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Tag: Detroit

‘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.

Wayne G. Davis, One of the FBI’s First Black Agents, Dies at Age 81

Wayne G. Davis

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Wayne G. Davis, a 25-year veteran of the FBI who served as special agent in charge of the Detroit, Indianapolis and Philadelphia field offices, died earlier this month.

Davis was 81.

Davis began his career with the bureau in 1963 after becoming one of the first African Americans to graduate from the FBI Academy. His first assignments were in Detroit, Newark and Washington, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

After leading the Indianapolis office for two years, Davis became the first Black person to serve as special agent in charge of the Detroit office in 1981.

In 1985, Davis was appointed to head the Philadelphia office.

“Wayne’s promotions to special agent in charge of the Detroit and Philadelphia offices made him one of the highest-ranking Black agents in a well-earned position of authority in the FBI,” Jerri Williams, who served as Davis’ media specialist in Philadelphia, wrote in a tribute. “Considering the times we are living in today, with tensions between the Black community and law enforcement, Wayne Davis’ life and career is something we can all celebrate.”

Davis was born in New York City, where he attended public school before earning a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Connecticut in 1960.

He is survived by his wife, Lois, and his daughters Adrienne and Cheryl, two grandchildren, and a brother.

Detroit Police End Relationship with DEA Task Force over Controversial Informant

By Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Detroit police are pulling out of a DEA task force over the use of an informant who went on a killing spree.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig told The Detroit News that he pulled his officers from a DEA/Detroit police task force after meeting with Keith Martin, special agent in charge of the DEA’s operations in Michigan and Ohio.

“I said during the meeting I felt there was a breach of trust,” Craig said. “Because of this failure to acknowledge ownership that (Kenyel) Brown was signed as an informant working for the DEA/DPD task force, I’m pulling my officers from the task force.”

Detroit police had worked with the DEA for more than 20 years, the chief said.

Martin responded that the DEA is still “committed to working with the Detroit Police Department.”

The controversy involves the DEA’s use of Kenyel Brown, whom the task force paid $150 in October for information about a southwest Detroit gang dealing drugs.

Brown committed suicide by shooting himself in the head Monday as officers prepared to arrest him on allegations he was involved in six homicides, a shooting and two carjackings in Detroit and two suburbs.

Brown was kept out of prison while he was used as a federal informant, despite “multiple violations of his probation,” The Detroit News reported.

AG William Barr Contradicts Past Statements about FBI by Defending the Bureau

AG William Barr in Detroit, via DOJ.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Attorney General William Barr is sending mixed messages about the FBI.

After Barr blasted the bureau’s handling of the Russia and Trump campaign investigation, he fully endorsed the FBI at a news conference in Detroit.

“There is no finer law enforcement agency in the world than the FBI,” Barr said in Detroit, standing next to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “I am very grateful to the leadership being provided by Chris Wray.”

Barr’s comments about the bureau are in stark contrast to his and Trump’s recent rhetoric following the DOJ’s inspector general’s report that concluded the FBI acted appropriately in investigating Trump’s campaign.

Here’s what Barr said about the FBI last week: “I think there were gross abuses …and inexplicable behavior that is intolerable in the FBI,” Barr said. “I think that leaves open the possibility that there was bad faith.”

Steven M. D’Antuono Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Detroit Field Office

FBI Special Agent Steven M. D’Antuono.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Steven M. D’Antuono has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office.

D’Antuono spent much of his 23-year career at the FBI tracking down white-collar crime and public corruption. That experience will become handy in an office that handles a lot of public corruption.

D’Antuono, who recently served as section chief in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C., joined the bureau as a forensic accountant in 1996. His first assignment was the Providence Resident Agency in Rhode Island, where he handled criminal investigations into financial crimes, public corruption, organized crime, drugs, and counterintelligence.

In 1998, D’Antuono served as a special agent assigned to the Washington Field Office, where he investigated white-collar crime and public corruption.

In 2004, D’Antuono began teaching white-collar crime while serving as the supervisory special agent at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. In 2008, he was transferred to the Washington Field Office to supervise a public corruption and government fraud squad.

In 2014, D’Antuono became an assistant special agent in charge at the St. Louis Field Office, overseeing the Criminal and Administrative branches.

D’Antuono was promoted in 2017 to chief of the Financial Crimes Section of the Criminal Investigative Division, where he oversaw all of the bureau’s white-collar crime programs, including corporate securities and commodities fraud, economic crimes, financial institution fraud, money laundering, health care fraud, intellectual property, and forensic accountant programs.

D’Antuono earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Rhode Island. Before joining the FBI, he was a certified public accountant.

A Key Federal Source in Jimmy Hoffa Caper Dies at 89

The writer, a Washington investigative journalist specializing in organized crime and political corruption investigations, is a Jimmy Hoffa murder specialist. He is the author of “The Hoffa Wars” (1978) and eight other books. 

