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Engineer Guilty of Selling Military Secrets to China

Honolulu_mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former engineer who worked on the B-2 Stealth bomb was convicted in Honolulu Monday of selling military secrets to China to help that nation develop a stealth cruise missile, the Associated Press reported.

Authorities said the engineer, Noshir Gowadia,66, pocketed at least $110,000 from the transactions and used the money to pay the mortgage on a multimillion-dollar ocean-view home on Maui’s north shore, AP reported.

He had been in federal custody since 2005. His lawyers had argued that the materials he gave to China came from unclassified and public information, AP reported.

“Mr. Gowadia provided some of our country’s most sensitive weapons-related designs to the Chinese government for money,” U.S. Attorney David Kris said in a statement.

“Today, he is being held accountable for his actions. This prosecution should serve as a warning to others who would compromise our nation’s military secrets for profit.”

Drug Cartels Operate Freely in Small Calif. Towns

In these small little towns in California, not only are some of the politicians extremely corrupt, but they’ve become places where gangs and Mexican and Colombian drug cartels operate freely.  Investigative reporter Jeffrey Anderson examines the problem.
CALIFornia map
By Jeffrey Anderson
Washington Times

BELL, Calif. —  The gang graffiti that coats freeway overpasses, exit signs and the concrete banks of the Los Angeles River attests to a problem more alarming than the recent revelations of hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual salaries for public officials.

Street gangs, a powerful prison gang known as the Mexican Mafia and even more powerful drug-trafficking organizations based in Mexico and Colombia operate freely in this small city and the similarly sized cities surrounding it.

News reports in recent weeks have focused on three Bell city officials who resigned on July 26 amid revelations that they were being paid up to $800,000 per year in a city of 36,000 where the average annual household income is less than $40,000. California Attorney General Jerry Brown on Monday announced that he issued subpoenas to current and former members of Bell’s city government, adding that his office also is investigating allegations of “possible illegal election conduct by Bell officials.”

To read full story click here.

ICE Agents Vote “No Confidence” in Head of Agency

John Morton

John Morton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The union that represents field agents at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is giving the top management an icy  “vote of no confidence”, the Washington Times reported.

The paper reported that the rank and file vote was unanimous, and that agents say the leadership had “abandoned” its core mission to support a political agenda favoring amnesty.

The Washington Times said the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council of the American Federation of Government Employees voted 259-0 for resolution expressing a lack of confidence in the head of ICE, Assistant Secretary John Morton and Phyllis Coven, assistant director for the agency’s office of detention policy and planning.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Backlog of DNA Cases Mounting

DNA code analysisBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The FBI has a backlog of 3,211 forensic DNA cases, which would take two years to eliminate if there was no new staff or new cases, according to a report by the Justice Department’s Inspector General.

“The forensic DNA case backlog at the FBI Laboratory can have significant effects,” the report said. “Backlogs may delay legal proceedings that are waiting on the results of DNA analysis.

Read more »

Louisiana Drug Trafficker Used Dog and Cockfights to Recruit for His Drug Ring

louisiana-mapBy Matt Castello
ticklethewire.com

For a big-time Louisiana drug trafficker, the dog and cockfighting ring served as the ideal venue to help expand his drug ring.

Pedro Mendez Ramos, of Church Point, La., who authorities described as “an avid pit bull and cock fighter”, used more than 300 gamecocks and 60 pit bulls as a recruiting tool for the drug organization he headed up.

Late last week, Ramos, 41, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Lake Charles, La., to 12.5 years in prison.

Authorities said the organization transported and distributed cocaine and marijuana from the Brownsville, Tex. area to the Church Point, La. area and then to Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and other parts of Louisiana.

Members of the Gulf Cartel, a Matamoros, Mexico based drug organization, directly supplied drugs to Ramos’ crew, authorities said.

An investigation nicknamed “Operation Fowl Play” and “Rio Gallo” netted indictments of 18 men (including Ramos) on a variety of drug trafficking, money laundering and firearms charges.

The DEA, working together with local and state law enforcement, seized approximately 111 kilograms of cocaine from the drug organization along with $1.8 million in cash and about $1 million in property in Louisiana and Texas, authorities said.

The DEA said it’s not unusual for there to be a connection between dog fighting and other illicit activities including drug sales.

“I don’t want to say it goes hand in hand, but its safe to say there’s an overlap” between dog fighting and other forms of crime, Special Agent Roberto Bryan, a DEA spokesman in New Orleans told ticklethewire.com.

ATF Busts Texas Cop for Selling Guns From Evidence Room

texasBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 55-year-old Texas cop had a nice little thing going — that is until he got busted by ATF and the Texas Rangers.

Authorities charged that Harry Leroy Kelly, as a cop with the Cleveland Police Department in Liberty County, Tex., sold guns and ammunition from the evidence room. He is currently a captain with the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities alleged that Kelly had control over the evidence room and was responsible for destroying items.  As part of his scheme, Kelly drafted papers showing he destroyed firearms, when in fact he had not.

He faces 103 counts of possession of a stolen firearm, two counts of possession of a firearm without a serial number, one count of possession of stolen ammunition and one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Texas said.

“Sometime in 2007, Harry Kelly began taking firearms from the evidence room and traded or bartered them to his friend, who in turn gave Harry Kelly credits for the merchandise that Kelly brought, which Kelly used to buy his own firearms for his own firearm business,” U.S. Attorney John M. Bales said, according to TV station KPRC.

Blago Jury Enters 9th Day of Deliberations

Rod Blagojevich/facebook photo

Rod Blagojevich/facebook photo

UPDATE: Tues, 10:55 p.m. — Jurors begin the 10th day of deliberations.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Let the nail biting continue.

Jurors in the public corruption trial of ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich begin deliberating Monday for the ninth day in U.S. District Court in downtown Chicago.

Good chance a verdict will come by week’s end — or least the public will get a good indication where the jury stands.

Jurors have had to sift through a weighty 24-count indictment which includes allegations that the ex-governor tried to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Obama. Blago’s brother Robert faces four counts.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Fed Prosecutor Remembers James K. Robinson as “One of the Finest Lawyers of His Generation”

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Every young lawyer remembers the guy who gave him his first real job. For me and some others, it was a mark of distinction that that guy was Jim Robinson.

His death last Friday from cancer evokes a painful loss but also many happy memories about a man who was one of the finest lawyers of his generation.

Although Jim’s long and successful career as a litigator, public servant, author and teacher included many of the highest achievements available in the legal profession, it was for many of us his term as a 34-year-old U.S. Attorney in Detroit which we remember most fondly.

James K. Robinson

James K. Robinson

During his three-year term from 1977 to 1980, he set a framework for the modern federal prosecutor’s office and inspired dozens of young lawyers along the way.

Jim re-organized and modernized the U.S. Attorney’s Office in ways that are still followed today in this and other districts around the country.

He convinced the Justice Department to let him hire several dozen new lawyers and support staff, and he filled the positions with a diverse group, including women, African Americans and former defense counsel, three groups which had been greatly under-represented.

Read more »