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FBI Searches Well for Victims of Speed Freak Killers in California

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is searching for the remains of more victims of the Speed Freak Killers in a well in San Joaquin County in California, not far from a site where at least four people were found, the Mercury News reports.

Federal authorities expect the excavation of up to 50 feet will take two weeks.

The FBI took over the excavation from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department, which mishandled the operation, Mercury News reported.

The Speed Freak Killers are Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog, who are accused of a methamphetamine-fueled killing spree in the 1980s and ’90s.

“We all remain hopeful that our efforts at this site will ultimately return the remains of victims to their loved ones, but know that such is not a certainty,” Herbert H. Brown, special agent in charge of the Sacramento Division of the FBI, said Monday. “Our hearts go out to the many families who hope that this excavation may bring closure to their long, painful wait for the return of their loved ones. We will not recklessly speculate; our goal is to offer incontrovertible fact to our law enforcement partners, the families of the missing and the public.”

Appeals Court Refuses to Overturn 1984 Marijuana Conviction over Mobster Whitey Bulger’s Information

Whitey Bulger/fbi

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A large-scale marijuana dealer who claims FBI agents lied in court to protect longtime informant and mobster James “Whitey” Bulger won’t receive a new trial, the Boston Globe reports.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First District refused Monday to overturn the 1984 conviction of Michael F. Murray, saying the evidence was overwhelming.

“In rejecting this petition, we in no way excuse or condone the FBI’s illicit involvement with Whitey Bulger,” the court wrote, according to the Boston Globe. “But the connection to Murray’s 1984 conviction, for a crime he did commit, is too attenuated to support his petition.”

Bulger tipped off the FBI about the marijuana because he wasn’t getting a cut of the profits, the Globe reported.

Murray, now 61, argued the case should have been tossed because Bulger’s involvement wasn’t properly disclosed.

FBI Paid Informants $500,000, Ignored Crimes in Weak Racketeering Case, Defense Lawyer Argued

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI spent more than $500,000 on informants and ignored their crimes to build a racketeering case that has “been on life support” for years, a veteran mob attorney said Monday, the Associated Press reports.

During closing arguments for the trial involving La Cosa Nostra under reputed boss Joseph “Uncle Joe” Ligambi, defense attorney Edwin Jacobs Jr. said the FBI’s case is shoddy.

“Things changed in 1999. They just don’t want to admit it. This indictment … has no guns, no knives, no explosives, no beatings, no killings,” Jacobs said, the AP reported. “You got nothing but some gambling talk and a couple of angry conversations.”

Deliberations are expected to begin today.

Prosecutors accuse Ligambi of operating an illegal enterprise centered on loansharking, sports betting and illegal video poker machines, the AP wrote. Anyone who didn’t pay up were threatened to be chopped up.

“The defense wants you to believe everyone in South Philadelphia talks like that every day of the week. That’s an insult to your intelligence,” Assistant U.S. Attorney John Han told jurors Monday.

Closing arguments concluded three months of testimony.

Feds Spend More Money on Immigrant Enforcement Than All Other Crimes Combined

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The federal government spends more money on immigrant enforcement than all other law enforcement agencies combined, the Huffington Post reports.

The U.S. spent nearly $18 billion in the 2012 fiscal year on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and US-Visit, an effort to help local authorities identify undocumented immigrants, the Huffington Post wrote.

That’s compared to $14.4 billion spent on the federal governments other prime law enforcement agencies – the FBI, DEA, Secret Services, U.S. Marshal Service and ATF, according to the Huffington Post.

It’s no surprise because ICE and CBP handled more suspects than the other agencies combined.

The federal government’s focus on immigration enforcement has increased steadily since the mid-1980s.

Former Border Patrol Agent Charged with Sexually Assaulting Girl for Years

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former South Texas cop who was charged recently with sexually assaulting an underage girl for seven years previously was a U.S. Border Patrol agent, the Associated Press reports.

