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Tag: Philadelphia

FBI Agents Fatally Shoot Kidnapping Suspect, Rescue Boy at New Jersey Apartment

By Steve Neavling

FBI agents rescued a 17-year-old boy from a New Jersey apartment and fatally shot the man accused of kidnapping him early Wednesday. 

The raid was prompted by the abduction of a teenager who was reported missing after he failed to return home from work, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The boy’s father told authorities that he received a ransom demand. 

FBI agents came under fire after they tracked the boy and suspect to the New Jersey apartment. They returned fire, killing the suspect. 

The boy was unharmed. 

The FBI’s Philadelphia Field Office is investigating the kidnapping. 

U.S. Marshals Rescue 16 Missing Children in Philadelphia Area

U.S. Marshals prepare to make an arrest. (Stock photo via USMS)

By Steve Neavling

The U.S. Marshals Service in Philadelphia rescued 16 missing children during a four-week operation dubbed “Safeguard.”

At least four of the children were connected to child sex trafficking, officials said in a news release. 

The multi-agency operation began on Feb. 15. 

The children were considered to be “some of the most at-risk and challenging recovery cases” because they had been victims of abuse or had medical or mental health issues. 

“I applaud the exceptional cooperation among our respective agencies in combating this most abhorrent affront to society,” U.S. Marshal Eric Gartner of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “Our hope is for a better future for the 16 children we recovered; our resolve remains steadfast in finding other children in peril.”

Over the past five years, the U.S. Marshals Service has recovered three-quarters of the missing children it has investigated. Of those, 72% were found within seven days. Since 2015, U.S. Marshals have recovered more than 1,700 missing children. 

Feds Bust Tony Meatballs And 14 Other Alleged Mafia Members from Philadelphia

By Steve Neavling

Fifteen alleged members and associates of a Philadelphia mob crime family were indicted on charges ranging from racketeering and extortion to gambling and drug trafficking, the Justice Department announced Monday. 

Federal authorities allege the criminal organization, La Cosa Nostra, “sought to use its reputation and influence to exercise control over criminal rackets, like bookmaking and loansharking in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, particularly Atlantic City.”

Among those arrested were Anthony “Tony Meatballs” Gigoli, 72; Joseph “Joey Electric” Servidio, 60; and the alleged underboss Steven “Stevie” Mazzone.  

“The Philadelphia mob isn’t what it used to be, and thank God for that,” U.S. Attorney Anthony McSwain said in a statement. “But it is still a problem and is still allegedly committing serious federal crimes, which is why we at the Department of Justice are focused on stamping it out. We will not rest until the mob is nothing but a bad memory.”

The case was handled by the FBI, the Philadelphia Police Department, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General .

Wayne G. Davis, One of the FBI’s First Black Agents, Dies at Age 81

Wayne G. Davis

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Wayne G. Davis, a 25-year veteran of the FBI who served as special agent in charge of the Detroit, Indianapolis and Philadelphia field offices, died earlier this month.

Davis was 81.

Davis began his career with the bureau in 1963 after becoming one of the first African Americans to graduate from the FBI Academy. His first assignments were in Detroit, Newark and Washington, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

After leading the Indianapolis office for two years, Davis became the first Black person to serve as special agent in charge of the Detroit office in 1981.

In 1985, Davis was appointed to head the Philadelphia office.

“Wayne’s promotions to special agent in charge of the Detroit and Philadelphia offices made him one of the highest-ranking Black agents in a well-earned position of authority in the FBI,” Jerri Williams, who served as Davis’ media specialist in Philadelphia, wrote in a tribute. “Considering the times we are living in today, with tensions between the Black community and law enforcement, Wayne Davis’ life and career is something we can all celebrate.”

Davis was born in New York City, where he attended public school before earning a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Connecticut in 1960.

He is survived by his wife, Lois, and his daughters Adrienne and Cheryl, two grandchildren, and a brother.

Michael J. Driscoll named special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office

Special FBI Agent Michael J. Driscoll.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Michael J. Driscoll has been named special agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office.

Driscoll, who was serving as special agent in charge of the Counterintelligence and Cyber Division for the New York Field Office, began his career as an FBI special agent in 1996. He was first assigned to the New York Field Office to work on counterterrorism. In his role, he helped investigate al Qaeda conspirators involved in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the attacks on 9/11.

He earned an Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in 2002 for his work investigating al Qaeda and the 1998 embassy bombings.

