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ATF Announces New Philly Leader

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The ATF’s Philadelphia Field Office is about to see some new leadership, reports PR Newswire.

Sheree L. Mixell was named the Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia Field Division on Thursday.

The Indiana native began her career as a special agent with ATF in 1990 and has over 23 years of law enforcement experience. For three years,  she served as a member of the Baltimore Field Division Special Response Team, responding to high risk situations and apprehending some of the region’s most violent criminals, according to the report.

She most recently served  as the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the ATF’s Baltimore Field Division, directing and providing oversight for daily investigations for Maryland and Delaware.

To read more click here.

 

Extremism on the Rise in Northwest?

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Is extremism on the rise in the Northwest part of the country? A  report from the Columbian newspaper out of Vancouver, Wash., seems to point to that.

One example: As a house in Washougal, Wash.,  burned to the ground recently a self-proclaimed white separatist shot at firefighters to keep them away, reports the Columbian, in one of several incidents in which “extremists of various kinds made news in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.”

A representative of the Montana Human Rights Network told the paper the reasons included a black president, growing distrust with the federal government, a bad economy and continuing growth among minority groups.

“All of this has created a perfect storm of anger, fear, and resentment that white supremacists are trying to tap into and capitalize upon,” Travis McAdam said.

To read more click here.

 

Venezuela Drug Lord Extradited to US

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com
 
One of Venezuela’s most-wanted drug traffickers was  extradited to the United States on Thursday, reports Reuters. 

Maximiliano Bonilla Orozco, also known as Valenciano, had a $5 million bounty on his head. He was captured in the city of Valencia, in central Venezuela last month. Orozco is accused of shipping tons of cocaine to the US with the help of the Mexican cartel Los Zetas.

He is accused of shipping tons of cocaine to the United States with the help of Mexico’s feared Zetas cartel.

The Venezuelan government said the number of drug seizures and trafficking arrests since expelling the DEA from the country in 2005.

To read more click here.

Alleged Venezuelan Drug Traffickers Extradited… by NTDTV

D.C. FBI Announces Intense Media Blitz to Catch “Potomac River Rapist” From the 90s

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Using media and social media as it did to  help capture Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger earlier this year, the FBI field office in D.C. announced plans this week to to go after  the “Potomac River Rapist”, believed to be responsible for eight sexual assaults, one attempted one and one murder between 1991 to 1998.

The FBI announced a $25,000 reward, plus an intense media campaign to try and heat up the cold case. Authorities linked the multiple crimes through DNA.

“The digital media campaign includes the launch of a dedicated website; digital billboards up and down the East Coast; social media alerts on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube; as well as podcasts on iTunes and radio spots to raise awareness of the investigation,” an FBI press release said.

“The multi-pronged effort is designed to develop new leads and raise awareness of the ongoing cold-case investigation. The campaign implements similar techniques that have led to the arrests in cases including the East Coast Rapist as well as Ten Most Wanted fugitive Whitey Bulger.”

The FBI said that one of the victims, Christine Mirzayan, a 29-year-old intern, was sexually attacked and murdered while walking to her residence in Georgetown on Aug. 1, 1998. The rest of the sexual assaults took place in Montgomery County, just outside of D.C.

“In law enforcement, we understand that justice delayed does not mean that justice will be denied,” D.C. U.S Attorney Ronald C. Machen, Jr. said in a statement. “We are committed to obtaining justice for Christine Mirzayan and the other victims of the Potomac River Rapist, but we need the public’s help. One piece of information from the public—no matter how insignificant it might seem—could crack this case and allow us to apprehend this killer.”

See website on the Potomac River Rapist

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Dept. Issues Scathing Report About Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Civil Rights Violations

On 1 Year Anniversary, Family of Slain Border Agent Critical of ATF and Justice Dept.

 

Brian Terry

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

On the one year anniversary of the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, the family issued a statement that included a sharp rebuke of ATF and the Justice Department.

“Brian’s death has been extremely difficult to accept. As most know, we had to learn from the news media that two assault rifles carried by the men that killed Brian and found at the murder scene were linked to Operation Fast and Furious, a failed gun trafficking operation run by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Department of Justice,” said the statement that was issued on Wednesday, one day before the Dec. 15 anniversary of the death of Terry, who was killed while on patrol in southern Arizona.

“We find it incomprehensible that members of ATF and DOJ would embark on such an egregious operation and then try to conceal the link between this failed investigation and Brian’s murder. Much to our dismay, no one in ATF or DOJ has come forward to accept responsibility for Operation Fast and Furious.”

