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FBI Defends Itself in Murder Linked to Joran van der Sloot

Joran van der Sloot

Joran van der Sloot

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI on Wednesday defended itself against accusations that it screwed up in the case involving Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in the death of a woman in Peru. He has also long been a suspect in the death of Natalee Holloway, the Alabama high school teen who disappeared in Aruba five years ago after being last seen with van der Sloot.

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alabama said in a statement that agents and prosecutors “were working as hard as possible to bring the case to fruition when they learned of the murder.”  Some criticized the FBI, saying it could have arrested van der Sloot before he went to Peru and allegedly murdered a 21-year-old woman.

On June 3, a few days after the murder, the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged van der Sloot with wire fraud.  Several weeks before, Van der Sloot had contacted someone close to the Holloway family and asked for $250,000 in exchange for disclosing circumstances surrounding the death of  Natalee Holloway, the FBI said.

Press reports said the FBI set up a sting and an intermediary met on May 10 with van der Sloot in an Aruba hotel and gave him $10,000, according to AOL News. An additional $15,000 was wired to van der Sloot. Some critics say he should have been arrested right there on the spot after taking the money.

Instead, Van der Sloot reportedly used the money to go to Peru and play in a poker tournament, where he met Stephany Flores, 21, a business student.

Read more »

FBI Brings Terrorist Investigative Techniques to Wall Street

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

Bernie Madoff/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Convicted swindler Bernie Madoff was no terrorist in the traditional sense, but he did terrorize many clients by robbing them of their finances and psychological security.

Hoping to spot financial scandals before they get too far — or too Madoff-like — the FBI in New York is increasingly employing the same tools and tactics it uses in terrorist investigations to unearth the evil doings of white-collar thieves and inside traders, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“We’re trying to apply the principles of the national security side so we can prevent something from becoming a $50 billion fraud by catching it early on,” James Trainor, a special agent in charge of the FBI’s Intelligence Division in New York, told the Journal.

The FBI in New York hopes to apply the tactics it uses in terrorist investigations to nab financial criminals, like Bernie Madoff.

The FBI said some of those tools include expanding its network of human sources — a key ingredient in fighting terrorism — who are willing to tip off or guide authorities in probes, the Journal reported. The FBI is also planning to use more intelligence reports and so-called trip-wire programs, things people should be on the lookout for when something seems a little fishy in the financial world.

To read full story click here.

Boston U.S. Attorney Creates New Civil Rights Unit

U.S. Atty. Carmen Ortiz

U.S. Atty. Carmen Ortiz

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Boston U.S. Attorney’s Office is creating a team of 10 prosecutors to focus on civil rights cases, the Boston Globe reported.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said the unit will focus on hate crimes, human trafficking, police misconduct, damage to religious property and employment discrimination, the Globe reported.

“We’re open for business,” Ortiz said, according to the Globe. The unit will handle both criminal and civil cases.

The Globe reported that Ortiz said she wants prosecutors to encourage people in the community to come forward to report civil rights violations. She said too often they do not.

To read more click here.

Maryland Man and 5 Iranians Charged With Providing Hardware and Technology to Iran

iran-mapBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The feds have busted a suburban Washington man who ran a satellite company on charges that he illegally provided technology to his native Iran that resulted in the launching of an Iranian earth satellite, equipped with a camera, in Russia in October 2005, the Maryland  U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Nader Modanlo, 49, of Potomac, Md., a naturalized citizen born in Iran, was among six people named in a federal indictment unsealed Tuesday in Greenbelt, Md.  Authorities alleged that technology and hardware were provided to Iran in violation of the U.S. trade embarago, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Modanlo was arrested Tuesday morning. The other five defendants, all Iranians, were still at large, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

“The indictment alleges that the defendants violated the Iran trade embargo by creating a sham company to conceal the fact that they were providing goods, technology and services to Iran in return for millions of dollars,” U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement.

