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Tag: ICE

Uzbekistan Man Pleads Guilty to Terrorism Charges in Ala. and Threatening to Kill Pres. Obama in Fed Sting

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
 
Alabama isn’t exactly considered a hotbed of terrorism activity.

But on Friday, an Uzbek national living in the U.S. pleaded in Birmingham, Ala., to providing material support to terrorist activities and threatening to kill President Obama — all as part of a federal sting.

Ulugbek Kodirov, 22, of Uzbekistan, becomes the first person to be convicted of providing material support to terrorist activity in the Northern District of Alabama. He had been indicted on the charges in July.

U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance praised the investigative work and prompt action of the Joint Terrorism Task Force for the Northern District of Alabama. “Today, Ulugbek Kodirov became the first person to be convicted of providing material support to terrorist activity in this district,” U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance said in a statement. “Kodirov was apprehended during an undercover operation in which he was attempting to obtain weapons and explosives that he intended to use to kill the president of the United States. Effective action by law enforcement protected our community and potentially our country.” she said.

“I also want to express my appreciation to the Muslim community of Birmingham, which was instrumental in helping law enforcement shut down this threat,” Vance said.

Authorities charged that Kodirov was in communication with someone he thought was a member of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), which has been declared a terrorist organization by the State Department. Kodirov had a student visa, but never enrolled in school.

The case was investigated by the FBI, ATF, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations and Secret Service.

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Ex-DEA Official Said Agents in Other Agencies Tried to Stop ATF’s Fast and Furious

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious just looks worse all the time.

The latest: Fox News reports that the former head of the DEA in Tucson said some agents in other federal agencies tried unsuccessfully to put an end to the operation.

Tony Coulson said many federal field agents knew the ATF was walking guns to Mexico, but supervisors told them to back off when they objected, Fox reported.

“Clearly, we went too far,” Coulson said, according to Fox. “The question we had among rank and file law enforcement was, ‘When is someone going to call ATF on this, when is someone going to tell them to stop?’”

He said agents at the DEA, FBI and ICE knew about the operation.

To read the full story click here.

 

ICE HSI Agent Pleads Guilty to 21 Counts

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent has pleaded guilty to leaking information to relatives involved in drug trafficking, authorities said.

Jovana Deas, 33, of Rio Rico, Ariz., pleaded guilty to all 21 counts against her, the FBI said in a statement on Monday. Deas was an agent with the HSI Nogales office.

Deas admitted to using her credentials to illegally obtain and disseminate government documents classified as Official Use Only, said the FBI. Some of the documents were later found on the laptop of her former brother-in-law–who is associated with drug trafficking groups in Mexico–by Brazilian law enforcement. Deas further admitted to illegally accessing, stealing, and transferring sensitive U.S. government documents, and to obstructing HSI investigations. She pled guilty to seven felony violations–punishable by up to five years each–and 14 misdemeanors, punishable by up to one year each.

Deas’s sister, Dana Maria Samaniego Montes, was also charged with violations of federal law. Montes is a former Mexican law enforcement official with alleged ties to drug trafficking organizations, but is a fugitive believed to be at large in Mexico.

Deas’s sentencing is set for April 11.

ICE: Federal Immigration Program to Become Mandatory by 2013

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Provisions which allowed local law enforcement officials more choices in complying with the federal Secure Communities immigration enforcement program will be “streamlined” or “eliminated,” bringing law enforcement groups in line with federal mandates, reports the LA Times.

The information-sharing program between the FBI and local law enforcement, which allows the FBI to share with ICE fingerprints collected from county jails, was implemented two years ago as a way to focus immigration enforcement on “serious convicted criminals,” according to the LA Times. However, it has come under fire as a large portion of the immigrants in the system were never convicted of crimes or were low-level offenders, the Times reported.

