Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

November 2020
S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: kidnapping

Men Charged in Plot to Kidnap Michigan Gov. Whitmer Also Mulled Televised Executions, Prosecutors Say

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Photo via state of Michigan.

By Steve Neavling

A militia group charged with plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had devised alternative plans that included televised executions and burning down the state Capitol building while it was in session, prosecutors said.

The disturbing details, disclosed in new court filings and first reported by ABC7, allege the 14 men, many of whom belonged to a militia group “Wolverine Watchmen,” developed a “Plan B” and “Plan C” if the kidnapping plot failed to work. 

According to prosecutors, Plan B involved recruiting 200 combatants to storm the statehouse and stage televised executions of public officials.

“They were to take hostages, execute tyrants and have it televised,” court documents show. “It would take about one week and (said) that no one is coming out alive.”

Under Plan C, the extremists would set fire to the Capitol building while lawmakers were still in session, “leaving no survivors,” prosecutors said.

The men were charged last month in a plot that the FBI said it thwarted to kidnap Whitmer, a Democrat whose coronavirus restrictions had incensed some conservatives, even as COVID-19 skyrocketed. 

“The group talked about creating a society that followed the U.S. Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient,” the affidavit reportedly said. “They discussed different ways of achieving this goal from peaceful endeavors to violent actions. At one point, several members talked about state governments they believed were violating the U.S. Constitution, including the government of Michigan and Governor Gretchen Whitmer. As part of that recruitment effort, [Adam] Fox reached out to a Michigan-based militia group.”

Six of the men were charged in federal court, and eight were charged in state court. 

Feds Mull Terrorism Charges in Gov. Whitmer Kidnapping Plot Investigtion

Alleged ringleader Adam Fox, 37.

By Steve Neavling

Federal prosecutors are considering terrorism charges against the six men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer after investigators uncovered new evidence, including bomb components. 

In a court filing Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office requested a 40-day extension to seek indictments against the suspects to give investigators time to sift through the evidence. In addition to finding bomb parts, investigators must examine 13,000 pages of encrypted text messages, hundreds of hours of undercover audio recordings, and “voluminous” amounts of audio and video found on seized computers and cellphones.

“Firearms and explosive device components were recently recovered, and must be analyzed to determine whether charges under the National Firearms Act, explosives or anti-terrorism statutes are warranted,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Nils Kessler wrote. 

No more details of the bomb components were disclosed. 

“Because of the imminent nature of the threat, law enforcement was obliged to arrest the subjects before this evidence could be processed,” Kessler wrote. 

In all, 14 men have been charged in connection with the case in state and federal court. The six charged in federal court are also accused of conspiring to spark a civil war by planning to attack police and the state Capitol. They face up to life in prison. 

FBI Arrests Cleveland Man Accused of Plotting to Kidnap, Kill And Steal Weapons from Law Enforcement

Christian Stanley Ferguson, via Summit County Jail.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI arrested a 20-year-old Cleveland man accused of plotting to ambush law enforcement, kill them and steal their weapons to begin an uprising, the bureau announced Tuesday.

Christian Stanley Ferguson was taken into custody at Cuyahoa Valley National Park without incident Friday and charged with attempted kidnapping.

Ferguson caught the attention of law enforcement by posting violent and extremist posts on the Discord app, according to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday.

“Over several weeks, Ferguson discussed his desire to call police to report a false crime was in progress to prompt a response by law enforcement,” the FBI said in a statement. “Specifically, he expressed an interest in a response by federal law enforcement because he believed they had better quality firearms and body armor to steal. He made statements about tactical options for killing multiple targets and the disposal of their bodies. He reaffirmed his plan to ambush law enforcement, kill them, rob them of their weapons, and start an uprising.”

Ferguson conducted practice drills with an AR-15 and even made a distress call at the national park “to gauge response time by park rangers.”

“Ferguson believed four federal officers arrived and indicated that if that many officers respond to the real event, they would likely have to kill them all,” the bureau said. “The FBI was able to successfully monitor these meetings.”

DOJ Decides Not to Charge FBI Agent Who Shot Kidnapping Victim in Houston

The suspects in the kidnapping.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department has decided not to charge the FBI agent who fatally shot a kidnapping victim in a botched rescue attempt at a Houston home.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas “declined to proceed with federal criminal charges against FBI personnel,” a spokesman for the agency wrote in an email to the Houston Chronicle.

The decision was made in May but not publicly disclosed “after a careful and thorough review of all of the available evidence in the matter involving the shooting,” DOJ spokesman Daryl Fields wrote.

“We conducted an approximate 11-month-long, detailed and careful investigation.”

But the unnamed agent isn’t out of hot water yet. Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg said a local grand jury will be convened to determine if charges should be filed against the agent.

The agent shot Ulises Valladare last year, a day after kidnappers abducted him and his 12-year-old son, both of whom were bound. The kidnappers demanded ransom from Valladare’s brother, falsely claiming they were connected to a Mexican drug cartel.

