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Ex-Trashman Makes Killing on Pot-Like High Product

Derek Williams/facebook

By Justin Blum
Bloomberg

Derek Williams was working as a trash-truck driver when his cousin told him about K2, a product made from plant materials and chemicals that provided a legal, marijuana-like high. Williams saw his ticket out of the residential rubbish business: Make a better blend.

He studied compounds that mimic the effects of pot, and almost a year after creating his own brand, Syn Incense, in his home in Kansas City, Missouri, Williams, 29, said he has sold more than $1.5 million worth in at least 10 states. Marketing the product as incense helps him avoid federal regulations, even though he said he knows most customers smoke it.

His ability to stay a step ahead of federal and state authorities underscores the hurdles regulators face as they move to ban chemicals used in such products, which they say may pose serious and unknown dangers. Williams said when his ingredients are restricted, he switches to similar ones.

“It became a money-making machine,” said Williams, adding that he hopes the business will lead to early retirement.

To read more click here.

FBI Agent Cleared in Fatal Shooting at Fla. Military Base

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A team of investigators has cleared an FBI agent of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a veteran last May 19 at the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla.

In a press release, the FBI stated that the agent, whose name was not released “operated within the scope of the FBI’s deadly force policy and did not violate any state or federal laws.”

The FBI said the investigation into the shooting was conducted with the assistance of the Tampa Police Department, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Air Force Security Forces and a deployed team of FBI investigators from the FBI’s Inspection Division in Washington.

The FBI said it found that the agent shot and killed Ronald J. Bullock, who was armed with a knife, charged the FBI agent, and ignored repeated commands to surrender his weapon.

The FBI said “the agent involved in the incident feared for his life, and in accordance with his training, fired in self-defense, resulting in Mr. Bullock’s death.”

Authorities said last year that Bullock was a guest at the base’s family camp, which is for recreational vehicles. At some point, the vet got into an altercation and then fled on his motorcycle with base security in pursuit shortly after 6 p.m. At that point, the base locked all the exits.

PRESS CONFERENCE LAST YEAR

FBI Dir. Mueller’s Old D.C. Barber Shop Shuts; His Picture Hung on the Wall

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi stock photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A slice of history in Washington that included FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III is gone.

The Friendship Barbershop at Wisconsin Avenue NW and Newark Street, where Mueller got his haircuts  — shut down Feb. 26 to make room for a redevelopment project, according to WTOP radio.

Not to fret though. WTOP reports that the owner of the shop, Luigi Sacripanti  is moving his operation to a friend’s salon on Cathedral Avenue NW  in the District.

Mueller, who retires from the FBI in September,  enjoyed some celebrity status at the old shop, WTOP reported. His framed photo hung on the wall,  and  Sacripanti, would shut down the shop while some dozen of Mueller’s staff stood around and watched.

Some Federal Agents “Anguished” Over ATF Operation That Let Guns into Mexico

atf photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A variety of federal agent voiced “anguished objections” over an ATF operation that allowed guns to be smuggled in Mexico so they could be traced to the top levels of the drug cartels, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The paper reported that the operation known as “Operation Fast and Furious” lost track of hundreds of firearms, many which have been linked to crimes including the murder of a Border Patrol agent last December.

“With the number of guns we let walk, we’ll never know how many people were killed, raped, robbed,” ATF agent John Dodson said in an interview with the Center for Public Integrity, according to the LA Times. “There is nothing we can do to round up those guns. They are gone.”

Dodson said in that interview that he was still haunted by his participation in the operation, the Times reported.

The paper reported that “ATF said agents took every possible precaution to assure that guns were recovered before crossing into Mexico.”

ATF spokesman Scot L. Thomasson said the operation is under evaluation, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“It’s always a good business practice to review any new strategy six or eight months after you’ve initiated it, to make sure it’s working, that it’s having the desired effect, and then make adjustments as you see fit to ensure it’s successful,” he said.

Meanwhile, Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt wrote in a column on Friday after meeting with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon, that the president said the flow into Mexico  of assault weapons like AK-47s rose “exponentially” after Congress let a ban on the sale of assault weapons expire in 2004.

Ex-CIA Official Gets 5 Years-Plus in Prison for Sexual Assault in Algeria on Embassy Property

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-CIA official Andrew Warren, who pleaded guilty last year to drugging and sexually assaulting an Algerian woman in 2008 on embassy property in Algiers, and using cocaine while possessing a firearm in Virginia, was sentenced Thursday to five years and five months in prison.

Warren’s sentencing in U.S. District Court in Washington capped an embarrassing international scandal for the CIA.

Last June, Warren, now 43, admitted that on Feb. 17, 2008, he had sexually assaulted the woman on the U.S. Embassy property in Algiers, the capital of Algeria.

The government alleged in court documents that Warren had made a drink for the woman, who “consumed part of the drink and suddenly became very ill.” She passed into “semi-consciousness,” at which point he took off the woman’s clothes and “engaged in a sexual act with her,” according to court documents.

After the incident, Warren told authorities he’d had sex with the woman but said that it was consensual, the government alleged.

The CIA recalled Warren — who was first stationed in Algiers in 2007 — to the United States in October 2008. He was fired in 2009.

A second woman had also made similar allegations about Warren, but his  plea last year only applied to the February 2008 incident, according to court records.

U.S. District Ellen S. Huvelle on Thursday ordered that Warren be placed on 10 years of supervised release after his prison term and register as a sex offender.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

U.S. Has Proof Ex-FBI Agent Who Went Missing in Iran in 2007 is Still Alive, AP Reports

Robert Levinson

UPDATE: Sec. of State Hillary Clinton issued this statement on Thursday:”As we approach the fourth anniversary of Bob Levinson’s disappearance, we have received recent indications that Bob is being held somewhere in southwest Asia. As the Government of Iran has previously offered its assistance in this matter, we respectfully request the Iranian government to undertake humanitarian efforts to safely return and reunite Bob with his family. We would appreciate the Iranian government’s efforts in this matter.”

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials have proof that missing ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, who vanished while visiting an island off  Iran in March 2007, is still alive, the Associated Press reported.

A U.S. official told ticklethewire.com that Levinson is not in Iran, but declined to divulge more details.

AP reported that the proof has “intensified secret negotiations to bring him home.” AP did not disclose more details and the FBI did not immediately return a call for comment.

Iran repeatedly said it had no information on his whereabouts even though U.S. officials suspected he had been abducted by the Iranian government.

Last month, Iran’s elite military force, the Revolutionary Guards, denied a report generated by WikiLeaks documents that suggested it was holding, or had held, Levinson.

“We deny the arrest of the FBI agent and if the Guards had arrested an enemy, it would announce itself,” the head of the Guards, commander Mohammad Ali Jafari, told reporters, according to ILNA news agency.

A WikiLeaks cable suggested that missing ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson, who went missing in 2007 while working as a private investigator in the Persian Gulf, was being held — at least at one point — in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s prison, according to a report in the The Telegraph in London.

One prevailing thought all along was that the 63 year old, who wasn’t in the best of health — high blood pressure and diabetes — might have died.

Paul Bresson, an FBI spokesman said: “It remains an ongoing investigation and our goal remains to bring him home safely.”