year-old woman at her home during a narcotics probe at her Louisville, Ky., home in March.

“The FBI will collect all available facts and evidence and will ensure that the investigation is conducted in a fair, thorough and impartial manner,” the FBI Louisville Field Office said in a statement. “As this is an ongoing investigation, we are not able to comment further at this time.”

Three white police officers were executing a search warrant at the home of Breonna Taylor, who is black and was a certified EMT, when she was shot. Police found no drugs, according to The Louisville Courier-Journal.

According to police, the officers forced their way into Taylor’s home after repeatedly knocking and announcing their presence. Taylor’s boyfriend opened fire, shooting an officer in the leg, police said.

Police were investigating two men who were suspected of selling drugs out of a house more than 10 miles form Taylor’s apartment. But police received a search warrant to enter Taylor’s home because a detective said one of the suspect’s received a package at Taylor’s home.

Taylor’s mother sued the police department and the three officers, accusing them of wrongfully causing her daughter’s death.

The FBI said its investigation into the shooting is “independent” of the local probe.

FBI: Shooting at U.S. Navy Air Base in Texas Was ‘Terrorism-Related’

Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi, via U.S. Navy.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI in Houston is leading an investigation into a “terrorism-related” shooting at a U.S. Navy air base in Corpus Christi, Texas, on Thursday morning.

One sailor was injured in the 6:15 a.m. shooting at the Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi, and authorities said the gunman was dead by 7:30 a.m. The victim had minor injuries and was released from the hospital.

Authorities said a second suspect may still be at large, but did not elaborate.

“We have determined that the incident this morning at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi is terrorism-related,” FBI Senior Supervisory Special Agent Leah Greeves told reporters during a news conference, according to the Associated Press. “We are working diligently with our state, local and federal partners on this investigation, which is fluid and evolving.”

Details, including the motive and why the FBI believes the shooting was related to terrorism, were not shared with the media. Authorities also didn’t elaborate on the potential second suspect.

Border Patrol Seizes Record Amount of Fentanyl in Tucson Sector

Synthetic opioid tablets

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents have seized a record amount of fentanyl in the Tucson Sector.

So far in fiscal year 2020, the sector seized 57 pounds of the synthetic opioid, which is more than four times the amount seized last fiscal year, KTAR News reports.

Agents this week busted an 18-year-old Nevada woman smuggling more than 8 ounces of fentanyl at the Nogales Port of Entry.

“Really, it was a line of questioning and agent intuition which led to the person admitting that she was carrying these narcotics,” Agent Joe Curran said. “We’re just happy that this had the safest resolution for the person who was smuggling those narcotics, and there was no contamination to those agents or anybody.”

At least 32 fentanyl-related deaths have been reported by the Pima County Health Department.

FBI Warns of Hackers Hijacking Zoom Streams with Videos Depicting Child Sexual Abuse

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI is warning Zoom users that hackers are hijacking virtual meetings with videos depicting child sexual abuse.

On Wednesday, the bureau said it has received nearly 200 reports of explicit pornography involving children being displayed on the screens of Zoom users.

“The FBI considers this activity to be a violent crime, as every time child sexual abuse material is viewed, the depicted child is re-victimized,” the FBI said in a news release. “Furthermore, anyone who inadvertently sees child sexual abuse material depicted during a virtual event is potentially a victim as well.”

The bureau is seeking the public’s help in identifying so-called “Zoom bombers.” The FBI is encouraging Zoom users to contact the bureau if they are subjected to any of these explicit videos.

To help safeguard against hackers, the bureau recommends requiring a meeting password and controlling who is allowed to view the broadcast.

To makes a report, call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or file an anonymous complaint online at tips.fbi.gov.

Mexicans Caught Illegally Crossing Border Are Now Flown to Mexico City

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Mexicans who cross illegally into the U.S. are being sent to Mexico City, Border Patrol said Tuesday, citing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

In the past, Mexicans caught crossing into the U.S. illegally were usually sent back to border cities.

The move comes on the same day that CDC extended its policy to end asylum at the border, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Mexicans who illegally cross into the U.S. will now be held until they are expatriated to Mexico City.

Border Patrol leaders said the change was in response to an increase in Mexicans trying to cross into the U.S. Some of those caught crossing the border were repeat offenders, Border Patrol said.

“The overarching goal of these repatriation flights is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 into the U.S. and reduce the strain on Mexico’s resources along the border,” Border Patrol said in a statement.