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Friday, July 29, 2011

Mexican Cartel Cell Busted in Comal County, Texas

Comal meth ring is busted
By Guillermo Contreras

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Comal-meth-ring-is-busted-1624392.php#ixzz1TUkCFvd2
At a news conference here Thursday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the multiagency Comal County Metro Narcotics Task Force announced they broke up a trafficking cell linked to La Familia Michoacana.
The yearlong investigation identified lower, midlevel traffickers and sources of supply in the San Antonio area and surrounding counties directly tied to La Familia, authorities said.... The cell moved 25 pounds of nearly 100-percent pure crystal meth per month that could retail for as much as $200,000 a pound, said Mauricio Fernandez, assistant special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in San Antonio. With a wholesale price of about $20,000 per pound, he estimated the cell made at least $4.5 million a month.... La Familia is one of Mexico's newest and most bizarre drug cartels, according to published reports, a violent but Christian fundamentalist narco gang based in western Michoacan state.
The group is infamous for methamphetamine smuggling, lopping off enemies' heads and limbs, and massacres of police and soldiers. Its founder, Nazario Moreno — aka “El Mas Loco,” or The Craziest One — was killed in a shootout with Mexican security forces in December....
tion were 10 pounds of meth, high-caliber weapons, cars and assets totaling $500,000, which included more than $140,000 in cash and $31,000 in jewelry. Additionally, a popular Guadalupe River campground valued at $1 million was raided June 8, and the government has gone to court in an attempt to confiscate it.
In mid June, a federal grand jury indicted six people on charges of conspiring to traffic meth, among them John Stanley Holly and his common-law wife, Elaine Meckel, who operated the Goodtime Campground on River Road between New Braunfels and Canyon Lake.
“For years, the Goodtime Campground ... has been a (haven) for illegal narcotic traffickers and narcotic users alike,” a DEA agent wrote in a court-filed report.
The report said informants told area investigators that Holly, also known as “Stan the Man,” was trafficking high-purity meth from his home and business at the campground.

The men and women who work as DEA agents and their counter-parts in local government do a dangerous, dirty job, putting their lives at risk every time they go out. Without them, the drug cancer would be even worse than it is, because people who are tempted but don't buy illegal drugs would not have the fear of arrest and disgrace. That said, the agents may be like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike. The money made by the cartels is staggering. In 12007, Mexican authorities, working with DEA, seized over $200MM from a mansion in Mexico City. The money was from the sale of meth. The head of the ring, or at least an important member, was Chinese, which raises all sorts of other issues. Snopes.com has pictures of the money, stacked to the ceiling.

Investigative journalist Daniel Hopsicker has a fascinating website with stories of planes filled with tons of cocaine landing in the U.S. This isn't speculation - they planes occasionally crash. The most interesting idea he raises is, who are the Americans who are running the U.S. side of the business? Is there an American cartel of drug lords?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Cartels in America

The Los Angeles Times is running a four part series about how the Mexican cartels distribute drugs in the United States. Today's installment is about an American pilot who moved cocaine from Southern California to Pennsylvania. It's titled 'Flying high for the Sinaloa drug cartel.' John Charles Ward used small airports across the country and flew below an altitude where he would be required to file a flight plan. He was assisted by Tom George Kontos, a former federal prosecutor from Los Angeles, who was skilled at cutting good deals and laundering money. Gee, I wonder if any of the airports in Texas are used for drug smuggling.

Tuesday edition profiled an operation based in Los Angeles:
'The Sinaloa cartel, Mexico's most powerful organized crime group, has its version of a corporate headquarters in gaudy mansions and hilly estates that dot the state of Sinaloa. But its U.S. distribution hub sits 1,000 miles northwest, in the immigrant neighborhoods that line the trucking corridors of Southern California.

Drugs move from Colombia to Mexico, then across the Imperial Valley to stash houses and staging areas around Los Angeles. There, scores of distribution cells take over, packaging the cocaine and concealing it in tractor-trailers headed across the United States.

As one of dozens of transportation coordinators for the cartel, Roman bought tractor-trailers, hired drivers and arranged for loads of frozen chickens as cover. He received the drugs from Eligio "Pescado" Rios, who operated a string of stash houses.

Together they formed part of a pipeline that extended across the country to a distributor living near Yankee Stadium in New York.'
Some of sicarios working for the cartels are U.S. citizens. The Juarez cartel uses the Barrios Aztecas, a vicious El Paso gang. And here's a really chilling story, about a 15 year old who tortured and slit the throats of enemies of another cartel:
'A Mexican judge on Tuesday sentenced a 15-year-old U.S. citizen to three years in prison for organized crime, homicide, kidnapping, and drug and weapons possession.'
In the U.S. he could have been certified as a adult and sent off for life. Mexico really is a cesspool.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Good Job: DEA and FBI Bust Cartel Ring in Austin

This is a frightening story, reported in today's Austin American Statesman.

Authorities arrested 25 suspected members of the violent Mexican drug cartel La Familia in Central Texas on Wednesday, officials said, capping a 20-month series of investigations across the country. In the second nationwide attack on La Familia, dubbed Project Delirium, 1,985 people were arrested, and officials seized $62 million in cash, 2,773 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,722 kilograms of cocaine , 1,005 pounds of heroin, 14,818 pounds of marijuana and $3.8 million in other assets over 20 months, the DEA said. Wednesday's operation in Central Texas targeted 11 homes and involved hundreds of officers from 21 local, state and federal agencies. They seized about $150,000, several pounds of methamphetamine and several pounds of cocaine, Thrash said.