In 2003, Driscoll was transferred to FBI headquarters to serve as the FBI’s representative to the al Qaeda Department of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.

In 2005, Driscoll became supervisor and returned to the New York Field Office, where he headed the squad tasked with extraterritorial investigations in Africa. He also led the FBI’s counterterrorism efforts in the New York Hudson Valley region and was later promoted to the coordinating supervisory special agent for New York’s Counterterrorism Program.

In 2013, Driscoll was named assistant legal attaché for London, where he oversaw the Cyber Program and working closely with U.K. law enforcement and intelligence services. In 2016, he became assistant special agent in charge of Philadelphia’s counterintelligence and cyber programs.

In 2018, he returned to FBI headquarters, serving as the chief of the Violent Crime Section, which leads the FBI’s Crimes Against Children Program, as well as efforts to combat violent crime and gang-related violence.

In 2019, Driscoll was promoted to special agent in charge of New York’s Criminal Division and later began to lead New York’s Counterintelligence and Cyber Division.

Before joining the FBI, Driscoll worked in commercial litigation as an attorney. He graduated from the State University of New York in Albany and received his law degree from Hofstra University School of Law in Hempstead, N.Y.

Feds Seize a Record 16.5 Tons of Cocaine Worth $1B+ in Philadelphia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities seized more than $1 billion worth of cocaine at the Philadelphia Port, calling it the largest coke bust in the history of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the third largest in the U.S.

The DEA bust netted 16.5 tons of cocaine from seven shipping containers found in a cargo ship docked at the Packer Marine Terminal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Federal authorities arrested two members of the crew, Ivan Durasevic and Fonofaavae Tiasag.
Authorities said the ship appears to have originated from Chile and traveled to Peru, Columbia and Panama.

“This amount of cocaine could kill millions – MILLIONS – of people,” Philadelphia-based U.S. Attorney William McSwain said on Twitter, “My Office is committed to keeping our borders secure and streets safe from deadly narcotics.”

ATF Helping Philly Police Analyze Ballistic Evidence to Help Solve Crimes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For decades, the Philadelphia Police Department only analyzed ballistic evidence needed for trials. Other shell casings collected at crime scenes sat in evidence lockers across the city, reports NBC 10 in Philly.

Two years ago, the department collaborated with ATF to collect and analyze all casing. Now in Philly investigators analyze roughly 65,000 bullets and shell casings every year.

Authorities says it has paid off and helped solve crime.

FBI Director Wray: Wants to Bring ‘Calm and Stability’ to Bureau; Gravely Concerned About Getting Access to Mobile Phones

Christopher Wray speaks at IACP in Philly.

Christopher Wray speaks at IACP in Philly.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

PHILADELPHIA — Recently minted FBI Director Christopher Wray said Sunday at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia that one of  his immediate goals is to restore “calm and stability to the bureau.” He also  expressed grave concern about the difficulty of getting access to thousands of cell phones in criminal cases due to encryption and privacy issues, a problem often referred to as “going dark.”

“In the first 11 months of this fiscal year alone, we were unable to access the content of more than 6,900, that six-thousand-nine-hundred, mobile devices using appropriate and available technical tools even though we had the legal authority to do so. ”

“Each one of those 6,900 mobile devices is tied to a specific subject, a specific defendant, a specific victim, a specific investigation. That’s more than half …..of all the mobile devices that we attempted to access in that time frame. And that’s just the FBI.”

He called it a horrible situation that needs to be resolved.

The FBI director traditionally speaks to the attendees of the conference, who come from around the world,  and ex-Director James Comey would have attended this year’s event had he not been fired.

Wray, who calmly delivered a half hour speech, and fielded questions afterwards, got a standing ovation.

The former federal prosecutor talked about the need for the FBI to cooperate with local law enforcement and said he was pleasantly surprised to see how well the bureau had been doing in that area. He emphasized that the FBI was there to assist local law enforcement.

Wray also assured the crowd he was determined to carry out the mission of the FBI with integrity “no matter the test.”

It wan’t clear if he was talking about the general challenges of the job, or the difficulties he may face serving a president who fired his predecessor.

He said he planned to bring calm and stability to bureau  “by staying laser focused on the mission and on the work itself, day in, day out, left foot, right foot, grinding away, following the rules, following the law, following the guidelines trying  to make sure that we’re dong the right thing but in the right way, treating everybody with respect. “