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FBI

Man Gets Probation for Taking Hostage by Knifepoint at FBI Office in Salt Lake City

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man who took a hostage at gunpoint at the FBI’s office in Salt Lake City in an attempt to get help from the bureau has been sentenced to three years of probation, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports.

Robert Joseph Hibbard, 43, avoided jail in a plea agreement with prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty but mentally ill

Hibbard pleaded guilty but mentally ill to second-degree kidnapping, which is a reduced charge following the August 2012 incident.

Hibbard was found competent to stand trial.

The incident happened on Sept. 18, 2012, when Hibbard took a 61-year-old man hostage with a knife and demanded to talk to the FBI about his former wife’s death.

FBI Busts Training Facility for Pit Bulls As Part of Cocaine Investigation in South Carolina

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agents listening to wiretaps of alleged cocaine dealers in South Carolina discovered a large training facility for fighting pit bulls in Lexington County, the Charlotte Observer reports.

During the raid, agents seized 48 pit bills, many of them emaciated and tied to chains outside.

On Oct. 1, the same investigation prompted the seizure of 35 dogs, in addition to guns, drugs and cash.

One of the suspects, Eric Dean “Big E” Smith, 41, of Gaston, is accused of selling cocaine.

According to the FBI, Smith was  “heavily involved in breeding dogs for the purpose of dogfighting.”

“Intercepts and physical surveillance have revealed that Smith stores cocaine and over 30 dogs at (his) residence.”

The discovery of dogs is part of an investigation into a Columbia area gang cocaine operation.

Veteran FBI Agent with Doctorate in Physical Chemistry to Take Over San Diego Field Office

Eric S. Birnbaum

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI agent Eric S. Birnbaum, a 26-year-veteran of the bureau, will take over San Diego’s field office.

The Times of San Diego reports that Birnbaum has been named to succeed Daphne Hearn, who retired in August.

Birnbaum has a bachelor’s degree in math from Miami University in Ohio and a doctorate in physical chemistry from Stanford University in Palo Alto.

Since beginning his FBI career in 1988, Birnbaum has worked in the FBI Laboratory, the Inspection Division and the field offices in Washington, San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Birnbaum supervised a white-collar squad in San Diego.

Homeland Security Chief: Fewer Immigrants Crossing Border But Threat of Terrorism Exists

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said fewer immigrants are crossing the border because of increased security efforts, but he emphasized that other threats require a strong law enforcement presence, the Arizona Capitol Times reports.

The good news is that illegal immigration is falling.

“Put simply, it’s now much harder to cross our border and evade capture than it used to be, and people know that,” he said.

But Johnson warned about getting complacent because of the dangers involving homegrown extremists.

“People who leave their own country … link up with some extreme elements and then return to this country,” Johnson said of Westerners who join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a militant Islamist army currently waging war in those countries.

“In many respects, that’s the terrorist threat that I worry most about because it’s the hardest to detect,” he said.

FBI Offers $5,000 Reward in Search for High-Powered Guns Stolen from Agent’s Car

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of two high-powered weapons and body armor from an FBI agent’s car in North Carolina, WSOCTV.com reports.

The shotgun and rifle were stolen from the agent’s car sometime between midnight and 8 a.m. Monday in the Hunter Oaks neighborhood.

The agent was permitted to keep his weapons in his car because he is part of a special response team that must be ready to respond around-the-clock.

It’s still unclear how the vehicle was broken into.

“No windows were broken,” said John Strong, who is the special agent in charge of the Charlotte Division. “The weapons were in individual canvas bags and locked in the trunk, as required by policy.”

 

Why Would Someone Ambush, Shoot 2 Pennsylvania State Troopers? Special Agent Offers Insight

Eric Frein

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

It’s still anyone’s guess why someone would ambush two Pennsylvania state troopers and then shoot them with a high-caliber rifle on Sept. 12.

One special agent with the FBI offered some insight into the suspect – 31-year-old Eric Matthew Frein.

Frein lived with his parents and likely was unsatisfied with life, said Ed Hanko, special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI. He played in military re-enactments and may have wanted to fulfill one of those roles.

“We want to arrest this person,”  Hanko said, adding later, “We have the who, the what, the where. We want the why.”

After the attack, Frein took cover in the woods and has been missing since.

New Technology Will Enable Law Enforcement Officers to Quickly Analyze DNA Swabs

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Awaiting DNA results can be frustrating for law enforcement.

But the FBI hopes to change that by expediting the process using the government’s new biometric identification database, Biometric Update reports.

The FBI is accelerating the collection of DNA profiles for the Next Generation Identification System. Law enforcement officers will be able to take DNA swabs from suspects using a portable machine that is designed to create matches within 90 minutes.

That means officers will be able to run tests while temporarily detaining a suspect.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that police officers have the right to capture and analyze a cheek swab just like they have the right to take fingerprints or photographs.

Retired FBI Special Agent Becomes Chief of Huntington Police Department in West Virginia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Joe Ciccarelli, a retired FBI special agent, is taking over as the Huntington Police Department’s new police chief, Metro News reports.

Ciccarelli got his start in law enforcement with the Huntington Police Department in West Virginia.

“Joe Ciccarelli understands our city, our opportunities and our challenges,” Huntington Mayor Steve Williams said in a release. “He is equipped to move our police department forward immediately. His career path is familiar to me. He began his career here and advanced through the ranks to the highest levels of his given profession, all the while having an eye on coming home.”

Ciccarelli joined the FBI in 1984.

“I hope to translate the experience I’ve gained in various assignments throughout my career into positive results for the police department and the city,” he said. “The brave men and women of the Huntington Police Department deserve the best leadership possible and all my efforts will be directed toward seeing that they get that every day.”

U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said Huntington made a good choice.

“I have known and worked with Joe Ciccarelli for many years during his time as a special agent with the FBI,” Goodwin said. “He has long been a leader in the law enforcement community in southern West Virginia. Joe has a unique ability to bring agencies together in pursuit of a common goal. Mayor Williams made a great choice.”