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Tag: Florida

Secret Service Investigating Vandalism at Trump International Golf Club

Vandalism of an entrance sign at the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is investigative the vandalism of an entrance sign at the Trump International Golf Club near the president’s Florida estate Mar-a-Lago resort over the weekend.

Red plant was splattered onto the entrance of the club at West Balm Beach, Fla. on Saturday night, and authorities found a can of paint nearby, ABC News reports

Images online show paint covering some of the letters on the polished stone structure.

The Secret Service declined to comment.

The golf club is about 5 miles from Mar-a-Lago.

Trump was spotted at the golf club this weekend.

Orlando Shooter’s Father Was FBI Informant, But Judge Won’t Dismiss Case Against Widow

Pulse nightclub shooter Omar Mateen.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The discovery that the father of the man who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in 2016 was an FBI informant was an insufficient reason to reject the case against the widow of the mass shooter, a judge said Monday.

Lawyers for Noor Salman urged a judge to throw out the case because prosecutors withheld information that Omar Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen, worked as a confidential FBI informant at various times between January 2005 and June 2016.

But U.S. District Judge Paul Byron rejected a motion to dismiss or declare a mistrial, saying Seddique Mateen’s role as a former informant “does not change the dynamic of whether Noor Salman aided and abetted,” NBC News reports

Salman is on trial on charges of aiding and abetting her husband’s June 2016 attack on Pulse, a popular gay club in Orlando, and obstructing law enforcement’s investigation by falsely denying her role in the attack, which was one of the deadliest mass shootings on U.S. soil.

Omar Mateen told police before he was killed that he shooting was done in the name of ISIS. 

Lawmakers: FBI Lacks Strategy to Handle Tips After Blunder over Fla. School Shooter

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Acting FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich acknowledged to members of Congress on Tuesday that the bureau failed to properly follow up on two warning calls about the former student who gunned down 17 students and teachers at a Florida school on Valentine’s Day.

Lawmakers left the private briefing feeling frustrated and disappointed, saying the bureau’s response offered little to no new information, and the FBI still has no strategy or plan to correct future mistakes.

Nikolas Cruz via instagram

The meeting “raised more questions than it answered,” U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., tweeted after the closed-door briefing in Washington. “We should have more answers 20 days after the shooting. This was clearly a major failure and Americans deserve swift accountability and reform.”

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., said the lack 0f new information makes it difficult for lawmakers to understand what went wrong and how the bureau could avoid similar blunders.

“A very specific lead was given to the FBI, and they just botched it,” Krishnamoorthi said upon leaving the meeting, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. “Right now we have to find out why that happened. Most important for me is: How do we prevent this from happening again, and how do we actively figure out who is on the verge of committing a similar school shooting or any other act of terror like this?”

The first tip came in September from a Mississippi man, who alerted the FBI to a YouTube user named “nikolas cruz” – the same name as the school shooter. The tipster boasted, “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”

In early January, a caller who said he was close to Cruz warned that “He’s going to explode” and appeared on the verge of violence.

The FBI never forwarded the information to the FBI’s Miami field office, so the tip was never investigated.

Some Republicans are calling for the resignation of FBI Director Christopher Wray, while some Democrats say such a move would be premature.

Secret Service Denies Blocking Journalists from Filming Trump Golfing

White truck obscured CNN cameras outside President Trump’s Florida golf course. Via Twitter.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service denied trying to obscure CNN cameras from recording President Trump while he was playing golf at his course in West Palm Beach, Fla.

CNN reported that a large white truck was parked on public property in an effort to block nearby journalists from filming the president. 

The Secret Service responded that the agency “is in the business of protection and investigations not in commissioning vehicles to block the media’s view of the President’s golf swing.”

While a CNN film crew set up on a public sidewalk outside the golf course, “a white box truck drove up and obscured the view of the course through the trees,” the network claimed.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Informant to Plead Guilty to Long-Running Scheme to Commit Fraud

Mohammed Agbareia, via Mobile County, Alabama, Sheriff's Office.

Mohammed Agbareia, via Mobile County, Alabama, Sheriff’s Office.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI informant investigating a terrorism sting in Palm Beach County is accused of a long-running scheme to commit fraud.

Mohammed Agbareia, whom the FBI classified as a “national security asset,” is expected to plead guilty Friday after his arrest in June on six federal charges alleging he committed fraud for 10 years beginning in 2007, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports

Prosecutors said Agbareia posed as a “stranded traveler” and defrauded victims out of more than $300,000.

Agbareia became an undercover informant a year after he was released from prison for a prior fraud conviction.

FBI Foils Terrorist Plot to Blow Up Mall in South Florida

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI foiled an alleged plot to detonate a bomb in a shopping mall in South Florida, arresting the suspect behind the planned attack.

The arrest of Miami resident Vicente Solano, an alleged ISIS sympathizer, came during an FBI sting operation, CBS News reports

The FBI, acting on a tip by a confidential informant, said the suspect was acting alone and was planning a large-scale attack on Dolphin Mall in Doral, near the Miami International Airport.

Solano planned to detonate what turned out to be a hoax bomb from undercover FBI agents.

Solano is expected to appear in Miami federal court today.

Florida Man Poses As FBI Agents, Holds Prostitute Captive

Martin Smith mugshot.

Martin Smith mugshot.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Florida man was busted after posing as an FBI agent and held a prostitute captive in a motel room in Sugarloaf Township over the weekend.

Martin Smith, 42, of St. Petersburg, faces numerous charges, including unlawful restraint, impersonating a public servant and patronizing prostitutes.

Smith held the woman at the hotel and had a fake badge, metal pellet gun and drugs.

The woman fled and called 911 after convincing Smith to let her get drugs from the car.

White Supremacist Convicted of Plot to Murder Atlanta Drug Dealer

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A self-described white supremacist was convicted of multiple charges related to a plot to kill a drug deal with outstanding debts in Georgia.

The case broke open after an FBI informant and admitted white nationalist alerted the bureau to Adrian Apodaca, saying the Florida man had admitted to murdering several people in New Mexico and Arizona, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports

The FBI dispatched a team of undercover agents posing as white supremacists who were owed money by an Atlanta drug dealer, who also was an FBI plant.

Recordings played at the trial indicate Apodaca offered to kill the “dealer” in exchange for $5,000 and a false identity to avoid investigators who wanted to question him in at least one murder.

Jurors took just three hours to convict Apodaca, 45. He faces up to life in prison when he is sentenced Dec. 8.