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May 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Guns Used in Pentagon and Las Vegas Court Shootings Came From Memphis Police and Court System

gun rugerBy Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Simply put: This is something you don’t want to hear: The Associated Press reports that the guns used in the recent Pentagon shooting on March 4 and the Las Vegas U.S. District Courthouse  on Jan. 4 came from the Memphis police and court system.

The AP reported that both guns had originally been seized in criminal cases in the Memphis area and ended being sold by law enforcement to gun dealers before winding up in the hands of the shooters, who were legally forbidden from possessing them. One had a felony conviction and the other suffered from psychiatric problems.

The AP quoted John Timoney, who led the Philadelphia and Miami police departments and served as New York’s No. 2 police official, as saying he doesn’t believe police departments should put guns back on the market.

“I just think it’s unseemly for police departments to be selling guns that later turn up,” he told AP.

To Read complete story click here.

Loyalty to Mom in New Orleans School Board Corruption Doesn’t Pay

By Allan Lengel

Loyalty to mom doesn’t always pay off.

Stacy Simms, 49, the daughter of  the former  crooked ex-Orleans Parish School Board President Ellenese Brooks-Simms in New Orleans, was sentenced late last week two years probation for opening a bank account for mom to put her bribe money in, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Her mom got 18 months in prison.

The bank account was opened so her mother Ellenese Brooks-Simms, could deposit bribe money from Mose Jefferson, the brother of convicted ex-Congressman William Jefferson, authorities said. The mother received about $140,000 in kickbacks for a school contract for a algebra software program.

Authorities said Brooks-Simms conspired “with Mose Jefferson to approve the purchase of an educational software program for the Orleans Parish School System.”

Mose Jefferson received over $913,000 of Orleans Parish School Board money as sales commissions for selling the software program to the school system. He has already been sentenced to 10 years in the case.

Calif. Man Under Investigation for Threatening Lives of DEA Agents and Families Arrested

CALIFornia mapBy Allan Lengel

A northern California man who was under investigation for allegedly threatening the lives of DEA agents and their families via the Internet, was arrested late last week after park rangers saw him wave a gun at a national monument near the Oregon border, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that rangers arrested Micha Godfrey, 37, after he waved a gun at the Lava Beds National Monument. He was wearing a bullet proof vest. He was charged with a felon in a possession of a firearm and ammunition.

He was being held in the Sacramento County jail pending a March 26 prelimary hearing.

AP reported that the DEA issued a statement saying the man had made threats against DEA agents and their families in emails to a pro-medical marijuana website.

Authorities searched his home on Friday and found four firearms, a second bulletproof vest and marijuana plants, AP reported. Godfrey has convictions for burglary and obstructing or resisting an executive officer.


Detroit Free Press Editorial Calls For Elimination of Disparity in Crack Cocaine Sentences

file photo/dea

file photo/dea

The Detroit Free Press
Editorial Page

DETROIT — Members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously this week to narrow the unconscionable sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine. The notorious 100-1 ratio has no basis in science, while hitting poor people and African Americans especially hard. Along with other mandatory drug sentencing policies enacted in the mid-1980s, it helped triple the nation’s prison population.

Unfortunately, the watered-down Senate bill only narrows the disparities to roughly 20-1. Legislators need to strengthen this bill before sending it to the president. If disparities are baseless and socially egregious, why not just eliminate them?

Crack, usually purchased in rock form and smoked, is more frequently used by black and poor people. Powder cocaine is more often used by whites. Most states, including Michigan, rightly treat crack and powder cocaine the same. They are essentially the same drug in different forms; federal law should treat them accordingly. Under a policy Congress enacted in 1986, a drug offender caught with only 5 grams of crack cocaine gets a mandatory minimum sentence of five years. It takes 500 grams of powder cocaine to get the same stretch.

To read more click here.

3 People Linked to U.S. Consulate in Mexico Killed in Drive-by Shooting

map_ciudad_juarezBy Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The White House got another reminder this weekend of the impact  drug-cartels have on the border towns of Mexico.

