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News Story

Alarming Amount of Meth Disguised in Liquid Form Is Crossing Border

Seized liquid methamphetamine, via DEA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Drug smugglers are crossing the border with an alarming amount of methamphetamine disguised in liquid form.

Federal authorities have found it in gas tanks, coolant containers, storage jugs, and bottles of water, pop and apple juice.

So far this fiscal year, feds have seized more than 141,000 pounds of meth, up from 68,585 the previous year.

After liquid meth crosses the border, drug dealers dehydrate it to return it to its crystal form.

“We have seen an increase in the methamphetamine seizures by various agencies to include DEA, DPS and Border Patrol, significant quantities of methamphetamine being smuggled,” Dante Sorianello, the assistant special agent in charge of the DEA in the San Antonio district, told News4SA.

Ex-Special Agent in Charge of Albany Field Office Accused of Sexually Harassing Subordinates

James Hendricks, former special agent of the FBI’s Albany Field Office.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

James N. Hendricks, the former special agent in charge of the FBI’s Albany Field Office, is accused of sexually harassing eight subordinate employees and creating a hostile work environment for another employee, according to an Inspector General’s Office obtained by The Albany Times Union.

The IG says the harassment happened while Hendricks was serving as chief of the Countermeasures Operation Section in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate at the bureau’s headquarters in Washington D.C.

Hendricks was tapped to lead the Albany Field Office in July 2018 and stopped working for the bureau earlier this year.

The FBI declined to discuss the allegations.

“We don’t have anything more to add, other than the FBI is committed to fostering a work environment where all of our employees are valued and respected,” an FBI spokesperson said. “We have a zero tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment.”

The Times Union couldn’t reach Hendricks, 50, for comment.

Sharp Rise in Illegal Drug Seizures As Cartels Adapt to Coronavirus Pandemic

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities are reporting a steep rise in the seizure of illegal drugs as cartels adopt to new tactics during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan.

Most notably, meth seizures along the border through August have more than doubled over all of fiscal year 2019. Marijuana and fentanyl seizures also are higher than last year.

Via CBP.

“Cartels are constantly finding new and innovative ways to smuggle not only illegal immigrants, but also drugs,” Morgan said, BorderReport.com reports. “We saw a precipitous drop in March but they changed their tactics and procedures quickly and are right back on top.”

After a sharp decline in drug trafficking amid the pandemic, drug traffickers are now focusing on deadly drugs that are easier to hide and more cost-effective to ship. Morgan pointed to the seizure in mid-August of 158 pounds of liquid meth that were concealed in three cases of bottled water.

Seizures of drugs such as meth, heroin and fentanyl rose 56% in August compared to July.

The increase in drug trafficking has translated to a surge in violence in Mexican border towns, Morgan said. Since the end of August, Tijuana has reported 1,339 homicides, many of them drug-related.

Ex-FBI Agent Strzok Calls Trump a ‘Counterintelligence Threat’ in New Book

Former FBI Agent Peter Strzok, via EPA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Peter Strzok, a former FBI agent who played a key role in the Russia-Trump investigation, described the president as a “counterintelligence threat” in a new memoir.

Strzok, who spent more than 20 years as a counterintelligence agent before he was removed from the special counsel team over disparaging texts about Trump in 2017, wrote in “Compromised” that he witnessed the president’s “willingness to accept political assistance from an opponent like Russia — and, it follows, his willingness to subvert everything America stands for,” The New York Times reports.

“That’s not patriotic,” Strzok wrote. “It’s the opposite.”

Strzok claimed Trump pressured the FBI to fire him in August 2018 and used the texts to whip up conspiracy theories. In August 2019, Strzok filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department and FBI, claiming his termination was politically motivated.

“The reporting about my texts hadn’t only whipped Trump into a frenzy,” Strzok wrote. “It had also sent Republicans in Congress into a righteous peeve, giving them fodder for right-wing indignation that would eventually ferment into the deep-state fairy tale that would consume conservative media.”

In the book, which is set to be released Tuesday, Strzok defended the investigation into Trump’s campaign,

The bureau was “investigating a credible allegation of foreign intelligence activity to see where it led,” Strzok wrote. “It started with Russia, and it was always about Russia.”

Happy Labor Day from ticklethewire.com

Weekend Series on Crime History: G. Gordon Liddy Talks About How The Watergate Burglars Were Caught

Federal Task Force Fatally Shoots Man Accused of Killing Trump Supporter in Portland

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A man accused of fatally shooting a President Trump supporter in Portland was killed Thursday as a federal task force tried to arrest him.

Federal investigators were moving in to arrest Michael Reinoehl, 48, when officials say he pulled a gun on the U.S. Marshals Service fugitive task force, The Associated Press reports.

Law enforcement then shot Reinoehl, who was the suspect in the fatal shooting of 39-year-0ld Aaron “Jay” Danielson, a supporter of the right wing group Patriot Prayer.

Reinoehl was shot at roughly the same time that Trump expressed impatience that the suspect was still at large.

On Thursday night, Trump expressed impatience with law enforcement.

“Why aren’t the Portland Police ARRESTING the cold blooded killer of Aaron “Jay” Danielson. Do your job, and do it fast. Everybody knows who this thug is. No wonder Portland is going to hell!” Trump tweeted.

In a social media post, Reinoehl described himself as “100% ANTIFA.”

Homeland Security Investigations tracks down 19th Century Painting Stolen in Italy

“The Assumption of the Virgin Mary” by Italian artist Giuseppe Pappini in 1851.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) tracked down a 19th century painting that was stolen in Italy in 2002.

Acting on a tip from the HSI Attaché Office in Rome, investigators found the painting in the Dallas area, where a private art collected had purchased the painting in 2015 from a dealer who apparently was unaware that it was stolen, ICE says in a news release.

The artwork, titled “the Assumption of the Virgin Mary,” was painted by Italian artist Giuseppe Pappini in August 1851.

The private collector agreed to hand over the painting to investigators so it could be returned to the Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis in Sesto al Reghena, a monastery in Italy where it had been stolen.

“Investigating the loss or looting of cultural heritage properties and returning them to their countries of origin is an important part of HSI’s diverse mission” Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge of HSI Dallas, said. “Our specially trained investigators and attachés in more than 40 countries not only partner with governments, agencies and experts who share our mission to protect these items, but they train the investigators of other nations and agencies on how to find, authenticate and enforce the law to recover these items when they emerge in the marketplace.”

Read more about ICE’s investigations of cultural property, arts and antiques.