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Retired FBI Official Louie Frederick Allen Dies at 74

By Allan Lengel

Louie Frederick Allen, who worked for the FBI for nearly 26 years in various capacities including as head of the Newark Field Office, died last week (Oct. 15) at Samaritan Hospital in Troy, N.Y. He was 74.

Louie F. Allen

“Louie rose to the highest ranks of the FBI and never forgot that he was a public servant first and foremost,” said retired FBI official Andrew Arena, who heads the Detroit Crime Commission. “The mission of the FBI and the welfare of his employees were always first, he never thought of his own career.  That’s why he was so loved and respected throughout the Bureau. I will miss him terribly.”

A Pittsburgh native, Allen started his career with the FBI in 1978 and worked at field offices in the Mobile, Ala., Washington, D.C. and Cleveland. While at FBI headquarters, he was responsible for contingency plans and emergency response for special events such as the 1988 Democratic and Republican National Conventions and the 1989 Presidential Inauguration.

He was special agent in charge of the Albany Field Office before FBI Director Robert S. Mueller appointed him in 2002 as head of the Newark Field Office. Two years later, he retired from the FBI.

A Vietnam vet, he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force in 1969. That year he joined the Pittsburgh Police Department where he rose to rank of detective. From 1969 to 1976, he earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

In 1978, he joined the FBI. After he left the bureau in 2004, he took a post as chief of detectives for the Prosecutor’s Office of Essex County, New Jersey. He held that post until 2007.

He then joined the New York State government as director of Internal Affairs for the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. In January 2010, he was named the first African American Sergeant at Arms for the New York Senate.

“Louie was a true renaissance man who had an affinity for reading a myriad of books across genres,” said an obit published on the Bryce Funeral Home. “Louie was a dedicated sports fan, especially to his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers, and used his love of sports to mentor young people. As a man who travelled across the world, including an annual trip to Aruba with his beloved wife Peggie, Louie consistently found joy by spending time with his family and friends over a savory meal that almost always included chicken.”

He is survived by wife Peggie; sons, Deputy Sheriff Christopher B. Allen and Jonathan F. Allen, both of Cleveland; his grandchildren, Christopher B. Allen, Jr., Sydney N. Allen, Brandon L. Allen, Sophia A. Allen; his siblings, Richard C. Rhodes, Jr. and Dawn Allen; and several nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. He was predeceased by his brother, Theodore B. Jones. 

The funeral is set for Friday.

Retired ATF Official Bernard La Forest Dies of Covid at 80

By Allan Lengel

Bernard La Forest, a cop’s cop, who started his law enforcement career with the Detroit Police Department and eventually headed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) offices in cities including Detroit and Los Angeles, died Friday in Scottsdale, Az., from Covid. He was 80.

Bernard La Forest

“He was the best thing to happen to Detroit,” said James Culver, a retired ATF supervisor who worked with La Forest in the police department and ATF in Detroit. “He was a true law enforcement guy, not a phony. Behind how hard he was, seemingly, he was a very compassionate guy and very understanding of the mistakes cops can make. But he demanded professionalism.”

A Detroit native, La Forest served in the Navy before joining the Detroit Police Department in 1962. He then worked briefly for the Sterling Heights, Mich., Police Department before becoming an investigator for ATF in 1970 in Charleston, W. Va., the first of 13 assignments for the agency. 

From W. Virginia, he headed west to Los Angeles.

“Firearm and explosives crimes had rapidly surpassed liquor violations, and I transferred to Los Angeles, California as a member of ATF’s Bomb Scene Investigation Team,” La Forest wrote on his LinkedIn page.

Over time, besides Detroit, La Forest headed up ATF offices in New Orleans, Kansas City, Phoenix and Los Angeles. He retired in 1998 from ATF, but continued to work with law enforcement to help battle gun violence and illegal gun sales.

In the early 1980s and into the 1990s, he came and went from Detroit, on two different occasions heading up the ATF office there. In the early 1990s, he oversaw investigations into some of Detroit’s most notorious gangs including “Best Friends” and the Edward Hanserd organization.

“Bernie was a cop’s cop and an agent’s agent, but he was also more than that, he was a leader with vision,” Brandon said. “Thirty plus years ago, he knew firearms trafficking fueled violent gun crime, and he identified novel investigative techniques to augment ATF’s mission. He made our country a safer place, and I will be forever grateful to him for hiring me.”

La Forest as a cop in the 1960s

Even as a boss, La Forest wasn’t afraid to get out in the field and help in investigations of Detroit’s violent drug gangs. 

