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Tag: DEA

Federal Agents Deployed to St. Louis And Memphis As Part of Expanded ‘Operation Legend’

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

“Operation Legend,” a violent crime-busting initiative involving federal agents, has expanded to St.Louis and Memphis, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Those cities will join Kansas City, Chicago, Albuquerque, Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee, where ATF, DEA and FBI agents and analysts have been  deployed over the past month. The U.S. Marshals Service also is lending a hand.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney General William Barr said federal agents will work with state and local law enforcement “to take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off the street.”

The agents are not expected to monitor protests like federal officers have in Portland. The Trump administration has been criticized for using federal officers to clash with protesters, which local and state officials, along with Democrats in Congress, have said resulted in escalated tensions.

Violent crime is on the rise in many big cities across the U.S.

The initiative is named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was shot and killed in his sleep in Kansas City in June.

‘Operation Legend’ Sends Federal Agents to Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee to Combat Violent Crime

File photo of guns, via ATF

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Nearly 100 federal agents are headed to Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee as part of “Operation Legend,” a violent crime-busting initiative, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Those cities will join Kansas City, Chicago and Albuquerque, where ATF, DEA and FBI agents and analysts were deployed last week.

“This is a flood of resources we haven’t seen before,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said at a news conference in Detroit on Wednesday.

The agents and analysts will help local and state police investigate violent crimes, especial those involving guns. They will not be monitoring protests, authorities emphasized.

Violent crime is on the rise across the U.S.

The initiative is named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was shot and killed in his sleep in Kansas City in June.

Government Watchdogs Investigating Use of Force by Federal Officers in Portland, Washington D.C.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The inspectors general of the Justice Department and Homeland Security have launched investigations into how federal agents have used force and detained protesters during demonstrations in Portland and Washington D.C.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is reviewing the use of force by U.S. Marshals in Portland and the FBI, DEA and ATF in Washington D.C., The Washington Post reports.

Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari is investigating allegations that CBP agents “improperly detained and transported protesters” in Portland, where protesters and federal officers have clashed over the past week.

In a joint statement, Democratic leaders in the U.S. House said the investigations are “critically important” as the Trump administration plans to deploy federal agents to additional cities, including Detroit, Chicago and Kansas City.

“Many of these federal agents are dressed as soldiers, driving unmarked vehicles and refusing to identify themselves or their agencies,” they wrote. “Nearly everywhere they have deployed, their presence has increased tensions and caused more confrontation between demonstrators and police.”

On Thursday night, a federal judge in Oregon issued a temporary restraining order barring federal agents in Portland from arresting or using force against journalists and legal observers.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security’s first secretary, Republican Tom Ridge, criticized the use of federal officers in cities without the consent of state and local officials.

“It would be a cold day in hell before I would consent or agree to the unsolicited, uninvited intervention in any of my cities,” Ridge told KDKA . “I certainly don’t favor that kind of action, and certainly don’t think DHS was designed for that purpose to start with.”

Grand Jury Indicts Four People Accused of Plotting to Murder DEA Task Force Officer

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Four people accused of plotting to murder a DEA task force officer were indicted by a Texas grand jury on Wednesday.

Those charged with conspiracy to use interstate commerce in the commission of murder-for-hire were Manual Garcia Gomez, 22; Jorge Humberto Velazco Larios, 27; Eva Denisse Gomez Garcia, 38; and Alicia Yuritzi Juarez Martinez, 31, NBCDFW-5 reports.

Larios and Gomez have been arrested, while Garcia and Martinez are still in the loose, believed to be in Mexico.

“The Dallas Violent Crime Task Force is dedicated to protecting our citizens. This includes ensuring the safety of our law enforcement partners,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno. “The defendants wanted to harm a DEA task force officer and that is unacceptable. Fortunately, we were able to prevent a dangerous act from occurring and successfully apprehend a group of violent criminals.”

The defendants face up to 10 years in prison.

