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Tag: Kansas

TSA Official Blows Whistle on Agency’s Failures to Protect Employees, Travelers

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A senior TSA official in Kansas filed a complaint against the agency, saying it failed to provide adequate training and protective gear to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus to airport employees and travelers.

The TSA reports that 706 of its employees tested positive for COVID-19, and five have died.

Jay Brainard, the top TSA official in Kansas, said supervisors were prevented from providing screeners with stockpiled N95 masks in March, when it was difficult to buy the respirators.

“I have no doubt whatsoever that our people became Typhoid Marys and contributed to the spread of that virus because TSA senior leadership did not make sure (screeners) were adequately protected,” Brainard told The Associated Press.

Brainard’s complaint prompted the Office of Special Counsel to order Homeland Security to investigate.

In a statement, the TSA insisted if followed CDC guidelines in protecting employees.

Brainard countered that the TSA failed to notify screeners that they should change gloves after every pat-down.

DEA Agent Among Victims of Airplane Crash in Kansas on New Year’s Eve

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A DEA special agent was among two people killed when a single-engine airplane crashed almost immediately after takeoff at Johnson County Executive Airport in Kansas on New Year’s Eve.

The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the victims as DEA Special Agent Jonathan J. Vannatta, 48 of Maumelle, Ark., and Darcy L. Matthews, 43, of Belton, Texas. Vannatta was the pilot, investigators said.

A DEA spokesperson confirmed that Vannatta worked with the DEA but was not on assignment, according to 41 Action News.

Investigators said they are still trying to determine what caused the accident. A preliminary report is expected within two to three weeks.

Early accounts suggest the plane veered into trees and crashed east of the runway before catching fire.

Former ICE Agent Pleads Guilty to Impersonating Immigration Official to Free Man from Jail

Andrew J. Pleviak

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A former ICE agent accused of trying to help an inmate escape from a Kansas jail by impersonating an immigration officer has pleaded guilty.

Andrew J. Pleviak, 42, is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 20 after pleading guilty in Kingman County District Court on Wednesday to making false information and attempted aiding escape to another in custody.

Pleviak also was indicted by a grand jury last week on one count of false impersonation of a federal officer, prosecutors said in a news release.

Pleviak falsely claimed he was an ICE supervisor in a failed attempt to get jail officials to release Juan Diego Tapia-Alfaro, who was arrested Aug. 2 for allegedly obtaining a driver’s license fraudulently.

Pleviak faces up to three years in federal prison on the additional charge.

Pro-Trump Militiamen on Trial in Plot to Blow Up Muslims in Kansas Apartment

Curtis Allen (left), Gavin Wright (center) and Patrick Stein (right).

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Patrick Stein, a right-wing militia member who thought Trump was “the Man” and Muslims were “cockroaches” that needed to be exterminated, met what he thought was a weapons dealer in a remote field in western Kansas.

“I’m sick of seeing these motherfuckers coming into this country,” Stein told the man, referring to Muslim refugees, Huffington post reports. “They’re here for one reason and one reason only.”

It was about a month before Donald Trump was elected president, and Stein had no idea he was actually meeting with an undercover FBI agent.

A few days later, the FBI arrested Stein, who was charged with a litany of federal offenses, including plotting to kill Somali refugees who lived in an apartment complex in nearby Garden City.

Since then, 18 months have passed, and Stein and his allege co-conspirators Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen are on the third week of a trial in Wichita.

While Stein met with the undercover agent in search of a weapon manufacturer, the co-conspirators did not demonstrate they were serious about the plot, their defense attorneys said.

3 Suspects Injured in Shootout with Police, FBI Face Aggravated Assault Charges

Jason Trevillion, 32, Ernest Jones, 27, and Arthur Mitchell, 25, have been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer.

Jason Trevillion, 32, Ernest Jones, 27, and Arthur Mitchell, 25, have been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A shootout between three man and the FBI and Kansas City police officers has prompted charges against the wounded suspects.

The men, Jason Trevillion, 32, Ernest Jones, 27, and Arthur Mitchell, 25, have been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against a police officer, The Kansas City Star reports

Gunfire broke out after several members of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Task Force tried to make a traffic stop in Kansas City, Kansas, on Nov. 6.

All three suspects sustained non-life-threatening injuries, and no police officer was injured.

Authorities have yet to say what prompted the stop and how many officers were involved.

FBI Investigating Shooting of Indian Men in Kansas As Federal Hate Crime

Shooting suspect Adam Purinton.

Shooting suspect Adam Purinton.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI said it’s now investigating a Kansas shooting as a hate crime after a Indian man was killed and another injured at a Kansas bar, the bureau said Tuesday.

Witnesses said the accused gunman shot the men after telling them to “get out of my country.”

Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, died in the attack. Alok Madasani, 32, was released from the hospital a day after last week’s attack.

Adam W. Purinton, 51, has been charged in the shooting in Olathe, about 20 miles southwest of Kansas City. It appears Purinton thought the men were Iranian, according to a 911 call, the Washington Post reports. 

He now faces potential hate crime charges by the feds.

“Based upon the initial investigative activity, the FBI, in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, is investigating this incident as a hate crime,” an FBI spokeswoman said in a statement. “The FBI will continue to work jointly with Olathe Police Department and our state and local partners regarding this ongoing investigation.”

Kansas Militia Member Tipped Off FBI of Anti-Muslim Group’s Talks of Violence

Three men accused of plotting to blow up an apartment building where Muslims lived.

Three men accused of plotting to blow up an apartment building where Muslims lived.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The anti-Muslim militia group in Kansas that is accused of conspiring to bomb an apartment where 120 Somali immigrants lived was exposed when one of its members contacted the FBI.

The member of the group, “The Crusaders,” was alarmed by talks of violence and agreed to become a confidential source for the FBI, CBS News reports. 

Three militia members were charged with conspiring to detonate truck bomb at the apartment complex in Garden City.

Patrick Stein, 47; Gavin Wright, 51; and Curtis Allen, 49, have been charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Thanks to the informant, the FBI was able to monitor the group for months as the plot became more specific. The informant introduced an undercover FBI agent to the group.

Authorities Investigating Arson of DEA Vehicle in Wichita, Kan.

fire via pixabayBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Investigators are trying to determine who set fire to a DEA vehicle in Wichita, Kan.

The SUV was in the parking lot of a building that houses DEA offices, KSNW reports. 

The Wichita Police Department said the fire broke out around 1:50 a.m. on Oct. 6.

Two people were spotted in a surveillance video approaching the vehicle before it was set on fire.

The surveillance wasn’t released, but investigators are trying to determine the identity of the two people.

The DEA, Wichita Police Department and ATF are investigating.