“He would come out there and work with us and he would work like he was one of the guys, one of my surveillance crews or whatever we were doing. And he knew what he was doing,” Culver said. 

La Forest stated in a bio:  

“Recruited by ATF as a contractor in 2000, I later served in that position between 2001 and 2007. The task concerned the development and implementation of a detailed method for the close examination and evaluation of all crime gun traces in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. Thousands of referrals went to ATF offices and other enforcement agencies in America and foreign countries. Those investigative leads dealt with falsified gun purchases, domestic and international trafficking in guns, as well as narcotics interdiction, terrorism, and many additional violent crimes.”

Wrote Three Novels

La Forest also showed another side, authoring three mystery novels.  

“As an author, I have relied on my experiences as a police officer, special agent, supervisor, and manager in my chosen profession,” he wrote in his bio. “My first three novels take place in many of the localities where I began my career in the profession in 1962—as a Detroit Police Officer. Detroit is my hometown and the city where I served as a uniformed law enforcement officer and federal agent.”

In a 2012 interview in the online law enforcement publication, ticklethewire.com, La Forest, who lived in Scottsdale, Az., said of his writing:

“I do not prepare an outline or chapter guide. However, I do spend a few months rolling potential plots around in my head. The first day that I begin writing is the most difficult. But, once I type the first paragraph . . .it’s off to the races. As you probably know, my novels are based loosely on a series format. I do not have one single hero or heroine, but rather, I lean on what I always believed. Most large law enforcement agencies . . . federal, state or local . . . have many characters working on complex investigation.”

“I get up around 6 a.m. every day and take the mountain bike into the desert behind our place. After four or five miles on the dirt trails on the backside of the McDowell Mountains, sometimes more, I clean up, watch the news, check out Stratfor.com, WSJ, AZCentral.com for local news, and the Detroit News and the Freep for hometown “stuff.” Then I station myself next to a twenty-four cup coffee urn with a free flowing spigot . . . around Ten o’clock. Then I begin—after opening pages in Wikipedia, Google Maps and others that will provide definitions or descriptive material . . . and, most importantly Dictionary/Thesaurus.com. I began writing A Matter of Lex Talionis on October 6th of last year. I finished in May of 2012. Review and editing took us . . . my two editors and me, another three months . . . including the galley which contains errors caused by the printing setup at the publisher.”

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Brenda; sons Bernie P. La Forest,  Matthew La Forest and daughters Renee La Forest, Alicia La Forest and Linda La Forest; and 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

La Forest requested there be no funeral and that he be cremated and his ashes spread over Tom’s Thumb trail in Scottsdale, Az. 

Michigan Judge Jonathan Tukel, an ex-Federal Prosecutor, Dies at 60

By Allan Lengel

Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Jonathan Tukel, a former federal prosecutor, died Friday. He was 60.

Jonathan Tukel

“Judge Tukel’s devotion to the rule of law and the constitution was surpassed only by his love and dedication to his family, friends and the University of Michigan, where he was an adjunct professor,” said Chief Judge Christopher M. Murray in a statement.

The cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

Tukel of Orchard Lake was appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 2017, and was later elected.

A graduate of University Michigan undegrad and law school, he joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1990 where he went on to become chief of the National Security Unit, overseeing counter-terrorism, terrorist-financing, export control and other programs.

Prior to joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Tukel was an associate at the law firm of Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn, where he focused on antitrust, labor, employment discrimination and wrongful termination and white collar criminal defense.

In 2012, he received the Attorney General Award from the Department of Justice for “Excellence in Furthering the Interest in U.S. National Security.” 

Kris Dighe, a former prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office wrote on Facebook:

“This news about my friend and former colleague saddens me. Jon was a bright and talented attorney who brought a ferocious dedication and sound judgment to everything he did.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Straus, a friend and former colleague said Saturday:

“Yesterday we lost a great friend, a great colleague and a great legal mind. He’ll be clearly missed by many.”  

Former U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade tweeted:

The passing of Judge Jonathan Tukel is a tremendous loss to our legal community and all of us who knew him. Jon was smart, funny, and deeply committed to the rule of law. Glad he got to see his beloved @umichfootball start the season undefeated.

He is survived by wife Sandra Tukel, children Steven Tukel, Henry Tukel and Andrew Tukel and sister  Susan Tukel and brother Daniel Tukel.

An outdoor funeral was held on Sunday in Birmingham, Mich.  

Retired FBI Agent Ronald Nesbitt Dies at 67

By Allan Lengel

Ronald A. Nesbitt, who retired in 2006 from the FBI as a special agent in charge of Counterintelligence and Counter-proliferation in the Washington Field Office, died on July 29 in Montgomery County, Md., after a battle with cancer. He was 67.

