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Archive for October 20th, 2011

DEA Busts NY Doctor for Writing Scripts to Drug Gang

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A Manhattan doctor has been supplying street gangs with the powerful painkiller Oxycodone for street sale, authorities say.

Dr. Felix Rodriguez was arrested when DEA agents and deputy U.S. Marshals  raided his offices Wednesday morning , reports NBC New York.

The internal medicine doctor wrote hundreds of prescriptions for gang members who allegedly sold the pills-nearly 50,000 of them-for as much as $30 a a piece the street, the station reported.

Rodriguez had been questioned by agents in February. He had told DEA agents that he was addicted to the painkillers and had been writing the prescriptions for patients, who would then return them to him for free medical care.

“Today’s arrests place a doctor whose oath was to keep people healthy, and his drug distribution organization behind bars,” Wilbert L. Plummer, DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge of the N.Y. Office said in a statement.

“Dr. Felix Rodriguez hid behind his white jacket while overseeing and facilitating an oxycodone distribution ring based in the Bronx, New York. The abuse of diverted prescription pain medication is the fastest growing drug problem in our country…”

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Gay Rights Advocates Weigh in on Upcomig J. Edgar Hoover Film that Portrays Him as Gay

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

There has been an avalanche of opinions voiced by ex-FBI agents and current ones over the upcoming film “J Edgar” and his portrayal as being gay. Now, some Gay rights advocates are weighing in.

“I don’t know specifically why current officers object to the claim that Hoover was gay,” Jacob Appel, a New York-based lawyer that has written and advocated for gay and lesbian rights, told ticklethewire.com. “If their concern is solely for historical accuracy, and they don’t feel there is evidence to support that claim, then that’s certainly a reasonable position.”

“On the other hand, if these individuals actually believe that being gay would somehow tarnish Hoover’s image–and I sincerely hope that no one in the FBI holds such deeply misguided views today–then their positions would reflect the sort of bigotry and ignorance that have no place in civilized society,” said Appel.

Clint Eastwood is producing the film and Leonard DiCaprio is playing the legendary Hoover. The film, scheduled for general release on Nov. 11, reportedly portrays Hoover as having a romantic relationship with Clyde Tolson, his number two man in the bureau.

Some agents, and particularly some retired agents who still idolize Hoover, credit him with building a world-class law enforcement agency, and have expressed concern about his portrayal as being gay.

Many say there’s no evidence that Hoover was gay. Instead, they argue that he was married to the job and that he was essentially asexual.

“I find it interesting that Hollywood has no proof of Hoover being a homosexual, a story that was sparked by a discredited author,” former FBI official Anthony Riggio recently wrote in a column for ticklethewire.com. “Yet it tickled the media’s fancy and now the media can’t get over it, and every chance they get, they herald this unfounded suspicion.”

Then again, there are some FBI agents today who simply could care less.

Eastwood has caught some flack for the portrayal, but defends the film.

“It’s not a movie about two gay guys,” Eastwood told GQ. “It’s a movie about how this guy manipulated everybody around him and managed to stay on through nine presidents. I mean, I don’t give a crap if he was gay or not.”

DiCaprio says he’s not sure of Hoover’s sexual orientation.

“If I were a betting man, I actually don’t know what I would bet,” he told GQ.

Some gay rights advocates concerns are not just over the negative reactions from some FBI and former FBI agents, but of Hoover himself.

Rod Hearne, the Executive Director of the Seattle-based Equal Rights Washington,  comments:

“In 2011 it’s hard to imagine that two such powerful, unmarried, near-constant companions as J Edgar Hoover and Clyde Tolson would be seen as anything but gay.

“If the FBI and J Edgar Hoover’s friends and associates resist the notion that the blackmailing, extorting, empire-building, racist, homophobic man was gay, fine, whatever they wish to think. The straights can have him.”

Author Ronald Kessler, who penned the book “The Secrets of the FBI”, wrote in an article on the website Newsmax:  “Hoover and Tolson, both bachelors, were inseparable. They ate lunch together every day and dinner together almost every night. They vacationed together, staying in adjoining rooms, and they took adoring photos of each other.”

The relationship with Tolson, he wrote,  “points to Hoover’s being gay.  Most telling, when Hoover’s will was probated, Tolson received his estate  estimated at $560,000 … the equivalent of $2.9 million today. The bequest to Tolson was the final word on the closeness of their relationship and another indicator that Hoover was gay.” Kessler called the movie’s portrayal of their relationship a “legitimate dramatization.”

Appel, the New York lawyer, says if there is evidence that Hoover was gay, or for that matter, a cross dresser as some have suggested,  it would be a matter of “public historical interest…especially in light of his fierce and nearly monomaniacal persecution of gays and lesbians throughout his career.”

Bit what is far more important, he said, is “to remember the shameful legacy that Mr. Hoover left this country with in regard to his persistent hounding of ethnic, sexual and ideological minorities … Mr. Hoover squandered tax-payer dollars in a bizarre and longstanding effort to expose the supposed (and extraordinarily unlikely) homosexuality of Adlai Stevenson, one of our nation’s great statesmen and patriots.”

Appel called Hoover a “divisive and destructive figure, whether or not he slept with Clyde Tolson.”

But not all the gay rights advocates have such pointed views.

