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Second Man Pleads Guilty to Impersonating Homeland Security Agent in Complex Scheme

By Steve Neavling

A second man accused of impersonating federal agents and providing expensive gifts to Secret Service officers and agents pleaded guilty Wednesday to multiple charges. 

Haidar Ali, 36, pleaded guilty to conspiring to impersonate a federal officer, bank fraud and other charges, NBC News reports.

Ali’s co-defendant pleaded guilty in August to similar charges.

Taherzadeh and his co-defendant Haider Ali created a private law enforcement and investigative service called the United States Special Police and masqueraded as federal agents with Homeland Security, according to prosecutors.

The men are accused of possessing an illegal magazine for a Glock firearm, and Taherzadeh had five illegal magazines for a Sig Sauer firearm. 

They are accused of falsely claiming they worked for Homeland Security and were on a special task force investigating gang and violence connected to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The pair allegedly posed as law enforcement in order to build a relationship with real agents. 

Taherzadeh gave Secret Service officers and agents rent-free apartments, surveillance systems, a drone, a TV, iPhones, a generator, a gun case and other policing equipment, according to prosecutors. Taherzadeh is also accused of offering to buy a $2,000 assault rifle for a Secret Service agent assigned to protect the first lady. 

Four Secret Service agents who associated with the pair have been placed on leave pending an investigation. 

“It was a purpose of the conspiracy for Ali to ingratiate himself with members of federal law enforcement and the defense community” and “to enrich himself by obtaining property by fraudulent pretenses including through a false affiliation with the federal law enforcement community,” according to a court filing.

Ex-FBI Agent Convicted of Accepting Bribes from Armenian Mob Figure

By Steve Neavling

A retired FBI agent in California was found guilty by a jury of accepting at least $150,000 in gifts and cash bribes to provide sensitive law enforcement information to a man with ties to Armenian organized crime. 

Babak Broumand, 56, of Lafayette was convicted of conspiracy, bribery of a public official, and monetary transaction in property derived from unlawful activity following an 11-day trial, the Justice Department said in a statement Tuesday. 

Broumand, who joined the FBI in 1999, faces between 15 and 45 years in prison when he is sentenced in January. 

Broumand was working on national security investigations in the bureau’s San Francisco office between 2015 and 2018, when he accepted cash, checks, private flights, a Ducati motorcycle, hotel stays, escorts, and meals. 

In exchange, he searched law enforcement databases to notify Edgar Sargsyan if he or his criminal associates were under investigation. 

To hide their crimes, Broumand falsely said Sargsyan was an FBI source and even wrote reports to keep up the appearance.

“Ensuring public confidence in those who investigate and enforce the law is paramount,” U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada said in a statement. “By taking bribes and gifts from a person he knew was linked to organized crime, Mr. Broumand breached the public trust placed in him and violated his oath of office, something which simply cannot be tolerated. The FBI’s agents and staff work tirelessly every day to keep us safe, and I am proud that they partnered with our Office to ferret out this corruption.”

Don Alway, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, said the bureau won’t tolerate corruption. 

“The conviction of Mr. Broumand, a veteran FBI agent who chose greed over integrity and turned his back on the oath he swore to uphold, is proof that the FBI will root out corruption of any kind, to include veteran agents within its ranks,” Alway said. “This prosecution was the result of hard work by multiple partner agencies to work through the painful truth of having to investigate one of its own.”

Trump Asks Supreme Court to Intervene in Battle over Records Seized at Mar-a-Lago

U.S. Supreme Court

By Steve Neavling

Former President Trump is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in his legal battle over records seized at his Mar-a-Lago home, arguing that a court-appointed special master should review 100 documents with classified markings. 

Trump is requesting an emergency order to restore the special master’s authority over the documents found during the Aug. 8 search, The Washington Post reports.

The request comes after the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that the Justice Department can continue to review the classified documents as part of its criminal investigation. 

Trump’s lawyers claim the appeals court decision ignores “the District Court’s broad discretion without justification. This unwarranted stay should be vacated as it impairs substantially the ongoing, time-sensitive work of the Special Master.”

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas gave the Justice Department until Oct. 11 to file a response. 