Ronald A. Nesbitt

“At the wake and funeral, people talked about his love of God, family, co-workers and neighbors,” his brother-in-law Roger Chesley tells ticklethewire.com. “Many called him a patient mentor, willing to listen to concerns from colleagues and provide advice.” 

Nesbitt, who was an affable and caring person, joined the FBI in 1980 and moved around to different offices. In 1991, he was assigned to the Espionage Unit, Counterintelligence Division where he served as the FBI’s liaison to the State Department and the CIA. In 1994, he was assigned to the Inspection Division as an assistant inspector.

He moved on to become a supervisory special agent in Newark, where he managed a Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). From 1997-1999 he served as a unit chief, responsible for internal investigations of FBI personnel.

Then in 1999, he headed west to become an assistant special agent in charge in Seattle office where he managed the Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence and the Organized Crime/Drug Programs. He established two JTTFs in Seattle and Spokane. In 2003, he returned east to take the SAC job in the Washington Field Office. He retired from the bureau in 2006.

“I knew that I had to make a decision while I was still relatively young, while I was attractive to the private sector and not much later in my career,” Nesbitt told CNN in 2006, explaining his reason for leaving the bureau.

After departing, he was named chief security officer for GE Security, a division of General Electric’s GE Enterprise Solutions. He worked there for five years before going on to work security-related jobs at other companies including Enterprise Solutions and the Mason-Harriman Group.

Born on Jan. 4, 1954 at Walter Reed Hospital in D.C., he spent some formative years in France and Germany because his father was in the military. He returned to D.C. in 1967 at age 13.

He ran track in junior high and went on to attend Howard University in D.C. where he earned a psychology degree. In 1975, a year before graduation, he worked as a statistical clerk for the FBI. Nesbitt later earned a certificate in public administration from the University of Southern California.

Nesbitt was active in NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives) and his Catholic church parish. He enjoyed biking, jogging, watching pro football and making home improvements.

He doted on his three daughters, who are now 37, 35 and 22.

“He was very protective and supportive of his family,” Chesley, his brother-in-law, said.

“Ron was opinionated and liked to debate the topics of the day, from leadership, to race relations in America, to raising young women,” said Chesley.

He married Chesley’s sister, Brenda Chesley in December 1976.

While they dated, Chesley said he knew it was a good fit.

“I knew my sister was in love with him when she didn’t protest how he sped down Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast D.C., when I was still a teen in the mid-70s,” Chesley said. “Brenda acted like everything was just fine.”

Jeffrey R. Downey Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s El Paso Field Office

FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffery R. Downey

By Steve Neavling

Jeffery R. Downey, who was serving as a section chief for the Critical Incident Response Group for the FBI, has been named special agent in charge of the El Paso Field Office in Texas. 

Downey’s career as a special agent with the FBI began in 2003, when he was assigned to the Buffalo Field Office in New York. He was transferred to the Augusta Resident Agency of the Atlanta Field Office in 2006. In both field offices, Downey investigated violent crime, gang, criminal enterprise, and public corruption investigations. 

In 2007, Downey worked an 18-month assignment as a supervisory special agent in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., working on the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Fusion Center Task Force. 

In 2009, Downey moved to the Detroit Field Office, where he was promoted to supervisory special agent and put in charge of the Organized Crime Squad. A year later, he began supervising the office’s Public Corruption and Civil Rights Squad. In 2013, Downey became the senior supervisory resident agent in charge of the Oakland County Resident Agency. 

In 2016, Downey was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit office, where he oversaw the criminal, crisis management, and mission services branches, which included specialty teams such as SWAT, the special agent bomb technicians, the crisis negotiators, and the Evidence Response Team. 

In 2020, Downey returned to FBI headquarters as section chief of CIRG’s Crisis Management and Intelligence Coordination Section. 

Before joining the bureau, Downey served as a special agent with the Secret Service. He earned a bachelor’s degree from John Carroll University.  

Janeen DiGuiseppi Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Albany Field Office

Special FBI Agent Janeen DiGuiseppi

By Steve Neavling

Janeen DiGuiseppi, who was serving as the deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Training Division, has been named special agent in charge of the bureau’s Albany Field Office in New York. 

DiGuisepp’s career as an FBI special agent began in 1999, when she was assigned to the Salt Lake City Field Office, investigating violent crimes, drugs and public corruption.

In 2008, DiGuiseppi became assistant legal attaché in Baghdad and supervised the FBI’s Major Crimes Task Force. She returned to Salt Lake City a year later and was assigned to the DEA’s Drug Diversion Task Force.

