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Tag: Undercover

N.H. Man Sentenced to 16+ Years for Assaulting, Robbing ATF Informant

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A New Hampshire man was sentenced to 16-and-a-half years in prison for his role in the 2017 beating and robbing of an ATF informant who was trying to purchase guns.

Anthony R. Farmer, 26, of Manchester, and two co-defendants robbed and assaulted the unnamed informant who was helping the ATF and met the suspects at a Nashua home on the pretext of illegally buying firearms.

At the home, the suspects assaulted the informant and robbed him of the money that was intended to make the gun purchase.

Anthony Farmer

What the suspects didn’t know was that the informant was wearing audio and video surveillance equipment that captured the robbery and assault. The suspects were arrested soon after the assault.

In August 2018, Farmer pleaded guilt to conspiracy, robbery, assault, use of a firearm during a crime and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Co-defendant Raymond Perez was sentenced to 51 months, and another co-defendant, Aaron Sperow, was sentenced to 102 months in prison.

“Violent crime involving firearms is a grave threat to the safety of the public,” U.S. Attorney Murray said in a news release.  “This substantial sentence shows that there will be serious consequences for those who choose to participate in crimes of violence. Through Project Safe Neighborhoods, we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect our cities and towns from gun violence.”

“Today’s sentencing demonstrates law enforcement’s commitment to protect our communities from violent crime,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Kelly D. Brady, ATF Boston Field Division. “ATF will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement partners to eradicate violent gun related crime and keep our neighborhoods safe.”

Houston Board Repairman Charged with Alleged Plot to Bomb Apartment Building

Suspect Cary Lee Ogborn

Suspect Cary Lee Ogborn

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Houston boat repairman accused of plotting to bomb an apartment building was charged in federal court Monday.

Cary Lee Ogborn’s alleged plot was thwarted by an undercover FBI agent, the Houston Chronicle reports. 

“With terrorism, you don’t want to be reactive,” said Shauna Dunlap, spokeswoman for the FBI in Houston. “Our goal is to detect and deter events before they occur. An effective way to do this is through an undercover operation.”

The 50-year-old’s arrest Friday came after he received a package online that he thought contained dynamite, a grenade and a remote detonator.

According to the FBI, Ogborn ordered the explosives online through an underground website, AlphaBay. An FBI agent posed as a vendor and was able to foil the plot.

Authorities arrested him shortly after he picked up the package.

FBI Increasingly Conducting Undercover Stings to Investigate Suspected ISIS Supporters

ISIS flag

ISIS flag

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is increasingly conducting undercover operations to investigate American suspected of supporting ISIS.

The New York Times found that stings are used in about two-thirds of the terrorism cases, a significant increase over the past two years. 

Nearly 90 Americans have been charged for allegedly supporting ISIS.

The FBI’s secret operations involve agents and informants who pose as bomb makers, jihadist and gun dealers. The agents have helped suspects acquire weapons, bombing targets and routs to Syria.

“We’re not going to wait for the person to mobilize on his own time line,” said Michael B. Steinbach, who leads the F.B.I.’s national security branch.

He said the F.B.I. can’t afford to “just sit and wait knowing the individual is actively plotting.”

Las Vegas’ First Female FBI Agent Was an Undercover Success

Tall and slim, with long, blond hair, Deborah Richard could look like an expensive call girl or a bag lady. She could wear an auburn wig and heavy makeup and look like a hooker. She could be the perfect ditz or the perfect waitress.

But it was quick thinking that made Las Vegas’ first female FBI agent an undercover success. She started undercover work through assignments at the Huntington Beach Police Department, her first law enforcement job. Once she posed as a model and would-be hooker and convinced a man the wire he felt was a pacemaker. She was in her early 20s at the time.

After the FBI recruited her, Richard came to Las Vegas in 1977 and for two years worked undercover doing surveillance and gathering intelligence in the bureau’s intense effort to indict Tony Spilotro, the Chicago mob’s watchdog in Las Vegas. She was 27 but looked younger.

“A lot of my work was being a fly on the wall,” she said.

She will be on the Mob Museum’s Nov. 7 panel discussing what was real in the movie “Casino” about Spilotro, mob associate Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal and Rosenthal’s wife (and Spilotro’s lover), Geri.

Richard, who has retired to Las Vegas, shocked me Sunday when she said Geri had also been a source for the FBI, which is not the same as a top echelon informant like Rosenthal and didn’t require a paper trail.

Richard knew this because she worked with the late FBI agent Al Zimmerman, who worked with both Rosenthals. Richard said sometimes Zimmerman met with both Rosenthals the same night, without each other’s knowledge.

While preparing for the museum panel, which includes former Mayor Oscar Goodman, she told him Geri was a source for the FBI. He was stunned, she said.

“Both of them?” he blurted out

To read more click here.

FBI: Reputed Klansman Planned to Attack Muslims with Mobile, Radiation-Spewing Weapon

courtroomBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A reputed Klansman from Saratoga County in New York believed he was capable of making a mobile device that would decimate Muslim towns with radiation.

Unbeknownst to him, he unraveled his plans to FBI agents and a KKK leader who was working with the bureau, The Times Union reports. 

The details were released Wednesday during a federal trial.

The case is expected to go to the jury as early as this week.

Crawford was arrested June 18, 2013. A co-defendant has already pleaded guilty.

Speaking to agents, Crawford bragged about the weapon’s capabilities.

“This could kill whole cities in a night — silently,” Crawford told the agents. “It would be weeks before anybody would have any inkling that anything was wrong and they’d probably drop dead in their beds.”

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Agent Became Addicted to Heroin After Dependence on Pain Meds

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent accused of stealing heroin from evidence in cases to feed his addiction was first hooked on pain medication, The Washington Post reports.

Matthew Lowry, 33, of the Washington Field Office told investigators that he first took heroin in 2013 after stealing a small amount obtained during an undercover sting.

He said he became addicted to pain medication in 2012 for reasons that aren’t clear.

Lowry’s eventual dependence on heroin led him to steal heroin from suspects, authorities said in reports. The theft resulted in the dismissal of charges for 28 defendants because the evidence was deemed tainted.

Lowry has been suspended but not charged.

Retired DEA Agent Was Trailblazer for Better Treatment of African Americans, Women in Bureau

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Arthur Lewis, the first African American acting deputy administrator of the DEA, rose to prominence after starting his career on the hardscrabble streets of Harlam as an undercover agent.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Lewis is credited with breaking down racial barriers and winning a legal battle in the 1970s to improve treatment of black and female agents.

It was a tough journey that spanned nearly three decades and involved some of the most dangerous assignments, Lewis, 84, told the Inquirer during an interview at his home in Cherry Hill.

“It was hard work and it was difficult,” Lewis recalled. “But to me, it was very worthwhile.”

Added Lewis Rice, a former special agent, “He’s a living legend, a legend for all ages.”

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Journal Sentinel Editorial: ATF’s Stings Were an Embarrassing ‘Joke’ by Federal Government

By Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 
Editorial 

The deputy director of the ATF told a congressional subcommittee last week that the agency is out of the business of undercover storefront stings for now after embarrassing revelations in this newspaper that illustrated how badly botched some of these operations were.

Thomas E. Brandon told the House Judiciary’s Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security that there were no operations underway and that the ATF had beefed up oversight.

That’s good, because the agency’s stings were a joke.

A series of Journal Sentinel articles found that the agency used mentally disabled people to promote operations and then arrested them on drug and gun charges; opened storefronts near churches and schools and attracted kids with free video games and alcohol. Agents paid too much for guns, leading folks to buy guns elsewhere and sell them back to the government at drastically inflated prices, and agents let armed felons leave the phony storefronts and bought stolen goods, which made crime worse in nearby neighborhoods.

U.S. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, chairman of the subcommittee, called the Milwaukee sting an “abysmal failure.”

To read more click here.