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Archive for May 20th, 2009

Feds Arrest 4 Men in Plot to Bomb Bronx Synagogue and Shoot Down Military Planes at N.Y. Military Base

bronx-imagesIt’s easy to become complacent when nothing happens for a while. Then along comes something like this to remind us that all is not well.

By Sewell Chan
New York Times
NEW YORK — Federal authorities arrested four men on Wednesday night on charges of plotting to bomb a synagogue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx and to use antiaircraft missiles to shoot down military planes at a military base in Newburgh, N.Y., 60 miles north of New York City.

The charges, which include conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction in the United States and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, represent some of the most significant allegations of domestic terrorism in some time. They come months into a new presidential administration, and as President Obama grapples with the question of how to handle detainees at the Guantánamo naval base in Cuba.

The four defendants – whom federal authorities identified as James Cromitie, David Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen, all of Newburgh, in Orange County – are to appear in Federal District Court in White Plains, in Westchester County, on Thursday morning.

Though Mr. Cromitie, who is described as the lead defendant, is said to have told an F.B.I. informer that he had ties with Jaish-e-Muhammad, a jihadist group based in Pakistan, none of the defendants actually obtained weapons of mass destruction, according to the authorities.

The men were, however, given an antiaircraft missile system that was incapable of being fired, as well as homemade bombs containing inert plastic explosives, as part of the undercover investigation, the authorities said.

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Updated New York Times Version

Read Criminal Complaint

Feds Say Detroit Drug Kingpin Used Mexican Plastic Surgeon to Change Face and Remove Fingerprints

detroit

Some drug dealers use fake identities. But Adarus Mazio Black was a little more creative and was willing to travel thousands of miles to throw the feds off  track.

By Paul Egan
The Detroit News
DETROIT — Adarus Mazio Black made so many millions from the cocaine he sold and so feared detection of murders committed to protect his turf that he used multiple identities and paid a plastic surgeon in Mexico to change his facial appearance and surgically remove his fingerprints, a federal jury was told Tuesday.

Black’s drug trial, expected to last about three weeks in U.S. District Court in Detroit, could provide a rare glimpse into the secretive and violent life of an alleged drug kingpin.

Special Agent Edward Donovan of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration testified that he began to investigate Black after learning a major Manhattan drug dealer, Angel “Amigo” Esparza, had moved to Detroit to set up a cocaine-dealing operation.

On Aug. 24, 2004, just days after moving to Detroit, Esparza’s bullet-riddled body was found in a Detroit alley. The burning and duct-taped body of an Esparza associate, Rigoberto Martinez, was found in another alley.

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Justice Dept. to Expand Healthcare Fraud Investigations

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Not a bad idea in a country where fraud is running rampant and costing taxpayers far more than they can imagine.

By Carrie Johnson
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON– The Obama administration today announced it would expand Justice Department health-care strike forces to Detroit and Houston, part of a broader commitment to root out fraud in Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appeared at Justice Department headquarters in Washington to announce the move, which they portrayed as an effort to rein in fraud, waste and abuse in the taxpayer-funded programs. Medicare and Medicaid spend hundreds of billions of dollars annually on health care for the elderly, disabled and poor.

Health-care fraud is among the top enforcement priorities of the new team at the Justice Department, which is working closely with the inspector general at HHS and the FBI to collect and analyze computerized information about fraudulent claims.

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NFL Star Michael Vick Will Finish Up Federal Prison Time at Home

If ever there was an evil poster child for dog lovers, this is it. Michael Vick was involved in some evil things. He’s trying to put his life together and hopes to get back to the NFL to pay off his debts in bankruptcy court. There are plenty folks out there who think the football league should never let him return.
By Larry O’Dell
Associated Press
RICHMOND, Va. – Imprisoned NFL star Michael Vick will be allowed to finish his sentence under home confinement because there is no room at a halfway house for him, a government official told The Associated Press Thursday.

Vick is serving a 23-month sentence at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., after pleading guilty to bankrolling a dogfighting operation at a home he owned in eastern Virginia’s Surry County. He also admitted to participating in the killing of several underperforming dogs.

Vick’s lawyers have said they expected him to be moved any day into a halfway house in Newport News. But because of a lack of space, Vick will be released instead to his Hampton home at some point on or after May 21, said the official, who has knowledge of the case but requested anonymity because the individual was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

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Louisiana Sen. Landrieu Recommends Ex-Congressman For U.S. Atty Post and New U.S. Marshal

Don Cazayoux

Don Cazayoux

Things are finally starting to move around the country when it comes to appointing new law enforcement officials. The process has been overshadowed by more higher profile issues like the economy, the swine flu and torture issues

By Jonathan Tilove
New Orleans Times-Picayune
WASHINGTON — Sen. Mary Landrieu,D-La., recommended Tuesday that President Barack Obama name Brian Jackson as a U.S. District Court judge and former Rep. Don Cazayoux as U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, based in Baton Rouge.

She also recommended Kevin Harrison, an assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in New Orleans, as U.S. marshal for the Middle District.

Jackson, a former first assistant U.S. attorney and interim U.S. attorney for the Middle District, had been considered the likeliest alternative as Landrieu’s choice for U.S. attorney in the New Orleans-based Eastern District if she had not decided to recommend that the president retain Republican Jim Letten. Jackson also served as associate deputy U.S. attorney general in 1998 and 1999.

The choice of Cazayoux for U.S. attorney had been talked about since the moment he was defeated last fall for re-election by Republican Bill Cassidy, six months after he had won the seat in a special election.

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Carmen Ortiz Poised to Become Massachusett’s First Hispanic and Woman U.S. Attorney

boston

The country has already broken the racial barrier by electing an African American president. It’s interesting that it has taken this long to get a Hispanic or a woman as a U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts.

By Jonathan Saltzman
Boston Globe Staff
BOSTON — Carmen M. Ortiz, who grew up poor in New York City’s Spanish Harlem neighborhood and became a state and then a federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, is poised to become the first woman and the first Hispanic US attorney in the state.

US Senators Edward M. Kennedy and John F. Kerry recommended yesterday that President Obama nominate Ortiz, the daughter of Puerto Rico natives, to the highest federal law enforcement position in the state.

“It’s a tremendous challenge, but I think one that I’m prepared to take and I’m prepared to meet,” the 53-year-old Milton woman said in a brief telephone interview. “I feel very grateful, and I’m humbled by the senators’ confidence in me.”

Ortiz has worked in the US attorney’s office in Massachusetts for the past 12 years and did two stints for about 10 years as a prosecutor in the Middlesex district attorney’s office. She has had a variety of other professional experience, including helping the National Football League in 1990 to investigate allegations by a Boston Herald reporter of sexual harassment against members of the New England Patriots.

The senators, who picked Ortiz from among three finalists recommended by a committee that vetted candidates, said she was a “standout throughout this process.”

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