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4 Family Members Busted for Trying to Sell F-5 Jet Engines to Iran


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Four family members have been indicted in Miami on charges of attempting to sell 22 F-5 fighter jet engines to Iran for $320,000.

Only problem with their plan was that they tried selling the engines to an undercover federal agent, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami said.

According to the allegations in the indictment and the previously filed complaint affidavit, Felipe Echeverry and three of his relatives conspired to sell the engines to an undercover agent and agreed to help the agent to export the engines from Miami to Iran through Panama.

“The sales of arms and other commodities to Iran is illegal,” said Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer.”When unscrupulous dealers look the other way and knowingly agree to sell military- use items knowing they are destined for Iran, they not only break our nation’s laws, but also endanger our national security.”

Why the Underwear Bomber Picked Detroit

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Why Detroit?

The Associated Press reports that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, dubbed the “underwear bomber”, thought about blowing up a plane above Houston or Chicago on Christmas day in 2009, but the ticket to Detroit was cheaper.

The AP reported that he considered Houston, where he had gone to school. Instead, he chose a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Northwest Airlines. The bomb never detonated, and he now faces trial in Detroit.

Detroiters, who are often sensitive about the city’s image, won’t be flattered by this latest revelation.

FBI Says Deadly Gang Used Cell Phones From Prison to Give Orders on Outside

Barrio Azteca gang member/doj file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

With modern technology comes modern headaches for law enforcement.

The El Paso Times reports that an FBI agent testified in federal court in El Paso on Wednesday that the violent Barrio Azteca gang leaders in prison gave orders to street soldiers by cell phone.

FBI agent Samantha Mikeska said the cell phones were tapped as part of major probe last year into gang that operates on both sides of the border, the El Paso Times reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Authors Talk About Book on Mass FBI Sting in New Jersey

Border Agents Bust 13 Illegal Immigrants in Marine Uniforms

fox news

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The game keeps changing.

In a new twist, Border Patrol agents busted 13 illegal immigrants in California who were wearing U.S. Marines uniforms and driving in a fake military van, FOX News reported.

The station reported that the illegal immigrants were nabbed at the Campo Border Patrol Westbound I-8 checkpoint at 11 p.m. on March 14 near Pine Valley, Calif., authorities said.

The station reported that authorities discovered that the driver and passenger were Americans trying to smuggle the people in the U.S.

“This effort is an example of the lengths smugglers will go to avoid detection, and the skilled and effective police work and vigilance displayed everyday by Customs and Border Protection personnel,” the agency said in a written statement, according to FOX.

EX-FBI Agent Takes Shots at Brooklyn Prosecutors in His New Book


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex- New York FBI agent Lindley DeVecchio, who beat a murder wrap in 2007 after being accused of advising a mob informant to kill four turncoats, is going after the  local Brooklyn prosecutors who unsuccessfully went after him, according to the New York Daily News.

In his new book “We’re Going to Win This Thing: The Shocking Frame-Up of a Mafia Crime Buster”, DeVecchio takes a shot at the Brooklyn Distict Attorney Charles Hynes, suggesting he was “always more interested in publicity than doing his job,” and was hoping that prosecuting an ex-agent would promote a novel he’d written, the Daily News reported.

And DeVecchio  goes after the controversial frontline local prosecutor Michael Vecchione, who unsuccessfully prosecuted him in 2007, the Daily News reported .The case imploded during trial when it was discovered that a key witness , a gangster’s mistress, was lying. The case was subsequently dropped.

DeVecchio said the trial  was set up so that prosecutor Vecchione would be the good Italian and he would be the bad one, the Daily News reported. And he had little good to say about Vecchione.

“Despite having never seen him, I could tell who he was right away,” he noted in his book.  “Dark-skinned, vacant-eyed, with an aggressive, bulky body topped by a moon face and a graying crew cut. He always seemed to be on the verge of toppling forward.

“He had one of those rock star beards that never grows more than a quarter-inch and endows the wearer with a degenerate look. Someone should tell him that it looks ridiculous on a middle-aged man with a potbelly.”

A spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office declined comment, the Daily News reported.

UPDATED: Report Says Army Could Have “Prevented” Anthrax Attacks in 2001 and Psychiatric Records Support FBI Findings That Bruce Ivins “Was Responsible”

Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

And now for more on the anthrax controversy.

A court-ordered report by the Expert Behavorial Analysis Panel concluded the U.S. Army could have “anticipated” and “prevented” the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks, and that a review of psychiatric records of suspect Bruce Ivins “does support the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s)determination that he was responsible.”

Ivins, a civilian Army scientist at Ft. Detrick, Md., who committed suicide before authorities could charge him, “was psychologically disposed to undertake the mailings; his behavioral history demonstrated his potential for carrying them out; and he had the motivation and means,” according to the Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel , which was created in 2009 to review Ivins and the deadly attacks. News of the report first appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

The Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel found that Ivins displayed unusual behavior — some that was dismissed as eccentricity — that should have led the Army to do a better mental health evaluation. It also said Ivins’ mental health professionals would have advised against it had they known he had a high level security clearance.

The report was welcoming news for the Justice Department and FBI, which has taken some heat from from skeptics who don’t believe that Ivins is the person who mailed the deadly letters that killed five people and sickened 17 others.

“The FBI appreciates the efforts, time, and expertise of the panel and its highly respected chair and members,” the agency said in a statement.”The panel’s analysis, findings, and recommendations provide important insight that will further contribute to the public’s understanding of the investigation into the deadly anthrax mailings.”

The report portrays Ivins was someone who had a “traumatic, damaging childhood” and an abusive one.

“Dr. Ivins grew up in a family in which there is ample evidence that his mother assaulted and abused her husband — stabbing him, and beating him and threatening to kill him with a loaded gun,” the report said. “It also appears she abused Dr. Ivins as a boy, and his father mocked him publicly as well.”

Some fellow scientists and politicians on Capitol Hill — along with Ivins’ attorney — remain skeptical that Ivins mailed the deadly letters that killed 5 people and sickened 17 others.

Read Summary of Report

Ala. Fed Judge Threatens to Sanction Prosecutors for Withholding Documents

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors aren’t scoring any points with a federal judge in a bingo vote-buying case in Montgomery, Ala.

The Birmingham News reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel  Jr. on Tuesday threatened to sanction fed prosecutors for failing to turn over documents relating to FBI wiretaps.  He ordered the government to turn over the files by the end of the business day on Tuesday. He scheduled a pretrial hearing on the matter for Thursday.

“This has gone past the point of mistake or anything else,” Capel said, according to the Birmingham News.

The defense teams says the government has been withholding material related to the wiretaps that could help their case. They claim that notes made regarding casino owners Milton McGregory and Ronnie Gilley could help them prove the wiretaps were done improperly.

Gilley, McGregor, two state senators, two lobbyists and two others are set to go to trial June 6 on charges they attempted to buy and sell votes for gambling bill before the Alabama state legislature, the Birmingham News reported.

“I think there are logs. I think there are emails among the agents,” defense attorney  Doug Jones, who represents Gilley, said, according to the paper. “Personally, it seems to me they are playing hide the ball. There is something there they don’t want us to see.”

The paper reported that fed prosecutors declined comment.  AP reported that one of the defense attorneys said that  the government had emailed some documents before the 5 p.m. deadline on Tuesday. It was unclear from the news report whether the fed prosecutors fully complied with the order.