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International Arms Dealer Viktor Bout Gets 25 Years

dea photo

By Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

It’s going to be a long time before international arms dealer Viktor Bout sees daylight again.

The DEA announced late last week that Bout was sentenced in New York to 25 years in prison for conspiring to sell millions of dollars’ worth of weapons, including hundreds of surface-to-air missiles and over 20,000 AK-47s to the Colombian terrorist group, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (the “FARC”).

Authorities said that Bout understood the weapons would be used to kill Americans in Colombia.

He was convicted on the charges last November 2.

“The crimes Viktor Bout committed represent the worst case scenario for modern law enforcement–the merger of criminal international narcotics cartels with their terrorism enablers,” DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart said in a statement.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara added in a statement: “Viktor Bout has been international arms trafficking enemy number one for many years, arming some of the most violent conflicts around the globe. He was finally brought to justice in an American court for agreeing to provide a staggering number of military grade weapons to an avowed terrorist organization committed to killing Americans. Today’s sentence is a fitting coda for this career arms trafficker of the most dangerous order.”

FBI Probing Police Shooting Involving Unarmed College Student

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI stepping into a controversial police shooting in Pasadena, Calif. involving an unarmed college student.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the FBI will open a civil rights investigation into the shooting death of college student Kendrec McDade by the Pasadena Police.

The FBI issued a statement, according to the LA Times, which said: “The FBI is assessing the incident involving the Pasadena Police Department on March 24, 2012, which resulted in the death of Kendrec McDade. The FBI will seek to determine whether a violation of federal civil rights law was a factor.”

The paper reported that McDade was shot by two cops responding to a 911 call about an armed robbery. To read more click here.

FBI Concerned About Spying on U.S. Campuses

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. campuses aren’t just for educating our youth.

Bloomberg news reports that the FBI is concerned about countries using universities to gather intelligence.

“We have intelligence and cases indicating that U.S. universities are indeed a target of foreign intelligence services,” Frank Figliuzzi, the FBI’s assistant director for counterintelligence told Bloomberg.

Bloomberg reports that authorities are seeing growing signs of spying on U.S. campuses.

To read the full story click here.

 

Column: Retired FBI Agent Says Orleans Saints’ Bountygate Could be Prosecuted as a Conspiracy

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office. This column also appeared in the New York Daily News.

Greg Stejskal

 
By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

What if several executives of a multimilliondollar national corporation hatched a plan to pay bounties to its employees to deliberately injure key employees of competing corporations?

Then put the plan in action, actually disabling key employees, thereby affecting those corporations’ ability to compete. It clearly would be something that should be criminally prosecuted.

As you may have guessed, this is just a generic business- term description of the un-Saintly bounty scheme New Orleans was apparently running. There have been reports there may be criminal prosecutions pursued. Apparently the NFL Players Association has warned players involved that they may face criminal charges.

The Associated Press reported that “most legal scholars agree that prosecutors are reluctant to prosecute on-field sports activity,” said Gabriel Feldman, a sports law professor at Tulane. “They’re difficult cases to bring, because it’s hard to prove the injury was caused by a tackle with specific intent to injure, rather than a regular tackle.”

I would agree with the prosecutors’ reluctance to prosecute on-field activity, but criminal prosecution of the Saints’ pay-for-injury scheme would not necessarily entail proving much specific on-field activity.

Instead of charging individual incidents as though they were a series of assaults and batteries, a criminal conspiracy could be charged using federal criminal law. Under the so-called Hobbs Act (18 USC 1951), a racketeering statute, whoever conspires to commit physical violence to any person in furtherance of a plan or purpose which in anyway or degree effects commerce is in violation of the statute. Clearly the NFL and all of its teams are involved in interstate commerce.

Those teams’ primary purpose is to compete with the other teams in the NFL and win football games. Thus illegal activity that impedes or obstructs a team’s ability to compete is adversely affecting commerce.

The other question to be answered is, would a conspiracy rewarding intentionally injuring opposing players be criminal? Football is a violent game and “hard hits” are encouraged, but within the rules. Late hits, unnecessary roughness and unsportsmanlike conduct are proscribed by the rules. If the conspiracy encouraged hits, with the intent to cause injury regardless of whether the hit would or could result in a penalty, then it seems such conduct goes from being aggressive football to assault and battery under the guise of playing football.

The prosecution would not have to show specific injuries resulted from specific hits for which a bounty was paid. It need only show a conspiracy was formed to commit acts of illegal violence which affected interstate commerce. It now appears, like Watergate, there is compelling, recorded audio evidence of the conspiracy. Although I think this is viable prosecutorial theory, I’m not sure I would be enthusiastic about recommending or pursuing a criminal prosecution in Bountyate based on the facts that have been reported.

But I do have a concern. What if organized crime and professional gambling interests became aware of or participated in the pay-to-injure activities? (Who understands paying bounties for injuries better than the mob?) That would change the whole perspective. This is why it is important for the NFL to come down hard on the participants in Bountyate. The integrity of the game is at risk. The potential for criminal prosecution should not be dismissed, but rather held in abeyance.

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Weekend Series on Crime: The Mexican Mafia Gang

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Happy Passover and Easter from ticklethewire.com