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Justice’s OPR Clears FBI Agent and Ex-Acting U.S. Attorney of Wrongdoing in N.J. Press Conference

Dun Weysan/fbi photo

Weysan Dun/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has cleared New Jersey’s ex-acting U.S. Attorney and the former head of the Newark FBI of wrongdoing related to statements they made in 2009 at a press conference regarding a major public corruption indictment of more than 40 people, the Newark Star-Ledger reported.

The Justice Department concluded that ex-acting U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra and  Weysan Dun, who headed the FBI’s New Jersey office at the time, but now heads up the Omaha Division, acted properly, the Star-Ledger reported.

The Justice Department had been looking into allegations that the men stepped over the line when they made comments about the probe. Some accused them of making inflammatory comments to help boost ex-U.S. Attorney Chris Christe’s chances in his run for New Jersey governor, the Star-Ledger reported.  Christie won.

“The politicians willingly put themselves up for sale. For these defendants, corruption was a way of life. They existed in an ethics-free zone,” Mara said at the press conference, according to the paper.

The FBI’s Dun, remarked: “This case is not about politics. It is certainly not about religion. It is about arrogance and it is about a shocking betrayal of the public trust.”

The paper reported that a letter issued last week from the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility said:

“Based upon the results of our investigation, we concluded that you did not violate any professional obligation and thus did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment in this matter,” wrote Mary Patrice Brown, acting counsel for the office.

The paper reported that Justice Department guidelines say a prosecutor “shall refrain from making extrajudicial comments that pose a serious and imminent threat of heightening public condemnation of the accused.”

To read more click here.

Beloved FBI Organized Crime Fighter Gino Lazzari Dies at Age 85

fbi photo

fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Retired Philly FBI agent Gino L. Lazzari, who worked organized crime cases, and was beloved by colleagues and mobsters alike, died on Saturday at age 85 in a suburb of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

Lazzari, who was an FBI agent for 25 years, went on after he retired to become  an investigator for the Pennslyvania Crime Commission, the paper reported. He worked a variety of FBI offices and arrived in Philly in the 1960s.

“Anybody who worked in organized crime, knew and loved Gino,” Andrew Sloan, a retired FBI agent who worked with Gino in organized crime told the Daily News. “Nobody was more liked than Gino.”

“He was a terrific human being. Even the mob guys liked him.”

The paper reported that he was a man of detail. He knew “the pedigrees of every mob figure, who their parents were, who their children were, and what their connections were among themselves in the criminal organization” the paper reported.

“In the days before computers, we used to refer to him as our computer,” said Jack Howell, a former supervisor on the organized crime squad told the paper. “We would be chasing Bruno or some mob figure and Gino would remember all the license numbers. He knew how to tie people together in the mob.”

To read more click here.

Column: U.S. Falls Short in Helping Mexico Battle Drug War

drug war-gunBy Jackson Diehl
Washington Post Deputy Editorial  Page Writer

WASHINGTON — Last month, 303 people were murdered in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, which lies alongside El Paso. This month, the dead include three men killed by a sophisticated, remote-controlled car bomb — the first in Mexico’s drug wars. In a city of 1.2 million, more than 2,600 died violently in 2009; some 200,000 more may have fled.

Meanwhile in Washington, the Government Accountability Office has drawn up a list of assistance promised to Mexico by the United States since 2008, but not delivered. It includes: at least nine Black Hawk helicopters; three Bell helicopters; four airplanes for sea patrolling; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft; 218 polygraph units; two railroad inspection units; mobile gamma radiation trucks; and five training programs, ranging from “financial intelligence” to “drug demand reduction.”

Since the end of the Cold War, neglect of Latin America has become something of a fine art in Washington, practiced by Republican and Democratic administrations alike.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Chicago FBI’s Robert Grant Offended by Mayor Daley’s Comments

FBI's Robert Grant/fbi photo

FBI's Robert Grant/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The head of the FBI in Chicago and city’s Mayor Richard Daley got into a little tiff this past week.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Robert Grant, head of the Chicago FBI, shot back at the mayor who suggested the agency wasn’t doing enough to combat gun violence in the Windy City.

“My task force, which are FBI and Chicago Police officers side by side, are very demoralized to read those comments after all the hard work they put in,” Grant told WFLD-Channel 32 news, according to the Sun-Times.

Mayor Daley

Mayor Daley

His remarks were in response to Daley’s comments on Thursday after a joint FBI-Chicago Police bust resulted in 25 arrests, the paper reported.

“Well, finally. Thank God, they did it. Where have they been?” Daley said at the time, according to the paper. “The Chicago Police round ’em up every day, every week and every month. You give ’em no publicity for that. And they solve crimes in the community. We don’t wait for the feds.”

Grant shot back that the FBI has been busting folks for guns “for a long time. If he ever wanted to know the stats and see how much we have done … and see what actually goes on in the city in terms of sharing data and prioritizing, he might learn something.”

Then came the back peddling.

Daley’s press office apologized, the Sun-Times reported, saying the mayor “responded emotionally because three Chicago Police officers have been killed in two months. Mayor Daley did not mean to demoralize FBI agents and he looks forward to working with them again to clean up the city’s streets.”

Ex-Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales Angry About Criminal Probe into U.S. Atty Firings; Bush Congratulated Him On Report

Weekend Series on Crime History: The FBI Hunt for $19 Million Armored Car Company Robber

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFZat_EWmhM

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrwbH5FWHh4

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhq_8Za2j7Q

High-Ranking Mexican Law Enforcement Official Among 43 Charged in Crackdown on Mexican Cartel

mexico-border-signBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities in San Diego charged a high-ranking Mexican law enforcement official and 42 others as part of a crackdown on a major Mexican drug cartel — the Fernando Sanchez Organization — that allegedly was involved in murders and kidnappings, the San Diego Tribune reported.

The Mexican official, Jesus Quinonez Marquez, director of international liaison for the Baja California Attorney General’s Office, was charged with working with the organization, the paper reported.

The paper reported that the leader of the cartel, Fernando Sanchez Arellano, a nephew of notorious brothers and cartel leaders Javier, Ramon and Benjamin Arellano Félix, was not arrested.

“The presence of foreign-based drug-trafficking organization members and associates in San Diego will not be tolerated.” U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy said in a statement. “The San Diego law enforcement community leverages every asset to ensure that this fine city never becomes the safe haven from which drug-trafficking organizations stage their operations as drug wars and law enforcement scrutiny disrupt narco-business.”

To read more click here.

Judge Limits Closing Arguments in Blago Case to 1 Day

Ex-Gov. Blago while in office/official photo

Ex-Gov. Blago while in office/official photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. District Judge James Zagel is throwing down some limits in closing arguments in the public corruption trial for the very talkative ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Zagel told lawyers for both sides that he expects closing arguments will only last one day. Arguments are set for Monday, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Assistant U. S. Attorney Christopher Niewoehner will go first and is expected to take about two hours, the Tribune reported.

Defense attorney Sam Adam Jr. will then take about 2 1/2 hours and Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar, who will give the rebuttal, should take about an hour, the Tribune reported.

On Thursday, the judge said he was “unpersuaded” by the defense motion for acquittal, but said he would rule on the matter after closing arguments.