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Head of FBI’s El Paso Field Office to Leave Post for Promotion at Quantico

FBI Special Agent Luis M. Quesada

By Steve Neavling

Louis M. Quesada, special agent in charge of the El Paso Field Office, will leave his post on Friday to become deputy assistant director of the bureau’s Incident Response Group in Quantico. 

Quesada was promoted to head of the El Paso office in October 2019.

“Both professionally and personally, it has been a fantastic time, a time of growth,” Quesada told the El Paso Times. “I’m not from this area, but it’s been a wonderful experience. It’s a great community and I think that attributes to why El Paso is El Paso. For a major city to have the third least violent crimes and the fifth overall crime, I think speaks a lot to the people in the community and to the relationships that the law enforcement has with each other, which is something that I’ve never experienced in any other office in the last 25-plus years that I’ve been in the FBI.”

Quesada joined the FBI as a special agent in 1995 and began working in the Miami Field Office, where he investigated violent crimes with a focus on bank robberies, extortion, and kidnappings. In 1998, Quesada voluntarily transferred to the San Juan Field Office in Puerto Rico before returning to Miami in 2001 to investigates drugs. In both offices, Quesada served on the SWAT teams.

Quesada was promoted in 2003 to supervisory special agent and began working in the Counterterrorism Division of the Terrorist Screening Center, which manages and operates the nation’s terrorist watch list.

In 2005, he transferred to the FBI Academy in Quantico as a defensive tactics instructor. Quesada returned to Miami two years later as the supervisor of the violent gang and high-intensity drug trafficking area task force. He later became the acting assistant special agent in charge of Miami’s Criminal Branch.

In 2010, Quesada became the assistant legal attaché in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he promoted FBI interests in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

In 2012, Quesada was promoted to a unit chief position in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI Headquarters in Washington, focusing on counter-narcotics efforts in Latin America and the U.S. Southwest border.

In 2014, Quesada became legal attaché of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, focusing on counterterrorism threats throughout the Balkans and the U.S.

A year later, Quesada became the assistant special agent in charge of the Criminal Branch in the Jackson Field Office in Mississippi. In 2017, he was appointed to assistant section chief in the Training Division, and a year later was promoted to section chief of the division’s Training Services Section.

Quesada earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Florida International University

CBP: Border Patrol Agent Helps Save Life of Suicidal Woman on Bridge in California

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

A Border Patrol agent and off-duty firefighter are credited with saving the life of a woman who intended to jump off a bridge along an interstate in California on Tuesday morning, CBP said. 

The Border Patrol agent, who works in the San Diego Sector, was driving eastbound on I-8 in Pine Valley at 7 a.m. when he spotted a woman standing on the rails of the Pine Valle Bridge near the westbound traffic lanes. He turned around and was met with an off-duty firefighter. Together, they removed the woman from the edge of the bridge before she was able to jump. 

The woman was transferred to the California Highway Patrol for care and assistance. 

“A tragedy was avoided today thanks to the efforts of these heroes,” Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said in a statement. “Even though border security is our primary mission, our agents respond to a multitude of significant events in the areas they patrol and consistently rise to the challenge.”

John Dillinger’s Stolen Police Car Returns to Indiana After Daring Escape from Jail in 1934

John Dillinger mugshot

By Steve Neavling

A police car stolen by notorious gangster John Dillinger after his daring escape from an Indiana jail in 1934 has returned to Indiana. 

Dillinger escaped jail using a fake gun and stole the 1933 Ford V8 police car from Lake County Sheriff Lillian Holley and drove it to Chicago before abandoning it.

FBI agents killed Dillinger in a shootout on July 22, 1934, about four months after the escape. 

The car was impounded and then auctioned off. 

“A gentleman from Milwaukee acquired the car,” Lake County Realtor Roger Pace, who helped track the car down, told WBOI. “He didn’t know what the car was. He relocated to Maine, decades later, he died.”

Now officials are searching for a permanent home to display the infamous car. 

