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Archive for September 13th, 2019

Weekend Series on Crime History: The FBI in the 1930s

Border Apprehensions Sharply Decline in August. Officials Credit Beefed Up Enforcement

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol saw a significant decline in apprehensions in August, a rare decrease for the month.

The number of undocumented migrants detained for trying to cross the U.S. border in August dropped 22% over July. The decline was even more significant in the San Diego sector, where apprehensions dropped 43% compared to July.

Last year, August apprehensions were higher than July’s.

“This is not due to a seasonal decline,” Chief Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison told reporters Thursday.

Harrison said the decline is likely due to more enforcement from partners, including the newly created Mexico National Guard.

“This is a welcome relief and an indication that our efforts and those of our partners are having significant positive effects,” Harrison said.

Andrew McCabe Failed to Convince DOJ Officials Not to Charge Him

Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe faces the possibility of being charged for allegedly make false or misleading statements to internal investigators.

A top official in Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen’s office notified McCabe Thursday that his lawyers had failed to persuade Justice Department officials to drop the case, The Washington Post reports.

“The Department rejected your appeal of the United States Attorney’s Office’s decision in this matter,” the official wrote, according to one person familiar with the case. “Any further inquiries should be directed to the United States Attorney’s Office.”

It’s not clear yet whether McCabe, a 21-year FBI veteran and a target of President Trump’s ire, would be charged.

An inspector general’s report alleges McCabe lied on at least four occasions – three of which were under oath. After the IG’s report was issued, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe in March 2018, just before his retirement benefits would have kicked in.

McCabe took issue with the report, saying he never intended to mislead investigators.

A Key Federal Source in Jimmy Hoffa Caper Dies at 89

The writer, a Washington investigative journalist specializing in organized crime and political corruption investigations, is a Jimmy Hoffa murder specialist. He is the author of “The Hoffa Wars” (1978) and eight other books. 

By Dan Moldea

Featured_wells_37881
Don and Monica Wells, at their one-time horse farm in Wixom in 2009, which was dug up by the FBI during a 2006 search for Jimmy Hoffa. (Photo: Dan Moldea)

One of the most important federal sources of information about the Jimmy Hoffa murder case was Donovan Wells, who died Sept. 5  at age 89 outside of Detroit. Below is an excerpt of a story I wrote for the 40th anniversary of the Hoffa case in 2015, based partly on interviews with Don and his wife, Monica. I liked and respected him for turning his life around.

♦ ♦ ♦

FBI agents raided a Milford Township farm looking for Hoffa’s remains in May 2006, based on information from Donovan Wells, a former business partner of both Rolland McMaster and Stanton Barr. At the time, Wells was in a federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky. He and his family lived on McMaster’s farm the summer Hoffa disappeared.

The FBI’s search warrant for McMaster’s farm has never been released. But Wells told me in 2009 that he informed the FBI that a large hole had been dug on the north end of the property several weeks before Hoffa’s murder.

In addition, his wife Monica claimed that on the afternoon of Hoffa’s July 30, 1975 disappearance, she saw two or three dark cars speeding onto the property, roaring past the farmhouse on an adjacent dirt road, and heading towards the pre-dug hole.

But what had really piqued the FBI’s interest was what Wells had seen and heard the night before Hoffa’s murder. At a local restaurant, as Wells, McMaster, and Barr were having dinner, mobster and Teamster official Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano – in the flesh – suddenly appeared, slapped his hand on their table, and said: “It’s going to be a great day tomorrow! A great day tomorrow! Right, Mac?” And he slapped McMaster on the back.

Provenzano then asked McMaster to accompany him to the bar for a private conversation.

Featured_jimmy-hoffa-found-2013_23655
Jimmy Hoffa

While they were gone, Wells asked Barr what was going on. Barr replied that Provenzano and Hoffa were meeting the following day to settle their differences—and that Tony Giacalone was making the arrangements for the sitdown.

When Provenzano and McMaster returned to the table, Provenzano pointed to McMaster and Barr and asked, “Do you guys know where you’re going to be tomorrow?”

McMaster responded, “Yeah, we’re all straight on that.”

The FBI never unearthed Hoffa’s remains, or any evidence that he had been killed on McMaster’s farm, but Don Wells—who passed an FBI polygraph test—gave the bureauh important new information about Hoffa’s disappearance in 2006: Rolland McMaster and Tony Pro were together at a restaurant in Detroit on July 29, 1975, the night before Hoffa disappeared. Wells also heard a portion of their conversation which was clearly about Provenzano’s scheduled 2 p.m. meeting with Hoffa on July 30, as well as the need for McMaster and Barr to have established alibis for the afternoon when Hoffa was last seen.

The writer authored a story in July headlined Jimmy Hoffa Vanished 44 Years Ago. Here’s What I Think Happened.