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Archive for March 24th, 2011

FBI Arrests Mi. Man Who Placed Bomb at Fed Building in Downtown Detroit

McNamara Building

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 42-year old engineering grad student from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was arrested Thursday morning for allegedly placing a metal cash box with explosives outside the McNamara federal building in downtown Detroit on Feb. 26, which houses the FBI. The bomb never went off.

The FBI said suspect Gary John Mikulich of Kingsford, Mi., a student at Michigan Tech University,  had “long complained about the FBI generally, and the Detroit in particular.”

Authorities alleged that Mikulich and his vehicle matched the description of an individual who purchased a Husky brand tool bag and a GE timer used in the crime.

Authorities said he purchased the items at a Home Depot store in the rustic town of Iron Mountain, Mi., in the Upper Peninsula.

He was scheduled to make a court appearance on Friday in Marquette, Mi.

Read criminal complaint

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Memo Says Interrogators Can Delay Reading Miranda Warning to Terrorist Suspects

Faisal Shahzad

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — An FBI memo issued in December says investigators can interrogate domestic-terror suspects longer without giving them a Miranda warning, according to a  Wall Street Journal report by Evan Perez.

The FBI memo  said the policy applies to “exceptional cases” where investigators “conclude that continued unwarned interrogation is necessary to collect valuable and timely intelligence not related to any immediate threat,” the Journal reported. Interrogators would still need prior approval from FBI and Justice officials.

The controversy over the Miranda warning in domestic terrorism cases surfaced in December 2009 with the “underwear bomber” in Detroit and later the Times Square Bomber.

Both were initially questioned for a period of time before the Miranda warning was read.  The underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdumtallab, was questioned for less than an hour before the Miranda warning was read and Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square Bomber, was questioned for about three hours before the warning was read, the Journal reported.

Some  Republican and Democrats felt the suspects should have been sent to military detentions where the Miranda rules don’t apply, the Journal reported. Other critics felt the Miranda warning was issued too soon, jeopardizing chances of getting more valuable information.

But at the time, the Obama administration countered by saying the suspects continued to cooperate after the Miranda warnings were read and provided value information.

On the other side, some feel the government has no right to take the Miranda warning away from domestic terrorists.

The FBI memo seems follow to some degree a 1984 amendment to the  1966 Miranda ruling which allows questioning of suspects for a limited time before issuing the warning.

Matthew Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, told the Journal that  “law enforcement has the ability to question suspected terrorists without immediately providing Miranda warnings when the interrogation is reasonably prompted by immediate concern for the safety of the public or the agents.” He said “the threat posed by terrorist organizations and the nature of their attacks—which can include multiple accomplices and interconnected plots—creates fundamentally different public safety concerns than traditional criminal cases.”

Calif. Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Dem on the House Intelligence Committee, told the Journal that the administration’s tweaking of the law could have a downside.

“I don’t think the administration can accomplish what I think needs to be done by policy guidance alone,” he said.  “It may not withstand the scrutiny of the courts in the absence of legislation.”

Muslims in Metro Detroit Upset About Treatment by Border Patrol

Big-Time Boston Lawyer Robert A. George Charged With Money Laundering

Atty. Robert A. George (right)/law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethwire.com

A high-profile Boston attorney who has represented mobsters and some big name clients was charged Wednesday with money laundering that included taking payments from an undercover DEA agent posing as a drug dealer from the Dominican Republic.

Authorities charged that attorney Robert A. George, 56, of Westwood, Mass., helped conceal $225,000 in drug proceeds over a period of time.

According to a government  affidavit, a cooperating witness told George and a co-conspirator that he had large amounts of cash from drug trafficking.

Authorities alleged that  on two separate occasions, George’s co-conspirator took the cash from the government informant in exchange for a check made payable to a fictitious undercover company.  George’s co-conspirator then charged the government informant a substantial fee.

On another occasion, George allegedly took $25,000 in cash from an undercover DEA agent posing as a drug dealer client. George then made two separate deposits of that money, in amounts under $10,000 in order to avoid a reporting requirement, authorities said.

“Defense counsel play a critical role in the criminal justice system, protecting important constitutional rights upon which we all depend,” Boston U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz said in a statement. “But when an attorney assists in the criminal concealment and laundering of drug money — as is alleged in this case — it impedes the administration of justice and is an affront to all ethical and law abiding members of the bar.”

” If convicted, Mr. George is no better than those who distribute illegal drugs,” Special Agent in Charge of the  Boston DEA, Steven Derr added.

4 Family Members Busted for Trying to Sell F-5 Jet Engines to Iran


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Four family members have been indicted in Miami on charges of attempting to sell 22 F-5 fighter jet engines to Iran for $320,000.

Only problem with their plan was that they tried selling the engines to an undercover federal agent, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami said.

According to the allegations in the indictment and the previously filed complaint affidavit, Felipe Echeverry and three of his relatives conspired to sell the engines to an undercover agent and agreed to help the agent to export the engines from Miami to Iran through Panama.

“The sales of arms and other commodities to Iran is illegal,” said Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer.”When unscrupulous dealers look the other way and knowingly agree to sell military- use items knowing they are destined for Iran, they not only break our nation’s laws, but also endanger our national security.”

Why the Underwear Bomber Picked Detroit

Suspect Abdulmutallab/u.s. marshals photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — Why Detroit?

The Associated Press reports that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, dubbed the “underwear bomber”, thought about blowing up a plane above Houston or Chicago on Christmas day in 2009, but the ticket to Detroit was cheaper.

The AP reported that he considered Houston, where he had gone to school. Instead, he chose a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Northwest Airlines. The bomb never detonated, and he now faces trial in Detroit.

Detroiters, who are often sensitive about the city’s image, won’t be flattered by this latest revelation.

FBI Says Deadly Gang Used Cell Phones From Prison to Give Orders on Outside

Barrio Azteca gang member/doj file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

With modern technology comes modern headaches for law enforcement.

The El Paso Times reports that an FBI agent testified in federal court in El Paso on Wednesday that the violent Barrio Azteca gang leaders in prison gave orders to street soldiers by cell phone.

FBI agent Samantha Mikeska said the cell phones were tapped as part of major probe last year into gang that operates on both sides of the border, the El Paso Times reported.

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Authors Talk About Book on Mass FBI Sting in New Jersey