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Archive for March 8th, 2019

Weekend Series on Crime: The Albanian Drug Cartels

Fed Judge in Virginia Defends Lighter Sentence for Paul Manafort

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

U.S. District Court Judge T.S. Ellis III,  a curmudgeonly fellow who’s not shy about speaking his mind, defended his sentencing Thursday of ex-Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. He gave him 48 months, far less than the 20 years Manafort faced under sentencing guidelines.

Speaking before a packed courtroom in Alexandria, Va., he said that anyone who didn’t think the punishment was tough enough should “go and spend a day, a week in jail or in the federal penitentiary. He has to spend 47 months,” according to a report in the Washington Post.

Ellis, who was appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, called that guidelines calculation “excessive.”

San Jose Man Charged With Posing As DEA Agent; Pulled Over Motorists

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A 49-year-old San Jose man is charged with impersonating a DEA agent after he allegedly donned a gold badge and used a Volkswagen Jetta equipped with police lights to stop drivers, including an actual government official, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Authorities arrested Alex E. Taylor last weekend outside his home.

Taylor first came to the attention of federal authorities on Christmas Eve, when he pulled over a U.S. Department of Transportation official at Chelsea and Stratford drives in San Jose, the FBI alleged in an affidavit by agent Jason Cheng.  Taylor was wearing a DEA badge around his neck and identified himself as a DEA agent. He asked the official why she was in such a hurry.

The official said she was heading to church, then reportedly said:

“DEA, huh?” the official reportedly asked Taylor. “Since when does DEA make vehicle stops?”

Taylor insisted he had the authority to issue a ticket. Taylor then told the official to have a nice day and drove off.

The paper reported:

A break in the case came on Feb. 12, when DEA Special Agent Casey Rettig learned that an off-duty Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputy had witnessed a Jetta with red and blue lights stop a tow truck on Highway 17 in November 2018, Cheng wrote. The lights, the deputy noted, did not appear to be of the law enforcement variety.

 

Wife of Missing Ex-FBI Agent Robert Levinson Feels U.S. Hasn’t Done Enough to Pressure Iran

Christine Levinson

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The wife of former FBI agent Robert Levinson is expressing frustration about efforts to locate her husband and bring him back home. He vanished in 2007 while on an unauthorized mission in Iran for the CIA.

Christine Levinson told a House panel Thursday that she holds Iran responsible for the disappearance of her husband, Robert, but she also said three American administrations have failed to press the Tehran government hard enough for his return, CBS News reports.

Robert Levinson

“Time and time again, Bob has been left behind, deprioritized, or seemingly forgotten,” she said at a House hearing on the status of Americans detained in Iran. She believes her husband is alive but U.S. officials haven’t done enough to return him home.

“My husband served this country tirelessly for decades,” she said. “He deserves better from all of us and from our government. He deserves our endless pursuit to bring him home, to fight day and night and leave no stone unturned.”