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Chicago U.S. Atty. Pat Fitzgerald Resigning

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Patrick Fiztgerald, the Chicago U.S. Attorney who was considered a rock star among fed prosecutors, and who went after Scooter Libby in Washington and Rod Blagojevich closer to home, is resigning.

His office issued a press release on Wednesday saying he was resigning on June 30 and had no immediate employment plans and will take time off for the summer.

Fitzgerald, who was first appointed to the post in 2001, is the longest serving U.S. Attorney in Chicago.

“When I was selected for this position in 2001, I said that it was one of the greatest opportunities that one could ever hope for, and I believe that even more now after having the privilege of working alongside hundreds of dedicated prosecutors and agents. I have tried not to get in their way.

“I extend my deepest appreciation to the attorneys and staff for their determined commitment to public service. This was a great office when I arrived, and I have no doubt that it will continue to be a great office.”

 

West Africa Looms Large in Baltimore Heroin-Trafficking Cases

Assemblage by Mel Guapo/baltimore city paper

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

BALTIMORE — Last April, thousands of miles from Baltimore in the West African country of Ghana, a man known as “Wagba” got on the phone and mediated a Baltimore heroin-dealing dispute.

Nana Boateng, who supplied Baltimore dealers with heroin shipped under Wagba’s direction by couriers traveling to the United States on commercial flights leaving West Africa, was in a heated argument with another Ghanaian, Krist Koranteng, who also supplied Baltimore heroin dealers with courier-carried heroin from West Africa.

The two were threatening one another, with Koranteng saying he’d arrange for men to come from Ghana to kill Boateng if he didn’t pay up for short-changing Koranteng’s friend, Moses Appram, on a 200-gram heroin deal. Boateng, in response, vowed to come to Ghana and kill Koranteng himself.

Since Boateng’s phones were wiretapped as part of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation, his conversations with Wagba were recorded for posterity.

To read the full story click here.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Under Federal Investigation for Hiring Illegals

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

That authentic Mexican vibe at the popular higher-end fast food chain Chipotle seems authentic for a reason… and that reason may be the authentic undocumented Mexicans working there.

According to Fox News, Chipotle is getting it from all sides, having already been targeted by the feds for hiring illegals.

Now comes this: Fox reports the company is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission for “possible criminal securities law violations relating to our employee work authorization verification compliance and related disclosures and statements.” But that’s not all; Chipotle also said it is opening its books to the Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm.

A similar 2010 investigation ended in 450 Minnesotan Chipotle employees losing their jobs. Chipotle owns over 1,000 restaurants in the U.S., and before announcing the investigations, its popular stock had climbed about 40% in the past 12 months.

To read more click here.

Republican Congressmen Demand Whitehouse be Included in Leak Investigation

Rep. Peter King/gov photo

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Could White House officials have accidentally leaked news that tripped up a Western intelligence operation targeting Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen?

Two Republican congressional leaders want the formal FBI inquiry to answer that question, reports Reuters.

Monday, Rep Peter King, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, sent a letter to FBI Director Mueller requesting that the FBI investigation of alleged leaks cover the White House, including the National Security staff. Later, Reuters says Sen. Saxby Chambliss, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent Mueller a fax seconding that request.

These questions were triggered by last week’s Reuters story which brought a potential White House slip-up to light. In response, the White House has strongly denied that sensitive information was leaked stating, “No one is more upset than us about this disclosure, and we support efforts to prevent leaks like this which harm our national security.”

To read more click here.

Four Secret Service Agents Fired in Sex Scandal Object Dismissals

secret service photo

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Four of the Secret Service agents fired in the recent Colombian sex scandal are fighting their dismissals, screams today’s front-page headline of the Washington Post.

Above the fold.

For agents who already object to the agency’s handling of the incident, more public humiliation can’t help. The dismissed agents say they are being scapegoated for behavior that has been agency culture long before this scandal broke.

They also allege that media attention has skewed reality into a more titillating narrative, reports the Washington Post, and what really happened involved separate trysts with a range of intentions and outcomes… including the single 29 year old agent who naively thought he got lucky, bringing 2 women back to his room, unaware that they were prostitutes.

Director Mark Sullivan will appear before a Senate committee Wednesday, speaking publicly on the matter for the first time. He purportedly plans to tell Congress that there was “no breach of operational security,” but he may need to address the dismissed agents’ allegations of smarmy agency culture as well.

As POTUS made it through the Colombia visit unharmed, and the sex-scandal fallout spreads to the military and DEA, the public may be more interested in the integrity of these agencies’ cultures more than their effectiveness, especially as they represent the U.S. abroad.

To read more click here.

Column: Time to Set Teen Drug Dealer Free After 25 Years; Retired FBI Agent Pushes for Release

Richard "White Boy Rick" Wershe/photo by Michelle Andonian

By Allan Lengel
For Deadline Detroit
DETROIT — On any ordinary day, Richard Wershe Jr. sleeps in and skips breakfast in his prison in northern Michigan. But on Tuesday — the 25th anniversary of his arrest in Detroit – he couldn’t sleep, so he grabbed some oatmeal with skim milk.

“I probably slept two hours,” Wershe told me. “I’ll never forget May 22. It still will always be the worst day of my life.”

Wershe is better known as White Boy Rick, one of the most famous drug dealers in Detroit history, a baby-faced, blond-haired, magazine cover boy who was only 17 when police arrested him in 1987 with $25,000 in cash while driving a new Thunderbird that had been rented by his girlfriend, Cathy Volsan. She was the niece of Mayor Coleman Young. Authorities later found eight kilos of cocaine, and they linked the dope to Wershe. He was convicted of drug trafficking Jan. 15, 1988 and sentenced to life in prison.

Wershe is in the news these days because he can’t get paroled — not even after 25 years in prison — not even after FBI agents and a federal prosecutor have vouched for him. Not even after he cooperated over many years and helped put away a bunch of dirty cops along with violent drug dealers.

While Wershe received a life sentence without parole, the state law was later changed, and he became eligible for parole, but in 2003 and 2008 he was rejected by a parole board. He’s up again in December for consideration.

To read more click here.

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Sentencing for 2nd Half of Ohio Couple Guilty of Funding Hizbollah

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

The upside is both the husband and wife will know where one another is at all times. The Ohio couple is serving time for trying to fund Hizbollah’s terrorist efforts against Israel.

Hor I. Akl was sentenced yesterday to 75 months in prison for scheming with wife Amera to send hundreds of thousands of dollars to the designated foreign terrorist organization Hizballah, announced Ohio U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Division Stephen Anthony.

The two plotted with a confidential source working for the FBI in 2009-10 to hide bundles of money in a 2004 Chevy Trailblazer, then send the car on a container ship to Lebanese Hizbollah leaders.

Amera Akl, who told the FBI source she dreamed of martyring herself, is currently serving a 40 month sentence for conspiracy.

“Money is the lifeblood of terrorist organizations, and stopping the flow is a key component to choking off these organizations,” said U.S. Attorney Dettelbach.