Read more in a story in the Washington Post

Read U.S. Attorney Press Release

FBI History: The Surveillance Squad Took a 1979 Photo of the Detroit Mob Worth Thousands of Words

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office. He is a columnist for ticklethewire.com.

Jack Tocco With Fellow Mobsters in 1979

Jack Tocco With Fellow Mobsters in 1979

By Greg Stejskal
ticklethewire.com

I joined the Detroit FBI surveillance squad in 1977. Two years later, on June 11, 1979 , we witnessed an event- its historical significance and ramifications would not be clear until many years later.

But before I get to that, a little history. In the early 1970s, the FBI’s Detroit Field Office established the FBI’s 1st full-time surveillance squad. At that time, organized crime was one of the priorities of the FBI.

Neil Welch, the then Detroit FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC), decided it was a good idea to have a squad dedicated to primarily following members of the Detroit family of the La Cosa Nostra, the Mafia, and learning about their activities. It should be noted that the Detroit family was one of the oldest and most successful LCN families in the country.

Although a surveillance squad was not a new concept, it was for the FBI. And FBI headquarters would have to be persuaded it was worthwhile, and that meant the Director, J. Edgar Hoover, had to agree. He did, and the Detroit surveillance squad was born.

The squad was unique not just in its function, but in its entire nature. As its primary target was a sophisticated organization, that would be surveillance wary, the squad had to be equal to the task.

Read more »

Fed Judge Bans Ex-Ill. Gov. Blago From Tweeting in Court

Ex-Gov Blagojevich

In happier days as Governor

By Glynnesha Taylor
ticklethewire.com

Trying to silence ex-Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich is almost as challenging as capping the oil spill in the Gulf.

Still, U.S. District Judge James Zagel, who is presiding over Blagojevich’s public corruption trial in Chicago, thought he’d try to slow the word spillage a little.

Just before opening statements on Tuesday, Zagel banned Blagojevich from tweeting from the courtroom, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“The technologically-challenged ex-governor joined Twitter earlier this month, but most of his milquetoast, 140-character messages seem to be written by his publicist,” Bob Secter of the Tribune wrote. “After all, Blagojevich didn’t even know how to send a text message or open a Word file on the “Celebrity Apprentice” when it was filmed last year.”

Blagojevich, who seems to have a love with cameras and microphones, can still talk with the media outside of court, the Trib reported.

But the  judge warned  Blagojevich that his “repeated public statements” could be used against him if he testifies during the trial, the paper reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Border Patrol Agent Fatally Shoots 15-Year-Old at Texas Border

Border PatrolBy Glynnesha Taylor
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Border Patrol agent on a bicycle shot and killed a 15-year-old Mexican boy Monday at an international bridge near downtown El Paso during a rock throwing incident, authorities said, according to the Associated Press.

According to authorities, agents had detained suspected illegal immigrants when some people started hurling rocks at the agents and one agent opened fire, AP and the El Paso Times reported.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Doug Mosier said preliminary reports indicated the teen was shot on the U.S. side of the Paso Del Norte Bridge, across from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, AP reported.

The teen was identified as Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca, AP reported, adding that it was unclear if he was throwing rocks.

Read more »

Fla. Woman Wants Husband Dead: Hires Wrong Hitman

hitman-gun1By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

All is not always fair or safe in love and war.

The FBI arrested a Florida woman on Monday with trying to hire a hitman to kill her ex-husband, who helped put her behind bars in a major drug-money laundering case, the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel reported.

Mercedes Morales, 57, of Miramar, Fla. allegedly gave a $5,000 diamond ring as a down payment to the hit man to kill her 45-year-old husband Fred Coral.

Only thing was, the hitman was actually working undercover with the FBI, the paper reported.

The paper reported that she was convicted in 2003 for being a courier for a Florida organization that laundered Colombian drug cartel cash. She was released in 2005.

Her husband, who cooperated with the feds, was also charged but never served time, the paper reported.