La Familia started - along with the Zetas - the terror tactic of rolling severed heads into bars and dance clubs.

Also of note, the San Antonio Express News reports:
Mexican authorities Thursday handed over to U.S. marshals in Laredo an American accused of being a Zeta hit man who took part in a brazen 2005 killing in that city.
Wenceslao Tovar Jr., a 26-year-old from Laredo, is charged with murder and aggravated kidnapping in the June 8, 2005 killing of Bruno Alberto Juarez Orozco, a warehouse security guard. He also faces federal racketeering charges.
A group of hit men using a fake police light pulled over Juarez Orozco at about 2 p.m. in front of an industrial park on Laredo's northwest side, according to court documents. One of the killers tried to handcuff him, and when he struggled, another shot him with an AR-15 rifle, according to the documents.
Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Hit-mansuspecthanded-to-U-S-1527913.php#ixzz1SpotTsUo

I admire the law enforcement agents who put their lives on the line to fight the cartels.Mexico is as dangerous for Americans as Afghanistan or Somalia, and it takes a lot of courage for an American agent to go there.

.Congratulations to the DEA, FBI and all other LE agencies in busting up this ring.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crooked DA's, Probation Officers, FBI?

Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins was a darling of the media - first African-American district attorney in Dallas, pioneer in cooperating with defense lawyers using DNA to prove defendants were wrongly convicted, friend of Barack Obama, featured on 60 Minutes, and so on. The Dallas Morning News reports:

"But his standing has taken a number of hits lately, marked by critics sniping about his management style, a rocky relationship with county commissioners and an unexplained visit last week to his office by members of the FBI public corruption unit.
Watkins’ handling of several high-profile incidents — including a troubled investigation against two constables — has caused some county officials to question his judgment and whether he’s damaged the office’s reputation. A growing number of experienced prosecutors have left or been fired, and some working in the courthouse are barred from giving out routine information about trials, or even their names, to reporters."

The luster is off. The Dallas Morning News reports that special agents from the FBI public integrity unit served a search warrant on Watkins' office last week. It may have something to do with $35MM in bail bonds that he has done nothing to collect for bail jumpers. Or it may be something else. Very interesting.

I have a theory: there are a lot more district attorneys who should be investigated, but not even the FBI has the resources to investigate them all. Texas has 250+ counties, and each district attorney and sheriff is like a feudal lord.


Another interesting puzzle - Tanna Hurt Mozell Brown, the ex-198th Judicial District probation officer, was indicted by a 216th District grand jury on about 35 different felonies including theft, forgery, tampering with government documents, etc.
The San Antonio Express News reported:
"A former community supervision officer, Tanna Mozel Tyler Hurt, also known as Tanna Brown, was indicted Monday on dozens of felony charges of embezzlement of fees and restitution paid to her by probationers.
“It's a shame a public servant did what she did,” Kerr County Sheriff Rusty Hierholzer said of Hurt, 45, who resigned in September after six years with the 198th Judicial District Community Supervision and Corrections Department. She was the director of the county's juvenile detention center before moving to the adult probation job.
Hurt didn't cooperate with the investigation, which Hierholzer said showed that since 2007 she'd pocketed at least $24,000 in cash and money orders from probationers who reported to her."
Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Former-Kerr-County-probation-officer-indicted-961623.php#ixzz1SbvNN9HC
The indictments were handed down in January. Since then, almost nothing has happened in her case. The Kerr County District Clerk website shows no motions filed by her attorney, and other than the arraignment, no hearings. She was indicted in Kerrville, lives in Kerrville, but was allowed to self-report to the Kimble County sheriff in Junction, and was almost immediately released on bond.

Tanna Mozel Tyler Hurt, a/k/a Tanna Brown was part of the Sutton/Prohl crew. I wonder if the FBI has talked to her? Sutton and Prohl were a start, but the cancer wasn't excised.

Texas Economy - Boom From Drug Money?

The 'War on Drugs' is a sham. No one in the US government really wants to stop the flow of drugs into this country. Law enforcement agencies depend on drug proceeds seized from criminals to augment their budgets. And it may be that drug money is responsible for Texas' robust economy.
Today's Grits for Breakfast website has an excellent piece, which
quotes Tina Rosenberg in New York magazine:
Jack Schumacher, a recently retired Texas-based DEA agent, says that at least half the drug shipments coming from Mexico stop and offload in Texas. The product is repackaged in small units and resold at a considerable markup, with a share of the gross staying in the state. Even some of the money that gets expatriated to Mexico winds up back in Texas, laundered through Mexican currency exchanges. The state's relative security is the draw. "If you have a few million," says Schumacher, "would you invest in a war zone or a bank in San Antonio?" The DEA warns that traffickers are cleaning up their proceeds by buying businesses in South Texas. They also spend on guns, warehouses, security guards--and on luxury cars and houses. "In San Antonio, a high-dollar trafficker can buy a $2 million or $3 million place and exist for a long time," he adds.
Further, adds Rosenberg:
Mexicans in Texas are hardly new, but in recent years it’s middle- and ­upper-class families in Mexico’s north who have also made the exodus, bringing their savings and businesses with them. While most seem to be fleeing the kidnapping and extortion back home, one observer has a different take: “Some people, including me, suspect that some of these people come with funds from the drug trade,” says Michael Lauderdale, a professor of criminal justice at the ­University of Texas.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Arrogance of Power

myFOXdetroit.com - It's already extremely hard for rape victims to come to court and testify. This alleged rape victim says the only reason she came back was to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.

