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Tag: Drugs

U.S. Sending Drones into Mexico

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The war against drugs is looking more and more like a war.

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration has started sending drones deep into Mexico to gather intelligence on the location and activities of major drug traffickers.

The Times reports that the Pentagon began flying the unarmed drones last month. The paper reported that the information is being turned over to Mexican law enforcement.

The paper also reported that a Homeland Security drone “helped Mexican authorities find several suspects linked to the Feb. 15 killing of Jaime Zapata, a United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Immigration agent.”

To read more click here.

TSA Worker Busted For Allegedly Helping Drug Dealers


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Minnetta Walker of the Transportation Security Administration lost her moral compass — or perhaps she never had one, authorities allege.

The TSA behavioral detection officer at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, who is supposed to walk around and look for suspicious behavior, was arrested Tuesday and charged with providing info to drug traffickers and helping them get past checkpoints with minimum scrutiny, the Buffalo News reported.

The Buffalo News reported that the 43-year-old was arrested off-duty when she drove to the airport to pick up a suspected drug dealer returning from Arizona.

The paper reported that federal charging documents allege that Walker tipped off one drug dealer that drug agents were tailing him and escorted dealers through screening checkpoints, the Buffalo paper reported.

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Fed Case Clearly Connects the Dots Between Baltimore and Mexico’s Cartels

Photo illustration by Frank Hamilton including photo by Frank Klein- Courtesy of Baltimore City Paper

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

BALTIMORE — Ronald Eugene Brown was a natural target for Baltimore narcotics investigators. The 6-foot-6-inch, 240-pound man, nicknamed “Truck,” had already served many years in prison for 1990s drug-dealing and robbery convictions, and his rehabilitation after getting out was, well, dubious.

The 44-year-old had lost his low-paying job as a forklift operator, yet he somehow could afford to have two Baltimore County residences (in Overlea and Ten Hills), a BMW, a Mercedes, and a Dodge Ram pickup truck. His comfortable, middle-class lifestyle defied explanation—but for the fact that he was a habitué of the drug-infested Monument Street corridor near Baltimore City’s Northeast Market.

When the probe into Brown began, it was standard Baltimore cop fare: A confidential source arranged to buy a small amount of drugs from Brown on the evening of April 27, 2009, and the cops followed Brown to see where he would lead them.

Before the sun rose the next morning, they had about $750,000 in heat-sealed, aluminum-wrapped cash at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel and two men suspected of being Brown’s suppliers. The case’s significance snowballed, and by February 2010, it had unearthed mammoth shipments of Mexican cartel cocaine and marijuana coming to Baltimore from Texas every two weeks.

To read full story click here.

Milwaukee FBI Agent Shoots and Wounds Drug Suspect Who Tried to Flee

Column: Defense Attorney Says Some Fed Prosecutors Need to be Fired and Indicted for Their Acts

James Burdick is a former Wayne County prosecutor in Detroit and is a criminal defense attorney who also practices health care discipline and is a reinstatement expert at the firm of Burdick Law, P.C. in Bloomfield Hills, Mi. He has also appeared regularly on Larry King Live, Court TV, Geraldo, Good Morning America and other national shows.

James Burdick

By James Burdick

I was reading a recent USA Today article cited in ticklethewire.com, which found 201 cases since 1997 in which courts concluded that federal prosecutors violated laws or ethics rules. In some of  those instances, cases were tossed or sentences were reduced.

It’s good to see those facts unearthed. Still, someone needs to ask the Justice Department: How many of the ASUAs (assistant U.S. Attorneys) who got caught doing these things were fired? (I’m sure only a fraction of offensive behavior was ever discovered, just as few ever get caught pulling off their first bank robbery.)

The other pressing question for the Justice Department is: How many were indicted as they should have been for obstruction or related charges? Answer: Few, if any.

Example: In a drug case I tried in the Western District of Michigan in Grand Rapids, the U.S. Attorney ADMITTED to the Court that the trial AUSA and case agent had withheld “potentially exculpatory evidence.”

