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Tag: Los Angeles

FBI Helps Hunt Ex-NBA Player Wanted for Murder

Javaris Crittenton/facebook photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Javaris Crittenton, who was suspended by the NBA in a gun incident in Washington in 2009, was not the most sought after player in the league.

But now he feels more wanted — by the FBI that is.

The Associated Press reports that the FBI is helping Atlanta and Los Angeles police search for the former NBA player on charges of murder.

AP reports that Crittenton is wanted in the fatal shooting of Jullian Jones, 22, a mother of four who was murdered on Aug. 19 in Atlanta. AP reported that she was not the intended target when Crittention opened fire from an SUV.

Authorities say Jones likely was not the intended target when Crittenton fired shots from an SUV. Authorities say Crittenton was retaliating for an April robbery in which he was a victim.

Crittenton had a limited career, having played a total of 113 games for teams like the Washington Wizards and the Memphis Grizzlies.

In 2010, he pleaded guilty and got probation for a gun possession charge after he and then-Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas pulled guns on each other in the locker room over a gambling debts.  Both were suspended, but he never returned to the Wizards.

He eventually ended up playing for the Dakota Wizards, a minor league basketball team.

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FBI Probes Threatening White Powder Letter Sent to Talk Show Host Craig Ferguson

Craig Ferguson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

More often than not politicians have been the beneficiary of mysterious letters with white powder. This time it was the flip late night talk show host Craig Ferguson who got one of those letters.

The Associated Press reports that the FBI is working with police to determine who sent a threatening letter with white powder to Ferguson in Los Angeles  from overseas. The white powder ended up being harmless.

AP reported that two people at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, where “The Late Late Show” is filmed, were temporarily isolated Tuesday after being exposed to the powder around 3 p.m. They were released after authorities determined the material was harmless.

After the deadly anthrax letters in 2001, the U.S. Postal Service set up sensors in postal processing facilities to detect biological agents like anthrax.  Scores of fake white powder letters have been mailed around the country since then, but none have been found to contain dangerous agents like anthrax.

It’s Off to Prison for Smuggler of Lizards

Gecko/dept. of conservation

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s not the crime of the century.

Nonetheless, it’s prison time for Michael Plank, 42, of Lomita, Calif., who was sentenced Wednesday in Los Angeles federal court to 15 months behind bars for smuggling 15 lizards from Australia into the United States.

Essentially, he got one month in prison for every lizard.

Plank had pleaded guilty to smuggling two Geckos, two Monitor lizards and 11 Skink lizards from Australia in November 2009. He tried to pass through Customs at Los Angeles International Airport with the lizards in his money belts.

Federal law prohibits the importation of wildlife from another country without a permit. The animals must also be declared in the U.S. at the first point of entry.

“This sentence of 15 months in federal prison sends a strong message to both wildlife smugglers and would-be wildlife smugglers that the illegal trafficking in wildlife is a serious crime that will result in significant prison time for those who engage in thisdespicable activity,” U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr. said in a statement.

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Head of Boston FBI Says Speculation That the FBI Didn’t Want to Find Whitey Bulger is “Completely Unfounded”

Richard DesLauriers

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The head of the Boston FBI  Richard DesLauriers responded Friday to public speculation that the FBI didn’t really want to find mobster James “Whitey” Bulger because he had so much dirt on the agency that could surface publicly.  He called the claims  “completely unfounded.”

DesLauriers, in a statement issued Friday afternoon, said:

“There has been some speculation that the FBI knew about the location of Mr. Bulger prior to the initiation of the FBI’s most recent publicity campaign regarding Catherine Greig and James J. “Whitey” Bulger. (Greig is Bulger’s girlfriend).

“To ensure that there is no misunderstanding about the FBI’s search for Mr. Bulger, I want to reiterate statements I made earlier on this matter.

