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Tag: Arizona

Homeland Security Worker Sues Agency Over Illegal Search

It’s not good p.r. when someone from your own agency sues because of a goof. In Arizona, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is trying to make this go away via a legal motion.  In the end, the government might just have to end up forking some money over to make it vanish.

arizona-map

By Dennis Wagner
The Arizona Republic

A Department of Homeland Security employee in Yuma is suing his own agency over an illegal search by immigration officers who he said mistakenly stormed his home in search of an undocumented immigrant.

Jimmy Slaughter, a K-9 handler at the U.S. border crossing in San Luis, said in District Court papers that he and his wife, Sheila, have lived in their home for more than a decade and did not know the woman sought by a half-dozen agents who came to his door with guns drawn.

“Is this the agency which protects our country?” Slaughter asked in an affidavit attached to the lawsuit. “… Now my neighbors are wondering or believe I am just another ‘DIRTY COP!’ I have served my country proudly for 23 years in the Marine Corps and six years as a Customs K-9 handler. I bleed Red, White and Blue.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office has asked a judge to dismiss the complaint, arguing that agents left the house once they realized their mistake, so the Slaughters have no basis for a claim.

For Full Story

Read Lawsuit

“Blood Wires” Continue to Flow Over the Mexican Border

western-union

Money transfers have long been the lifeline for drug traffickers and others involved in illegal activity. Authorities in Arizona say Western Union is smack in the middle of it all and hasn’t cooperated enough. Western Union calls the allegations “erroneous and inflammatory”.

By Josh Meyer
Los Angeles Times
PHOENIX —  The bleeding body of Mexican immigrant Javier Resendiz Martinez was the first thing police noticed when they raided the bungalow on North 63rd Avenue here four years ago after reports of gunshots.

Soon afterward, however, they found payment logs of more than 100 wire transfers to Western Unions in the border town of Caborca, Mexico — which state and federal officials cite as evidence that the financial services company and other money transmitters are used by Mexican crime syndicates to help facilitate the smuggling of people into the United States.

Arizona Atty. Gen. Terry Goddard said human smuggling has become a $2-billion-a-year business in his state alone, thanks in large part to what he calls “blood wires,” the payments from family members, friends and employers to smugglers via Western Union and other companies.

Goddard and other Arizona officials have not accused Western Union of a crime. But in interviews and court documents they say the company consistently has rejected requests for cooperation, undermining efforts in Arizona to go after the crime cartels that control much of the increasingly violent trade in humans, drugs, weapons and laundered cash from their havens in Mexico.

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Mexico’s Drug Violence is Arizona’s Headache Too

It seems for far too long the U.S. has failed to do enough to keep the drug violence in Mexico from spilling over into the U.S. states like Texas, Calif. and Arizona. The time has come to do something.

By RANDAL C. ARCHIBOLD
New York Times
PHOENIX – The raging drug war among cartels in Mexico and their push to expand operations in the United States has led to a wave of kidnappings, shootings and home invasions in Arizona, state and federal officials said at a legislative hearing on Monday.

The drug trade has long brought violence to the state, which serves as a hub as illicit drugs, like cocaine and marijuana, and illegal immigrants are smuggled to the rest of the nation.
For Full Story

Homeland Sec. Hopes To Start Building Virtual Fence At Mexico Border in March

The government should have had this up by 2008. Will its latest effort succeed? We shall see.

By Brady McCombs
Arizona Daily Star
TUCSON –Homeland Security hopes to begin construction next month on the latest version of its much-maligned and costly “virtual fence” on the U.S.-Mexico border.
More than two years have passed and more than $400 million in taxpayers’ dollars have been spent on the Secure Border Initiative Net (SBInet) project, which still hasn’t produced an effective virtual fence.
The only system operating along the border is the “Project 28” prototype near Sasabe, southwest of Tucson, a grid of nine sensor towers that is still plagued with problems. It will be replaced by the new version – whenever it goes up.
SBInet officials planned to have a pair of new and improved virtual fences up in Arizona by the end of 2008 but the projects were abruptly stopped in August.
“It’s very disheartening,” said Christopher Bronk, a research fellow at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, who has closely followed SBInet. “I don’t think we can afford to make those kinds of spends without seeing results.”

For Full Story

Arizona Customs Agent and Wife Busted For Taking Bribes Involving Ectasy Smuggling

It’s tough enough patrolling our nation’s borders. But when you have crooked border patrol agents it makes it all that much tougher.

By Jennifer Lawinski
Fox News

A customs agent and his wife were arrested (Wednesday) night in Arizona on charges of accepting bribes to allow more than 600,000 fake ecstasy pills into the country.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer Henry M. Gauani, 41, and his wife Flora A. Gauani, 46, both of Yuma, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to accept a bribe by a public official, according to the Justice Department.
“Law enforcement officers are held to a higher standard because we rely on them to protect our communities and our borders,” Diane J. Humetewa, U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona, said in a statement. “The vast majority of law enforcement officials are honest and hard working, and I appreciate the efforts of the federal agencies who weed out those who chose to betray the public’s trust and confidence.”
A complaint unsealed on Wednesday alleges that the Gauanis were paid $8,000 to allow 100,000 ecstasy pills into the country through Henry Gauani’s inspection lane at the border crossing in Yuma, Ariz., in December 2008.

For Full Story

House Legal Staff Defends Arizona Congressman Accused of Corruption

Once again the legal staff for the House of Representatives finds itself caught in a predicament: defending a member of Congress accused of wrongdoing. The legal staff says it’s intervening to protect the integrity of the institution, not Renzi. Nonetheless, it’s trying to sink the government’s case.  Not a great position to be in.

Rep. Rick Renzi/official photo

Rep. Rick Renzi/official photo

Arthur H. Rotstein
The Associated Press

The legal staff for the U.S. House of Representatives has challenged the constitutionality of the Justice Department’s prosecution of retiring U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi, effectively aligning with Renzi’s defense.
The House counsel, in a friend-of-the-court brief, said federal prosecutors and the FBI repeatedly violated the Constitution’s speech or debate clause, which grants members of Congress protections for their legislative acts.
The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House noted its filing is intended “to articulate and protect the House’s interests – and not to defend defendant Congressman Richard Renzi.”
For Full Story

Read House of Rep. Counsel Filing