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Tag: DEA

Cartel Doctor Accused of Helping Torture DEA Agent Runs Taco Restaurant in Guadalajara

Dr. Humberto Alvarez Machain, via Fox News screenshot.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A Mexican cartel doctor accused of helping torture DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in the 1980s is running a taco restaurant in Guadalajara, Mexico, Fox News reports.

Dr. Humberto Alvarez Machain, allegedly a member of the Guadalajara Cartel at the time, is one of the suspects accused of helping kidnap, torture and murder Camarena in 1985.

Authorities believe Camarena was tortured for two to three days, and was kept alive by Mechain to prolong the pain.

DEA Agent Enrique Camarena

Mechain was charged and tried for his alleged role in the attack in 1992, but the case was dismissed due to a lack of evidence, Fox reported.

“Even to this day, there’s a current ongoing investigation into Kiki’s death,” Terrance Cole, a retired assistant regional director of the DEA in Mexico City, told Fox.

Fox reporter Lara Logan, who had a DEA escort, tracked down Mechain and confronted him at a sidewalk taco restaurant in Guadalajara.

“Did you have any involvement in Kiki’s death?” Logan asked Mechain.

“Absolutely not,” Mechain responded through an interpreter.

He continued, “Tell her that since I left the United States prison, I’ve been here at this little business and keep enjoying it … I feel very proud that I was able to get out of a federal court trial in the United States.”

Logan asked her DEA escort, “How come the doctor’s not in jail?”

He responded, “There’s no justice for anyone here. You’re lucky if you get justice for anyone.”

DEA Agent Among Victims of Airplane Crash in Kansas on New Year’s Eve

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A DEA special agent was among two people killed when a single-engine airplane crashed almost immediately after takeoff at Johnson County Executive Airport in Kansas on New Year’s Eve.

The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the victims as DEA Special Agent Jonathan J. Vannatta, 48 of Maumelle, Ark., and Darcy L. Matthews, 43, of Belton, Texas. Vannatta was the pilot, investigators said.

A DEA spokesperson confirmed that Vannatta worked with the DEA but was not on assignment, according to 41 Action News.

Investigators said they are still trying to determine what caused the accident. A preliminary report is expected within two to three weeks.

Early accounts suggest the plane veered into trees and crashed east of the runway before catching fire.

DEA Agent Never Gave Up After Losing his Eyesight from a Gunshot Wound in Afghanistan

Joseph Piersante’s FAST squad, via DEA.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

When DEA Agent Joseph Piersante was shot in the head in Afghanistan in 2011, he lost his eyesight but not his mission to combat drugs.

At the time, Piersante was serving on the Foreign-deployed Advisory Support Team (FAST), a commando-style squad that battled drug cartels and smugglers.

“I had a frontal lobe brain injury because the bullet went to the front of my brain,” he told WDIV in Detroit. “I had two ruptured eye globes and two detached retinas, in which resulted in the brain injury, resulting in the craniotomy.”

Piersante, who became the first-ever member of the DEA to receive the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom, didn’t let the injury stop him from fighting drugs.

“In life we can’t always determine what happens to us, but what we can do is we can make the best out of our situation as we can,” Piersante said.

Unable to do his past job, Piersante began educating people about the dangers of drugs and helping addicts with treatment strategies.

After more than 20 years with the DEA, Piersante is retiring this week.

In retirement, he hopes to write a screenplay or book.

Iran Says Disappearance of Robert Levinson Is an Ongoing ‘Missing Person’ Case

Robert Levinson

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The family of Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent who vanished in Iran in 2007, expressed some relief after the Iranian government changed its tone on his disappearance.

The government of Iran acknowledged for the first time that the disappearance is an ongoing “missing person” case.

Levinson “has no judicial or criminal case in any Islamic Republic of Iran court whatsoever,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told reporters, The Associated Press reports.

President Trump said Iran’s acknowledgment was “a very positive step.”

“If Iran is able to turn over to the U.S. kidnapped former FBI Agent Robert A. Levinson, who has been missing in Iran for 12 years, it would be a very positive step,” President Trump tweeted Sunday night.

The State Department last week offered up to a $20 million reward for information leading to the safe return of Levinson, who is believed to have been abducted on March 9, 2007.

Retired DEA Agent Accused of Helping Drug Traffickers in Exchange for $250K

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A now-retired DEA agent is accused of accepting $250,000 in bribes to protect drug traffickers that he believed had ties to “Italian organized crime.”

Joseph Bongiovanni, 55, was charged with 11 counts in a federal case that alleges he took bribes from at least 2008 until he retired in February, Buffalo Law Journal reports, citing the indictment.

The Tonawanda, N.Y., resident faces up to life in prison on a drug conspiracy charge.

The indictment alleges Bongiovanni shared inside DEA information with his friends and associates who dealt large quantities of cocaine and marijuana. Prosecutors say he lied to the DEA, hid information from the agency and dissuaded colleagues from investigating the drug traffickers.

Dayton Cop on DEA Task Force Shot and Wounded

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Four people were arrested Monday night at a house in Dayton, Ohio where a police detective on a DEA Task Force was shot and wounded, the Dayton Daily News reports.

The task force was serving a warrant when the shooting occurred.

Authorities recovered a large amount of fentanyl, cash and weapons from the house.

DEA’s ‘Take Back Day’ Removes Prescription Pills – and vaping devices – from Circulation

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Law enforcement agencies across the country will host the DEA’s Take Back Day on Saturday to help the public dispose of unwanted, unused or expired prescription drugs.

The idea is to help prevent pill abuse and theft by allowing people to anonymously drop off drugs.

It’s the 18th event in nine years. In the previous events, law enforcement officials collected a total of 11.8 million pounds of pills.

“The National Prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue,” the DEA says. “According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.”

For the first time, people can drop off their marijuana vaping devices.

“Concerns have been raised across the United States over illnesses and death caused by vaping and the high youth vaping initiation rates,” a DEA media release states. “In an effort to support a healthy lifestyle and energetic population, especially amongst America’s youth, DEA is committed to doing all it can to help safely dispose of vaping devices and substances.”

To find a drop-off site, click here.

Group of Armed Men Tried to Rob a DEA Agent. It Didn’t Go Well

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A group of armed men chose the wrong person to mug.

An undercover DEA agent was in a residential area of northeast Atlanta investigating drug trafficking Tuesday when the armed men approached the agent and tried to mug him.

Nearby agents responded and exchanged fire with the muggers. One suspect was shot and taken to the hospital, Chad W. Cook, associate special agent in charge of the DEA in Atlanta, said told reporters.

“Other agents on the scene attempted to intervene and shots were exchanged between the assailants and the agents,” Cook said.

Three suspects were arrested, and they are being charged in federal court. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is leading the probe.

No federal agents were injured.