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Tag: Vermont

Massachusetts Man Charged for Allegedly Pointing Loaded Gun at Border Patrol Agent

By Steve Neavling

A Massachusetts man accused of pointing a loaded handgun at a Border Patrol agent was indicted by a federal grand jury on three criminal counts. 

Ivan Carmona was charged with assaulting a Border Patrol agent with a deadly weapon and possessing a firearm after having sustained a prior felony conviction. 

Carmona remains in jail without bond. 

If convicted, he faces seven years to life in prison. 

The incident stems from a Nov. 18 pursuit that began in Vermont. Border Patrol agents and local and state police were pursuing Carmona for unrelated state charges when he allegedly brandished the firearm. 

“Ivan Carmona’s alleged actions threatening a federal law enforcement officer, combined with his criminal record, suggest he is a danger to the community,” James M. Ferguson, special agent in charge of the ATF Boston Field Division, said in a statement.  “It is a testament to both the bravery and professionalism of the U.S. Border Patrol agents that Ivan Carmona was arrested without anyone being harmed during his apprehension. This case is the successful outcome of a concerted, collaborative effort with our local, state, and federal partners to apprehend an individual charged with violent conduct by the state of Vermont. We are committed to intervening against armed individuals who threaten the safety of the citizens of Vermont.”

Orleans County Sheriff Jennifer L. Harlow added: “It has become extremely troubling that Orleans County has become a playground for violence. When individuals within our community, or those who travel to our community, are in possession of firearms, illegal drugs, or both, they pose a risk to public safety. These behaviors effect our entire community and all those within. We are so thankful for the wonderful partnership we have with ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for working so closely with our community to help protect us from these dangers.” 

FBI Investigates Vermont State Troopers Accused of Making Bogus COVID-19 Vaccination Cards

An authentic vaccination card. Photo: Shutterstock.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI is investigating three Vermont State Police troopers for allegedly making fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. 

The troopers, Shawn Sommers, Raymond Witkowski and David Pfindel, have resigned, according to a state police statement obtained by VTDigger.

The troopers “are suspected of having varying roles in the creation of fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards,” the statement reads. 

The investigation began after fellow troopers notified their supervisors about the allegations. 

It wasn’t immediately clear what the bogus vaccination cards were for. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office also is investigating. 

“The accusations in this case involve an extraordinary level of misconduct — a criminal violation of the law — and I could not be more upset and disappointed,” said Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police. 

“If these allegations are proved to be true,” he said, “it is reprehensible that state troopers would manipulate vaccination cards in the midst of a pandemic, when being vaccinated is one of the most important steps anyone can take to keep their community safe from COVID-19.”

FBI, ICE Scan Driver’s License Databases to Conduct Facial-Recognition Searches

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have been given access to driver’s license photos to conduct facial-recognition scans without motorists’ consent.

ICE officials were authorized by three states to use the repositories of license photos to scan through facial-recognition technology in search of undocumented immigrants, according to documents obtained by Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology and first reported by The Washington Post.

The searches involved databases from Utah and Vermont, which complied with ICE’s request to access the photos. In Washington, agents also were given permission to scan license photos, but it wasn’t immediately clear if those searches were carried out.

The discovery comes as Congress considers a moratorium on facial-recognition technology because of serious concerns over privacy rights and the inaccuracy of the systems. Researchers said the technology is racially biased and prone to errors, which could lead to false arrests.

“Law enforcement’s access of state databases,” particularly driver’s license databases, is “often done in the shadows with no consent,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md. said in a statement to The Post.

San Francisco became the first city to ban the technology. In Detroit and Chicago, police departments have software that enables them to conduct facial-recognition searches in real-time.

Vermont’s Top FBI Official to Step Down for State Lottery Commission Post

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Daniel Rachek, who has led Vermont’s FBI office for the past six years, is stepping down to become the executive director of the state’s lottery commission.

The 22-year veteran of the bureau begins the new job Nov. 13, the Vermont Digger reports. 

Rachek supervised 20 employees and led financial investigation with the FBI.

“I’m honored to join Gov. Scott’s team and to maximize the lottery’s contributions to Vermont’s economic future by supporting education funding,” Rachek said in the news release.

The state-run Vermont Lottery Commission oversees the lottery system.

“Danny’s extensive public service and financial experience provides a level of expertise and a professional commitment that will set the standard in the lottery’s future efforts,” Scott said in the announcement.

Vermont Man Accused of Spraying Liquid Manure on Marked Border Patrol Car

Border Patrol car covered in liquid manure. Photo via CBP.

Border Patrol car covered in liquid manure. Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Vermont man accused of spraying liquid manure on a marked Border Patrol car pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of disorderly conduct and simple assault of a law enforcement officer with fluids.

Authorities said Mark Johnson, 53, covered the vehicle in manure after telling an agent that he should do more to arrest people in the country illegally, the Associated Press reports.

The agent said Johnson sprayed the car after shouting profanities on Aug. 3 in Alburgh, a community just out of the Canadian border on a peninsula in Lake Champlain.

Border Patrol to Test New Drones in Arizona, Texas And Vermont

drone-1142182_960_720By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol plans to test new drones in Arizona, Texas and Vermont in September as part of an increased effort to curb illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

The different models range from quadcopters that are capable of flying for 30 minutes to larger aerial vehicles that can stay airborne for hours, Arizona Public Media reports

Border Control currently uses large drones that are flown out of an airstrip at Fort Huachuca in Cochise County.

No specifics were given about the time and locations of the tests.

Other Stories of Interest

Bernie And Jane Sanders Hire Lawyers Amid FBI Probe of Alleged Bank Fraud

Jane and Bernie Sanders, via Twitter

Jane and Bernie Sanders, via Twitter

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife Jane Sanders have hired high-profile defense lawyers in light of a federal investigation into allegations of bank fraud.

The FBI investigation involves a multimillion-dollar loan that Jane Sanders secured while president of the now-defunct Burlington College.

CBS reports the FBI is investigating allegations that Jane Sanders falsified school donor levels in 2010 in an attempt to buy 33 acres of land for the school, which closed in 2016. 

Bernie Sanders has hired Burlington attorney Rich Cassidy, while his wife has retained Larry Robbins, a Washington-based defense attorney.

Sanders has declined to discuss details of the investigation, but said in May that the investigation was politically motivated and would show his wife did nothing wrong.

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh Was Within 60 Seconds of Dying in Car Crash Last Year

Louis Freeh

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh was within 60 seconds of dying after severing an artery in his leg in a car crash in Vermont eight months ago,  USA Today reports. 

The extent of Freeh’s injuries was previously unknown by the public.

FBI Director James Comey and Sen. Patrick Leahy spoke of the injuries at a news conference at Champlain College.

Freeh’s leg was mangled, and if not for the quick attention of first responders, the former director would have died.

“Louis would have died within a minute or so. They stopped the bleeding,” Leahy said.

“I told him he better believe in guardian angels,” Leahy added.

Other Stories of Interest