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Archive for November, 2021

FBI Has a Theory on Mysterious Sightings of a Jet Pack Guy in the Skies of Los Angeles

By Steve Neavling

The FBI may have solved one of its strangest cases in years: A man in a jet pack flying at impossible altitudes in the skies of Los Angeles. 

On several occasions in less than a year, pilots have reported seeing what appeared to be a man in a jet pack. 

The FBI began investigating, and now it has a theory. 

“The FBI has worked closely with the FAA to investigate reported jet pack sightings in the Los Angeles area, none of which have been verified,” the FBI said in a statement, The Los Angeles Times reports. “One working theory is that pilots might have seen balloons.”

The sighting dates back to December 2020, when a viral video on social media appeared to a show a jet pack 3,000 feet above the coast of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. 

Then on Aug. 30, an American Airlines pilot reported “a guy in a jet pack” in the sky. That was followed by a similar sighting in October by a Chinese Airlines pilot, who reported the jet pack was flaying at an altitude of 6,000 feet.

Once confined to science fiction, jetpacks are becoming more popular. Still, it’s uncommon for jetpacks to fly anywhere near 3,000 feet.

Record Number of Fatal Fentanyl Overdoses Come Amid Unprecedented Seizures at Border

Pills laced with fentanyl.

By Steve Neavling

The record number of fentanyl crossing the border is having deadly consequences: Overdose deaths have hit a new high this year. 

“If they’re seizing a lot, it’s because a lot is coming in — because you don’t know the percentage of how much is coming through that they’re actually seizing,” Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told The Washington Examiner.

The problem is the ease of producing and transporting fentanyl compared to other drugs, said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Only a very small concentration of fentanyl is needed in order to produce a high. So, this makes it much easier to bring fentanyl across the border – in smaller, but more potent, quantities than other drugs,” Volkow wrote in an email.

“Based on the number of drug seizures reported in 2020 for fentanyl, it appears that the illicit drug market did not suffer during the pandemic, but actually expanded,” Volkow said. “Rising fentanyl availability, decreased access to addiction treatment, increased social and economic stressors, and overburdened health departments collided in 2020 and were associated with a tragic rise in overdose deaths.”

CBP confiscated 11,201 pounds of fentanyl between October 2020 and September 2021. To put that into perspective, a single kilogram of fentanyl can kill up to 500,000 people.

Because of its potency, a small amount of fentanyl can go a long way, making it easier to smuggle into the U.S., and it’s very profitable. 

Less than month ago, the DEA announced it had arrested 810 people and seized more than 1.8 million counterfeit pills containing fentanyl as part of an eight-week crackdown on fake, dangerous prescription drugs.

According to the alert, more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills have been seized so far this year, which is more than the last two years combined. 

As Vaccine Deadline Looms, Some Lawmakers Want an Exemption for Border Patrol Agents to Avoid Mass Exodus

Border Patrol agent. Photo: CBP

By Steve Neavling

With less than a month before all federal employees must be vaccinated, some lawmakers are calling for an exemption for Border Patrol agents, saying national security is at stake. 

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzalez, R-Texas, wrote a letter, cosigned by 43 other Republican lawmakers, that calls on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to avoid enforcing the vaccine mandate to prevent a mass exodus of agents and other CBP employees.

“Our men and women in the Border Patrol have worked tirelessly to manage the crisis at our southern border,” the letter states. “This year especially, they have been subject to extraordinary amounts of mental and physical stress. With morale at an all-time low, this mandate will serve as the last straw for agents who can easily leave the agency for other law enforcement organizations at the state and local level or retire.”

President Biden’s mandate requires all federal employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 22.  

“As a (Homeland Security) federal employee, you must be fully vaccinated by November 22, 2021, unless you have received or have requested an exemption for religious or medical reasons,” the DHS website states. “All DHS federal employees, including those who seek an exemption from the vaccination requirement for religious or medical reasons, must provide their vaccination status, upload proof of vaccination and certify the truthfulness of your vaccination status and proof.”

The mandate comes at a time when a record number of migrants are crossing the border. 

Meanwhile, retired Border Patrol Agent Juan Garcia, who worked in the El Centro and Yuma sectors, died from COVID-19 complications, KYMA reports.

“Agent Juan Garcia was a strong, quiet man who would sacrifice his life for his fellow agents and citizens at a moment’s notice and without hesitation,” Border Patrol said in a statement. “He served his country and community by taking on the sometimes thankless job of protecting the U.S. border.”

DOJ to Provide $21M to Combat Rising Rate of Hate Crimes

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department will award law enforcement agencies with more than $21 million to help investigate and prosecute hate crimes. 

The announcement last week came amid an alarming rise in reported hate crimes. 

“Hate crimes instill fear across entire communities. They have profoundly negative and unacceptable effects on our society,” Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta said in a statement. “The department is committed to using all tools at our disposal to combat unlawful acts of hate. These awards will provide state, local and tribal agencies additional support and critical resources to address hate crimes and their far-reaching effects.”

Thursday’s announcement coincided with the 12th anniversary of the enactment of the Mathew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama. The act empowers the Justice Department to prosecute hate crimes, even if law enforcement can’t show that the vicim was engaged in a federally protected activity. 

“Acts of violence and destruction motivated by hate and bias cause lasting harm to victims, terrorize entire communities and divide our nation, leaving deep scars and stalling the march toward equal justice,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Amy L. Solomon of the Office of Justice Programs. “We must work together to bridge the gaps of empathy, root out intolerance in all its forms and send a clear message that the future belongs to every American, no matter what they look like, how they worship and whom they love.”

FBI Failed to Act on Detailed Tips about Violence Ahead of Jan. 6 Riot

Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com

By Steve Neavling

The FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies received a plethora of detailed and credible tips about potential violence on Jan. 6, but they failed to act ahead of the insurrection, The Washington Post reports.

In one case, the FBI received a tip on Dec. 20 that supporters of then-President Trump were discussing ways to sneak in guns to Washington D.C. to “overrun” police and kidnap members of Congress. Sen. Mitt Romney, a Utah Republican whom Trump often criticized, was one of the targets. 

The tips continued to come in, many that were very specific and detailed, but the FBI failed to act. 

While the FBI passed the information to law enforcement agencies in Washington, agents didn’t pursue the threats themselves. 

“The individual or group identified during the Assessment does not warrant further FBI investigation at this time,” an internal bureau report concluded at the time. 

Despite all of tips, top officials wrongly suspected that the biggest threat was for violence between Trump supporters and Trump opponents. 

“The paralysis that led to one of the biggest security failures in the nation’s history was driven by unique breakdowns inside each law enforcement agency and was exacerbated by the patchwork nature of security across a city where responsibilities are split between local and federal authorities,” The Post wrote.