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Archive for June 17th, 2010

Indictment Says Times Square Car Bomb Suspect Funded by Pakistani Taliban; Got $12,000 in Cash

Faisal Shahzad

Faisal Shahzad

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

In the months and weeks before allegedly planting a car bomb in Times Square, Faisal Shahzad was sent a total of about $12,000 from someone he understood worked for the Taliban in Pakistan, authorities charged Thursday  in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

That allegation was contained in a 10-count indictment that accuses Shahzad of driving a car bomb to Times Square in New York on May 1 to try to “kill and maim persons” and destroy property. He faces charges including attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and attempted act of terrorism transcending national boundaries.

“The facts alleged in this indictment show that the Pakistani Taliban facilitated Faisal Shahzad’s attempted attack on American soil,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. “Our nation averted serious loss of life in this attempted bombing, but it is a reminder that we face an evolving threat that we must continue to fight with every tool available to the government.”

To read full story click here.

Colombian Drug Trafficker Extradited From Mexico to U.S.

Mexico border mapBy Matt Castello
ticklethewire.com

A man who represented the interests of a major Colombian drug cartel in Mexico, has been extradited to New York to stand trial, authorities said.

Pedro Antonio Bermudez, known as “El Arquitecto,” was arrested in Mexico City on Oct. 2, 2008 and remained in Mexican custody until his extradition to the U.S. on Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. He was arraigned in federal court in Brooklyn on Wednesday.

Bermudez’s  job was to ensure that cocaine sent to Mexico by the Colombian drug cartel Norte del Valle, was safely delivered to the Mexican cartels, authorities said.

Since 1990, the Norte del Valle Cartel allegedly exported more than 1.2 million pounds of cocaine — worth more than $10 billion — to the U.S., most of which came through Mexico, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

The Colombian shipments were sent by Luis Hernando Gomez Bustamante, one of the leaders of the Norte del Valle Cartel, who pleaded guilty in New York in 2008 to charges including murder and narcotics trafficking.  Bustamante, who was extradited to the U.S. in 2007, is awaiting sentencing.

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Authorities Charge 1,215 People in Nationwide Mortgage Fraud Sweep

Atty. Gen. Holder (left) and FBI Director Mueller announce results/fbi photo

Atty. Gen. Holder (left) and FBI Director Mueller announce results/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News
WASHINGTON –The Justice Department today announced the “broadest mortgage fraud sweep” in U.S. history, with criminal charges filed against 1,215 people. Almost 500 have already been arrested in a 3 1/2-month crackdown dubbed “Operation Stolen Dreams.”

Authorities said the operation uncovered $2.3 billion in mortgage fraud losses and recovered $147 million through 191 civil enforcement actions.

Despite the multistate crackdown, FBI Director Robert Mueller said there is still room for concern. He noted that his agency is pursuing more than 3,000 mortgage fraud cases, almost double the number from the last fiscal year.

“Those who prey on the housing market should know that hundreds of FBI agents on task forces and their law enforcement partners are tracking down your schemes, and you will be brought to justice,” Mueller said in a statement.

Attorney General Eric Holder added: “The staggering totals from this sweep highlight the mortgage fraud trends we are seeing around the country. We have seen mortgage fraud take on all shapes and sizes — from schemes that ensnared the elderly to fraudsters who targeted immigrant communities.”

To read more click here.

Read Report

Bound to Happen: Fed Prosecutors Ask Judge to Gag Blago and His Attorneys

BlagoBookBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Who didn’t figure this was coming?

The Chicago U.S. Attorney’s Office is asking U.S. District Judge James Zagel to impose a gag order to shut up ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his lawyers during the ongoing public corruption trial, the Chicago Tribune reported. Prosecutors claim the defense and Blago are trying to sway the jury.

The prosecution filed a 16-page motion Wednesday after Blagojevich and his attorneys made comments to reporters Tuesday at the end of testimony by government witness Alonzo “Lon” Monk, Blagojevich’s former friend and chief of staff, the Tribune reported.

The Tribune said the motion stated that lawyers and Blago made comments “to the press, on camera, giving their takes on Monk’s testimony, and in particular, his credibility, in what essentially amounted to mini-closing arguments on the topic.”

Prosecutors alleged that Blagojevich has conducted endless pre-trial media interviews and hired a public relations firm to sway the jury, the Trib reported.

“Blagojevich used these platforms to try his case in the public realm, often going beyond declaring innocence and instead representing pretrial developments in the court case and making inflammatory comments regarding the prosecutors,” the government wrote in the filing, according to the Tribune.

The prosecution indicated that Blagojevich’s comments after Monk’s testimony were the final straw and that the ex-governor’s alleged efforts to manipulate media coverage and influence the jury “has reached a level that requires court intervention.”

To Read More click.

Read Govt. Motion

ATF Says Fatal Shooting of Biker By Agents Under Review

portland maine mapBy Allan Lengel and Glynnesha Taylor
ticklethewire.com

The ATF office in Boston said Tuesday’s incident in Maine in which ATF agents shot and killed a biker who was named in a 27-person federal indictment is under review.

“The shooting’s under review,” James McNally, a spokesman for the ATF office in Boston told the Boston Globe, adding that it was the only fatal shooting by New England-based agents of the bureau in his memory. “There will be a thorough review.”

ATF agents rounding up more than two dozen members of the American Outlaw Association motorcycle gang in a seven-state sweep, killed Thomas “Tomcat” Mayne, 59, the regional treasurer of the group, in a shoot out just south of Portland, Me., authorities said.

Michael Campbell, a spokesman for ATF in Washington, told ticklethewire.com on Tuesday that agents went to the home in the beachside community of Sandy Circle around 6 a.m. to arrest gang members Mayne and Kenneth Chretian, when they were met by gunfire.

Agents returned fire and shot and killed Mayne, who was wanted on a federal warrant, Campbell said. Chretian, who was wanted on a state warrant, was taken into custody, Campbell said.

The gang is a rival of the Hells Angels, authorities said.

To read more click here.

ICE Working to Rebrand Its Image

John Morton

John Morton

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement known as ICE has an image problem.

So ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton plans to “re-brand”, realign its duties and emphasize criminal investigations over immigrant deportations, the Washington Post is reporting.

“By streamlining and renaming several offices, officials hope to highlight the agency’s counterterrorism, money laundering and other complex criminal investigations and in the process “re-brand” ICE, turning the public — and political — spotlight away from its immigration work,” the Post wrote.

To read full story click here.

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