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Former CBP Official Sentenced to 31 Months in Prison for Illegally Selling Guns

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former CBP watch commander who operated an illegal gun-selling business and committed other crimes while serving in law enforcement was sentenced Monday to 31 months in prison.

Wei Xu, 58, pleaded guilty in July to four felonies, including unlawfully dealing in firearms, possessing unregistered firearms, lying to a federal agency, and tax evasion, NBC News reports.

Prosecutors said Xu exploited his position as a law enforcement officer to buy and sell off-roster handguns. He also admitted to selling nearly 100 guns over two decades without a federal license, as required by law.

“Mr. Xu betrayed his oath to uphold the laws of the United States solely to put more money in his pocket,” Nick Hanna, the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, said in a statement.

Xu’s attorney, Mark J. Werksman, said described the sentence as fair and said his CBP service convinced a judge to reduce his prison time by a year.

Xu began working with CBP in 2004 and has been on administrative leave from his position at the Long Beach Seaport in California. He likely will be fired, Werksman said.

Brian C. Turner Named Assistant Director of the Operational Technology Division at FBI Headquarters

Brian C. Turner, via FBI

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Brian C. Turner, who recently served as the special agent in charge of the New Haven Field Office in Connecticut, has been named assistant director of the Operational Technology Division at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C.

The Operational Technology Division “provides technology-based solutions to enable and enhance the FBI’s intelligence, national security, and law enforcement operations,” the FBI said in a news release announcing the appointment.

Turner joined the FBI in 2002 as a special agent. His first assignment was with the Philadelphia Field Office, where he investigated white-collar crimes and criminal enterprises and supported surveillance operations.

Turner was deployed to Iraq in 2008 to support “FBI operational priorities” in the region.

After returning to the U.S. later that year, Turner served with the Fly Team of the Counterterrorism Division at headquarters, where he routinely traveled to Africa as part of the division’s overseas mission to combat global terrorism.

In 2012, Turner transferred to the Tucson Resident Agency of the Phoenix Field Office, supervising a criminal enterprise squad that targeted Mexican drug cartels along the U.S. border. He later supervised the Tucson Joint Terrorism Task Force.

In January 2016, Turner was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of criminal and administrative programs in the Minneapolis Field Office. In 2017, he became section chief in the International Operations Division at headquarters, overseeing the FBI’s legal attaché operations in Europe, Eastern Europe, and Eurasia.

In 2018, FBI Director Christopher Wray named him SAC of the New Haven Field Office.

Before joining the FBI, Turner earned a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and served in the U.S. Army for about a decade. Turner also taught at West Point and earned a master’s degree from Long Island University.

Rodney Scott Named New Border Patrol Chief, Replacing Carla Provost

New Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Trump administration has chosen Rodney Scott to lead the U.S. Border Patrol, replacing Carla Provost, who is retiring.

Scott, who most recently led the San Diego Sector, is a 27-year veteran of the agency.

CBP’s Acting Commissioner Mark A. Morgan lauded Scott for his integrity and experience.

“Chief Scott is the absolute embodiment of the U.S. Border Patrol’s ‘Honor First’ motto, and I am confident that under his leadership, the men and women of the Border Patrol will be well served, the laws of this nation will be enforced, and our borders will be secured,” Morgan said in a statement.

Scott joined Border Patrol in 1992, serving at the Imperial Beach Station in San Diego, Calif. During his career, he’s held various leadership positions, including chief patrol agent of the El Centro Sector; deputy chief patrol agent at San Diego Sector; patrol agent in charge at the Brown Field Station in San Diego Sector; assistant chief in CBP’s Office of Anti-Terrorism in Washington, D.C.; and director/division chief for the Incident Management and Operations Coordination Division at CBP headquarters.

Read Morgan’s full statement here.

Border Agents Find Liquid Meth inside Gas Tank of Chevy Truck Driven by American

Liquid meth found inside a gas tank. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

CBP agents arrested a 36-year-old American citizen after finding 222 pounds of liquid meth hidden inside the gas tank of his Chevrolet Silverado at the Calexico East port of entry in California.

A CBP canine team alerted agents to the gas tank about 11 p.m. on Tuesday, CBP says in a news release.

When the gas tank was removed, agents found a strange liquid that was beginning to crystalize. The substance tested positive for methamphetamine.

“Drug trafficking organizations have one goal in mind, which is to get their product across,” Sergio Beltran, CBP officer in charge, says. “Concealing narcotics in gas tanks is one tactic and by utilizing our layered enforcement, we were able to stop this before it plagued our communities.”

The driver was arrested and turned over to ICE agents.

The meth has a street value of $266,000, CBP says.

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Story of Jack Ruby

CBP Officers were Directed to Detain Iranian Americans at Border, Officer Alleges

Border Crossing in Blaine, Washington, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

CBP officers were ordered to detain and question Iranian Americans at the Canadian Border after Iranian general Qasem Soleimani was killed in U.S. airstrikes, a CBP officer claims in an email to an immigration attorney, CNN reports.

The allegations contradict CBP’s official denial that officers were ordered to stop and question Iranian Americans at a border crossing in Blaine, Wash.

Dozens of Iranian Americans said they were detained and questioned at the border crossing following the killing of Soleimani.

In a Jan. 5 statement, CBP spokesman Matt Leas said “social media posts that CBP is detaining Iranian-Americans and refusing their entry into the U.S. because of their country of origin are false. Reports that DHS/CBP has issued a related directive are also false.”

The unnamed CBP officer who alleged there was a directive to stop and question Iranian Americans said the actions ended, but only after the issue “hit the national news.”

DOJ Says Surveillance of Carter Page Should Have Ended Earlier

Carter Page, former campaign advisor for Donald Trump.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department says it lacked sufficient evidence to continue surveilling former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2017.

The department revealed its assessment that it should have ended the surveillance sooner in a December letter to the Foreign Surveillance Court, which oversees surveillance of suspected foreign spies.

The letter, which was made public Thursday and obtained by Reuters, suggested the DOJ lacked probable cause to continue wiretapping Page.

The letter follows a review by the DOJ’s internal watchdog that concluded the FBI left out evidence evidence and went too far in its investigation of possible links between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Border Patrol Agent Arrested on Charges of Repeatedly Molesting Stepdaughter

Michael William Barends via Brewster County Sheriff’s Office.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent in Texas has been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting a child more than 20 times, beginning when she was 12 years old.

Michael William Barends was arrested Friday by the Brewster County Sheriff’s Office on allegations he molested his stepdaughter from January 2015 to June 2019, the Washington Examiner reports.

Barends was a supervisor with the Big Bend Sector and worked with immigrant children after working with the agency in Detroit and Yuma, Arizona.

Barends, who was known as “Chicken Little” because of his glasses, was released Tuesday on a $200,000 bond.