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Tag: Texas

Member of Aryan Brotherhood Gets 37.5 Years for Fires and Trying to Murder Disabled African American

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

For guys like Steven Scott Cantrell, hate never goes out of style. Luckily in this case, either does justice.

The 26-year-old member of the Aryan Brotherhood, who hails from  from Crane, Tex. was sentenced Wednesday in fed court in Midland, Tex., to 37.5 years for a hate crime stemming from a series of arsons last December including one at a historic African-American church, the Justice Department said. Cantrell was also ordered to pay $550,780 in restitution to the victims.

As part of the arson of the historic church, he tried to murder a disabled African-American man, the Justice Department said.

Authorities said that Cantrell admitted that on Dec. 28, 2010, he set fire to Faith in Christ Church, a predominantly African-American church, as part of an effort to murder a disabled African-American man who he saw passing by the church in his wheelchair.

Authorities said Cantrell admitted that he started the fire with the intent of killing the disabled African-American man whom he believed lived at a shelter inside the church.

The man was not hurt.

Authorities said Cantrell ransacked the church, wrote a series of threatening and racist messages in large letters across the wall of the church next to the pastor’s office, and “tagged” the church with references to the Aryan Brotherhood.

Authorities alleged that the arson was part of a series of racially-motivated arsons that Cantrell set that day to gain status with the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas. In addition to the church, Cantrell admitted that he set fire to the house of someone he believed was Jewish.

“Today’s sentence reflects the vile nature of this defendant’s actions. Every person, regardless of race, national origin, religion or disability, should have the opportunity to live without fear of threat or harm,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division in a statement.

FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force Probing Book of Apocalypse Sent to Tex. Judges by Polygamist

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Talk about a lousy holiday gift.

Warren Jeffs, the polygamist and cult leader imprisoned in Texas, sent judges throughout the state copies of his book “Proclamations” last week. Now local authorities and the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force are looking into the gift giving as a possible threat, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The book is full of apocalyptic prophesies about natural disaster and the fall of the United States.

“I looked at this and thought, either they sent this to every judge or I got some bad stuff coming my way,” said Susan Criss, a district judge in Galveston County, according to the Chronicle.

Jeffs is the president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that was convicted this year on two counts of felony child sexual assault.

To read more click here.

FBI Terrorism Sting in Houston Ends in Conviction

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Barry Walter Bojul’s trip to Yemen has been detoured, possibly by as much as 20 years in a federal prison.

The 30-year-old Texan’s  conviction in a Houston federal court on Monday was the culmination of an investigation that began in 2009 by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. He was convicted of providing support to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Bojul acted as his own attorney.

In 2009, law enforcement thwarted three attempts of Bujol’s to leave the US for the Middle East, fearful he was planning to commit a violent jihad. Concerned, FBI agents arranged for Bujol to meet a confidential informant, who posed as  a recruiter for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.  Bujol later told  the informant he wanted to fight with the mujahideen.

It was established at the trial that Bujol had been in contact with the late Yemeni-American al-Qaeda associate Anwar Al-Aulaqi. In response to Bujol’s questions of how to support jihad, Aulaqi sent a letter entitled “42 Ways of Supporting Jihad,” which advocated violence and killing.

The confidential informant contacted Bujol on May 30, 2010, with a previously agreed upon codeword signaling the beginning of Bujol’s travels to the Middle East to join AQAP. They drove to the Port of Houston together where Bujol thought he was boarding a ship as a stow-away bound for training in Algeria then fighting in Yemen.

“Minutes after stowing away in a room on board the ship, agents took him into custody without incident,” according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office press release.

Bujol faces up to 15 years for attempting to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization and another five years for identity theft charges related to a fake ID Bujol had made to gain access to the port. He also faces fines of up to $250,000.

He has been in federal custody since the May 30, 2010 arrest, where he will remain until sentencing.

Driver Tries to Run Over Border Patrol, Shot Dead

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A man in a Lincoln SUV refused to stop when Border Patrol agents attempted to pull him over, instead opting to try and run over an agent his vehicle. The agent shot the driver in the chest and killed him, reports Caller.com, of Corpus Christi, Tex.

The incident took place on a county road near the Texas town of Mathis, inland from the pan handle and just north of the border. San Patricio County Sheriff Leroy Moody told the Caller he believes the vehicle was carrying four or five undocumented immigrants.

It is unknown what the traffic stop was for. “We don’t have reports if it was a chase or what,” said Border Patrol agent Daniel Milian. “We just have very preliminary information and aside from that we’re waiting for them to piece everything together and continue on with the investigation, of course.”

Sheriff deputies were in pursuit of a car of undocumented immigrants at about 9am Thursday morning, Moody told reporters, and later found the vehicle unoccupied.

