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Archive for September 16th, 2020

Ex-DEA Agent, Wife Plead Guilty to Diverting $9M from Money Laundering Investigations

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A DEA special agent and his wife pleaded guilty Monday to a combined 19 charges as part of a seven-year scheme in which they diverted more than $9 million from undercover money laundering investigations and bought luxury cars, jewelry, and a home.

The money was deposited into bank accounts controlled by Jose Ismael Irizarry, 46, his wife, Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry, 36, and other co-conspirators. They used some of the laundered money to buy a Tiffany diamond ring, a $135,000 Land Rover and a home in Cartagena.

Irizarry, while investigating money laundering by Columbia’s drug cartels, worked with the drug traffickers to launder money seized from drop operations, prosecutors say.

“In a shocking breach of the public’s trust, former DEA Special Agent Jose Irizarry, together with his wife, Nathalia Gomez-Irizarry, abused his position by illegally diverting millions of dollars in drug proceeds from undercover operations to personally benefit themselves,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said in a news release. “Sworn law enforcement agents are entrusted with great responsibility, and the department will hold accountable those who exploit their positions to profit from public corruption.”

Irizarry pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, honest services wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft, and aggravated identity theft. Gomez-Irizarry pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.

“This former federal agent turned his back on the people he swore to protect and caved to greed and deceit,” Special Agent in Charge Michael F. McPherson of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office said.  “The FBI will not tolerate those who abuse the public trust and will persist in safeguarding the American people from public corruption.”

Prosecutors say the scheme began after Irizarry filed for bankruptcy in December 2010. At no point in the bankruptcy proceedings did he disclose any of the illicit income to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

“Rather than upholding his oath to stop drug trafficking and money laundering, Irizarry actively participated in these schemes and collected millions of dollars for himself and his associates,” Special Agent in Charge James F. Boyersmith of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Miami Field Office said in a news release. “Irizarry’s conduct enabled criminals, endangered the public, and jeopardized public trust in law enforcement.”

Irizarry and his wife face prison time when they are sentenced at a later date.

Surge in Gun Sales Is Causing Delays in FBI Background Checks

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A large increase in the number of gun purchases since the coronavirus pandemic has caused delays in the FBI’s background check system, and that could mean firearms are ending up in the hands of people prohibited from owning them.

According to new data, the FBI has seen a 54% surge in background checks that have been delayed beyond three days between March and July, compared to the same time period in the previous year, Reuters reports.

Of the 5.9 million background checks, more than 5% were delayed past three days.

Gun dealers may sell firearms to customers who have to wait more than three businesses days for a background check.

The FBI is conducting a record number of background checks because more people than ever are trying to purchase guns. Between March and July, the bureau conducted 3 million background checks – a 93% increase over the same period last year.

Gun control groups are calling for more staff and resources to process the background checks in a timely process

Texas Border Patrol Station Would Be Renamed in Honor of Fallen Agent Under Bill

Fallen Border Patrol Agent Donna Doss.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol Station in Rocksprings, Texas, would be renamed in honor of a fallen agent under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican, introduced the Donna M. Moss Memorial Act of 2020 on Monday.

Moss, a 15-year-veteran of Border Patrol, was responding to a call for assistance when she was stuck and killed by a vehicle in Abilene on Feb. 2, 2019.

“In addition to leading a distinguished career with the Border Patrol, Agent Doss was a loving wife, daughter, sister, and stepmother,” Cornyn said in a news release. “Her loss was another solemn reminder of the courageous sacrifices law enforcement officers and their families make every day, and I hope memorializing her service at the Border Patrol Station in Rocksprings will help honor her ultimate sacrifice.”

Two days after Moss was killed, Cornyn honored the fallen agent on the Senate floor. Here’s what he said:

“It’s with a heavy heart that I come to the Senate floor this morning to express my deepest condolences for the friends, family, and colleagues of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Donna Doss, who was killed in the line of duty this last weekend.

During her more than 15 years of dedicated service, Agent Doss has made immeasurable contributions to public safety both in Texas and beyond.

In addition to leading a distinguished career, Agent Doss was a loving wife, daughter, sister, and stepmother. Her loss is another solemn reminder of the courageous sacrifices law enforcement officers and their families make every day.

We’re grateful to all of those who put their lives on the line when they put a uniform on each morning ready to confront the unknown challenges that lie ahead. I’m particularly grateful to the men and women in green who make up our nation’s Border Patrol, like Agent Doss. I want to thank Agent Doss’s family for her selfless service and sacrifice, and I send my heartfelt condolences to agent doss’s family, friends, Acting Sector Chief Matthew Hudak, and the agents of the Del Rio Border Patrol sector where she honorably served, and the entire Border Patrol family during this difficult time.”