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Tag: Philippines

Ex-CBP Officers Gets Probation for Role in Sham Marriage Scheme

CBP officer (Photo: CBP via Twitter)

By Steve Neavling

A former CBP officer has been sentenced to two years of probation for her role in a sham marriage to help a childhood acquaintance from the Philippines gain citizenship. 

Katherine De Leon Evaristo, 39, of Washington, agreed to the marriage in exchange for $20,000. 

After Evaristo applied for a fiancé visa, she and the Philippines man got married in San Diego in 2015. She and her fake spouse repeatedly lied about the marriage to try to obtain citizenship, prosecutors said. 

Evaristo got busted after landing a job at CBP’s Office of Field Operations and using her position to inquire about her husband’s immigration status. According to prosecutors, she improperly used her access to a federal law enforcement database to check on the immigration status of her fake husband. 

CBP officers became suspicious because she was dating another person. 

She admitted her role in the scheme in 2021. 

Evaristo was indicted in September 2021, and she pleaded guilty in May 2022. On Friday, she was sentenced. 

Prosecutors recommended a probationary sentence, noting she was the single parent of infant twins. 

“Evaristo has experienced significant consequences of her crime that go beyond a custodial sentence: She lost her job at CBP—a job she spent years securing and that afforded her a comfortable income—and now works a lower-wage warehouse job,” prosecutors said. “These consequences along with the restricted liberty of probation reflect the seriousness of the crime and are likely to deter any future criminal conduct,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memo.”

In a statement, Paul Crawford, special agent in charge of the Office of Professional Responsibility, said, “As evidenced by the outcome of this investigation, CBP OPR and our partners are committed to identifying and mitigating threats.”

How the Secret Service Foiled an ISIS Plot to Assassinate Trump

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Secret Service agents foiled an ISIS plot by ISIS to assassinate President Trump while he was in the Philippines last year.

The botched assassination attempt was in November 2017, when Trump was in Manila for a summit and met with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

The National Geographic disclosed the assassination attempt for the first time during its television special Sunday about the Secret Service, United States Secret Service: On the Front Line.

According to the report, threats had been made on Twitter, and a series of ISIS videos threatened the president with an ambush.

While in Manila, Secret Service agents discovered and apprehended a jihadi hiding out and waiting for an “associate” just blocks from the hotel where the president was staying.

One of FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists Killed in Philippines

Isnilon Hapilon

Isnilon Hapilon

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the U.S.’s most-wanted terrorists was killed as Philippine forces advanced quickly to defeat pro-ISIS militants who took over Marawi City.

Isnilon Hapilon, who is listed among the FBI’s most-wanted terror suspects, was killed in a gun battle, and their bodies were discovered Monday in Marawi, the Wall Street Journal reports

According to Philippine officials, about 30 pro-ISIS militants were still in the area.

Troops rescued a hostage, who provided critical information to help find Hapilon. American officials said Hapilon was responsible the ransom kidnappings of several Americans.

FBI Announces the Latest Crackdown on Child Sex Trafficking

FBI photo

FBI photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

San Diego — Trying to keep a focus on the plague of child sex trafficking,  FBI Director James Comey on Monday announced that 82 minors were rescued and 239 traffickers and their associates were arrested in a nationwide crackdown titled Operation Cross Country X that ran from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16 and involved members of state, local and federal law enforcement.

“Operation Cross Country aims to shine a spotlight into the darkest corners of our society that seeks to prey on the most vulnerable of our population,” Comey said at the International Association of Police Chiefs in San Diego.  “As part of this effort, we are not only looking to root out those who engage in the trafficking of minors, but through our Office for Victim Assistance, we offer a lifeline to minors to help them escape from a virtual prison no person ever deserves.”

For the first time, Comey said, the program, in its 10th year, included foreign countries: Cambodia, Canada, the Philippines, and Thailand.  In Canada, authorities recovered 16 children, while in Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines, authorities recovered 25 children, including a 2-year-old girl.

Comey said while some are relieved when law enforcement intervenes, not all are grateful, and may require counseling and other assistance to essentially be deprogramed.

FBI Believes ‘Most Wanted Terrorist’ Killed in Air Strike in Philippines

Zulkifli bin Hir

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

One of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists is believed to be dead following a raid in the Philippines last week, Reuters reports.

The FBI collected body matter at the scene of the deadly raid, and a DNA sample shows a strong link to Zulkifli bin Hir.

