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FBI: 2 Detroit Cops Accused of Stealing from Drug Dealers, Dispensaries

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT –– Two Detroit cops are accused of stealing drugs, money and property during warrantless raids and bogus arrests during a four-year crime spree that ended with their suspension and the disbandment of the city’s narcotics unit.

The indictment, which was unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court, alleges that Lt. David Hansberry and Officer Bryan Watson targeted drug dealers and marijuana dispensaries, intimidating them and stealing their drugs, money and other possessions.

Also under investigation was Detective James Napier, 35, who fatally shot himself in front of his parent’s home in January.

According to the feds, the cops would “identify themselves as law enforcement officers performing official law enforcement duties in order to coerce their victims into complying with their demands and to encourage their victims to flee, leaving behind their controlled substances, money or personal property.”

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said today that the allegations shouldn’t reflect poorly on the many hard-working officers who bravely and honorably perform their duties.

“The vast majority of the men and women of the Detroit Police Department are honest and hard-working, but these defendants betrayed their oath and their fellow officers,” Craig said. “We are committed to the highest standards of integrity, and we will remove any officers who do not live up to those high standards.”

The FBI handled the investigation.

FBI, Newly Formed International Task Force Score Early Victory Against Hackers

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An international task force created last year to combat cyber crimes scored an early victory this week, shutting down malicious servers that had infected at least 10,000 machines, mostly in the U.S., The CBS News reports.

The new Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce, which is collaborative effort with the FBI, Europol  and other law enforcement agencies worldwide, managed to pull the plug on the Beebone botnet quickly.

FBI Assistant Director for Cyber Joseph Demarest, Jr. said, “Botnets like Beebone have victimized users worldwide, which is why a global law enforcement team approach working with the private sector is so important. The FBI is proud to join with our partners at Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT), and the Dutch National High Tech Crime Unite to defeat malicious botnets that have the potential to impact thousands.”

The botnet infected computers by acting as a downloader, installing malicious software onto victims’ computers.

One of Largest-Ever Crackdowns on Gangs Nets Nearly 1,000 Arrests

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It’s being billed as one of the largest crackdowns on gangs.

Federal agents arrested about 1,000 accused gang members across 282 cities in the past few months, The Christian Science Monitor reports. 

The six-week crackdown, “Project Wildfire,”  involved 239 gangs.

Project Wildfire is “one of the largest operations we’ve ever conducted and it’s the most successful operation we’ve conducted. The level of cooperation is typical, but the level of success is the direct result of the level of cooperation between state and local partners,” said Mike Prado, acting deputy assistant director of transnational crime and public safety in ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Holy Smokes! DEA Wants to Triple Production of Government’s Marijuana Supply

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The normally anti-marijuana DEA officially recommended that the federal government triple its production of almost 900 pounds of pot for research in 2015.

The proposal, endorsed by DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, is intended to provide a sufficient amount of marijuana to conduct research on the dangers and the medical benefits of cannabis, The Huffington Post reports.

The DEA has the authority to decide when to make marijuana available because it is currently illegal and officially considered by classification to be absent of medical benefits.

The request for increased production follows “unanticipated medical, scientific, research, and industrial needs of the United States,” the DEA said in a notice published in the Federal Register.

Numerous studies around the world have shown medical benefits to marijauna.

Obsessed Former TSA Agent Gets 6 Months in Jail for Hidden Videos, Pictures

Daniel Boykin

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Nashville TSA agent said he became so obsessed with a woman that he took hidden videos of her in an airport bathroom and broke into her house five times.

Daniel Boykin, 33, was sentenced to six months in jail on Thursday, and Judge Randall Wyatt advised the former agent to continue to get counseling after he is released from six months of jail, The Tennessean reports.

Included in the sentence were more than 5 years of probation and GPS monitoring.

Prosecutors said Boykin had amassed 92 videos of the victim, including 29 that were captured from a bathroom stall at Nashville International Airport.

