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On-Duty Border Patrol Agent Killed While Helping Driver in Collision

By Steve Neavling

An on-duty Border Patrol agent was killed Monday after he was struck by a car while trying to help a motorist involved in a crash in Salton City, Ca.

Alejandro Flores-Bañuelos, 35, was called to a report of a collision on state Route 86 at about 4:20 p.m. Monday, The Los Angeles Times reports

When he arrived, he began helping a 75-year-old woman whose car had become disabled in the road during a dust storm. A car stuck both the agent and the woman’s car. 

Flores-Bañuelos, a 12-year-veteran assigned to the Indio Station, was pronounced dead at Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley. 

The elderly driver was injured and sent to a hospital. 

“It is with a profound sense of loss that we mourn the passing of one of our own, Border Patrol Agent Alejandro Flores,” El Centro Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gregory Bovino said Tuesday. “The men and women of the El Centro Sector will be deeply impacted by this tragic loss.”

Street by Middle School Will Be Named After FBI Agent Killed in Line of Duty

FBI Agent Laura Schwartzenberger. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

Laura Schwartzenberger, one of two FBI agents killed while serving a search warrant at a home in Florida last month, will have a street named after her outside a school where she taught students about the dangers of social media.

“She would always say, ‘I feel that coming here and talking about the hard stuff means that I won’t see you guys on my end,’ ” Rockway Middle School in Westchester said in a statement released after her death. “Laura’s commitment to and dedication to not just Rockway, but the community as a whole, will be missed.”

The school requested that a portion of Southwest 93rd Court be called “Laura Schwartzenberger Way.” Miami-Dade commissioners granted the request Tuesday, The Miami Herald reports.

“It seems she was very popular there,” Commissioner Javier Souto said.

On Tuesday, Miami-Dade commissioners granted Rockway’s request to name the street outside the school after Schwartzenberger. The portion of Southwest 93rd Court between Coral Way and 32nd Street will also carry the name “Laura Schwartzenberger Way.”

Schwartzenberger, 43, joined the FBI’s Albuquerque Field Office in 2005 and was transferred to Miami in 2010. She tracked suspects accused of exploiting children online. She had a husband and two children. 

Special Agent Bryan Vorndran Picked to Lead FBI’s Cyber Division

Bryan A. Vorndran, special agent in charge of the New Orleans Field Office.

By Steve Neavling

Bryan A. Vorndran, who had been serving as special agent in charge of the New Orleans Field Office, has been named assistant director of the Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters. 

Vorndran became an FBI special agent in 2003. On his first assignment, he primarily investigated cocaine and heroin trafficking.

In 2008, he joined the International Contract Corruption Task Force in Afghanistan for five months before being promoted to supervisory special agent at the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters. In 2012, he was promoted to unit chief.

In 2013, Vorndran began leading the Washington Field Office’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Three years later, he was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of the cyber and counterintelligence programs at the Baltimore Field Office.

In 2017, Vorndran was promoted to chief of the Strategic Operations Section of the Counterterrorism Division at Headquarters.

A year later, Vorndran was named a deputy assistant director of the Criminal Investigative Division, overseeing FBI programs focused on helping dismantle transnational criminal organizations involved in violent crimes that impacted the U.S.

Before joining the FBI, Vorndran was an engineer in the private sector. In 1998, he earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Lafayette College, and in 2012, he received a masters of business administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

FBI Arrests Two Men Accused of Assaulting Officer Who Died Following Jan. 6 Riot

Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo via Shutterstock.

An FBI investigation led to charges against two men accused of assaulting Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who died following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

George Tanios, 39, of Virginia, and Julian Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania, are accused of attacking Sicknick and other officers with bear spray during the riot. 

They were charged with conspiracy to injure an officer, assaulting an officer with a dangerous weapon, civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, and other crimes related to violent conduct on the grounds of the Capitol, the Justice Department said Monday. 

