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Trump’s Pick for Nation’s Drug Czar Withdraws Amid Firestorm

Rep. Tom Marino

Rep. Tom Marino

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s top pick for the nation’s drug czar, Rep. Tom Marino, has withdrawn his name from consideration, Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

Calls mounted for Trump to dump Marino following a scathing Washington Post/“60 Minutes” story that exposed the congressman for siding with drug companies over the DEA’s battle to address the opioid crisis.

On Twitter, Trump wrote, “Rep.Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar. Tom is a fine man and a great Congressman!”

Trump told reporters Monday that he “will make a change” if he decides Marino’s actions curbed the fight against opioid abuse.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Arrests Honolulu Current & Former Police Officer After Corruption Probe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI investigation into corruption at the Honolulu Police Department resulted in the arrests of a current and former police officer Sunday.

Arrested were Officer Bobby Nguyen from the department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit and retired Officer Gordon Shiraishi, who was also with the intelligence unit, the Associated Press reports

The FBI has declined to discuss details of the investigation, but the probe was prompted by a federal investigation into retired Honolulu Police Chief Louis Kealoha and his wife, Deputy Prosecutor Katherine Kealoha.

That case has been under investigation for at least two years.

Opioid Crisis Accelerated by Lawmakers with ties to Drug Industry

pillsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As the nation grappled with an opioid crisis that has claimed more than 200,000 lives, a handful of Congressional members with strong ties to the nation’s major drug distributors managed to strip the DEA of one of its most effective weapons against narcotics.

Despite desperate calls to curtail the number of prescription narcotics spilling onto the streets, the members of Congress convinced the DEA and Justice Department to reluctantly agree to a more industry-friendly that effectively allowed the flow of addictive pain pills to continue unhindered, according to an investigation by The Washington Post and “60 Minutes.” 

It was a major win for the drug companies because it weakened the DEA’s ability to pursue companies that supply to corrupt doctors and pharmacists who pushed massive amounts of pills into the black market.

Under the watered-down law, the DEA is severely limited in responding to suspicious narcotic shipments.

The 23 lawmakers who sponsored or co-sponsored four versions of the bill received at least $1.5 million in donation from political action committees representing the drug industry.

Florida Man Poses As FBI Agents, Holds Prostitute Captive

Martin Smith mugshot.

Martin Smith mugshot.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Florida man was busted after posing as an FBI agent and held a prostitute captive in a motel room in Sugarloaf Township over the weekend.

Martin Smith, 42, of St. Petersburg, faces numerous charges, including unlawful restraint, impersonating a public servant and patronizing prostitutes.

Smith held the woman at the hotel and had a fake badge, metal pellet gun and drugs.

The woman fled and called 911 after convincing Smith to let her get drugs from the car.

One of FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists Killed in Philippines

Isnilon Hapilon

Isnilon Hapilon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the U.S.’s most-wanted terrorists was killed as Philippine forces advanced quickly to defeat pro-ISIS militants who took over Marawi City.

Isnilon Hapilon, who is listed among the FBI’s most-wanted terror suspects, was killed in a gun battle, and their bodies were discovered Monday in Marawi, the Wall Street Journal reports

According to Philippine officials, about 30 pro-ISIS militants were still in the area.

Troops rescued a hostage, who provided critical information to help find Hapilon. American officials said Hapilon was responsible the ransom kidnappings of several Americans.

Weekend Series on Crime History: A Great Mafia Documentary

Authorities Still Have No Clear-Cut Motive in Las Vegas Shooting

Stephen Paddock

Stephen Paddock

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s certainly not for lack of trying.

After a detailed investigation, the FBI and local Las Vegas authorities are still unclear what motivated Stephen Paddock to open fire on the concert in Las Vegas.

“There’s a lot of effort being put into unraveling this horrific act,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told reporters following a ribbon-cutting for the FBI’s new Atlanta building, the Philadelphia Tribune reports. “We don’t know yet what the motive is, but that’s not for lack of trying, and if you know anything about the bureau we don’t give up easy.

 

FBI Director Doesn’t Want New Barriers Placed On NSA Surveillance Program

Christopher Wray (File photo)

Christopher Wray (File photo)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The constant battle over privacy and the need to access information for national security is playing out in Washington.

Devlin Barrett of the Washington Post reports:

FBI Director Christopher A. Wray warned Friday that changing the rules of a soon-to-expire surveillance program could create new barriers to preventing terrorist attacks, similar to those that existed before 2001.

In defending his agency’s information-sharing program with the National Security Agency — which civil liberties groups have criticized as a threat to privacy — Wray said his agents get just a small piece of the NSA’s intelligence gathering.

“The FBI only receives collection for a very small percentage of what the NSA does. It’s about 4.3 percent of the targets under NSA collection. But that 4.3 percent is unbelievably valuable to our mission,’’ Wray said during an appearance at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington. He did not say how large that database is.