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Weekend Series on Crime History: J. Edgar Hoover and Communism

Woman Who Found Renoir Painting at Yard Sale for $7 Might Not Be So Lucky After All

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A Virginia woman who hit the yard sale equivalent of the jackpot with the $7 purchase of a rare Renoir painting may have gotten more than she bargained for, the Washington Post reports.

A highly publicized auction for the impressionist painting was canceled after new evidence found this week suggests the work was stolen from the Baltimore Museum of Art decades ago.

The painting is valued at between $75,000 and $100,000, the Post reported.

The Virginia woman, who has asked to remain anonymous, said she didn’t know the painting was valuable until her mother suggested it may be an authentic Renoir, according to the Post.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

Airline Passenger Accused of Saying, ‘I Will Murder All of You’

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One sure way to draw the attention of authorities is to threaten to kill all of the passengers aboard a commercial jet.

“I’m from Afghanistan and I will murder all of you,” Arash “Ash” Durrani, 26, is accused of saying on an Chicago-to-Orange County flight, the L.A. Times reports.

Durrani is to appear in federal court this morning.

What prompted the outburst is unknown, but the L.A. Times reported that passengers restrained the self-identified actor and model.

Man Won’t Receive Death Penalty for Killing DEA Informant

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Edison Burgos Montes escaped the death penalty but faces life in prison in the killing of an DEA informant, a Puerto Rican jury decided Thursday, the Associated Press reports.

Montes was convicted in August of killing his girlfriend, Madelyn Semidey Morales, in July 2005.

She was cooperating with a DEA probe against him, the AP reported.

Morales’ mother urged Montes to reveal where the daughter’s body is but to no avail.

A family member maintained Montes was innocent, according to the AP.

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Sen. Grassley Demands Answers About an Undercover FBI Agent Accused of Spending Taxpayer $$ for Prostitutes in Philippines in Gun Trafficking Sting

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A controversy over allegations that a California undercover FBI agent paid for prostitutes for himself and targets of a gun trafficking sting in the Philippines seems to be picking up some steam.

The latest: Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Ia.) fired off a letter to FBI Director Robert S. Mueller on Wednesday demanding answers.

Ticklethewire.com was first to report on the allegations that were made by John Littrell, a deputy Federal Defender in Southern California. The office filed a motion in Los Angeles District Court on Sept. 17 asking the judge to dismiss the gun trafficking case against three defendants because of egregious governmental misconduct.

The office alleged that the the agent paid for prostitutes for himself and the three defendants, and that one brothel was raided by Philippine authorities who found underaged girls and signs of sex trafficking.

 

In his letter Grassley wrote:

 In light of this information, I ask that you provide a briefing to my staff on this issue as soon as possible. I also request that you come prepared to answer the following questions:

1) Of the $14,500 requested by the undercover agent for reimbursement, how much was the agent actually reimbursed by the FBI?

2) Was the undercover FBI agent the case agent for this weapons-trafficking investigation? If not, did the case agent authorize the expenses at the brothels in this undercover operation?

Sen. Grassley/official photo

3) Did any other U.S. law enforcement or embassy personnel visit these brothels with the undercover FBI agent? Please list each agency, the number of employees involved, each individual’s role, and whether they were a recipient of the services for which reimbursement was requested of the FBI.

4) Was any of the activity for which reimbursement was requested recorded by wire or video surveillance? If so, which activity? Please provide all recordings.

5) What other U.S. law enforcement or embassy personnel participated in the Philippines in the overall weapons-trafficking investigation? Please list each agency, the number of employees involved, and their role.

6) Was the first-line supervisor of the undercover FBI agent and/or case agent aware of the undercover agent’s visits to brothels? What other supervisors were informed?

7) When and how did FBI headquarters become aware of these allegations against this FBI agent working in the Philippines?

*What actions were taken by FBI headquarters to investigate these allegations?

9) Has discipline been proposed for any FBI employees (agents or other personnel) in connection with this? If so, please describe the circumstances and procedural standing of the proposed discipline.

10)When did FBI supervisors become aware that minors may have been involved at these brothels?

Read more »

Detroit Suburban Police Probing Tip About Whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa’s Body

James R. Hoffa

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 Nearly four decades after Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa went missing, the FBI continues to investigate tips that lead agents to dead ends.

This time a local police department is investigating a tip that Hoffa may be buried underneath a driveway in Roseville, a suburb of Detroit, not far from where Hoffa disappeared, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Last week, the Department of Environmental Quality found “an anomaly” under the driveway using ground-scanning radar, according to the Free Press.

Authorities are expected to take soil samples from the site Friday.

A forensic anthropologist also will be headed to the scene, the Free Press reported.

Tips about Hoffa’s whereabouts have led the FBI to search dozens of locations nationwide – all to no avail.

FBI Unable to Reach Benghazi to Investigate Attack on U.S. Consulate

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 FBI agents are having a hard time investigating the killings of four Americans at a U.S. consulate in Libya because they can’t get clearance from the country’s leaders to enter the city of Benghazi, CNN reports.

Making matters worse, the crime scene has not been secured, according to CNN, citing sources.

Libya also has denied the FBI’s request to interview suspects in custody, CNN reported.

The attack on the consulate occurred during a protest over a film that mocked Muslim Prophet Mohammed.