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Tag: ICE

Fed Prosecutors Say Sentence for ex-ICE Official Could Set Record

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal prosecutors are hoping on Monday to land the toughest sentence in the history of federal corruption cases when former ICE official Constantine Peter Kallas appears in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The former Assistant Chief Counsel at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was found guilty of three dozen corruption offenses nearly one year ago for  taking a series of bribes from immigrants seeking documentation to remain in the U.S..

In a press release, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles said: Federal prosecutors recommended a sentence of 353 months – nearly 30 years. If the judge adopts this recommendation, we believe this would be the longest sentenced ever issued in a federal corruption case. (However, in the interest of full disclosure, the judge at a prior hearing indicated he was considering a sentence of approximately 20 years, which would still make it one of the longest public corruption sentences ever issued.)”

Authorities said Kallen has been in federal prison since August 2008, about two months after he was busted in an FBI sting and videotaped at the San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino in Highland, Calif. “where he and his wife accepted a bribe from an immigrant”, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

He accepted a series of bribes, some as high as $20,000, authorities said.

Authorities said court documents show that besides Kallas’ salary, the couple had deposited $950,000 in their bank accounts since 2000.

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.

ICE Still Investigating Who Leaked Immigration Info About President’s Aunt Before 2008 Election

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON –– Who leaked the info on President Obama’s aunt’s immigration status days before the 2008 election campaign?

Well, according to the website Talking Points Memo, the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility still wants to know.

The Office of Professional Responsibility still has an “ongoing law enforcement investigation”, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) officer Catrina M. Pavlik-Keenan wrote in response to a FOIA request from the website.

AP reported three days before the 2008 election that Obama’s aunt Zeituni Onyango was in the country illegally. TPM reported that it was told in August by the Department of Homeland Security that the investigation was wrapping up.

ICE Busts 678 Gang Members and Associates in Massive Crackdown Involving 168 U.S. Cities


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials announced Tuesday the arrests of 678 suspected gang members and associates, many with alleged ties to drug organizations around the world from Mexico to South America and Asia.

Dubbed “Project Southern Tempest”, ICE and and Homeland Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said investigators targeted 168 U.S. cities with gangs that had affiliations with drug trafficking organizations. More than 46 percent of those arrested were members or associates of gangs tied to the drug organizations, ICE said.

Authorities said the operation ran from December 2010 to February.

“Project Southern Tempest is the largest ever ICE-led gang enforcement operation targeting gangs with ties to drug trafficking organizations,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement.

“Through gang enforcement operations like Project Southern Tempest and Project Big Freeze last year, ICE will continue to disrupt and dismantle these transnational gangs and rid our streets not only of drug dealers, but the violence associated with the drug trade,” he said.

Authorities said there were 133 different gang affiliations and those arrested came from 24 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. ICE said the gangs were also involved in such crimes and robberies and murders.

More Arrests Made in ICE Agent’s Murder

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The hunt for the murderers of ICE agent Jaime Zapata continued.

The BBC reported that Mexican authorities have arrested two suspected leaders of the violent Mexican  Zetas drug gang in connection with the murder and the wounding of another ICE agent.

BBC reported that authorities arrested Sergio “El Toto” Mora, suspected head of the Zetas drugs gang in the northern Mexican state of Coahuila. Meanwhile, authorities detained Luis Miguel Rojo in San Luis Potosi, the town where the attack occurred.

Last week, authorities arrested Julian Zapata Espinoza, who told authorities that he and other thought the ICE agent’s car belonged to a rival gang, BBC reported.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Fed Agents Go After Suspected Mexican Cartel Members in U.S. in Response to Murder of ICE Agent

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata killed in Mexico/ice photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal agents have been conducting raids in U.S. cities and targeting Mexican cartel members in response to last week’s murder of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico, the Associated Press reported. Another ICE agent Victor Avila Jr. was shot and wounded.

“We are taking a stand and we are sending a message back to the cartels that we will not tolerate the murder of a U.S. agent, or any U.S. official,” Carl Pike, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s special operations division said, according to AP.

The roundup, which began Wednesday and is expected to go through Friday, has targeted cities including Atlanta, St. Louis, Denver, Detroit, San Antonio, San Diego, Chicago and New Jersey, AP reported.

AP reported agents seized more than $4.5 million in cash and nearly 20 guns, arrested more than 100 people and confiscated about 23 pounds of methamphetamine, 107 kilos of cocaine, 5 pounds of heroin and 300 pounds of marijuana at more than 150 different locations.

Internal Probe Targets Several at ICE For Alleged Misconduct

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A splash of trouble is bubbling over at ICE.

The Center for Investigative Reporting reports in the Washington Post that several several agents at  Immigration and Customs Enforcement,  including the ex-head of its intelligence office, have been the target of an internal investigation into personal misconduct.

The journalistic investigative reporting unit reported that James M. Woosley, ICE’s assistant director for intelligence, “was relieved of his position.” The unit reported that several other mid- to low-level ICE employees are the target of the probe and that matter with Woosley has to do with travel. The report did not provide more details of the alleged wrongdoing.

To read more click here.

ICE Dir. John Morton Vows to Go After Mexican Gunmen Who Killed One Agent and Wounded Another

Dir. John Morton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton on Tuesday vowed to go after the gunmen who fatally shot ICE agent Jaime J. Zapata and wounded agent Victor Avila in an ambush along a road in Mexico last week.

“Together, the United States and Mexico will bring the long, hard arm of the law down on Jaime and Victor’s shooters,” Morton told a crowd at the funeral of Zapata’s at the Brownsville Events Center in Brownsville, Tex. Agent Avila was shot twice in the leg.

“Together we will look after our people. Together we will continue to see that Jaime and Victor’s work is done and that the rule of law triumphs over lawlessness and empty violence. There is no other way. Acquiescing to the rule of criminals consigns our children, Mexico’s children to a hopeless and empty path. My friends: no retreat, no compromise. Our cause is just, our cause is right, there is no other way.”

Morton, who was joined by other dignitaries including Atty. General Eric Holder Jr. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, continued, according to the text of his speech:

“Jaime died at the hands of gunmen on a highway in the state of San Luis Potosi in Mexico, a long, long way from home. His death was a dark moment – an unspeakable loss for his parents, for his four brothers, for his fiancé Stacye. It was also a dark day for ICE and all of Jaime’s fellow agents and officers.”

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata /ice photo

“I submit to you, however, that as dark as this moment is, Jaime’s life is really all about light. Everyone in this room will eventually meet his or her Maker, and the real question on that day won’t be how we died but how we lived. When it’s my turn, I want to say that I lived like Jaime.”

Nearly 1000 mourners filled the Brownsville Events Center for the mass, according to The Brownsville Herald.  Zapata came from a family of law enforcement members. His father was in law enforcement and one brothers works at ICE and , another in Customs and Border Protection.

Attorney General Holder remarked: “Like so many others who serve this nation in law enforcement, Agent Zapata could have chosen an easier path through life.

“But he was always drawn to public service – and to the work of protecting his fellow citizens and defending America’s security. And he was willing to give what Abraham Lincoln called that “last full measure of devotion” to the nation that he loved – and to the struggle for peace and the cause of justice, within and beyond our borders.”