Get Our Newsletter



Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

June 2013
S M T W T F S
« May   Jul »
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Archive for June 18th, 2013

As FBI Digs For Hoffa, Ex-Mobster Zerilli Tries To Sell Autographed Photos

Update: Tuesday, 4 p.m. — Mike Martindale and Candice Williams of the Detroit News report that investigators are shifting focus of the search on a different spot on the site in Oakland Township at Adams and Buell roads after a cadaver dog hit on the location. The News reports the spot isn’t part of a concrete slab authorities unearthed at the site. Ex-mobster Tony Zerilli claims Hoffa was buried under a concrete slab. The News also reported  Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard confirmed the dog’s interest in a new spot, but wasn’t convinced he had a conclusive hit.
Tuesday, 7 p.m. —  The FBI has quit for the day. WDIV’s Kevin Dietz reports that the feds thought they’d find something on the first day. Today was the second day. Skepticism is rising.  The cadaver dog ended up focusing on something that appeared not to be human remains.
 
By Allan Lengel
Deadline Detroit

DETROIT — As FBI agents continue searching today for Jimmy Hoffa’s body in Oakland Township, north of Detroit, you can’t help but wonder how ex-mobster Anthony (Tony Z) Zerilli is profiting.

You see, Zerilli, who briefly headed the Detroit mob before being knocked down to a capo (captain) , told the FBI Hoffa is buried in Oakland Township on a property once owned mob boss Jack Tocco. That prompted the FBI to go digging.

Zerilli, who was in prison at the time of Hoffa’s disappearance in 1975, has made no secret of the fact that he wants to profit from a book on Hoffa. He’s got a website where he’s selling a 21-page manuscript on the Hoffa disappearance for $4.99 online and $7.99 if you want it mailed. There’s talk of him eventually writing a book. In his manuscript, he writes that Hoffa was bound and gagged, hit with a shovel and buried alive in a barn on the property.

At 85, he’s not exactly a rock star. But that hasn’t stopped him from trying to sell signed photos.

He writes on his website:

Due to the overwhelming request for his personally autographed photos, Mr. Zerilli is offering the following 8.5″ x 11″ professional color photos for purchase, with the option for a personally signed photo.

He’s selling the photo, which will be mailed, for $9.99. If you want an autograph, that costs $22.99. If you care for a personal message, well that’s another $12. That’s an offer you can’t refuse.

To read more click here.

The Collision Between Drugs and Environmental Forces in Central America

By Ross Paker
ticklethewire.com

Two months ago this column discussed the effect that America’s insatiable appetite for drugs was having on two contrasting Central American nations—violent and impoverished Honduras and peaceful and idyllic Costa Rica.

Because of the success of DEA and the U.S. military at interdicting South American drug shipments by sea, the Colombian cartels and the Mexican Mafia now move virtually all drugs from South America by land, transporting it through those two countries. The under-resourced law enforcement systems of Honduras and Costa Rica have proven to be no match for the well-armed smugglers.

The latest evidence of this struggle for control in Costa Rica has been a violent incident resulting in the collision between the cartels and powerful environmental forces, a collision likely to accelerate the enhancement of law enforcement resources in that country in its fight against the smugglers.

During the night of May 30th, a popular young biology student, Jairo Mora Sandoval, along with four female volunteers (three Americans and one from Spain), were patrolling a beach on the Caribbean coast to protect the nests of Leatherhead turtles, whose eggs were constantly subject to poachers in the area. The Leatherhead is an endangered species whose eggs illegally sell for a dollar a piece to buyers who believe them to be an aphrodisiac. They are also a dining delicacy in restaurants and sidewalk cafes.

Mora had been an outspoken advocate for increased law enforcement in the area both against poachers and also drug trafficking in nearby Limon. As reported in the earlier column, Limon was the location where two policemen were recently murdered as part of the increased criminal atmosphere in that district. An atmosphere fueled by the invasion of drug smugglers into this peaceful country.

Costa Rica is one of the most eco-friendly places on the planet. The result is that a sizeable portion of the nation’s GDP comes from eco-tourism. A threat to its abundant natural resources is likely to mobilize thousands of environmentalists, as well as threaten an important source of revenue for this prosperous country. Cries for action from both of these sources shake and shape the government’s policies in all respects.

As the five volunteers traveled along the remote Caribbean beach, they were seized by five armed kidnappers. The women were able to escape from the abandoned house where they had been tied up, but Mora’s body was found the next day, tortured and bludgeoned to death. The murder is believed to be a threat by poachers and smugglers to frighten other environmentalists.

The connection between poaching and the drug smugglers has several facets. The cartels use the same beaches where the turtles lay their eggs, in order to bring their product in from boats off the coast for transport to Mexico and the United States. They employ locals for warehousing and overland shipment and frequently pay them with cocaine. This has created a drug user population that often resorts to smuggling the turtle eggs to feed their habit. The population also spawns the other social problems ancillary to drug activity.

The reaction worldwide by environmentalists to the murder has resulted in a crisis in Costa Rica and has prompted the government to pledge to implement a plan to combat poaching and drug trafficking more aggressively.

(For an excellent report on the policy and environmental intricacies of this incident, check out National Geographic’s story here. Thanks to Caleb in Kansas City for the heads up on this story.)

No one has yet pointed the finger at the wealthy northern neighbor, the U.S., whose lucrative market provides the financial incentive for the smuggling cartels. But it would be hard to deny that we share some responsibility for such violent incidents, as well as countless others that threaten the equanimity of this beautiful country.

