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Tag: El Paso

FBI Offers $15,000 Reward After Fire Bombings of El Paso Catholic Churches That Served Hispanics

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The FBI is offering a $15,000 reward for helping tracking down the arsonists responsible for setting fire to three Catholic Churches in El Paso that primarily serve Hispanics and migrants.

The first fire broke out May 7, when someone tossed an “incendiary device” at St. Matthew Catholic Church.

On May, another “incendiary device” was thrown at St. Patrick Cathedral. And on June 15, “an incendiary device” was into the San Judas Tadeo Catholic Church.

Authorities have yet to make any arrests.

No one was injured in the fires.

“We are counting on assistance from members of the community to keep our city safe,” the FBI said in a press release. “We are asking everyone to please remain vigilant for suspicious or unusual activity to include events and persons around you. To date, we have received numerous tips regarding this investigation and multiple law enforcement agencies are involved. Every lead will be thoroughly investigated. Regardless of how insignificant you think your information might be, we strongly encourage you to come forward and welcome your information and assistance. You do have the option to remain anonymous when providing assistance to this investigation.”

Emmerson Buie Jr. Becomes First African American to Lead FBI’s Chicago Field Office

FBI Special Agent Emmerson Buie Jr. via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Emmerson Buie Jr. has become the first African American to serve as special agent in charge of the Chicago Field Office.

Buie, who most recently served as special agent in charge of the El Paso Office in Texas, joined the FBI in 1992, investigating criminal issues at the Colorado Springs Resident Agency of the Denver Field Office.

In 1999, Buie became supervisory special agent and worked in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Operations Unit in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In 2002, Buie was promoted to senior supervisory resident agent at the Fairview Heights Resident Agency in Illinois.

In 2006, Buie was assigned to London, where he became the assistant and acting deputy legal attaché. He served as the primary contact for coordinating the FBI’s involvement in several international counterterrorism and anti-organized crime agencies.

In 2008, Buie was promoted to assistant special agent in charge of criminal matters and also handled national security and administrative issues in the Springfield Field Office. In addition, Buie was the office’s leadership development coordinator.

In 2014, Buie began serving as the Cyber Division’s senior liaison to the National Cybersecurity, Communication and Integration Center at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he helped coordinate public and private sector investigations and intelligence-sharing efforts between the FBI, DHS, and other agencies.

In 2017, he was named special agent in charge of the El Paso Field Office.

Before joining the FBI, Buie spent four years in the U.S. Army as an infantry officer and served in Desert Storm. His actions earned him a Bronze Star, Combat Infantry badge, and multiple accommodations and awards. Buie received a bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University.

FBI Received Increase in Tips from the Public Following Massacres in El Paso, Toledo

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Tips to the FBI increased following the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, a sign that the public is taking the gun deaths more seriously.

The FBI’s National Threat Operations Center fielded more than 38,000 tips from the public in the first week following the Aug. 3 and Aug. 4 attacks. NTOC averages 22,000 tips, The Washington Post reports.

At least 28 people have been arrested on allegations of threatening to commit mass shootings since 31 people were killed in massacres in Texas and Ohio.

In the wake of the attacks, FBI Director Christopher Wray urged law enforcement agencies across the country to become more vigilant in their search for potential mass shooters.

The FBI said tips usually increase following “major incidents.”

“Such increases are often observed after major incidents,” the FBI said in a statement. “As always, the FBI encourages the public to remain vigilant and report any and all suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately.”

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.

Email: Border Agents Forced Migrant to Walk with ‘I like men’ Sign

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection agents are accused of trying to humiliate a migrant by forcing him to walk around wearing a sign that read, “I like men,” in Spanish, according to emails obtained by CNN.

The March 5 incident is one of several episodes revealed in emails by an agent who accused colleagues of repeated incidents of inappropriate behavior.

“I am forwarding to the Office of Professional Responsibility, the office charged with looking into these allegations,” a CBP official told CNN.

The Honduran man was visibly upset as he was paraded around other detainees at an El Paso processing center, according to the email.

The agent who blew the whistle to a supervisor said CBP took no action.

The report is just the latest discovery of offensive behavior by border agents, and a lack of discipline by supervisors.

Agents Fear Riots Because of Deplorable Conditions at Border Station

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The conditions were so deplorable at an El Paso border station that agents were beginning to arm themselves because they feared a riot, according to an internal report by the Homeland Security’s Inspector General.

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

The IG report, first obtained by NBC News, 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.

Border Patrol, ICE Criticized for Handling of Surge in Migrants Crossing Border

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Detention facilities are overflowing with migrants because of the surge in people, many of them children, crossing the southern border illegally, and Border Patrol is struggling to handle the crisis.

More than 200,000 migrants illegally crossed the southern border in March and April, and more than two-thirds of them were either children or adults with children, according to UPI.

“Our immigration system is full, and we are well beyond our capacity at every stage of the process,” Kevin McAleenan, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, told a House committee last week.

Many of those crossing are seeking asylum, forcing ICE to release them to a network of migrant shelters in communities along the border. But with insufficient space, Border Patrol is beginning to release asylum seekers into border communities, often with little to no warning.

That new policy has rattled volunteer coordinators who try to house and feed the migrants.

“Sometimes the agents tell us to expect 50 migrants, but we end up with 150. Other times, a bus filled with migrants will show up unannounced at a shelter,” said Ashley Heidebrecht, a social work student and intern at the Borderlands Rainbow Coalition, a nonprofit that provides meals to migrants.

El Paso’s Hope Border Institute, a think tank that supports the humane treatment of migrants, has criticized the Border Patrol’s handling of the surge.

“The Border Patrol is not thinking strategically,” Dylan Corbett, director of the think tank, told UPI. “The agency doesn’t seem to have any goals and is just operating as things come up, day to day. I really don’t know who is calling the shots.”

Off-Duty Border Patrol Agent May Have Acted in Self-Defense in Fatal Shooting

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An off-duty Border Patrol agent suspected of fatally shooting a 33-year-old man over the weekend in El Paso, Texas, may have been acting in self-defense, a spokesman told the El Paso Times on Thursday. 

Police were called to an aggravated assault at 4:30 a.m. Sunday when they found Juan Daniel Jacques shot to death.

Authorities identified the agent as Luis Chavez, who has not been arrested but is under investigation by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

“The exact details of this case are still under investigation,” sheriff’s spokesman Luis Chavez said. “We are investigating all motives of this homicide, to include the possibility of self-defense. No arrests have been made as of yet.” 

Border Patrol leaders also are investigating to determine whether administrative action is warranted against the agent.