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Tag: drug trafficking

Border Patrol Agent Accused of Working with Drug Traffickers

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent in South Texas is accused of working with drug traffickers to stage narcotics seizures and sell the drugs for profit.

Eduardo Bazan Jr. was arrested Friday and charged with making false statements about a federal investigation of drug traffickers, San Antonio Express-News reports. 

Bazan’s alleged crimes occurred in February 2007, but agents with Homeland Security Investigations in McCallen didn’t learn of it until October 2013.

“The drug trafficking organization coordinated staged narcotic seizures of sham, or diluted, narcotics with the assistance of law enforcement officials, which enabled the organization to steal drug loads from unwitting narcotics sources of supply,” the complaint says.

The Express-News wrote:

Investigators say one such cocaine seizure took place near the McAllen Border Patrol station with Bazan’s assistance. Federal agents searched the agency database for the report Bazan filed in 2007 detailing the incident.

When HSI agents recently interviewed Bazan, he recalled seizing the load, telling investigators that border agents had discovered bundles of cocaine in a Honda Civic, the criminal complaint says. At first, Bazan denied being tipped off to the location of the drug load and to having received payment for making the seizure.

But when HSI agents interviewed Bazan two days later, he admitted to lying, the document states. Bazan told them he had received information that led to the seizure of about 150 pounds of cocaine and that in return he was paid around $8,000. At first, Bazan claimed to have chased suspects from the drug-laden vehicle, but he later admitted there were no suspects, confessing it was a ruse to make the seizure appear legitimate to other agents, according to the criminal complaint.

Walls at U.S.-Mexico Border Have Proven to Be Ineffective, Waste of Money

Tunnel beneath a border fence.

Tunnel beneath a border fence.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Concerned about drug smugglers and illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. from Mexico, the federal government built a fence to curb the traffic.

It didn’t work, Vice News reports.

“We came with this 18-foot wall, and the very next day they had 19-foot ladders,” Border Patrol Agent Chris Cabrera recalled recently. “It got to the point where we had so many ladders at the station that they told us to stop bringing the ladders in. It was just insane the number of ladders we had. Hundreds upon hundreds.”

The issue of a barrier at the border has picked up steam after Donald Trump promised to build an “impenetrable and beautiful” wall at the border.

Vice wrote:

But people who actually live along the border in the Rio Grande Valley are extremely skeptical. Border Patrol agents like Cabrera, local police, elected officials, and people who live with the existing wall in their backyards say it has been an epic boondoggle. Seemingly everyone in the area agrees that any plan to build a new wall or expand the existing fence is a bad idea.

“It’s a waste of money, period,” said Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio, whose jurisdiction sits opposite Matamoros, one of the most dangerous corners of Mexico. “It’s not going to work. I don’t care what [Trump] is saying.”

In Texas, the existing fence — or wall, depending on your definition of the term — mostly consists of rows of cube-shaped, rust-colored posts that stand about 20 feet tall. The columns are spaced about four inches apart, too narrow for even a child to squeeze through. But the fence abruptly ends in some places, leaving vast open stretches. In the most absurd cases, 30-foot sections of fence are surrounded on both sides by miles of wide open space.

Other Stories of Interest

Border Patrol Agent, Two Brothers Charged in Drug Cartel-Linked Murder Case

Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna

Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent who patrolled ranch land for smugglers of drugs and humans is accused of helping his brothers run a criminal family business responsible for a decapitated corpse found off the Texas coast during spring break.

Joel Luna, 31, has been charged with capital murder as part of a drug trafficking conspiracy, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Luna’s attorney said his client never killed anyone, and it was his brothers, Fernando and Eduardo, who are to blame for the slayings.

“There’s an argument to be made against my client that’s guilt by association. People get swept up with those who are really guilty. It’s family,” said Joel’s attorney, Carlos A. Garcia. “Associating or going to a quinceañera is not a crime. He was just a family man, a working man. Think about how many Border Patrol members who live on the border have relatives here without visas.”

While Joel was for in San Juan but raised south of the border, his brothers were born in Mexico.

At the time of his hiring by Border Patrol, Luna appeared to be a great hire: He was an Army combat veteran and a high school ROTC standout.

