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Archive for February 24th, 2011

Fed Agents Go After Suspected Mexican Cartel Members in U.S. in Response to Murder of ICE Agent

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata killed in Mexico/ice photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Federal agents have been conducting raids in U.S. cities and targeting Mexican cartel members in response to last week’s murder of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata in Mexico, the Associated Press reported. Another ICE agent Victor Avila Jr. was shot and wounded.

“We are taking a stand and we are sending a message back to the cartels that we will not tolerate the murder of a U.S. agent, or any U.S. official,” Carl Pike, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s special operations division said, according to AP.

The roundup, which began Wednesday and is expected to go through Friday, has targeted cities including Atlanta, St. Louis, Denver, Detroit, San Antonio, San Diego, Chicago and New Jersey, AP reported.

AP reported agents seized more than $4.5 million in cash and nearly 20 guns, arrested more than 100 people and confiscated about 23 pounds of methamphetamine, 107 kilos of cocaine, 5 pounds of heroin and 300 pounds of marijuana at more than 150 different locations.

Saudi Student in Texas Arrested in Bomb Plot; Had Dallas Address of Pres. Bush

Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari/lubbock sherrif's dept.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 20-year-old Saudi student living in Lubbock, Tex., who allegedly considered  targeting Americans including President George W. Bush and soldiers formerly stationed at Abu Ghraib, was arrested late Wednesday on terrorism-related charges.

The Justice Department charged Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction in connection with his purchase of chemicals and equipment to make an improvised explosive device (IED) and his research of potential U.S. targets.

“As alleged in the complaint, Aldawsari purchased ingredients to construct an explosive device and was actively researching potential targets in the United States. Thanks to the efforts of many agents, analysts, and prosecutors, this plot was thwarted before it could advance further,” Assistant Attorney General David Kris said in a statement.

Read more »

Criminal Charges Not Likely in Salahi-Party Crashing Case

The Salahis pose with the v.p./facebook

By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

WASHINGTON –More than a year after photogenic Tareq and Michaele Salahi crashed the White House and caused an uproar, it appears unlikely the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington will  file charges in the case, ticklethewire.com has learned.

That conclusion, according to a source, comes after an exhaustive investigation, and after some law enforcement officials had pushed for criminal charges.

The couple crashed the White House party on Nov. 24, 2009, and created an embarrassment for the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security.

Federal authorities had reportedly been looking at possibly charging the couple with criminally trespassing or lying to a federal agent. But some observers inside the Beltway felt all along that it would have been a tough case to prosecute, particularly  considering that the couple insisted they were invited, did nothing to disguise themselves when they entered the White House, and even posed with the vice president.

Plus, in the end, fair to say, very few people in the public wanted to see the Salahis back in the limelight.

Bill Miller, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney’s Office, declined comment.

U.S. Atty. Fitzgerald Called Rahm Emanuel in 2008 the Day Gov. Blago Was Arrested

Rahm Emanuel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s nice to get a courtesy call from time to time.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports that’s just what Rahm Emanuel got from Chicago’s U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald the morning that Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested in Dec. 9, 2008. Emanuel had been selected as President-elect Obama’s chief of staff.

Sun-Times reporter Natasha Korecki reported that Fitzgerald wanted Emanuel to know his name was expected to show up in a criminal complaint filed against the governor.

Patrick Fitzgerald/doj photo

“Members of the U.S. attorney’s office called a series of people to let them know an arrest had been made,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar told the Sun-Times.

Emanuel was never accused of wrongdoing.

NYT Report Questions FBI’s Role in Pirate Case That Resulted in Murder

By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

WASHINGTON — A New York Times story is questioning the actions of the FBI in connection with the four-day standoff with pirates off the Somalia coast that ended with all four crew members aboard a 58-foot yacht being murdered.

The Times reported that an F.B.I. hostage-rescue negotiator aboard the U.S.S. Sterett Naval ship was skeptical that two pirates who came aboard were serious about negotiating.

The Times reported the Americans subsequently held the two and sent word back to the yacht to send over someone serious about talking. The Times said what happened after is in dispute.

The paper reported that a fight broke out among the leaderless pirates, who may have feared being attacked by the Navy warships. The paper also wrote that “one person who has talked to associates of the pirates said their leader had told them that if he did not return, they should kill the hostages, though American officials say they do not know that to be the case.”

To read more click here.

Fed Case Clearly Connects the Dots Between Baltimore and Mexico’s Cartels

Photo illustration by Frank Hamilton including photo by Frank Klein- Courtesy of Baltimore City Paper

By Van Smith
Baltimore City Paper

BALTIMORE — Ronald Eugene Brown was a natural target for Baltimore narcotics investigators. The 6-foot-6-inch, 240-pound man, nicknamed “Truck,” had already served many years in prison for 1990s drug-dealing and robbery convictions, and his rehabilitation after getting out was, well, dubious.

The 44-year-old had lost his low-paying job as a forklift operator, yet he somehow could afford to have two Baltimore County residences (in Overlea and Ten Hills), a BMW, a Mercedes, and a Dodge Ram pickup truck. His comfortable, middle-class lifestyle defied explanation—but for the fact that he was a habitué of the drug-infested Monument Street corridor near Baltimore City’s Northeast Market.

When the probe into Brown began, it was standard Baltimore cop fare: A confidential source arranged to buy a small amount of drugs from Brown on the evening of April 27, 2009, and the cops followed Brown to see where he would lead them.

Before the sun rose the next morning, they had about $750,000 in heat-sealed, aluminum-wrapped cash at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel and two men suspected of being Brown’s suppliers. The case’s significance snowballed, and by February 2010, it had unearthed mammoth shipments of Mexican cartel cocaine and marijuana coming to Baltimore from Texas every two weeks.

To read full story click here.

Prosecutors in Blago Case Drop 3 Counts in Hopes of Simplifying Retrial

Ex-Gov on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

After presenting what may have been too complex of a case for the jury to digest the first time around, prosecutors in Rod Blagojevich’s corruption case moved Wednesday to drop three counts for the upcoming retrial, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The number of counts will now drop from 23 to 20. Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor, was convicted of only 1 of 24 counts in the first trial — for lying to an FBI agent. The jury deadlocked on the remaining counts.

The Sun-Times reported that lawyers in the case said just dropping two racketeering counts should eliminate at least 30 pages of jury instructions.

One of the allegations is that Blagojevich tried selling President Obama’s Senate seat.

The paper reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Schar said in court the reduction in counts will help “streamline the length of the indictment” and the jury instructions.

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