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Archive for February, 2021

Border Patrol Agents Rescued 200+ People Stranded During Historic Storm

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents have rescued more than 200 people since a historic storm brought snow and frigid temperatures to Texas. 

“Big Bend Sector Border Patrol Agents have risked their own lives in the on-going effort to patrol the sector despite the winter weather,” CBP said in a news release. “Agents have successfully rescued over 200 people in recent days from dangerous conditions in the area, saving life and limb.”

Many of the people had been abandoned by smugglers or were lost as temperatures plummeted. Some called 911 for help.

Early Wednesday, agents from the Laredo South Station helped seven people who were lost south of Laredo. An agent from the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station in New Mexico is credited with saving the life of a woman with hypothermia who was stranded in the desert during a snowstorm. 

“In addition to the physical and environmental risks faced by individuals hoping to cross illegally into the U.S., they are also vulnerable to life-threatening abuse and neglect by unscrupulous smuggling organizations,” Border Patrol said in a statement. “Criminal entities fill their pockets while exploiting a vulnerable population and have no regard for the safety of migrants. The criminal organizations often attempt to smuggle individuals inside trailers which with the recent low temperatures, the inside can become as cold as a freezer.”

Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly Gets Ok for Release From Prison For Medical Reasons

By Steve Neavling

John Connolly, the disgraced former FBI agent who was sentenced to 40 years behind bars for working with mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger, will be released from prison after his lawyers said he has terminal cancer. 

The Florida Commission on Offender Review voted 2 to 1 to grant Connolly’s request for medical release on Wednesday. 

“We are pleased,” his attorney James E. McDonald told CNN. “John is 80 years old, he has cancer, and from my perspective, he’s been wrongfully convicted. Which is why I’ve been representing him for free for 15 years.”

Connolly’s release date has not been set yet, but McDonald said he expects him to be released as early as Friday.

In requesting the medical release, another of Connolly’s lawyer, Peter Mullane, said Connolly has “two serious illnesses.”

“He has multiple melanomas and pretty bad diabetes,” Mullane. 

While working for the FBI’s Boston Field Office in the 1970s, Connolly recruited Bulger as an informant. Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder for participating in a plot to kill a Florida businessman in 1982 at the urging of Bulger, who was killed in a West Virginia prison in 2018. 

Border Patrol Agent Saves Life of Woman Stranded in Desert During Snowstorm

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol agent in New Mexico is credited with saving the life of a woman with hypothermia who was stranded in the desert during a snowstorm. 

Agents from the Santa Teresa Border Patrol Station were called to help two people stranded in the desert on Monday. The couple had been exposed to the bitter cold for three days, and one of them was unresponsive and showing signs of hypothermia. 

An arriving agent requested medics, and after rendering aid to the woman, he carried her a half mile to his vehicle.  When EMS arrived, the medics transported her to a hospital. 

It turned out the couple had COVID-19. The responding agent has been quarantined pending testing. 

“Although I’m extremely proud of the heroic actions by our agent, this event once again illustrates the high risks of COVID-19 exposure that exists for our Border Patrol agents,” El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said in a statement.

“Our agents will place themselves in harm’s way, go any length, to render aid to those in need, not knowing the victims are COVID-19 positive.  Now we will take measures to quarantine our agent, sanitize and decontaminate the vehicle, and ensure our agent gets tested due to the COVID-19 exposure.”

Renovations Planned for FBI HQ As Search Begins for New Building

FBI headquarters, via FBI

By Steve Neavling

As the Biden administration begins exploring plans to relocate the FBI headquarters, the current building in Washington D.C. will receive much-needed renovations. 

The General Services Administration set aside $5 million to renovate parts of the J. Edgar Hoover Headquarters, a crumbling, cramped, and antiquated building that has been a source of frustration for agents and employees. The 2.8-million-square-foot building was dedicated in 1975. 

In the meantime, the GSA has 90 days to develop a plan for a new building, The Washington Post reported earlier this month.

