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June 2021


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Veteran Detroit ATF Agent Kim Marie Battle Dies at Age 47

By Allan Lengel

Kim Battle

DETROIT — Kim Marie Battle, a veteran ATF agent in Detroit, mother of a 12-year-old daughter,  and a loyal fan of local Detroit sports teams, died early this month after battling breast cancer. She was 47.

Her motto was: “Courage is being afraid, but going on anyhow.”

Battle came from a family tradition of law enforcement. Her father, Richard “Dick” Newcomb was a Detroit Police detective for more than 32 years.

Her father encouraged her to enter law enforcement. She began her career as a pre-trial specialist at Recorder’s Court in downtown Detroit.

According to close friend Jennifer Granzow , she was humbled by the responsibility of serving the citizens.

She grew up in Southwest Detroit, graduated Bishop Borgess High School and Wayne State University.

Friends says she was a a loyal fan of the Michigan Wolverines, Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings.

People who knew her say she enjoyed spending time with family, friends and her four-legged “girls”  (her three dogs). Kim was a member of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Livonia, Mich.

Kim is survived by her mother, Marie Josephine Newcomb, and her daughter Delaney Marie Battle.

“Kim’s daughter was the light of her life,” said Granzow. “Delaney is a loving, resilient and delightful twelve year old. She was by Kim’s side throughout her struggle and reminded all at the memorial, that those closest to Kim are ‘thankful that God has taken Kim out of her battle with cancer.’”

Granzow added: “Kim was better than a sister. I miss her.”

Bernard La Forest, the former head of the Detroit ATF Division, who hired Battle, wrote:

“One of my heroes, Kim “Newcomb” Battle has taken the walk … those sacred steps we must all tread someday. She was true to what her last name bespoke—a tenacious fighter. To the law enforcement profession she loved so much, she was a proud member. A Senior Special Agent with ATF, Kim battled breast cancer with grit and firm resolve. It was not unlike how her father faced off against his life-ending illness. Richard “Dick” Newcomb, was a retired DPD Detective. Kim, Dick, and my own DPD partner and brother—Paul La Forest, have provided us with gallant benchmarks on how one projects strength and dignity when the end is in sight. God bless them all!”

“Kim and her dad were “solid blue through-and-through'”

The American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, will be held in Livonia on June 8  and “Kim’s Battle Brigade,” will be there to honor her memory. (For information on that click here.)

Those who have a memory of Kim they’d like to share with her daughter, please send a postcard, note or photo for a memory book for Delaney to: Attn: Ms. Jennifer Granzow, P.O. Box 372, Plainwell, MI 49080.

A trust has been created for Delaney. Contributions may be sent to the  P.O. Box above.


New $120 Million FBI Headquarters Joins Tech Giants in Sorrento Valley, Calif.

Steve Neavling 

The FBI has moved into a massive glass complex in Sorrento Valley, Calif.

San Diego’s new headquarters opened among technology and biotech giants who have made that area popular.

The $120 million complex was aimed at improving security and providing ample space for the 400 or so special agents and other staff at the FBI, U-T San Diego reports.

Today is the first official day of business in the building.

The moment will be celebrated with a flag-raising ceremony.

Did California Nuclear Plan Intentionally Mislead Federal Regulators? Senator Wants FBI to Investigate

Steve Neavling 

California Sen. Barbara Boxer is urging the Justice Department to investigate whether the operator of a now-defunct nuclear plant in California intentionally deceived federal regulators, the Associated Press reports.

A small radiation leak forced the closure of the plant between Los Angeles and San Diego in January 12, and it hasn’t operated since. 

Boxer, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, says she’s discovered a 2004 internal memo that indicates Southern California Edison misled the Nuclear Regulatory Commission about design changes to the plant’s generators.

Sequestration Forces Border Patrol to Conserve Gas, Reduce Vehicles on Patrol

Steve Neavling 

The sequestration is taking a toll on Border Patrol protection as agents begin rationing fuel and use fewer cars for patrol, reports.

“We’ll have the same number of agents — just fewer vehicles,” said Rob Russell of the National Border Patrol Council.

Russell, who works with the local El Paso area union, said two agents, instead of one, often are occupying a vehicle to conserve gas.

“This is one of the first times we’ve seen it this severe where they’re going to start doubling up agents. We’ve never had to do this,” said Russell, who has been with the Border Patrol for 15 years.

Agents also are being asked to shut off their vehicles while doing surveillance.

Ross Parker: DEA Responds Rapidly to Chinese Chemists and Designer Drugs

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

By Ross Parker

In my two-part series I recently noted how rapidly Chinese chemists can react once one of their designer drugs is made illegal. They do this by tweaking the chemical combination and modifying them to arguably place them outside of the ambit of the new law. DEA showed last week that they can act rapidly also by temporarily scheduling three synthetic cannabinoids as Schedule I controlled substances. This action will make any manufacture, distribution or possession of these substances illegal.

The temporary scheduling is for a period of two years. The substances, the latest generation of so-called “fake pot,” were designated as UR-144, XLR11, and AKB48 and have been falsely marketed on the internet and in some stores as herbal incense or potpourri. The DEA preliminary investigation determined that the drugs were being consumed especially by teens and young people with some serious medical effects. DEA concluded that the drugs posed an imminent hazard to the public safety.

Normally the investigation which precedes temporary scheduling can take up to two years as DEA checks on the prevalence, medical danger, and other circumstances surrounding the drug under consideration. However, as noted in the article, the speed with which these dangerous drugs can be designed, manufactured, and marketed, has required a faster response. In this case the agency is believed to have completed its study in a number of months

This development, along with some litigation the last few months, illustrate the need proposed in the special report for legislative reform, action by the public, and more resources for law enforcement in this rapidly evolving area. No doubt the Chinese chemists have already replaced these drugs with others equally deadly to fill their customers’ orders.


FBI Distributes Child Porn as Part of Unusual Sting to Identify Users in Washington State

Steve Neavling

The FBI has disseminated child porn as part of a controversial, unorthodox sting in western Washington state.

After seizing a child pornography service last year, Nebraska-based agents decided to continue operating the service to catch users, the Seattle Post Intelligencer reports.

According to the newspaper, the bureau kept the service open for about two weeks in hopes of nabbing more than 5,000 customers who distribute the images of child being raped and abused. 

It’s unclear whether the FBI has ever dealt child pornography as part of an investigation.

The investigation is in its infancy and has not yet resulted in an arrest, the Intelligencer reported.

“This remains an ongoing investigation, and local court rules and Department of Justice policy prohibit me from providing more information at this time,” said Sandy Breault, spokeswoman for the FBI Omaha Division. “As in any given matter, if charges are filed, they will eventually become a matter of public record.”

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