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FBI Removes Arizona Fugitive from Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List

Photo: FBI

By Steve Neavling

The FBI removed from its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List an Arizona fugitive accused of killing his wife and two children before setting their house on fire in April 2001. 

Although Robert Fisher remains at large, the FBI’s Phoenix Field Office said he no longer fits the criteria to be on the list. 

“Because the extensive publicity Fisher’s case received during its nearly 20 years on the list has not resulted in his successful location and/or capture, the case no longer fulfills that requirement,” the FBI said in a statement, Arizona Central reports.

Nevertheless, the FBI said it will continue to investigate his whereabouts. 

Fisher, who would be 60 years old if he’s still alive, is accused of slashing the throats of his 38-year-old wife and their two children, ages 10 and 12. His wife also was shot in the head. 

Authorities say Fisher, a former firefighter, then set his house on fire in hopes of covering up the crimes. 

According to a neighbor, Fisher and his wife were arguing the night before the murder. 

On Wednesday, the FBI announced that the alleged leader of the notorious M-13 gang in Honduras has been added to the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List

Steele Dossier Source Charged with Lying to FBI

U.S. Attorney John Durham. Photo: DOJ

By Steve Neavling

A Russian analyst who worked on the Steele dossier, which made unfounded and salacious allegations about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, was indicted Thursday on charges of lying to the FBI. 

The charges against Igor Danchenko stem from special counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. It’s the third indictment in Durham’s investigation.  

A grand jury indicted Danchenko on five counts of making false statements to the FBI.

According to the unsealed indictment, Danchenko lied about conversations he had with sources and fabricated details of the dossier.

The Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign commissioned the dossier, which was used to help obtain a surveillance warrant against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. 

Magnus, Biden’s Nominee to Lead CBP, Advances to Full Senate Vote

Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus, picked to lead CBP.

By Steve Neavling

A Senate committee on Wednesday narrowly advanced President Biden’s nomination of Chris Magnus to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

The Senate Finance Committee voted 15-13, pushing the nomination to a vote before the full Senate. The only Republican to vote in favor of Magnus was Sen. Bill Casey, of Louisiana. 

Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., cited Magnus’ experience as a police chief and his compassionate but tough stance on immigration. 

“He shares the view that enforcing our immigration laws and treating people humanely — those two priorities are not mutually exclusive. We can do both,” Wyden said, Arizona Public Radio reports.

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, wasn’t on board, pointing to Magnus’ testimony during a conformation hearing last month. 

“The nominee was asked by members of this committee multiple times to acknowledge we face a crisis. He declined to do so,” Crapo said.

During the confirmation hearing, Magnus sought to assuage some Republicans by signaling support for two of former President Trump’s most controversial policies. He said he would consider finishing some of the border wall that the Biden administration has stopped and indicated he supported the Trump-era public health order that authorizes the rapid removal of migrants and asylum-seekers without an immigration hearing. 

Magnus, 60, who has served as Tucson’s police chief since 2016, was a vocal critic of some of Trump’s immigration policies and a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement before his nomination. 

If confirmed by the Senate, Magnus has a tough job ahead of him as the nation grapples with a border problem and the separation of migrant children from their families. 

Magnus also would be the first openly gay CBP commissioner. 

Biden’s ATF nominee David Chipman floundered in the Senate after every Republican and Angus King, an independent from Maine, refused to support him.

Suspected Leader of MS-13 in Honduras Added to FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List

By Steve Neavling

The suspected leader of the notorious MS-13 gang in Honduras has been added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. 

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest of Yulan Adonay Archaga Carias, also known as Alexander Mendoza and Porky. 

Archaga Carias has been charged with racketeering conspiracy, possession of machines guns and cocaine importation conspiracy in the Southern District of New York. 

“He’s wanted for, among other crimes, facilitating the transportation of multi-ton loads of cocaine through Honduras into the United States, as well as possession and conspiracy to possess machine guns that were used by gang members to support international drug trafficking,” FBI Supervisory Special Agent Nick Durgin said in a statement Wednesday.

Archaga Carias is accused of murdering and participating in the murder of rival gang members and others associated with M-13. He was sentenced to a lengthy prison term after a Honduran tribunal convicted him of conspiracy and other charges in August 2018.  

Then in February 2020, Archaga Carias escaped Honduran custody when about 20 armed men wearing police and military uniforms stormed a courthouse where he had a scheduled hearing, killing multiple police officers. 

The Joint Task Force Vulcan (JTFV), which formed in 2019 to combat MS-13, is investigating Archaga Carias’ disappearance. 

“This is a joint effort,” Durgin, who supports JTFV for the FBI, said. “When we work together with our partners, we can see the crossover and better address the threat.” 

M-13 poses a serious threat in Central America, the U.S., and other parts of the world, the FBI said. 

“MS-13 is an international criminal organization whose business model is extreme violence,” Durgin said. “Capturing this individual would send a clear message to MS-13 that their violent activity and narcotics trafficking will not be tolerated.”

DEA Seizes Largest Amount of Cocaine Destined for New York in More Than a Decade

By Steve Neavling

The DEA seized more than a ton of cocaine that was destined for New York, and three people were indicted for their alleged involvement in a drug trafficking conspiracy. 

It was the largest seizure of cocaine headed to New York in more than a decade, according to DEA Special Agent in Charge Roy Donavan. 

