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Tag: Sting

Justice Dept. Issues Statement About Allegations that Undercover FBI Agent Paid for Prostitutes in Philippines for Himself and Defendants in Sting

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department issued a statement Monday afternoon in response to a story in ticklethewire. com in which a defense attorney accused a California FBI agent of using thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money to pay for prostitutes in the Philippines for himself and three defendants in a arms trafficking sting.

“We will contest the factual assumptions and legal significance of the defendant’s challenges in due course,” Justice Department spokeswoman Rebekah Carmichael said in a statement.

John Littrell, a deputy Federal Public Defender, who represents one of the three defendants wrote in a court document filed in Los Angeles federal court on Sept. 17:

“In order to induce the defendants to participate, an undercover agent spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on prostitutes for himself and for the defendants,” Littrell wrote. “Many of these prostitutes were likely minors. These crimes were not victimless.  Indeed, only months after an undercover agent paid thousands of dollars of taxpayer money for prostitutes at a well-known brothel in Manila, the Philippine government raided the brothel, and rescued twenty under-aged girls.”

Littrell has asked the judge to dismiss the case based on “outrageous governmental misconduct,” citing the use of prostitutes  in the case —  including for the agent — and allegations that the FBI manufactured the case after it failed to find real weapons traffickers in its investigation into Transnational Asian Organized Crime that began in 2010 and ended in December 2011 with criminal charges. A Nov. 13  trial has been set.

“The defendants became involved in this offense only after the government’s effort to ensnare a true weapons trafficker fell apart,” the court documents says. “More importantly, the actual crimes charged in this case — importing weapons to the United States — were committed by federal agents acting unilaterially , without help from the defendants.” In other words, he alleged, that the FBI agents, not the defendants, actually shipped the weapons to the U.S., and the FBI deliberately lied on customs declarations — all so the FBI could charge the defendants with illegal importation of weapons.

The Philippino defendants Sergio  Santiago Syjuco, Cesar Ubaldo and Arjyl Revereza are charged  with conspiracy and importation of firearms. Littrell, who represents Syjuco, alleges that the defendants were not weapons traffickers, but the FBI pushed them into obtaining and selling guns. Authorities allege that the defendants sold weapons and helped facilitate the importation of the weapons to the U.S.

 

Exclusive: Undercover FBI Agent Accused of Using Taxpayer $$ to Pay for Prostitutes in Philippines for Himself and Defendants in Sting

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An undercover California FBI agent is being accused of spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on prostitutes in the Philippines “for himself and for defendants” in a gun-trafficking sting and that “many of the prostitutes were likely minors.”

The ticklethewire.com has reviewed the allegations  in court papers that were  filed on September 17 in Los Angeles federal court by John Littrell, a deputy Federal Public Defender, who represents one of the three defendants.

“In order to induce the defendants to participate, an undercover agent spent thousands of taxpayer dollars on prostitutes for himself and for the defendants,” Littrell wrote. “Many of these prostitutes were likely minors. These crimes were not victimless.  Indeed, only months after an undercover agent paid thousands of dollars of taxpayer money for prostitutes at a well-known brothel in Manila, the Philippine government raided the brothel, and rescued twenty under-aged girls.”

Littrell has asked the judge to dismiss the case based on “outrageous governmental misconduct,” citing the use of prostitutes  in the case —  including for the agent — and allegations that the FBI manufactured the case after it failed to find real weapons traffickers in its investigation into Transnational Asian Organized Crime that began in 2010 and ended in December 2011 with criminal charges. A Nov. 13  trial has been set.

“The defendants became involved in this offense only after the government’s effort to ensnare a true weapons trafficker fell apart,” the court documents says. “More importantly, the actual crimes charged in this case — importing weapons to the United States — were committed by federal agents acting unilaterially , without help from the defendants.” In other words, he alleged, that the FBI agents, not the defendants, actually shipped the weapons to the U.S., and the FBI deliberately lied on customs declarations — all so the FBI could charge the defendants with illegal importation of weapons.

The Philippino defendants Sergio  Santiago Syjuco, Cesar Ubaldo and Arjyl Revereza are charged  with conspiracy and importation of firearms. Littrell, who represents Syjuco, alleges that the defendants were not weapons traffickers, but the FBI pushed them into obtaining and selling guns. Authorities allege that the defendants sold weapons and helped facilitate the importation of the weapons to the U.S.

Laura Eimiller, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Los Angeles said Sunday: “As a policy, we’re not authorized to comment on pending prosecution, but the government will respond to the motion in court.” Government lawyers in the case at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles and the Justice Department in Washington did not respond Sunday to emails asking for comment.

Defense attorney John Littrell commented Sunday, saying: “There is no legitimate justification for an FBI agent supporting sex trafficking in a foreign country. I hope these are the actions of a poorly supervised agent, and that they were not sanctioned by the department of justice. Either way, this conduct should be thoroughly investigated.”

The undercover agent, who posed during the sting as an arms broker for the Mexican cartels,  is only identified in the court documents by his undercover name Richard Han.

After the indictment, as  part of its own investigation into the case, the Federal Defender’s Office sent an investigator to the Philippines, who spoke to workers in the brothels and came up with allegations about the prostitutes and the undercover agent.

“On several occasions, the undercover agent invited Syjuco, Ubaldo, Revereza and others to ‘Air Force One,’ “Area 51,’ and other brothels in and around Manila in order to reward them for their efforts and encourage them to continue looking for weapons, “attorney Littrell wrote in the court document, based on his office’s own investigation. “Using the name ‘Richard Han,” he ordered prostitutes and paid for himself and others to have sex with the prostitutes.”

