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Tag: ICE

Sharp Increases in Drug-Cash Seizures in Caribbean

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Tides of troubled water are lapping Caribbean shores it seems.

Federal agencies have seen a sharp increase in drug-money seizures in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands over the past year, the AP reports, “an apparent sign that more drug proceeds are flowing through the US island territory and the Caribbean as a whole.”

A division of ICE known as Homeland Security Investigations reported a 68 percent increase in cash seizures in Puerto Rico–nearly $2.4 million in total–for the 12 months ending Sept. 30.

The DEA saw seizures more than double as well, to $18 million. The numbers pale in comparison to what is seized along the US-Mexico border. Still, the Justice Department considers  Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands “major bulk cash movement center,” says AP.

Resident Commissioner Pedro Pierluisi, Puerto Rico’s congressional representative, asked the House of Representatives for more aid recently, saying, according to AP:  “We are in a crisis in the Caribbean.” The island set a new homicide record this year as drug-related violence spiked. More than 1,100 have been killed.

Pedro Janer, the acting special agent in charge of the DEA’s Caribbean division, says the trends are the result of stricter enforcement along the US-Mexico border, AP reported. “Every time we put a major squeeze at the border they have to go someplace else,” Janer said. “Well, the second preferred route is the Caribbean. They are always going back and forth.”

To read more click here.

Column: Money Laundering is Not Gun Running

Anthony Macisco has over 30 years of extensive leadership and management experience for agencies in the Departments of the Treasury (USSS Executive Protective Service and US Customs-Investigations) and Homeland Security (Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Investigations), in investigations and intelligence fields, in both a covert and overt capacity. Tony is currently a partner in The Densus Group, an international consulting firm that specializes in public order management techniques for foreign and domestic government agencies.

Anthony Macisco/sec debrief photo

By Anthony Macisco
Security DeBrief

It was recently reported that Congress is launching an investigation into the Drug Enforcement Administration, following claims that the agency helped drug cartels launder money – an operation some in Congress say bears striking resemblance to the failed “Fast and Furious” anti-gunrunning probe.

While most of America is appalled at the “Fast and Furious” operation, myself included, money laundering investigations are a completely different, proven and accepted investigative technique when conducted properly.

Long-term covert money laundering investigations have been around since the early 1980s when the U.S. Customs Service Office of Investigations conducted one of the first successful investigations known as “Operation C-Chase.”

It was one of the most successful undercover operations in the history of U.S. law enforcement, and the evidence gathered during the investigation proved critical to the conviction of General Manuel Noriega.

To read more click here.

 

20 Charged in Chicago-Mexico Drug Network, Ties to Zetas Drug Cartel

The logo of the Los Zetas Cartel/baltimore city paper

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The tentacles of the Mexican cartels can be found throughout the U.S.

The latest: 20 defendants — five of them suspected members of a Chicago cell of the violent Zetas Mexican drug cartel — were charged in major drug indictment in Chicago following a joint FBI-DEA investigation, Chicago’s US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office announced Wednesday.

The investigation resulted in the seizure of more than $12.4 million in cash and about 250 kilograms or more than 500 pounds of cocaine during 2010 in the Chicago area.

Arrests were made on Tuesday in Chicago and Laredo, Tex. Along with the Tuesday arrests, an additional $480,000 in cash and two kilograms of heroin were also seized.

“The extensive cash seizures made during the course of this investigation illustrates how lucrative the illicit drug trade can be,” said Robert D. Grant, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Chicago Office in a statement. “Combined with the apparent presence of the Zetas in the Chicago area, the charges announced today should serve as a wake-up call to law enforcement throughout the state.”

Five of the defendants in the case remain at large.

 

 

ATF, ICE, Local Police Bust $20M Tobacco Op

Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Got a smoke?

The ATF closed a three-year joint investigation by the US Attorney’s office for the Western District of Virginia and District of South Carolina, the ATF, the IRS, ICE and the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Department with multiple arrests in a scheme to move and tobacco illegally between Virginia and South Carolina, reports WYFF.

Indictments indicate that those involved acquired cigarettes in the western district of Virginia and brought them into South Carolina, where they were sold. Investigators told WYFF conspirators paid undercover officers about $20 million for untaxed cigarettes.

To read more, including the names and charges of the indicted, click here.

 

DEA, ICE and Ariz. Police Bust 70 Linked to Cartel That Provides 65% of Drugs to U.S.

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A major drug bust in Arizona targeted folks linked to a Mexican cartel believed to handle 65 percent of all drugs illegally transported to the United States, and resulted in the seizure of thousands of pounds of narcotics and at least 70 arrests, reports Reuters.

The raids, overseen by the DEA, Arizona state officials, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the contraband confiscated was “jaw-dropping.”

The operation included three raids conducted over 17 months and led to the arrests of Mexican and American nationals working with a drug cartel based in the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

In what officials called a “sophisticated network” of international drug smuggling, drugs were smuggled from Mexico into Arizona by car, plane, on foot, and through tunnels.