Jaime Ocanas, 33, used to be assigned at the Border Patrol’s Rio Grande City station. From December 2007 until he was fired Dec. 17, Ocanas worked for the police force at the McAllen Independent School District in South Texas from December 2007 until he was fired Dec. 17, the AP wrote.

Ocanas is accused of sexually assaulting a girl from the age 11 to 18, from November 1998 to November 2004.

Police arrested Ocanas on Jan. 2.

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ATF’s Scott Sweetow Heads North to Minnesota

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Scott Sweetow, head of the Atlanta ATF Division, is moving on to the Midwest to head up the St. Paul Division, which includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Sweetow, who began his career with ATF in 1990 in Los Angeles, spent several years assigned in the Arson and Explosives group, and served as a Certified Explosives Specialist. His duties included being part of ATF’s elite National Response Team, which investigated such high-profile crimes as the Oklahoma City bombing and the Centennial Olympic Park bombings.

He also spent several years working criminal intelligence matters, including a weapons case targeting the “The Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman’s one time driver and bodyguard, Hikmat Alharahshah.

Specifically, in 1999, Sweetow became a supervisory special agent in the Phoenix Field Division, serving in operations and as violent crime enforcement group supervisor.

In 2003, he went to ATF headquarters where he served in the Policy Development and Evaluation branch, eventually becoming its chief. In July of that year, he became the first ATF agent to “deploy operationally to Iraq”, assisting the Defense Intelligence Agency as part of the Iraq Survey Group.

In 2004, Sweetow was promoted to a deputy division chief and later chief in the Arson, Explosives and International Training Division in ATF’s Training and Professional Development directorate. He remained there until December 2006.

While division chief, Sweetow was instrumental in establishing ATF’s $50 million National Center for Explosives Training and Research at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.

In January 2007, Sweetow became an Assistant Special Agent in Charge in the Atlanta Field Division and later went on to become the SAC in Atlanta.

He has a bachelor’s degree in Russian and Soviet Area Studies and a masters in Strategic Intelligence. He is a graduate of Harvard University’s Senior Executives in National and International Security program and the FBI’s Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar.

In 2009, Scott he published an article in “Homeland Security Today” entitled “After Mumbai: Facing the Flames” which dealt with the use of fire as an asymmetric warfare tool by terrorists.

 

San Antonio Cop Accused of Planting Drugs, Demanding Cash from Crime Victim

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A San Antonio Police officer faces federal charges after his own department arrested him on accusations of planting false evidence and demanding cash from a crime victim, KHOU.com reports.

The joint sting operation by the police department and FBI led to Officer Curtis W. Lundy’s arrest Thursday .

The incident happened on Dec. 15 after Kumail Jusab of East Africa told authorities he was assaulted at an apartment.

When Lundy arrived, he demanded money and searched Jusab’s car, where he planted pot and threatened to arrest the man, police allege, according to KHOU.com.

“He kept telling me also, ‘You want your license? You know, you want your record to be clean? It’s only $400,’ and he wanted $400 on the spot. And I didn’t have the money on me.” Jusab told KHOU.com.

Editorial: ATF Needs More Authority to Stop Illegal Gun Sales

Newsday
Editorial

Congress should unshackle the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the fight against illegal guns. Restrictions on the bureau’s activities are hobbling efforts to combat firearms trafficking and reduce the day-to-day gun violence plaguing the nation.

Americans have a constitutional right to own guns. And licensed gun dealers who operate legally must have nothing to fear from regulators. But most guns that find their way into the hands of madmen and criminals begin that journey in a legal sale. Better policing of the border between legal and illegal ownership is just common sense.

The first thing the Senate should do is confirm a permanent director for the ATF. It hasn’t had one since 2006, when Congress, nudged by gun-rights lobbyists, made Senate confirmation necessary. Since then neither Republican George W. Bush nor Democrat Barack Obama managed to find a nominee who could successfully run that gantlet.

To read more click here.

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