By Dan Moldea

Featured_wells_37881
Don and Monica Wells, at their one-time horse farm in Wixom in 2009, which was dug up by the FBI during a 2006 search for Jimmy Hoffa. (Photo: Dan Moldea)

One of the most important federal sources of information about the Jimmy Hoffa murder case was Donovan Wells, who died Sept. 5  at age 89 outside of Detroit. Below is an excerpt of a story I wrote for the 40th anniversary of the Hoffa case in 2015, based partly on interviews with Don and his wife, Monica. I liked and respected him for turning his life around.

♦ ♦ ♦

FBI agents raided a Milford Township farm looking for Hoffa’s remains in May 2006, based on information from Donovan Wells, a former business partner of both Rolland McMaster and Stanton Barr. At the time, Wells was in a federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky. He and his family lived on McMaster’s farm the summer Hoffa disappeared.

The FBI’s search warrant for McMaster’s farm has never been released. But Wells told me in 2009 that he informed the FBI that a large hole had been dug on the north end of the property several weeks before Hoffa’s murder.

In addition, his wife Monica claimed that on the afternoon of Hoffa’s July 30, 1975 disappearance, she saw two or three dark cars speeding onto the property, roaring past the farmhouse on an adjacent dirt road, and heading towards the pre-dug hole.

But what had really piqued the FBI’s interest was what Wells had seen and heard the night before Hoffa’s murder. At a local restaurant, as Wells, McMaster, and Barr were having dinner, mobster and Teamster official Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano – in the flesh – suddenly appeared, slapped his hand on their table, and said: “It’s going to be a great day tomorrow! A great day tomorrow! Right, Mac?” And he slapped McMaster on the back.

Provenzano then asked McMaster to accompany him to the bar for a private conversation.

Featured_jimmy-hoffa-found-2013_23655
Jimmy Hoffa

While they were gone, Wells asked Barr what was going on. Barr replied that Provenzano and Hoffa were meeting the following day to settle their differences—and that Tony Giacalone was making the arrangements for the sitdown.

When Provenzano and McMaster returned to the table, Provenzano pointed to McMaster and Barr and asked, “Do you guys know where you’re going to be tomorrow?”

McMaster responded, “Yeah, we’re all straight on that.”

The FBI never unearthed Hoffa’s remains, or any evidence that he had been killed on McMaster’s farm, but Don Wells—who passed an FBI polygraph test—gave the bureauh important new information about Hoffa’s disappearance in 2006: Rolland McMaster and Tony Pro were together at a restaurant in Detroit on July 29, 1975, the night before Hoffa disappeared. Wells also heard a portion of their conversation which was clearly about Provenzano’s scheduled 2 p.m. meeting with Hoffa on July 30, as well as the need for McMaster and Barr to have established alibis for the afternoon when Hoffa was last seen.

The writer authored a story in July headlined Jimmy Hoffa Vanished 44 Years Ago. Here’s What I Think Happened.

El Paso’s Border Patrol Chief Being Sent to Detroit Amid Blistering Report

Conditions at one of the El Paso stations, via IG.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Aaron Hull, the controversial chief of the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, is being sent to Detroit following reports of unsafe and unsanitary conditions in border stations in El Paso.

Hull will be replaced by Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez, who is head of the El Centro Sector in California, NBC News first reported.

Customs and Border Protection declined to say why Hull was reassigned, but the move comes after a blistering report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General. The conditions were so deplorable that agents were beginning to arm themselves because they feared a riot.

The IG report documented overcrowded cells, a lack of showers or clean clothes, outbreaks of lice, flu, chickenpox and scabies, and more than half of the immigrants being held outside. Babies had no clean clothing or soft mats on which to sleep.

“With limited access to showers and clean clothing, detainees were wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks,” the report said.

The report also cited declining morale among agents who were worried about riots or hunger strikes. Some agents were even considering retiring early or moving to another agency.

“The current situation where immigrants are simply giving themselves up to the border patrol [and border patrol must detain] is causing low morale and high anxiety. They are seeing more drinking, domestic violence and financial problems among their agents,” the report said.

Despite the documented evidence, DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan insisted that news reports about poor conditions for children at the facility were “unsubstantiated.”

Hull also defended Border Patrol agents, saying he was “impressed” with their handling of an influx of migrants.

A Homeland Security official told NBC News that Hull has a reputation as a “law and order” chief who often acts on his own without permission from his superiors.

A Detroit DEA Agent Talks About A Case That Became the Subject of the Clint Eastwood film, ‘The Mule’

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — In 2011, Kent Kleinschmidt, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, headed an enforcement group in the Detroit office that was investigating ties between a local drug organization and the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico led by the notorious Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

The case eventually lead to some serious seizures of cocaine and  money and the arrest in October 2011 of Leo Sharp, an 87-year-old “mule” caught transporting 104 kilos of cocaine from Arizona to Michigan for the cartel. Michigan State Police, at the direction of the DEA, pulled over Sharp on I-94 in Washtenaw County and arrested him. Kleinschmidt was nearby watching.

Sharp was sentenced in Detroit to three years in prison. He got out early because of a terminal illness and died Dec. 12,  2016 at 92.

Now Sharp is the subject of a Clint Eastwood film, “The Mule.” (See the trailer.)

Kleinschmidt, an assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit DEA, talked about the film on Thursday, a day before the national debut.