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Tag: homeland security investigations

Homeland Security Investigations tracks down 19th Century Painting Stolen in Italy

“The Assumption of the Virgin Mary” by Italian artist Giuseppe Pappini in 1851.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) tracked down a 19th century painting that was stolen in Italy in 2002.

Acting on a tip from the HSI Attaché Office in Rome, investigators found the painting in the Dallas area, where a private art collected had purchased the painting in 2015 from a dealer who apparently was unaware that it was stolen, ICE says in a news release.

The artwork, titled “the Assumption of the Virgin Mary,” was painted by Italian artist Giuseppe Pappini in August 1851.

The private collector agreed to hand over the painting to investigators so it could be returned to the Abbey of Santa Maria in Sylvis in Sesto al Reghena, a monastery in Italy where it had been stolen.

“Investigating the loss or looting of cultural heritage properties and returning them to their countries of origin is an important part of HSI’s diverse mission” Ryan L. Spradlin, special agent in charge of HSI Dallas, said. “Our specially trained investigators and attachés in more than 40 countries not only partner with governments, agencies and experts who share our mission to protect these items, but they train the investigators of other nations and agencies on how to find, authenticate and enforce the law to recover these items when they emerge in the marketplace.”

Read more about ICE’s investigations of cultural property, arts and antiques.

Feds Find ‘Most Sophisticated Tunnel in U.S. History’ at Border with Mexico

Inside the unfinished tunnel, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The discovery shocked federal agents: An unfinished tunnel that ran from San Louis, Ariz., to a Mexican neighborhood featured a ventilation system, electrical wiring, water lines, a rail system and extensive reinforcement.

“This appears to be the most sophisticated tunnel in U.S. history, and certainly the most sophisticated I’ve seen in my career,” Carl E. Landrum, acting chief patrol agent with the Border Patrol’s Yuma sector, said, The Associated Press reports.

Discovered by Homeland Security Investigations in late July, officials believe it was intended for smuggling.

The tunnel was 3 feet wide and 4 feet high.

Excavation work on the tunnel, via ICE.

Authorities Seize Record-Breaking $134M Worth of Counterfeit Super Bowl Merchandise

Counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A record-breaking $134 million worth of counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise was seized in Miami ahead of the big game Sunday.

Authorities from CBP, ICE and Homeland Security Investigations targeted international shipments of the counterfeit merchandise, as well as flea markets, retail outlets and street vendors, as part of the ongoing sting Operation Team Player, which focuses on counterfeit sports merchandise. They seized fake jerseys, jewelry, hats, cell-phone accessories and thousands of other bogus items that were to be sold to unsuspecting consumers.

Last year, Operation Team Player seized $24.2 million worth of counterfeit sports merchandise.

“Every day, cargo containers containing billions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit goods enter the United States through its land, sea and air ports of entry,” Steve Francis, director of Homeland Security Investigations’ Intellectual Property Rights, said in a news release. “This year’s record-breaking ‘Operation Team Player’ results affirm HSI’s commitment to protecting American consumers, the economy, and legitimate business, by ensuring Super Bowl 54 is not compromised by transnational criminal networks exploiting fan enthusiasm for illicit profits. Sports fans from around the world, who’ve spent their hard-earned money to support their favorite NFL team, deserve to receive genuine, high-quality officially licensed merchandise in return.”

Ooops! Buffalo U.S. Atty. Apologizes After ICE Agents Raid Wrong Home at Gunpoint


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

“Ooops” and “sorry” are the two things that come to mind in this case.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. of Buffalo and Lev J. Kubiak, head of the Homeland Security Investigations in that city, apologized to a businessman whose home was mistakenly raided earlier this month by ICE agents, the Buffalo News reported.

The paper reported that Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents , with guns drawn, broke down the back door of a local businessman’s home around 7 a.m. while he and his wife were sleeping.

Agents had a search warrant for a child pornography case, and seized his computer equipment, the Buffalo News reported.

Turns out,a few days later authorities arrested a 25-year-old man who allegedly used the businessman’s unprotected Wifi to download child porn, the paper reported.

U.S. Atty. William Hochul Jr./doj photo

The paper reported that Barry N. Covert, an attorney for the businessman, said the U.S. Attorney “expressed genuine remorse and regret for what had transpired.” Hochul also offered to apologize to the businessman in person, and added that his client had no intention of suing.

Covert added that Hochul also offered to meet with his client and apologize personally.

To read more click here.