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Archive for April 12th, 2011

NY Crime Boss Testifies in Court; Makes Mafia History

Joseph Massino/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

In what’s being billed as a first, a boss of one of the five New York crime families took the stand Tuesday to testify in court for the government.

No New York boss had ever done that before, though it’s generally accepted that the code of silence aint’ what it used to be in the mob.

Joseph C.  Massino, 68, who headed the Bonanno Crime Family in New York for 14 years, and is now behind bars, testified in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn against his successor,  Vincent Basicano,  who is accused of killing Bonanno associate Randolph Pizzolo, the New York Daily News reported. Basciano is already serving a life sentence for a murder and racketeering conviction in 2007.

Massino testified Tuesday that while in prison with Basicano, he  recorded him talking about the killing, the Daily News reported.

“He told me that he had him killed,” Massino testified.  “He said he was a scumbag, a rat, a troublemaker, a bad kid.”

The New York Times reported that Massino became a government snitch after his July 2004 conviction for murder and racketeering. At the time, the government talked about going after the death penalty against Massino. But Massino, as part of his plea,  pleaded guilty to eight more murders and got two consecutive life terms. On the upside, his wife and daughter were allowed to keep their homes.

After his conviction, the Times reports, that Massino offered up info that Basciano was plotting to kill a federal prosecutor and U.S. District Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, who is presiding over the current trial.

Attorney Barry Levin, who represented Basciano in a 2006 trial,  told the Times that Massino was a “pathological liar” and that the government “had welcomed him with open arms only to prove they could break a boss.” He also said the prosecution was a waste of millions of dollar of government money considering Basciano is already serving a life sentence.

Basciano faces a possible death sentence if convicted.

Read NY Daily News Story

Read NY Times Story

FBI Intercepted 30,000 Phone Calls in NY Public Corruption Probe

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

That’s a whole lot of chatter.

The New York Daily News reports that the FBI intercepted 30,000 phone calls in a corruption probe involving N.Y. state Sen. Carl Kruger, who is charged with allegedly taking $1 million in bribes to help a developer, a lobbyist and two hospital execs.

The feds also indicted Brooklyn Democrat Assemblyman William Boyland and six others on corruption charges, the Daily News reported.

Prosecutors said Kruger often spoke cryptically,according to the Daily News. He was overhead on a wiretap saying he was “anti-mail … emails are never innocuous … even the weather report.”

FBI Commemorates Deadly 1986 Shootout That Killed 2 Agents and Wounded 5 Others

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi file photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III and former director William Webster were among several hundred law enforcement folks who gathered in North Miami Beach Monday to commemorate the 25th anniversary of one of the most horrific events in the agency’s history that ended with two agents dead and another five wounded, the Associated Press reported.

The incident happened in Miami when William Webster headed up the FBI, and resulted in the agency using more powerful weapons and taking other action to better prepare agents for potentially deadly confrontations, AP reported. Agents Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry Dove were killed.

Others attending the ceremony included  retired agent John F. Hanlon Jr. who was wounded in the incident, AP reported.

“I’m very, very proud of what we did that day. We all did our duty. And we did the best we could,” Hanlon said, according to the AP. “They laid down their lives gallantly for their country.”

On April 11, 1986, the FBI agents tracked down two bank robbers who were responsible for shooting several guards. They forced the robbers in a car  to pull over.

The robbers opened fire with a shotgun and a .223-cal. Ruger Mini-14 rifle, “which packed more power and carried more ammunition than anything the agents had,” AP reported. “Some had semiautomatic handguns and one had a 12-gauge shotgun, but many only were armed only with difficult-to-reload revolvers. Only two wore body armor, and even that wasn’t strong enough to stop the rifle’s rounds.”

Five other agents were shot and wounded including Edmundo Mireles Jr., who shot and killed both suspects, AP reported.

Mueller described the shootout as “one of the most difficult and dangerous days in the history of the bureau,” AP reported.

Since 1925, 36 FBI agents have been killed in the line of duty, AP reported.

FBI Investigating Head of ICE in Fla. For Child Porn

Va. Man Who Plotted to Blow Up D.C. Area Subways Gets 23 Years; Was Caught in FBI Sting

Farooque Ahmed

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — It’s serious prison time for Farooque Ahmed, 35, of Ashburn, Va., who pleaded guilty to plotting to bomb the Washington area subway system.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce in  Alexandria, Va. sentenced Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, to 23 years in prison. Ahmed thought he was plotting with al Qaeda members to blow up the Metro system, when in fact he was dealing with undercover FBI operatives and agents in a sting.

“Mr. Ahmed today admitted he was determined to kill as many people as possible through multiple bombings at the heart of our nation’s capital,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride. “It’s chilling that a man from Ashburn could admit to planning these acts of terrorism, and a 23-year sentence is a just punishment. We are grateful for the outstanding work of the FBI in detecting and disrupting this plot.”

“From his home in Ashburn, Virginia, believing that he was working for Al-Qaeda, Farooque Ahmed plotted to carry out the simultaneous bombing of multiple Metro trains in the D.C. area,” said Todd Hinnen, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

Ahmed was arrested by the FBI on Oct. 27, 2010.

According to court records, Ahmed met with people he thought were with al Qaeda and conducted surveillance and recorded video of Metrorail stations in Arlington, Va., on four occasions.

Suspected Calif. Synagogue Bomber Nabbed in Ohio

Ron Hirsch/fbi photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The nationwide hunt for a transient suspected of bombing a Santa Monica, Calif. synagogue last week ended Monday night with his arrest in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, the FBI said.

The FBI said a citizen tip resulted in the arrest of Ron Hirsch, who had taken a Greyhound bus on the day of last Thursday’s bombing, and was destined for New York, where he has relatives.

“There are at least 10 destinations in between Los Angeles and New York. Additional investigation and video surveillance indicates that Hirsch disembarked the bus in Denver and may have further deviated from his original route,” the FBI said.

The New York Daily News reported that the blast at the Chabad House synagogue “sent a 300-pound concrete-encased pipe ricocheting off the synagogue into a neighboring house where a child was sleeping.” There were no injuries.

Authorities initially thought it was an industrial accident.

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