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One More Tunnel Found on US-Mexico Border in Growing Trend

Border fence along Juarez-El Paso border/istock photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The latest in a series of secret passages used to smuggle drugs from Mexico to the US was found on Tuesday, linking warehouses in San Diego and Tijuana, reports the Associated Press.

“It is clearly the most sophisticated tunnel we have ever found,” Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Diego, said, according to AP.

The Tijuana warehouse, next to a packaging company and a tortilla distributor, sits on the same block as a federal police office.

Less than two weeks ago US authorities seized 17 tons of marijuana when they discovered a 400-yard passage linking the two towns, according to the AP. The passage had lighting and ventilation.

Tunnels have emerged as U.S. authorities increased on-land enforcement. More tunnels have been found along the border since October of 2008 than in the previous six years, many clustered around San Diego, California’s Imperial Valley and Nogales, Ariz., AP reported.

To read more click here.

Obama Grabbed by the Arm, Secret Service Swarm

Pres. Obama in Cannon Falls, Minn./white house photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Apparently those dismal approval ratings are not the whole story. An adoring fan grabbed the president by the arm at Scranton High School in Pennsylvania on Wednesday as he shook hands with supporters.

ABC describes the president as walking into the high school to a “rock-star welcome” when the woman grabbed first the president’s hand, then his bicep, yanking him towards the crowd. Secret Service swarmed in but Obama was able to loosen the woman’s grip on her own and continued onto the stage, “never losing his smile.”

To read more click here.

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Hinckley Not Dangerous and Should be Released, Lawyer Says

Feds Want Blago to Serve 15 to 20 Years

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fed prosecutors in Chicago want ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich to go away to prison for a long long time.

The Associated Press reports that prosecutors said in court papers filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago that Blago deserves a sentence of 15 to 20 years, suggesting he misused his power in office “from the very moment he became governor.”

AP reported that Blago’s attorneys argued for leniency in court papers, saying he was “an intrinsically good, kind, and decent man.”

Sentencing is set for next Tuesday.

Blagojevich was convicted in his first trial on one of 24 counts.  The jury deadlocked on the remaining counts. In the second trial, he was convicted on 17 or 20 public corruption counts.

To read more click here.

 

Member of Aryan Brotherhood Gets 37.5 Years for Fires and Trying to Murder Disabled African American

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For guys like Steven Scott Cantrell, hate never goes out of style. Luckily in this case, either does justice.

The 26-year-old member of the Aryan Brotherhood, who hails from  from Crane, Tex. was sentenced Wednesday in fed court in Midland, Tex., to 37.5 years for a hate crime stemming from a series of arsons last December including one at a historic African-American church, the Justice Department said. Cantrell was also ordered to pay $550,780 in restitution to the victims.

As part of the arson of the historic church, he tried to murder a disabled African-American man, the Justice Department said.

Authorities said that Cantrell admitted that on Dec. 28, 2010, he set fire to Faith in Christ Church, a predominantly African-American church, as part of an effort to murder a disabled African-American man who he saw passing by the church in his wheelchair.

Authorities said Cantrell admitted that he started the fire with the intent of killing the disabled African-American man whom he believed lived at a shelter inside the church.

The man was not hurt.

Authorities said Cantrell ransacked the church, wrote a series of threatening and racist messages in large letters across the wall of the church next to the pastor’s office, and “tagged” the church with references to the Aryan Brotherhood.

Authorities alleged that the arson was part of a series of racially-motivated arsons that Cantrell set that day to gain status with the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. In addition to the church, Cantrell admitted that he set fire to the house of someone he believed was Jewish.

“Today’s sentence reflects the vile nature of this defendant’s actions. Every person, regardless of race, national origin, religion or disability, should have the opportunity to live without fear of threat or harm,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division in a statement.

Washington Man Convicted of Filing $20 Billion in False Liens Against Fed Prosecutors and Others

“The jerk store called, they’re running out of you.”  George Costanza, Seinfeld
 
By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The above quote may be applicable to a Washington state man who was convicted  Tuesday of filing over $20 billion in false liens against federal officials including fed prosecutors.

The 2-day trial ended when Ronald James Davenport, of Chewelah, Wash., was convicted on  all four counts he was charged with in the Eastern District of Washington state, according to the Justice Department.

In December of 2009, Davenport filed false liens against the Clerk of the Court for the Eastern District of the state, the then-US Attorney, an Assistant US Attorney and an IRS officer, according evidence presented at trial. Each lein claimed Davenport was owed $5.184 billion and attached all the victims personal property as security on the debt.

Davenport chose the individuals because of their service as government officials and their involvement in a civil suit in which Davenport allegedly owed about $270,000 in unpaid tax liabilities, according to the Justice Department.

A sentencing date has not yet been set, but Davenport faces a potential maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

Ex-FBI Agent Gregg Schwarz — Second Generation Agent — Upset Over Movie Portraying Hoover as Gay

Gregg Schwarz/facebook

By Carol Morello
Washington Post

WASHINGTON –– Gregg Schwarz frowned as he positioned himself, just so, in front of the wrought iron fence surrounding John Edgar Hoover’s grave, a place he has visited countless times but never before in anger.

A retired FBI agent who joined the agency in 1972, the year Hoover died, Schwarz had hired a videographer to film him for YouTube expressing his displeasure with a movie that depicted Hoover as a repressed homosexual. In a dig at Clint Eastwood, the director of “J. Edgar,” Schwarz titled his video response, “Dirty Harry to Filthy Harry.”

“Mr. Hoover was portrayed as an individual who had homosexual tendencies and was a tyrannical monster,” Schwarz said into the camera, as the sun glinted off his FBI cuff links and FBI lapel pin. “That is simply not true.”

Many former FBI agents share Schwartz’s pique with the film’s dropped hints of an abiding love between Hoover and aide Clyde Tolson, who is buried a few grave sites away. Historians agree that there is no evidence that either man was gay, and a request for comment from either Eastwood or screenwriter Dustin Lance Black was declined.

To read more click here.

Read Column Schwarz wrote for ticklethewire.com on the movie.

Former Mayor’s Aide Takes Plea Deal, Talks to Feds

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

 A corrupt former aide to two Buffalo mayors may help the feds find more corruption.

Timothy E. Wanamaker, also a former economic development chief, pleaded guilty  Tuesday to a felony charge of stealing government funds, reports Buffalo News, and agreed to cooperate with federal investigators. Wanamaker admitted to charging about $30,000 in personal expenses to his City Hall credit card over four years.

“It was a serious lapse in judgment on my part,” Wanamaker told U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, according to the Buffalo paper.

Wanamaker agreed to cooperate with an ongoing investigation between the FBI and HUD as part of his plea deal.

“I very much anticipate that federal investigators will be aggressive in questioning Mr. Wanamaker,” U.S. Attorney William  J. Hochul Jr. said Tuesday according to the Buffalo News. “And those investigators will now be helped by someone who was on the inside.”

To read more click here.