In 2010, she was promoted to supervisory special agent as the FBI’s biometric lead in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In 2012, DiGuiseppi supervised the civil rights and public corruption programs and the Violent Crimes Against Children/Child Exploitation Task Force at the Memphis Field Office in Tennessee.

In 2014, she became assistant section chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters before serving as the chief of staff to the division’s assistant director. 

In 2016, DiGuiseppi was named assistant section chief of the Transnational Organized Crime – Eastern Hemisphere Section, managing domestic and international programs with a focus on organized crime and major theft.

In 2017, DiGuiseppi was named assistant special agent in charge in the Denver Field Office, where she oversaw the intelligence and surveillance programs, the Rocky Mountain Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory, and the Wyoming resident agencies.

In 2019, DiGuiseppi became section chief of the FBI Training Division’s Curriculum Management Section and was promoted to deputy assistant director a year later.

Ms. DiGuiseppi received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida, a master’s degree from Western New England College, and a master’s degree from Florida International University. Before joining the bureau,  DiGuiseppi served as an officer in the United States Air Force

Michael J. Driscoll Named Assistant Director of New York Field Office

Special FBI Agent Michael J. Driscoll.

By Steve Neavling

Michael J. Driscoll, who most recently headed the FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office, has been named assistant director of the New York Field Office. 

Driscoll is no stranger to the New York Field Office, where he began his career as a special agent in 1996, investigating terrorism cases. He helped investigate al Qaeda conspirators involved in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the 9/11 attacks. 

Driscoll earned an Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in 2002 for his work on the al Qaeda cases and the 1998 embassy bombings.

In 2003, Driscoll was transferred to FBI headquarters to serve as the bureau’s representative to the al Qaeda Department of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.

In 2005, Driscoll returned to the New York Field Office, where he headed the squad tasked with extraterritorial investigations in Africa. He also led the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts in the New York Hudson Valley region and was later promoted to the coordinating supervisory special agent for New York’s Counterterrorism Program.

In 2013, Driscoll was named assistant legal attaché for London, where he oversaw the Cyber Program and working closely with U.K. law enforcement and intelligence services. In 2016, he became assistant special agent in charge of Philadelphia’s counterintelligence and cyber programs.

In 2018, he returned to FBI headquarters, serving as the chief of the Violent Crime Section, which leads the FBI’s Crimes Against Children Program, as well as efforts to combat violent crime and gang-related violence.

In 2019, Driscoll was promoted to special agent in charge of New York’s Criminal Division and later began to lead New York’s Counterintelligence and Cyber Division.

Driscoll was named special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office in 2020. 

Before joining the FBI, Driscoll worked as an attorney in commercial litigation. He’s a graduate of the State University of New York in Albany, and he received his law degree from Hofstra University School of Law in Hempstead, N.Y.

The FBI announced three other appointments on Wednesday.

Jennifer L. Moore was named assistant director of the Security Division at FBI headquarters. Christine O’Neill was named assistant director of the Human Resources Division at FBI’s headquarters. And Timothy M. Dunham was named assistant director of the Training Division.

James ‘Robert’ Brown Named Assistant Director of FBI’s Operational Technology Division

FBI Agent James “Robert” Brown

By Steve Neavling

James “Robert” Brown, who served as special agent in charge of the FBI’s Louisville Field Office since 2018, has been named assistant director of the Operational Technology Division at FBI headquarters. 

The division uses technology to beef up the bureau’s intelligence, national security and law enforcement operations. 

Brown’s career as a special agent with the FBI began in 2002 in the Miami Field Office, where he initially investigated organized crime and served on the SWAT team and as a firearms instructor. 

In 2007, Brown was transferred to the Washington Field Office, serving on the Attorney General’s Protective Detail.

Brown became supervisory special agent in 2009 and later served as chief of the Transfer Unit in the Human Resources Division at headquarters.

In 2011, Brown was promoted to head the Raleigh Resident Agency, a satellite of the Charlotte Field Office in North Carolina, where he led investigations targeting gangs and public corruption, led the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and supervised terrorism investigations and the weapons of mass destruction program.

In 2014, Brown was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the Columbia Field Office in South Carolina, where he oversaw the bureau’s investigation of a mass shooting at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston in 2015.

In 2016, Mr. Brown was promoted to section chief in the Criminal Investigative Division at headquarters, where he investigated transnational criminal organizations based in the Western Hemisphere. 

In 2017, he became deputy assistant director for the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.

Brown graduated from The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina. He also earned a master’s degree in public administration from Norwich University. 

Before joining the FBI, he was a deputy sheriff for nine years.