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Silk Road, the Notorious Online Drug Bazaar, Busted for Second Time

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Silk Road, a notorious online drug supplier, has been busted again, The Verge reports.

The FBI, Homeland Security and European law enforcement seized the replacement site.

Authorities arrested suspected operator Blake Benthall, 26, in California on Wednesday.

It appears Benthall slipped up when he used his own email address for a Silk Road 2.0 server and didn’t anonymize the software.

He is expected to be charged with conspiring to commit narcotics trafficking, conspiring to commit computer hacking, conspiring to traffic in fraudulent identification documents and money laundering conspiracy.

Smugglers Dropped Large Amount of Marijuana from Ultralight Aircraft

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Drug smugglers have tried all kinds of clever – and not so clever – ways to get their products across the Mexican border and into the U.S.

On Tuesday morning, Border Patrol agents in the Tucson Sector seized nearly $100,000 worth of marijuana dropped from an ultralight aircraft Tuesday, AZ Family reports.

The ultralight was was spotted by CBP camera operators.

Agents found 10 bundles of marijuana wearing roughly 185 pounds.

Agents arrested two Mexican nationals.

Top Justice Department Officials Used Influence to Get Relatives Paid Internships

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Three top officials in the Justice Department played a role in getting their relatives paid paid internships, the New York Daily News reports.

Executive Office for Immigration Review Director Juan Osuna, Board of Immigration Appeals Chairman David Neal and Chief Immigration Judge Brian O’Leary each helped relatives get the jobs, according to a report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

The officials hold the top three positions at the Justice Department agency that oversees the federal immigration court system.

The investigation four that the relatives got the jobs in the agency’s student job program between 2007 and 2010.

It wasn’t just the top officials getting their relatives jobs. Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that about 16% of the 200 interns were relatives of employees between 2007 and 2010.

FBI Agent Impersonates Associated Press Reporter to Nab Teen in Bomb Threats

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI went further than creating a bogus news site to capture a 15-year-old suspect accused of making bomb threats at a high school near Olympia, Washington.

An FBI agent impersonated an Associated Press reporter in 2007 and asked the suspect to review a bogus AP article about threats directed at the school “to be sure that the anonymous suspect was portrayed fairly,” the AP reports.

The news came in a letter Thursday to the New York Times.

The bogus article helped the FBI because his cyber information became available when the suspect clicked on the link.

“That technique was proper and appropriate under Justice Department and FBI guidelines at the time. Today, the use of such an unusual technique would probably require higher-level approvals than in 2007, but it would still be lawful and, in a rare case, appropriate,” Comey wrote.

The AP responded that the fake news report erodes confidence in the media.

“This latest revelation of how the FBI misappropriated the trusted name of The Associated Press doubles our concern and outrage, expressed earlier to Attorney General Eric Holder, about how the agency’s unacceptable tactics undermine AP and the vital distinction between the government and the press,” Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of the AP, said in a statement.

 

FBI’s Rafael “Jorge” Garcia Jr. Named Assistant Directorate of Intelligence

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Rafael “Jorge” Garcia, Jr. has been named assistant director of the Directorate of Intelligence (DI) at FBI headquarters.

Garcia most recently served as deputy assistant director for the Intelligence Operations Branch within the DI.

Garcia joined the FBI in 1995 and was first assigned to the Phoenix office he investigated drugs, organized crime, and terrorism cases.

He was assigned to FBIHQ from 1999 to 2005, where held several positions related to intelligence and counterterrorism, including chief of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Countermeasures Unit, a press release said.

In 2004, he served as the FBI’s deputy on-scene commander in Iraq. In 2007, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office.

In 2011, he was named director of the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) in Quantico, Va.

In 2012, Garcia was named special agent in charge of the Intelligence Division at the Los Angeles Field Office.

 

Prosecutors Dropping Drug Conspiracy Charges Because of Alleged FBI Miconduct

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent accused of tampering with evidence has prompted federal prosecutors to begin the process of dismissing indictments against 28 defendants, the Washington Post reports.

Half of the defendants were already serving sentences.

Many of the defendants will be in U.S. District Court on Friday for a hearing.

The U.S. attorney’s office is investigating other cases handled by the FBI agent, who was working with a D.C. police task force in the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

In the meantime, the agent has been suspended while authorities investigate.

Authorities have not discussed details of the alleged misconduct, but said the agent is accused of tampering with drug and gun evidence.

Alcohol Played Role in Boat Crash That Killed 2 FBI Employees Near Cincinnati

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Alcohol played a role in a boat crash that killed two FBI employees on the Ohio River near Cincinnati in September, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports.

The off-duty employees, Bryce Eastlick, 28, and John Stack II, 29, were killed after their 19-foot boat smashed into a massive barge on Sept. 25.

“The toxicology report did confirm that it was alcohol related,” an official at the coroner’s office said Wednesday.

The coroner didn’t divulge details, such as the men’s blood alcohol content.

The men were dead when rescuers arrived and likely died on impact.

“I don’t believe there was any suffering,” Cincinnati District Fire Chief Lou Arnold said.

Notorious Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly May Not Be Leaving Prison Anytime Soon

John Connolly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

John Connolly, the former Boston FBI agent who helped gangster James “Whitey” Bulger and was convicted of murder, likely won’t be leaving prison anytime soon.

The Miami Herald reports that the Third District Court of Appeals decided this week to hear the prosecution’s case for keeping Connoly behind bars following the 1982 murder of a gambling executive.

That’s a dramatic turnabout after the Miami appellate court reversed the murder conviction on a legal technicality over the summer.

Connolly is to remain imprisoned in northern Florida while the court reconsiders the decision to reverse the conviction.

“We’re disappointed,” James McDonald, one of Connolly’s attorneys, said of this week’s ruling.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said she was “pleased” with the court’s decision.

“There are important issues here which are in conflict and this will allow those conflicts to be resolved,” she said.