Dated Oct. 2, 2010 but only released recently, a 9-page letter from a legal advisor for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that “choices available to law enforcement agencies who have thus far decided to decline or limit their participation in current information-sharing processes will be streamlined and aspects eliminated. In that way, the process, in essence, becomes ‘mandatory’ in 2013.”

To read more click here.

Drug Smugglers Try Wigs, Secret Pockets

Seized in the investigation/ICE photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Suspected drug couriers from the east coast and Panama apparently used some innovation, smuggling cocaine and heroin in small pockets sewn into Lycra shorts and in their hair weaves and wigs, according to the website Government News Service.

GNS reports that 12 individuals were charged in a 20-count indictment, the results of a three year investigation of ICE, Homeland Security and the DEA, allege the individuals.

ICE officials called the investigation a game of cat and mouse. Law enforcement officials would crack down on the smuggling ring, only to have smugglers adapt to new law enforcement techniques, and so on.

Ronaldo Edmund, Kelvin Cook and Julio Archer, of the US, allegedly recruited mostly female couriers, reports GNS, to smuggle heroin and cocaine by the kilo from Panama to the U.S.

To read more click here.

Mexican Extradited to U.S. on Charges of Killing ICE Agent Jaime Zapata and Wounding Another Agent

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata killed in Mexico/ice photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A man charged in the Feb. 15 murder in Mexico of ICE agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE agent Victor Avila has been extradited from Mexico to the U.S. to face trial.

The Justice Department announced the charges and the extradition on Wednesday of Julian Zapata Espinoza, aka “Piolin.”

On April 19, a D.C. federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment.

“Julian Zapata Espinoza (“Piolin”) allegedly participated in the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer in a statement.

“The extradition of Julian Zapata Espinoza to face charges in the U.S. is a significant development in the ongoing investigation into the murder of Special Agent Jaime Zapata and attack on Special Agent Victor Avila,” said Kevin Perkins, Assistant Director for the FBI Criminal Investigative Division in a statement.

The Justice Department said the indictment was unsealed on Wednesday when Zapata Espinoza made his initial appearance before U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth in D.C. He was ordered detained without bail.

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Fed Agents Misbehavin in 2011

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Every day, thousands of federal law enforcement agents wake up, grab their gun and badge and a cup of java, orange juice or tea and go out into the world to protect the public and enforce the laws.

Unfortunately, every year, a few step over the line — way over the line — and break the law.

As 2011 draws to an end,  ticklethewire.com takes its annual look at some of the more interesting cases of Feds Misbehavin.

Unmitigated Disaster: FBI agent Adrian Johnson, a six-year veteran of bureau, had a little too much booze last Feb. 7. While driving in Prince George’s County, just outside D.C., he drove his 2002 Mitsubishi Montero into oncoming traffic and crashed into 18-year-old Lawrence Garner Jr.’s Hyundai Sonata. Garner died and a passenger in the car was critically injured but survived.

Johnson lost his job and in August a county grand jury indicted him on charges including motor vehicle manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle, driving under the influence and reckless driving.  Johnson had just moved to the D.C. area to protect the  U.S. attorney general. The end of a life, the end of a career.

 

Lying for a Lover: Love or lust can do some people in. Just ask FBI agent Adrian Busby.

On Nov. 1, a fed jury in Manhattan federal court convicted the 37-year-old of lying to protect a married female confidential source he was having an affair with. It all began in 2008 when Busby, who was investigating mortgage fraud, started using a female real estate loan officer as a confidential source. He also began having an affair with her.

On Feb. 5, 2008, the source was arrested and subsequently prosecuted by the Queens County District Attorney’s Office for identity theft and related charges. Authorities charged that Busby “actively assisted with her criminal defense, met with her attorneys on multiple occasions, and during trial “provided her defense attorney with confidential, law enforcement reports…related to her case….in violation of FBI regulations.” Fed authorities said he then lied to them about the things he did to help the woman.

