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News Story

Feds Seize a Record 16.5 Tons of Cocaine Worth $1B+ in Philadelphia

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal authorities seized more than $1 billion worth of cocaine at the Philadelphia Port, calling it the largest coke bust in the history of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the third largest in the U.S.

The DEA bust netted 16.5 tons of cocaine from seven shipping containers found in a cargo ship docked at the Packer Marine Terminal, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.

Federal authorities arrested two members of the crew, Ivan Durasevic and Fonofaavae Tiasag.
Authorities said the ship appears to have originated from Chile and traveled to Peru, Columbia and Panama.

“This amount of cocaine could kill millions – MILLIONS – of people,” Philadelphia-based U.S. Attorney William McSwain said on Twitter, “My Office is committed to keeping our borders secure and streets safe from deadly narcotics.”

Jury Convicts Reputed Gang Member in Shooting Death of ATF Agent in Chicago

Ernesto Godinez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A reputed gang member accused of shooting an ATF agent in Chicago last year has been convicted.

A federal jury found Ernesto Godinez guilty Monday in the death of the agent, who was killed when a bullet tore through his neck and exited between his eyes on May 4, 2018.

Godinez, 29, will be sentenced Sept. 19.

Police said the agent was placing a tracker on Godinez’s car when the reputed gang member ambushed the agent and opened fire. Prosecutors said Godinez, who was arrested three days later, believed he was shooting a rival gang member.

Surveillance cameras captured Godinez before and after the shooting.

Godinez’s attorney acknowledges his client was in the area the morning of the shooting, but insists Godinez was not involved in the shooting. The 12-member jury didn’t buy that.

Godinez faces up to 20 years in prison.

FBI Names Jennifer C. Boone As Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore Field Office

Jennifer Boone, special agent in charge of the Baltimore Field Office.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI has named Jennifer C. Boone, a 22-year veteran of the bureau, as special agent in charge of the Baltimore Field Office.

Boone most recently served as special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Field Office, where he career began with the FBI in 1997, working multiple investigative programs.

Boone later served in both the Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence divisions at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C. At one point, she was detailed to the U.S. Senate.

In 2009, the FBI promoted her to a supervisory special agent, and she led a counterintelligence squad at the Washington Field Office.

Boone later served as director in Intelligence Programs for the National Security Council at the White House before being promoted to an assistant agent in charge of the Philadelphia Field Office, focusing on the Counterintelligence and Cyber Branch.

In early 2016, Boone returned to Washington D.C. as chief of the Counterproliferation Center. She was later named deputy assistant director in the Counterintelligence Division at the bureau’s headquarters.

In 2018, the FBI named Boone the special agent in charge of Cyber and Counterintelligence at the Los Angeles Field Office.

Boone, who is a certified FBI negotiator, received a bachelor’s of science degree in foreign service and a master’s degree from Georgetown University.

Trump Pledges to Deport ‘Millions’ of Undocumented Immigrants

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump warned Monday night that ICE will be deporting “millions” of undocumented immigrants beginning next week.

“Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in,” Trump tweeted.

The announcement came one day before Trump is expected to announce his re-election bid.

An administration official told The Associated Press that the deportation will target more than 1 million people who remain at large after receiving final deportation orders by federal judges.

The threat of mass arrests prompted many on Twitter to compare the actions to Kristallnacht, a reference to Nazis rounding up tens of thousands of Jewish people and taking them to concentration camps. Others said the comparison is offensive to Jews who ended up massacred and their communities burned.

Whatever the case, mass arrests by ICE typically aren’t announced.

California Man Charged After FBI Found Threats of a Mass Shooting at Synagogue

Ross Farca

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A San Francisco Bay Area man has been charged after the FBI discovered online threats of a mass shooting at a synagogue.

Ross Farca, 23, of Concord pleaded not guilty to making criminal threats, possession of an illegal assault rifle and manufacturing an assault rifle, The Associated Press reports.

A search warrant uncovered an illegal AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, a high-capacity magazine, Nazi literature and camouflage clothes.

Authorities said he built a complete weapon after legally buying an AR-15 rifle frame.

Farca’s online threats included shooting law enforcement.

The inspiration for a future attack came from the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand and the Poway synagogue shooting in San Diego, authorities said.

“I would probably get a body count of like 30 (Jews) and then like five police officers because I would also decide to fight to the death,” court records say Farca wrote in one online post.

‘More Than 10,000 spies’ Roam Washington D.C. for Secrets, And They’re Hard to Identify

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Among the civil servants, business people, diplomats, tourists and law enforcement officials in Washington D.C. are “more than 10,000 spies,” according to the International Spy Museum.

Although the actual numbers are in debate, the FBI agrees the city is flush with spies.

“It’s unprecedented — the threat from our foreign adversaries, specifically China on the economic espionage and the espionage front,” Brian Dugan, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, told WTOP for a three-part series on espionage.

The spies come from all over, and they’re increasingly using technology in an attempt to steal secrets. After all, Washington D.C. is home to more than 175 foreign embassies, chanceries, residences and diplomatic missions. Then there are tens of thousands of international students, and an “untold number of business people with links to foreign intelligence services,” WTOP reported.

“A spy is nondescript. A spy is going to be someone that’s going to be a student in school, a visiting professor, your neighbor. It could be a colleague or someone that shares the soccer field with you,” Dugan said.

Highly skilled spies are trained to become virtually invisible to unsuspecting people, and they’re elusive to even the most trained spy hunters.

Among the most troublesome spies are Russians.

“The Russians are hyper focused on the United States,” John Sipher, a retired CIA official. “They see us as their main adversary, the main enemy. All the elements of state power — whether it be their diplomatic service or intelligence services or police services — are focused on the United States.”
Robert Baer, who was a covert operative for the CIA for decades, said it’s not easy identifying a spy.

“Everybody in the espionage business is working undercover,” Baer said. “So if they’re in Washington, they’re either in an embassy or they’re a businessman and you can’t tell them apart because they never acknowledge what they’re doing. And they’re good, so they leave no trace of their communications.”

One reason spies are becoming so common is they have a lot of people from which to recruit, Dugan said.

“There’s a large population in retirement or getting close to retirement,” Dugan said. “The baby boomers are all leaving and that population is looking for post-government jobs”

He added, “Of course there’s always going to be moments that we’re going to have people decide to cooperate with the enemy.”

Weekend Series on Crime History: Dick Cheney on Watergate and the Presidency

Advocates Discover Premature Baby in a Crowded Border Patrol Facility

A detention center, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorneys visiting a crowded Border Patrol facility in Texas made a startling discovery – a teenage girl in a wheelchair holding a tiny, prematurely born baby.

The lawyers said the baby, wrapped in a dirty towel and looking listless, was barely a month old, The Associated Press reports. The mother was in severe pain because of complications from an emergency cesarean section in Mexico.

“You look at this baby and there is no question that this baby should be in a tube with a heart monitor,” said Hope Frye, a volunteer with an immigrant advocacy group.

Since being in Border Patrol custody, the baby received no medical attention, the lawyers said.

The case sheds more light on the inhumane conditions that have been reported under the Trump administration by advocates and the Inspector General.

Since late last year, five children have died after being detained by the Border Patrol.