This woman found the courage to come back to court and testify against one of the men who she says beat her with everything from a chair, to a two-by-four and raped her repeatedly before she found a way to escape from this Strasberg Street in Detroit.

That nightmare only continued at a Wednesday hearing , when she claims defense attorney Gabi Silver kept badgering her on the stand insinuating that she brought this attack on herself, causing this victim to snap in court.

"I said just get to the point bitch, it slipped out, it was inappropriate... all the bottled anger" says the alleged victim.

Without a warning, she says 36th District Judge Vanessa Bradley held her in contempt and ordered her to spend three days in jail.

After our story aired Wednesday, exposing what happened - the judge seemed to have a change of heart and released her a day early.

But to make matters even worse, she says her time in a holding cell was spent right next door to her alleged attacker who she says threatened her life, claiming the suspect who is still on the loose will come back and kill her. An investigation into this matter is underway.

In the end, the judge bound suspect Curtis King over for trial. The alleged victim says she's one step closer to justice, but she hopes no other rape victim will have to go through what she did to get it.

A jury in federal court returned a $3.2 million verdict Friday against a former Brazoria County judge who had been accused by three female co-workers of sexual harassment, reports the Houston Chronicle.
James Blackstock, a former county court-at-law judge and the former head of its Juvenile Probation Board, was found by the Houston jury to have created a hostile work environment and to have physically accosted the probation department employees, one of whom no longer works for the county.
Two of the plaintiffs, Mikki Kalina and Becky Sirmans, were awarded $50,000 each in actual damages, and Christy Strawn received $100,000. The jury also gave them $1 million each in punitive damages.
The three complained that Blackstock, 64, had hugged, groped, kissed and fondled them and had emailed them sexually explicit photographs. Their lawsuit alleged that Blackstock had "for many years preyed upon women in a sexually inappropriate manner" and that local officials had done nothing to curb or punish his alleged conduct despite being aware of it.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7655717.html#ixzz1SGlkq3BH

KHOU: Jolanda Jones ethics report sent to DA, sources say
Sources from City Hall say findings of ethics violations by Houston City Councilwoman Jolanda Jones have been sent to the Harris County district attorney’s office, according to KHOU-Channel 11:

Jones could face criminal charges stemming from last month’s (Office of Inspector General) report that concluded she used city resources to help run her private law firm.

… A spokesperson for Jones, Kelly Cripe, declined to comment Friday, calling the matter “rumor and speculation.” Jones has said before that she “acted within the acceptable standards of conduct.”

Underage Sex Ring Run By Florida School Bus Monitor: On Duty Cop is Customer
Huffington Post
A Florida cop and a school bus monitor were arrested Thursday in connection with a child prostitution ring, Polk County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Police arrested 27-year-old school bus attendant Paul Rosoan Aaron for allegedly forcing two young teens into prostitution, at least one of whom he solicited while on the job, according to a sworn affidavit obtained by The Huffington Post.

Both Aaron and his accused partner were arrested Thursday in connection with the ring, which police say Aaron ran out of a Haines City home under the name “Genuine Quality Entertainment."

A second affidavit identifies 25-year-old Haines City police officer Demetrius Lamar Condry as one of Aaron's clients. He, too, is now facing charges.

Condry allegedly frequented the brothel while still in uniform, his police radio buzzing while he received oral sex from the then-15-year-old victim, the teen reported in her statement to investigators. Aaron typically charged between $60 and $100 for similar encounters, though Condry appears to have been given a free pass in exchange for protection from the law.

"It's disappointing," Haines City Police Chief Richard Sloan told HuffPost. "We do great background and go to a lot of trouble to try to hire the best people, but every now and again you still get a bad egg."

The girl told police she "felt like a sex slave" throughout the seven-month ordeal.

After Jail Time for Contempt, Alleged Rape Victim Returns to Testify
Updated: Friday, 15 Jul 2011, 10:47 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 15 Jul 2011, 10:37 PM EDT

myFOXdetroit.com - It's already extremely hard for rape victims to come to court and testify. This alleged rape victim says the only reason she came back was to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.

This woman found the courage to come back to court and testify against one of the men who she says beat her with everything from a chair, to a two-by-four and raped her repeatedly before she found a way to escape from this Strasberg Street in Detroit.

That nightmare only continued at a Wednesday hearing , when she claims defense attorney Gabi Silver kept badgering her on the stand insinuating that she brought this attack on herself, causing this victim to snap in court.

"I said just get to the point bitch, it slipped out, it was inappropriate... all the bottled anger" says the alleged victim.

Without a warning, she says 36th District Judge Vanessa Bradley held her in contempt and ordered her to spend three days in jail.

