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Tag: Alabama

Theft Trial for ATF Senior Agent in Alabama is Delayed

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Trial in Birmingham, Ala., for senior ATF agent Jay Bagwell, who is charged with theft, has been delayed as a result of back surgery, AL.com reports.

The “prescribed pain medication renders the defendant unable to effectively participate in the defense of his case,” U.S. Chief Judge Karon O Bowdre wrote. The trial will resume when he recovers.

An indictment alleges that in November 2014 Bagwell “embezzled, stole, purloined, and knowingly converted to his use and the use of another, a thing of value of the United States and of any department or agency thereof.” The indictment only says that the amount of money exceeds $1,000.

“It is our privilege to represent Jay Bagwell, a twenty-five year veteran ATF agent. If a thorough investigation had been conducted by the government, and Mr. Bagwell allowed to provide documentation, this charge would have never existed,” defense attorney Lance Bell said. “We have provided documentation to the government to exonerate this charge and restore Mr. Bagwell’s good name. I wish that I could say more at this time, but I think that the end result will speak for itself.

More Than 50 Girls Receive Creepy Package at Schools in Southeast

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

More than 50 girls in elementary schools across the Southeast have received unsolicited packages from someone claiming to be a mentally disabled 14-year-old who has been the target of bullying.

The FBI and local police are investigating why someone posing as “Atur Bhuck of Santa Fe, NM” sent the packages containing food and a letter encouraging the girls to write him back via email, according to the Covington County District Attorney’s Office in Alabama, which posted a “Predator alert” on Facebook.

Investigators have tracked down the package sender to an IP address that appears to originate in Houston. And that same IP address turns up on websites about girls’ underwear.

No suspects have been identified yet but parents are encouraged to call authorities if their children receive a similar package.

ICE Raids Spike in Alabama As Agents Detain Undocumented Immigrants without Criminal Records

ICE agents, via ICE.

ICE agents, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Since President Trump was elected, ICE agents have been conducting raids and detaining undocumented immigrants in Alabama at a rate higher than anywhere else in the Deep South, AL.com reports. 

Among those detained are undocumented immigrants with no criminal records.

During targeted raids, ICE agents are detaining anyone they encounter without documentation.

“It’s blown up over the past two weeks,” Baton Rouge, La., defense attorney Paul “Woody” Scott, said. “We can’t even attend our phones because so many people are calling with these kinds of detentions.”

ICE officials declined to give state-by-state breakdowns of detainments.

“ICE conducts targeted immigration enforcement in compliance with federal law and agency policy,” Thomas Byrd, a spokesman for ICE’s New Orleans field office, wrote. “ICE does not conduct sweeps or raids that target aliens indiscriminately.”

ATF, FBI Investigating Suspicious Package with Actual Bomb Components Outside School

ATF LogoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators responding to a report of a suspicious package outside of an elementary school in Alabama found a device with wires and a timer.

The ATF, FBI and local police responded to a bomb threat at Magnolia Elementary School and were surprised by what they found, AL.com reports. 

According to a caller, a Latino man placed the package in front of the school.

The device, which was found on a pickup truck in the school parking lot, contained actual bomb components.

“We did find a small amount of what we believe to be an actual explosive,”  said Dave Hyche, ATF’s assistant special agent in charge in Alabama.

Authorities detonated the device in nearby woods.

Federal officials said the investigation could be lengthy.

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department to Investigate Conditions at Prisons in Alabama

jail2photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department plans to investigate conditions at Alabama’s prisons for men following a work strike by guards.

“The investigation will focus on whether prisoners are adequately protected from physical harm and sexual abuse at the hands of other prisoners; whether prisoners are adequately protected from use of excessive force and staff sexual abuse by correctional officers; and whether the prisons provide sanitary, secure and safe living conditions,” the DOJ said in its statement.

A week ago, guards at W.C. Holman Correctional Facility staged a work strike to call attention to prison overcrowding and safety issues, the Root reports. http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/10/justice-department-investigates-alabama-prison-conditions/

Robert Council, a 42-year-old serving life without parole at Holman, said prisoners are almost always on lockdown and not allowed out of their cells for months.

“The Constitution requires that prisons provide humane conditions of confinement,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “We hope to work cooperatively with the state of Alabama in conducting our inquiry and ensuring that the state’s facilities keep prisoners safe from harm.”

ATF Recovers Two Dozen Homemade Hand Grenades in Alabama Factory

atf badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The ATF recovered 24 homemade hand grenades from a factory in a residential neighborhood near Birmingham, Ala.

AL.com reports that the grenades pose a grave danger, not only because grenades are destructive, but because they were made with faulty fuses and live explosives.

“We’re not sure exactly how many are out there yet,” said David Hyche, ATF’s assistant special agent in charge in Alabama. “We know we recovered 24 that were in the process of being made. We know that hand grenades had been sold in the City of Birmingham to an illegal alien drug trafficker. So if they’ll be sold to that guy, they’ll be sold to anybody.”

Hyche said the grenades were seriously flawed.

“Homemade fuses most likely, at best, will have no delay, and, at worst, will go off when you don’t want them to,” he said. “The kill radius on a hand grenade is about 10 meters, or 30 feet.”

FBI Closes 1964 Civil Rights Case with No Charges Against Former Sheriff’s Deputy

fbi-logBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

For more than 50 years, Frank Andrews’s family never got justice.

He was shot and killed by an Alabama sheriff’s deputy in 1964 outside of a house known for selling illegal alcohol.

Now the FBI has closed the case and decided against charging the former deputy, Quinnie Donald, The Associated Press reports. 

The FBI determined no charges were warranted.

“I’m proud that they closed it, but I don’t like bringing it up,” Donald said quietly during an interview at his home earlier this month. “I regret that it happened.”

Donald said he was using an unfamiliar pistol and that it fired at the slightest touch when he said he saw Andrews reach for his pocket as if he were trying to pull a knife, the AP wrote.

The Justice Department reopened the case in 2008 but federal agents were never able to gather enough evidence.

Terrorism Threats in Alabama? It Can Happen Anywhere in Age of ISIS

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The attack on a military camp in Chattanooga was a stark reminder that not even America’s rural areas are safe from terrorist attacks.

It’s why every FBI field office nationwide has a joint terrorism task force, reports ABC 30.

To combat the threat in Alabama, Chris Hoffman, Supervisory Special Agent for the Birmingham Field Office, said no place in America is immune to an attack, and it takes vigilance to monitor and prevent an atrocity.

“The threat of terrorism is growing in the homeland, it’s an unfortunate time, but it’s a fact,” Hoffman said.

“There are ISIS investigations in every state in the United States,” Hoffman said. “Alabama has been touched by that, there’s been recent news stories about persons who have traveled from Alabama, females particularly to Syria. We also have domestic terrorism events. We have a long history here unfortunately.”

For more information on the Joint Terrorism Task Force, click here.