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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Former Mesquite narcotics sergeant gets 15 months for stealing drug money

Staff Writer
Published 20 June 2011 10:30 PM
Full article here

A judge frustrated over a string of probation sentences for dirty cops on Monday sent a former Mesquite narcotics sergeant to federal prison for 15 months for stealing money he thought belonged to a drug dealer.

John David McAllister was arrested in March after FBI agents set up a sting in which they placed $100,000 of supposed drug money in a vehicle and asked McAllister to help them seize it. Undercover cameras showed McAllister stuffing $2,000 into his pants.

McAllister then went to Town East Mall and bought a $480 watch and later bragged to his fellow officers that he had paid for it with an IRS tax refund.

FBI agents got a tip in December that McAllister, 42, the son of a retired Dallas police officer, had been stealing money during searches, leading them to set up the sting. McAllister has not been charged with other crimes, but U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay said Monday he believes the 21-year police veteran had betrayed his badge before.

“It would be fatuous for any person to believe it was the first time you had stolen drug money,” Lindsay told McAllister and a courtroom full of his tearful supporters.

One of them yelled, “He made a mistake!” after the sentence was announced. Lindsay told her to leave the courtroom.

Lt. Bill Hedgpeth, a Mesquite police spokesman who did not attend the hearing, had no comment on the 15-month sentence. He said that an internal department review of narcotics seizures for the past five years, the period when McAllister was head of the unit, found no evidence of wrongdoing.

“All the numbers matched,” Hedgpeth said.

McAllister pleaded guilty earlier this year. The statutory maximum for theft of government money is 10 years in prison, but taking into account McAllister’s lack of criminal history and other factors, federal sentencing guidelines put the maximum for his crime at six months in prison. But federal judges are free to impose harsher penalties when they believe circumstances warrant.

“This court takes the deterrent effect very seriously,” Lindsay said. “If law enforcement officials are going to break the very law they are sworn to uphold, they need more than a slap on the wrist.”

He cited several local cases in which officers got probation for committing crimes, including another Mesquite officer. A Dallas County judge in April gave former Officer David Sutton a year of probation after he pleaded guilty to a state jail felony for stealing $1,800 from the Santa Cops and Special Olympics programs. Sutton told investigators he had been having financial problems.

In May, a Dallas County jury generated waves of criticism for giving former Dallas police Officer Alph Coleman 10 years of probation and a $10,000 fine after finding him guilty of participating in the robbery of a Sam’s Club in 2008.

Lindsay also cited the case of Carlos Ortiz, who was allowed to remain an FBI agent despite being involved in two armed standoffs in 1992 and 2004. He finally received two years in federal prison after he told a friend last summer that he was going to kill his wife and the head of the Dallas FBI, Robert E. Casey Jr. It was only then that he was fired, arrested and charged.

“Those breaks would not have been afforded to members of the public,” Lindsay said.

McAllister had no visible reaction to the sentence. He was told to report to prison July 19. After he serves his time, he will be on supervised release for two years.

Before being sentenced, McAllister told the judge he was sorry for his crime and said pride led to his making a mistake.

“I was the big man on campus,” McAllister told the judge. “The job breeds that. I felt like I could accomplish anything.

“I hurt my profession, my department and my family. It’s an embarrassment.”

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not all the Corrupt Cops Are Mexican

We would be fools to think that law enforcement on this side of the border is immune from the corruption that saturates Mexico, as these two stories illustrate:

Corruption adds to problems on border
Even as it works to beef up security, the U.S. government is turning up hundreds of agents who may already be compromised
June 20, 2011, 5:22AM

hat I could do to avoid being caught. ... She provided information."
Rookie agent Raquel "Kelly" Esquivel - no relation to Diego - is serving 15 years in a North Texas federal prison, one of many federal law enforcement personnel targeted by Mexican drug cartels in criminals' widening campaign to infiltrate or buy turncoats within the expanding ranks of 20,700 Border Patrol agents and 21,000 Customs and Border Protection officers stationed at airports, seaports and land crossings.
Investigations of border security personnel have expanded in each of the past four years, with at least 1,036 inquiries under way, including some 267 focused on suspected corruption. Additional corruption-related investigations are conducted by the FBI or internal affairs agents within the agencies....
"The cartels buy off police chiefs and elected officials in Mexico, and now they're trying to buy off our Border Patrol agents who are our first line of defense," said McCaul.
Other border protection officers in Texas and elsewhere also have faced federal corruption charges in recent years.
CBP technician Martha Alicia Garnica, 44, is serving a 20-year sentence after pleading guilty last year to charges in El Paso that she conspired to import more than 220 pounds of marijuana and smuggle undocumented aliens and offered or paid $5,500 in bribes to Customs and Border Protection officers to turn a blind eye.
Former CBP officer Alex Moses Jr., of Eagle Pass, is serving five years of probation after pleading guilty to smuggling about 6 grams of cocaine from Mexico in 2008.
And former CBP officer Sergio Garza, 36, was sentenced in Laredo in 2008 to three years in prison for aiding the smuggling of an undocumented alien into the U.S. - one of at least 10 undocumented immigrants whom he admitted allowing into the country....
Lie detector test backlog
Yet challenges remain. Only 22 percent of new hires are subjected to lie detector tests amid expanding enlistments and shortages of polygraph specialists. The agency is expanding the number of polygraphers from 35 to 52, but it will be at least 2013 before it can polygraph all new hires.
Efforts also lag in identifying compromised law enforcement officers already within the ranks. An estimated 60 percent of veteran law enforcement officers initially fail periodic lie detector tests required every five years to verify honesty and backgrounds, officials said. Nearly 15,200 officers who have failed the routine polygraphs await follow-up background checks.
Even with all the precautions, senior officials concede they can only guess at the breadth of infiltration or corruption by Mexican cartels.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chronicle/7617531.html#ixzz1PocGckR5

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chronicle/7617531.html#ixzz1Poc8MSfC

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chronicle/7617531.html#ixzz1Pobxr4JU
Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chronicle/7617531.html#ixzz1PoaZmkkG

Raided Mexican Ranch Linked to U.S. Drug War Corruption
Posted by Bill Conroy - June 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm

Former CIA Asset Claims U.S. Special Forces Assisted Mexican Soldiers In Assault on Stash Site
The recent raid of a stash site on the Mexican side of the border suspected of containing a cache of guns and/or drugs is drawing attention once again to the U.S. border town of Columbus, N.M. — where 11 people, including the mayor, police chief and a village trustee, were recently indicted on gun-running charges.
The Mexican stash site was raided this past Wednesday evening, June 15, according to former CIA contract pilot and New Mexico resident Tosh Plumlee, who was present at the scene taking photos.
The stash site — actually two warehouse buildings on a ranch just south of the border and some 20 to 30 miles east of Palomas, Mexico, which borders Columbus — was allegedly raided by the Mexican military in cooperation with a U.S. military special-operations task force, Plumlee asserts. That Pentagon task force has been active inside Mexico and along the border region for several years and provided intelligence and other unspecified support for the recent raid, according to Plumlee....

Prior press reports also claim that Columbus is awash in narco-trafficking activity.
As far back as 2009, the Associated Press published a story about Columbus with the following headline: “Drug smugglers allegedly move into N.M. town: Police say Mexican traffickers’ money revving up local economy.”
Ironically, one of the individuals quoted in that AP story saying he planned to get tough on crime was Columbus Police Chief Angelo Vega, who has since become one of the Columbus 11 (a group of village residents that also includes the mayor and a village trustee) who were indicted earlier this year on gun-running charges.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Zeta Leader Killed in Matamoros Shootout

Top Zeta leader Lazcano reportedly killed in gun battle Friday in Matamoros

June 17, 2011 5:26 PM
© Copyright The Brownsville Herald 2011

The top leader of the Zeta criminal organization was killed Friday in a Matamoros firefight with rivaling Gulf Cartel, sources close to the newspaper have reported.

Heriberto "El Lazca" Lazcano Lazcano was reportedly killed in a gun battle on the streets of Matamoros Friday afternoon.....
This is the second gun battle between the two cartels in as many days. On Thursday, the Gulf Cartel captured 11 alleged Zeta hit men in the downtown area of Matamoros. Sources said the squad of six men and five women were part of a larger group of up to 60 Zetas who attempted to seize control of the plaza, or drug corridor.

Wednesday, Matamoros residents went to sleep with the sound of automatic weapons fire, grenade explosions, screeching tires and sirens after a large number of Zetas made their way into the city shortly after midnight. Although causalities were reported, an exact number has not been released.

The Herald received information that at least 13 people were killed in the Thursday encounter, with 11 individuals captured. Details were not known.

Mexico arrests Zetas drug cartel co-ordinator

Mexican police detain drug cartel member Edgar Huerta Montiel, accused of co-ordinating the massacre of 72 migrants. AlJazeera

Mexican federal police have arrested a military deserter believed to have joined the Zetas drug cartel and participated in the massacre of 72 migrants in Tamaulipas, near the US border.

Ramon Eduardo Pequeo, chief of the Anti-Drug Division of the Federal Police, said that Edgar Huerta Montiel, alias "El Huache", was the local leader in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, for the Zetas gang and allegedly "coordinated the multiple homicide of migrants" in that municipality.

Edgar Huerta Montiel was detained in the northern state of Zacatecas along with his girlfriend Brenda Acevedo, said Pequeo.

Huerta is suspected of killing at least 10 Central American migrants in August 2010 and orchestrating the kidnapping of two cargo trucks where 60 migrants from Central America were hiding.

Huerta told police victims were taken to safe houses and tortured. Those who died were buried in mass graves.

Pequeno also said it is believed the migrants were kidnapped for ransom.

The bodies of the 72 massacred migrants from Honduras, Salvador, Guatemala and Brazil were discovered on a ranch, bound, blindfolded and slumped against a wall.

All Aboard the Latin American Drug War Gravy Train
Waging the war on drugs in Latin America is a gold mine for contractors, a waste for taxpayers
Mike Riggs | June 10, 2011 Reaon.com - Free Minds Free Markets
Private companies received nearly $2 billion in Latin American drug war contracts between 2005 and 2009, according to a report released Thursday by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). That money may as well have been stuffed in garbage bags and dropped randomly from the backs of airplanes.

Best Books and Movies About Drug War

These are some of my favorite books and movies about the War on Drugs:

Down by the River - Drugs, Money, Murder and Family, by Charles Bowden.

Murder City - Ciudad Juarez and the Global Economy's New Killing Fields, also by Charles Bowden

The Wire


Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone

Killing Pablo - the Hunt for the World's Greatest Outlaw, by Mark Bowden

The Power of the Dog, by Don Winslow

Drug Lord - the Life and Death of a Mexican Kingpin, by Terrence Poppa

Thursday, June 16, 2011

US Law Enforcement Corruption by Mexican Cartels

Cartels Recruit and Corrupt U.S. Agents
from Borderlandbeat.com
June 9 - Acting Inspector General (IG) and Deputy Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Charles K. Edwards testified that DHS and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents have been commonly targeted by Los Zetas with bribes in exchange for safe passage, protection, the escorting of traffickers and the leaking of sensitive information.

Per Edwards testimony, agents are “bribed with cash, granted sexual favors and other services in exchange for allowing contraband or undocumented immigrants to pass through inspection lanes.”

In May 2011, FBI Deputy Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigation Division, David Cardona, addressing public corruption [with regards to an FBI sting involving a CBP agent with ties to the Gulf Cartel] stated, “Amazingly these people sell their ethics for small dollar figures. There’s always a pattern. The bribes start off small, they work their way up and it’s just a constant flow. They become addicted to the illegal revenue flow of the constant bribes coming in.”

Borderlandbeat.com is a great source to keep up with the latest news from the war on drugs.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bandera: What Happened to the Evidence?

Officer wants investigation of Bandera police
By Zeke MacCormack
Sunday, June 12, 2011

BANDERA — Mishandled evidence is again drawing unwelcome scrutiny to the Bandera Police Department, where Chief James Eigner is publicly feuding with Patrolman Mario Hernandez.

Marijuana was stolen from the evidence room last year, Eigner confirmed Thursday, compromising the criminal case in which the drugs were seized and leading to a pot possession charge against the officer's son accused of taking it.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Bandera-police-again-face-scrutiny-over-1420384.php#ixzz1P4o7dMJn

This is the same police department that destroyed evidence from a DWI fatality crash that may have let a guilty defendant go free.

The biggest case of evidence disappearing was from a New York City police evidence locker was the theft by a mafia goomba, with help from inside the department, of $9 Million worth of heroin, the same heroin seized in the French Connection case. A major narcotics distributor for many years, Papa along with Virgil Alessi plotted the famous French Connection drug thefts. Between 1969 and 1972, thieves stole approximately $70,000,000 in confiscated narcotics from the New York City Police Property Clerk's office in Lower Manhattan. Over 400 pounds of heroin and cocaine disappeared back into the streets. Although some of the drugs were eventually recovered, the majority was lost forever. The French Connection theft became the biggest corruption scandal in NYPD history and one of the most spectacular crimes in city history. This theft was never solved.

Papa's crew, whose members included Loria, distributed close to $1 million in heroin along the East Coast of the United States during the early seventies. It was widely suspected that Papa sold the stolen drugs.

Papa's infamous theft was later made famous by the movie The French Connection. (from Wikipedia).

I've been reading a great novel about the drug wars, "The Power of the Dog," by Don Winslow. It's based on the rise of the Mexican cartels, and the protagonist is Art Keller, a DEA agent seeking revenge for the torture and murder of a colleague, based on Enrique Camarena, who was grabbed by police in Guadalajara and turned over to the cartels. High ranking Mexican government officials and generals were present when he was tortured for information and murdered. Another great book about the drug war and border, this one non-fiction, is Charles Bowden's Down by the River. It is also centered around a high ranking DEA agent, whose younger brother was murdered to send a message, and one of the first really big cartel bosses, Amado Fuentes, the Lord of the Skies. Bowden shows how the Mexican economy would collapse without drug money and do serious damage to the US economy.