Arizona Man Wanted for Murder of Girlfriend Is Added to U.S. Marshals Most Wanted List

Raymond “RJ” McLeod

By Steve Neavling

A 37-year-old Arizona man wanted in connection with the 2016 murder of his girlfriend has been added to the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted List, the agency announced Monday.

Raymond “RJ” McLeod is the first fugitive to debut on the list with a $15,000 reward for information leading to his arrest. 

McLeod is wanted by the San Diego Police Department for the murder of 30-year-old Krystal Mitchell. 

Authorities believe he fled the country and may be hiding out in Mexico or Central America. He was last spotted in Belize in 2018 and Guatemala in 2017. 

“McLeod poses a significant threat to the public and must be brought to justice,” U.S. Marshal Service Director Donald Washington said in a statement. 

The San Diego District Attorney’s Office charged McLeod with murder after Mitchell was found dead in June 2016 at an apartment in San Diego, where the couple was visiting friends. McLeod was the last known person to see Mitchell alive, authorities said. 

“The passage of time will never deter the Marshals’ fugitive investigation for McLeod,” U.S. Marshal Steve Stafford of the Southern District of California said. “If anything, it fuels our determination. We will leave no stone unturned until he is brought to justice.”

McLeod is 5 feet 11 inches tall and has brown hair and hazel eyes. At the time he fled, McLeod weighed 245 pounds and had “a tattooed muscular physique.”

FBI Remembers Fallen Agent Barry Lee Bush, Who Died on This Date in 2007

FBI Special Agent Barry Lee Bush

By Steve Neavling

On this date in 2007, an FBI agent was fatally shot while trying to arrest three heavily armed bank robbery suspects in central New Jersey. 

Barry Lee Bush, 52, of the FBI’s Newark Field Office, was killed when another agent’s gun accidentally discharged outside a PNC Bank branch in Readington.  

The agent who mistakenly shot Bush was absolved after an investigation by the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility determined the agent was within the bureau’s guidelines for firing his weapon. 

In honor of Bush in April 2008, the bureau’s Newark office was renamed after him.

Bush joined the FBI in 1987 and transferred from the Kansas City Field Office to Newark in 1991. 

At a memorial service on April 12, 2017, then-FBI Director Robert Mueller described Bush as a “dogged investigator” who “loved being part of the action.”

“Barry loved his job,” Mueller said at the time. “But he had two loves in his life. One was the Bureau. The other love—his first love— was his family. He talked about them constantly. They were his pride and joy. No matter how much he loved his work, he loved coming home at the end of the day even more.”

Read Mueller’s full remarks at the memorial service.

Mississippi Man Pleads Guilty to Shooting U.S. Marshals Service Task Force Member

Joseph Dale Sonnier

By Steve Neavling

A 32-year-old man who shot a member of a U.S. Marshals Service Task Force outside of a hotel in Mississippi has pleaded guilty to four counts of assaulting and resisting officers and one count of discharging a firearm.  

Joseph Dale Sonnier, of Hancock County, entered the plea in federal court Thursday and is set to be sentenced on July 8. He faces up to 20 years of prison on each count. 

Sonnier shot a member of the task force in the neck while executing a search warrant on July 21. The officer survived. 

Sonnier was wanted on two counts of kidnapping, two counts of aggravated assaulted, armed robbery and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. 

Weekend Series on Crime: Mexican Cartel and Gun Smuggling

CBP Canine Sniffs Out $60K of Fentanyl Stuffed inside Breakfast Burrito

Fentanyl found stuffed inside burritos. (CBP)

By Steve Neavling

A Customs and Border Protection dog sniffed out nearly $60,000 worth of fentanyl stuffed inside breakfast burritos near the U.S.-Mexico Border. 

The canine alerted his handler to a Chevrolet Tahoe at an inspection checkpoint in Yuma on Monday, CBP said in a news release.

The dog sniffed out the drugs in a black backpack inside the vehicle. 

Agents found several small packages containing 5 pounds of fentanyl pills inside the burritos. 

CBP arrested the 37-year-old driver, who was a U.S. citizen.