“A multimillion-dollar storm of cocaine was seized before it could wreak havoc in the Northeast,” Donovan said in a statement.  “Over one ton of cocaine was seized, making it the largest cocaine seizure destined for the streets of New York in over a decade.  This seizure signifies a shift in the illegal drug landscape in New York, with cocaine seizures rising more than 150% in the last year.  DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to guard against drug trafficking organizations’ tactics and techniques to smuggle drugs into our country.”

Jorge Aponte-Guzman, 33, Nelson Agramonte-Minaya, 37, and Carlos Maisonet-Lopez, 32, face up to life in prison on charges of conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute at least 5 kilograms of cocaine. 

According to federal prosecutors, the drugs were inside 10 large metal law rollers in a rental van. 

“A seizure of this magnitude underscores the critical importance of working together with our federal and local law enforcement partners in the DEA Westchester Task Force, Westchester County Police Commissioner Thomas A. Gleason said. “The tremendous work and dedication of the DEA and Task Force Investigators has interrupted a major drug distribution operation and prevented approximately one ton of dangerous, illegal narcotics from being distributed on the streets of our area.” 

Read the full indictment here.

FBI Has a Theory on Mysterious Sightings of a Jet Pack Guy in the Skies of Los Angeles

By Steve Neavling

The FBI may have solved one of its strangest cases in years: A man in a jet pack flying at impossible altitudes in the skies of Los Angeles. 

On several occasions in less than a year, pilots have reported seeing what appeared to be a man in a jet pack. 

The FBI began investigating, and now it has a theory. 

“The FBI has worked closely with the FAA to investigate reported jet pack sightings in the Los Angeles area, none of which have been verified,” the FBI said in a statement, The Los Angeles Times reports. “One working theory is that pilots might have seen balloons.”

The sighting dates back to December 2020, when a viral video on social media appeared to a show a jet pack 3,000 feet above the coast of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. 

Then on Aug. 30, an American Airlines pilot reported “a guy in a jet pack” in the sky. That was followed by a similar sighting in October by a Chinese Airlines pilot, who reported the jet pack was flaying at an altitude of 6,000 feet.

Once confined to science fiction, jetpacks are becoming more popular. Still, it’s uncommon for jetpacks to fly anywhere near 3,000 feet.

Record Number of Fatal Fentanyl Overdoses Come Amid Unprecedented Seizures at Border

Pills laced with fentanyl.

By Steve Neavling

The record number of fentanyl crossing the border is having deadly consequences: Overdose deaths have hit a new high this year. 

“If they’re seizing a lot, it’s because a lot is coming in — because you don’t know the percentage of how much is coming through that they’re actually seizing,” Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told The Washington Examiner.

The problem is the ease of producing and transporting fentanyl compared to other drugs, said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health.

“Only a very small concentration of fentanyl is needed in order to produce a high. So, this makes it much easier to bring fentanyl across the border – in smaller, but more potent, quantities than other drugs,” Volkow wrote in an email.

“Based on the number of drug seizures reported in 2020 for fentanyl, it appears that the illicit drug market did not suffer during the pandemic, but actually expanded,” Volkow said. “Rising fentanyl availability, decreased access to addiction treatment, increased social and economic stressors, and overburdened health departments collided in 2020 and were associated with a tragic rise in overdose deaths.”

CBP confiscated 11,201 pounds of fentanyl between October 2020 and September 2021. To put that into perspective, a single kilogram of fentanyl can kill up to 500,000 people.

Because of its potency, a small amount of fentanyl can go a long way, making it easier to smuggle into the U.S., and it’s very profitable. 

Less than month ago, the DEA announced it had arrested 810 people and seized more than 1.8 million counterfeit pills containing fentanyl as part of an eight-week crackdown on fake, dangerous prescription drugs.

According to the alert, more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills have been seized so far this year, which is more than the last two years combined. 

As Vaccine Deadline Looms, Some Lawmakers Want an Exemption for Border Patrol Agents to Avoid Mass Exodus

Border Patrol agent. Photo: CBP

By Steve Neavling

With less than a month before all federal employees must be vaccinated, some lawmakers are calling for an exemption for Border Patrol agents, saying national security is at stake. 

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzalez, R-Texas, wrote a letter, cosigned by 43 other Republican lawmakers, that calls on Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to avoid enforcing the vaccine mandate to prevent a mass exodus of agents and other CBP employees.

“Our men and women in the Border Patrol have worked tirelessly to manage the crisis at our southern border,” the letter states. “This year especially, they have been subject to extraordinary amounts of mental and physical stress. With morale at an all-time low, this mandate will serve as the last straw for agents who can easily leave the agency for other law enforcement organizations at the state and local level or retire.”

President Biden’s mandate requires all federal employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 22.  

“As a (Homeland Security) federal employee, you must be fully vaccinated by November 22, 2021, unless you have received or have requested an exemption for religious or medical reasons,” the DHS website states. “All DHS federal employees, including those who seek an exemption from the vaccination requirement for religious or medical reasons, must provide their vaccination status, upload proof of vaccination and certify the truthfulness of your vaccination status and proof.”

The mandate comes at a time when a record number of migrants are crossing the border. 

Meanwhile, retired Border Patrol Agent Juan Garcia, who worked in the El Centro and Yuma sectors, died from COVID-19 complications, KYMA reports.

“Agent Juan Garcia was a strong, quiet man who would sacrifice his life for his fellow agents and citizens at a moment’s notice and without hesitation,” Border Patrol said in a statement. “He served his country and community by taking on the sometimes thankless job of protecting the U.S. border.”