CNN reports that a drive by shooting in the border town of Ciudad Juarez on Saturday resulted in the deaths of three people connected to the U.S. Consulate.

The network reported that one victim was an American employee at the consulate and that another victim was the husband of that employee. The third person was the husband of a Mexican employee of the consulate.

“The President is deeply saddened and outraged by the news of the brutal murders of three people associated with the United States Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez,” National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said in a statement Sunday.

To read more click here.

New D.C. Attorney Machen Has Potential Headache on His Hands: Office Reviews Faulty FBI Analysts Info in Cases

D.C. nominee Ronald Machen
U.S. Atty.  Ronald Machen

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The District’s U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen has a potentially big  headache on his hands.

The Washington Post reports that Machen’s office “has found more than 100 cases since the mid-1970s that need to be reviewed because of potentially falsified and inaccurate tests by FBI analysts.”

That information, the paper reports, was included in a report filed Friday in D.C. Superior Court, the city’s criminal court.  An internal review was triggered as a result of the wrongful imprisonment of Donald E. Gates, who was exonerated in December because of new DNA evidence. He had serving 28 years for the 1981 rape and slaying of a Georgetown University student that he never committed.

The initital review of 20 cases found that only Gates’ case was impacted by the misinformation. But Justice came up with 100 more cases, the paper reported.

Of those 100, the paper reported that the U.S. Attorney’s Office conducted a preliminary review of 78 and found no misconduct. The paper reported that no findings have been presented for the other 22 cases thus far.

For Full Story

FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitive List Turns 60

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

WASHINGTON — Mir Aimal Kasi had earned a spot on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list and Brad Garrett, a mild-mannered but dogged FBI agent out of Washington, wanted him badly. Kasi, a Pakistani, had stood outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., in 1993 and methodically opened fire, shooting into car windows, killing two CIA employees and wounding three others.

Like most fugitives on the list, Kasi was no easy find. Garrett and others spent four-and-a-half years continent-hopping, tracking endless leads before finding him in a seedy hotel in Pakistan at 4 a.m. Kasi was about to head off to prayer. He was brought back to the U.S., where he was eventually executed by lethal injection by the state of Virginia.

James Earl Ray/fbi photo

James Earl Ray/fbi photo

“It’s probably every agent’s dream to capture a top 10 most wanted fugitive,” Garrett, who retired from the FBI in 2006, told AOL News. “It wasn’t my driving force, of course, but the idea of being able to arrest a top 10 fugitive is really something. If you’re on the top 10 list, you must be a really bad person, a big deal.”

On March 14, the bigger-than-life list, which has included some of the most notorious criminals of our time, from assassin James Earl Ray to serial killer Ted Bundy to terrorist Osama bin Laden, turned 60.

The list has become part of Americana. First seen in post offices and banks, now the Ten Most Wanted photos are more likely to show up on TV shows, billboards and the Internet through Web sites and trendy social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

“We recognize the unique ability of the media to cast a wider net within communities here and abroad,” FBI Director Robert Mueller said in a statement marking the 60th anniversary. “The FBI can send agents to visit a thousand homes to find a witness, but the media can visit a million homes in an instant.”

Authorities say the list came about after a reporter for the International News in 1949 told the FBI he was interested in writing a story about the “toughest guys” the FBI was after. The FBI provided the names and descriptions of 10 fugitives — four escaped prisoners, three con men, two murder suspects and a bank robber — and the reporter wrote a story that captured national attention and triggered hundreds of tips.

Osama bin Laden

The FBI figured it was on to something. On March 14, 1950, Director J. Edgar Hoover launched the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives program. The first fugitive was Thomas J. Holden, a bank robber who murdered his wife and her two brothers. A little over a year later, he was spotted in Beaverton, Ore., by someone who recognized his photo in the newspaper.

The FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives program turns 60 years old  this month

The first fugitive listed by the FBI was killer and bank robber Thomas J. Holden in 1950. He was caught a year later.

