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Weekend Series on Crime: The FBI Spy Within, Robert Hanssen

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Mob Expert Picks Top Mob Stories of 2011

Joseph Massino/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

As New York mobster stories go, there seemed to be no shortage in 2011. Mob expert Jerry Capeci should know.

Capeci, a former New York Daily News reporter, runs the website Gang Land News. On Thursday, he picked the top mob stories of 2011.

Hands down, he writes, the top story was the Mafia Takedown arrests of 127 wiseguys and “various  cohorts.”

Runner up story, Capeci writes, was the appearance in April in fed court in Brooklyn of ex-Bonanno boss Joseph Massino on the witness stand at the capital murder trial of successor boss Vincent (Vinny Gorgeous) Basciano.  Massino made history, becoming the first mob boss from one of the 5 New York crime families to take the witness stand for the feds.

Though Capeci  picks the massive takedown in January as the top mob story of the year, he is not without some skepticism.

On the day of the announcement, Capeci writes that the “feds put on an overblown dog and pony show at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn in a pretty transparent effort to send a message to mobsters that they were still a top priority of the federal government.”

“Six weeks later, as Gang Land reported on March 3, the priority claims went down several notches when it was learned that FBI bosses had combined the five squads that had been investigating the Five Families into three, and cut the number of mob-busting agents by 25%, to about 45, the lowest number since the days of J. Edgar Hoover.”

Gang Land News website

Some Passengers Packed Heat to the Airport This Holiday Season

file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Holiday travelers this month were packing more than presents when heading off to the nation’s airports.

The Transportation Security Administration reported that 31 firearms were found at airport checkpoints the week of Dec. 19 to Christmas Day.

The weekly TSA tally of guns found at airport checkpoints normally ranges during the year from the teens to the 30s. The common excuse: Passengers  say they forgot the gun was in their luggage.

In addition to guns found during that weekly period in December, the TSA reported that it discovered “7 artfully concealed prohibited items.”

Also, two passengers were arrested “after investigation of suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents.”

 

Customs and Border Protection Gets Additional Drone for Mexico Border

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The skies of Arizona just got another set of eyeballs.

The Arizona Daily Star reports that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection has just gotten a fourth “drone” in Arizona.

The unmanned drone, known as Predator B, will be used to protect the U.S.-Mexico border,the paper reported.

The Daily Star reported that Customs and Border Protection now has six Predator B drones to patrol the U.S. border from California to Texas.

 

Justice Dept. Gives the Nod to Online Gambling

istock photo/ticklethewire.com

By KAJA WHITEHOUSE
New York Post

NEW YORK — The Obama administration just gave Donald Trump and other casino titans a big, wet Christmas kiss.

In a stunning decision, the Justice Department has removed a major hurdle that kept states from legalizing online gambling, by maintaining that a key federal law applies to sports betting but not casino games.

In a letter to some lawmakers, released Dec. 23, DOJ officials said they’d changed their long-held stance against interstate online gambling to prohibit only “bets or wagers relating to sporting events or contests.”

“In my view, 2012 is going to be known as the year the online gambling industry in the United States is going to be born,” said Richard Bronson, chairman of US Digital Gaming, which plans to service the US online gaming industry once it gets going.

To read more click here.

Ex-FBI Agent Weighs in on Detroit Case Where 4 Women Found Dead in Car Trunks

U.S. Law Enforcement Deaths Up 13% Over Last Year

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

By way of statistics and lives, 2011 was a bad year for law enforcement.

The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund issued a preliminary report showing  173 officers were killed in the U.S. in 2011, up 13 percent over last year.

Of that figure, 68 died from gunshots, up 15 percent from 2010. Another 64 were killed in traffic related incidents, down 10 percent from last year.

“This is a devastating and unacceptable trend. Each of these deaths is a tragic reminder of the threats that law enforcement officers face each day – and the fact that too many guns have fallen into the hands of those who are not legally permitted to possess them,” commented Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement.

“Departments across the country have mourned the loss of too many dedicated colleagues and friends, but my colleagues and I at the Justice Department are determined to turn back this rising tide. I want to assure the family members and loved ones who have mourned the loss of these heroes that we are responding to this year’s increased violence with renewed vigilance and will do everything within our power – and use every tool at our disposal – to keep our police officers safe.”

See Stats 

DEA Says Mexican Cartels Extorting Protection Money from U.S. Businesses

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Mexican drug cartels just aren’t selling drugs to make cash.

AHN News reports that the cartels are increasingly extorting protection money from retail stores on the U.S. side of the border.

Citing the DEA, the news agency reports that businesses often don’t report the extortion demands because they employe illegal immigrants and don’t want to draw attention that could lead to the arrest and deportation of the workers.

To read more click here