 

Say What? This one is just so wildly crazy for so many reasons.  Anthony  V. Mangione, 50, who headed up South Florida’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, was indicted in September on child porn charges. Ironic? Let us count the ways. First off, ICE has been very active in busting purveyors of child porn. Secondly, how could a guy in the know like Mangione get caught knowing what he knows about how law enforcement operates?

 

Not the Crime of the Century: DEA Agent Brian Snedeker  was charged in Virginia in October with hunting ducks in a “baited area” and exceeding the daily limit of ducks, according to Field & Stream magazine, which wrote: “OK, someone’s gotta ask the question: what illegal substance was this DEA agent under the influence when he decided to shoot many ducks, and in a baited area to boot?” Apparently, among the Field & Stream crowd,  Snedeker is one bad dude.

Just Plain Crooked: ATF agent Brandon McFadden admitted he stole drugs and money from crime scenes with several Tulsa police officers. He was arrested in April 2010 and was sentenced this December to 21 months in prison. He would have gotten a lot more had he not cooperated with authorities. Nice way to end a career.

Career Up in Smoke: Clifford Dean Posey, an ATF agent form Virginia gets an A for enterprise and big D for plain Dumb. The 43-year-old was sentenced in September in Richmond, Va., to three years and one month in prison for stealing guns and cigarettes from ATF and selling them.

 

The Cost of a Big Fat Lie: It’s one thing to have an affair with a fellow law enforcement agent. It’s another to lie about it. Keith Phillips, a former special agent with the Environmental Protection Agency criminal division in the Dallas division, learned that the hard way. In October, he pleaded guilty to lying in a civil case about having an affair with an FBI agent he was working with.

Phillips, 61, of Kent, Tex., and a female FBI agent investigated a criminal case from September 1996 to Dec. 14, 1999 that resulted in the indictment of Hubert Vidrine Jr. and several others. The criminal charges against Vidrine were ultimately dismissed, and Vidrine turned around and filed a lawsuit against the federal government for malicious prosecution, authorities said.

That’s when trouble stepped into the picture. Authorities said that during a deposition taken in Vidrine’s civil suit, agent Phillips allegedly falsely testified that he did not have an affair with the FBI special agent, when, in fact, he did.

 

Very Fishy: There are certain times when things just look too fishy. This is one of those times. FBI Agent Jerry Nau of Peoria, Ill., lied to investigators  about $43,643 in cash that went missing from a drug bust. He  also forged signatures of fellow agents on evidence sheets to hide the fact the money was AWOL.

In November, he was taken into custody and sentenced to five months in prison. Nau told investigators he panicked when he was unable to find the money before the trial and hoped it would “turn up” on its own, the Chicago Tribune reported. Assistant U.S. Attorney James Warden said at the time, according to the Chicago Tribune: “Would you walk away and say, ‘I hope it comes back some day?’No, you would start screaming at your colleagues and say … ‘Let’s go find (the money).

“What happened is he stole the money,” Warden said.

Vigilante Justice: Border Patrol Agents Dario Castillo, 23, and Ramon Zuniga, 29, must have figured it wasn’t worth bothering the justice system. So the two  took matters into their own hands by allegedly forcing four Mexican nationals, who were illegals and were suspected of marijuana smuggling, to eat marijuana and strip off their clothing and shoes. They then set the belongings on fire and forced them to flee into 40-degree desert in southern Arizona.

The incident happened in 2008, but the two were indicted in August in Tucson by a federal grand jury.

Major DEA Sting Nets $7.8M, Guns, Drugs

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Tuesday in Arizona was a big one for the DEA’s Phoenix Field Office, where authorities seized 44 firearms, 650 pounds of marijuana and a $7.8 million in cash in a 15-month sting dubbed “Operation Crank Call.” The trafficking network is believed to be related to the infamous Sinaloa Cartel of Mexico.

According to a statement from the DEA, the bust broke apart an extensive trafficking network, with more than 200 arrests made. The DEA worked closely with the police department in Tempe, Ariz.

To read more click here.