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FBI Raids City Hall, Homes of Baltimore Mayor in Kickback Investigation

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal agents raided Baltimore City Hall and two homes owned by Mayor Catherine Pugh as part of an investigation involving the mayor’s self-published children’s books.

The FBI and IRS executed additional search warrants Thursday, targeting her attorney, a former mayoral aide and the Maryland Center for Adult Training, a nonprofit job training program that the mayor once led, the Associated Press reports.

Investigators are trying to determine whether Pugh received kickbacks from her books using bulk sales.

Hours after the raid, Gov. Larry Hogan and other elected officials called for Pugh to immediately resign.

“Mayor Pugh has lost the public trust. She is clearly not fit to lead,” Hogan declared in a statement. “For the good of the city, Mayor Pugh must resign.”

Deputy AG Rosenstein Defended Role in Mueller Report, Fired Back at Critics

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, via Justice Department.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller in May 2017 to investigate Russian interference during the presidential election, fire back Thursday at politicians and journalists who have questioned his handling of the probe.

Rosenstein defended the nearly two-year special counsel investigation, saying “our nation is safer, elections are more secure, and citizens are better informed about covert foreign influence schemes.”

Speaking at the Public Servants Dinner of the Armenian Bar Association, Rosenstein spoke publicly for the first time since Mueller’s report was made public.

“As acting Attorney General, it was my responsibility to make sure that the Department of Justice would do what the American people pay us to do: conduct an independent investigation,” said Rosenstein, who leaves the Justice Department next month.

Rosenstein and Attorney General William Barr made the decision that President Trump did not obstruct justice.

“I did pledge to do it right and take it to the appropriate conclusion,” Rosenstein said. “I did not promise to report all results to the public, because grand jury investigations are ex parte proceedings. It is not our job to render conclusive factual findings. … We just decide whether it is appropriate to file criminal charges.”

ATF Security Guard Pleads Guilty to Stealing Firearms, Ammunition from Agency

Christopher Lee Yates

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former contract security guard who stole guns, ammunition and firearms parts from the ATF and then sold them pleaded guilty Wednesday to crimes related to the thefts.

Christopher Lee Yates, of Martinsburg, W.V., admitted in court that he stole the items from ATF’s National Firearms and Ammunition Destruction Branch facility near Martinsburg, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Bill Powell.

An investigation found that Yates stole the guns, ammunition and firearm parts while serving as a security guard from 2016 to 2019.

Yates, who faces up to 10 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine, pleaded guilty in exchange for prosecutors dismissing two felony counts.

What remains unclear is why the ATF didn’t have safeguards in place to avoid the thefts.

Border Patrol Agents to Begin Receiving Bonuses for Staying with Agency

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is offering an incentive to retain agents as the agency becomes inundated with an increase in families cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

Every Border Patrol agent who agrees to stay on the job another year will receive a bonus that equates to a 5% pay increase, CBP announced in a news release Wednesday.

“Investing in the men and women of the United States Border Patrol continues to be my top priority,” U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost said. “Their experience and expertise is critical to successfully accomplishing the border security mission.”

Beginning in June, agents will begin accumulating the bonuses on a daily basis. In September, agents will start receiving the bonuses.

The retention incentive has been branded as part of “a comprehensive recruitment and retention strategy for the U.S. Border Patrol.”

“CBP has aggressively implemented an innovative and multifaceted recruitment and retention strategy, improving the frontline hiring process and related capabilities,” said John P. Sanders, a senior official performing the duties of commissioner. While these efforts have led to considerable progress, CBP continues to strengthen all aspects of its strategy to meet the Executive Order’s mandate.”

Sanders added, “We are facing a humanitarian and border security crisis on the Southwest border, and those who serve on the frontline are vital to that effort. I would like to thank the National Border Patrol Council for their support in moving this initiative forward.”

FBI Arrests Former Trenton Cops Accused of Repeatedly Using Excessive Force

Chanzie Washington’s arrest was caught on a cop’s body cam.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a Trenton police officer as part of an excessive force investigation involving several alleged victims.

Officer Drew Inman was arrested at gunpoint at his hime at 6 a.m., “terrorizing” his wife and children, the officer’s attorney Jerome Ballarotto told the Trentonian.

The FBI also is investigating a former and current officer who was involved in the arrest.
This isn’t the first time Inman has been accused of using excessive force. After repeated allegations, he was fired last summer. Three excessive force lawsuits have been filed against him and the department.

Inman and another former officer, Anthony Villanueva, have been charged in a six-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Trenton last week. They’ve been chased with deprivation of civil rights under color of law and falsifying police records.

They face up to 20 years behind bars.

One of the cases involves the April 2017 arrest of Chanzie Washington, who was pummeled by cops.

Border Patrol Finds 3-Year-Old Boy in Field with ID, Phone Number on His Shoes

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents found an abandoned, crying 3-year-old migrant alone in a cornfield near the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas on Tuesday morning.

The boy’s phone number and name were written on his shoes when agents found him in the Rio Grand Valley near Brownsville, Texas, officials told NBC News.

Agents aren’t sure why the boy was alone, speculating that he may have been with a large group of migrants who fled approaching Border Patrol agents.

Officials have been unable to reach the boy’s parents so far.

The bot was taken to a nearby border station, where he was given movies to watch.

The discovery comes amid an increasing influx of families with children are crossing the border. Last month, the influx prompted U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan to declare that border security was “at a breaking point.”

U.S. Offers to Dispatch FBI to Sri Lanka for Help in Easter Bombing Probe

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The U.S. is offering to help Sri Lanka track down the terrorists behind the string of Easter bombings that killed 321 people.

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks on three hotels and three churches, which were carried out by suicide bombers.

The U.S. said it would dispatch FBI agents with expertise in testing for bomb evidence, The Washington Post reports.  Analysts in the U.S. also are reviewing bureau databases for any useful information.

Among those killed were at least four U.S. citizens.

Sri Lankan officials are investigating how local ISIS members planned and coordinated the deadly attack.