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Archive for February, 2021

Biden Administration Plans to Remove Most of Trump’s U.S. Attorneys

court

By Steve Neavling

The Biden administration plans to soon remove nearly all of the U.S. attorneys appointed by President Trump, but will allow a couple of federal prosecutors to stay on so they can continue working on highly sensitive investigations.

One of the prosecutors who will remain is U.S. Attorney David Weiss, who is overseeing the investigation into President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden, The Washington Post reports. The other prosecutor is Michael R. Sherwin, who is handling the insurrection-related prosecutions.  

Trump made a similar purge during his first year as president. 

Some Trump-appointed U.S. attorneys have already stepped down or have announced they are planning to resign. 

Biden may begin asking dozens of federal prosecutors to resign as early as Tuesday. 

Bill Would Rename Border Patrol Station in Texas in Honor of Fallen Agent

Fallen Border Patrol Agent Donna Doss.

By Steve Neavling

A Texas congressman reintroduced a bipartisan bill that would rename the Border Patrol station in Rocksprings, Texas, in honor of fallen Agent Donna Doss. 

Rep. Jodey Arrington’s bill, called the Donna M. Doss Memorial Act, would rename the station the Donna M. Doss Border Patrol Station. 

“Today, I am reintroducing the Donna Doss Memorial Act, which would designate the Rocksprings Border Patrol Station the ‘Donna M. Doss Border Patrol Station,” Arrington said in a statement Friday. “Donna Doss served our country as a Border Patrol Agent for 16 years and was killed in the line of duty in 2019. Few people in their lifetime will earn the title of hero – Donna Doss unequivocally did, and she deserves to be honored as such. I am enormously grateful for the border patrol and law enforcement across the country who risk their lives everyday working on the front lines. Anne and I continue to pray for her family and the entire Abilene law enforcement community.”

Doss, 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.

“It is critical that we honor Border Patrol agent Donna Doss, and her ultimate sacrifice as she bravely and proudly dedicated her life to public service,” Rep. Henry Cuellar, of Texas, said. “This bipartisan legislation will ensure that her commitment to our peace and security will be remembered and will inspire others to serve and protect. I am committed to honoring our brave law enforcement who protect our communities every day and those who sacrificed their own lives in order to ensure the safety of others.”

The National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) and Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) support the legislation. 

“On behalf of rank-and-file Border Patrol Agents in Texas and across the country, I am honored to express our staunch support for the Donna M. Doss Memorial Act of 2021,” Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said. “For over 15 years, Agent Doss put her life on the line each and every day, serving our country and protecting our borders. This legislation will honor her memory, service and courage, as well as the ultimate sacrifice she made. I want to express our gratitude to Congressman Arrington and Congressman Cuellar for their steadfast commitment to ensure that Agent Doss’ service and sacrifice will not be forgotten, and I urge Congress to swiftly pass this bill.” 

FBI Agents Alfin, Schwartzenberger Remembered at Solemn Memorial Services

FBI Special Agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger

By Steve Neavling

Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger, the two FBI agents who killed while serving a search warrant at a home in Florida last week, were honored at separate memorial services over the weekend.

The solemn services, which included a bagpipe serenade, a 21-gun salute, a police helicopter flyover, and remarks from the FBI’s top officials, were held at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. 

The agents were remembered as heroes who were dedicated to protecting children from sexual predators. 

Schwartzenberger, 43, a wife and mother to two children, was honored Saturday. 

“She was brave in pursuit of criminals seeking to harm the most innocent and vulnerable among us, no matter how dangerous. And she relied on her heart and compassion in smaller moments, when it was needed the most,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said. 

Read Wray’s full comments here.

Schwartzenberger joined the bureau’s Albuquerque Field Office in 2005 and was transferred to Miami in 2010. She tracked suspects accused of exploiting children online. She had a husband and two children. 

Alfie, a husband and father to one child, was remembered at a service Sunday. 

“Dan’s legacy is one of passion, dedication, and principle,” Wray said. “It’s what you imagine when you think of a proud FBI agent who will do anything to catch the bad guy, and a devoted father who would do anything for his family.”

Read Wray’s full comments here.

Alfin, a New York native, was first assigned to the FBI’s Albany Field Office office in 2009. Over the past six years, he investigated crimes against children. He had a wife and child.  

Wray added, “On Tuesday, we lost not one of our own, but two. Two warriors who took on one of the hardest jobs in the FBI, crimes against children. Two best friends who shared the same passion, the same determination, and—in spite of all they had witnessed in their extraordinary careers—the same sense of optimism and hope that comes from work that matters. Two of the very best the FBI had to offer.”

Three other FBI agents were shot outside the Sunrise, Fla., apartment of David Lee Huber, a 55-year-old systems engineer who was suspected of possessing child pornography. 

Two of the agents were hospitalized and later released, and the third agent was not taken to the hospital. 

The shooting was one of the deadliest in FBI history. 

