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Tag: Arizona

Major DEA Sting Nets $7.8M, Guns, Drugs

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Tuesday in Arizona was a big one for the DEA’s Phoenix Field Office, where authorities seized 44 firearms, 650 pounds of marijuana and a $7.8 million in cash in a 15-month sting dubbed “Operation Crank Call.” The trafficking network is believed to be related to the infamous Sinaloa Cartel of Mexico.

According to a statement from the DEA, the bust broke apart an extensive trafficking network, with more than 200 arrests made. The DEA worked closely with the police department in Tempe, Ariz.

To read more click here.

Justice Dept. Issues Scathing Report About Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Civil Rights Violations

Op Ed: 2 State Atty. Generals — One a Former — Defend ATF and Atty. Gen. Holder

Mark Shurtleff , a Republican, is Utah attorney general; Terry Goddard, a Democrat,  is former Arizona attorney general.
  

Utah Atty. Gen. Mark Shurtleff

By Mark Shurtleff and Terry Goddard
Salt Lake Tribune Op-Ed

Congress and the media have understandably focused on the missteps of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the “Fast and Furious” sting operation that allowed suspected “straw buyers” to purchase weapons and transport them to Mexico in order to build cases against drug cartels.

However, the covert operation was terminated abruptly after its possible connection to the tragic death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was revealed. Unfortunately, most of the recent criticism about the operation seems to be serving as a means to attack Attorney General Eric Holder and destroy the ATF, rather than to hold those behind Fast and Furious accountable.

The focus should be on the real public safety problem underlying this controversy: keeping arms from the Mexican drug cartels and protecting the security of the United States. However, many of the roadblocks faced by ATF and the Department of Justice are not being built by international criminals, but by Congress.

Ex-Az Atty. Gen. Terry Goddard

We are two Southwestern law enforcement officials, one a Republican and one a Democrat, and both gun owners who have faced border-related crimes on a daily basis over the past decade. We are very concerned about what is happening in Mexico, a critical U.S. ally which must be freed from the clutches of transnational criminal organizations.

We have worked closely with ATF and the Justice Department in our common fight against violent crime and appreciate that Holder has sought more resources for border law enforcement.

To read more click here.

DEA, ICE and Ariz. Police Bust 70 Linked to Cartel That Provides 65% of Drugs to U.S.

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A major drug bust in Arizona targeted folks linked to a Mexican cartel believed to handle 65 percent of all drugs illegally transported to the United States, and resulted in the seizure of thousands of pounds of narcotics and at least 70 arrests, reports Reuters.

The raids, overseen by the DEA, Arizona state officials, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the contraband confiscated was “jaw-dropping.”

The operation included three raids conducted over 17 months and led to the arrests of Mexican and American nationals working with a drug cartel based in the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

In what officials called a “sophisticated network” of international drug smuggling, drugs were smuggled from Mexico into Arizona by car, plane, on foot, and through tunnels.

“This is one of the more substantial drug-smuggling operations going on right now. This is a billion-dollar drug trade organization linked to the cartel,” an official told MSNBC.

To read more click here.

 

Congressman Says Obama Admin. Officials Responsible For “Fast and Furious” Might Be Accessories to Murder

By Matthew Boyle
The Daily Caller

Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona told The Daily Caller on Wednesday that Obama administration officials responsible for Operation Fast and Furious might be accessories to murder.

“We’re talking about consequences of criminal activity, where we actually allowed guns to walk into the hands of criminals, where our livelihoods are at risk,” Gosar said in a phone interview. “When you facilitate that and a murder or a felony occurs, you’re called an accessory. That means that there’s criminal activity.”

Gosar said the government should be held to the same standard as everyone else. Fast and Furious weapons were used to kill U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry, as well as scores of Mexican citizens, and he thinks administration officials should be held accountable.

To read full story click here. 

 

FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List Really Just Eight Most Wanted for Now

Whitey Bulger

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s legendary Ten Most Wanted list is really only the Eight Most Wanted list these days.

Two of the the most well-known figures on the list — Osama bin Laden and Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger — are no longer wanted. Bin Laden was killed by the U.S. military in Pakistan in May and Bulger was captured by the FBI in California in June. No one has replaced them.

Their pictures remain on the list on the FBI webpage. But the word “Captured” has been added to Bulger’s photo and “Deceased” has been added to bin Laden’s.

The FBI told ticklethewire.com on  Friday that there’s “no time frame” for when the two vacancies will be filled. The process of filling the spots is a detailed one that includes FBI field offices around the country submitting recommendations that are then reviewed at headquarters and ultimately approved by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

So in the meantime, it remains the FBI’s Eight Most Wanted list.

The list currently includes less well-known names like Jason Derek Brown, Robert William Fisher and Eduardo Ravelo.

Eduardo Ravelo appears to be one of the more notable fugitives.

The FBI said he is a Captain (Capo) within the Barrio Azteca organization and issues orders to the Barrio Azteca members residing in Juarez, Mexico. He also has ties to El Paso, Tex.

Eduardo Ravelo/fbi photo

Authorities alleged that Ravelo and the Barrio Azteca members act as “hitmen” for the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes Drug Trafficking Organization and are responsible for numerous murders. The FBI said he may have had plastic surgery and altered his fingerprints.

Fisher is wanted on charges of killing his wife and two young children and then blowing up the house in which they all lived in Scottsdale, Az. in April of 2001.

Brown is wanted for murder and armed robbery in Phoenix, Arizona.  Authorities say Brown allegedly shot and killed an armored car guard outside a movie theater in November of 2004 and then fled with the money.

 

Arizona U.S. Atty.’s Abrupt Resignation Raises Doubts About Political Future

U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke

By JOSH GERSTEIN
Politico

WASHINGTON — Dennis Burke, one of Arizona’s most prominent and well-connected Democratic political figures, abruptly resigned as the state’s top federal prosecutor Tuesday, stirring doubts about earlier expectations that he might mount a bid for governor, attorney general or U.S. senator.

Burke served in Washington as a senior adviser to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and in Arizona as her chief of staff when she was governor. His departure as U.S. Attorney comes as congressional investigators and an internal Justice Department inquiry are examining how an Arizona-based federal gun-trafficking investigation may have allowed as many as 2,000 guns to flow to criminals.

Many Arizona politicos assumed that Burke was trying to walk in Napolitano’s footsteps by seeking a federal prosecutor’s job, then perhaps the Arizona attorney general’s post and the governor’s office. However, Arizona analysts said those possibilities now seem more remote in the wake of Burke’s sudden resignation and as questions swirl about his office’s handling of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives probe known as “Operation Fast and Furious.”

To read full story click here.

Authorities Concerned Drug Smugglers Increasingly Turning to Tunnels

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In the past two weeks, law enforcement in Arizona has found two tunnels near the Mexican border, the Arizona Republic reported.

The paper reported that authorities are becoming increasingly concerned that that drug smugglers are turning more to tunnels as a way to smuggle drugs as the U.S. tightens things up at the border.

In Douglas, Az., law enforcement last week found a large hole in the floor of a house with mounds of dirt piled high in other rooms, the paper reported. The hole was the opening for a tunnel drug smugglers were digging from the U.S. to Mexico.

The paper reported that this summer the Border Patrol finished putting up new fencing in Nogales, a border town, so agents can see the other side. That has made it harder for smugglers to avoid detection.

“As smuggling organizations have more trouble moving their contraband both between the ports of entry and through the ports of entry due to increased technology and vigilance at the ports, then they will turn to more of these covert measures,” Vincent Picard, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Phoenix, told the paper.