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Violence Crime Surged Last Year Following Two Decades of Declines

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A nearly 20-year decline in violence has come to an end, according to a federal survey on crimes, the USA Today reports.

The violent crime rate rose 17% last year, while the rate of property crimes increased 11%, according to the Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey.

Whether the rise was anomalous or part of a disturbing new trend remains unclear, criminal justice analysts told the USA Today.

“I wouldn’t make much out of it,” said University of Maryland criminologist Charles Wellford. “One year does not make a trend, and these institutional measures (the Justice survey and the FBI crime report) are best at measuring trends.”

FBI Arrests Bangladeshi Man Accused of Trying to Blow Up the New York Federal Reserve Bank

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 A Bangladeshi man is accused of assembling what he thought was a 1,000 pound bomb and trying to detonate it to blow up the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Reuters reports.

The FBI said Wednesday that Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis drove the devise to the bank and walked back to his hotel, where he recorded a video statement, saying, “We will not stop until we attain victory or martyrdom.”

Authorities arrested Nafis as he repeatedly tried to detonate the bomb, which the FBI assured was never in working condition, Reuters reported.

‘Attempting to destroy a landmark building and kill or maim untold numbers of innocent bystanders is about as serious as the imagination can conjure,” said Mary Galligan, FBI acting assistant director-in-charge. “The defendant faces appropriately severe consequences.”

The FBI employed a tactic it has used in the past: Befriend a would-be terrorist and provide him with fake equipment to see if he will go through with an attack, according to Reuters.

The FBI said Nafis traveled to the U.S. in January 2012 and claimed to have been in contact with al Qaeda, a claim that agents could not substantiate.

Nafis considered several targets, including President Obama, before deciding on the bank building, which is one of the most secure and guarded in the country, authorities said.

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Column: The Manhunt and Capture of Vincent Loonsfoot in North Woods of Michigan

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office. 

Greg Stejskal

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

In the summer of 1988, Vincent Loonsfoot, an American Indian, drove to the Hannahville Potawatomi Reservation near Escanaba, Mich. There he ambushed and shot to death four members of his wife’s family and kidnapped his estranged wife. Loonsfoot then set off into the woods – beginning a highly publicized manhunt through the almost impenetrable forest of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Michigan is made up of two peninsulas, the upper and the lower. The Upper Peninsula extends east from Wisconsin and is bounded on the north by Lake Superior. The Lower Peninsula, the bigger of the two, looks like a mitten. So Michiganders tend to point to their hand when giving directions.

The Lower Peninsula is bounded by Lake Michigan to the west and Lake Huron to the east. The shortest distance between the two peninsulas, the Straits of Mackinac, is where the two lakes meet at the top of the Lower Peninsula. For years the only way to get from one peninsula to the other was by boat or plane. In 1957 the Mackinac Bridge was finished allowing for car and truck traffic between the two.

Although the two peninsulas are now connected, they remain dramatically different. In some ways the U.P. remains the pristine wilderness immortalized in Longfellow’s epic poem, “Hiawatha.” “By the shores of Gitche Gumee….” was Longfellow describing the Lake Superior coast of the U.P.

Vincent Loonsfoot and his wife, Peggy, were living near Baraga on the Keweenaw Bay Reservation. An Ojibwa Indian Tribal Court awarded Peggy sole custody of the Loonsfoot’s 2-year-old daughter, based on a finding that Loonsfoot had repeatedly, physically abused Peggy. Peggy was afraid of Loonsfoot, so without telling him, Peggy moved with their daughter to Escanaba on the south/ Lake Michigan side of the U.P.

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FBI/NYPD Sting Nabs Man Plotting to Blow up Federal Reserve in Manhattan

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Bangladeshi national has been arrested for in an FBI-NYPD sting for plotting to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank in Lower Manhattan, the New York Daily News reports.

Quazi Nafis, 21, was arrested Wednesday morning. He had parked a van filled with what he thought were explosives, but were actually not, and tried to detonate the material, the News reported.

He was arrested at the scene.

 

 

Lawmakers Upset Over Rift Between Reno ATF and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada

Sen. Grassley/official photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Three members of Congress are increasingly putting pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder to explain the U.S. Attorney’s  dysfunctional relationship with the Reno-based ATF office, Main Justice reports.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada has refused to prosecute ATF cases in the Reno office, leaving as many as a dozen cases untouched..

“The Justice Department has yet to respond to any of Congress’ questions about what happened in Reno for more than a year,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a a statement. “It’s an abdication of responsibility on the part of the Justice Department, and if these crimes weren’t prosecuted, whether because of actions of the U.S. Attorney or the ATF, the people of Nevada should know why.”

Two Nevada lawmakers joined the call for answers.

The cause of the strained relationship remains unclear, but agents have virtually abandoned the Reno, according Main Justice.

Authorities Detain Daughter of Mexico’s Most Wanted Drug Lord

Joaquin Guzman

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 Known as Mexico’s most powerful drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman has eluded U.S. authorities since he famously broke out of a Mexican jail in a laundry cart in 2001 and rebuilt the notorious Sinaloa cartel.

But authorities may find clues about his whereabouts after border patrol officers detained the kingpin’s daughter Friday trying to cross the border on foot from Tijuana, Mexico, with a counterfeit Visa and false name, Reuters reported Tuesday.

Citing court records, Reuters said Alejandrina Gisselle Guzman-Salazar was trying to enter the U.S. to give birth to her child in Los Angeles.

According to Mexico’s attorney general’s office, Guzman-Salazar, a Mexican citizen, is not wanted for any crimes.

Her father, Guzman, however, is believed to be worth $1 billion and is running the most potent drug cartel in Mexico.

Marijuana Supporters Argue in Federal Court That DEA Has Ignored Research on Drug

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 Supporters of marijuana rights attacked the DEA’s tight regulation of pot in a potentially landmark case that could change the drug’s classification, Reuters reports.

Joseph Elford, lawyer for Americans for Safe Access, said the DEA has essentially ignored scientific research that suggests marijuana is safer than heroin and has medicinal value.

“This game of ‘gotcha’ will continue indefinitely unless this court intervenes,” Elford told a three-judge panel of the appeals court in Washington, D.C.

The DEA countered that research is not all conclusive and continued the line of rhetoric that marijuana is unsafe.

One of the judges appeared to agree with the DEA.

“Don’t we have to defer to the agency?” asked Judge Merrick Garland. “We’re not scientists. They are.”