The Los Angeles Times wrote:

In 2013, Joel notified Border Patrol officials that Eduardo had been temporarily abducted by cartel leaders in Reynosa who knew Joel was an agent and had threatened his family there, according to Cameron County Assistant Dist. Atty. Gustavo “Gus” Garza.

Eduardo, Fernando and their families crossed into the U.S. illegally to live at Joel’s house. Luna gave his sister-in-law $42,000 and instructed her to buy a house in San Juan for his younger brother, according to an arrest affidavit. Fernando moved in across the street, Garza said.

Fernando had been laid off and used severance pay to buy Veteran’s Tire Shop, about 20 miles north in Edinburg, according to an affidavit. He hired Eduardo and kept three other employees. Investigators would later argue that the run-down shop, like other businesses in south Texas, was a front for money laundering and drug trafficking.

Hezbollah Accused of Purchasing Weapons Through International Drug Trafficking

Hezbollah flag

Hezbollah flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA alleges that Hezbollah is purchasing weapons for activity in Syria by using cash from international drug trafficking and money laundering, CBS News reports. 

As a result, the DEA said it’s involved in “significant enforcement activity” against Hezbollah.

Dubbed “Project Cassandra,” the law enforcement efforts are targeting Hezbollah for supplying drugs to the U.S. and Europe.

The DEA alleges that Hezbollah is working with South American drug cartels to distribute cocaine.

“These drug trafficking and money laundering schemes… provide a revenue and weapons stream for an international terrorist organization responsible for devastating terror attacks around the word,” DEA Acting Deputy Administrator Jack Riley said in a statement.”

  

Venezuela’s First Lady Accuses DEA of Kidnapping Nephews in Drug Arrest

venezuela-mapBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Venezuela’s first lady said the arrest of her two nephews on drug trafficking charges amounts to kidnapping by the DEA, the Associated Press reports. 

Cilia Flores claims that the U.S. was motivated by revenge and are trying to purge socialists from power.

Flores said the DEA’s operations on Venezuelan soil “violated our sovereignty.”

The DEA arrested two of Flores’ nephews in Haiti in November, and they were charged with conspiring to smuggle cocaine into the U.S.

“The DEA committed the crime of kidnapping,” Flores said.

Justice Department Builds Secret Database to Spy on Millions of Cars

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A license plate tracking program established to seize cars and money to combat drug trafficking has gone far beyond its original scope and has led to the collection and storage of millions of records about motorists, Reuters reports.

Not only is the database being used to track drug dealers, but state and locals authorities are using it to search for cars tied to other serious crimes, raising questions among privacy advocates.

This is the first time the DEA has revealed it is expanding its database beyond the  Mexican border.

What remained unknown was whether a judge or agency was responsible for oversight.

A debate is being waged in Washington over what some are expressing as privacy concerns with license plate readers.

DEA Agent Shot While Executing Search Warrant at Home of Suspected Drug Trafficker

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A DEA agent is recovering after a suspect shot him in the elbow Monday morning while serving a search warrant at the home of a suspected drug dealer in South Carolina, the State reports.

Shot was Special Agent Barry Wilson, who was executing a search warrant at the home of Joel Robinson. The 32-year-old suspect fire at DEA agents several times.

The suspect is accused of drug trafficking and carrying a firearm while committing crimes.

FBI agents stormed onto the property wearing ballistic vests and identified themselves as law enforcement, the State reported.

“While executing the warrant, the team at the front door announced ‘Police, search warrant’ multiple times and made entry into the residence,” the complaint said.

Robinson responded to the agents by firing at them as they entered his home.

FBI Used Drones to Investigate Dog Fighting, Drug Trafficking, But Mum on Other Flights

istock photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI uses controversial drone technology in the U.S. but has refused to identify how often agents deploy the unmanned planes.

Motherboard.com reports that the obscurity of the drone missions has irked privacy advocates.

But now, some of the missions have come to light thanks to documents obtained by MuckRock.

The FBI has used drones to investigate dog fighting operations and drug trafficking and to search for some of the bureau’s 10 most wanted fugitives.

Unfortunately for transparency advocates, the records don’t indicate details of a lot of other cases.

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