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Mexico’s Military Kills at Least 25 Suspected Cartel Members in Raid

Mexico border map
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The military in Mexico flexed some muscle Thursday, killing at least 25 suspected drug cartel members in a raid and gun battle near the U.S. border, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that military aircraft flying over Ciudad Mier in Tamaulipas state spotted gunmen in front of a building. When troops moved in, the gunmen opened fire. Two soldiers were wounded.

Three kidnap victims were rescued during the raid, the Associated Press reported.

In his state of the nation speech Thursday, Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon called the increasingly bloody violence in the drug war “the central threat” to the country, according to the Washington Post.

“As we all know, we face unscrupulous criminals with enormous economic capacity and great firepower.”

To read more click here.

Atlanta Cop Pleads Guilty in FBI Sting

atlanta policeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Atlanta cop Lucius T. Solomon got tripped up in an FBI sting and will likely head off to prison.

The 31-year-old, now a former cop, pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Atlanta to corruption and drug charges. He could get up to life in prison at sentencing, which is set for Nov. 9.

According to authorities, Solomon on three occasions in 2009 and 2010 provided protection for what he believed to be multi-kilogram cocaine deals, but in reality it was all part of an FBI sting that has been carried out in other cities around the nation over the years.

On two occasions, Solomon was on duty, in uniform and in his marked police car when he provided the protection, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. In each deal, he agreed to provide protection for $2,000.

“Instead of protecting and serving the people of this community from the scourge of the illegal drug trade, this former police officer took money to protect the very drug dealers he had sworn to pursue and arrest,” Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement. “There is no greater breach of a police officer’s oath than to actively participate in criminal conduct that so powerfully harms the community.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Dept. Sues Az Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

Sheriff Joe Arpaio

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Say it ain’t so Sheriff Joe.

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Thursday against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, claiming the Arizona lawman and his department have refused to fully cooperate with the feds’ investigation into allegations his department discriminates against Hispanics in police practices and jail operations.

The Justice Department said it took the latest step “after exhausting all cooperative measures to gain access” to documents and facilities.

The Justice Department said since March 2009 it has tried to secure “secure voluntary compliance with the department’s investigation.”

“The actions of the sheriff’s office are unprecedented. It is unfortunate that the department was forced to resort to litigation to gain access to public documents and facilities,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division said in a statement.

Chicago Tribune: Prosecuting Baseball Star Roger Clemens Waste of “Prosecutorial Resources”

*Jan 06 - 00:05*By Steve Chapman
Chicago Tribune Editorial Board

If it were a crime to venture onto Capitol Hill to reveal yourself as a self-absorbed liar with an inability to admit mistakes, there would be tumbleweeds blowing through the vacant halls of Congress. Fortunately for members of the legislative branch, that is not a crime. Unless your name is Roger Clemens.

The eccentric baseball legend is not one to let people disparage him without a forceful response, any more than he was one to let batters crowd the plate without retaliation. A couple of years ago, after being accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, he voluntarily appeared before a House committee to heap scorn on the charge.

His denial was not very convincing, since other witnesses — notably longtime teammate Andy Pettitte — had given statements contradicting him. He was repeatedly reminded by skeptical interrogators that he was under oath. Democratic Chairman Henry Waxman and ranking Republican Tom Davis joined together afterward to advise the Justice Department that “significant questions have been raised about Mr. Clemens’ truthfulness.”

But never mind if anyone believed him, or if his alleged dissembling made any difference on anything. Federal prosecutors got him indicted for perjury, and he faces trial on charges that carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison.

It’s possible to imagine less worthy uses of prosecutorial resources, but not many.

To read more click here.

NY Feds Deny Misconduct in Gambino Crime Family Case

new-york-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office challenged allegations by a defense attorney that the government was involved in misconduct in a mob case in which a cooperating witness ran a prostitution ring that used a 15-year-old girl, the New York Times reported.

The Times reported that the government, in a court filing Wednesday, said it ended the operation when it learned that the teen was involved.

The filing came in response to a motion by defense attorney, Gerald J. McMahon, who claimed in court papers that the government was engaged in ”outrageous government misconduct” by using the teen. He asked that the case be dismissed.

The motions were in connection with the indictment in April of 14 people linked to the Gambino crime family.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Feds Indict Powerful Maryland State Lawmaker Ulysses Currie on Bribery Charges

Sen. Ulysses Currie/senate photo

Sen. Ulysses Currie/senate photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Powerful Maryland state Sen. Ulysses S. Currie, 73, finds himself in big trouble.

The feds in Baltimore  on Wednesday indicted him for allegedly taking more than $245,000 in bribes to use his office to help a grocery chain, Shoppers Food and Pharmacy. Two former Shoppers Food officials were also indicted. (read indictment)

Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baltimore said it filed a separate criminal information against Shoppers Food Warehouse Corp. The company has agreed to enter into a deferred prosecution agreement, which calls for it to pay a $2.5 million penalty.

The indictment alleges that shortly after Currie became chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee in 2002, he asked to be placed on the payroll of Shoppers Food Warehouse Corporation to use his elected position to help the grocery chain.

Among the things Currie,a Democrat representing the suburban Prince George’s County,  did to assist the chain was to help it sell liquor at a store and save on the construction of another store, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Read more »

Leader of Pakistan Taliban Charged in Death of 7 CIA Employees in Afghanistan

afghanistan mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials launched a multi-prong attack against the Pakistan Taliban, placing the group on the international terrorism black list while indicting its leader in the death of seven CIA employees last year on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan.

The State Department also announced that it was offering a $5 million reward each for information leading to the capture of two top leaders.

One of those leaders,  Hakimullah Mehsud, the self-proclaimed emir of the Pakistani Taliban, was charged in a criminal complaint announced Wednesday  in Washington in connection with the Dec. 30, 2009 suicide bombing that killed the seven CIA employees.

Read more »

Hoopla Over Detained Yemini Men Appears to be Nothing

plane window2UPDATE: Tuesday, 2:10 p.m — The Associated Press reports that Dutch prosecutors said the two Yemeni men were released without charge Wednesday after investigators found no evidence of a terror plot.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — All the hoopla over two Yemeni men detained in Amsterdam appears to be nothing, federal law enforcement sources said.

The two U.S. residents, Ahmad Mohamed Nasser al-Soofi, 48, of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Hezem al-Murisi, 37, of Memphis, missed their flight on Sunday at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago and got on another flight. Screeners found some items that appeared to be suspicious and speculation circulated that the men were possibly trying a test run for a terrorism attack.

But sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said relatives and friends were being interviewed and leads were being followed up and there  was no indication the men had any terrorist affiliations.

They caught a different flight, but some of their baggage had already been loaded on the flight they missed, including items that had been taped together and attracted attention from airport screeners. Though no explosives were found, investigators considered the possibility that the men might be conducting a test run for a terrorist attack, officials said.

Read NY Times story