After our story aired Wednesday, exposing what happened - the judge seemed to have a change of heart and released her a day early.

But to make matters even worse, she says her time in a holding cell was spent right next door to her alleged attacker who she says threatened her life, claiming the suspect who is still on the loose will come back and kill her. An investigation into this matter is underway.

In the end, the judge bound suspect Curtis King over for trial. The alleged victim says she's one step closer to justice, but she hopes no other rape victim will have to go through what she did to get it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Underbelly of Kerrville

Old Pedophile Ring in Kerrville?

I watched closing arguments in a nasty child custody trial yesterday. On one side are Matt Baker, in prison after being convicted of murdering his wife Kari, and his parents Oscar and Barbara Baker. On the other side, Kari's parents, Jim and Linda Dulin from Waco. They are fighting over who gets custody of Matt and Kari's two daughters. I can't comment on the parties or the merits. The thing that jumped out for me in the trial was the testimony of a lady, now an adult, that she was sexually molested as a child by a prominent Kerrville Baptist preacher and a doctor.

Sometimes I think Kerrville is the perfect setting for a horror or suspense movie - the beautiful little town with all the nice, religious people, but under the surface there is evil that gets covered up.

It's funny, in an ironic way, when people are surprised that 'nice' people, some with good jobs, living in the best neighborhoods, in the right churches and so on, get caught committing heinous crimes. For example, here's a story from the S.A. Express-News about a youth coach who was so kind and supportive that no one could believe he was a pervert/child molester:

'Shocking' allegations against teen center chief revealed
Felty had quit in the face of investigation.

By Eva Ruth Moravec

Local youths and their parents shocked by the death of Bill Felty Jr., director of the local Boys & Girls Clubs teen center, were dealt another blow Wednesday: he had resigned last week amid allegations he placed recording devices in the center's staff bathroom and was involved with a teen club member, the organization's CEO said Wednesday.
CEO Angie Mock called police after a staff member discovered the recording devices, and investigators seized the gear and other material from his office as evidence.
Mock said police told her Tuesday afternoon they found a confession that Felty was having a relationship with a teen.

Here's a typical quote:
"On Tuesday, parents of Teen Center alumni and youths who knew Felty through his work at the YMCA of Greater San Antonio and other youth organizations said they were devastated by his death, crediting Felty with helping kids get into college and otherwise improving their lives.
“I just cannot believe it,” said Delma Guardiola, who knew Felty well and whose daughter attended the teen center. “I've known Bill for such a long time — who would have thought? Oh, my God.”

How many times when a serial killer - say the BTK killer in Wichita, KS - get caught, do people say - he was the nicest man.

I am pro-death penalty. There are some criminals who are so evil and dangerous the only thing to do is kill them. I am pro-2nd Amendment. I support law and order. When a bad cop cheats, he disgraces the whole criminal justice system. Here's an example:

Drug plea tossed because ex-Bexar deputy accused of lying
By Guillermo Contreras
Published 05:42 p.m., Thursday, July 14, 2011

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Drug-plea-tossed-because-ex-Bexar-deputy-accused-1466726.php#ixzz1S8R3bdUe

A judge has thrown out the no-contest plea of a San Antonio man who alleged that a Bexar County sheriff's deputy lied to get a warrant for a raid that netted some cocaine and marijuana.
State District Judge Maria Theresa Herr signed an order this week that was agreed to by prosecutors and the appellate lawyer for John Manuel Sierra, 43, who pleaded no contest to possession of cocaine in 2009 to keep his wife and son from getting prosecuted, too.
The order dismisses Sierra's plea, which stemmed from a sworn search warrant obtained by Charles A. Flores, a deputy who has since been fired and is being prosecuted for allegedly lying to get a search warrant in an unrelated drug case.
Sierra's lawyer, Scott Sullivan, argued that Flores also lied to get the warrant in Sierra's case, and the District Attorney's Office agreed, Sullivan said.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Drug-plea-tossed-because-ex-Bexar-deputy-accused-1466726.php#ixzz1S8Qlq8Ag

And finally, the last story is akin to the DEA agent who shot himself in the foot giving a gun safety talk to a class room full of school kids. There but for the grace of God go I.

ICE officer leaves gun in Bush airport bathroom
July 14, 2011, 10:54PM

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7654280.html#ixzz1SAkxN3o5
Houston police and federal officials are looking into how a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer left his gun inside a restroom at Bush Intercontinental Airport.
An airport cleaning crew found the Sig Sauer pistol about 9:10 p.m. Wednesday inside the restroom, located in a secure area of Terminal E, and they notified security officers, Houston police spokesman Kese Smith said.
As Houston police were investigating the incident, the ICE officer approached and said he had left his gun in the restroom, Smith said. After he showed his identification, the Houston police officers returned the weapon to him.
The incident is under investigation by both the Houston Police Department and ICE Internal Affairs, Smith said.
Attempts to reach an ICE official for comment late Thursday were unsuccessful.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7654280.html#ixzz1SAkXXILH

