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Archive for March 4th, 2011

Weekend Series on the History of Crime: Al Capone

Ex-Trashman Makes Killing on Pot-Like High Product

Derek Williams/facebook

By Justin Blum
Bloomberg

Derek Williams was working as a trash-truck driver when his cousin told him about K2, a product made from plant materials and chemicals that provided a legal, marijuana-like high. Williams saw his ticket out of the residential rubbish business: Make a better blend.

He studied compounds that mimic the effects of pot, and almost a year after creating his own brand, Syn Incense, in his home in Kansas City, Missouri, Williams, 29, said he has sold more than $1.5 million worth in at least 10 states. Marketing the product as incense helps him avoid federal regulations, even though he said he knows most customers smoke it.

His ability to stay a step ahead of federal and state authorities underscores the hurdles regulators face as they move to ban chemicals used in such products, which they say may pose serious and unknown dangers. Williams said when his ingredients are restricted, he switches to similar ones.

“It became a money-making machine,” said Williams, adding that he hopes the business will lead to early retirement.

To read more click here.

FBI Agent Cleared in Fatal Shooting at Fla. Military Base

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A team of investigators has cleared an FBI agent of any wrongdoing in the fatal shooting of a veteran last May 19 at the MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla.

In a press release, the FBI stated that the agent, whose name was not released “operated within the scope of the FBI’s deadly force policy and did not violate any state or federal laws.”

The FBI said the investigation into the shooting was conducted with the assistance of the Tampa Police Department, Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Air Force Security Forces and a deployed team of FBI investigators from the FBI’s Inspection Division in Washington.

The FBI said it found that the agent shot and killed Ronald J. Bullock, who was armed with a knife, charged the FBI agent, and ignored repeated commands to surrender his weapon.

The FBI said “the agent involved in the incident feared for his life, and in accordance with his training, fired in self-defense, resulting in Mr. Bullock’s death.”

Authorities said last year that Bullock was a guest at the base’s family camp, which is for recreational vehicles. At some point, the vet got into an altercation and then fled on his motorcycle with base security in pursuit shortly after 6 p.m. At that point, the base locked all the exits.

PRESS CONFERENCE LAST YEAR

FBI Dir. Mueller’s Old D.C. Barber Shop Shuts; His Picture Hung on the Wall

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi stock photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A slice of history in Washington that included FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III is gone.

The Friendship Barbershop at Wisconsin Avenue NW and Newark Street, where Mueller got his haircuts  — shut down Feb. 26 to make room for a redevelopment project, according to WTOP radio.

Not to fret though. WTOP reports that the owner of the shop, Luigi Sacripanti  is moving his operation to a friend’s salon on Cathedral Avenue NW  in the District.

Mueller, who retires from the FBI in September,  enjoyed some celebrity status at the old shop, WTOP reported. His framed photo hung on the wall,  and  Sacripanti, would shut down the shop while some dozen of Mueller’s staff stood around and watched.

Some Federal Agents “Anguished” Over ATF Operation That Let Guns into Mexico

atf photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A variety of federal agent voiced “anguished objections” over an ATF operation that allowed guns to be smuggled in Mexico so they could be traced to the top levels of the drug cartels, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The paper reported that the operation known as “Operation Fast and Furious” lost track of hundreds of firearms, many which have been linked to crimes including the murder of a Border Patrol agent last December.

“With the number of guns we let walk, we’ll never know how many people were killed, raped, robbed,” ATF agent John Dodson said in an interview with the Center for Public Integrity, according to the LA Times. “There is nothing we can do to round up those guns. They are gone.”

Dodson said in that interview that he was still haunted by his participation in the operation, the Times reported.

The paper reported that “ATF said agents took every possible precaution to assure that guns were recovered before crossing into Mexico.”

ATF spokesman Scot L. Thomasson said the operation is under evaluation, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“It’s always a good business practice to review any new strategy six or eight months after you’ve initiated it, to make sure it’s working, that it’s having the desired effect, and then make adjustments as you see fit to ensure it’s successful,” he said.

Meanwhile, Washington Post editorial page editor Fred Hiatt wrote in a column on Friday after meeting with Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon, that the president said the flow into Mexico  of assault weapons like AK-47s rose “exponentially” after Congress let a ban on the sale of assault weapons expire in 2004.