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Tag: deaths

Weekend Series on Crime: The Rise of Mexican Black Tar Heroin

ATF Concludes Deadly Fire at Texas Fertilizer Facility Was Intentionally Set

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A massive explosion at a fertilizer facility in Texas that killed more than three dozen people and injured hundreds was intentionally set, the ATF said Wednesday.

The announcement comes more than three years after the explosion.

The ATF said it has ruled out “all reasonable, accidental and natural causes,” the Washington Post reports. 

The agency has not made any arrests yet and is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible.

The explosion also leveled nearby homes.

Other Stories of Interest

The Hill: How Body Cameras on Border Patrol Agents Could Save Lives

Border Patrol agents reads the Miranda rights to a Mexican national arrested for transporting drugs.By Pedro Rios
The Hill

In 2010, Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, a husband and father of five, was handcuffed, tortured and brutally beaten to death by 12 Border Patrol agents at the San Ysidro border crossing in California. The horrifying incident witnessed by dozens of people exposed a systemic problem with the nation’s largest law enforcement agency: that Border Patrol agents operate with impunity, without meaningful accountability, and in complete opaqueness.

The abuses by agents are widespread and well documented. Since January of 2010 more than46 people have died as a result of an interaction with the Border Patrol. This past June, a woman was killed when Border Patrol agents intentionally rammed their boat into another boat carrying 20 people. In 2012, a Border Patrol agent shot 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez repeatedly in the back before he died. He was on his way to a local market to buy food staples in the Mexican city of Nogales, along the border with Arizona.

In the Hernandez Rojas case, a civilian bystander recorded the incident from the safety of an elevated pedestrian walkway. The video shows 12 Border Patrol agents, who are armed with batons and a Taser, brutally beating and tasing Rojas — who was lying on the ground with his hands cuffed behind his back. The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide. Six years later, not one of the 12 agents has been charged or even fired.

Hernandez Rojas’s widow, Maria Puga, is leading the movement for expanded oversight and accountability, including the demand that Border Patrol agents wear body cameras, which are a proven deterrent of abuse. A study shows that when officers wear them, the use of force plummets over 50 percent. Both civilians and officers experience fewer injuries when officers wear body cameras.

 

DEA to Crack Down on Synthetic Drug That is Causing Deaths, Erratic Behavior

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is tackling yet another disturbing trend involving a synthetic drug that is causing hysteria and bizarre behaviors among users.

The substance is known as “flakka” and is similar to bath salts, Vice News reports. 

The drug is primarily manufactured in China and sold online under brand names like “Cloud Nine,” Scarface,” and “Lunar Wave.” The drug sells for about $3 to $5 and is often accompanied with a warning that it’s “not for human consumption.”

The drug mimics the effects of methamphetamine and other speed.

One reported user ran naked through the streets of Florida and tried to stab a cop with his own badge. In another incident, a Florida man ran naked from what he believed was a pack of vicious German shepherds.

In Broward County in southern Florida, a medical examine reported 63-flakka-related deaths since September 2014. Last summer, emergency rooms in the country admitted more more than 300 people for symptoms related to flakka.

Taking synthetic drugs is “nothing but a game of Russian roulette,”  chief DEA spokesman Rusty Payne told VICE News said. “The unknown should scare people. You don’t know where it came from, or the kind of lab it was manufactured in.”

Other Stories of Interest

CBP, Border Patrol Fail to Deliver on Promise to Be Transparent About Shootings

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection pledged to become more transparent and accountable when it comes to agents using deadly force, but the USA Today reports that the agency is struggling to meet that promise.

At least 46 people – 16 of whom were Americans – have been killed by Border Patrol agents and CBP officers were on duty.

Then CBP’s acting internal affairs chief, Mark Alan Morgan, told reporters that he doubts any of the agents or officers were were disciplined in the deaths.

The USA Today rattles of a list of suspicious cases, including an unarmed teen shot in the back and agents shooting through a border fence in Mexico.

Despite the existence of a study on the issues, CBP kept it a secret for 15 months before it was leaked to the media.

“It just boggles my mind that DHS would hide this information,” said Wong, the retired CBP assistant deputy commissioner for internal affairs. “We’re not talking about terrorist activities or national security; we’re talking about things the American public should be aware of, should have access to. For them to say we can’t tell you how many people have been investigated for excessive use of force, well, I don’t understand the rationale.”

Other Stories of Interest

 

Law Enforcement Fatalities Up in First Half of 2014

 
By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

 The number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty went up 31%  during the first half of 2014, compared to the same time period last year. Of the 67 officers killed, 26 were in traffic-related incidents, 25 were killed by gunfire, and 16 due to job-related illnesses and other causes. 

Despite the increase, the overall trend of officer fatalities continued to trend downward from the the 1970 when 140 officers were killed during the same period.

The number of annual firearm-related deaths has decreased from 62 in the 1970s to 24 on average during the period since 2000. The statistics were compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.  (Their full report can be viewed by clicking here. 

Particularly disturbing were the sharp increases in deaths by gunfire (56%) and in fatal on-duty heart attacks (62%). Gunfire deaths were caused primarily by handguns either while the officer was investigating suspicious persons or circumstances or was the victim of an ambush.

Federal officers killed in the line of duty so far this year include three territorial officers and a military officer. In addition, LA County Sheriff Detective/DEA Task Force Officer Al Riveria passed away after surgical complications for an on the job The most dangerous places for law enforcement officers were California, Florida, New York, Texas, and Virginia. Michigan and nineteen other states have had no fatalities so far this year.

The deadliest day of the week was Monday (15) and Tuesday (5) the least deadly.  The deadliest month overall was May and April had the fewest fatalities.

The average age of the officer killed in the line of duty was 42 with an average of 13 years of service. He (64) or she (3) had an average of two children. The spike in the number of officer fatalities, even with an overall downward trend, is a grim reminder that law enforcement continues to be a dangerous job performed to keep the rest of us safe.

 

Synthetic Drug Craze Involving LSD-Like Substance Has Killed 19 People So Far

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is trying to crack down on the latest synthetic drug craze that is responsible for at least 19 deaths nationwide, KGUN9-TV report.

The drug is called “N-bomb” and has similar hallucinatory effects of LSD.

But users are buying the drug from amateur chemists who are selling the product online.

“It’s like playing Russian Roulette, because you just don’t know what you’re getting. They may just mix in any other lethal substances into these drugs,” said Spokesperson for the DEA Phoenix Division Special Agent Ramona Sanchez.

The DEA temporarily banned the drug while it conducts further research.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Border Patrol Experiences Double-Digit Decline in Immigrant Deaths, Arrests on Arizona Border

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

If the Arizona-Mexico border is any indication, fewer immigrants are dying and getting arrested.

Fox News reports a 16% decline in arrests at the Arizona border and a 40% drop during the present fiscal year.

Between Oct. 1 and March 1, about 42,600 immigrants were detained, compared with 50,900 during this period last year.

“We notice that far fewer immigrants are crossing the border, particularly in the eastern desert region where we previously reported a large proportion of the deaths and rescues,” Adame said.

In the 2014 fiscal year, Border Patrol recoded 31 deaths, compared to 52 during the same period last year.