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Biden Taps Ed Gonzalez, a Texas Sheriff, to Head ICE

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has been nominated to head ICE.

By Steve Neavling

President Joe Biden plans to nominate Ed Gonzalez, a Texas sheriff and outspoken critic of Donald Trump’s immigration policies, to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the White House announced Tuesday.

Gonzalez was elected sheriff of Harris County, which includes Houston, in 2016 and reelected in 2020. 

Gonzalez will likely face opposition from Republicans during his Senate confirmation hearing, which has not yet been set. 

ICE has not had a permanent leader since 2017. 

Gonzalez has criticized Trump’s deportation policies and the separation of migrant children from their families. 

His law enforcement career began in the Houston Police Department, and he later served three terms on the Houston City Council. 

Gonzalez has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston Downtown and a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas. 

FBI Opens Civil Rights Probe into Fatal Police Shooting of Andrew Brown Jr.

Andrew Brown Jr.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI has launched a federal civil rights investigation into the death of Andrew Brown Jr., a Black man fatally shot by sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina last week. 

“Agents will work closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice to determine whether federal laws were violated,” FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch told The News & Observer on Tuesday. “As this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot comment further.”

Brown, 42, was shot five times, including once in the back of the head, while Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office deputies were serving drug-related search and arrests warrants on April 21, one day after a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd.

Details of the shooting remain murky.

The city has imposed a curfew after protesters took to the streets demanding justice.  

Homeland Security to Review Threat of White Supremacy, Extremism within Its Ranks

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

By Steve Neavling

The Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced it’s launching an internal review to asses the risks of white supremacy and extremism within the federal agency.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayoraks said the review is intended to prevent, detect and respond to domestic threats within its ranks, The New York Times reports.

“We recognize that domestic violent extremism and the ideology, the extremist ideologies that spew it, are prevalent,” Mayorkas said. “We have a responsibility, given what we do, to ensure that that pernicious influence does not exist in our department.”

The announcement is part of the Biden administration’s broader effort to weed out extremist ideology in the federal government. 

As part of the review, senior officials will explore the prevalence of extremism in its agencies, which include Border Patrol, ICE and the Secret Service. 

Mayorkas described domestic extremists as “the most lethal and persistent terrorism-relate threat to our country today” in a memo to all department employees on Monday. 

Jennifer C. Boone, special agent in charge of FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, Retires

Jennifer Boone, special agent in charge of the Baltimore Field Office.

By Steve Neavling

Jennifer C. Boone, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, is retiring after nearly 24 years at the bureau. 

“When I entered Quantico in August 1997, I never dreamed I would have the experiences and opportunities I’ve had,” Boone said in a statement. “Being an agent and a member of the FBI family is the greatest honor of my life. When I was given the opportunity to come back to my home state of Maryland and lead the Baltimore Field Office as the Special Agent in Charge it was a dream come true and I knew, even then, it was where I would want to finish my FBI career.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray appointed Boone to the position in June 2019. At the time, Boon was the special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Field Office. 

Boone began her career with the FBI in the Los Angeles Field Office in 1997. 

Boone later served in both the Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence divisions at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. At one point, she was detailed to the U.S. Senate.

In 2009, the FBI promoted her to a supervisory special agent, and she led a counterintelligence squad at the Washington Field Office.

Boone later served as director in Intelligence Programs for the National Security Council at the White House before being promoted to an assistant agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office, focusing on the Counterintelligence and Cyber Branch.

In early 2016, Boone returned to Washington D.C. as chief of the Counterproliferation Center. She was later named deputy assistant director in the Counterintelligence Division at the bureau’s headquarters.

In 2018, the FBI named Boone the special agent in charge of Cyber and Counterintelligence at the Los Angeles Field Office.

Boone received a bachelor’s of science degree in foreign service and a master’s degree from Georgetown University.

Son of Fallen FBI Agent Surprised with Birthday Caravan

Eli Alfin, the son of fallen FBI agent Daniel Alfin, waves at law enforcement. Photo: Broward County Sheriff’s Office.

By Steve Neavling

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office organized a surprise birthday caravan for the 5-year-old son of FBI Agent Daniel Alfin, who was killed while executing a search warrant at a home in Florida in February. 

Local and federal authorities joined in the celebration, delivering gifts to Eli Alfin. 

“The Alfin family has been through an indescribable loss and we wouldn’t miss the opportunity to join in this special celebration and show them our support,” the Broward County Sheriff’s Office tweeted on Sunday. 

Alfin and FBI Agent Laura Schwartzenberger were fatally shot outside the Sunrise, Fla., apartment of David Lee Huber, a 55-year-old systems engineer who was suspected of possessing child pornography. Three other FBI agents were shot and have since recovered.

Alfin and Schwartzenberger specialized in investigating child pornography and crimes against children and worked out of the Miami Field Office. 

Alfin, a New York native, was first assigned to the FBI’s Albany Field Office office in 2009. 

DOJ Expects to Charge More Than 500 Alleged Insurrectionists in Jan. 6 Riot

Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo via Shutterstock.

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department anticipates charging more than 500 people in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, making it one of the largest investigations in American history, according to a recent court filing.  

“Over 400 individuals have been charged in connection with the Capitol attack,” federal prosecutors said in a court filing last week, Reuters reports. “The investigation continues and the government expects that at least one hundred additional individuals will be charged.”

The disclosure comes as the Justice Department asks judges to postpone deadlines for future prosecutions. 

“The investigation and prosecution of the Capitol attack will likely be one of the largest in American history, both in terms of the number of defendants prosecuted and the nature and volume of the evidence,” the court filings stated.

The riot led to the deaths of five people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, and more than 130 officers were injured. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge G. Michael Harvey called the siege an act of terrorism in a case involving Charles Donohue, a leader of the Proud Boys extremists group. 

“The acts alleged in the indictment would meet, in my view, the statutory definition of a federal crime of terrorism,” Harvey said.

Of those arrested so far, more than 40 are members or associates of right-wing extremists groups like the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys. 

Weekend Series on Crime: Sex Trafficking

CBP Seizes $4.3M Worth of Meth from Shipment of Cucumber Pickles

CBP found 217 pounds of meth in a shipment of pickles. Photo: CBP

By Steve Neavling

CBP officers found $4.3 million worth of methamphetamine in a shipment of cucumber pickles being hauled into Texas from Mexico. 

Officers assigned to the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility seized 114 packages of meth weighing 217 pounds from a tractor-trailer last week. 

The discovered the package after conducting a non-intrusive imagine (NII) system inspection. 

“This substantial quantity of hard narcotics will not make its final destination in the United States,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas. “This interdiction reinforces our officers’ role in advancing CBP’s border security mission by preventing dangerous drugs from entering and negatively impacting our communities.”

The case was turned over to Homeland Security Investigations.