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June 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

News Story

Ex-CBP Officer Admits Smuggling Her Undocumented Housekeeper into U.S.

By Steve Neavling

A former CBP officer accused of smuggling her undocumented housekeeper into Texas from Mexico has pleaded guilty as part of an agreement with prosecutors. 

Rhonda Lee Walker, who was stationed at the Laredo Point of Entry, agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to bring her housekeeper into the U.S. In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dismissed felony counts of illegally transporting the woman into the country and lying to investigators. 

“Walker intended for the woman to illegally enter the country and work for her as a housekeeper and nanny,” acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Lowery said in a statement. “Walker also lied to authorities. She falsely stated Trevino was her biological aunt and denied processing her entry or employing her in her home.”

The investigation, which included nine months of surveillance, began in June 2020 with an anonymous tip to the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). The tipster said Walker was employing a live-in caretaker who was not authorized to live or work in the country. 

Surveillance video showed Walker escorting Mexican citizen Yadira Yesenia Trevino-SanMaguel across a pedestrian bridge between the U.S. and Mexico and then walking her through the inspection area, when she scanned in her caretaker’s nonimmigrant visa using a co-worker’s login, according to the OPR complaint. 

In an interrogation, Trevino-SanMaguel admitted she was working for Walker as a caretaker. 

Deputy U.S. Marshal Indicted Following ‘Rape Fantasy’ Plot Against Ex-Girlfriend

By Steve Neavling

A deputy U.S. Marshal has been indicted on charges of cyberstalking and perjury after allegedly plotting a bizarre scheme with his then-wife to frame his ex-girlfriend for crimes she did not commit. 

Ian R. Diaz, 43, of Brea, Calif., was indicted last week by a federal grand jury on numerous charges, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Diaz and his then-wife Angela Maria Diaz are accused of creating  fake Craigslist accounts using his ex-girlfriend’s name. Using the accounts, they allegedly told men to engage in a “rape fantasy” with his then-wife. 

The plan was to make it look like his ex-girlfriend was trying to lure men to his house to rape his wife, the indictment alleges

After staging “one or more hoax sexual assaults,” the couple reported to police that Diaz’ ex-girlfriend was to blame. 

“Diaz and his then-wife then reported this conduct to local law enforcement, falsely claiming that [Diaz’ ex-girlfriend] posed a genuine and serious threat to Diaz and his then-wife,” the news release said.

It worked – at first. His ex-girlfriend was arrested and held in jail for nearly three months. 

But at some point, federal investigators realized it was all a ruse, and Diaz’s ex-girlfriend was exonerated. 

It’s unclear why it took so long to charge Diaz. 

TSA Not Adequately Staffed to Handle Pipeline Security, Critics Say After Ransomeware Attack

In the aftermath of the ransomeware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, critics say the Transportation Security Administration is not adequately staffed to protect the 2.7 million miles of pipeline in the U.S. 

The TSA has nearly 50,000 officers devoted to airports, but only 34 staff positions to oversee pipelines and cybersecurity, ABC News reports. 

“I don’t think they have really the personnel or the expertise to do the job right now,” Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., told ABC News. “We absolutely need more oversight on pipeline security and other areas of critical infrastructure.”

Kiersten Todt, managing director of the Cyber Readiness Institute, went even further. 

“I don’t think that TSA should be responsible for the cybersecurity of the pipelines,” she told ABC News.

For now, House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member John Katko said the TSA should continue overseeing pipeline security. 

“Right now, we need to focus on building existing capabilities and resources while ensuring federal roles and responsibilities are clear,” Katko said in a statement.

Weekend Series on Crime History: Cali Cartel in the 1990s

Some Border Patrol Agents Disgruntled over Biden’s More Liberal Policies

Photo via Border Patrol

President Biden is not winning over some Border Patrol agents, whose frustrations are prompting them to consider early retirement. 

Reuters interviewed dozens of current and former agents and found “growing dissatisfaction among some rank and file members” over Biden’s more liberal border policies.

Some disgruntled agents are even buying joke coins that say “U.S. Welcome Patrol.”

Some of the agents also oppose Biden’s choice to lead U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, who is awaiting confirmation by the Senate. 

The acting Border Patrol chief last month wrote a memo in which he opposed the Biden administration’s new directive to cease using the term “alien” to refer to migrants. 

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, faults Biden for the recent increase in border crossings. 

“I can confidently say that President Biden owns this crisis,” Judd said. “It is his fault.” 

Activists Hired Women to Lure FBI agents into Making Disparaging Remarks about Trump

A group of shadowy conservative activists teamed up with a former undercover British spy to target perceived enemies of President Trump, including FBI agents and then-National Security Adviser H.R. McCaster, according to a new report. 

The conservative group Project Veritas secretly surveilled FBI employees from a pricey rented home in the Georgetown section of Washington D.C., The New York Times reports.

The goal was to smear and discredit FBI staffers and others in the Trump administration who were believed to be opponents of the president. 

One tactic involved female undercover operatives arranging dates with FBI employees in hopes of catching them on secret recordings making disparaging remarks about Trump. The undercover women made fake dating app profiles to lure FBI employees and brought hidden cameras and microphones on the dates.

At the center of the scheme was Richard Seddon, a former British spy who trained Project Veritas operatives in 2016 to infiltrate labor unions and political campaigns. 

It’s unclear whether Trump was aware of the effort, according to the report. 

Number of Single Adults Crossing Border Increases, While Families, Children Decline

By Steve Neavling

An unusually high number of migrants crossing the border are single adults, as opposed to asylum-seeking adults and children.

Nearly two of every three border encounters in April were adults traveling alone, The Associated Press reports.

Border Patrol had 108,301 encounters with single adults in April, an increase of 12% from March. More than half of them are from Mexico. 

About 90% of those adults were expelled from the U.S.

Children, on the other hand, are exempted form expulsion and allowed to stay in pursuit of asylum claims under the Biden administration. 

With so much attention spent on families and unaccompanied children, some current and former border enforcement officials said single adults and drug smugglers have more opportunities to evade capture. 

In the meantime, Border Patrol had encounters with 17,171 children in April, a 9% decrease from March. Families that encountered Border Patrol also dropped 10% in April. 

White Supremacy Is Greatest Threat to U.S., Garland, Mayorkas Testify

Homeland Security Director Alejandro Mayorkas.

By Steve Neavling

The heads of the Justice Department and Homeland Security warned senators Wednesday that white supremacy is the most serious threat facing the U.S. 

In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Attorney General Merrick Garland and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the departments are cracking down on violent extremism.

“The department is taking a new approach to addressing domestic violent extremism, both internally and externally,” Mayorkas said. 

Garland said the Jan. 6 insurrection was “an attempt to interfere with the fundamental element of our democracy, a peaceful transfer of power.”

“I have not seen a more dangerous threat to democracy than the invasion of the Capitol,” Garland said. 

He added, “We will use every appropriate tool at our disposal to deter and disrupt such criminal acts and to bring their perpetrators to justice.”

The Justice Department has charged more than 430 people in connection to the deadly riot. 

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy called the threat “uniquely dangerous” in his opening remarks. 

“Attacks and plots by domestic extremists are at historic highs, with the majority of them being planned by those on the far right espousing white supremacist and related ideologies,” Leahy said. “In 2020 alone, white nationalists and like-minded extremists conducted 67% of terrorist plots and attacks in the United States. We cannot deny we are facing a class of criminals who feel more emboldened than ever.”

Read Garland’s full comments here.