Ex-DEA Spokesman Pleads Guilty to Posing As CIA Operative in Elaborate $4 Million Fraud Scheme

Garrison Courtney

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former DEA spokesman is facing up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to posing as an undercover CIA operative to defraud government contractors out of more than $4 million.

Garrison Kenneth Courtney, who served as a DEA spokesman between 2005 and 2009, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia said.

Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 23.

Prosecutors said the 40-year-old Florida resident posed as a covert CIA officer serving on a highly classified task force, whose mission was to enhance the intelligence-gathering capabilities of the U.S. government.

No such task force existed, and Courtney had never worked for the CIA, prosecutors said.

“Courtney went to extraordinary lengths to perpetuate the illusion that he was a deep-cover operative. Among other things, he falsely claimed that his identity and large portions of his conduct were classified; directed victims and witnesses to sign fake nondisclosure agreements that purported to be from the United States government and that forbade anyone involved from speaking openly about the supposedly classified program; told victims and witnesses that they were under surveillance by hostile foreign intelligence services; made a show of searching people for electronic devices as part of his supposed counterintelligence methods; demanded that his victims meet in sensitive compartmented information facilities (SCIFs) to create the illusion that they were participating in a classified intelligence operation; and repeatedly threatened anyone who questioned his legitimacy with revocation of their security clearance and criminal prosecution if they ‘leaked’ or continued to look into the supposedly classified information,” federal prosecutors said in a news release. “Courtney further created fake letters, purporting to have been issued by the Attorney General of the United States, which claimed to grant blanket immunity to those who participated in the supposedly classified program.”

As part of the scheme, Courtney convinced several public officials that he was a CIA operative and told them they had been chosen to participate in the program, using “those officials as unwitting props falsely to burnish his legitimacy,” prosecutors said. The government officials unwittingly repeated those claims to the companies, giving his scheme an air of legitimacy.

The investigation was carried out by multiple law enforcement agencies.

DEA Can Conduct Covert Surveillance on Protesters

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The DEA has been given the green light to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people protesting the death of George Floyd, according to a two-page memorandum obtained by BuzzFeed News.

Floyd’s death “has spawned widespread protests across the nation, which, in some instances, have included violence and looting,” the DEA memo says. “Police agencies in certain areas of the country have struggled to maintain and/or restore order.” The memo requests the extraordinary powers on a temporary basis, and on Sunday afternoon a senior Justice Department official signed off.

BuzzFeed reports:

The DEA is limited by statute to enforcing drug-related federal crimes. But on Sunday, Timothy Shea, a former US attorney and close confidant of Barr’s who was named acting administrator of the DEA last month, received approval from Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer to go beyond the agency’s mandate “to perform other law enforcement duties” that Barr may “deem appropriate.”

Trump to Nominate Tim Shea as New Acting Administrator of DEA

Tim Shea

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Tim Shea, the top federal prosecutor in Washington D.C. and a former senior adviser to Attorney General William Barr, will soon be tapped to become the DEA administrator, ABC News reports, citing an administration official.

President Trump plans to replace him with Justin Herdman, the U.S. attorney in Cleveland.

Shea oversaw the Justice Department’s move to drop charges against Michael Flynn, the president’s former national security adviser. He also played a significant role in reversing the sentencing recommendation for Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally.

Shea will replace Uttam Dhillon, who was serving as acting DEA administrator. Dhillon will be transferred to a senior leadership position in the Justice Department.

DEA Agent, Telecom Specialist Suspended Amid Allegations of Stealing PPE And Toilet Paper

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A DEA agent and a telecommunications specialist have been suspended amid allegations that they stole person protective equipment, toilet paper and other supplies that have been in short supply amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Special Agent Javier Hernandez is accused of stealing PPE, toilet paper and batteries from an agency warehouse used to store the items in Florida, the Associated Press and 10News WTSP report.

The telecommunications specialist, whose identity was not disclosed, also is suspected of stealing the items but returned them after he was confronted by a supervisor.

It wasn’t clear whether the employees acted alone or together.

Agency officials are investigating the security measures at the facility.