“This was one of the worst cases I have seen in terms of invading somebody’s privacy in their most intimate moments and the most secure place, her home,” former Metro Police Detective Andrew Vallee told The Tennessean on Thursday.

Other Stories of Interest


Secret Service Supervisor Accused of Sexually Assaulting Employee at Office After Party

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In yet another blow to the Secret Service’s reputation, a high-ranking supervisor is on administrative leave following complaints from a female employee that he sexually assaulted her at the agency’s headquarters following a celebration for his new job to run the Louisville office.

Instead of reporting to his new job, Xavier Morales is on administrative leave, accused of “misconduct and potential criminal activity,”  Fox News reports. 

The employee said Morales made unrelenting sexual advances after professing his love for her at the agency headquarters after the party.

Unlike the alleged drunken-driving accident involving Secret Service agents last month, the allegations in this case were reported to Director Joseph Clancy the same day it was reported – April 2, a spokesman of the agency said.

The case is under investigation to determine whether Morales will retain his job and whether he will face criminal charges.

DEA Sued Following Discovery That Agency Collected Americans’ Phone Records

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone call records violated the constitutional rights of Americans, alleges the Human Rights Watch in a lawsuit against the agency.

Forbes reports that the suit comes just a day after a USA Today report on the surveillance program.

The DEA reportedly amassed billions of phone records in the decade before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The suit alleges the DEA violated Americans’ first and fourth amendments by conducting “untargeted and suspicionless surveillance of Americans.“

“The NSA isn’t the only federal agency collecting Americans’ call records in bulk,” said EFF staff attorney Mark Rumold. “The DEA’s program is yet another example of federal agencies overreaching their surveillance authority in secret. We are asking the court to require the government to destroy the records it illegally collected no matter where they are held, and to declare—once and for all—that bulk collection of Americans’ records is unconstitutional.’’

Other Stories of Inerest


Why South Carolina Cop Got Caught Killing Unarmed Walter Scott

Michael Slager

By Scott Lemieux
The Week

He probably would have gotten away with it.

That’s the sobering reality of the video of South Carolina police officer Michael Slager shooting Walter L. Scott as he ran away, not posing the slightest threat to the officer. The utter indifference to human life evident in the video, shot by Feidin Santana, is horrifying. As Scott’s father put it, “The way he was shooting that gun, it looked like he was trying to kill a deer.” After Scott was felled by at least one of eight shots, Slager occupied himself with handcuffing Scott and possibly trying to plant evidence rather than making any immediateattempt to save his life. The phrase “cold-blooded killing” could have been invented for this shooting.

After the video surfaced, the relevant local authorities, to their credit, actedpromptly and justly. Slager was fired by the police department and charged with Scott’s murder by the district attorney. The killing was denounced by South Carolina’s Republican governor and its two Republican senators. In this case, clear video evidence pierced the thin blue line.

And yet, if it wasn’t for the pure chance of Slager’s actions being videotaped, he probably would have gotten off scot-free. Without videotaped evidence, stories of officers fearing for their lives before using deadly force can be difficult to dispute, and local police departments have little incentive to conduct extensive, critical investigations of the self-justifications of officers who kill. Even worse, they do have incentives to cover up even the most serious police misconduct.

“Americans are bombarded with evidence that police officers who use excessive or fatal force will go to great lengths to protect themselves and make sure they face no legal repercussions,” says Heather Ann Thompson, a professor of history at Temple University who specializes in issues of criminal justice. “From the state police’s bloody retaking of Attica in 1971, to the recent police officer killing of a citizen in South Carolina, cover-up is the first line of defense.”

This tendency to cover up represents a very serious systematic problem. A great deal of the criminal justice system depends on the honesty of law enforcement officials. Many criminal prosecutions depend on police testimony, and we often must rely on the investigations of local police when potential cases of misconduct arise. Pervasive dishonesty both lets individual bad actors escape punishment and undermines essential law enforcement activities.