Which makes it more than fair that we fully respond to requests for help from the beleaguered law enforcement communities in Costa Rica and Honduras, both with financial and advisory support.

 

Ross Parker: The Collision Between Drugs and Environmental Forces in Central America

Ross Parker

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 Paker
ticklethewire.com

Two months ago this column discussed the effect that America’s insatiable appetite for drugs was having on two contrasting Central American nations—violent and impoverished Honduras and peaceful and idyllic Costa Rica.

Because of the success of DEA and the U.S. military at interdicting South American drug shipments by sea, the Colombian cartels and the Mexican Mafia now move virtually all drugs from South America by land, transporting it through those two countries. The under-resourced law enforcement systems of Honduras and Costa Rica have proven to be no match for the well-armed smugglers.

The latest evidence of this struggle for control in Costa Rica has been a violent incident resulting in the collision between the cartels and powerful environmental forces, a collision likely to accelerate the enhancement of law enforcement resources in that country in its fight against the smugglers.

During the night of May 30th, a popular young biology student, Jairo Mora Sandoval, along with four female volunteers (three Americans and one from Spain), were patrolling a beach on the Caribbean coast to protect the nests of Leatherhead turtles, whose eggs were constantly subject to poachers in the area. The Leatherhead is an endangered species whose eggs illegally sell for a dollar a piece to buyers who believe them to be an aphrodisiac. They are also a dining delicacy in restaurants and sidewalk cafes.

Mora had been an outspoken advocate for increased law enforcement in the area both against poachers and also drug trafficking in nearby Limon. As reported in the earlier column, Limon was the location where two policemen were recently murdered as part of the increased criminal atmosphere in that district. An atmosphere fueled by the invasion of drug smugglers into this peaceful country.

Costa Rica is one of the most eco-friendly places on the planet. The result is that a sizeable portion of the nation’s GDP comes from eco-tourism. A threat to its abundant natural resources is likely to mobilize thousands of environmentalists, as well as threaten an important source of revenue for this prosperous country. Cries for action from both of these sources shake and shape the government’s policies in all respects.

As the five volunteers traveled along the remote Caribbean beach, they were seized by five armed kidnappers. The women were able to escape from the abandoned house where they had been tied up, but Mora’s body was found the next day, tortured and bludgeoned to death. The murder is believed to be a threat by poachers and smugglers to frighten other environmentalists.

The connection between poaching and the drug smugglers has several facets. The cartels use the same beaches where the turtles lay their eggs, in order to bring their product in from boats off the coast for transport to Mexico and the United States. They employ locals for warehousing and overland shipment and frequently pay them with cocaine. This has created a drug user population that often resorts to smuggling the turtle eggs to feed their habit. The population also spawns the other social problems ancillary to drug activity.

Read more »

Report: At least 27 Accused Terrorists Prosecuted Under Secret Surveillance Law

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

At least 27 accused terrorists were prosecuted since 2007 using evidence obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Reuters reports.

The FISA cases vary from murder to an 18-year-old American trying to join an al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria.

As early as today, the U.S. government plans to disclose how many terrorist attacks were foiled under the NSA program, which is another surveillance tool used by feds.

FISA warrants were created in 1978 after congressional hearings revealed the U.S. was illegally spying on its residents, Reuters wrote.

FISA requires approval from a judge.

FBI Adds Accused Child Rapist, Murderer to ‘Ten Most Wanted’ list

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A child rapist and an alleged killer are the most recent additions to the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives” list, NBC News reports.

They are the 499th and 500th fugitives to be added to a list that has included Osama bin Laden, Ted Bundy, Whitey Bulger and James Early Ray.

“These individuals are a dangerous menace to society,” said Ron Hosko of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division in a news release. “That’s what got criminals on the Top 10 list 63 years ago, and that’s why we put them on the list today.”

The most recent additions were Jose Manuel Garcia Guevara, who is accused of raping and stabbing a 26-year-old woman in front of her child, and Walter Lee Williams, who allegedly molested children.

Star Government Witness Describes Murders He Says He Committed for ‘Whitey’ Bulger

 
Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An aging mobster and star government witness testified Tuesday that his heart was broken after learning that mob boss and friend James “Whitey” Bulger was an FBI informant, CNN reports.

“It broke my heart. It broke all loyalties,” said John Martorano, an alleged hit man who described the people he said he murdered. 

Bulger is accused of killing 19 people during nearly two decades.

Martorano, who lives on Social Security after serving 12 years in prison, testified that he pulled the trigger while Bulger was along to ensure a successful “hit.”

Ranking Senator Questions Quickness of Confirming New ATF Head B. Todd Jones Gets

Todd Jones

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Ranking Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley said “very troubling allegations” have surfaced that suggest B. Todd Jones, who is President Obama’s choice to head the ATF, retaliated against a whistleblower, The Washington Times reports.

The Iowa senator questioned why the confirmation hearings last week weren’t delayed while an investigation of Jones continues. 

When asked about the whistle-blowing complaints, Jones said he wasn’t familiar with the “substance of the complaints” and declined to comment.

“I must say that the allegations in the complaint are extremely troubling,” Grassley said.

Mystery Continues Over Cause of Border Patrol Agents’ Illness in New York

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Authorities are not sure how six U.S. border agents became ill after inspecting a vehicle at a crossing in northern New York, The Associated Press reports.

The officer became ill Saturday morning while examining a 2002 BMW at the Champlain crossing.

The officers, who were decontaminated on site, have been released from the hospital, The AP wrote.

The driver of the car was charged with marijuana and meth possession.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST