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Archive for May, 2022

Gun Sales Tripled in the U.S. in Past 20 Years: ATF Report

By Steve Neavling

Gun sales have reached new highs in the U.S., according to a new ATF report

In 2020, American gunmakers manufactured 11.3 million guns, a three-fold increase over 2000.

The report comes several days after an 18-year-old opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo and killed 10 Black people and wounded three others in what authorities allege was a racially motivated shooting.

The ATF also found that the number of so-called ghost guns has soared. 

The Biden administration is trying to crack down on gun violence, but Republicans continue to block the appointment of a new ATF leader. 

Ex-Gulf Cartel Leader Extradited to U.S. to Stand Trial on Drug Charges

By Steve Neavling

The former leader of the Gulf Cartel in Mexico was extradited to the U.S. to face drug trafficking charges, the Justice Department announced Thursday. 

Mario Cardenas-Guillen, 57, a Mexican national, was indicted by a grand jury on charges of conspiracy with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. 

His first court appearance is scheduled for Monday. 

Between 2000 and 2012, Cardenas-Guillen allegedly conspired to possess more than five kilograms of cocaine with the intention of distributing it. 

“International sources of illegal drugs continue to poison our communities,” U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston said in a statement. “We will make every effort to combat this scourge, and that includes going to the origin of the drugs in foreign countries and arresting and prosecuting those who seek to make a profit off this blight that adversely affects so many in our society.”

Caredenas-Guillen faces between 10 years and life in prison if convicted.

The DEA investigated the case.  

“For decades, the Gulf Cartel has used intimidation and extreme violence to maintain control of its territories in northeast Mexico and smuggle deadly drugs into communities across the United States,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said. “The extradition of Mario Cardenas Guillen, the former leader of the Gulf Cartel, should send a clear message to the leaders of drug trafficking organizations around the world that no one is beyond the reach of the DEA and our law enforcement partners.”

Homeland Security Pauses Disinformation Governance Board Because of, Well, Disinformation

By Steve Neavling

The Department of Homeland Security is pausing its controversial Disinformation Governance Board, and the leader of the group has resigned, after it became a target of disinformation, The New York Times reports.

The board, which launched three weeks ago, was tasked with combating disinformation at a time when lies and baseless conspiracy theories are fueling domestic violence. 

But Republicans baselessly claimed that the board’s work would lead to censorship. 

According to the group, the goal was to combat dangerous disinformation by international crime groups and foreign adversaries, not to police people’s speech. 

“False attacks have become a significant distraction from the department’s vitally important work to combat disinformation that threatens the safety and security of the American people,” the department’s statement said.

In her resignation letter, the group’s leader, Nina Jankowicz, said it’s “deeply disappointing that mischaracterizations of the Board became a distraction from the Department’s vital work, and indeed, along with recent events globally and nationally, embodies why it is necessary.”

Pennsylvania Woman Who Fatally Shot FBI Agent to Be Release from Prison

Christina Korbe

By Steve Neavling

A Pennsylvania woman serving a 15-year prison sentence for fatally shooting an FBI agent at her home will soon be free of jail, the Associated Press reports.

Christina Korbe shot Special Agent Samuel Hicks during a raid at her home in 2008, saying she believed someone was breaking into her home in Indiana Township. Her husband was wanted on drug charges.

Korbe had requested compassionate release from prison while she was recovering from a COVID-19 infection in August. 

Her attorney W. Theodore Koch III said she was still recovering five months after she tested positive and insisted there’s “no guarantee that a person develops full immunity after recovery.”

Koch said Korbe was doing good work behind bars and “clearly is not danger to the community.”

She was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and a firearms charge in 2011. 

Yuma Sector Honors 13 Border Patrol Agents Who Died since 1954

Chris T. Clem, chief patrol agent in the Yuma Sector.

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector honored agents who died while serving their country. 

Since the sector was created in 1954, 13 agents have lost their lives, KAWC reports.

“Honor first is really a summary of how we live a life of character. Like all law enforcement agencies, the Border Patrol values character. And people of character value relationships more than material goods, more than accomplishments, and more than recognition,” Chief Patrol Agent Chris Clem said said.

“When our lives come to an end, no one will care about our worldly possessions, our personal achievements, or the titles. We hope they will remember only our relationships and character. Like a carving etched in granite, our character makes a mark that is difficult to erase.”

Two agents from the Yuma Sector died last year from COVID-19 complications. 

The names of the lost agent adorn the sector’s Garden of Honor. 

House Bill Would Provide Major Pay Increase for TSA Screeners

By Steve Neavling

TSA screeners could receive an average 30% pay increase, along with benefits and due process protections that most other federal employees receive, under a bill passed by the U.S. House last week.

Since the creation of the TSA after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, TSA employees “have been part of a siloed personnel system, where they do not receive regular raises like most other federal workers and lack due process and whistleblower protections,” Government Executive reports.

That would change under the Rights of the TSA Workforce Act, which passed in the House with a 220-201 vote. 

“The most recent analysis done on turnover shows that over a two-year span, one in three transportation security officers quit,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who introduced the bill, said on the House floor. “It also revealed that in a single year, TSA spent $16 million to hire and onboard nearly 2,000 people, who left just months after they got the job. This revolving door of recruiting, training and then losing TSOs is unsustainable and underscores the need to find a permanent solution that will ensure TSA lives up to its critical national security mission.”

A vast majority of Republicans voted against the bill, which now goes to the Senate for a vote. 

Border Patrol Agent Killed in Car Crash Identified

By Steve Neavling

The Border Patrol agent who was killed in a solo car crash in a rural area of California near the U.S.-Mexico border has been identified. 

Daniel Salazar, 40, died about 5:40 a.m Friday when his agency-issued vehicle crashed and rolled over in East County, the Times of San Diego reports.

Salazar was the only occupant in the vehicle. 

Details of the crash are still unclear and under investigation. 

“This Border Patrol agent died while performing his duty, protecting our great nation and keeping our communities safe,” San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said in a statement. “Our prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.”

Mass Shooting in Buffalo Was ‘Racially Motivated Violent Extremism,’ Wray Says

FBI Director Christopher Wray, via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

The mass shooting that killed 10 Black people in a Buffalo grocery store was “an act of racially motivated violent extremism,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said Monday. 

Wray made the remarks in a conference call with faith leaders and civil rights leaders. 

“I want to be clear, for my part, from everything we know, this was a targeted attack, a hate crime, and an act of racially motivated violent extremism,” Wray said. “While there remain a lot of unknowns, as there always do in an investigation at this stage, what is absolutely certain is that we at the FBI are committed to comprehensively and aggressively investigating Saturday’s attack.”

The bureau’s Buffalo Field Office responded immediately to the shooting, and FBI headquarters, the Laboratory in Quantico, and other field offices have been providing additional resources. The FBI’s Counterterrorism and Criminal Investigative Divisions are also providing assistance. 

In addition, the FBI created a web page for the public to upload videos of the shooting or suspect. 

The suspect, Payton Gendron, 18, wrote extensively online about his intentions to kill Black people.