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Chicago Gets Additional ATF Agents to Quell Outbreak in Gun Violence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Chicago is getting seven more ATF agents to help quell an outbreak violence, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The decision was made recently by Attorney General Eric Holder, who had met with the Chicago mayor.

The Windy City now has 52 ATF agents.

“They wanted to bring more resources to Chicago to combat some of the gun violence that’s taking place here,” said ATF spokesman Tom Ahern.

“Initially we’ll have four starting out here on the 21st of the month, then we have more coming down the road,” Ahern said.

The decision comes after a bloody Fourth of July weekend in which 13 people were killed and 58 wounded in Chicago.
Ahern said the help is desperately needed.

“We welcome the new agents. We can always use more manpower,” Ahern said. “The ATF’s primary focus is firearms trafficking and stemming the flow of illegal guns into Chicago.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Prosecutors Change Their Tune on Deterrence Involving Corporate Wrongdoing

FBI Director James Comey

By DEVLIN BARRETT and KIRSTEN GRIND 
Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—In extracting multibillion-dollar fines from Citigroup Inc. and other big banks, prosecutors say they are trying to deter future corporate wrongdoing by making shareholders angry enough to demand changes.

It is a significant shift in tone for the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation, which have argued for years that sending people to prison is the best way to prevent white-collar crime.

In the past month, top officials including FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Eric Holder said future corporate misdeeds can be avoided by imposing large or record-breaking penalties on companies. On Wednesday, Associate Attorney General Tony West said one factor the Justice Department considers in imposing stiff penalties is whether the fine “could be regarded by shareholders and management as merely the cost of doing business.”

To read more click here.

Man Accused of Assaulting FBI Agents Was Indicted by Las Vegas Grand Jury

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A burglary suspect accused of trying to ram his truck into FBI cars to avoid arrest was indicted on federal assault charges Tuesday by a Las Vegas grand jury, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

The agents weren’t injured in the attack but their cars were damaged, authorities said.

According to the criminal complaint, Yatnier Gonzalez pulled into a gas station with a 16-foot rented truck on June 2 to get gas when FBI agents blocked him with their cars.

He is accused of smashing into the cars before fleeing on foot. Gonzalez was apprehended soon after and continued to resist, the FBI said.

Perrye Turner to Head FBI’s Houston Office After Stint in Louisville

Perrye Turner/fbi photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Perrye K. Turner, who most recently served as special agent in charge of the Louisville office, has been named as head of the FBI’s Houston division, Fox 26 reports.

Turner started with the FBI in 1991 and was first assigned to the Birmingham Division, Huntsville Resident Agency, and in 1995, the New Orleans Division, Monroe Resident Agency, where he worked criminal investigative matters.

In 1999, he was promoted to supervisory special agent in the Criminal Investigation Division at FBI headquarters and worked in the Drug Section, Mexican/Criminal Syndicates Unit.

In 2001, he became a field supervisor and was assigned to the Jackson Division’s Criminal Enterprise Squad. While in Jackson, he later worked in the FieldIntelligence Group in August 2004.

In August 2005, he was named assistant special agent in charge in the Memphis Division.

Turner also served as deputy assistant director of the Information Technology Engineering Division at FBI headquarters.

Popular Immigration Activist, Jose Antonio Vargas, Arrested by Border Patrol in Texas

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Jose Antonio Vargas, who has won the Pulitzer Prize, is most known for his detailed chronicling of his life as a Filipino illegally living in the U.S.

The New York Times reports that Vargas was detained for most of the day by the Border Patrol.

One of the most high-profile advocates of immigration rights, Vargas was detained at a Border Patrol checkpoint in the airport as he prepared to board a flight in Texas.

His detainment comes as immigration becomes even more politically fraught in the midst of a crisis involving a flood of Central Americans crossing the border to flee violence.

Border Patrol later released Vargas, saying he had no immigration or criminal record.

Man: DEA Supplied Me With Crack Cocaine in Exchange for Help in Undercover Drug Probe

Correction: The story originally said the FBI instead of the DEA.
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com
The DEA  supplied a drug addict with crack cocaine in exchange for his help in an undercover drug investigation in Las Vegas, he claims in a lawsuit filed against the feds, the Associated Press reports.

Aaron Romero, 38, claims his previous crack addiction came roaring back after the DEA began giving him the drug to help in an investigation known as “Operation Smack City.”

Romero said he suffered emotional and physical harm.

“The United States government and the defendants affirmatively and intentionally established a pattern of distribution of crack cocaine to (Romero) in order to utilize his addiction to crack cocaine to further the investigation and to ‘stack drug related charges’ against him,” the lawsuit said, naming five DEA agents.