Weekend Series on Crime History: Trevor Noah Talks about How U.S. Militias Evolved

Texas Man Sentenced to 90 Months in Prison for Pointing Shotgun at DEA Agents

By Steve Neavling

A Texas man has been sentenced to 90 months in federal prison after he pointed a shotgun at DEA agents who were trying to serve a search warrant at his home in Bandera County in 2016. 

Agents shot Luther Otis Foster IV after he leveled the shotgun at them and threatened to shoot. He has since recovered. 

During the raid, agents found a large number of marijuana plants. 

“Pointing a weapon at or threatening a federal agent is never a wise choice,” U.S. Attorney Sofer said in a statement. “It is fortunate that no one lost their life in this incident.  Unfortunately, today in Florida, a similar scenario ended in heartbreaking tragedy.  We should never forget the dangers our law enforcement officers face every day.”

Foster pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and four counts of assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous weapon in November 2018. 

The sentencing comes on the same week that five FBI agents were shot while serving a search warrant at a home in Florida. Two of the agents have died. On Thursday, a U.S. Marshals deputy was critically wounded during a gunfight in Baltimore while they were trying to execute a search warrant.

Justin King Named Special Agent in Charge of DEA’s Omaha Division

The DEA’s Omaha Division has a new leader. 

Justin C. King has been named special agent in charge of the division, which oversees 11 offices in Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska North Dakota, and the western parts of Illinois and Wisconsin.

King replaces Richard Salter Jr., who retired from the DEA in January.

“I understand and appreciate the concerns our Midwestern communities face as we contend with the threats posed by methamphetamine, counterfeit pills, opioids and other dangerous drugs on a daily basis,” King said in a statement. “I look forward to advancing the good work our investigators are performing across Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota and making a positive impact in our cities and rural communities.”

King’s career with the DEA began 19 years ago, when he joined the Laredo, Texas, District Office. In 2006, he was added to the DEA’s Foreign-Deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST), where he served until 2009. As a member of FAST, King participated in counter narcotics operations during three deployments to Afghanistan and one to Central America.    

In 20019, King transferred to the Oklahoma City District Office and served as a special agent and group supervisor of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force through 2014. King returned to the FAST program in August 2014 as a team leader, guiding his group on the final DEA FAST deployment to Afghanistan, in addition to training deployments in the Ukraine and Paraguay. 

In 2017, King was promoted to section chief and was tasked with the enforcement and training deployments of four FAST teams and the DEA Personal Recovery Unit. He served as executive assistant to the special agent in charge of the DEA’s Office of Training from April 2017 to January 2018.

King served three years as assistant special agent in charge of the Little Rock District Office, where he was responsible for all DEA activities in the state of Arkansas.

A native of Oklahoma, King is a veteran of the U.S. Army Infantry Branch.

Man Killed and Deputy U.S. Marshal Wounded in Shootout in Baltimore

By Allan Lengel

A 34-year-old man was killed and a deputy U.S. Marshals was critically wounded Thursday morning in gunfight in Baltimore while serving an arrest warrant, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Press conference after the shooting.

U.S Marshals Commander Don Snider said the deputies were trying to arrest Dontae Green around 6:45 a.m. He said Green opened fire from inside a closet, the Sun reports. Deputies returned fire.

 Green was the grocery store security guard who on Saturday exchanged gunfire with police and was able to get away. He was facing charges of attempted murder and robbery, the Sun reports.

FBI Agents Shot in Florida Were ‘Heroes’ Who Protected Children from Sexual Predators

FBI Special Agents Daniel Alfin and Laura Schwartzenberger

The two FBI agents were fatally shot while serving a search warrant at an apartment in Florida were remembered as heroes who were dedicated to protecting children from sexual predators. 

FBI Special Agents Daniel Alfin, 36, and Laura Schwartzenberger, 43, specialized in investigating child pornography and crimes against children and worked out of the Miami Field Office, The USA Today reports.

“Special Agent Alfin and Special Agent Schwartzenberger exemplified heroism today in defense of their country,” Wray said in a statement. “The FBI will always honor their ultimate sacrifice and will be forever grateful for their bravery.”

Alfin, a New York native, was first assigned to the FBI’s Albany Field Office office in 2009. Over the past six years, he investigated crimes against children. He had a wife and child.  

Schwartzenberger, 43, joined the bureau’s Albuquerque Field Office in 2005 and was transferred to Miami in 2010. She tracked suspects accused of exploiting children online. She had a husband and two children. 

“They will forever be heroes,” George Piro, special agent in charge of the Miami Field Office, said. “We are saddened by the loss as we struggle to come to terms with what happened.”

Three other FBI agents were shot outside the Sunrise, Fla., apartment of David Lee Huber, a 55-year-old systems engineer who was suspected of possessing child pornography. 

Two of the agents were hospitalized and later released, and the third agent was not taken to the hospital. 

The shooting was one of the deadliest in FBI history.