The next morning, FBI agents swarmed the home. The unnamed agent used an M-4 machine gun to break a window in the rear of the home when Valladares grabbed the gun. The agent fire two shots at Valladares, mistaking him for a kidnapper.

It still isn’t clear whether the FBI took internal action against the agent.

FBI Frantically Searching for Man Who Was Kidnapped, Held for $2M Ransom

Ruochen “Tony” Liao

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI is frantically searching for a man who was kidnapped in California last month and held by captors for a $2 million ransom.

Federal authorities said Monday that Ruochen “Tony” Liao, a 28-year-old Chinese national, was kidnapped from a San Gabriel shopping center last month by three men on July 16, The Mercury News reports

The captors are demanding $2 million from Liao’s family, which has not paid the money. Authorities have not heard from the kidnappers since.

A witness reported seeing one of the three men, and provided a description to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which created a sketch of the suspect, known as David. He’s described as a Chinese man who speaks Mandarin, is between 35 and 40 years old and is about 6 feet tall.

The other two suspects are also believed to be of Chinese ethnicity.

Liao was spotted entering a black minivan after a business meeting in the Los Angeles area.

Suspects Thwart FBI Hostage Rescue Operation with a Swarm of Drones

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

FBI agents trying to rescue a hostage last year were thwarted when they spotted a swarm of drones that suspects were using to keep an eye on the raid.

The encounter involved  “high-speed low passes at the agents in the observation post to flush them,” reported Defense One’s Patrick Tucker, citing FBI chief Joe Mazel, head of the bureau’s operational technology law division, who was speaking at a conference this week.

Authorities wouldn’t disclose the location, saying the incident remains “law enforcement-sensitive.” But Defense One indicated the encounter happened “on the outskirts of a large U.S. city.”

The FBI said the suspects likely carried the drones in backpacks and then streamed the video on YouTube for the criminals to monitor.

FBI Warns of Scam in Which Parents Are Told Their Children Have Been Kidnapped

Smart PhoneBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is warning residents in several states about a terrifying scam in which mortified parents are told their child had been kidnapped and won’t be released until they pay ransom.

Calling it “virtual kidnapping for ransom,” law enforcement said a network of suspects in the U.S. and Mexico is extorting money from parents by convincing them their loved one was taken hostage, even though they weren’t, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

Valerie Sobel received one of the calls two years ago. The caller said. “We have your daughter Simone’s finger. Do you want the rest of her in a body bag?”

Following the alleged kidnapper’s demands, Sobel wired $4,000 to the caller to save her daughter. Turned out, her daughter was fine and never kidnapped.

Thousands of parents in several states have received similar calls.

The FBI said it can’t stop the scam with arrests alone, so the bureau is working with local police agencies to educate people on the scam.

Off-Duty Border Patrol Agent Kidnapped, Beaten After Protecting Family

Fernando Puga

Fernando Puga

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An off-duty Border Patrol agent was kidnapped and brutally beaten by two strangers in Northeast El Paso after he tried to keep them away from his family.

Agent Lorenzo Hernandez, who is assigned to the agency’s Deming area, was helping his mother at her food truck when two suspicious men, one of whom had gun, asked Hernandez for a ride on June 9, saying their car had broken down, according to FBI affidavits obtained by the El Paso Times. 

Concerned the men, later identified as Sergio Ivan Quiñonez-Venegas and Fernando A. Puga, would harm his mother and minor brother and nephew, Hernandez offered the strangers a ride in his 2014 Ford Focus.

“When one of the subjects paid for some tamales purchased from BP Agent Hernandez’s mother, Hernandez noticed a large amount of cash in the subject’s wallet,” according to the affidavit by FBI Special Agent Jesus Nieto of El Paso. “BP Agent Hernandez also observed that one of the subjects had a handgun in the waistband of his pants. BP Agent Hernandez stated that he felt compelled to give the subjects a ride to a nearby gas station because he had become concerned for the safety of his mother and his minor brother and nephew who were present at the food truck.”

One of the suspects stuck a gun into Hernandez’s ribs and said, “This is a kidnapping.”

During a 50-mile drive to an area outside of Las Cruces, the suspects threatened to kill him. When the car stopped, Hernandez confronted the men outside of his car.

“Although BP Agent Hernandez reported he was able to gain control of the handgun in a struggle, it was of poor quality and he was unable to fire it at the subjects,” according to the affidavit. “As a result, BP Agent Hernandez threw the handgun away into the field/desert area adjacent to the dirt road. During a physical struggle and foot chase, BP Agent Hernandez was assaulted and struck/stabbed multiple times with a machete by Puga.”

Hernandez was taken to the hospital with fractures to his skull and arms and severe stab wounds to his body and fingers.

Quiñonez-Venegas was arrested June 13 and told FBI agents that he was forced to participate in the kidnapping by Puga. Two days later, the FBI and a local sheriff’s office arrested Puga, who claimed he was kidnapped by Quiñonez-Venegas.

Both men face federal kidnapping charges.