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Tag: Texas

ICE Dir. John Morton Vows to Go After Mexican Gunmen Who Killed One Agent and Wounded Another

Dir. John Morton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton on Tuesday vowed to go after the gunmen who fatally shot ICE agent Jaime J. Zapata and wounded agent Victor Avila in an ambush along a road in Mexico last week.

“Together, the United States and Mexico will bring the long, hard arm of the law down on Jaime and Victor’s shooters,” Morton told a crowd at the funeral of Zapata’s at the Brownsville Events Center in Brownsville, Tex. Agent Avila was shot twice in the leg.

“Together we will look after our people. Together we will continue to see that Jaime and Victor’s work is done and that the rule of law triumphs over lawlessness and empty violence. There is no other way. Acquiescing to the rule of criminals consigns our children, Mexico’s children to a hopeless and empty path. My friends: no retreat, no compromise. Our cause is just, our cause is right, there is no other way.”

Morton, who was joined by other dignitaries including Atty. General Eric Holder Jr. and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, continued, according to the text of his speech:

“Jaime died at the hands of gunmen on a highway in the state of San Luis Potosi in Mexico, a long, long way from home. His death was a dark moment – an unspeakable loss for his parents, for his four brothers, for his fiancé Stacye. It was also a dark day for ICE and all of Jaime’s fellow agents and officers.”

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata /ice photo

“I submit to you, however, that as dark as this moment is, Jaime’s life is really all about light. Everyone in this room will eventually meet his or her Maker, and the real question on that day won’t be how we died but how we lived. When it’s my turn, I want to say that I lived like Jaime.”

Nearly 1000 mourners filled the Brownsville Events Center for the mass, according to The Brownsville Herald.  Zapata came from a family of law enforcement members. His father was in law enforcement and one brothers works at ICE and , another in Customs and Border Protection.

Attorney General Holder remarked: “Like so many others who serve this nation in law enforcement, Agent Zapata could have chosen an easier path through life.

“But he was always drawn to public service – and to the work of protecting his fellow citizens and defending America’s security. And he was willing to give what Abraham Lincoln called that “last full measure of devotion” to the nation that he loved – and to the struggle for peace and the cause of justice, within and beyond our borders.”

Ex-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay Gets 3 Years in Prison; Remains Free On $10,000 Bond

Ex-Rep. Tom DeLay

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The once powerful U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who had been under FBI investigation in  connection with the Jack Abramoff scandal,  but was never charged,  was sentenced  in state court Monday in Austin, Tex., to three years in prison for a scheme in which he illegally helped funnel corporate contributions to Republican Texas legislative candidates, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that DeLay remained defiant to the end, denying wrongdoing. He was jailed for three hours before he posted a $10,000 bond. He will remain free pending an appeal that could potentially take years.

“Everything I did was covered by accountants and lawyers telling me what I had to do to stay within the law,” the ex-House majority leader said in court. “I can’t be remorseful for something I don’t think I did.”

AP reported that Senior Judge Pat Priest disagreed with DeLay, saying those who write laws should be bound by them.

DeLay had been convicted in November of money laundering and conspiracy to commit money launder for using a political action committee to illegally send corporate donations to Texas House candidates in 2002, AP reported.

The FBI and Justice Department had investigated DeLay in connection with the Jack Abramoff scandal. DeLay was never charged, but two of his political aides pleaded guilty in the case.

Texas Fed Prosecutor Fred Schattman Dies at Age 60

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

At the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Fort Worth, Tex.,  assistant U.S. Attorney Fred Schattman was the go-to guy when people were stumped on complicated cases, when they needed some guidance, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

“He was a master at coming up with a strategy to take down an organization that many times law enforcement had tried for years to deal with, but never could bring down,” former U.S. Attorney Richard Roper told the paper.

Schattman, who worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for 25 years, died Dec. 30 of a heart attack while vacationing in California, the Star-Telegram reported. He was 60.

“It was ‘When in doubt, ask Fred how to do it,'” Mark Nichols, deputy chief in the U.S. Attoreny’s Office in Fort Worth told the paper.

Schattman first worked in North Texas as an assistant district attorney in Tarrant County and joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1985, the paper reported. Since 1989, he had been assigned to task forces working on organized crime and drug enforcement.

His wife told the paper that Schattman, father of four, was in San Diego spending Christmas with family. Some members had a stomach bug, so he volunteered to go to the drug store and get ginger ale and medicine.

While in line, he collapsed, the paper reported.

To read more click here.

Chicago Tribune Editorial: U.S. Needs Mexico to Be More Aggressive in War Against Drug Cartels

By The Chicago Tribune
Editorial

Jack Riley left El Paso, Texas, to become the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s top man in Chicago. Even though he’s 1,500 miles from the border now, Mexico’s war against drug cartels still matters to him.

