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DEA Warns Cocaine Is Making a Comeback As Coca Production Rises

Cocaine-jpgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Cocaine is making a comeback.

That’s according to a recently released report by the DEA, which indicated that cocaine use and availability are rebounding, Newsweek reports

The DEA has found that coca production has significantly increased in Columbia, the primary supplier of cocaine in the U.S. since the mid-1990s.

“Average farmer profits increased more than 120 percent between 2012 and 2016,” the report underscores. “A Colombian coca farmer tending a mature quarter-hectare field realized some $1,200 in profits in 2016. This rise in potential profits provides the coca farmers with a strong economic incentive to grow more coca.”

Trump’s Choice to Lead CBP Finally Begins Confirmation Process

Acting CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.

Acting CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s nominee to head U.S. Customs and Border Protection has finally begun the confirmation process.

Kevin McAleenan told the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday morning that among his top priorities is stemming the flow of opioids into the country, Courthousenews.com reports

McAleenan is serving as acting CBP commissioner and previously was the deputy commissioner under the Obama administration.

Hearings were postponed following news that McAleenan was accused of having an affair with a subordinate and improperly funded an immigration detention center. But the Inspector General for Homeland Security has cleared McAleenan of any wrongdoing.

Other Stories of Interest

Border Patrol Agents Increasingly Coming Under Attack This Year

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Assaults on Border Patrol agents are significantly on the rise this year.

In the first 11 months of fiscal 2017, 671 assaults on Border Patrol agents were reported, a 67% increase during the same period last year, Officer.com reports

Worried about the increase in assaults, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed prosecutors to make attacks “a top priority” during an April 11 speech in Nogales.

“If someone dares to assault one of our folks in the line of duty, they will do federal time for it,” Sessions said.

The good news is, prosecutions for assaults on agents also are increasing. During the first 11 months of this fiscal year, 48 new cases of assault were prosecuted, up from 34 in each of the two previous fiscal years.

It’s not entirely clear why assaults are increasing.

Manafort Under Fire for Undisclosed Lobbying for Pro-Russian Party in Ukraine

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly paid at least $2.2 million to two Washington lobbying firms in 2012 with the help of Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump, the Associated Press reports

Manafort’s actions, which effectively obscured the party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy, are coming to light as special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of attorneys are investigating potential ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Federal law makes it a crime punishable by up to five years in prison for lobbyists to fail to declare their representation of foreign leaders or their political parties.

The AP wrote:

Manafort and business associate Rick Gates, another top strategist in Trump’s campaign, were working in 2012 on behalf of the political party of Ukraine’s then-president, Viktor Yanukovych.

People with direct knowledge of Gates’ work said that, during the period when Gates and Manafort were consultants to the Ukraine president’s political party, Gates was also helping steer the advocacy work done by a pro-Yanukovych nonprofit that hired a pair of Washington lobbying firms, Podesta Group Inc. and Mercury LLC.

The nonprofit, the newly created European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, was governed by a board that initially included parliament members from Yanukovych’s party. The nonprofit subsequently paid at least $2.2 million to the lobbying firms to advocate positions generally in line with those of Yanukovych’s government.

That lobbying included downplaying the necessity of a congressional resolution meant to pressure the Ukrainian leader to release an imprisoned political rival.

Other Stories of Interest

Former FBI Director Comey Is Using Secret Twitter Account

Former FBI Director James Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director James Comey has confirmed he’s been using a secret Twitter account.

Gizmodo speculated that Comey was behind the account of Reinhold Niebuhr, but there was no confirmation until the fired director posted a picture of himself standing in the middle of a road, peering across cornfields.

A friend of Comey’s confirmed the account belonged to the former FBI chief.

Comey, who is writing a book, tweeted on Friday that he was happy to be back in the Hawkeye State.

How FBI, ATF Are Assisting Las Vegas Authorities Investigate Mass Shooting

fbigunbadgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and ATF are assisting local law enforcement in Las Vegas determine whether the gunman responsible for the mass shooting during the music festival acted alone.

While local authorities are taking the lead in the investigation, the federal agencies are helping gather evidence.

“When you have a mass shooting scene like Las Vegas, you are talking about a lot of manpower,” Dana Ridenour, a retired FBI agent who was part of its Evidence Response Team that traveled to New York following the 9/11 attacks, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“You have to bag and collect all that evidence,” Ridenour said.

Federal authorities would take the lead if the shooting was considered a terrorist attack. Since it’s not, the feds are taking a supportive role.

“The FBI is vital in the assistance of this investigation,” Sheriff Joe Lombardo said moments after the Oct. 1 tragedy occurred. “They are providing federal resources available in this investigation.”

White House: Justice Department Should Consider Charging Comey

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

Former FBI Director James Comey testifies about President Trump before the Senate Intelligence Committee in early June.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The White House is insisting that the Justice Department should investigate former FBI Director James Comey for alleged crimes in the aftermath of his termination.

“It’s something they should certainly look at,” press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters when asked whether the administration should prosecute Comey, CNN reports

The White House claims Comey leaked privileged information to the media and gave false testimony to Congress by suggesting that Trump pressured the FBI director to drop the investigation of Russia’s election year meddling.

“If there’s ever a moment where we feel that a person has broken the law, particularly if they’re with the FBI, that’s something that should be looked at,” she said.

FBI Foils Terrorist Plot to Blow Up Mall in South Florida

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI foiled an alleged plot to detonate a bomb in a shopping mall in South Florida, arresting the suspect behind the planned attack.

The arrest of Miami resident Vicente Solano, an alleged ISIS sympathizer, came during an FBI sting operation, CBS News reports

The FBI, acting on a tip by a confidential informant, said the suspect was acting alone and was planning a large-scale attack on Dolphin Mall in Doral, near the Miami International Airport.

Solano planned to detonate what turned out to be a hoax bomb from undercover FBI agents.

Solano is expected to appear in Miami federal court today.