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Archive for January, 2021

FBI Seeks Information Related to Storming of U.S. Capitol

U.S. Capitol

By Steve Neavling

The FBI is investigating President Trump supporters who incited violence and stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, causing federal lawmakers and employees to flee.  

The bureau is asking for images, videos and other multimedia files that show possible violations of federal law. Anyone with evidence is asked to send it using an electronic form at fbi.gov/USCapitol

“The FBI is seeking information that will assist in identifying individuals who are actively instigating violence in Washington, D.C.,” the FBI said in a news release. “The FBI is accepting tips and digital media depicting rioting and violence in the U.S. Capitol Building and surrounding area in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021.”

One woman was fatally shot by police, and about 30 people were arrested for violating a curfew. 

Off-Duty DEA Agent Accused of Misusing Badge in Encounter with Noisy Neighbor

By Steve Neavling

The DEA is investigating one of its off-duty undercover agents who is accused of misusing her badge in an attempt to get her neighbors in Texas to turn down their music on New Year’s Eve. 

One of the neighbors, James Downs, of Hillsborough County, filed a complaint against the unnamed agent, ABC affiliate WFTS reports.

The tense exchange was caught on a surveillance camera. It happened shortly after midnight, when the agent knocked on the neighbor’s door and requested he turned down the music. 

“Turn it down, turn it down,” the agent says while flashing a badge. “It’s the last time I come here. Yeah, turn it down.”

Downs’ wife Christina Downs said the agent’s actions are “an abuse of power that is way completely unacceptable.” 

“I felt like it was very unethical and so unprofessional and such a terrible way to represent that agency,” she said. 

Plant City Police Sgt. Alfred Van Duyne agreed. 

“If it were me I would be looking at it that it reflects badly on my agency as well as myself,” Van Duyne said.

A DEA spokeswoman confirmed the agency is investigating the complaint. 

Suspected Smuggler Arrested After Shooting at Border Patrol Agents

File photo, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents came under fire early Sunday morning after trying to stop an SUV driven by a suspected smuggler of undocumented immigrants in Brackettville, Texas. 

No one was injured, CBP said in a news release Tuesday. 

The driver of the black Chevrolet SUV pulled over and fired a gun at agents before driving off. Local law enforcement officers spiked the SUV, prompting the driver to flee on foot when the vehicle came to a stop. 

Authorities arrested a suspected smuggler and several undocumented immigrants who were inside the cab of the SUV. The driver, a Mexican national, was tracked down in the brush and arrested without incident. 

“Thanks to our agents and law enforcement partners, these violent offenders are now behind bars,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Austin L. Skero II said in a statement. “Acts such as these highlight the importance of border security and the dangers we face daily, and I am grateful no one was injured.”

Both suspected smugglers face charges of assault on a federal agent. 

Two Democrats Ask FBI to Investigate Trump’s Phone Call with Georgia Officials

President Trump

By Steve Neavling

Two Democrats in the U.S. House are calling on the FBI to investigate President Trump for pressuring Georgia election officials in a phone call to “find” enough votes to overturn his election defeat in the state. 

The Washington Post released audio of the entire call, prompting legal experts to question whether Trump violated the law.

“As members of Congress and former prosecutors, we believe Donald Trump engaged in solicitation of, or conspiracy to commit, a number of election crimes,” Reps. Ted Lieu and Kathleen Rice wrote in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“We ask you to open an immediate criminal investigation into the president,” they added.

In the call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Trump repeated baseless conspiracy theories. Raffensperger rejected Trump’s claims, saying there is no evidence of widespread election fraud. 

The Democrats said the phone call provided “evidence of election fraud” and said “we are making a criminal referral to you to open an investigation into Mr. Trump.”

Joel Martinez Is New Deputy Chief Patrol Agent of Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector

Joel Martinez, deputy chief patrol agent of Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector.

By Steve Neavling

Joel Martinez has been named deputy chief patrol agent of the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector. 

Martinez replaces Austin L. Skero II, who took over as chief patrol agent in the Laredo Sector about six months ago. 