It should matter to all of us. More than 90 percent of the marijuana, cocaine and heroin in the Chicago area enters the U.S. from Mexico. Drug rings are expanding into the Midwest to control distribution with violence a good bet to follow.

“If we’re going to be successful, Mexico needs to be successful,” Riley says. “We can’t do it without them.”

Sadly, Mexico is falling short.

Mexico’s occasional triumphs are starting to seem more and more hollow as the death toll of the 4-year-long drug war tops … 30,000. Every day seems to bring another horrific tale — most recently, cameras rolled while masked gunmen mowed down anti-crime activist Marisela Escobedo as she held vigil at the doorstep of the Chihuahua governor’s palace.

If the mayhem continues unabated, we worry that Congress will lose the will to renew the $1.4 billion Merida Initiative — an infusion of U.S. equipment and training to combat international drug trafficking and other organized crime — when it expires in about a year.

To read more click here.

Dallas FBI Agent Gets Probation for Hiring Illegal Aliens for Her Deli

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A Dallas FBI agent was sentenced Wednesday to two years probation and ordered to pay a $18,000 fine for unlawfully employing illegal immigrants at a deli she owned in suburban Dallas, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Ann Cox,  who was fired in the summer after the U.S. Attorney’s Office filed charges,  pleaded guilty in September to a misdemeanor offense for unlawfully employing aliens.

Authorities said that Cox, 49, of Rockwall, Tex., knowingly hired six illegal aliens while owning a Schlotzsky’s Deli from August 1997 to December 2008. Her husband is an FBI agent, but was not involved in the case.

“While it is disappointing that an FBI Special Agent chose to break the law, it is important for citizens to understand that the FBI has an unwavering commitment to take appropriate action when transgressions are committed by its employees, the overwhelming majority of whom are above reproach in their professional and personal conduct,” said Robert E. Casey Jr., head of the Dallas FBI.

Texas Guns Dealers Top U.S. Suppliers List to Mexican Cartels

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — America profits from the murderous ways of the Mexican cartels when it comes to supplying weapons.

Washington Post reporters James V. Grimaldi and Sari Horwitz, in a year long investigation, uncovered the names of the top 12 U.S. gun dealers of guns traced to Mexico in the past two years, with eight coming from Texas, three from Arizona and one from California.

The Post reports that Houston appears to be the number one city for guns traced to Mexican crimes.

“One of the reasons that Houston is the number one source, you can go to a different gun store for a month and never hit the same gun store,” J. Dewey Webb, special agent in charge of the Houston field division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives told the Post. “You can buy [a 9mm handgun] down along the border, but if you come to Houston, you can probably buy it cheaper because there’s more dealers, there’s more competition.”

To read more click here.

Border Patrol Agent in Tex. Fatally Shoots Unarmed Teen After Struggle

Border PatrolBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and other agencies are probing an incident Friday in which a U.S. Border Patrol agent in Texas shot and killed an unarmed teen who was driving a pickup truck filled with marijuana,the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that the driver Juan Mendez,18, of Eagle Pass, Tex., died after getting into a struggle with an agent.

According to the AP report, the agent stopped 18-year-old Juan Mendez’s vehicle around 9 a.m. and Mendez tried to escape and struggled with the agent, who then shot him twice as he broke free. Authorities captured a 15 year old who ran from the truck.

Authorities said they found 325 pounds of marijuana in the truck, AP reported. The agent has been placed on routine administrative lead pending the outcome of the investigation.

“CBP regrets the loss of life and awaits the results of the investigation into this incident,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Dennis Smith, according to AP.

2 Men Charged in Okla. With Buying Weapons to Smuggle Into Mexico

oklahomaBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Two men have been indicted in Oklahoma on charges of illegally buying weapons including military type semi-automatic rifles and smuggling some into Mexico, authorities announced Thursday.

Gregorio Morales-Martinez, 34, an illegal immigrant from Lewisville, Tex. and Jorge Alexis Blanco, 25, of Stillwater, Ok. were charged with illegally purchasing 43 firearms, including military type semi-automatic rifles.

Authorities alleged that many of the weapons were bought through “straw purchasers” — people who were simply buying the weapons for the men, not for themselves.

Federal law requires each buyer to complete a Firearms Transaction Record (ATF Form 4473) certifying they are the “actual buyer of the firearm.” The form warns that they are not the actual buyer if they’re buying it for someone else.

“The illegal trafficking of firearms from the United States to Mexico is a serious problem,” U.S. Attorney Sanford C. Coats of Oklahoma said in a statement. “It is fueling a lot of the violent drug cartel activity there.”

The case was investigated by ATF.