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Archive for June, 2013

Weekend Series on Crime: The DEA Battle in Colombia

Reputed Mob Boss ‘Whitey’ Bulger Loses Temper During Murder, Racketeering Trial

 

Whitey Bulger

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Reputed mob boss James “Whitey”  Bulger lost his cool in court for the second time in his three-week-old trial for murder and racketeering, The New York Times reports.

Bulger became agitated while one of the government witnesses, John Morris, a former FBI witness, was testifying about Bulger’s role as an FBI informant. Bulger used an expletive and called Morris a liar, according to The Times.

Bulger has sought to show he was not an informant during his alleged reign in Boston.

“Whether it’s the ego of the defendant or his reputation he wants to preserve that he was not an informant,” Fred Wyshak, the lead prosecutor, said. “it’s a ridiculous contention.”

Opinion: Where’s the Outrage Over NSA Surveillance of Americans Phone Calls, E-Mails?

 
By JENNIFER STISA GRANICK and CHRISTOPHER JON SPRIGMAN
New York Times

The twin revelations that telecom carriers have been secretly giving the National Security Agency information about Americans’ phone calls, and that the N.S.A. has been capturing e-mail and other private communications from Internet companies as part of a secret program called Prism, have not enraged most Americans. Lulled, perhaps, by the Obama administration’s claims that these “modest encroachments on privacy” were approved by Congress and by federal judges, public opinion quickly migrated from shock to “meh.”

It didn’t help that Congressional watchdogs — with a few exceptions, like Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky — have accepted the White House’s claims of legality. The leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, and Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, have called the surveillance legal. So have liberal-leaning commentators like Hendrix Hertzberg and David Ignatius. 

This view is wrong — and not only, or even mainly, because of the privacy issues raised by the American Civil Liberties Union and other critics.

To read more click here.

Column: DEA Agent’s Death a Reminder of Courage in a Dangerous World and the Good Work of the DEA Survivors Benefit Fund

James Watson

 Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.
 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

DEA Special Agent James “Terry” Watson had spent an enjoyable evening with friends at a Bogota restaurant watching Game 7 of the Heat-Spurs NBA Championship game. He was assigned to Cartagena but was in the Colombian capital as part of his duties.

Agent Watson knew how dangerous being in law enforcement could be but he had regularly volunteered for the most challenging assignments all over the globe. Like during one of his three deployments in Afghanistan for DEA in 2009 when he and Army Special Forces were under fire from 500 Taliban in the Farah Province. Or when he rappelled down 3,000 foot rock facings in the mountains near Pakistan to bomb heroin dens. He had also volunteered for difficult cases in Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Panama.

A short distance from the Bogota restaurant Terry Watson was stabbed and ran a block before collapsing. Several assailants immediately fled the scene without taking any money or other property. He died en route to a medical clinic.

Bogota police have arrested six men for the murders, and the Justice Department has indicated its intention to seek extradition. The police have announced their conclusion that the murder was part of a random robbery, but others have doubts because of the circumstances of the assault and question whether Agent Watson’s successful investigations of high level drug traffickers in Colombia was the real motive behind murder.

At his memorial service on Wednesday at the Rayville, Louisiana, Richland Arts Center near where he had grown up in Holly Ridge, his family said, “Terry dedicated his life to serving the public and making the world a better and safer place. Terry never wasted a minute of his life and never took it for granted.”

Agent Watson had recently married Fadia Margarita de la Rosa Watson, whom he had met during his service in Colombia.

Another DEA agent who had also been assigned to Cartagena during his deployment there told me that he was constantly aware of the potential for violence during his term. No matter how careful an agent was, if he did his job, the cartels were always in the front part of his mind. Years later he remembers his time there as an ordeal that required him to always remain aware of surroundings. But he also knew that even this awareness was no guarantee that he would survive the assignment.

Earlier articles in this column have made plain my own position that responsibility for these deaths and violence, both to Americans and those in Central America, civilians and law enforcement, can be directly traced to America’s insatiable appetite for the drugs.

Read more »

DEA Launches ‘Largest’ Ever Worldwide Crackdown on Synthetic Drugs

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA has launched what it calls its “largest ever” crackdown on synthetic drugs, arresting more than 150 people in 49 cities and five countries, the U.S. News & World Report writes.

The bust is good news for authorities who have seen the devastating impact of designer synthetic drugs, which often are marketed to teens as a harmless product such as bath salts or herbal incense. Users have suffered from seizures, hallucinations, significant organ damage and even death, according to the DEA.

More than 225 people were arrested.

“This is a significant seizure of synthetic drugs and is a terrific result for our respective law enforcement agencies,” said Graham Fletcher, Australia’s acting ambassador to the United States, in the DEA statement. “Australia remains committed to sharing intelligence with its U.S. partners to combat transnational crime across international borders. This is a win for our collective communities.”

Court Releases Two of Six Men Arrested in Death of DEA Agent in Colombia

 

James Watson

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Colombian court released two of six men arrested in the murder of a DEA agent, the Associated Press reports.

Defense attorneys said prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence to hold the two suspects in the death of DEA agent James Watson, who was known as “Terry.”

Authorities said Watson, 43, was killed during an apparent robbery attempt while getting into a taxi.

The two freed men were taxi drivers and have insisted they did nothing wrong, the AP wrote.

Watch Underground ATF Agent Snag Would-Be Robber on Surveillance

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