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Archive for February 18th, 2010

Homeland Security Officers Lost Hundreds of Weapons

gunBy Allan Lengel
For AOL NEWS

WASHINGTON — We expect the Department of Homeland Security to protect us from the evil-doers of the world — not to provide them with guns.

But an inspector general report released this week found that the Homeland Security agencies that protect our border, our airports and our president lost 289 guns in fiscal 2006 to 2008. Some were left in public bathrooms, unlocked cars and even a bowling alley and ended up in the hands of “felons, gang members, criminals, drug users and teenagers” on at least 15 occasions.

“Although lost firearms account for a minor percentage of DHS’ total firearm inventory, they pose serious risk to civilians and noncivilians alike,” said the report by DHS Inspector General Richard L. Skinner, which recommended a number of improvements to address the issue.

To read full story click here.

Disgraced NYPD Police Chief Bernie Kerik Gets 4 Year Sentence

Bernie Kerik/facebook

Bernie Kerik/facebook

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Disgraced former New York police commissioner Bernard Kerik, who became a heroic figure after the Sept. 11 attack and who almost became a member of President George W. Bush’s Cabinet, is headed off to prison.

U.S. District Judge Stephen C. Robinson today sentenced Kerik to four years in prison on eight felonies, including lying to the White House and filing false taxes. The term, handed down in federal court in White Plains, N.Y., exceeded the 27 to 33 months the prosecution recommended under a plea agreement hammered out in November.

“I think it’s fair to say that with great power comes great responsibility and great consequences,” Robinson said, according to The New York Times. “I think the damage caused by Mr. Kerik is in some ways immeasurable.”

Kerik is scheduled to report to prison May 17. The prosecution had asked in court papers that he be remanded immediately to prison after sentencing, citing concerns he might become a fugitive.

The tough sentence probably came as little surprise to at least some who had observed Kerik’s legal problems with the judge.

For Full Story

Race Played Role in Federal Court Mistrial in Detroit — One of America’s Most Racially Divisive Cities

Sam Riddle/wdiv

Sam Riddle/wdiv

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Early last year newly minted Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. shook things up when he delivered a speech saying Americans were “cowards” when it came to race.

“Though the nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards,” Holder said at the time.

On Wednesday, his federal prosecutors came smack up against the issue in Detroit, one of the nation’s most racially divisive cities, after a jury deadlocked 11-1 and a mistrial was declared in federal court in a high profile public corruption case involving Sam Riddle, an African American who had served as an aide to ex-City Council member Monica Conyers, the wife of Congressman John Conyers.

The Detroit News reported that only one juror — the only African American on the jury — refused to convict Riddle. And apparently she was not a coward when it came to raising the race issue. The News reported that she  told fellow jurors early on in deliberations that they wanted to “hang the black man.”

The prosecution plans to go for a second trial.

To read the full story click here.

Justice Dept. Prosecutor Pamela Dempsey Dies at Age 52

justice logo2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Pamela L. Dempsey, 52, who had worked for the Justice Department as a federal prosecutor since 1986, died earlier this month in Washington from leukemia, the Washington Post reported.

Her most recent position at Justice was deputy chief of the asset forfeiture and money laundering section, the paper reported.

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Old Greenwich, Conn., she started her career as a federal prosecutor in the southern district of New York, the paper reported.

After her marriage, she converted from Catholicism to Judaism and had a bat mitzvah in 2008, the paper reported.

Ex-Acting Boss of Genovese Crime Family Charged in 2003 Murder

mafia33By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The New York U.S. Attorney’s Office continues to hammer away at the Genovese Organized Crime Family.

The office on Wednesday announced the indictment of former acting boss Arthur Nigro and made member Anthony Arillota on racketeering crimes including the 2003 murder of Adolfo Bruno, a member of the crime family who reportedly ran an operation out of Massachusetts.

Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the indictment charged crime family members Steve Alfisi with racketeering and Marcos Caio, James Coumoutsos and George Coumoutsos with working with Alfisi in an illegal gambling operation.

A press release says that in 2003, Nigro, who served as acting boss of the crime family for a while, and Arilotta murdered Adolfo Bruno “in order to maintain and increase their position in the Genovese Organized Crime Family, as well as to prevent Bruno from providing information to law enforcement about crimes committed by members of the Genovese Organized Crime Family.”

The indictment comes just weeks after the acting head of the Genovese organized crime family, Daniel Leo, aka “The Lion,” and his nephew Joseph Leo, a lieutenant, pleaded guilty in Manhattan federal court to racketeering charges related to loan sharking, extortion and illegal gambling.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

For Calif. FBI Agent: When a Beer is Neither Here Nor There

A Los Angeles Times report stirred up a lot of angry reader comments about an FBI agent shooting his gun at men who were trying to steal beer. The problem was: there was no beer and the real story appeared to be far more serious than reported. Here’s a detailed account.

beer

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The brief story posted on the Los Angeles Times web page last month said two men, who were being sentenced, had broken into a garage in Yorba Linda, Calif., looking to steal beer.  The garage happened to belong to an off-duty FBI agent, who confronted the men around 2 a.m.

One of the men struggled with the agent, who had identified himself as law enforcement. Afterward, both men fled in a car.

The agent,  identified as “James M” ,  “shot at the car as it drove away but neither man was injured,” the paper reported on its online edition on Jan. 5.

Read more »

Undercover FBI Agents Bust Retired Border Patrol Agent for Selling Uniforms on Craigslist

Border PatrolBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Some times making a little extra doe on Craigslist isn’t so wise.

Retired Border Patrol agent David Pietrantonio has been charged in San Diego with selling official equipment to undercover FBI agents, the Associated Press reported. He had pleaded not guilty on Wednesday.

AP reports that Pietrantonio tried to sell “a Border Patrol “Firearms Instructor” jacket, four uniform shirts and three uniform pants for $468. The jacket and shirts had patches in the shape of a badge.”

The wire service reported that FBI agents spotted the uniforms on the Craigslist Tijuana Web site and arranged to purchase them. He faces up to six months in prison if convicted.

College Student Aboard Plane Tells NPR the Underwear Bomber Was in Over His Head