“Any claim that the FBI knew Mr. Bulger’s whereabouts prior to the FBI’s publicity efforts this week are completely unfounded. When we learned his location, he was arrested promptly.”

“The FBI crafted a media plan to reach as many people as possible. As is now evident, this effort was successful and led directly to the arrest of Mr. Bulger, and highlights the importance of the public’s assistance in these matters.”

Some have suggested that  Bulger has much more  dirt to spill on the FBI, the result of  agents using him as an informant, all while letting him get away with crimes as part of Boston’s notorious Irish mob.  Bulger, who was on the lam for 16 years, was charged in 19 murders.

Other law enforcement agencies in the state complained that the FBI at the time protected Bulger, and sabotaged some of their cases. It caused strains between the FBI and some of the law enforcement agencies.

Bulger, 81, and his girlfriend Catherine Greig, who was wanted for harboring a fugitive,  were captured Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif. shortly after the FBI launched a nationwide TV campaign that focused on Greig.  The FBI said it received a tip on Tuesday night as a direct result of the public service announcement campaign. Agents found $800,000 in their apartment along with about 30 weapons.

On Friday, the Boston Globe’s Kevin Cullen wrote a column that  may have added to the speculation about the FBI’s resolve to find Bulger.

“It was hard to find anyone in the Boston Police Department, the State Police, or the US Drug Enforcement Administration who truly believed the FBI wanted to find Bulger. He was the FBI’s prized, if highly overrated, snitch, and he had murdered many while the FBI protected him and compromised other investigations that other law enforcement agencies mounted against Bulger,” he wrote.

“Bulger used to have the FBI in his pocket; now all he has in that pocket is the potential for revenge, should he choose to exact it. He has told friends — indeed he has even told corrupt FBI agents — that the FBI reneged on their deal to let him run his venal little empire as long as he fed them crumbs on the competition.”

“The obsession with the details of Bulger’s arrest is understandable. But the bigger picture is this: there has been a carefully constructed narrative, one of damage control for the FBI and Justice Department, which is now at risk.”

Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles, where Bulger was captured, said of the speculation questioning the FBI’s resolve:

“There’s no merit to it.”

FBI Captures Boston Mobster “Whitey” Bulger in Los Angeles Area After 16-Year Hunt

Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After a relentless search, the FBI in Los Angles on Wednesday evening captured fugitive Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger in Santa Monica along with his girlfriend as a result of a tip from a public service announcement that began airing this week,  law enforcement authorities said.

The  search that spanned the world capped a 16-year hunt for Bulger who had been on the lam since 1995. He was charged with 19 murders.

The capture in the Los Angeles area came after the FBI this week launched a campaign with billboards and TV ads focusing on Bulger’s girlfriend Catherine Elizabeth Greig, who was wanted for harboring a fugitive. The Boston Globe reported that the tip came as a result of the latest campaign.

The campaign included a 30-second, FBI- produced public service announcement (PSA) that began airing around the country.

The Associated Press reported early Thursday morning that the two were arrested without incident at a Santa Monica home after the FBI had been conducting a surveillance operation in the area.

FBI on its twitter page announced: “FBI Agents in Santa Monica, CA have captured Boston Fugitive James J. “Whitey” Bulger and his girlfriend Catherine Greig.”

Bulger, 81, was on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list.

Both are scheduled to make an initial appearance in federal court in California on Thursday.

Bulger was an FBI informant and reportedly got away with crimes while working with the bureau. The Boston FBI had formed a task force to hunt Bulger.

Feds Try to Block Mongols Motorcycle Gang From Using its Trademarked Logo or Name

atf photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The feds in L.A. are taking a novel approach to battling the violent Mongols motorcycle gang.

Prosecutors on Monday asked U.S. District Judge Otis Wright to block members of the gang from using its trademarked logo or using its name, the Los Angeles Times reported. A ruling in the government’s favor would make it the owner of the logo and name.

The paper reported that it was the first time the federal government has sought to control a gang’s identity through a court order.

