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Tag: Drugs

Des Moines Register: ATF Tobacco Investigation Schemes Is ‘Highly Questionable’

atf badgeBy Editorial Board
The Des Moines Register

It’s getting harder and harder to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

First there was the scandal involving federal agents who helped route guns to Mexican drug cartels. Then it was revealed that law enforcement officials nationwide have routinely abused forfeiture laws to seize the property of law-abiding citizens.

Now there are signs that agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used highly questionable — arguably illegal – cigarette sales in order to fund a secret bank account used to pay informants.

And we’re not talking about a handful of rogue agents raising a few thousand dollars. The evidence points to tens of millions of dollars being raised by law enforcement officials through the same schemes used by the criminals they were supposed to be apprehending.

The operation, detailed in a recent report from the New York Times, wasn’t authorized by the Justice Department, the agency under which the ATF operates, and that appears to have been by design. It gave agents access to a bank account that, because it was off the books, wasn’t subject to the usual level of oversight.

The scheme itself was built on a complex series of transactions, some of which involved the sale and shipment of water and snacks disguised as cigarettes.

To read more click here. 

Weekend Series on Crime History: Underwater Tunnel Used to Smuggle Drugs Into U.S.

DEA Identifies Where Mexican Cartels Are Operating in the U.S.

Map of cartels identified by the DEA.

Map of cartels identified by the DEA.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA identified Mexican cartels that operate within the United States and provided a map to show where the drug gangs are wielding influence.

In Texas, for example, the DEA has identified the following cartels operating within the state: the Sinaloa, Gulf, Juarez, the Knights Templar, Beltran-Levya, Jalisco and the Zetas.

But Texas is far from alone. Most states have links to cartels, which can be very violent and supply dangerous drugs.

The areas with the highest concentration of cartel involvement are California, Texas, New York and New England.

Other Stories of Interest

The Blade: ‘This Is No Time to Fall Down’ on Border Security

Border PatrolBy Editorial Board
The Blade 

This is no time to fall down on security.

A New York Times investigation documented incidents of bribery and other ethical lapses involving 200 Department of Homeland Security officers and contract workers during the past 10 years. While that number represents less than 1 percent of the DHS workforce, even one compromised officer can do tremendous damage to the nation’s safety. There’s also the question of how many incidents the newspaper, or DHS leadership, doesn’t know about. There are bound to be more out there.

In some cases, officers let immigrants and drugs into the country illegally, sabotaged investigations into criminal activity, and passed confidential government information to drug cartels. The ethical lapses are blamed, in part, on increased overtures from drug dealers and human traffickers frustrated with tighter border security. One wonders whether ethically challenged officers would also help terrorists who need intelligence information or documents to get into the country. Where does a bad egg draw the line?

To read more click here. 

Border Patrol Agent Charged with Accepting Bribes for Delivering Phony Drugs

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent has been charged with bribery after prosecutors allege he accepted $10,000 in bribes to deliver what he believed was methamphetamine and cocaine dropped off at the border fence with Mexico.

Noe Lopez, 36, is accused of receiving the cash from a confidential government source lat week for delivering the phony drugs, the Associated Press reports. 

Lopez was placed on unpaid leave.

“Border Patrol agents are held to the highest standards, and we remain committed to performing our duties for the American people in the most professional way,” said Richard Barlow, chief of the Border Patrol’s San Diego sector.

Lopez is a 10-veteran of the agency.

Former DEA Agent Sentenced to Year in Prison for Witness Tampering

dea-badgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former DEA agent who demanded cash in connection with a drug trafficker was sentenced Tuesday to a year and a day in prison.

Samuel Murad, 62, was hired to help secure the early release of a marijuana trafficker whom the agent helped send to prison in the 1990s, the Tampa Bay Times reports. 

“I have no excuse for my behavior,” Murad said in court. “I’ve hurt my family. I’ve hurt my friends.”

“You’ve also hurt the DEA,” U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew interjected. “You made law enforcement look bad.”

Other Stories of Interest

DEA Blames Media for Spreading Misinformation about Marijuana

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA is taking a page from Donald Trump’s playbook – blame the media.

The DEA complained in its annual survey that “media attention” to marijuana is making it difficult to enforce federal laws that make pot illegal, the Washington Post reports. 

It also appears to be the media’s fault for spreading inaccurate information about the dangers of marijuana and the drug’s legality.

The report reads:

Many states have passed laws allowing the cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana within their respective states. Due to these varying state laws, as well as an abundance of media attention surrounding claims of possible medical benefits, the general public has been introduced to contradictory and often inaccurate information regarding the legality and benefits of marijuana use. This has made enforcement and prosecution for marijuana-related offenses more difficult, especially in states that have approved marijuana legalization.

DEA Reports Spike in Cocaine Availability And Use in U.S.

Cocaine-jpgBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A cocaine production boom in Colombia has increased use and availability of the drug in the United States for the first time in nearly a decade, the DEA reports.

The DEA’s 2016 National Drug Threat Assessment concluded that more cocaine is reaching the U.S.  because of increases in seizures and overdose deaths. 

The increase occurred between 2014 and 2015.

The DEA estimates a 67% increase in cocaine production in Columbia, one of the largest providers of the drug in the U.S.

The DEA also identified new risks, including cocaine mixed with the deadly opioid fentanyl.

Other Stories of Interest

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