Christian Berle, the Executive Director at Log Cabin Republicans, which works within the Republican party and advocates for gay and lesbian rights, was far more cautious in his statement to ticklethewire.com:

“Speculation as to J. Edgar Hoover’s sexuality has a long history, and it is natural that Clint Eastwood might want to explore that angle in this film. At the same time, it is understandable that members of the FBI and those who value his memory would be concerned that Hoover’s story be treated with respect and dignity. Whatever Hoover’s orientation may have been, the world today is a much different place than when he was at the helm of the FBI, and Americans can be proud that today’s FBI has a solid record of nondiscrimination.”

Most certainly the controversy over the movie’s portrayal of Hoover’s sexuality will help bolster tickets sales.

Nontheless, Warner Bros.. which is producing the film,  is remaining equally tight-lipped about the portrayal.

“We respectfully decline to comment on the portrayal (of Hoover’s sexual orientation), “their online press spokeswoman Anne Chun told ticklethewire.com.

The film is scheduled for a limited release on Nov. 9 in  Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. The film opens nation-wide on Nov. 11.

Justice Dept. Being Hard-nosed About Leaks: Still Fighting to Get NY Times Reporter to Disclose Sources

Reporter James Risen

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Nearly three years into the Obama administration, the Justice Department appears to be as hard-nosed about challenging reporters’ rights to protect confidential sources as it was under the Bush administration.

The latest: The Justice Department has gone to the Court of Appeals to challenge District judge, who ruled that New York Times investigative reporter James Risen did not have to disclose his sources at the trial of a CIA officer accused of leaking top secret info, Politico’s Josh Gerstein reported.

The Justice Department on Wednesday filed the papers challenging U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema’s ruling in July.

At the time, the judge ruled that Risen’s testimony was covered by a “reporter’s privilege,” and that the government failed to show that information was essential to proving its case, Politico reported. Risen works out the Time’s Washington bureau.

Politico reported that ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was indicted last year on charges of disclosing to Risen info about the agency’s efforts to undermine Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Trial, which was set to begin this month, has been delayed because of the appeal.

The executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Lucy Dalglish, called the appeal troubling but not surprising.

“I’m not surprised at all,” Dalglish told Politico.  “The Obama administration has made it absolutely clear they detest leakers and they are going to be very aggressive against leakers.”

 

Feds Convict Lt. to Colombian Drug Kingpin

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

A top lieutenant to a Colombian drug kingpin was convicted in a Manhattan court this week of conspiring to import and distribute cocaine and heroine, according to a Justice Department press release.

Jose Mosquera-Prado, 36, was a top lieutenant in Francisco Gonzalez Uribe’s international narcotics-trafficking organization, says the Justice Department, and was convicted after a two-week jury trial. The organization shipped tons of cocaine and heroine throughout Central and South America, as well as Europe.

DEA agents seized large quantities of narcotics from members of Mosquera-Prado’s drug ring during two undercover operations in early 2009, when Mosquera-Prado was intercepted on recorded telephone calls arranging for the shipment of drugs to New York City. The drugs seized had an estimated value of $2 million. DEA agents worked cooperatively with the governments of both Colombia and the Domician Republic, says the Justice Department.

Each of Mosquera-Prado’s charges-one for importing the drugs and one for distributing them-carries a maximum life sentence. Sentencing is scheduled for  next April 20.

Mosquera-Prado’s boss, Gonzalez Uribe, was considered a Consolidated Priority Target (CPOT) by the Justice department, a designation reserved for “the most dangerous and prolific traffickers in the world.” He was arrested in the Dominic Republic in 2009 and later pled guilty to conspiracy charges of narcotics importation and distribution, then sentenced to 30 years in prison.

FBI Dir. Mueller Honored Along With Some Who Played Role in Russian Spy Network

FBI Dir. Robert Mueller/fbi file photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

FBI Director Robert Mueller was awarded one of the Justice Departments highest honors on Wednesday for his “outstanding professionalism and exemplary integrity,” reports CNN.

The award was one of more than 300 commendations, forty-nine of them among intelligence officials, including counterespionage agents, for their roles in catching 10 Russian secret agents in the summer of 2010.

The Russian “deep cover” operatives had carefully constructed false identities. FBI agents had decrypted the agents’ messages back to Moscow and conducted extensive surveillance, using an “exceptionally creative and tenacious multiyear investigation.”

New Deputy Director Sean Joyce accepted the award for Mueller, who was traveling for “personal business,” according to CNN. The award is named after US Attorney General Edward Levi

Another 65 law enforcement officials were commended for their work in the investigation and prosecution of Faisal Shahzad and n attempted  May 2010 bombing in Times Square.

To read more click here.

 

FBI Probing Airplane Outburst that Grounded Flight

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is investigating a Florida man’s airplane outburst that caused a Southwest Airlines flight to make an emergency landing in Texas on Tuesday.

It was a complete shock to Ali Reza Shahsavari’s family when news came that the 29-year-old was arrested on charges of interfering with a flight crew, according to FloridaToday.com.

Authorities initially claimed that Shahsavari tried to break into the cockpit, but later recanted that part, saying he was “unruly and had confronted the cabin crew,” according to the Florida website.

“I have no idea what happened; he has no issues,” said his father, Mohammad Shahsavari. “They were supposed to come home. One of our friends is getting married.”

“The FBI continues to investigate, but initial indications are that there was no terrorist intent,” FBI Special Agent Mark White in Dallas said, according to the paper.

To read more click here.