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Tag: Orange County

Blogger Charged with Threatening to Kill FBI Agents Is Released After Jury Deadlocks

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Orange County, Calif., blogger accused of threatening to behead and slit the throats of FBI agents was acquitted on some charges, and jurors were deadlocked on others.

U.S. District Judge Josephine L. Staton declared a mistrial and ordered Peter Ronald Wexler to be released, CNN reports. 

Wexler, 50, testified that he intended to be provocative in his posts by using sarcasm and hyperbole, but he did not intend to convey serious threats against the agents.

Prosecutors had to convince jurors that Wexler’s comments were “a serious expression of an intent to physically harm or murder” the agents.

“Mr. Wexler is very happy about today’s results,” Wexler’s attorney, Caleb Mason, said. “He’s very glad the justice system has worked so far.”

Wexler once wrote: “Is it murder to kill an FBI Pig who knocks on your door without a warrant?” Wexler allegedly wrote in a blog post. “I think not.”

ATF Agent Awarded for His Time Spent Mentoring for Big Brothers

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As if being an ATF agent wasn’t busy enough, Larry Wozniak has spent countless hours mentoring a boy who is now 17 years old.

CBS LA reports that Wozniak was named Orange County’s Big Brother of the year for his time dedicated to mentoring children.

“Sometimes you see kids that stray for different reasons and I just want to try and have a positive influence and impact on at least one kid’s life,” Wozniak.

The little brother, Geoffrey, said he’s a better person because of Wozniak.

“He really taught me to not think just about myself but about the community,” Geoffrey said.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI Helps Investigate Tutor Accused of Teaching Students to Change Grades

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Private tutor Timothy Lance Lai sure knew how to boost students’ grades.

Police says he’s the mastermind behind a cheating scandal at a Newport Beach high school where 11 students have been expelled for changing their grades by hacking into the district computer system, the L.A. Times reports.

Now local police want the FBI’s help investigating the 28-year-old tutor, who has not yet been located.

Electronic evidence has been turned over to agents in Orange County, the L.A. Times wrote.

 

FBI Uses Special Mobile Unit to Track Down Criminals

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI in Orange County has a special weapon against crime. 

It’s called the Regional Mobile Computer Forensic Laboratory, and it recently helped catch ex-LAPD officer Christopher Dorner, NBC 4 in Southern California reports.

“It’s a self-enclosed mobile laboratory,” said Supervising Special Agent Jason Weiss of the Los Angeles-area Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The mobile unit, nicknamed the “M-Lab,” is one of only six on the country.

 

Judge Tosses Muslim Spying Lawsuit Against FBI

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A federal judge rejected a lawsuit against the FBI that alleges the agency unlawfully spied on Orange County Muslims in California, the Los Angeles Times reports.

U.S. District Court Judge Cormac Carney wrote that “the state secrets privilege may unfortunately mean the sacrifice of individual liberties for the sake of national security.”

Carney said the intelligence in the case would compromise national security, if revealed, the LA Times reported.

Still, the judge said the suit can proceed against the individual FBI agents.

Orange County Muslims brought the lawsuit after they said they were targeted for illegally spying.

$4 Mil Worth of Marijuana Found Floating Off California Coast

 

OC Sherriff recovers marijuana bales in Dana Point harbor. Credit: Patty Field

Shoshanna Utchenik
ticklethewire.com

Orange County Harbor Patrol spent Sunday recovering huge quantities of marijuana from the water off the Californian coast, as impressed gawkers asked, “Anyone lose their stash?”

Based on the quantity, it looks like a lot of people did.

The Huffington Post reports 180 bales of marijuana wrapped in garbage bags, containing more than 8,000 pounds of drugs at a street value over $4 million, were discovered floating about 15 miles from Dana Point Sunday around noon. It took federal, state and law enforcement authorities working together into the evening to retrieve all of the bundles. It was then turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol, according to an official statement from the agency.

The Coastguard, ICE, local harbor patrols, and Border Patrol have seen a recent increase in ocean drug smuggling. The U.S. Border Patrol reports that combined figures from these and other maritime agencies show a leap from 45 smuggling events in 2008 to 183 in 2011, and 203 apprehensions in ’08 compared with a staggering 631 in 2011. Their report does not seem to assess whether there has been an uptick in crime or improvements in law enforcement efforts.

However we do know someone somewhere had a lot of explaining to do Monday morning about their lost shipment of marijuana.

To read more click here.

No Jail Time in Criminal Case for Ex-Calif. FBI Agent Linked to Golf Pro Greg Norman

Greg Norman/great white shark enterprises

Greg Norman/great white shark enterprises

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

A former California FBI agent who federal prosecutors say abused his position to help pro golfer Greg Norman in his 2006 divorce was sentenced Monday in an unrelated case to one year’s probation, including three months of home confinement, The Orange County Register reported.

Peter Norell Jr., a veteran agent out of Orange County, was sentenced for illegally accessing FBI records and pressuring someone in 2005 to pay a $500,000 debt owed to an acquaintance and other investors.

Norell — popular among his peers, some of whom reportedly showed up in court to support him Monday — was not charged in the Norman incident in 2006. But it was cited by the government in a sentencing memorandum to illustrate another time that Norell had “misused his FBI position on behalf of a friend.”

Norell resigned from the FBI as part of the plea agreement for illegally accessing the FBI records.

During a three-hour sentencing hearing in Santa Ana, Calif., Norell apologized to fellow agents, prosecutors and U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford, according to the Register.

“I understand my actions have tarnished the image of the FBI and for that I am deeply, deeply sorry,” he said. “I accept full responsibility for my actions.”

To read full story click here.

FBI Informant Infiltrated California Mosques

News of this informant can only make the Islamic community more weary about the FBI. The FBI has made extra efforts to nurture a relationship with the Islamic community, but some efforts have fallen short.

Teresa Watanabe and Scott Glover
Los Angeles Times

As federal authorities press their case against a Tustin man accused of lying about ties to Al-Qaeda, they disclosed this week that some evidence came from an informant who infiltrated Orange County mosques and allegedly recorded the defendant discussing jihad, weapons and plans to blow up abandoned buildings.

On Wednesday, a man who claims to be that informant stepped forward, filing court documents saying that he had served as a confidential informant for the FBI from July 2006 to October 2007 to identify and thwart terrorist operations in the Orange County Islamic community.

The claim by Craig Monteilh, a 46-year-old Irvine resident, that he had been sent by the FBI to infiltrate several Orange County mosques could affect the government’s case against Ahmadullah Sais Niazi.

His allegations highlight recurring issues about the use of informants by law enforcement agencies and have fanned long-held fears by some Muslim leaders about religious profiling.

For Full Story