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Feds Arrest Bonanno Mob Family Members

 
By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Four members of the Bonanno organized crime family were arrested early Friday in New York by DEA and FBI agents on charges of racketeering, gambling and drug sales, reports NBC. Also charged in the case was Anthony Graziano, the father of Mob Wives”  reality show star Renee Graziano .

Vincent Badalamenti, identified as a member of the Bonanno crime family administration, Nicholas Santora, a Bonanno family capo, Vito Balsamo, an acting captain, and Anthony Calabrese, a soldier, were arrested and charged on Friday with racketeering, extortion, illegal gambling, and conspiracy to distribute marijuana, according to NBC.

All the defendants  entered pleas of not guilty.

To read more click here.

15 Arrested in Large Drug Smuggling Investigation Including Albuquerque Fireman

DEA cocaine photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A DEA bust has led to the arrest of a local firefighter in Albuquerque, reports KQRE.

Acquaintances of firefighter Steve Chavez said he was the last guy they’d expect to be involved in a drug ring. Chavez had been with the department for seven years, according to KQRE. The drug ring he was involved in had links to a Mexican cartel, authorities say.

The investigation involved more than 100 officers from numerous agencies, working for multiple months investigating a ring of large amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana smuggling. Officials raided three homes and an addition property on Thursday, taking 15 into custody.

To read more click here.

 

 

Bizarre Sex Initiations Required for Credit Card Scheme, Secret Service Investigation Reveals

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Here’s a record-breaker for the kinkiest financial fraud: Allegations in a fed probe in Georgia suggest the leader of a credit card cloning ring demanded his co-conspirators, in order to prove themselves, had to engage in sexual acts with him, other men and women while being videotaped, reports the Athens Banner-Herald in Georgia.

Vikas Yadav found crime partners in online S&M chatrooms, according to the Herald-Banner. The scheme ultimately netted him millions of dollars.

The ring was discovered during an investigation in which Athens-Clarke, Ga., police detective Beverly Russell helped the US Secret Service.  As part of the probe, authorities seized a package of more then 20 cloned credit cards which Yadav had shipped into North Carolina.

To read more click here.

 

Rep. Issa Goes After DEA; Voices Doubt About Oversight

Rep. Issa/gov photo

By GINGER THOMPSON
New York Times

WASHINGTON — The powerful chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform increased his pressure on the Justice Department on Friday, raising new questions about how the Drug Enforcement Administration conducts its undercover money-laundering investigations and whether those operations cross the line between fighting and facilitating crime.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican who is chairman of the committee, accused the Justice Department of dragging its feet in responding to his request more than a month ago for a briefing on the operations, which allow D.E.A. agents to pose as money launderers and smugglers in order to infiltrate drug-trafficking organizations.

Mr. Issa wrote that he was concerned about whether there was sufficient oversight of these operations. He said an inquiry by his office had revealed evidence of potential impropriety, including the arrests of two American pilots who were held in a Panamanian jail for seven months.

To read more click here.

Obama Admin. Announces New Regs for Gun Operations in Wake of Fast and Furious

atf file photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

New changes in federal law enforcement have emerged from the highly contentious Fast & Furious operation, reports Reuters.

On Friday, the Obama administration announced reforms intended to improve undercover gun trafficking investigations in the wake of a failed operation which let hundreds of guns into the hands of violent criminals along the US-Mexico border.

The new reforms demand more oversight of undercover operations, according to Reuters, focusing on investigations concerning more than 50 firearms and ending the use of payed gun dealers as confidential informants.

To read more click here.

Drug Bust in Upstate New York Charges Nine in Crack Network

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Nine people were in indicted on Friday in a suspected narcotics ring near Rochester, N.Y., ABC reports.

Between 2008 and 2012, authorities from local police precincts and the ATF say, the indicted used rental properties to distribute 280 grams of crack and five kilograms of cocaine. They also face weapons charges, according to ABC. At least one suspect is also linked to an additional shooting.

Cedric Lewis, Matthew Latson, Printice Latson, Robert Baxter, Earnst Baker, Keith Ruther, Lamar Nelson, and Leandro Jones are in custody, says ABC, but Eric Bradley is still not in custody.

To read more click here.

Justice Dept. Unit to Probe Mortgage-Backed Securities

By Kevin Johnson
USA Today

WASHINGTON – The U.S. government dispatched 55 prosecutors, FBI agents and analysts Friday to a new financial crimes enforcement unit focusing on home mortgage abuses that fueled the 2008 economic collapse.

For the first time since the crisis, federal investigators will be joined by state law enforcement officials as part of a working group that, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, would launch the “broadest, deepest investigation into what blew up the economy.”

The unit, first referenced earlier this week by President Obama in the State of the Union, is expected to plunge deeper into the causes of “massive market failures” that continue to harm homeowners, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said.

To read more click here.

 

OTHER STORIES OF INETERST:

School Lunch Director Convicted in Bribery Probe

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Lunch just won’t be the same.

The director of a public school lunch program in the American Samoa was convicted on Thursday in Washington of obstructing a federal grand jury and law enforcement investigations into a bribery plot, reports the Pacific News Center. Paul Solofa was convicted after a four-day trial, after which a federal jury found him guilty on a count of witness tampering and a count of obstruction of justice.

Early in 2008, feds began an investigation into tips that cash bribes and kickbacks were being paid by vendors of school bus parts and services to officials with the American Samoa Government, according to evidence shown at trial.

The evidence showed that Solofa met with a vendor on April 3, 2009. When the vendor told Solofa the FBI wanted to interview him, Solofa, in a recorded meeting, said to the vendor “they cannot do anything with cash. Nothing. They cannot do anything with cash. They cannot track down you on cash. Because even if you say you gave me cash I’ll tell them ‘no.’ They cannot take your word on cash. Because that’s hearsay.”

To read more click here.