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Archive for September, 2021

FBI Investigates Vermont State Troopers Accused of Making Bogus COVID-19 Vaccination Cards

An authentic vaccination card. Photo: Shutterstock.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI is investigating three Vermont State Police troopers for allegedly making fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. 

The troopers, Shawn Sommers, Raymond Witkowski and David Pfindel, have resigned, according to a state police statement obtained by VTDigger.

The troopers “are suspected of having varying roles in the creation of fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards,” the statement reads. 

The investigation began after fellow troopers notified their supervisors about the allegations. 

It wasn’t immediately clear what the bogus vaccination cards were for. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office also is investigating. 

“The accusations in this case involve an extraordinary level of misconduct — a criminal violation of the law — and I could not be more upset and disappointed,” said Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police. 

“If these allegations are proved to be true,” he said, “it is reprehensible that state troopers would manipulate vaccination cards in the midst of a pandemic, when being vaccinated is one of the most important steps anyone can take to keep their community safe from COVID-19.”

Feds Bust New York Town’s Deputy Mayor After Raid Uncovers Assault Weapons, Bogus Federal Badges

Found during the search were bogus badges for the FBI, DEA, Bureau of Prisons, and U.S. Marshals Service. Photo: DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

Federal agents raided the home of a deputy mayor of a New York town and made a shocking discovery: At least 16 unregistered assault weapons, 13 illegal silencers, and a locked box containing “numerous federal badges and credentials” bearing his name and “four FBI patches that could be seen onto a uniform or chest,” according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.

Airmont Deputy Mayor Brian Downey, 47, a Republican, was charged with possession of unregistered firearms and bogus law enforcement badges and ID cards, The Daily Beast reports.

Homeland Security Investigations agents raided the home with a search warrant Thursday. Agents were forced to force up a small locked box in the home after Downey claimed he didn’t have the combination. Inside were numerous federal badges, bearing his name, from the FBI, DEA, Bureau of Prisons, and U.S. Marshals Service. His passport and driver’s license also were found in the box, according to prosecutors. 

Downey also has been charged with state crimes, the Rockland County District Attorney’s Office announced.  

Unregistered assault weapons found in the home of Airmont Deputy Mayor Brian Downey. Photo: DOJ.

Border Patrol Agent Arrested Again on Sexual Assault Charges

Border Patrol Agent Steven Charles Holmes, via Tucson Police Department.

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol agent who was arrested in May 2019 for allegedly sexually assaulting multiple women is back in jail on similar charges. 

Steven Charles Holmes, who worked out of the Tucson Station, is being held in the Pima County Jail after a woman said he assaulted her while they were having sex last month, KVOA.com reports.

Holmes was placed on indefinite administrative duties after he was arrested two years ago on charges of sexually assaulting at least three women he met online. 

The investigation began after a woman told Tucson Police that she was sexually assaulted by Holmes after meeting him on a dating app. Police said a further investigation turned up multiple victims with similar reports from 2012 to 2019.

Holmes was out of jail on a $25,000 bond awaiting a court hearing when another woman said she was sexually assaulted by Holmes on Aug. 26. According to court records, she was having sex with Holmes when “something changed.” She said Holmes squeezed her neck until she lost consciousness, and he “continued in having sexual intercourse with her after she had asked him to stop.”

With bruises on her neck, eyes and behind her ears, the woman called police, leading to Holmes’ arrest. 

Asked to comment, Border Patrol resent a statement from 2019. 

“On May 21, 2019, Border Patrol Agent Steven C. Holmes from the Tucson Station was arrested by the Tucson Police Department for multiple charges of Sexual and Aggravated Assault. At the time, Holmes had seven years of service with the U.S. Border Patrol. He has been placed on indefinite administrative duties pending the outcome of the investigation. The U.S. Border Patrol stresses honor and integrity in every aspect of its mission. We do not tolerate misconduct on, or off duty, and will fully cooperate with all investigations of alleged misconduct by our personnel.”

McCabe Says Federal Law Enforcement Should ‘Take Seriously’ an Upcoming Right-Wing Rally

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

By Steve Neavling

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe warned Monday about the potential for violence at an upcoming right-wing rally to advocate for the jailed Jan. 6 rioters.

“I think they should take it very seriously. In fact, they should take it more seriously than they took the same sort of intelligence that they likely saw on January 5,” McCabe told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

The Justice for J6 rally is scheduled for Sept. 18 in Washington D.C. and was organized by a former Trump campaign staffer. 

Federal law enforcement officials have been criticized for their handling of the Jan. 6 riot. The Government Accountability Office concluded that Homeland Security failed to provide adequate security at the Capitol, despite plenty of evidence of possible violence.

McCabe said federal law enforcement appears to be more prepared this time around. 

“It looks like, from all indications, our law enforcement partners are well prepared for this one,” McCabe said. “They seem to be taking the intelligence very seriously, which raises a question as to whether or not they did on January 6, but that’s another issue.”

Happy Labor Day From ticklethewire.com

Labor Day Parade in Detroit 2019

Weekend Series on Crime History: ‘Sammy The Bull’ Talks About Killing, Fixing Cases And His Boss John Gotti

Ex-FBI Lawyer Clinesmith Gets One-Year Law License Suspension

Former FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith.

By Steve Neavling

Kevin Clinestmith, a former FBI lawyer who was convicted of altering an email in connection with the surveillance of former Trump aide Carter Page, will lose his law license for one year. 

The D.C. Court of Appeals on Thursday approved the suspension, which was approved and recommended by a legal disciplinary committee as part of a negotiated settlement last month.

In the order, the Court of Appeals judge said they “agree the proposed sanction is not unduly lenient or inconsistent with dispositions imposed for comparable professional misconduct,” Reuters reports.

Clinesmith was sentenced to 12 months of probation and 400 hours of community service on Jan. 29 for altering an email used to seek the continued surveillance of Page. The email suggested that Page was not a source for the CIA, even though he had a relationship with the agency. 

In June, Clinestmith agreed to the one-year suspension of his law license. The suspension is retroactive to start in August 2020.

Clinesmith faces a two-year suspension as part of a separate disciplinary deal in Michigan. 

Last month, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility noted that Clinesmith showed remorse and had no prior disciplinary history. 

“All of the evidence regarding respondent’s intent supports the contention that he did not act with fraudulent intent,” the committee said.

CBP Officers Save Life of Woman Who Overdosed on Drugs, Border Agency Says

By Steve Neavling

Customs and Border Protection officers are credited with saving the life of a young woman who appeared to be overdosing on an opioid. 

Two men carried the semi-conscious woman to the pedestrian lanes at the Douglas Port of Entry in Arizona on Sunday evening. While a supervisory CBP officer notified the Douglas Fire Department, a CBP-trained medic administered two doses of Narcan. 

Within one minute, the woman gained consciousness. She said she suspected someone had slipped her an unknown narcotic in Mexico. 

Firefighters transported her to a local medical facility. 

“This incident highlights the compassion of our officers, and the effort they put forth to keep the residents of our bi-national communities safe,” said Douglas Area Port Director Jeffrey A. Wilson. “Travelers should be mindful with whom and with what they interact while they are outside the United States.

It’s just the latest example of CBP officers coming to the rescue. 

On July 31, an off-duty Border Patrol agent saved a man from a burning car in metro Detroit.

Also in July, an off-duty agent from the El Centro Sector helped thwart a carjacking in what the agency called a “heroic act.”

In the same month, an off-duty Border Patrol agent in San Diego detained a man who was slashing a knife through the air while approaching bystanders.