Terry’s name has often surfaced among critics of Operation Fast and Furious, an ATF program that encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to “straw purchasers”, all with hopes of tracing the guns to the cartels. ATF lost track of many of the guns, some which surfaced at crimes scenes on both sides of the border.

Two of the guns were found at the scene where Terry was murdered, though authorities have been unable to confirm through ballistics whether the guns were actually used in the shooting.

The family, in its statement also said: “December 15th will mark the one year anniversary of the murder of Brian A. Terry. On that day in 2010, our family lost an amazing son, brother, uncle, and friend. Our country lost an incredible young American who was fully committed to his job in keeping our Nation safe and its borders secure. Brian’s life was dedicated to public service as a U.S. Marine, police officer, U.S. Border Patrol agent and finally as a member of the Border Patrol’s elite tactical unit known as BORTAC.”

“Our priority continues to be the successful arrest and prosecution of all the individuals involved in Brian’s murder,” the family wrote.”However, we will continue to press for answers and accountability from our government. Those responsible for such a misguided and fundamentally flawed operation must be held fully responsible for their decisions which allowed so many weapons to flow to the criminal element on both sides of the border. We now believe that if it can be shown that laws were broken, then all those responsible for Fast and Furious should be held criminally liable.”

The family added: “We would like to acknowledge the work conducted by agents from the FBI Tucson Office in the homicide investigation and the continued work by federal prosecutors in the San Diego U.S. Attorney’s Office who are working to bring Brian’s killers to justice. We would also like to thank those members of ATF that recognized Operation Fast and Furious as fundamentally flawed and came forward with information that exposed this foolish operation to the American public. These individuals have continued to speak the truth at great professional risk.”

 

ATF’s Tom Brandon Named ticklethewire.com’s Fed of the Year

Tom Brandon/atf photo

 By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Thomas E. Brandon, the straight-shooting, well respected and extremely able veteran of ATF, who was sent around the country this year to try and mend some of the agencies pressing problems, has been named ticklethewire.com’s Fed Of The Year for 2011.

Brandon, an ex-Marine who is currently ATF’s number two person in Washington, started the year off as special agent in charge of ATF’s Detroit office, where he was very well respected.

In the spring, after the agency started coming under Congressional fire for Operation Fast and Furious, Brandon was sent off to Phoenix to head up that office and try and improve morale and straighten out matters.

Fast Furious was created in the Phoenix office. Under Fast and Furious, ATF encouraged Arizona gun dealers to sell to straw purchasers, all with the hopes of tracing the weapons to the Mexican cartels.

Problem was, ATF lost track of many of the guns, some of which surfaced at crime scenes on both sides of the border. Some members of Congress like Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia) went on the attack, criticizing ATF. Some even suggested folding it into the FBI.

In late August, acting director  Ken Melson stepped down. In October, as part of a major shakeup at the agency,  Brandon was summoned from Phoenix to become the number two guy in Washington.

We think it speaks volumes that Brandon has been sent to the agency’s hotspots to help straighten out things at a time the agency has come under fire, the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Waco.  To boot, it’s easy to find street agents who respect Brandon, who has been an agent since 1989.

Brandon is the fourth person to receive the Fed of the Year Award.  Previous recipients have included Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald (2008),  Warren Bamford, who headed the Boston FBI (2009) and Joseph Evans, regional director for the DEA’s North and Central Americas Region in Mexico City (2010).

 

Aryan Nations Leader Who Appeared on Jerry Springer Show Sentenced in Fraud Case

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

An Aryan Nations leader of  fleeting TV fame was sentenced Wednesday for taking more money than he was legally entitled to from a government he despised, the Associated Press reports.

August Kreis III, who appeared multiple times on the Jerry Springer show and in a 2005 interview on CNN called al-Qaeda fellow freedom fighters in the war against Jews and the American government, was sentenced to six months in prison that he’d already served,  plus six months of home arrest and two years of probation in a Columbia, S.C. U.S.  District Court on Wednesday. Kreis was also ordered to pay back the nearly $193,000 he was said to have improperly received in veteran benefits.

Kreis served nine months with the Navy in Vietnam before being discharged for not being fit for service, which made him eligible for benefits, according to AP.

Kreis was a High School dropout who  joined the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey in the late 70s before working his way up the ranks of several white supremacist groups and gaining media attention through the years. “Your relatives — weren’t they all turned into soap or lampshades?” he told the Jewish television host Jerry Springer during a 1995 show. “I’m looking for one of those lampshades,” he said.

At sentencing he appeared similarly hateful. “I don’t preach to hurt anybody, except the Jews, and I’ll keep doing that,” he said in court. “But that’s my First Amendment rights. As long as I obey God’s laws, I don’t care about anything else.”

To read more click here.