Houston Police Chief Charles McClelland confirmed a uniformed policewoman who punched a handcuffed robbery suspect in the face on Thursday has been relieved of duty during an internal affairs investigation.
The incident was filmed by a news crew, and the video was brought to McClelland's office for review.
"Prior to me personally viewing the video, supervisors down the chain of command acted appropriately by initiating an internal affairs investigation and relieving this officer of duty pending the outcome of the investigation,“ read a statement issued by McClelland.
Police were called to the scene of an attempted robbery by three armed men at a convenience store at 8 a.m. Thursday in the 1400 block of Cavalcade north of downtown. One of the suspects hopped onto a passing freight train.
From a helicopter, a KTRK-TV Channel 13 camera filmed two officers frisking a handcuffed suspect they detained next to the railroad tracks. A third officer could be seen calmly walking up to the group and landing a quick right jab to the suspect's face.
HPD identified the officer as Angela Horton, 36, who is assigned to the Central Patrol Division. Horton was sworn in as an HPD officer in January 2007.
Janice Evans, a spokeswoman for Mayor Annise Parker, said the mayor was out of town on vacation and deferred comments to HPD.
The incident is the latest in a string of alleged brutality and serious criminal behavior by HPD officers that have surfaced during McClelland's tenure. In March 2010, a surveillance camera outside a storage center filmed a group of HPD officers kicking and punching a teenaged burglary suspect who had surrendered. McClelland fired eight officers.
"Certainly the video was shot from a long distance away, and there are things that could have happened. The guy could have spit on the officer or made an overt movement that the officer saw,“ said Gary Blankinship, president of the Houston Police Officer's Union.

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7653757.html#ixzz1SAlXMyPg

Thursday, July 7, 2011

There's Law Enforcement Corruption on This Side of The Border Too

House of Death Informant Files Lawsuit Against U.S. Government
Posted by Bill Conroy - July 4, 2011 at 7:05 pm NarcoNews
Former Mexican Cop Who Helped Oversee House in Juarez Used for Torture and Murder Claims ICE Still Owes Him Money
Bloody Deeds
Ramirez Peyro is a former Mexican cop who rose to a very high level within a Juarez cell of the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes drug organization that was overseen by an individual named Heriberto Santillan Tabares. At the same time he was working as one of Santillan’s right-hand men, helping to oversee his criminal enterprises, including a house that served as a torture and killing chambers (the House of Death), Ramirez Peyro also was working as an informant for ICE, with his activities not only known, but also approved, by high-level officials within DOJ and the Department of Homeland Security, of which ICE is a part.
The Santillan cell that Ramirez Peyro served was responsible for murdering more than a dozen people between the summer of 2003 and early 2004 — most of whom were tortured first and then buried in the backyard of the House of Death in Juarez, a Mexican border city south of El Paso, Texas. Ramirez Peyro helped to arrange and even participated in some of those murders, according to public records.
Evidence of the U.S. government’s efforts to cover-up its complicity in that carnage was later exposed exclusively by Narco News in a series of stories pointing the finger at high-level officials within DHS and the DOJ. [See Narco News’ House of Death series, begun in 2004, at this link.]
Ramirez Peyro, was deactivated as an informant short time after the grisly scene at the House of Death came to light in early 2004 and in the wake of the Santillan organization threatening the life of a DEA agent and his family.
A February 2004 letter penned by the DEA Special Agent in Charge in El Paso, Sandalio Gonzalez, that made its way to then-U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton, and was later obtained exclusively by Narco News, also helped to open the curtain on the House of Death.
“I am writing now to express my frustration and outrage at the mishandling of the Heriberto Santillan Tabares investigation that has resulted in the unnecessary loss of human life in the Republic of Mexico and endangered the lives of Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and their immediate families assigned to the DEA office in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico,” DEA Commander Gonzalez states at the outset of the Feb. 24, 2004, letter, which is directed to the head of ICE in El Paso.
In the wake of the unraveling of the House of Death, Ramirez Peyro spent nearly six years behind bars, most of that in solitary confinement, fighting DHS’ efforts to deport him back to Mexico and to a certain death.


Border inspector gets 17 years in smuggling
Austin American Statesman

A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspector who accepted bribes to smuggle humans and drugs has been sentenced to 17 years in federal prison.

Prosecutors announced the sentence Wednesday for Luis Enrique Ramirez of Brownsville. Ramirez oversaw an inspection lane for vehicles.

Ramirez pleaded guilty in March to conspiring to transport illegal immigrants, bringing certain immigrants into the United States for financial gain, accepting bribes and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Investigators say the time frame was August 2005 through early 2009. Ramirez has been in custody since his October arrest.
Ex-probation officer admits to sexual assault
By Zeke MacCormack
Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Ex-probation-officer-admits-to-sexual-assault-1453356.php#ixzz1RPvhPD4e
BOERNE — A former Bexar County probation officer faces up to 30 years in prison after admitting Tuesday to sexually assaulting a minor girl over an eight-day period near the end of 2010.
William J. Hagan, 53, of Fair Oaks Ranch pleaded guilty to four charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child, and no-contest to one other identical charge, under a plea deal that was approved by state District Court Judge Keith Williams.
The sentencing agreement struck with prosecutor Lucy Wilke caps the possible punishment range at 30 years for Williams at a sentencing hearing set for Sept. 1.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Ex-probation-officer-admits-to-sexual-assault-1453356.php#ixzz1RPvXlI9L
Boynton Beach “Officer Of The Year” Suspected Of Drug Dealing

BOYNTON BEACH (CBS4) – Considered a role model by his peers and named “Officer of the Year” in 2010, Boynton Beach police officer David Britto has been charged with conspiring to sell more than 500 grams of methamphetamines between June 2009 and March 2011.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the indictment Tuesday against Britto who joined the Boynton Beach police department in 2007. He also taught in the department’s Teen Police Academy, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Britto received the department’s highest honor last year for, among other things, using CPR to save a 2-year old girl who almost drowned in the family’s pool and helping to identify a man suspected of shooting two street preachers.

In a statement, Chief Matthew Immler said an internal affairs investigation into allegations against Britto is ongoing.

“The Boynton Beach Department vigorously polices itself, and this case is an example of how law enforcement roots out corruption from within its own ranks.”

Britto faces a potential life sentence if convicted.

Source: The Palm Beach Post

Monday, July 4, 2011

Mexico - Gringos Beware!

Borderlandbeat.com has a letter online today from an American lady who was beaten and raped in Ixtapa. Her husband was stabbed and almost bled out. About 25 years ago my wife and I crossed into Tijuana and went to some dive restaurant that someone (a San Diego college kid?) recommended as 'authentic.' I knew one or two words of Spanish, cerveza one of them, and we were in a joint where the locals knew less English than I knew Spanish. The food was chunks of pork deep fried in fat in open cauldrons just off the street, where the exhaust fumes and dust and God knows what else could flavor the grease. When we got back to the border the cab driver dropped us off about 100 yards from the bridge. It was like walking in a downtown park at night in a big city. I was incredibly foolish to get my wife into that place. We got out with no problem. Today we'd both be dead. One reason I won't go there is the good people can't carry guns. All the drug dealers, kidnappers, sicarios and street punks have them, but let a gringo get caught with a pistol and it's off to prison. Anyway, here is another story that just resolves my mind to never go back:

The following are the contents of a letter received at Borderland Beat from a couple that until recently resided in the tourist destination of Ixtapa in the state of Guerrero, Mexico.

Names and addresses have been deleted for obvious reasons.

I feel that you should be made aware of an incident that occurred early in the morning of May 9 2011 and about the treatment we received after.

My husband and I were sleeping at our home on Calle ____________ in Res. _________, Ixtapa. At about 2.30 AM I saw 3 men approaching from the back area of the house. We jumped out of bed and managed to keep them from entering the house for at least 5 minutes. We turned on the alarm in our car and during this whole time we were yelling Ayudar Ayudar as loudly as we could. The robbers were also screaming and yelling because they were not at first able to get in. The leader of the bad guys picked up a brick and threw it at our glass door, shattering the glass. They were then able to get inside by smashing all the glass out of the door. The entire time this was going on, our car alarm was still sounding off.

Once inside our house the robbers beat both my husband (very severely) and myself and also at one point in the battle they shot a gun at my husband but thankfully did not hit him. They then tore our house apart and found our bank and credit cards. After they held a gun to my head and saying they would kill my husband I gave them the passwords. The leader of the gang left to go to the bank to check that I gave them the right numbers. While he was gone the other 2 men were kicking us and hitting us and putting guns and knives in our faces. When their leader returned they loaded up our TV, computer, camera, jewelry, etc. into our Honda CRV and then the main gang leader raped me and stabbed my husband. They told us that if we called the police or made a report they would come back and cut off our heads. I believe them. They terrorized us for almost 3 hours. In that entire time nobody called the Police or came to help us even though we had made a lot of noise for at least the first 15 minutes and then there had also been a gunshot. There are veladors and security guards all around our neighborhood starting within 30 meters away.

We have already done our duty and reported the crime to the proper authorities even though we are very frightened.

But even more than the crime itself which you may already have heard about I think that you should know about the things that have happened to us afterwards.

First, we went to the guard house at Condominium ________. We asked the security guard there to please call the ambulance because my husband had lost a lot of blood and was still loosing more blood. The guard did not have a telephone number. Why is he not trained to call his company and ask for help. I then asked him to call us a taxi. He had to call twice before anyone came. We waited for 20 minutes as my husband was bleeding and throwing up and going into shock. Finally a very nice taxista came and picked us up and took us to the Naval Hospital. They would not admit us because I had been raped and they said they did not have the personnel there to deal with that. They told our taxi driver to take us to Zihuatanejo. I can not believe that a Hospital turned away a man that had been beaten and stabbed and needed immediate medical attention. He then took us to Red Cross where there was also no one there to help us so we then had to go to Hospital General. When we arrived there we saw homeless people and people sleeping on the sidewalk. They let us in and started to very slowly take care of my husband who at this time had been bleeding for 3 hours. The people in this place had no compassion or sympathy for our situation. I was crying and pleading with them to let me use a phone to call my friend Snra. _________ but they kept telling me I had to use the pay phone. I explained that I had just been robbed and raped and nearly killed and did not have any money. They still would not help me to call my friend. Finally, after 40 minutes, one of the nurses let me use her personal cel phone.

That Hospital is not a place that I wanted my husband to stay in. There were flies all over and no privacy for any of the patients. The staff seemed to have almost no interest in helping us there. They did take X rays and put in some stitches to stop the bleeding and also gave him some fluids intravenously and then we were able to take him away from there.