The long-time search for a new home was stymied by the Trump administration. In 2017, Trump’s GSA scrapped a plan to build a new headquarters in the Washington suburbs in favor of building a smaller headquarters in downtown D.C., which would have required some staff to relocate to Alabama, Idaho and West Virginia. 

President Biden has indicated he plans to move forward with finding a new home in the Washington D.C. region. 

Secret Service Arrests Two People with Weapons And Letter to Biden Near White House

By Steve Neavling

The Secret Service arrested two people near the White House after one of them told agents they were in possession of weapons and a letter to President Biden. 

One of them had a BB gun, and the other was in possession of an unregistered pistol and ammunition, The Hill reports.

“During the course of the encounter and subsequent arrests, the individuals posed no immediate danger to any Secret Service protectee,” the Secret Service said.

The pair voluntarily approached the agents on Friday and said they “were there to meet with the President of the United States and had a letter to deliver to him.”

“On Feb. 13 at approximately 5:24 p.m., two individuals approached U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division officers near 15th St. NW and Pennsylvania Ave,” a Secret Service spokesperson told The Hill.

“One of the individuals disclosed the possession of a weapon and was immediately detained and the second individual disclosed the location of an additional weapon in a vehicle nearby. Uniformed Division officers located the vehicle and took possession of the weapon. The first individual was arrested for possession of a BB gun and the second individual was arrested for carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of unregistered ammunition,” the spokesperson added.

Biden was on the way to Camp David at the time and was not at the White House. 

CBP Officer Accused of Smuggling Live-in Caretaker into U.S. from Mexico

By Steve Neavling

A CBP officer is accused of smuggling her undocumented housekeeper into Texas from Mexico and has been charged with making false statements. 

Officer Rhonda Lee Walker, who is stationed at the Laredo Point of Entry, is scheduled to make a court appearance today. 

The investigation, which included nine months of surveillance, began in June 2020 with an anonymous tip to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), The Daily Beast first reported. The tipster said Walker was employing a live-in caretaker who was not authorized to live or work in the country. 

Surveillance video showed Walker escorting Mexican citizen Yadira Yesenia Trevino-SanMaguel across a pedestrian bridge between the U.S. and Mexico and then walking her through the inspection area, when she scanned in her caretaker’s nonimmigrant visa using a co-worker’s login, according to the OPR complaint. 

In an interrogation, Trevino-SanMaguel admitted she was working for Walker as a caretaker. 

Deputy U.S. Marshal Who Was Critically Injured by Gunman Released from Hospital

Deputy U.S. Marshal is released from the hospital. Photo via U.S. Marshals Service.

By Steve Neavling

A deputy U.S. Marshal who was shot while trying to arrest a fugitive in Baltimore earlier this month has been released from the hospital. 

The U.S. Marshals Service said he will “complete his recovery at home amongst his friends and family.”

“We are grateful for those who worked vigorously to save the deputy marshal’s life and for all the well wishes sent from both the public and our brothers and sisters in law enforcement,” the agency tweeted. “Due to privacy concerns, the USMS will not identify the officer involved in the shooting.”

The deputy Marshal was critically injured and on life support after he was shot by Donta Green, 30, who was wanted on numerous charges for allegedly shooting at police several days earlier. Marshals returned fire and killed Green.  

Dying Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly Seeks Release from Prison

By Steve Neavling

Disgraced former FBI agent John Connolly, who is serving a 40-year prison sentence for assisting notorious gangster “Whitey” Bulger, is asking to be released from prison because his lawyers says he’s dying. 

His request will be reviewed Wednesday by the Florida Commission on Offender Review, The Boston Herald reports.

“It’s on the docket for the 17th and he’s seeking a conditional medical release,” commission spokeswoman Angela Meredith said. 

Connolly’s lawyer Peter Mullane said Connolly has “two serious illnesses.”

“He has multiple melanomas and pretty bad diabetes,” Mullane. 

While working for the FBI’s Boston Field Office in the 1970s, Connolly recruited Bulger as an informant. Connolly was convicted of second-degree murder for participating in a plot to kill a Florida businessman in 1982 at the urging of Bulger, who was killed in a West Virginia prison in 2018. 

In April, Connolly unsuccessfully requested to be released from prison