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Tag: Florida

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.

FBI: Florida Man Used Twitter to Send Child Pornography to News Anchor

Marchaun Browning

Marchaun Browning

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 20-year-old Florida man was arrested after the FBI said he used multiple Twitter accounts to send child pornography to a local news anchor.

Investigators said Marchaun Browning created new Twitter accounts when the news anchor blocked his tweets containing sexual images of children, ABC Action News reports

Using the IP addresses for each Twitter account, the FBI discovered the tweets originated at Browning’s Gibsonton, Fla. home.

A total of 163 child pornography images were found.

On Aug. 16, a grand jury indicted Browning with three counts of distributing child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography.

He was arrested Saturday.

FBI Informant Committed Fraud While Working Undercover on Terrorism Sting

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI placed an awful lot of trust in a Florida man who had just been released from prison for committing fraud.

Soon after Mohammed Agbareia got out of prison and moved to Palm Beach County, the FBI hired him to work as an undercover informant on a high-profile terrorism sting, the Sun Sentinel reports. 

Despite his past legal troubles, the FBI considered him a “national security asset” and extolled his “usefulness as a provider of intelligence of the FBI.”

Yet, Agbareia continued to commit fraud almost immediately after leaving prison, even as he was providing undercover information to the FBI, according to prosecutors.

The new charges allege Agbareia resumed operating a similar fraud scheme that landed him in prison in 2007 and didn’t stop until his arrest on June 21.

The FBI declined to comment.