“I think its probably two separate incidents, but you can never know because there is quite a bit of traffic that moves that way,” Moody said. “All the roads are well-used by people smuggling illegals.”

To read more click here.

15 Tied to Texas Mexican Mafia Charged with Racketeering Conspiracy, Assault, and More

By Danny Fenster
ticklethwire.com

They say things are bigger in Texas, and a recent Tex-Mex plate of indictments and potential sentences certainly are.

A group of members and associates of the Texas Mexican Mafia (TMM) have been indicted with a buffet of charges that may net them decades in prison, the FBI announced in a press release on Tuesday.

The 9-count, 15-defendant indictment charges men from Uvalde and Crystal City, Texas, including:

Jorge Abel Ramirez (a/k/a “Hondo,” a/k/a “Superdope”), age 32; Geronimo Torres (a/k/a “Jerry,” a/k/a “G”), age 32; Benito Benavides (a/k/a “Benny”), age 48; Chris Gutierrez (a/k/a “Fire”), age 19; Albert Torres (a/k/a “Terrible”), age 41; Robert Marcus Castro (a/k/a “Tiny”), age 32; Eric Velasquez Solis (a/k/a “Kilo”), age 32; Mario Zavala, age 26; Rodolfo Villegas (a/k/a “Rudy”), age 31; Charles Martinez (a/k/a “Charlie”), age 29; Eliseo Sanchez, III, age 29; and Sebastian Cortinas (a/k/a “Seabass”), age 28.

Charges against the men, returned on the 12th of October and unsealed on Tuesday, cover a variety of crimes related to drugs and violence, including “attempted murder, retaliation against an informant, extortion, and distribution of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine,” according to the FBI. Three of the men–Ramirez, Gutierrez and Torres–have been charged with conspiring to attempt to kill an informant on November 22, 2010.

All defendants but Cortinas are in federal custody.

Intelligence Research Specialist for ICE is ICED; Admits Ripping Off Agency and Misusing Passport

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former supervisory intelligence research specialist for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Paso, Tex. pleaded guilty Thursday to misusing his diplomatic passport and submitting fictitious expenses that amounted to at least $70,000.

Ahmed Adil Abdallat, 64, pleaded guilty in federal court in El Paso to two counts of misuse of a diplomatic passport and one count of conversion of public money.

Authorities say that in March 2007 Abdallat was issued a diplomatic passport in order to perform various temporary duties at the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia and several other foreign countries.

Abdallat admitted he used his official diplomatic passport on two occasions for the personal purpose of travel to and from Amman, Jordan after he was permanently assigned to duty in El Paso and no longer had any official embassy, mission, or related activities.

Authorities said he also admitted that from Feb. 15, 2009 to , through Sept. 10, 2010, he submitted 13 vouchers for travel from El Paso to Washington, D.C. and received $116,392.34 in travel fund reimbursements.

Authorities said multiple vouchers contained fictitious charges for lodging, vehicle rental and parking. Authorities said the government was taken for at least $70,000, but the exact amount has yet to be determined.

Authorities said that Abdallat remains in federal custody pending sentencing. A sentencing date has yet to be set.

 

Senate Judiciary Gives Nod to 5 Nominees for U.S. Atty in Texas and Oregon and a U.S. Marshal in Fla.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Pitman is a nominee

 
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Nearly three years after being elected President, the Obama administration is still working to fill the U.S. Attorney spots.

The latest: The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday gave the go ahead by voice vote for four U.S. Attorney nominees in Texas and one in Oregon. The full Senate must now vote on the matter.

The Texas nominees include: Kenneth Magidson for the Southern District of Texas; U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert Lee Pitman for the Western District of Texas; John Malcolm Bales for the Eastern District of Texas; and Sarah Ruth Saldana for the Northern District of Texas.

S. Amanda Marshall got the nod for the U.S. Attorney spot in Oregon.

Additionally, the committee gave the nod for nominee Edward M. Spooner for the U.S. Marshal job in Northern District of Florida.

 

FBI Report Show Mortgage Fraud on the Rise

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An FBI report shows that mortgage fraud appears to be on the rise.

The FBI said it had 3,129 pending mortgage fraud investigations in 2010, up 12 percent from 2009 and up 90 percent from 2008 when the economy tanked and the real estate market was already in dire straights.

The FBI said 71 percent of the pending mortgage fraud investigations in 2010 involved losses of more than $1 million.

“Mortgage fraud continued at elevated levels in 2010, consistent with levels seen in 2009, the report said. “Mortgage fraud schemes are particularly resilient, and they readily adapt to economic changes and modifications in lending practices.”

The report said the top states for known or suspected mortgage fraud included California, Florida, New York, Illinois, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, Maryland and New Jersey.

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