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July 2022


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Archive for July, 2022

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Jimmy Hoffa Mystery

Not Again?! Texts Missing from Phones of Former Top Homeland Security Officials

Former Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

By Steve Neavling

Just weeks after the discovery that Secret Service text messages were deleted around the time of the Jan. 6 insurrection comes a new revelation: Phone records are missing for two former top Homeland Security officials.  

Text messages on the phones of former President Trump’s acting Homeland Security Secretary Chard Wolf and acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli were lost in a “reset” of government phones, The Washington Post reports

The so-called reset occurred when the pair lost their jobs in January 2021. 

The discovery is bad news for investigators of the Jan. 6 insurrection who were hoping to find evidence on the phones of top Homeland Security officials. 

Earlier this month, the Secret Service said it was unable to recover deleted text messages from its agents phones around the time of the insurrection.

In other news Friday, U.S. Secret Service Director James Murray will “briefly” delay his retirement amid the scandal to help facilitate a smooth transition to the agency’s next director,” The Hill reports

New ATF Director Dettelbach Calls for Collaboration with Other Law Enforcement Agencies

ATF Director Steven Dettelbach

By Steve Neavling

New ATF Director Steven Dettelbach said collaboration with other law enforcement agencies is key to reducing gun violence. 

In an interview Thursday with GM3, Dettelbach said he was in New York to meet with other agencies.

“The days of ‘this is turf, that’s your turf’ are over in law enforcement. We work together.” 

He added, “Back when I started this business as a prosecutor, 30 years ago, there were eight different agencies doing the same thing in their own little task forces, in their own little units. We cannot do that anymore. We have to share intelligence and share bodies in real-time ways.”

Dettelbach also said that it’s important to prevent people convicted of crimes from committing again. 

“The No. 1 predictor in many cases of whether you’re going to do something violent and be a criminal is wether you have done it before,” he said. “We need to do a better job of making sure people aren’t recidivists.”

Dettelbach was sworn in on July 19, about a week after the U.S. Senate confirmed his appointment. As the agency’s first permanent leader since 2015, he said he owes it to his agents to defend them. 

“I feel a lot of obligation,” he said. “To do it is to stand up and fight for those (ATF) folks.”

Man Charged with Assaulting Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick Pleads Guilty to Reduced Charges

Officer Brian Sicknick

By Steve Neavling

A West Virginia man accused of assaulting U.S. Capitol Police Office Brian D. Sicknick during the Jan. 6 insurrection pleaded guilty Wednesday to reduced charges as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors. 

George Tanios was charged last year with dousing Sicknick with chemical spray during the riot. 

Sicknick died a day after the attack. It was originally believed that Sicknick died from injuries sustained during the attack, but an autopsy later revealed that he died of natural causes. 

Tanios pleaded guilty to one count of illegally entering a restricted area and one count of disorderly conduct, The New York Times reports. In exchange for the guilty pleas, prosecutors dismissed an assault charge.

Tanios now faces up to a year in prison on each of the misdemeanor charges.

FBI Celebrates One of Its First Female Special Agents Susan Riley Malone

Former FBI Special Agent Susan Riley Malone. Screenshot via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

Susan Riley Malone, the daughter of a Marine pilot, made history 50 years ago, becoming one of the first two women to graduate as a special agent from the FBI Academy.  

The FBI celebrated the special anniversary recently at the academy with current and former female agents, CBS reports.

Malone said she wanted to be an agent since she was in eighth grade, so when her dream came true, she would stop at nothing to prove she had what it takes.  

“I think in some quarters it was an experiment and, you know, would it fail? I certainly wasn’t going to fail. If they had to kill me, I wouldn’t quit,” she said. 

It wasn’t easy. 

“I think some of the challenges, even from some of my colleagues in our class, a couple of them had a difficult time being in a class with two women agents that carried the same badge and did the same job they were going to do,” she said. 

Since then, women have become a bigger part of the agency, but they still only make up a small fraction of the bureau’s agents. 

Today, only 22% of special agents are women. Just seven of the 56 FBI field offices are led by women.

“I think there’s few women in law enforcement in general,” said Jacqueline Maguire, who runs the Philadelphia Field Office. “It’s a tough job.” 

Maguire encourages women to join the bureau. 

“I say go for it,” Maguire said. “It’s really cool to be able to go home at the end of the day and say, ‘I tried to make an impact. I tried to make the world better.'” 

Longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover barred women from being agents. But when he died in 1972, that rule was lifted. 

Malone attended Hoover’s funeral, and two months later, she met her roommate, Joanne Pierce Misko, at a swearing-in ceremony at FBI headquarters. 

In July 2012, the FBI featured an eye-opening interview with Malone.

House Dems Call on Inspector General to Remove Himself from Probe of Secret Service Texts

DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari

By Steve Neavling

Lawmakers are calling for a new inspector general to head the investigation into deleted Secret Service text messages in connection with the Jan. 6 insurrection. 

House Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson, who also chairs the committee investigating the Capitol riots, are asking DHS Inspector General Joseph Cuffari to recuse himself. 

In a letter to Cuffari, the top Democrats say his failure to notify Congress that the Secret Service wasn’t providing records “cast serious doubt on his independence and his ability to effectively conduct such an important investigation.”

“These omissions left Congress in the dark about key developments in this investigation and may have cost investigators precious time to capture relevant evidence,” the lawmakers wrote. “There must be no doubt that the Inspector General leading this investigation can conduct it thoroughly and with integrity, objectivity and independence. We do not have confidence that Inspector General Cuffari can achieve those standards.”

Cuffari waited months to notify Congress that the messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021 had been erased. Earlier this month, he finally notified Congress of the deleted texts. 

“Inspector General Cuffari’s actions in this matter, which follow other troubling reports about his conduct as Inspector General, cast serious doubt on his independence and his ability to effectively conduct such an important investigation. In light of these serious failures, we request that Inspector General Cuffari step aside from the ongoing investigation into the Secret Service’s erasure of text messages,” the lawmakers wrote.

Justice Department Is Now Investigating Trump’s Role in Trying to Overturn Election

Donald Trump, via Wikipedia

By Steve Neavling

Former President Trump’s actions are now a focus of the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, The Washington Post reports

Prosecutors who are questioning witnesses before the grand jury have asked about Trump’s involvement in the campaign to reverse his election loss. 

Among those interviewed before the grand jury is Marc Short, the former chief of staff to former President Mike Pence. 

Investigators also received phone records of key Trump officials, including his former chief of staff mark Meadows. 

These revelations are significant because they show a major escalation in the Justice Department’s widening investigation. 

U.S. Marshal Shot by Teenager Murder Suspect in Georgia

By Steve Neavling

A teenager murder suspect shot a U.S. marshal who was helping arrest the man in Fayette County in Georgia on Sunday. 

The GBI is investigating the shooting, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The marshal was shot when officers entered a residence at the Shiloh Mobile Home ranch. The marshal was taken to the hospital and expected to be released Sunday. 

Officers then shot the suspect, 19-year-old Antonio Murgado Jr., multiple times. The suspect was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. 

Murgado was among three suspects charged in the shooting death of a 19-year-old on July 16 during what appeared to be a drug deal. 

When the GBI investigation is complete, the case will be reviewed by Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office.