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Archive for June, 2022

Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Miami Field Office George Piro Retires

By Steve Neavling

George Piro, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office, is retiring following allegations that he improperly transferred a case involving a Florida sheriff to South Carolina, FloridaBulldog.org reports.

Piro, who’s known for interrogating former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, is a 23-year FBI veteran who led the Miami Field Office between 2014 and 2017 and November 2018 to date. He also served as director of the International Operations Division at FBI headquarters and held a variety of other positions since joining the bureau in 1999. 

His official retirement date is June 30. 

According to sources who spoke with FloridaBulldog, a subordinate complained that Piro improperly transferred his office’s probe of Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony to South Carolina. 

A source said Piro made the decision because he didn’t want his office to be responsible for arresting Broward’s first Black sheriff and that making an arrest would harm his office’s relationship with the sheriff’s office. 

Tony was accused of fraud, kickbacks and bid-rigging. 

Neither Piro nor the FBI commented for the story. 

Pittsburgh man Pleads Guilty to Shooting ATF Agent During Raid

By Steve Neavling

A Pittsburgh man who shot an ATF agent during a raid at his home in June 2021 has pleaded guilty to assaulting a federal agent with a dangerous weapon. 

Dion William, 46, will be sentenced in federal court on Oct. 27, TribLive reports.

Williams was indicted by a federal grand jury after authorities say he shot the agent during a raid following a wiretap investigation into cocaine trafficking.

The agent was taken to a hospital in stable condition. 

Williams and 11 others were arrested and charged with possession and conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The investigation is connected to a larger drug-trafficking probe involving the “11 Hunnit” street gang. 

Weekend Series on Crime: A Mexican Drug Tunnel Connected to California

Migrant Encounters Reach Record Levels at Mexico Border

File photo, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

The U.S. experienced the highest number of immigration arrests ever recoded along the southern border in May, according to new data released by the CBP on Thursday.

CBP encountered more than 239,000 migrants along the Mexico border last month and is on pace to reach more than 2 million encounters during the fiscal year that ends in September. 

In the previous fiscal year, the total migrant encounters were a record 1.73 million. 

“Current restrictions at the U.S. border have not changed: single adults and families encountered at the Southwest Border will continue to be expelled, where appropriate, under Title 42,” CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus said in a statement. “As temperatures start to rise in the summer, human smugglers will continue to exploit vulnerable populations and recklessly endanger the lives of migrants for financial gain. The terrain along the Southwest Border is extreme, the summer heat is severe, and the miles of desert that migrants must hike after crossing the border are unforgiving. Our message to those who would try and gain illegal entry to the United States remains the same – don’t make the dangerous journey only to be sent back.”

Biden’s Nominee to Head ATF Expected to Advance After Split Senate Panel Vote

Former U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach

By Steve Neavling

A Senate committee on Thursday was deadlocked on whether to advance President Biden’s pick to lead the ATF.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-11 along party lines. 

Democrats will have a chance to advance Steven Dettelbach to the floor with a procedural maneuver.  

The ATF has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since 2015. 

“Gun violence continues to plague this country and I believe that it’s critical that ATF has a strong, Senate-confirmed leader in place to ensure the agency is able to achieve its mission of protecting our communities from both violent criminals as well as the illegal use of firearms,” Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., said during the hearing.  

Biden’s first pick to lead the ATF, David Chipman, couldn’t get enough votes in the Senate for confirmation last year. 

Dettelbach was confirmed by the Senate to serve as attorney for the U.S. District Court in Northern Ohio, a position he held from 2009 to 2016.

Dettelbach has advocated for reinstating the assault weapons ban and universal background checks on firearms purchases.

Dettelbach, who ran an unsuccessful campaign to serve as attorney general in Ohio in 2018, has been working in the private sector for BakerHostetler.

Michigan Gubernatorial Candidate Who Was Arrested by FBI Gets Boost in Primary Race

Gubernatorial candidate Ryan Kelley

By Steve Neavling

The Michigan Republican gubernatorial candidate who was arrested by the FBI for his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol is now leading the primary race, according to a new poll.

The EPIC-MRA of Lansing survey found that 17% of likely voters said Kelley was their preferred candidate for the August primary, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Chiropractor Garrett Soldano placed second at 13%. 

About 45% of those polled were still undecided. 

The winner of the primary will face Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat. 

Ryan Kelley faces four misdemeanor counts of knowingly entering or remaining in restricting buildings or grounds without lawful authority, disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building or grounds, knowingly engaging in an act of physical violence against person or property in a restricted building or grounds, and willfully injuring or committing depredation against any property in the U.S. 

Kelley is accused of joining the mob that stormed the Capitol and climbed scaffolding outside the building. 

Kelley, who sells real estate, is among five candidates on the Republican primary ballot for governor. 

He built his reputation on the far right by organizing an armed protest against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 restrictions at the state Capitol in 2020. He’s also called for the arrest of Democratic officials in Michigan, citing baseless conspiracy theories. 

DOJ Files Hate Crime Charges Against Racist Buffalo Mass Shooter

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department on Wednesday filed hate crime charges against the 18-year-old white gunman who killed 10 Black people in a mass shooting at a Buffalo supermarket in May. 

Payton Gendron faces 26 counts of hate crimes and firearms offenses, The New York Times reports

The charges were announced on the same day that Attorney General Merrick Garland visited Buffalo. 

“No one in this country should have to live in fear that they will go to work or shop at a grocery store and will be attacked by someone who hates them because of the color of their skin,” Garland said. 

The complaint alleges Gendron’s “motive for the mass shooting was to prevent Black people from replacing white people and eliminating the white race, and to inspire others to commit similar attacks.”

Border Patrol Agents on Horseback Face Discipline for Treatment of Haitian Immigrants

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

CBP is planning to discipline horse-mounted agents for their treatment of Haitian immigrants near the border in Del Rio, Texas, last year.

The agents are accused of “administrative violations,” two agency officials told the Washington Examiner

But they are unlikely to be fired, one official said. 

CBP’s Office of Personal Responsibility drafted a 500-page report detailing the investigation into horse-mounted Border Patrol agents accused of mistreating Haitian migrants last year. The report has yet to be released.

Images of the interaction went viral, and the Biden administration falsely accused the agents of whipping the immigrants. 

The agents likely won’t face criminal charges because the Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General opted not to investigate.