The Times reported that the U.S. attorney’s office said the insignia — a pony-tailed man riding a chopper — is “very, very closely identified with the organization.” It said the office feels the move would further prevent the Mongols from operating.

“This patch is a central element of the identity of the gang. We’re trying to dismantle a criminal organization, and we’re trying to use whatever tools we can to do it,” Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office, said, according to the LA Times. “In this case it shows our determination to go after this organization as a whole — top to bottom leadership — and after the proceeds of criminal activity.”

While heading the gang, Ruben “Doc” Cavazos registered and trademarked the Mongols logo, Mrozek said.

An attorney for the Mongols told the Times that the government can’t legally do this.

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FBI’s Chris Briese Who Oversaw Interrogation Team for Saddam Hussein to Head Up Charlotte Division

Chris Briese/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

M. Chris Briese, the deputy assistant director for the FBI’s Critical Incident Response Team at Quantico, and who once oversaw  the interrogation team for Saddam Hussein,  is headed south to take charge of the bureau’s Charlotte Division, the FBI announced Monday.

Briese joined the FBI in 1987 and was first stationed in Los Angeles where he worked bank robberies, interstate theft, foreign counterintelligence and international terrorism matters.

In February 1996, he was promoted to the National Security Division in the Counterterrorism Planning Section at FBI headquarters, the FBI said. He was a founding member of the Weapons of Mass Operations Unit, and specialized in chemical and biological terrorism issues.

Two years later, he transferred to the Minneapolis Division in a supervisory role, and oversaw international and domestic terrorism, foreign counterintelligence programs and the St. Cloud Resident Agency.

He established the Minneapolis Joint Terrorism Task Force, which was responsible for the arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui, who was convicted of crimes related to the 9/11 attacks.

In July 2001, he became the assistant special agent in charge of the Minneapolis Division.

In August 2003, Briese returned to the mothership in Washington as a section chief in the Counterterrorism Division. His duties included oversight of half the FBI’s global terrorism operations, including the FBI’s deployment in Iraq and the Saddam Hussein interrogation team.

In January 2005, he headed up the Pittsburgh Division. The following year, he returned to FBI Headquarters and worked in multiple executive positions within the National Security Branch, the FBI said.

He has a law degree from Louisiana State University Law School. He is married and the father of two teenage boys.

Rapper Notorious B.I.G. Was Killed With Rare Armor Piercing Ammunition, FBI Files Show


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Brooklyn-born rapper Christopher Wallace — aka Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls — was killed on March 9, 1997 in Los Angeles with a “very rare” Gecko 9 mm armor piercing ammunition seldom found in the U.S., newly released FBI files show.

ABC News  reported that information, which is included in hundreds of heavily redacted FBI files on the rapper’s unsolved murder probe, which was closed in 2005.

Notorious B.I.G., an east coast rapper, was part of an ongoing east coast-west coast beef involving rappers.

The FBI documents also show at the time of his murder he was carrying a plastic baggie of marijuana, an asthma inhaler and three Magnum condoms, ABC reported, and he was wearing  size 48 Karl Kani jeans, size 13 Timberlands and a size 54 Bernini sweater. He was murdered six months  after the Los Angeles-based rapper Tupac Shakur was murdered.

The FBI documents showed that a search warrant of  Wallace’s home after his murder showed a “shrine of TUPAC SHAKUR and numerous 9mm guns and ammunition, LAPD radios, scanners and other tactical items.”

According to the FBI files, Biggie was murdered after he left the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles after attending a post Music Awards ceremony.

“Wallace was in the middle car of a 3-car caravan when a dark Chevy SS Impala pulled next to him and fired several times into the passenger area where Wallace was sitting,” the FBI document said. “Wallace died minutes later at a local hospital.”

“Several sources identified the shooter as a light skinned black male wearing a suit and bow tie,” the FBI file said.

Read FBI files.

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