Littrell writes that Ariel Escosio, a manager at Area 51, said that the undercover agent known as Richard Han always paid for everything in the club and that he particularly liked to have sex with someone named Natasha.

Littrell noted in the court document that Gerry Albrido, manager at Air Force One,  said the agent was abusive and degrading to prostitutes.

“One on occasion, Han demanded that several prostitutes in the club line up and drink five shots of hard liquor,” Litrell wrote. “Han demanded that several prostitutes in the club line up and drink five shots of hard liquor. Most of the girls did so, but one them, who was very small, coud not drink the liquor and poured it out. Mr. Alberight stated that Han yelled at the girl and forced her to drink the alcohol until she vomited.

Lattrill noted that the government turned over some documentation from the investigation involving expenses in the Philippines.

“Although the government represents that these expenditures were for ‘entertainment and cocktail (tips included) it is impossible that the agent could not have known that the money went toward prostitutes,” Littrell wrote. “On May 9, 2011, the agent was entertained for several hours in a private room at  Air Force One, a prostitution club. He sought reimbursement of more than three thousand dollars for ‘entertainment and cocktail (tip included) for that night.”

Littrell noted in court papers that on May 5, 2011, that the National Bureau of Investigation, Anti-Human Trafficking Division in the Philippines conducted a “rescue operation” at Area 51 and rescued 60 victims of sex trafficking, including  nearly 20 who were minors.

 

 

FBI Sting Pledged ‘Martyrdom Payments” to Suspected Terrorist

Steve Neavling
ticklthewire.com

 The attorney of a Moroccan immigrant who volunteered to kill himself in a bomb attack on the U.S. Capitol said his client was promised “martyrdom payments” by the FBI, the Associated Press reports.

The attorney also alleges the FBI gave suspect Amine El-Khalifi, 29, more than $5,700 in living expenses during the six-month sting.

Undercover agents also promised El-Khalifi that his parents would receive $1,000-a-month “martyrdom payments,” according to the AP.

El-Khalifi is expected to be sentenced Friday in federal court.

Texas Trucking Company Owner Wants Compensation for DEA Sting

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The owner of a Texas trucking company is demanding the DEA compensate him for an undercover sting that led to his employee’s death and the damage of a company truck, the San Antonio Express reports.

Truck company owner Craig Patty said he had no idea Lawrence Chapa was working undercover for the DEA until he received a call that his employee was shot eight times, the Express wrote.

Chapa was using a Kenworth T600 truck, which hauls sand, to drive marijuana across the Mexican border as part of an undercover sting.

Chapa was shot by carjackers trying to rob the truck and marijuana, according to the Express. More than a dozen law enforcement officials witnessed the attack.

Credit Card Sting Nets Arrest of 24

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Two dozen people were arrested in 13 countries following a two-year FBI sting designed to catch credit card thieves, the New York Times reports.

The FBI created a website that appeared to contain credit card numbers and software to spy on computers so authorities could capture hackers, according to the Times.

“These guys represent the complete ecosystem of Internet fraud,” said one senior law enforcement official who requested anonymity because of the confidentiality of the investigation. “We drew them out of the shadows with the Web site as bait.”

The idea was to crack down on the increasing number of hackers who are obtaining credit card numbers and often selling them overseas.

FBI Sting Snares White Supremacist Who Threatened Prez: Faces Gun Charges

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI sting snared a white supremacist in Virginia who posted threats about President Obama on a hate-website.

Douglas Story tried buying an illegal fully automatic machine gun from an undercover agent, Fox 5 reported.

Story alleged paid the agent to convert a rifle into a machine gun.

To read more click here.

 

Would-be Bomber Pleads Guilty to 2010 Attempt to Target Chicago Hot Spots

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

A 2010 sting nailed a  would-be bomber for attempting to plant an explosive device in the bustling Wrigleyville neighborhood of Chicago. Now, he’s likely to be out of commission for a long time.

The FBI announced Monday that Sami Samir Hassoun, a 24-year-old green card holder from Lebanon, pleaded guilty to one count each of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted use of an explosive device.

The plea  capped the  FBI probe that began in July 2010, when a cooperating source introduced undercover agents to Hassoun.

Believing the agent and the FBI source were collaborators, Hassoun led the planning of a “series of escalating violent attacks” intended to “damage Chicago’s sense of security, its economy, and trust in leadership.”

According to the plea agreement, Hassoun’s targets included Chicago entertainment hot spots, civic buildings, commercial high-rises and transportation infrastructure. He was finally busted for planting a backpack with what turned out to be a FBI-provided inert bomb, in the heart of one of Chicago’s busiest neighborhoods in September 2010.

According to the plea agreement, the court must impose a minimum 20 year, max 30 year sentence or reject the plea agreement. Hassoun will also be obligated to cooperate with authorities at their request.

To read more click here.

Off Color Texts Hurt Justice Department’s Largest Sting Targeting Foreign Bribery

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post

WASHINGTON — In text message after text message, FBI agents and their key informant joked about sex, booty calls, prostitutes, cigars, the Village People, the informant’s wives and an agent’s girlfriend. They even pondered who might play their roles in a movie based on their sting.

When arrests were announced by the Justice Department, the agents and informant basked in positive press. “It’s like an atomic mushroom cloud,” the informant gloated in a text to his FBI handler.

Since reaching court, however, there hasn’t been much to brag about in the Justice Department’s largest investigation of individuals accused of bribing foreign officials.

To read the full story click here.