It’s still unclear whether Sicnkick died as a result of the defendants’ alleged assault. One theory is that a chemical irritant may have contributed to his death. 

This is the first arrest in connection with Sicknick’s death. 

Both men appeared briefly in court via videoconferences Monday and will remain in jail pending future hearings. 

In a statement Monday, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman called the riot “an attack on our democracy.”

“Those who perpetrated these heinous crimes must be held accountable, and — let me be clear — these unlawful actions are not and will not be tolerated by this Department,” Pittman said.

The Justice Department recently said it expects to charge at least 100 more people in connection with the riot. As of last week, 312 people have been charged in connection with the riots, and investigators have accumulated more than 15,000 hours of law enforcement and body-cam video footage, 1,600 electronic devices and 210,00 tips, prosecutors said.

DOJ Expects to Charge At Least 100 More Capitol Rioters, Calls Probe ‘Largest in American History’

Alex Gakos/Shutterstock.com

By Steve Neavling

The Justice Department said it expects to charge at least 100 more people in connection with the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. 

Calling the investigation one of the “largest in American history,” U.S. prosecutors are asking for more time to wade through enormous amounts of evidence, The Washington Post reports.

“The investigation and prosecution of the Capitol Attack will likely be one of the largest in American history, both in terms of the number of defendants prosecuted and the nature and volume of the evidence,” the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. wrote in court filings.

As of Friday, 312 people have been charged in connection with the riots, and investigators have accumulated more than 15,000 hours of law enforcement and body-cam video footage, 1,600 electronic devices and 210,00 tips, prosecutors said 

More than 100 federal prosecutors are involved. 

The riots led to the deaths of five people and injuries to about 140 officers. 

Democrat Calling for Renaming FBI Headquarters Calls Hoover Racist, Misogynistic

The FBI’s current headquarters in Washington D.C., named after J. Edgar Hoover.

By Steve Neavling

Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Virginia Democrat who wants to remove J. Edgar Hoover’s name from the FBI headquarters, called the bureau’s first director a “maligned character” with a history of racism, misogyny and homophobia. 

“He was a racist who went after Martin Luther King in extraordinary ways. He was a homophobe. He was a misogynist,” Connolly said in an interview on MSNBC’s Cross Connection on Saturday. “He was somebody who even denied the existence of the mafia for decades, allowing organized crime to get a toehold here in the United States. It’s time we renamed that building after somebody who deserves it.”

Connolly introduced a bill on Feb. 25 that calls for creating a renaming commission to provide recommendations based on “racial, ethnic, and gender diversity.”

MSNBC host Tiffany Cross agreed with Connolly and suggested the building should be named after Georgia’s voting rights activist Stacy Abrams. 

“Changing the name of our premier law enforcement agency so it doesn’t honor a racist tyrant who trampled civil liberties, I don’t know, seems like a pretty logical step to me,” Cross said.

Weekend Series on Crime: An Ayran Brotherhood Dropout

U.S. Marshals, HSI Rescue 31 Missing Children After Yearlong Operation

By Steve Neavling

Federal and local authorities have rescued 31 missing children following a monthlong operation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas announced. 

The U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security Investigations partnered with local police on “Operation Missing in the Metroplex,” reuniting the children with their legal guardians. 

“To observe law enforcement partnerships and community concerns culminate into such a successful recovery outcome is rewarding,” Acting U.S. Marshal Quintella Downs-Bradshaw said in a statement. “Victims should know they are not forgotten, there is hope and a way to return home.”

Seven of the children – all girls between the ages of 13 and 17 – were tied to sex trafficking. 

“While this joint operation lasted approximately 30 days, HSI Dallas will continue working relentlessly to identify and recover missing children who become vulnerable to human traffickers across the North Texas region,” HSI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin said. “Our continued collaboration with our local, state and federal law-enforcement partners and non-governmental organizations is vital to combatting this global epidemic.”