In May of 2009, the government filed a motion that said: “A preliminary inquiry had indicated that the Government was in possession of information which may have corroborated the claim of this defendant that he presented at trial, that he himself provided the information which led to his arrest and this indictment. In the interest of justice…..the government will thereafter move to dismiss the indictment…Furthermore, an investigation of Defendant’s allegations has been initiated.”  (Read document)

The case was dismissed against that defendant as a result, but the AUSA is still prosecuting cases and the promised “internal investigation” has resulted in nothing at all (no public disclosure) or has concluded that the AUSA could stay, continue to prosecute, and not get indicted.

What do you think would have happened to a defense attorney who acted that way? He/she would have lost their license, been prosecuted for sure, and landed in prison.

People don’t want to believe that some guardians of justice in this Country can be as corrupt as the criminals they pursue. There’s a reason why prosecutors often joke: “Anyone can convict the guilty; it takes real work to convict the innocent.”

It would be funny if it weren’t so scary.

15 People Extradited From Mexico


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — One of the things Colombian drug lords hated most back in the day — getting extradited to the U.S. — is now happening with the Mexican cartel members with more frequency since they took over the distribution networks in the U.S.

The Justice Department on Tuesday announced that 15 people from Mexico have been extradited over the past week from Mexico to the U.S. to either stand trial, be sentenced or serve sentences. Twelve of the 15 are charged with federal narcotics-related offenses and the remaining three are accused of violent crimes in state-prosecuted cases.

“Extraditions are an important tool we have to ensure that criminals are brought to justice in this country,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer.

“Over the past decade, the Department of Justice has established stronger partnerships with Mexico in many areas of law enforcement, including extraditions to and from each country. With these extraditions of individuals who committed or stand charged with violent and dangerous crimes, we look forward to seeing those partnerships continue to strengthen.”

Authorities said three of the people are charged in the Northern District of Illinois and were arriving Tuesday in Chicago. Nine others left Mexico and arrived in Houston Saturday morning and three others arrived in the United States over the course of the past week.

The Justice Department said the U.S. Marshals Service and the FBI are involved in transporting the defendants to jurisdictions where they face charges.

The extradited defendants are the following, as stated in a press release:

Oscar Jacobo Rivera Peralta, Ricardo Valdez Torres and Alfredo Molina Garcia: Northern District of Illinois; According to court documents, from approximately 2001 until 2006, Peralta, Torres and Garcia were members of a drug trafficking organization responsible for the importation of cocaine, heroin and synthetic heroin into the United States for distribution. The defendants are charged with narcotics trafficking-related offenses.

Read more »

Bad Few Days in Maryland Suburban County: County Exec and Wife Arrested; 3 Cops Indicted

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– As far as image goes, the past few days have not been good ones for Prince George’s County, a Maryland suburb of Washington.

On Friday, the FBI arrested the County Executive Jack Johnson and his wife, Leslie, a county council member, on charges of trying to destroy and hide bribe money from a developer.

And on Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced that three Prince George’s County cops had been indicted — two allegedly for involvement in untaxed cigarettes and alcohol, and a third for alleged involvement in a drug and gun conspiracy.

“Police officers are given badges and guns to prevent crimes, but these police officers allegedly used them to commit crimes,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “The indictment charges that they crossed a bright line from catching criminals to conspiring with criminals.”

Authorities indicated the cop bust and the Johnson investigation were linked, but did not elaborate.

Washington Post Editorial: How the Gun Lobby Keeps ATF From Doing its Job

The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — TAKING AND tracking inventory is a basic component of many businesses. Imagine, for example, a pharmacy that routinely could not account for its drugs. The store would quickly run into trouble with regulators.

Not so gun dealers.

Since 2005, 113,642 guns have been reported missing from the thousands of gun shops and dealers throughout the country.

It is not known whether these guns were lost, stolen, sold on the black market or delivered into the hands of felons or other prohibited users.

Yet the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is barred by law from requiring dealers to conduct inventories — which insulates gun sellers from even minor scrutiny at the possible expense of public safety.

To read more click here.

Read chat with ex-ATF official James Cavanaugh on the gun issue.

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