As bad as things were at the Hospital they only got worse in the next few days. We asked _______ to help us to report the crime and if possible, to keep it out of the papers because we were afraid but also because we know that news like this happening to gringos will do extreme damage to the economy here.

It took 2 and a half days to get our report so that we could then register to the PFP (Federal Preventive Police) that our car was stolen. By now the car could be in Guatamala !! Nobody tried tracking the criminals by using our cell phone even though we gave them the number and told them that the bad guys have been answering it. When the prosecutors came to our house they did not have any bags for collecting evidence but had to borrow some from me, one of the victims of the crime. We had told them that there would be fingerprints all over including on our refrigerator but nobody brought the equipment necessary to dust for them. No one has interviewed the security guard. He must have seen the car that they arrived in or seen them driving around our street just before the break in. We feel that we have done everything possible to help the authorities to find and then prosecute these criminals but nobody is doing anything to catch them.

My husband had been very badly injured and I had been terribly traumatized by what happened but the government departments just seemed to not care at all that they kept us waiting in office after office for hours at each time, day after day. And we are very dismayed that no one was even trying to catch the criminals or look for our stolen car for almost 3 days!

I have been coming to Mexico my entire life and coming to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo since 1982. My husband and I have been living here full time for 6 years, sharing this time between Michoacan and here. We have given good jobs and much work to many, many people in that time. I have told hundreds of people about what a nice destination this is. After this terrible experience we will be leaving Mexico forever and I could not possibly recommend anyone to visit here.

While at the American Consulate office where I went to get a new passport, I learned that there were 4 carjackings of American citizens THIS WEEK ALONE on the road near Troncones and Saladita. This type of news is going to kill the tourism that this area has come to depend on.

We have been very careful to keep all of this out of the papers and off the message board that the tourists read. I honestly don´t know why we should care so much for Zihuatanejo. Zihuatanejo does not care for us.

Regards,_____________ , _____________


I feel this story should be heard.

It made me so mad when I saw Calderon in Las Vegas saying that the only "shots" that the Spring Break tourists needed to be afraid of is tequila shots.

Mexico is trying to minimize (for obvious reasons) the impact that the violence is taking on their country and economy.

The ineptitude of some of the police and prosecutors is just appalling. You would not believe the way that we were treated in Zihuatanejo. And to be refused at 2 "hospitals" when my husband was bleeding from a stab wound and had his head split open. It was a nightmare that just went on and on.

A lot of people go to Mexico and things are fine until god forbid you get caught up in something like this.

My husband and I could not have been less likely to have something like this come our way. We stayed at home, treated everyone very fairly, know the ropes down there and never did anything at all that would have put us on the radar of these criminals.

We never stayed out late or had any involvement whatsoever with drugs or anyone that did drugs. Nada. If it could happen to us, it could happen to ANYONE.
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Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: Law Enforcement Corruption

There are a lot of dedicated, honest law enforcement agents who protect us from the predators. I promise I'm going to start writing about some of them. But for today, it's like the old saw about why does the devil get the good music, or something like that. The corrupt ones are more interesting, just like the villain in a movie is often more interesting than the hero - sort of like watching a rattlesnake.

This is a grab bag of stories. The first one is about the DEA agent who, while giving a stay away from guns talk to an elementary school class, shot himself in the foot. I'v seen interviews with him since and he seems like a decent man, who got careless with a camera running and has to live with the embarrassment.

You can see it on Youtube. Google Dumb Ass DEA Agent.
A teacher friend related her most embarrassing incident as having occurred during the ninth month of her first pregnancy when her water broke while she was at the classroom blackboard:
Nothing quite as humiliating as wetting your pants in front of a roomful of Fourth Graders.
Yeah? Well try discharging a round into your leg while demonstrating firearms handling in front of a classroom of youths and adults as part of a program entitled "The Game of Life, the Game of Golf." Read the story in The Gun Zone.

It didn't help that the (mercifully unidentified1) agent prefaced his mishap with:
I'm the only one in this room professional enough, that I know of, to carry a Glock 40….
In the old days, this was called "hubris," and was a favorite theme of ancient Greek dramatists.

The agent forgot three of the first rules they teach in gun safety classes - all guns are always loaded, never point at anything you don't want to shoot, and keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to shoot. After I saw this video I decided I wouldn't buy a Glock. I like Springfield XDM's, which have a Glock type trigger release and a Colt 1911 style release built into the back of the grip.

Now for a more serious story, about a courageous DEA agent named Celerino Castillo III who had the guts to blow the whistle on DEA and CIA agents colluding with Latin American thugs:

April 27, 1998

For several years, I fought in the trenches of the front lines of Reagan's "Drug War", trying to stamp out what I considered American's greatest foreign threat. But, when I was posted, in Central and South America from 1984 through 1990, I knew we were playing the "Drug War Follies." While our government shouted "Just Say No !", entire Central and South American nations fell into what are now known as, "Cocaine democracies."

While with the DEA, I was able to keep journals of my assignments in Central and South America. These journals include names, case file numbers and DEA NADDIS (DEA Master Computer) information to back up my allegations. I have pictures and original passports of the victims that were murdered by CIA assets. These atrocities were done with the approval of the agencies.