According to the lawsuit, the federal prosecutors dismissed drug charges against Romero in January in exchange for his participation.

The lawsuit claims the crack violated DEA policies.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Detroit’s Reputed Godfather Jack Tocco Dead at 87

Featured_jack_tocco_13369Jack Tocco

By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — Giacomo “Black Jack” Tocco, the reputed head of the Detroit Mafia for more than three decades, who kept a relatively low profile — more so than infamous mob brothers Vito and Anthony Giacalone —  died Monday night at age 87, mob expert Scott Burnstein of the Oakland Press reported.

Tocco, who was long suspected of having ties to the 1975 disappearance of James Hoffa, died of natural causes according to Bagnasco & Calcaterra Funeral Home in Sterling Heights. The funeral will be Friday.

Raised in the upscale Windmill Pointe section of Grosse Pointe Park, Tocco earned a finance degree from the University of Detroit In 1949, according to an entry in Wikipedia.

He went on to own businesses around the state and built an impressive real estate portfolio, all while managing to maintain a fairly low profile, particularly when it came to media attention. The Giacalone brothers, who were capos, and underlings of Tocco,  had far more recognizable names in Metro Detroit.

“Jack was very low-profile, highly intelligent and business savvy and really the opposite of what people would view as a typical gangster, the kind you see in movies and on television,” retired FBI agent Mike Carone told the Oakland Press.  “I think that’s why he was able to stay under the radar for such a long time and avoid a lot of the pitfalls of being a mob boss, such as violence and long prison sentences. He was one of the last of a dying era.”

Tocco’s only felony conviction came in 1998 in a major racketeering case, which sent him off to federal prison for two years. Before that, his only previous conviction was for attending an illegal cock fight, according to a history of the Detroit mob on the FBI’s website.

Burnstein writes that Tocco owned the Hazel Park Raceway for more than four decades. Last summer, FBI agents searched former property he owned in northern Oakland County, looking for Hoffa’s body. The search set off a circus-like atmosphere — replete with an army of FBI agents, the media and curious neighbors. The feds came up empty.

The tip came from the former second in command of the Detroit mob, Anthony “Tony Z” Zerilli, a now elderly man who was Tocco’s first cousin. Zerilli, who was in prison at the time of Hoffa’s disappearance, told the feds that he was informed of what happen to Hoffa after he left prison. He fell out of favor with the mob. 

Burnstein wrote:

Prior to his passing, Tocco was considered the most-tenured mob don in the United States, having taken power in 1979 at a ceremony the FBI photographed. He ruled unchallenged until his death, said Eric Straus, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan in the United States Department of Justice. Straus spent two decades investigating Tocco.

Retired FBI agent Greg Stejskal, in an interview with Deadline Detroit Tuesday night, recalled that June 11, 1979, was the very day that it was officially announced to made-members of the Detroit Mafia that Tocco was taking over as boss, replacing Tony Zerilli, who had lost his juice in the organization.

Stejskal said he was part of an FBI surveillance team that followed some mobsters, including Tocco and Vito Giacalone, to a barber shop on Gratiot in northern Macomb County.

FBI surveillance photo at in 1979 at game farm with Tocco in the middle.

The men exited the shop and  got into a van. Stejskal and his fellow agents followed the van to a game farm north of Chelsea.

The agents saw it was a big gathering, and Stejskal recalls thinking:

 “Whatever it is, it’s a big deal. The only people there were all made guys.”

He said he and another agent quietly went behind an archery target on the property that was owned at the time by reputed mobsters Antonio and Luigi Ruggirello.

“I had my camera with a 300 mm lense and I started taking pictures,” Stejskal said.

Eventually, from intelligence, the agents learned that the gathering officially marked the start of Tocco’s long reign as Detroit’s reputed Godfather. 

Also read story:

A Detroit Mob Photo by the FBI Surveillance Squad Captures History

 

Friends of Alleged Boston Marathon Bomber Accused of Dumping Backpack of Evidence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Friends of the alleged Boston Marathon bomber are accused of dumping a backpack belonging to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in an attempt to hide evidence against him, Reuters reports.

When the FBI approached the friends about the backpack, they “simultaneously” responded that it had been thrown into a dumpster, according to testimony against one of the friends, Azamat Tazhayakov, who has been charged with interfering with the investigation.

The friends told the FBI that the backpack was removed from Tsarnaev’s room three days after the attack.

They told me simultaneously that the backpack had been placed in the dumpster and that a refuse truck had removed the dumpster from the location the previous day,” FBI Special Agent John Walker said.

The backpack was later recovered in a landfill. Inside were fireworks with the gunpowder removed, a spiral notebook and a jar of Vaseline.