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El Chapo Gets a Life Sentence for Running the Deadly, Highly Profitable Sinaloa Cartel

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

‘El Chapo’ Guzman

Convicted Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera, best known internationally as “El Chapo,” was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in New York to life, plus 30 years to run consecutive to the life sentence.

“The long road that brought ‘El Chapo’ Guzman Loera to a United States courtroom is lined with drugs, death, and destruction, but ends today with justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski in a statement.  “Thanks to the unflagging efforts of the Department of Justice and the law enforcement community over the past 25 years, this notorious leader of one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in the Western hemisphere, the Sinaloa Cartel, will spend the rest of his life behind bars.”

El Chapo was convicted in February of heading up the Sinaloa Cartel and trafficking drugs and a murder conspiracy. He has been the subject of a popular made-for-TV series on Netflix.

Evidence during trial showed that he was the principal leader of the cartel responsible for importing and distributing more than a million kilograms of cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine and heroin in the United States.

The evidence, according to the Justice Department, included testimony from 14 cooperating witnesses, including Sinaloa Cartel members Rey and Vicente Zambada, Miguel Martinez, Tirso Martinez, Damaso Lopez and Alex Cifuentes; narcotics seizures totaling over 130,000 kilograms of cocaine and heroin; weapons, including AK-47s and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher; ledgers; text messages; videos; photographs and intercepted recordings that detailed the drug trafficking activity of Guzman Loera and his co-conspirators over a 25-year period from January 1989 until December 2014.

A number of co-conspirators testified during trial that El Chapo directed his hitmen to kidnap, interrogate, torture and slaughter members of rival drug organizations. At times, he carried out acts of violence himself.

He also  relied on a vast network of corrupt government officials and employees to protect and promote the interests of the Sinaloa Cartel.

 

CBP Investigating 62 Border Patrol Agents Who Used Demeaning Facebook Page

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

At least 62 current and eight former Border Patrol employees are accused of joining a private Facebook group and other social media pages that mocked migrants and lawmakers.

CBP officials said most of employees were part of a secret Facebook group called “I’m 10-15,” which included offensive content and demeaning posts that targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

One of the posts was an illustration of President Trump pushing the congresswoman’s head toward his crotch. In another post, a member encouraged agents to toss a “burrito at these bitches,” referring to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who were visiting detention centers.

In one post, commenters questioned the authenticity of a now-viral photo of a drowned man and his younger daughter.

Investigators are reviewing images, memes and comments posted on multiple Facebook groups, said Matthew Klein, a Customs and Border Protection assistant commissioner.

“To be clear, the expectations of professional conduct don’t end at the end of the shift,” Klein told journalists. “Those are our expectations of our employees.”

The case was referred to Homeland Security’s watchdog group, which chose not to investigate and returned the case to CBP.

ProPublica first reported on “I’m 10-15,” which had roughly 9,500 members.

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost, who originally responded with repulsion, also posted on the page.

Closing Arguments Began in Trial of Gangster Accused of Shooting FBI Agent

Ronnell Watson, via Instagram

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. attorney told a jury Tuesday to convict a reputed gangbanger accused of ambushing an FBI agent and shooting him in the back in broad daylight in Brooklyn.

“If I were to walk up behind Mr. Navarro right now and shoot him in the back, you’d think ‘he just tried to kill that guy,’” Donoghue said of his co-counsel, assistant U.S. attorney Francisco Navarro, during closing arguments in the attempted murder trial of Ronell Watson, NY Post reports.  “And you’d be right. Mr. Watson intended to kill when he aimed that loaded firearm and at Agent Harper’s back and fired.”

Watson, a reported Crips gang member, is accused of attempted murder of a federal officer, assault of a federal officer and possessing and discharging a firearm on Dec. 8, 2018. At the time, FBI Special Agent Christopher Harper was on surveillance assignment with other agents when Watson approached his vehicle.

Moments after Harper was shot, he was heard telling an NYPD office, “I’m gonna die, I’m gonna die.”

Harper survived the shooting after suffering a collapsed lung, a broken rib and fractured shoulder blade.

Defense attorney Michelle Gelernt claims his client panicked when he saw a strange car with tinted windows quickly approaching him.

“Ronell Watson was no assassin,” she said. “He’s just as afraid of agent Harper as agent Harper is of him.”

Watson faces up to life in prison.

Armed Man Fatally Shot After Throwing ‘Incendiary Device’ at ICE Detention Center

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An armed 69-year-old man was fatally shot by police after he allegedly threw “incendiary devices” at an ICE detention center in Tacoma, Washington early Saturday.

Tacoma police shot William Van Spronsen following a confrontation with officers outside Tacoma’s North West Detention Center, ABC News reports.

Police were notified about the man armed with a rifle outside of the facility.

“It was reported the male was throwing incendiary devices at the Detention Center and then at vehicles in the parking lot,” a Tacoma Police Department statement said. “A vehicle was set on fire. The male attempted to ignite a large propane tank and set out buildings on fire. The male continued throwing lit objects at the buildings and cars.”

No police were injured.

It wasn’t immediately clear what motivated Van Spronsen.

Trump’s Threats of Large-Scale ICE Raids Never Materialized

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump threatened mass roundups of undocumented immigrants over the weekend, but nothing remotely close to that happened.

There were only scattered reports of ICE raids in New York City and a small town in Florida.

Raids expected in major cities, including Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Denver, Philadelphia and Atlanta, never happened, at least not on a large scale. Many of those cities only saw large protests, which underscore the anxiety nationwide as immigrant communities grapple with what’s next.

Mayors in Los Angeles and New York City criticized Trump’s threats.

“Here’s the blunt truth: @realDonaldTrump isn’t trying to ‘secure our borders.’ He’s trying to make America HATE again,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted.

Ice declined to comment on the raids – or lack of them.

“As always, ICE prioritizes the arrest and removal of unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security,” an ICE spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal.

White House officials walked back some of the threats of large-scale raids.

“I take issue with the word ‘raids,’” Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary and communications director, said Sunday. “These are law enforcement officials carrying out law enforcement operations as they have done in the past and will continue to do.”

Weekend Series on Crime History: The Watergate Hearings

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Border Patrol Chief Not Only Knew about Secret FB Page, She Posted on It

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost responded with repulsion when a news agency discovered a secret Facebook group filled with racist, demeaning and sexist content.

“These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out,” Provost said in a statement after Intercept revealed the group’s vulgar messages. “Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”

Turns out, Provost posted on the Facebook group’s page, known as “I’m 10-15,” two months after she was appointed to lead the agency. The group is for current and former border agents.

While her comments were harmless, her posts show she knew about the group before Intercept wrote about it.

The Facebook group included offensive content and demeaning posts that targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
 One of the posts was an illustration of President Trump pushing the congresswoman’s head toward his crotch. In another post, a member encouraged agents to toss a “burrito at these bitches,” referring to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who were visiting detention centers.

In one post, commenters questioned the authenticity of a now-viral photo of a drowned man and his younger daughter.

When ProPublica approached CBP about the Facebook group, Provost pledged to launch an investigation.

Last week, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, sent a letter asking Homeland Security’s office to investigate whether Provost or any other leaders previously knew about the group.

Thompson responded to Intercept after it revealed Provost posted on the page.

“This is why I have requested a full investigation into this matter,” Thompson said in a statement. “We need to know who in CBP leadership knew about these deplorable groups, when did they find out, and what action they took, if anything.”

Border Apprehensions Sharply Decline in June After Large Spike

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of migrants detained after crossing the Southwest border dropped in June for the first time this year.

Homeland Security announced a 28% decline in apprehensions from the previous month, with about 104,000 migrants detained in June.

While the flow of migrants typically slows down in the hotter summer months, the decline was steeper than expected. The number of apprehensions so far this year is 140% higher than the same time period last year.

“We are still in an ongoing border security and humanitarian crisis,” the department said in a statement. “We are past the breaking point and in a full-blown emergency. This situation should not be acceptable to any of us.”

The influx of migrants has caused crowded, unsanitary conditions at detention centers.