Border Patrol Agent Seriously Injured While on Horseback in Tucson

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol agent on horseback was seriously injured while on duty last week. 

The agent with the Casa Grande Station Horse Patrol was airlifted to a hospital in Tucson on Sept. 29, according to Chief Patrol Agent John R. Modlin of the agency’s Tucson Sector.

“Please keep the agent and his family in your thoughts and prayers while he recovers,” Modlin wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.  

The agent’s identity and other details about the injury were not immediately clear. 

FBI Official Blasted Peter Strzok in Draft Letter Alleging ‘Sustained Pattern of Bad Judgment’

By Allan Lengel

Though Peter Strzok was a star FBI agent in his day, the bureau ultimately was not kind to him.

Peter Strzok testifying on The Hill.

In August 2018, then-FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich drafted a harsh firing letter for Strzok, according to the Washington Times, that said: “It is difficult to fathom the repeated, sustained errors of judgment you made while serving as the lead agent in two of the most high profile investigations in the country.”

“Your sustained pattern of bad judgment in the use of an FBI device has called into question for many the decisions made during both the Clinton e-mail investigation and the initial states of the Russian Collusion investigation. … It [is] difficult to imagine another incident like yours which brought so much discredit to the organization.” The damage to the bureau, he wrote, “will take years to overcome.”

Strzok was fired Aug. 10, 2018.

The letter was included in an FBI response in court to a lawsuit filed by Strzok, who alleges that his firing was politically motivated.

He was fired after the bureau learned of his anti-Trump texts.

Trump, who was president at the time, hailed the firing on Twitter.

“Agent Peter Strzok was just fired from the FBI — finally,” Trump tweeted. “The list of bad players in the FBI & DOJ gets longer & longer. Based on the fact that Strzok was in charge of the Witch Hunt, will it be dropped? It is a total Hoax. No Collusion, No Obstruction — I just fight back!”

Former Head of U.S. Marshals Museum Pleads Guilty to Assault Charges

U.S. Marshals Museum in Arkansas.

By Steve Neavling

The president and CEO of the U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith, Ark., received two suspended prison sentences of six years after pleading guilty to two charges of aggravated assault with a firearm, the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports.

Patrick Weeks, 53, was accused of pointing a pistol at two construction workers outside of his house in December after refusing to let them on his property to repair a street light. 

According to authorities, Weeks continued pointing the pistol at the workers while they drove off. 

Weeks was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 23 and resigned on March 4. 

The museum hired Ben Johnson to replace Weeks in August. 

Prosecutors Won’t Charge 2 Secret Service Officers Who Fatally Shot Man outside Ambassador’s Residence

By Steve Neavling

Two Secret Service officers who fatally shot a Maryland man outside the residence of Peru’s ambassador to the U.S. won’t be charged, federal prosecutors decided. 

The U.S. attorney’s office said there was “insufficient evidence” to prove that officers used excessive force when they shot 19-year-old Gordon Casey, The Washington Post reports.

Authorities said Casey was wielding a metal pole shortly after 8 a.m on April 20 when he tried to enter the home of the Peruvian ambassador. Staffers at the residence tried and failed to stop Casey because he had a metal pole, prosecutors said. 

Arriving officers repeatedly ordered Casey to drop the pole but he refused, according to prosecutors. One officer used a stun gun, but that didn’t stop Casey, who then approached the officers while swinging the pole. 

The two officers shot Casey twice. 

After an exhaustive investigation, prosecutors said there was not enough evidence to prove the offers used excessive force. 

Gloria Chavez Says Goodbye to Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector

Border Patrol Chief Gloria Chavez

By Steve Neavling

Gloria Chavez served her final day as chief of the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector on Friday. 

Chavez, a 27-year veteran of the agency and the only female chief of the agency’s 22 sectors, is taking over as the chief patrol agent of the Rio Grande Valley Sector on Oct. 9.

The Brownsville-area native began serving as interim chief of the El Paso Sector in July 2019. She took over as the permanent chief in March 2020. 

Chavez previously served as chief of both California’s El Centro Sector and Washington’s Spokane Sector. 

At the Rio Grande Valley Sector, she will oversee nine stations, including 277 river miles and 316 coastal miles. The sector spans 34 counties.