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Tag: Texas

DEA Identifies Where Mexican Cartels Are Operating in the U.S.

Map of cartels identified by the DEA.

Map of cartels identified by the DEA.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA identified Mexican cartels that operate within the United States and provided a map to show where the drug gangs are wielding influence.

In Texas, for example, the DEA has identified the following cartels operating within the state: the Sinaloa, Gulf, Juarez, the Knights Templar, Beltran-Levya, Jalisco and the Zetas.

But Texas is far from alone. Most states have links to cartels, which can be very violent and supply dangerous drugs.

The areas with the highest concentration of cartel involvement are California, Texas, New York and New England.

Other Stories of Interest

Man Charged with 1983 Murder at U. of Texas Added to FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Texas man who fled after being charged with the 1983 murder of a 22-year-old woman has been added to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, with the offer of a $100,000 reward for information that leads to his capture.

Robert Francis Van Wisse was a 19-year-old college student when authorities say he sexually assaulted and strangled a janitor at the University of Texas at Austin.

The victim was married and had a 1-year-old daughter.

“No matter how much time has passed,” said Special Agent Justin Noble, a member of the FBI’s Central Texas Violent Crimes Task Force in Austin who is investigating the case, “it’s important that we finally get justice for the victim and her family.”

Van Wisse was initially a suspect, but the case went cold “because DNA and other tests were not as sophisticated then as they are today,” Noble said.

In the early 1990s, the Austin Police Department submitted crime scene evidence for DNA tests, and “the results pointed directly to Van Wisse,”Noble said.

Van Wisse fled when he learned he was a suspect. He was charged with capital murder in 1996.

“He was a college student whose parents were both professionals,” Noble said. “He grew up going to the best schools and living in the nicest neighborhood. He had the future in front of him,” Noble added, “and yet it appears he murdered a young woman making minimum wage trying to support her family and young child.”

Border Patrol Arrests Two Men Previously Charged with Sex Crimes in U.S.

Border PatrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents in Texas arrested two convicted sex offenders who had re-entered the U.S. after previously being removed, San Angelo Live reports. 

The incidents were unrelated.

On Dec. 4, Eagle Pass Border Patrol agents apprehended a 57-year-old undocumented immigrant who had been arrested and charged in June 1993 with indecency with a child. Oswaldo Bienvenido Galo-Garcia was sentenced to two years before being deported back to Honduras.

On Dec. 7, a 24-year-old undocumented immigrant from Honduras was arrested by Border Patrol agents for entering the U.S. illegally. Agents discovered that Oscar Omar Rivas-Izaguirre had been convicted of child fondling in October 2013 and was deported back to Honduras on Sept. 28, 2015.

“Two serious offenders were stopped short of possibly doing more harm to the people of this great nation,” said Del Rio Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent Matthew J. Hudak. “The commitment our Border Patrol agents have in keeping America secure is a continuous effort; and this is one more example.”

Central Americans Rush to Cross Border Because of Trump’s Threat to Build a Wall

Border Fence in the DesertBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to build a wall has triggered a surge of Central American families flowing into the U.S.  to escape poverty and warlike conditions.

Smugglers are telling migrants they better cross the border soon before the wall is erected, the Boston Globe reports. 

For Smugglers, fears of Trump building a wall have been a selling point.

To handle the influx, the U.S. sent 150 additional agents to Texas to shore up the border.

The Globe writes:

Here at the border, the obstacles to Trump’s plans appear daunting. To hold, quickly process, and deport the tens of thousands of arrivals each month, the Trump administration would have to add scores of immigration judges and dramatically expand detention facilities, which have faced legal challenges. A wall could cost billions.

Some here welcome a Trump crackdown. Many Border Patrol agents resent what they see as a ‘‘catch-and-release’’ approach to the flood of Central Americans. To them, Trump’s win has delivered the morale-boosting equivalent of a Red Bull.

‘‘We’re going to be able to do our jobs again,’’ said Chris Cabrera, a Border Patrol agent and a spokesman for their union, which endorsed Trump for president.

‘‘We’ve turned into a detention agency,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re not out there enforcing. We’re doing jailer work and sometimes babysitting.’’

But analysts, lawyers and elected officials on both sides of the border say it is a place that has always defied easy fixes and expensive barriers.

The Supreme Court, Police Shootings and Black Lives Matter

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Have the frenzied media coverage of incidents involving police shootings of African Americans and the protests of Black Lives Matter activists affected the Supreme Court?  The Court has not addressed a case involving race and the criminal justice system in some time, but two such cases are scheduled for oral argument this month.

Coincidence or a legitimate attempt to weigh in on a crisis jeopardizing law enforcement lives and the faith of minority Americans in the fairness of the criminal process?

US_Supreme_Court

The Court exercises discretion in at least three ways: what cases to accept for hearing (only about 1% are heard), the timing of oral argument (these cases were set for the first month of the 2016-2017 term), and in the individual votes and opinions of the Justices). The first two seem to demonstrate a special sensitivity to this subject which is embroiling race relations in America.

However, the other related question is whether the open seat on the Court from the death of Justice Scalia will affect the Court’s ability to decide these cases and to resolve conflicts in the lower courts. A 4-4 vote will mean that the lower court decision will stand. In these two cases the lower courts both rejected the petitions of minority defendants on racial issues.

The first of the two cases is Buck v. Davis, a death penalty appeal which has bounced around the Texas state courts, the federal district court in Houston and the 5th Circuit since Buck’s sentence of death in 1996. Buck was convicted of capital murder of his ex-girlfriend and a man at her house in a jealousy-fueled shooting spree. During the penalty hearing his defense attorney, who had a notoriously bad record in capital cases, called a psychologist to testify on the subject of Buck’s likelihood of posing a danger in the future.

In Texas the jury must unanimously conclude that the defendant poses a danger of violence to warrant the verdict of death. The defense psychologist testified that the fact that he was Black made him statistically more likely to be dangerous. Ultimately, however, the psychologist was of the opinion that he was at a lower probability of being dangerous. His report, which included the race analysis, was admitted as a defense exhibit. The prosecutor reiterated this race opinion in cross-examination and the witness’s conclusion in his closing argument.

On the most recent appeal, the 5th Circuit concluded that, although racial appeals had long been unconstitutional in criminal trials, the defendant had not met the standard of a substantial showing of prejudice to justify a Certificate of Appeal. There had been no proof that the result would have been different without the expert’s testimony in view of the defendant’s callous actions and his lack of remorse. The defense showing on appeal was not extraordinary and the prejudice de minimis.

This particular psychologist had repeated this race-based statistical opinion in six other capital cases, and the Texas Attorney General announced in a press conference that it would not oppose re-sentencing in all of those cases. However, a new Attorney General reneged on this promise as to Buck’s case.

In addition to the race-based issue, the case illustrates the tension in capital cases between two important principles. In cases involving the death penalty errors in the trial are painstakingly reviewed and appellate opinions often reach to achieve due process. On the other hand, there is a need for finality in the resolution of criminal cases. The length of time capital defendants sit on death row today is considered by some to be a failure of finality in the system.

Read more »

Parker: The Supreme Court, Police Shootings and Black Lives Matter

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Have the frenzied media coverage of incidents involving police shootings of African Americans and the protests of Black Lives Matter activists affected the Supreme Court?  The Court has not addressed a case involving race and the criminal justice system in some time, but two such cases are scheduled for oral argument this month.

Coincidence or a legitimate attempt to weigh in on a crisis jeopardizing law enforcement lives and the faith of minority Americans in the fairness of the criminal process?