Martinez joined the Border Patrol in 1992 at the Laredo South Station in the Laredo Sector. He perviously served as patrol agent in charge of the Laredo South Station, executive responsible for the Sector Intelligence Unit, and assistant chief of the Southeast Border Operations division at Border Patrol headquarters. 

Martinez spent much of his 28-year career at the RGV Sector. 

“I am happy to return to the RGV and look forward to continuing the great work underway in the sector,” Martinez said in a statement. “The sector remains the busiest in the nation and I am proud to join dedicated men and women working hard to secure the border in Rio Grande Valley.”

A native of San Benito, Texas, Martinez graduated from the CBP Leadership Institute-Cohort 1503-University of Maryland-Smith School of Business and has a bachelor’s degree in homeland security and emergency management from Ashford University.  

The RGV Sector includes nine stations and 277 river miles and 316 coastal miles.

ATF Agents Rescue 4 Cats, 1 Dog While Investigating Kansas City Apartment Fire

ATF agents rescued four cats and a dog, via ATF.

By Steve Neavling

ATF agents rescued four cats and a dog on Sunday while investigating a fire that destroyed a Kansas City apartment building. 

The animals were found after agents entered a part of the building that had been inaccessible. 

KC Pet Project, a nonprofit animal shelter, helped agents rescue the four-legged creatures. 

“As we continue to search for the cause of the Waldo Heights Apt fire, today @ATFKansasCity agents found themselves in a different role- rescuing 4 cats and a dog from an area of the building we had not been able to access great teamwork with the AMAZING @kcpetproject !” the ATF’s Kansas City office tweeted. 

“Their owners must be so relieved and thankful,” the Kansas City Police Department posted on Twitter.

The fire broke out shortly after 8 p.m. Monday. Several minor injuries were reported. 

Nashville Bombing Suspect Wrote about Lizard People, Other Conspiracy Theories

Anthony Quinn Warner

By Steve Neavling

The suspected Nashville bomber shared his views about conspiracy theories in a series of packages to “acquaintances” around the country, the FBI said.  

FBI agents are investigating letters that Anthony Quinn Warner mailed out before the Christmas morning explosion. 

“We’re aware the suspect sent materials which espoused his viewpoints to several acquaintances throughout the country,” FBI Special Agent Jason Pack said in a statement to the Tennessean

One of the packages was postmarked two days before the bombing and showed up on New Year’s Day, but it did not have a return address, The New York Daily News reports.

The package included two Samsung thumb drives and a typed letter in which he espoused conspiracy theories about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the moon landing, and alien attacks on the Earth. He also wrote about “reptilians and lizard people that he believed control the earth and had tweaked human DNA.”

“They put a switch into the human brain so they could walk among us and appear human,” Warner wrote.

The FBI says a motive is still unclear and may never be known since Warner died in the explosion. 

Retired FBI Agent Who Processed Blackwater Crime Scene in Iraq Expresses Outrage Over Trump’s Pardons

By Allan Lengel

Retired FBI official Tom O’Connor, who was involved in the investigation of the slaying of 17 unarmed Iraqi citizens in 2007, expresses outrage over President Donald Trump’s pardoning of four convicted Blackwater employees.

Tom O’Connor (Linkedin photo)

“The fact that President Trump pardoned the Blackwater shooters is the lowest he has gone,” O’Connor writes in a posting on Linkedin.

“I processed this crime scene with our team. I testified for days at the trials. The killings were clear homicide and manslaughter. Not ONE round was fired at the Blackwater Team, Raven 23. Trump pardoned these criminals ONLY because Erik Prince, the owner of Blackwater is the brother of Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education. An 8-year-old boy was shot in the head and killed. His father, Aunt and cousins were in a car which took dozens of rifle rounds. The car was stopped in traffic. This was horrific crime. 17 civilians including two children were killed and twice that injured. I have not been this mad… ever.”

O’Connor, who retired from the FBI in 2019, was a team leader on the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Evidence Response Team for more than 20 years. He investigated violent crimes and terrorism acts around the world, including the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi. He was also the president of the FBI Agents Association.

Recently Trump pardoned four Blackwater security guards serving time for their involvement in the killing of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad on September 16, 2007.