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Archive for January, 2014

Weekend Series on Crime: Inside the American Mob

Justice Department Searches for Crack Cocaine Convicts to Be Freed from Prison

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A disproportionate number of low-level drug criminals who are behind bars are African Americans sentenced under strict laws from the days of the crack epidemic.

Hoping to correct that disparity, the Justice Department is encouraging defense lawyers to help identify inmates for clemency, the New York Times reports.

Penalties for drug offenses involving crack were often more severe than those with powder cocaine.

So far, Obama has commuted the sentences of eight federal inmates sentenced to harsh sentences because of crack.

“There are more low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who remain in prison, and who would likely have received a substantially lower sentence if convicted of precisely the same offenses today,” Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said. “This is not fair, and it harms our criminal justice system.”

Thieves Break Through Roof of Phoenix Pawn Shop, Steal 36 Handguns

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

This wasn’t your typical store robbery.

Two crooks stole 36 guns after breaking through the roof of a Phoenix pawn shop, Myfoxphoenix.com reports.

Concerned about where those guns are going, the ATF is offering a reward.

The thieves only swiped handguns.

“They have to acquire guns. Certainly the U.S. is no stranger, the south-west border in particular, for being a gun locker if your will being able to obtain guns here through the secondary market. Though illegally purchasing guns and also stealing guns.” said Tim Mangan with ATF.

Centuries-Old Asian Drug Becomes Popular in U.S. Despite Dangers to Users

Kratom leaf

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A euphoric drug that has been used for centuries in Asia is becoming popular in the U.S., CBSLA.com reports.

The DEA is warning about dangers associated with kratom, which officials say is addictive, dangerous and legal in most of the U.S.

“It can give you a happy, euphoric feeling,” one user told CBSLA.com. “I definitely felt more energetic.”

Users compare it the high to a painkiller.

Health officials said the drug is often readily available online and at smoke shops.

Hapless Traveler on Crutches or Drug Peddler? Man Blows Cover with Fake Cast That Contained Kilo of Cocaine

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

At first glance, Daniel Ramirez looked like a hapless taveller on crutches.

But when the 21-year-old was on a train traveling from California to Chicago, DEA task force officers said he looked nervous and suspicious, The Smoking Gun reports.

More alarming, his cast was “uneven in texture, size and shaping not consistent with that of a case applied by a medical professional.”

His cover crumbled – literally – when Ramirez tried to remove his sock, causing the cast to break up.

That’s when agents said they spotted a plastic bag, which contained about a kilo of cocaine.

Ramirez was charged Wednesday with a felony narcotics count.

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Exclusive: Gang Land News Reveals the Snitch in the Lufthansa Airlines Caper

Gang Land News Photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

If you wondered who the snitch was who helped the feds charge a top mobster in the legendary 1978 Lufthansa Airlines robbery, wonder no more.

Mob expert Jerry Capeci of Gang Land News, in an exclusive, reports that the snitch is a “low level hood who for years was in the right place at the right time.”

He writes that the snitch is 67-year-old Gaspare (Gary) Valenti, a cousin of Vincent Asaro, the powerful Bonanno family wiseguy indicted in the heist that netted $6 million.

Capeci writes:

Valenti is an unlikely songbird of the mob’s best-kept secrets. He has a short rap sheet and a shorter mob pedigree, records show. But for many years he was in an excellent position to see what his Cousin Vinny was up to. And the mob tales he spilled to the feds provided the key evidence leading to the arrest of the 78-year-old Asaro for the Lufthansa heist, as well as for a 45 year old murder.

Gang Land News is a paid subscription site, but it’s worth it.

FBI Agent-Turned-Congressman Blasted for Lashing Out at Reporter in Front of Camera

 

Rep. Michael Grimm

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Michael Grimm was considered a hero by many when he won his U.S. House seat in 2010.

But now the lawmaker from Staten Island is trying to prove he’s not a bully ready to come undone, the U.S. News reports.

The former FBI agent who went after Wall Street and was nicknamed by the mob as “Mikey Suits” lashed out so harshly at a reporter following the State of the Union Tuesday.

Grimm threatened to throw reporter Michael Scotto off the “f*****g balcony.”

His time at the FBI was beset with problems, according to the report, which says Grimm “misused authority,” “waved a gun” and made “racially charged comments.”