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Tag: Detroit

Steven M. D’Antuono Named Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Detroit Field Office

FBI Special Agent Steven M. D’Antuono.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Steven M. D’Antuono has been named special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office.

D’Antuono spent much of his 23-year career at the FBI tracking down white-collar crime and public corruption. That experience will become handy in an office that handles a lot of public corruption.

D’Antuono, who recently served as section chief in the Criminal Investigative Division at FBI headquarters in Washington D.C., joined the bureau as a forensic accountant in 1996. His first assignment was the Providence Resident Agency in Rhode Island, where he handled criminal investigations into financial crimes, public corruption, organized crime, drugs, and counterintelligence.

In 1998, D’Antuono served as a special agent assigned to the Washington Field Office, where he investigated white-collar crime and public corruption.

In 2004, D’Antuono began teaching white-collar crime while serving as the supervisory special agent at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. In 2008, he was transferred to the Washington Field Office to supervise a public corruption and government fraud squad.

In 2014, D’Antuono became an assistant special agent in charge at the St. Louis Field Office, overseeing the Criminal and Administrative branches.

D’Antuono was promoted in 2017 to chief of the Financial Crimes Section of the Criminal Investigative Division, where he oversaw all of the bureau’s white-collar crime programs, including corporate securities and commodities fraud, economic crimes, financial institution fraud, money laundering, health care fraud, intellectual property, and forensic accountant programs.

D’Antuono earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Rhode Island. Before joining the FBI, he was a certified public accountant.

A Key Federal Source in Jimmy Hoffa Caper Dies at 89

The writer, a Washington investigative journalist specializing in organized crime and political corruption investigations, is a Jimmy Hoffa murder specialist. He is the author of “The Hoffa Wars” (1978) and eight other books. 

By Dan Moldea

Featured_wells_37881
Don and Monica Wells, at their one-time horse farm in Wixom in 2009, which was dug up by the FBI during a 2006 search for Jimmy Hoffa. (Photo: Dan Moldea)

One of the most important federal sources of information about the Jimmy Hoffa murder case was Donovan Wells, who died Sept. 5  at age 89 outside of Detroit. Below is an excerpt of a story I wrote for the 40th anniversary of the Hoffa case in 2015, based partly on interviews with Don and his wife, Monica. I liked and respected him for turning his life around.

♦ ♦ ♦

FBI agents raided a Milford Township farm looking for Hoffa’s remains in May 2006, based on information from Donovan Wells, a former business partner of both Rolland McMaster and Stanton Barr. At the time, Wells was in a federal prison in Lexington, Kentucky. He and his family lived on McMaster’s farm the summer Hoffa disappeared.

The FBI’s search warrant for McMaster’s farm has never been released. But Wells told me in 2009 that he informed the FBI that a large hole had been dug on the north end of the property several weeks before Hoffa’s murder.

In addition, his wife Monica claimed that on the afternoon of Hoffa’s July 30, 1975 disappearance, she saw two or three dark cars speeding onto the property, roaring past the farmhouse on an adjacent dirt road, and heading towards the pre-dug hole.

But what had really piqued the FBI’s interest was what Wells had seen and heard the night before Hoffa’s murder. At a local restaurant, as Wells, McMaster, and Barr were having dinner, mobster and Teamster official Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano – in the flesh – suddenly appeared, slapped his hand on their table, and said: “It’s going to be a great day tomorrow! A great day tomorrow! Right, Mac?” And he slapped McMaster on the back.

Provenzano then asked McMaster to accompany him to the bar for a private conversation.

Featured_jimmy-hoffa-found-2013_23655
Jimmy Hoffa

While they were gone, Wells asked Barr what was going on. Barr replied that Provenzano and Hoffa were meeting the following day to settle their differences—and that Tony Giacalone was making the arrangements for the sitdown.

When Provenzano and McMaster returned to the table, Provenzano pointed to McMaster and Barr and asked, “Do you guys know where you’re going to be tomorrow?”

McMaster responded, “Yeah, we’re all straight on that.”

The FBI never unearthed Hoffa’s remains, or any evidence that he had been killed on McMaster’s farm, but Don Wells—who passed an FBI polygraph test—gave the bureauh important new information about Hoffa’s disappearance in 2006: Rolland McMaster and Tony Pro were together at a restaurant in Detroit on July 29, 1975, the night before Hoffa disappeared. Wells also heard a portion of their conversation which was clearly about Provenzano’s scheduled 2 p.m. meeting with Hoffa on July 30, as well as the need for McMaster and Barr to have established alibis for the afternoon when Hoffa was last seen.

The writer authored a story in July headlined Jimmy Hoffa Vanished 44 Years Ago. Here’s What I Think Happened.

El Paso’s Border Patrol Chief Being Sent to Detroit Amid Blistering Report

Conditions at one of the El Paso stations, via IG.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Aaron Hull, the controversial chief of the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, is being sent to Detroit following reports of unsafe and unsanitary conditions in border stations in El Paso.

Hull will be replaced by Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez, who is head of the El Centro Sector in California, NBC News first reported.

Customs and Border Protection declined to say why Hull was reassigned, but the move comes after a blistering report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General. The conditions were so deplorable that agents were beginning to arm themselves because they feared a riot.

The IG report documented overcrowded cells, a lack of showers or clean clothes, outbreaks of lice, flu, chickenpox and scabies, and more than half of the immigrants being held outside. Babies had no clean clothing or soft mats on which to sleep.

“With limited access to showers and clean clothing, detainees were wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks,” the report said.

