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Tag: drug trafficking

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.

DEA Albuquerque Office Gets New Leadership Role As Assistant Special Agent in Charge

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Sean R. Waite, a longtime DEA agent, has been appointed as a new agent in charge of the agency’s Albuquerque, NM, office, the Republic reports.

Waite replaces Keith Brown, who left to become the agent in charge of the DEA’s New Orleans field office last year.

The office is part of the El Paso Field Division, which has been busy with synthetic drug trafficking.

FBI Helps Italian Authorities Crack Down on Suspected Mafia Members in New York

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An anti-mafia raid is targeting more than 40 people in the U.S. and Europe, CNN reports.

The operation, “New Bridge,” led to the arrests of 17 people in Italy and seven in New York. They are accused of international drug-trafficking and organized crime.

The operation was coordinated by the Italian national anti-mafia body.

One of the targets is the Calabria mafia, known as the Ndrangheta, which is responsible for drug trafficking between South and Central America, Canada, the United States and Italy.

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