Holden was one of 494 fugitives who have made the list in the past six decades. Of those, the FBI says, 463 have been captured or located, and 152 of those were “the direct result of citizen cooperation.” More specifically, two fugitives were captured as a result of the Internet, 27 from television broadcasts, two from radio coverage, three from newspapers, three from magazines and 49 from FBI posters.

Cases that involved tips from a top 10 poster included fugitive Joseph Martin Luther Gardner, a Navy man who was wanted in the 1992 gang rape and murder of a 25-year-old woman in South Carolina. Authorities caught the other suspects, but not Gardner — at least not for a while.

Mir Aimal Kansi/fbi photo

Mir Aimal Kansi/fbi photo

Jeffrey L. Covington, an FBI agent from Philadelphia who retired in 2007 and worked on the Gardner case, recalled that a woman had gone into a convenience store in 1994 in Philadelphia. Later, she returned home to New York and was in a post office when she saw an FBI wanted poster of Gardner.

“She said, ‘Oh my God, that’s the guy in the store,'” Covington recalled. She called authorities, and Covington said he and members of the Philadelphia Fugitive Task Force moved in and made the arrest.

“He was absolutely startled,” Covington said of Gardner. “And then he lied about his name. The usual stuff.”

Over the years, as times changed, so did the composition of the list. At first in the 1950s it consisted of bank robbers, murderers and car thieves. In the 1960s, some fugitives included kidnappers and militants who had destroyed government property. By the 1970s, there were organized crime and terrorist figures and radicals like H. Rap Brown and Angela Davis. And in by the 1990s, sexual predators, drug traffickers and gang members had joined the list.

For the most part, the list has been dominated by males. Only eight fugitives have been woman, with ’60s militant Davis among them.

angela davis

A lot of thought goes into who makes the list, and who doesn’t, according to Rex Tomb, who headed the FBI’s chief fugitive publicity unit in Washington and helped decide who made the list. He retired in 2006.

“Many times a particularly aggressive agent would want us to put their fugitive on the list,” Tomb told AOL News. “In looking at the submission, however, we realized that the case, though very serious, might be either too complicated or uninteresting to potential readers or viewers. Photographs might also be of such quality that we knew the public would be unable to notice key, distinguishing physical traits. The top 10 list is media driven. If certain elements are not present, reporters won’t use it. We had to learn which cases would fly and which wouldn’t.

“There are only 10 slots on the list,” he said. ” If the media won’t cover it, the list is of no help. If it can’t help a case, why put it on the list?”

On nine occasions, the top 10 list has actually had 11 or more fugitives.

“This has occurred when there was not a vacancy on the list and the FBI determined that there was an overriding need that an individual be added to the list,” said FBI spokeswoman Debbie Weierman.

She said some of the 11th fugitives have included Ramzi Ahmed Yousef, who was implicated in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin, James Earl Ray. Ray was one of six people who twice appeared on the list: once when he shot King in 1968 and again in 1977 when he escaped from prison.

Fugitive Donald Eugene Webb holds the record for the longest time on the list — 25 years, 10 months and 27 days — for the murder of Police Chief Gregory Adams in Saxonburg, Pa., in 1980. In 2007, without any real explanation, he was removed from the list even though he remained at large. The FBI now says he no longer fits the criteria, but he remains a fugitive.

Whitey Bulger

Whitey Bulger

The shortest time on the list — two hours — was claimed by bank robber Billie Austin Bryant, who had killed two FBI agents in the late 1960s in Washington. The oldest person to be placed on the list — and who still remains on it — is Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger. He was 69 in August 1999 when he was put on the list.

Today he is 80.

Alive and well? Who knows.

H. Rap Brown

H. Rap Brown

Parking Garage Fire Quickly Extinguished at FBI Headquarters

fbi headquarters2By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — A fire in a trash compactor in the parking garage at FBI headquarters on Saturday around 12:15 p.m. was quickly extinguished, the Associated Press reported.

D.C. fire department spokesman Pete Piringer told the AP that the fire was not suspicious.

The headquarters is located at 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, several blocks from the Capitol.