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Archive for April 15th, 2009

Ex-Federal Prosecutor Alan Bersin Named ‘Border Czar” To Deal With Violent Drug Cartels

Alan Bersin/state of calif. photo
Alan Bersin/state of calif. photo

Homeland Security Sec. Napolitano, coming from Arizona, recognizes the menacing Mexican drug cartel problem. This latest move is very commendable, so long as Alan Bersin gets the resources to make a difference.  If not, the move will be all for naught.

By ALICIA A. CALDWELL
The Associated Press
EL PASO, Texas — Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano named a former federal prosecutor Wednesday to the new post of “border czar” to oversee efforts to end drug-cartel violence along the U.S.-Mexico border and slow the tide of people crossing illegally into the United States.

Napolitano named Alan Bersin, a former Justice Department official who was charged with cracking down on illegal immigration in the 1990s, to fill the post at the Homeland Security Department.

“Alan brings years of vital experience with local, state and international partners to help us meet the challenges we face at our borders,” Napolitano said in a statement. “He will lead the effort to make our borders safe while working to promote commerce and trade.”

To Read More

Commentary: Bersin Position Will Cause Confusion As to How DHS is Organized (Security DeBrief)

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Feds Indict Ohio Sheriff and 3 Others on Charges of Jail Death Cover Up

Sheriff James A. Telb/dept. photo

Sheriff James A. Telb/dept. photo

It’s never good when the head of a law enforcement agency gets indicted by the feds. Certainly not good p.r. for the department.

By ERICA BLAKE
Toledo Blade Staff Writer
TOLEDO,Ohio — Lucas County Sheriff James Telb and three members of his staff – including two former employees – were indicted in U.S. District Court in Toledo yesterday on criminal charges related to the 2004 death of an inmate at the jail and allegations of a subsequent cover-up.

Sheriff Telb, 70, who recently began his seventh term in office, was indicted by a grand jury on one count each of making false statements and misprision of a felony, or the cover-up of a crime. He faces three years in prison if convicted.

The sheriff denied any wrongdoing, saying he is “expecting to be vindicated on this.”

He also said he would not step down from office.

“This is serious stuff, but I’m not backing away from it; I’m not running from it,” he said during a press conference at the sheriff’s office.

“At no time was there any attempt, or any effort, to cover up anything,” he said, adding that he didn’t “think anybody did anything wrong.”

For Full Story

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

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FBI Continues to Push to Solve Serial Killings Involving Truckers

Atty. Gen. Holder to Step Up Training for Prosecutors in Light of Disastrous Ted Stevens Case

Eric Holder

Eric Holder

The issue of prosecutors failing to share discovery material is nothing new. But when the issue blew up for the Justice Department in the case of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens, something had to be done to show the Justice Department was responding. Will this additional training do the trick? Who knows. But at minimum, it’s a good act of faith.
Joe Palazzolo
Legal Times
WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. on Tuesday said he would require additional training for prosecutors to reinforce their understanding of rules that govern discovery in criminal cases, following the advice of a federal judge who recently dismissed the government’s indictment against former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

In a statement, Holder said the department will provide supplemental training to federal prosecutors on their discovery obligations in criminal cases and create a working group of senior prosecutors and officials to review such practices in criminal cases. The training will begin in coming weeks, according to the statement.

After reviewing the Stevens case, Holder determined prosecutors had improperly withheld prosecutors’ notes that would have aided in Stevens’ defense, prompting the attorney general to move to erase Stevens’ conviction.
For Full Story

Lax U.S. Gun Laws Let Gun Smugglers Sell To Mexican Drug Traffickers

gunSure the violent drug trade in Mexico is out of control and sure we care. But we have to face up to the fact that our citizens are providing guns down there and helping distribute the product up here. More things need to be done up north to help our neighbor to the south.

By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
New York Times
HOUSTON – John Phillip Hernandez, a 24-year-old unemployed machinist who lived with his parents, walked into a giant sporting goods store here in July 2006, and plunked $2,600 in cash on a glass display counter. A few minutes later, Mr. Hernandez walked out with three military-style rifles.

One of those rifles was recovered seven months later in Acapulco, Mexico, where it had been used by drug cartel gunmen to attack the offices of the Guerrero State attorney general, court documents say. Four police officers and three secretaries were killed.

Although Mr. Hernandez was arrested last year as part of a gun-smuggling ring, most of the 22 others in the ring are still at large. Before their operation was discovered, the smugglers had transported what court documents described as at least 339 high-powered weapons to Mexico over a year and a half, federal agents said.

“There is no telling how long that group was operating before we caught on to them,” said J. Dewey Webb, the agent in charge of the Houston division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Noting there are about 1,500 licensed gun dealers in the Houston area, Mr. Webb added, “You can come to Houston and go to a different gun store every day for several months and never alert any one.”

 For Full Story