Still, the tests don’t prove with certainty that the body matter belonged to Zulkifli bin Hir, a Malaysian member of the al Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiah militant group behind numerous bombing attacks in the Philippines.

The decision to conduct the raid to capture bin Hir was a costly one, ending in the deaths of 44 police commandos and undoing a three-year ceasefire with Muslim rebels.

Authorities also believed they killed bin Hir three years ago in an air strike, but he emerged to the surprise of the U.S.

 

FBI Agent Tells of Sex in the Philippines But Says he Didn’t Pay for It

By Hailey Branson-Potts
Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — A day after meeting a pretty young woman working at a karaoke club in the Philippines, Marc Napolitano started getting text messages from her, he said.

The woman, named Maui, wrote that she missed him, loved him and wanted to see him. Within days of their first meeting, Maui went to Napolitano’s hotel room, where they had sex, he said.

The room was paid for by American taxpayers, he said. So was the cellphone on which he got her messages, and so were the trips that took him to the Philippines.

Napolitano, an FBI agent, traveled to Manila several times in 2010 and 2011 while working on cases involving weapons trafficking from the Philippines to the United States. He was posing as a club patron while providing security for another undercover FBI agent.

On Friday, he testified in a federal courtroom in downtown Los Angeles as part of a defense motion seeking to throw out criminal charges against three Filipino nationals charged with weapons smuggling.

Read the full story

FBI Agent Slammed in Trial Over $14,5000 Spent on Entertainment in Philippines

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Charles Ro, an FBI agent, spent more than $14,500 in taxpayer money on entertainment, cocktails and tips while investigating weapons smugglers in the Philippines, the LA Times reported following testimony during a trial.

The defense for Filipino national Sergio Santiago Syjuco, who is accused of smuggling assault rifles, grenades and mortar launchers from the Philippines to Long Beach, Calif., said Ro had committed “outrageous government misconduct,” defense attorney John Littrell said, accusing the agent of paying for prostitutes, possibly including minors, to encourage participation in the smuggling case, the AP reported.

The “government’s actions in this case, if committed by a private citizen, would be serious federal crimes,” Littrell said in court documents.

Ro and the feds reject the allegations and are expected to present the prosecution side today.

Defense Attorney Alleges Undercover FBI Agent Spent $25,000 on Strip Clubs and Prostitutes for Himself and Targets

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The pre-trial battle continues in a Los Angeles case in which the defense claims an undercover FBI agent spent taxpayer dollars on prostitutes in the Phiippines for himself and three targets of a gun trafficking sting.

The latest: Federal defender John Littrell filed a motion Tuesday on behalf of his client Sergio Santiago Syjuco accusing the undercover agent of spending more than $25,000 “on strip clubs and prostitutes in this investigation.” He is asking that the judge dismiss the gun-trafficking case because of egregious government misconduct.

The government has denied wrongdoing and denied that the agent ever spent money on a prostitute.

The motion states:

The government does not dispute that the undercover agent spent $14,500.00 of taxpayer dollars in strip clubs and brothels in Manila. It does not deny this taxpayer money went toward alcohol consumed by the agents, as well as the fees of  “hostesses” that accompanied the undercover agent and his cover team. Since the motion to dismiss was filed in September 2012, the government has acknowledged that several thousand dollars more was spent in strip clubs and brothels in Manila.

And defense investigation has revealed that the undercover agent spent thousands of additional dollars beyond that at various strip clubs and brothels in the United States and the Philippines that the government has not disclosed to the defense. Taking into account the additional expenses that government disclosures and independent investigation has revealed, the total that the government appears to have spent on strip clubs and prostitutes in this investigation rises to more than $25,000.00.

The government offers no apology for its expenditures, despite clear evidence that the money went to brothels such as Area 51 in Manila that are known to betrafficking in under-aged prostitutes. The government contends that the undercover agent did not solicit prostitutes for himself, but defense witnesses who will testify at the hearing dispute that claim. Although the government argues that the undercover agent did not see prostitution engaged in first hand, and he was not explicitly told that the exorbitant bills that he was paying included the cost of that prostitution, it does not deny that the agent, based on his experience,training, and common sense, knew that he was paying for prostitutes, and did so intentionally.

Finally, the government argues, even assuming its agent did solicit prostitutes, his conduct was not so outrageous as to justify dismissal of the indictment because the prostitutes didn’t form “intimate” relationships with the defendants. This argument completely ignores the harm that the agent’s conduct had on the victims.

To read filing click here.