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News Story

Justice Department to Drop Case Against Convicted Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens

Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens

Ex-Sen. Ted Stevens

If ever there was a federal prosecution begging to be dismissed, this is it. The prosecution time and again screwed up and was admonished by the judge. Then came the big bomb: an FBI agent accused another agent on the case of misconduct. In the end, some questions linger: How could the prosecution have screwed up so badly? And will someone in the Justice Department get fired or demoted and will the FBI agent accused of wrongdoing face criminal charges?

By Nina Totenberg
National Public Radio
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department will drop all charges against former Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, NPR has learned.

A jury convicted Stevens last fall of seven counts of lying on his Senate disclosure form in order to conceal $250,000 in gifts from an oil industry executive and other friends.

Stevens was the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, however, he lost his bid for an eighth full term in office just days after he was convicted. Since then, charges of prosecutorial misconduct have delayed his sentencing and prompted defense motions for a new trial.

According to Justice Department officials, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has decided to drop the case against Stevens rather than continue to defend the conviction in the face of persistent problems stemming from the actions of prosecutors.

The judge in the Stevens case has repeatedly delayed sentencing and criticized trial prosecutors for what he’s called prosecutorial misconduct. At one point, prosecutors were held in contempt.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Federal Marshals Seized Madoff’s 55-foot Boat (AP)

FBI Questioning Missouri Lawmakers About Campaign Contributions

missouri-mapThere’s trouble brewing in the “Show Me State”. It seems some politicians just can’t keep from profiting from their position of trust and power. This could be a big big scandal.

 
By DAVID A. LIEB
Associated Press Writer
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The FBI is questioning Missouri lawmakers about allegations that legislative leaders demanded campaign contributions in exchange for prestigious committee posts, legislative sources told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Three lawmakers said they specifically were asked about House Minority Leader Paul LeVota, a Democrat from Independence. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the ongoing probe and because they didn’t want colleagues to know they had spoken with federal investigators.

In an interview with the AP, LeVota said he has not been contacted by the FBI. He denied any wrongdoing and suggested the accusations stem from a disgruntled political rival.

For Full Story

Mexican Cartel Member Pleads Guilty to Threatening to Kill DEA and FBI Agents

mexico-map21This is just another side of the boldness of the Mexican cartels. Some how it seems the Mexican cartel problem will continue to spill over into the U.S. until the U.S. give it its all. At this point, the U.S. is showing signs that it recognizes the problem, but still hasn’t put up enough resources to address it.
By Juan A. Lozano
Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON – A member of one of Mexico’s most notorious drug operations pleaded guilty Tuesday to threatening to kill two U.S. federal agents who were cornered and held at gunpoint by members of the Gulf cartel.

Juan Carlos de La Cruz Reyna pleaded guilty to two counts of threatening to assault and murder a federal officer.

De La Cruz Reyna was one of 10 alleged members of various cartels extradited to the U.S. from Mexico late last year. Another alleged Gulf cartel member, Ruben Sauceda-Rivera, pleaded guilty Tuesday to money laundering. Both are to be sentenced July 3.

Sauceda-Rivera, 42, and de La Cruz Reyna, 34, were indicted in 2002 in Brownsville. Sauceda-Rivera originally faced 11 drug trafficking counts and one count of money laundering. The drug trafficking charges will be dropped in exchange for the plea on the money laundering charge, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

De La Cruz Reyna’s attorney, Reynaldo Garza, said his client was unable to reach an agreement with prosecutors. Each count of threatening to assault and murder a federal officer carries a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison.

For Full Story

Mexico Cartels Have Bullet Proof Vests Emblazoned With DEA and FBI

DEA agents at Quantico/ticklethewire.com photo

DEA agents at Quantico/ticklethewire.com photo

Not surprising, the cartels have access to things they shouldn’t. But this is truly scary.

By Dane Schiller
Houston Chronicle
HOUSTON — Mexico’s Gulf Cartel may have 40 bullet-proof vests emblazoned with “FBI” and “DEA” to trick their drug-trafficking rivals, according to a new law enforcement advisory.

Baseball caps and T-shirts with the agencies’ names long have been a fad among everyday citizens, but ballistic armor raises the stakes and concerns, officials said.

“It is believed the Gulf Cartel intended to use the vests as a distraction while they were conducting enforcement activities against their victims,” reads a message prepared by an FBI intelligence coordinator.

The advisory, which was distributed Monday, comes as Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano plans to travel the border and visit Mexico this week to discuss taking on drug cartels.

For Full Story

ICE Agents to Target Employers Over Laborers

Here’s an interesting shift in policy and it appears to be a more efficient way to address the problem. We’ll see if it works.

ice3
By Josh Meyer and Anna Gorman
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Stepping into the political minefield of immigration reform, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napaolitano will soon direct federal agents to emphasize targeting American employers for arrest and prosecution over the laborers who enter the country illegally to work for them, department officials said Monday.

The shift in emphasis will be outlined in revamped field guidelines issued to agents of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division as early as this week, according to several officials familiar with the change in policy.

It is in keeping with comments that President Barack Obama made during last year’s campaign, when he said past enforcement efforts have failed because they focused on illegal immigrants rather than the companies that hire them.

“There is a supply side and a demand side,” said one Homeland Security official. “Like other law-enforcement philosophies, there is a belief that by focusing more on the demand side, you cut off the supply.”

For Full Story

Two Arrests Made in Ohio Drive-by Shooting Involving FBI Agent

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
Two Cincinnati area men have been arrested in last week’s  drive-by shooting in which dozen of bullets were fired at an on-duty FBI agent in Cincinnati, the Associated Press reported.

Map of Crime Scene

Map of Crime Scene

The agent was not hit by a bullet, but was injured from flying debris, AP reported.

Robert Coker,25, and Kenny Davis, 46, were arrested and are being held in the Hamilton County Jail, the news service reported. Authorities were searching for more suspects.

The shooting took place March 25 around 5 p.m. while the agent, who has not been identified, was in a car in the College Hill neighborhood  of Cincinnati, known for its diversity.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Ex-Gov. Blago Indictment Expected this Week in Chicago

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich

Ex-Gov. Blagojevich

The day many have been waiting for is approaching. Expect the new indictment to be chock full of new details about Blagojevich and his chief of staff. It could also include more defendants. And expect to see the ex-Gov. flood the airwaves after the indictment comes out. He’s not shy.

By John Chase and Jeff Coen
Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — With a deadline fast approaching for federal prosecutors to file an indictment against former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, all eyes will be on the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse this week.

Sources with knowledge of the probe have said the indictment could be filed as soon as Thursday. That is the last scheduled day for the grand jury investigating the former governor to meet before an April 7 deadline for filing the indictment.

The grand jury has convened on Thursdays throughout the lengthy federal investigation.

For Full Story

Blago’s Secret Talks with the Tribune Company (Chicago Tribune)

FBI Going Online to Catch Bank Robbers

It’s good to see  the Internet being used to crack crimes.  We’ve seen it used too often to commit crimes.  

BY ADAM WALLWORTH
ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

FBI agents are going online to catch bank robbers.

In the past six months, four bank robberies have been solved with the assistance of www.bandittrackerarkansas.comWanted Ark. Bank Robber, said Steven Burroughs, supervisory special agent for the FBI in Little Rock.

“Just with those few numbers, that’s a valuable thing,” he said about the site launched in 2008.

The site features security camera photos and details of robberies throughout the state. A barrage of five highpriority suspects graces the top of the page and is updated as heists occur.

For Full Story