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Federal Agents Seize $30M Worth of Drugs in ‘Sophisticated’ Smuggling Tunnel

Drugs found inside a half-mile tunnel. Via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Federal agents seized thousands of pounds of drugs in a “sophisticated” smuggling tunnel that extends from a warehouse in Mexico to another warehouse in San Diego.

Inside the half-mile tunnel were 1,300 pounds of cocaine, 86 pounds of methamphetamine, 17 pounds of heroin, 3,000 pounds of marijuana and more than two pounds of fentanyl worth nearly $30 million, ICE announced in a news release.

The tunnel included reinforced walls, ventilation, lighting and an underground rail system.

“I’m proud of the excellent work performed by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents, as well as U.S. Border Patrol and Drug Enforcement Administration agents as integrated partners of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force. Their tenacity made the difference in shutting down this tunnel,” said Cardell T. Morant, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Diego. “I hope this sends a clear message that despite the ongoing public health crisis, HSI and our law enforcement partners will remain resilient and continue to pursue criminal organizations responsible for the cross-border smuggling of narcotics into the United States.”

Nearly 9,000 Homeland Security Employees Quarantined Or Infected with Coronavirus

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Nearly 300 Homeland Security employees have confirmed coronavirus infections and more than 8,500 have been quarantined at a time when the agency is needed to combat the highly contagious disease.

An internal Homeland Security report obtained by the Los Angeles Times identifies 292 employees who have tested positive for COVID-19 and 8,524 who are under quarantine.

Homeland Security plays a critical role in combating the virus, with departments such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Transportation Security Administration, the Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“These numbers underscore the risks that the men and women at DHS are taking every day to protect public safety,” John Sandweg, former acting director of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in the Obama administration, said. “Measures can and should be taken to protect the workforce, including limiting operations to only those that are only mission critical to protect national security and public safety.”

The union that represents Border Patrol employees said the Trump administration is “exposing them to dangers that are unnecessary.”

“I don’t think the agency is doing enough to protect agents or individuals we come in contact with, period,” said Brandon Judd, president of the union.

Judd said six Border Patrol agents have confirmed infections and an addition 42 have been quarantined.

Coronavirus Fears Don’t Stop Construction of the Border Wall in Arizona

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Construction on the wall on the Arizona border with Mexico has not stopped as the coronavirus outbreak spreads rapidly across the U.S.

Work crews are filling up motels, Airbnbs and mobile home camps in the town of Ajo, while nonessential construction has stopped in most of the country, The New York Times reports.

The theory is that the wall will prevent the spread of the virus from Mexico to the U.S., even though health experts are skeptical.

In the meantime, residents in Ajo are worried that the influx of workers make them more susceptive to the coronavirus.

“This administration’s priority is to get the wall done. The rest of us might as well be damned,” Ajo resident Maria Singleton told the Times.

According to an Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Raini Brunson, the agency is following “government and CDC guidelines” as construction increases.

“As the guidance changes, decisions will be made as to how contractor employees will be affected,” Brunson added.

Jeffrey S. Sallet Named Executive Assistant Director of Human Resources at FBI Headquarters

Jeffrey Sallet

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Jeffrey S. Sallet has been named executive assistant director of the Human Resources Branch at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In his new role, Sallet will be responsible for overseeing the Human Resources, Training, Security, and Finance and Facilities Divisions.

Sallet previously served served as the associate executive assistant director of the Finance and Facilities Division.

Sallet’s career with the FBI career began in the New York Field Office, where he investigated public corruption, labor racketeering, organized crime, and counterterrorism cases. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he investigated how the attacks were funded and tracked al Qaeda’s financial assets.

From 2005 to 2007, Sallet served as a supervisory special agent in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters, managing La Cosa Nostra investigations.

In 2007, Sallet became a supervisory special agent at the Providence Resident Agency in Rhode Island, which is a satellite office of the Boston Field Office.

In 2008, he began serving as supervisory senior resident agent in charge of all counterterrorism, public corruption, civil rights, government fraud, and organized crime investigations in Rhode Island.