“This is one of the more substantial drug-smuggling operations going on right now. This is a billion-dollar drug trade organization linked to the cartel,” an official told MSNBC.

To read more click here.

 

Rep. Issa Presses Atty. Gen. Holder Over Shooting of ICE Agent in Mexico


Jamie Zapata/ticklethewire.com photo of ICE video at IACP

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two Congressional members are pressing Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. for more information relating to the shooting death of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jaimes Zapata, who was gunned down in Mexico in February by a drug cartel known as Los Zetas. Another agent was wounded in the incident.

In a letter to Holder dated Oct. 25, Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Charles Grassley complained that they tried to get answers but failed.

“On October 11, your Department (DOJ) sent Senator Grassley a letter regarding murdered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata,” the letter stated.”Not only was the response more than six months late, it completely failed to answer the key questions.”

In March of this year, ATF announced that Mexican authorities had recovered three guns used in the ICE agent’s slaying — one of which was tied to suspected gun trafficker Otilio Osorio. He and his brother Ranferi Osorio, 27, were arrested in March at their home in Lancaster, Tex. on charges of possessing firearms with obliterated serial numbers

Authorities alleged that Osorio purchased the firearm used in the ICE agent’s slaying last Oct. 10 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. ATF said ballistic testing conducted by Mexican authorities linked the weapon to Zapata’s death. In a separate criminal complaint, authorities arrested Kelvin Leon Morrison, 25, who lived next door to the Osorio brothers, on charges of knowingly making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms and dealing in firearms without a license.

The letter to Holder, the Issa and Grassley went on to say: “In a March 1, 2011, press release, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) stated it was unaware of Otilio Osorio’s purchase on October 10, 2010, of the weapon used to murder Agent Zapata.’

“According to ATF documents, however, the agency had reason to believe as early as September 17, 2010, that Otilio’s brother and co-habitant Ranferi Osorio and their next-door neighbor Kelvin Morrison were straw purchasers. Yet the ATF apparently made no effort to contact Ranferi Osorio or Kelvin Morrison and inquire about how their weapons came to be trafficked to Mexico within 2 weeks of their purchase.”

The letter went on to say that ATF could have arrested the Osorio brothers and Kelvin Morrison during a staged operation on November 9, 2010, but did not. The letter asks Holder what and when the Justice Department knew of these gun runners.

 

Intelligence Research Specialist for ICE is ICED; Admits Ripping Off Agency and Misusing Passport

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former supervisory intelligence research specialist for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso, Tex. pleaded guilty Thursday to misusing his diplomatic passport and submitting fictitious expenses that amounted to at least $70,000.

Ahmed Adil Abdallat, 64, pleaded guilty in federal court in El Paso to two counts of misuse of a diplomatic passport and one count of conversion of public money.

Authorities say that in March 2007 Abdallat was issued a diplomatic passport in order to perform various temporary duties at the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia and several other foreign countries.

Abdallat admitted he used his official diplomatic passport on two occasions for the personal purpose of travel to and from Amman, Jordan after he was permanently assigned to duty in El Paso and no longer had any official embassy, mission, or related activities.

Authorities said he also admitted that from Feb. 15, 2009 to , through Sept. 10, 2010, he submitted 13 vouchers for travel from El Paso to Washington, D.C. and received $116,392.34 in travel fund reimbursements.

Authorities said multiple vouchers contained fictitious charges for lodging, vehicle rental and parking. Authorities said the government was taken for at least $70,000, but the exact amount has yet to be determined.

Authorities said that Abdallat remains in federal custody pending sentencing. A sentencing date has yet to be set.

 

Ex-ICE Agent Admits to Stealing Govt. Property and Selling on eBay

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A  former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent who was based in New York admitted Tuesday in fed court in Newark that he stole tens of thousands of dollars in government property while working for the agency and sold it on eBay.

Steven Kucan, 48, of Wood Ridge, N.J. pleaded guilty to one count of theft of government property. Kucan supervised an administrative group at ICE’s offices in New York since the 1990s, and was responsible for obtaining, storing and controlling ICE equipment.

In May, authorities charged, that between December 2004 and February 2011, he regularly stole ICE property including printing cartridges, film, batteries, camera lenses, combat lights for ICE’s M-4 rifles and an immersion suit designed to prevent hypothermia in cold water.

Authorities alleged that Kucan had an eBay account under a relative’s name and sold $37,000 in ICE property.

ICE employees reported seeing Kucan wheel ICE property out of the offices on carts, including on a Saturday.

A raid at his home turned up about $40,000 in ICE property including personal computers, printers, keyboards, police batons, flashlights, work gloves, safety glasses, lifejackets, helmets, handcuffs, gun holsters, camera lenses, emergency lights and sirens, and two-way radio systems, authorities said.