The report also cited declining morale among agents who were worried about riots or hunger strikes. Some agents were even considering retiring early or moving to another agency.

“The current situation where immigrants are simply giving themselves up to the border patrol [and border patrol must detain] is causing low morale and high anxiety. They are seeing more drinking, domestic violence and financial problems among their agents,” the report said.

Despite the documented evidence, DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan insisted that news reports about poor conditions for children at the facility were “unsubstantiated.”

Hull also defended Border Patrol agents, saying he was “impressed” with their handling of an influx of migrants.

A Homeland Security official told NBC News that Hull has a reputation as a “law and order” chief who often acts on his own without permission from his superiors.

A Detroit DEA Agent Talks About A Case That Became the Subject of the Clint Eastwood film, ‘The Mule’

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — In 2011, Kent Kleinschmidt, an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, headed an enforcement group in the Detroit office that was investigating ties between a local drug organization and the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico led by the notorious Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

The case eventually lead to some serious seizures of cocaine and  money and the arrest in October 2011 of Leo Sharp, an 87-year-old “mule” caught transporting 104 kilos of cocaine from Arizona to Michigan for the cartel. Michigan State Police, at the direction of the DEA, pulled over Sharp on I-94 in Washtenaw County and arrested him. Kleinschmidt was nearby watching.

Sharp was sentenced in Detroit to three years in prison. He got out early because of a terminal illness and died Dec. 12,  2016 at 92.

Now Sharp is the subject of a Clint Eastwood film, “The Mule.” (See the trailer.)

Kleinschmidt, an assistant special agent in charge of the Detroit DEA, talked about the film on Thursday, a day before the national debut.

“White Boy Rick” — The Tale of a Teenage Boy Who Became an Informant In Detroit For the FBI

Richard Wershe Jr. as a teen and now.

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT — At age 14, in the 1980s, Richard Wershe Jr., aka “White Boy Rick,” became an informant for the Detroit FBI in the war on drugs.

In time, he was doing undercover buys for the FBI and Detroit Police. Eventually he started selling dope on his own. At 17 he was arrested. A short time later he was sentenced to life in prison without parole under a state law. That law was later changed and he became eligible for parole. After nearly 30 years, he was paroled last year from the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Unfortunately, he was then sent to Florida to serve a prison sentence for partaking in a stolen car ring while he was behind bars there in the witness protection program. He’s eligible for parole in December 2020. He is now 49.

Hollywood has now captured the story of his life in a film released Friday titled “White Boy Rick.”

Related links:

Lengel: Watching ‘White Boy Rick’ with Richard Wershe Jr.’s Family Is Surreal

Vince Wade: The Many Untruths in the ‘White Boy Rick’ Movie Opening Friday

Timothy Slater Named Head of FBI’s Detroit Division, Where He Began Career

Detroit riverfront. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Timothy Slater, special agent in charge of the Criminal/Cyber Division at the Washington D.C. Field Office, has been appointed to take over the FBI’s Detroit Division, where he began his career with the bureau in 1999.

In March, Slater will take over the position previously held by David Gelios, who retired from the position last month.

Slater served in the Detroit Division’s Violent Crimes Task Force and has since held leadership positions in the Criminal Investigative Division, as the senior supervisory resident agent over four resident agencies in the Oklahoma City Division, in the Critical Incident Response Group, and in the Knoxville Division. Before heading up the Criminal/Cyber Division, Slater served as the deputy assistant director of the Critical Incident Response Group at Quantico, Va., which provides expertise in crisis management, negotiations, behavioral analysis, countering explosives, aviation, and tactical operations.

David Gelios, Head of the Detroit FBI, Retiring to Take Job in Private Sector

David Gelios

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

DETROIT —  David Gelios, the head of the Detroit FBI since late 2015, who oversaw a number of major investigations involving public corruption in Macomb County and Detroit, is retiring to take a job with the Roger Penske organization, Roop Raj of Fox 2 reports.

Gelios will reach the FBI’s mandatory retirement age of 57 in September. He will step down at the end of the month. A replacement has yet to be named.

“I’ll be a west region vice president of security situated out of San Diego, California,” Gelios tells Fox 2.

Gelios, an affable man who was not easily shaken, served as the chief inspector of the FBI’s Inspection Division before coming to Detroit. His duties included overseeing all FBI field office inspections, national program reviews and agent-involved shooting investigations.

He’s been with the FBI since 1995.

A native of Ohio and graduate of Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., he is a former high school teacher, college coach, and outreach officer for the University of California Office of the President.

Fetuses Immersed in Brain Tissue Found at Detroit Warehouse

FBI agents made grisly discoveries at a Detroit warehouse were body parts were improperly stored. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When the FBI raided a rundown warehouse in Detroit in December 2013, they made grisly discoveries at what turned out to be a black-market body parts business.

Agent found infected bodies dismembered with chainsaws, rotting, un-embalmed heads soaked in mouthwash and water, and human remains washed down the drain or thrown into the regular garbage.

New and disturbing photos obtained by Reuters show that federal investigators also found four preserved fetuses, which appear to be in their second trimester, immersed in a dark liquid that included human brain tissue. 

It’s unclear what Arthur Rathburn, owner of International Biological Inc., intended to do with the fetuses and how he obtained them. Selling fetuses for profit is a violation of federal law.

“This needs to be reviewed,” said U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who recently chaired a special U.S. House committee on the use of fetal tissue.

Rathburn is accused of defrauding medical researchers and educators by sending them infected body parts, without the families’ consent, from a rundown warehouse.

Rathburn has pleaded not guilty and is facing a trial in January in a criminal case that, until now, made no mention of fetuses.