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Tag: Miami

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.

FBI’s George Piro, Chief Interrogator of Saddam Hussein, Named AD of International Operations

FBI Agent George Piro interviewed on 60 Minutes in 2008

FBI Agent George Piro interviewed on 60 Minutes in 2008

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

George Piro, the Beirut-born Assyrian-American  FBI agent who was the team leaders and lead interrogator of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, has been named assistant director of the International Operations Division at FBI headquarters. His most recent assignment was head of the Miami field office.

Piro joined the FBI in 1999, and was first assigned to the Phoenix Division, where he worked international terrorism cases.

During his FBI career,  Mr. Piro has held leadership positions in the Counterterrorism Division, the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, the Washington Field Office and as a member of the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.

Congressman Pushes Bill to Rename ATF Headquarters After Slain Agent Ariel Rios

Ariel Rios

Ariel Rios

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Congressman André Carson from Indiana hopes history repeats itself.

The Congressman has introduced a bill to name ATF headquarters at 99 New York Avenue NE in Washington as the Ariel Rios Federal Building.

ATF agent Rios, 28, was murdered by drug traffickers in Miami in 1982 while assigned to then Vice President George Bush’s South Florida Drug Task Force. He was the first ATF agent killed by hostile action.

It’s not such an unusual request considering the old ATF headquarters at 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW was named after Rios in 1985.

In 2007, ATF moved into a more secure headquarters on New York Avenue, but Congress never named the new building after Rios.

“Naming the ATF headquarters after Ariel Rios is an important symbolic reminder of risks faced by ATF’s front line agents and their ongoing service to our country,” said Rep. Carson in a letter to colleagues asking them to co-sponsor the bill. “As a former law enforcement officer, I believe this important recognition  of Ariel Rios will serve as a tribute to every frontline law enforcement officer past, present, and future.”

According to ATF, Rios and another agent, Alex D’Atri,  made arrangements to meet with two suspects at the Hurricane Motel in Miami to make an undercover buy of large quantities of cocaine and machineguns. One of the suspects suddenly became suspicious, drew his weapon and made threats.

Rios struggled with him and was shot. He died shortly after in the hospital. The other agent, D’Atri, was shot and wounded but survived.   

Read Rep. André Carson’s full letter to Congressional colleagues.

Dear Colleague:

I am writing to ask you to cosponsor the “Ariel Rios Federal Building Act”
which  will name the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
(ATF) headquarters in honor of its first special agent killed by hostile
action. This bill will designate the federal building at 99 New York Avenue,
NE Washington D.C. as the Ariel Rios Federal Building. Ariel Rios was a
young ATF special agent murdered by drug traffickers in 1982 while assigned
to then Vice President George Bush’s South Florida Drug Task Force.

In 1985, Congress designated the ATF headquarters building at 1200
Pennsylvania Avenue as the Ariel Rios Memorial Federal Building.  The
designation honored both the personal sacrifice of Ariel Rios and served as
an enduring reminder of the dangers that front line law enforcement officers
willingly confront to keep the rest of us safe.  For nearly 30 years, the
original ATF headquarters building bore the name of Ariel Rios.

Read more »

Facebook Posts Lead FBI to Florida Man Accused of Planning to Detonate Nail Bomb

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has arrested an alleged ISIS sympathizer who investigators say planned to detonate a nail-rigged backpack bomb on a Florida beach, the Guardian reports. 

Prosecutors charged 23-year-old Harlem Suarez of Key West with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in the U.S.

Suarez attracted authorities because of provocative Facebook posts supporting ISIS.

“Be a warrior, learn how to cut your enemies head and then burn down the body learn how to be the new future of the world Caliphate,” Suarez allegedly posted.

Suarez appeared in a Miami court for the first time Tuesday and was held without bail.

Ex-Miami Cop Charged with Extortion for Alleged Role in Illegal Gambling Ring

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Miami Police officer accused of protecting an illegal gambling operation in exchange for cash was charged Monday with two counts of extortion, the FBI announced.

Jerry Sutherland, 28, also is accused of “facilitating the theft of proceeds from a gambling operations.”

The investigation was handled by the FBI Miami Area Corruption Task Force and the Miami Police Department’s Internal Affairs Section.

Miami Police Chief Jerry Sutherland released the following statement:

I am disappointed and disheartened that Officer Jerry Sutherland has been arrested today by the FBI.  Officer Sutherland was attempting to obstruct, delay and affect commerce, as well as, to facilitate purported illegal activity, that is, a gambling operation, in exchange for receipt of cash payments.   The Miami Police Department’s Internal Affairs Section has assisted the FBI from the beginning of this investigation. Let me make it clear that we take these allegations very seriously. 

I will not tolerate any conduct that discredits this organization. Any time a law enforcement officer is accused of tarnishing the badge, it is an embarrassment to all the honest, hard-working members of this profession who work, day in and day out, to protect and serve with integrity.  

The allegations surrounding Mr. Sutherland are in no way a reflection of the hard working men and women of the Miami Police Department.

Notorious Ex-FBI Agent John Connolly May Not Be Leaving Prison Anytime Soon

John Connolly

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

John Connolly, the former Boston FBI agent who helped gangster James “Whitey” Bulger and was convicted of murder, likely won’t be leaving prison anytime soon.

The Miami Herald reports that the Third District Court of Appeals decided this week to hear the prosecution’s case for keeping Connoly behind bars following the 1982 murder of a gambling executive.

That’s a dramatic turnabout after the Miami appellate court reversed the murder conviction on a legal technicality over the summer.

Connolly is to remain imprisoned in northern Florida while the court reconsiders the decision to reverse the conviction.

“We’re disappointed,” James McDonald, one of Connolly’s attorneys, said of this week’s ruling.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said she was “pleased” with the court’s decision.

“There are important issues here which are in conflict and this will allow those conflicts to be resolved,” she said.

Secret Service Incident in Netherlands Was on Heels of Car Wreck during Obama’s Miami Trip

secret service photo

By Carol D. Leonnig, David Nakamura and Michael Birnbaum
Washington Post Staff Writers

WASHINGTON — As the U.S. Secret Service arrived in the Netherlands last weekend for a presidential trip, managers were already on high alert to avoid any further em­barrassing incidents involving agents.

The agency’s director had admonished supervisors after two counter-sniper officers suspected of drinking were involved in a March 7 car accident during a presidential visit to Miami, according to several people with knowledge of the incident. The driver passed a field sobriety test and was not arrested.

So in Amsterdam on Saturday night, Secret Service supervisor George Hartford had the Miami incident in mind when he issued a warning to a group of agents gathered for dinner: Go out if you want, but stay out of trouble.

By the next morning, Hartford was pounding on the hotel door of a 34-year-old junior agent who had passed out drunk in a hallway and later had to be lifted into his room by several hotel employees, according to a hotel spokesman and two other people familiar with the incident. The agent claimed to have no memory of the events.

To read full story click here. 

 

Head of FBI’s Miami Office Gets Promoted to Counter-Terrorism Post in Washington

 

Michael Steinbach/ fbi photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Michael B. Steinbach, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami office, is returning to Washington to take a top job fighting counter-terrorism, the Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

The 47-year-old will be promoted to deputy assistant director in the counter-terrorism division, where he had previously worked.

Steinbach, whose departure date has not yet been determined, took the Miami job in February 2013.

He currently leads about 800 employees in the Miami Division, which covers nine counties.

His replacement has been decided but the name has not been released yet, the Sun Sentinel reported.

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