US_Supreme_Court

The Court exercises discretion in at least three ways: what cases to accept for hearing (only about 1% are heard), the timing of oral argument (these cases were set for the first month of the 2016-2017 term), and in the individual votes and opinions of the Justices). The first two seem to demonstrate a special sensitivity to this subject which is embroiling race relations in America.

However, the other related question is whether the open seat on the Court from the death of Justice Scalia will affect the Court’s ability to decide these cases and to resolve conflicts in the lower courts. A 4-4 vote will mean that the lower court decision will stand. In these two cases the lower courts both rejected the petitions of minority defendants on racial issues.

The first of the two cases is Buck v. Davis, a death penalty appeal which has bounced around the Texas state courts, the federal district court in Houston and the 5th Circuit since Buck’s sentence of death in 1996. Buck was convicted of capital murder of his ex-girlfriend and a man at her house in a jealousy-fueled shooting spree. During the penalty hearing his defense attorney, who had a notoriously bad record in capital cases, called a psychologist to testify on the subject of Buck’s likelihood of posing a danger in the future.

In Texas the jury must unanimously conclude that the defendant poses a danger of violence to warrant the verdict of death. The defense psychologist testified that the fact that he was Black made him statistically more likely to be dangerous. Ultimately, however, the psychologist was of the opinion that he was at a lower probability of being dangerous. His report, which included the race analysis, was admitted as a defense exhibit. The prosecutor reiterated this race opinion in cross-examination and the witness’s conclusion in his closing argument.

Ross Parker

Ross Parker

On the most recent appeal, the 5th Circuit concluded that, although racial appeals had long been unconstitutional in criminal trials, the defendant had not met the standard of a substantial showing of prejudice to justify a Certificate of Appeal. There had been no proof that the result would have been different without the expert’s testimony in view of the defendant’s callous actions and his lack of remorse. The defense showing on appeal was not extraordinary and the prejudice de minimis.

This particular psychologist had repeated this race-based statistical opinion in six other capital cases, and the Texas Attorney General announced in a press conference that it would not oppose re-sentencing in all of those cases. However, a new Attorney General reneged on this promise as to Buck’s case.

In addition to the race-based issue, the case illustrates the tension in capital cases between two important principles. In cases involving the death penalty errors in the trial are painstakingly reviewed and appellate opinions often reach to achieve due process. On the other hand, there is a need for finality in the resolution of criminal cases. The length of time capital defendants sit on death row today is considered by some to be a failure of finality in the system.

Read more »

Border Patrol Captures 10 Most Wanted Sex Offender Who Entered U.S. Illegally

Lee Robert Moore has been captured.

Lee Robert Moore has been captured.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 40-year-old U.S. citizen, who is a wanted sex offender and known gang member, was captured by Border Patrol agents after trying to re-enter Texas illegally.

John Albert Gover was one of the Texas Department of Public Safety’s 10 Most Wanted sex offenders, the Dallas Morning News reports. 

Gover is accused of trying to bypass inspection by crossing the Rio Grande River. He was apprehended by Eagle Pass Station agents.

In 2009, Gover was convicted of molesting a 12-year-old girl in Bexar County in Texas. He served four years in prison.

Soon after his release, he was arrested in San Antonio for failing to register as a sex offender.

Border Patrol Agent: ‘I Was Shot at by State Trooper’ in Texas

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Texas state trooper fired his weapon near a federal agent because of poor communication between the Border Patrol and Texas Department of Public Safety.

Records obtained by CBS 4 News raise questions about the Department of Public Safety’s decision to increase its presence at the border, even though many troopers aren’t familiar with the area and don’t speak Spanish.

“When you bring DPS officers from other parts of the state who aren’t really familiar with the border, it’s like going into a strange area or an unfamiliar area,” said state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen. “You’re prone to be a lot more cautious and possibly make some mistakes.”

On June 21, a game warden and Border Patrol agent were monitoring the Rio Grande when they said a trooper shot in their direction.

“I was shot at by a trooper,” the Border Patrol agent said.

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