In 2012, Sallet became assistant special agent in charge in the Boston Field Office, overseeing white-collar crime, public corruption, health care fraud, and civil rights matters. He also led the multi-law enforcement investigation of the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013.

In 2014, Sallet served as chief of the Public Corruption/Civil Rights Section in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters.

He was named special agent in charge of the New Orleans Field Office in 2015 and then held the same position at the Chicago office in 2017.

In 2019, Sallet became associate executive assistant director of the Finance and Facilities Division.

Before joining the FBI, Sallet worked in the private sector as an auditor and forensic accountant. He is a certified public accountant and a certified financial forensics professional.

New York Man Coughed on FBI Agents, Claiming He Had Coronavirus, Authorities Say

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A New York man who said he had the coronavirus coughed on FBI agents while they were arresting him Monday for allegedly lying about the sale of medical supplies, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Jersey.

Baruch Feldheim, 43, of Brooklyn, was charged with assaulting a federal officer and making false statements to law enforcement.

Federal authorities say Feldheim was hoarding life-saving equipment and then selling it for inflated prices. He’s accused of selling a doctor about 1,000 masks for $12,000, a markup of 700%.

Another doctor told investigators that the alleged fraudster had hoarded enough medical supplies “to outfit an entire hospital.” Those items include surgical supplies, hand sanitizers, Clorox wipes, and chemical cleaning supply agents.

When agents approached Feldheim outside his house, they kept a safe distance due to coronavirus fears.

“When the agents were within four to five feet of him, Feldheim allegedly coughed in their direction without covering his mouth,” the US attorney’s release said. “At that point, Feldheim told the FBI agents that that he had the Coronavirus,” the statement said.

85+ TSA Workers Have Tested Positive for Coronavirus in At Least 18 States

Coronavirus infections among TSA employees, via TSA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

More than 85 TSA employees have tested positive for the coronavirus in at least 18 states.

In just the past two weeks, 61 TSA screeners and 22 non-screening employees have become infected with the coronavirus. Another five or so screeners tested positive more than two weeks ago.

TSA screeners have a lot of contact with countless travelers, making them vulnerable to transmission.

“TSA is working with the CDC and state and local health departments to monitor local situations as well as the health and safety of our employees and the traveling public,” the agency says on a site that tracks the infections. “Impacted security checkpoints may close as needed, so you may be redirected to other security screening checkpoints at the airport. TSA officers remain dedicated to their mission to ensure that travelers can get to their destinations as safely and securely as possible.”

Three TSA screeners in northern California were the first to test positive on March 11.

Homeland Security officials plan to provide the workers with expired N95 respirator masks found inside a U.S. government warehouse in Indiana.

David Schlendorf Named Associate Executive Assistant Director of FBI’s Finance and Facilities Division

David Schlendorf, left, administers the oath of office to members of the Honors Internship Program at FBI headquarters. Via FBI.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

David Schlendorf, the former assistant director of the FBI’s Human Resources Division, has been named associate executive assistant director of the Finance and Facilities Division at FBI headquarters.

In his new role, Schlendorf will oversee the bureau’s finances, facilities, and logistics functions and serve as a chief financial officer.

Schlendorf’s FBI career began in 2003, when was a special assistant to the chief financial officer. In 2007, Schlendorf was elevated to deputy resource planning officer.

In 2010, he served as the assistant director of the Resource Planning Office, where he oversaw the FBI’s $4.8 billion personnel budget and the allocation of employee positions.

In 2016, Schlendorf was named assistant director of the Human Resources Division, overseeing the recruitment and hiring of thousands of FBI employees, the development of FBI leadership, and the delivery of human resources services.

Schlendorf created the bureau’s special advisor program, which recruited top business school graduates to assist FBI executives with high-impact projects. He also founded the FBI’s Internal Advisory Group, which helps executives solve complex business challenges.

Before joining the FBI, Schlendorf was an associate with The Beacon Group and an analyst with Bowles, Hollowell, Conner & Co.

Schlendorf earned an undergraduate degree from Duke University and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

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