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Archive for January 12th, 2011

Fed Agents Find LAX Airport Can be a Zoo– Literally

Turtles seized at LAX Airport on Friday/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

On any given day, the sprawling Los Angeles International Airport known as LAX can be a zoo, locked in a frenetic pace, passengers coming and going. And then on certain days, it really, really is a zoo.

Over the past few years alone, federal law enforcement authorities have nabbed people trying to illegally smuggle in everything from lizards to songbirds. They’ve used money belts and snack boxes. One woman faked a pregnancy to smuggle a pet monkey from Thailand.

The latest incident came Friday when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service busted two Japanese men at LAX. The suspects allegedly hid 55 live turtles and tortoises in snack-food boxes packed in luggage. The turtles were all protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES.

Authorities charged Atsushi Yamagami, 39, and Norihide Ushirozako, 49, of Osaka, Japan, with illegally importing wildlife into the U.S. and violating the Endangered Species Act. The two men have been detained pending a Jan. 31 arraignment.

To read full story click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Arrests Palm Springs Man for Threatening Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott

Rep. Jim McDermott

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The FBI on Wednesday arrested a 32-year-old Palms Spring, Calif., man on charges of making intimidating phone calls to a Democratic Washington state Congressman Jim McDermott that included threats to kill him, his family and friends.

Charles Turner Haberman was slated to appear in federal court in Riverside, Calif. on Wednesday.

Authorities said that Haberman made threatening expletive-laden calls to McDermott’s Seattle office on Dec. 10 around midnight. The rants included outrage over Congressional spending.

Justice Dept. Fights Back Against Attempts to Muzzle Holder and Others in Portland Terrorism Case

Eric Holder/doj photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department is fighting back attempts by defense attorneys to muzzle Attorney Gen. Eric Holder Jr. and other government workers when it comes to pre-trial comments in the terrorism case involving a teen who tried to detonate a bomb in Portland during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in December. It ended up being an FBI sting.

Holder publicly defended the sting and subsequently the defense for Mohamed Osman Mohamud filed a motion to try and prevent pretrial comments, alleging that remarks could taint the case.

Responding to that motion, Portland Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ethan Knight and Jeffrey Sweet filed a brief Monday, saying:

“It is clear that the Attorney General’s remarks struck a proper balance between defendant’s due process rights and the need to inform the public on law enforcement actions.

“The need to inform the public was especially true with respect to sting operations, which although not new have garnered a lot of publicity in the context of this case and others like it.

“Based on the statements described above, defendant now seeks an Order from this Court prohibiting the Attorney General from making “inappropriate pretrial comments.” Defendant’s argument is predicated on the assumption that the Attorney General’s comments were, in fact, somehow inappropriate. They were not.

“As the chief law enforcement official for the United States government, it is entirely appropriate for the Attorney General to address issues of public concern in pending federal cases.”

Moreover, defendant has cited no precedent for the type of order he seeks, and we have found none.”

Read Government Filing

Column: We Must Stop Sociopaths Like Loughner From Getting Guns

Dan Simpson

By Dan Simpson
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

There is something seriously wrong with a country in which a mentally disturbed young man can buy a semi-automatic weapon and gun down a member of Congress, a judge, a 9-year-old schoolgirl and more than a dozen other innocent people in front of a shopping center.

It gets worse when there is an answer to the question, “How could we have known this was coming?”

The alleged killer, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, had appeared in advance of Saturday’s carnage in several forums where he could have been identified as trouble-in-the-making by figures with some responsibility for security.

The first was at Pima Community College. Security officers there had been called to the classroom a reported three times to remove Mr. Loughner for disruptive behavior. Particularly given the attack that occurred at Virginia Tech in 2007 by a student, with 32 killed, did it not cross their minds to call Mr. Loughner’s behavior to the attention of Arizona police?

To read more click here.

READER COMMENTS

Comment from Triggerdave | [e]
Time January 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Dan, Yours is the most cogent article I’ve read in many years although I don’t agree with your apparent position on gun control.
It appears that we the people failed ourselves both in Virginia and Arizona where I understand these States have legal recourse is in place to handle these situations. Regardless, if I as a teacher, student or parent observed such a suspicious activity (especially after the same situation at VT) I would have taken any action necessary to inform the authorities and get appropriate action taken. Come on people, open your eyes and protect yourself by speaking out about what you see and make someone in authority take the steps needed. Those who did complain allowed the bumbling authorities to shrug it off and go about their merry lives. It is those bumbling authorities who should now be fired if only as a notification to others to do their jobs!
Triggerdave is a 1966 graduate of VT, an NRA member with concealed carry permit, and grandfather of three under nine. I couldn’t bare what Christina’s family is going through. I realize that the shootings were probably too quickly performed for even the most highly trained security guard to prevent but had the bumblers taken action Loughner wouldn’t have been there.
My sincerest condolences to the victims and their families.

Hundreds of FBI Agents Investigating Arizona Shooting

Jared Loughner/pima county sheriff photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Days after the tragic shooting in Arizona, hundreds of FBI agents are tracing the steps of shooter Jared Loughner, trying to figure out motive, a timeline leading up to the incident and who he had been in contact with, NPR radio reports.

NPR reported that inside the bureau the investigation is known as a “bureau special”, which means agents from around the country are working the case.

The public radio station reported that Loughner isn’t talking.

“Usually in a case like this, agents will try to account for literally every day of a suspect’s life going back years,” Tom Fuentes, a former assistant director with the bureau told NPR. “Investigators will look for other possible associates, or any indication that someone might have talked Loughner into the attack. Even though it appears he was caught red-handed — in this case he was literally tackled at the scene — it helps the prosecution if there is a motive.”

Listen to NPR report

Border Patrol Agent Busted for Harboring Illegal Immigrants Including His Father

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Border Patrol agent in San Ysidro, Calif., was busted Monday on charges of harboring illegal immigrants in his home including his father, who had been convicted of  marijuana possession for sale and was twice deported to Mexico, Fox5 San Diego reported.

The station, citing the FBI, reported that agent Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr., 26, was arrested at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station.

On Tuesday, a federal SWAT team raided Manzano’s house and arrested suspected undocumented immigrant Jose Alfredo Garrido-Morena,26, the station reported. He had been living in the house since late last year along with Mazano’s 46-year-old father, authorities alleged.

The father, who is on the run, faces federal immigration violation charges, Fox5 reported. Manzano is also charged with lying to Border Patrol agents who asked about his father’s whereabouts.