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Archive for June 18th, 2010

Weekend Series on Crime: Prison Gangs

Boston’s Top FBI Agent Warren Bamford Steps Down; James Burrell Acting SAC

Warren Bamford

Warren Bamford

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Warren T. Bamford, head of the Boston FBI, officially retired Friday after heading up the office since 2007. Assistant special agent in charge James C. Burrell has been named the acting special agent in charge.

Under Bamford’s reign, the office produced a number of high-profile cases including one that involved a corrupt state senator and another that targeted a street boss for the Colombo crime family.

“My FBI experience has been tremendous and being able to end my career in the Boston Office makes it even better,” he said Friday in a statement to ticklethewire.com.  “I have tried to do the best job possible and have no regrets.”

Bamford will begin working for a private utility, National Grid,  on June 28.

Under his command, the office aggressively pursued fugitive James “Whitey” Bulger, a violent mobster who was added to the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted Fugitive list in 1999.

The office took creative steps to find Bulger and his female companion, including placing ads in dental and plastic surgery publications.

But in the end, like his predecessors, he was unable to find Bulger.

Bamford joined the bureau in 1986. Before arriving in Boston, he served as special agent in charge of  the Counterterrorism and Intelligence Division in Los Angeles.

In 2009, he was named “Fed Of The Year” by ticklethewire.com. The previous year, the award went to Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald.

Justice Dept. Vows to Go After Wall Street Banks, But Nothing So Far

wall-streetBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Despite the tough talk by President Obama and his Attorney Gen. Eric Holder, the administration has yet to file charges against the big Wall Street banks that had their hands in bad and risky housing loans, the Washington Post reports.

“Nearly 1 1/2 years into Obama’s tenure, despite several cases against mortgage companies whose lending practices contributed to the crisis, the administration has not brought any charges against the big Wall Street banks that took those loans, converted them into toxic securities and pumped them into the world’s financial markets,” Post reporter Jerry Markon wrote. “Law enforcement sources say no such charges are imminent.”

The Post noted that the administration has talked tough and cited comments Eric Holder made in November about getting tough on Wall Street execs who contributed to the financial crisis.

“We will be relentless in our investigation of corporate and financial wrongdoing, and we will not hesitate to bring charges,” Holder said then.

Some think the administration has promised too much.

To read more click here.

Enough Boloney? Try the Blago Sandwich

(not actual sandwich)

(not actual sandwich)

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Fed prosecutors in the public corruption case against Ex-Ill. Gov Rod Blagojevich have asked the Chicago judge to order Blago and his attorneys not to make public statements during trial.

But will they now have to ask the judge to gag the courthouse cafeteria folks as well?

The Associated Press reports that the courthouse cafeteria where Blagojevich is on trial included a sandwich on its blackboard menu: “The Innocent aka Blago”. The cafeteria is frequented by courthouse lawyers, judges and even jurors.

AP reported that Blagojevich was overheard talking about the sandwich while entering the courtroom. He called it an “accurate and truthful” sandwich.

By the way, what’s in the sandwich? Surprisingly, no boloney.  AP reports that it has turkey, Swiss cheese, pesto mayonnaise, avocado and spinach.

ICE Agent Pleads Guilty in NJ Drug Sting

beeBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent pleaded guilty Wednesday in Newark to conspiring to steal what he thought was a large quantity of cocaine from a purported drug dealer. It turned out to be a sting conducted by ICE.

Valentino Johnson, 26, of Brooklyn, who was working as an ICE agent in Manhattan at the time of the crime, was allowed to remain free pending his Oct. 13 sentencing, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark said.

Authorities charged that Johnson conspired with others including an ICE confidential informant to steal what he thought was a large quantity of cocaine stashed in a Newark warehouse. He then planned to distribute the drugs,with profits to be split among his partners in crime.

Johnson and his co-conspirators traveled to Newark on September 10, 2009, the day before the planned burglary, to inspect the warehouse, authorities said. They returned the next day to steal the goods.

Once they arrived at the warehouse, one of the men used bolt cutters to get access to the inside of the warehouse.

Johnson and one of the men then entered and “unloaded what they believed to be kilograms of cocaine from a truck parked inside” while another person stood watch. The drugs ended up being “50 kilograms of sham cocaine”, according to an affidavit by ICE special agent Michael Riley.

The three were arrested as part of the ICE investigation, authorities said.

Read Criminal Complaint and Affidavit