We, ordinary Americans, can not trust the C.I.A. Inspector General to conduct a full investigation into the CIA or the DEA. Let me tell you why. When President Clinton (June, 1996) ordered The Intelligence Oversight Board to conduct an investigation into allegations that US Agents were involved in atrocities in Guatemala, it failed to investigate several DEA and CIA operations in which U.S. agents knew before hand that individuals (some Americans) were going to be murdered....
Some people have asked, "Why I am doing this? I reply, "That a long time ago I took an oath to protect The Constitution of the United States and its citizens". In reality, it has cost me so much to become a complete human being, that I've lost my family. In 1995, I made a pilgrimage to the Vietnam Wall, where I renounced my Bronze Star in protest of the atrocities my government had committed in Central America. I have now become a veteran of my third, and perhaps most dangerous war --- a war against the criminals within my own Government. Heads have to roll for those who are responsible and still employed by the government. They will be the first targets in an effective drug strategy. If not, we will continue to have groups of individuals who will be beyond any investigation, who will manipulate the press, judges and members of our Congress, and still be known in our government as those who are above the law.

Celerino Castillo III


And here's one from today's SA Express-News, about an area cop who has a criminal history of child molesting:


A China Grove police officer is on unpaid administrative leave after he was arrested for failing to register as a sex offender, officials said. (read full article in San Antonio Express-News).
Daniel Casas, 48, turned himself in at the Bexar County satellite office on June 24, when he posted $10,000 bail and was immediately released, according to Detective Louis Antu, a spokesman for the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.
Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/China-Grove-police-officer-allegedly-failed-to-1450439.php#ixzz1QzQ1a67H

5, 2006


And another one about corrupt DEA agents:

Memo accuses DEA agents of corruption
The DEA has said it is investigating potential corruption among agents in Bogotá after the charges were made in a memo by a Justice Department lawyer.

From a 2006 article in OFFICERRESOURCE.COM
A memo from a Justice Department lawyer has accused agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Bogotá of massive corruption, from taking bribes to hampering investigations, including one about the sale in Spain of weapons-grade nuclear materials.

First published last week in The Narco News Bulletin, an Internet publication, the memo gives no names or dates and only briefly mentions allegations of suspicious deaths of DEA informers and DEA agents who took bribes, made false statements and disclosed secret information to drug traffickers.

At the time he wrote the memo, in December 2004, Thomas M. Kent was an attorney for the office of wiretaps of the Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs Section of the Justice Department. Now he works as deputy attorney general for the Middle District of Tennessee. Kent did not return calls made to his office in Nashville by El Nuevo Herald.

The memo, sent to senior NDDS officials, also complained about the DEA's Office of Professional Responsibility, in charge of the internal investigations. ``The investigative agencies are dropping the ball.''


On Friday, the DEA announced that OPR is investigating the contents of the memo. ''The allegations that are reported in The Narco News Bulletin are extremely serious,'' said Garrison K. Courtney, spokesman for the DEA's communications office in Washington.

Sandalio González, former deputy director of the DEA in Miami and former chief of the agency's El Paso bureau, told El Nuevo Herald the memo is accurate and reflects the state of moral decay of some departments in the agency.

''The information contained in the memo is accurate as far as I know, because I was involved in some of those cases,'' said González, who is suing the DEA for discrimination. ``The DEA is unable to police itself.''

According to Kent's memo, the DEA got the tip about nuclear materials after a long dispute over an informer, jailed in Bogotá, who had established a close relationship with members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the leftist guerrilla group known as FARC. The memo does not explain the type of nuclear materials involved, and does not say whether the alleged sellers in Spain have links to the FARC.


According to the seven-page memo, the problems began when a DEA agent in Colombia, described as corrupt in another case mentioned by Kent, objected to a proposal by agents in Miami to remove the informer from prison so that U.S. officials could pursue the investigation.

When his story was challenged, the informer secretly videotaped a meeting with FARC guerrillas who asked him for help obtaining communications equipment, Kent added, but when the Miami agents showed their Bogotá colleagues the tape as proof of the informer's value, the agents in Bogotá complained that the video had been made illegally.

While the investigation languished because of the disagreement between the agents, the informer was released from prison and contacted the agents in Florida to tell them he remained in contact with the FARC and was willing to press on with the case. That's when he told the DEA about the alleged nuclear materials, the memo said.

But one of the agents in the Bogotá bureau traveled to Washington ''and convinced the DEA to shut [the investigation] down and not work with the informant,'' the memo added, without explaining the end result of the arguments.

And finally, another one about a federal prison guard sexually abusing a prisoner:
A south Texas contract security guard is charged with sexual abuse
From US Immigration & Customs Enforcement website
HARLINGEN, Texas - A local contract security guard was arrested on Wednesday after an indictment was unsealed charging him with sexually abusing a woman who was detained at the Willacy Detention Center (WDC), a federally contracted detention facility in Raymondville, Texas. The indictment and arrest were announced by the Justice Department in Washington D.C. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) in Harlingen, Texas. WDC is contracted by ICE.
Edwin Rodriguez, 31, of Raymondville, Texas, was charged in a one-count felony indictment for sexually abusing a detainee. The federal grand jury in Brownsville unsealed the indictment following Rodriguez's arrest on June 22. According to court documents, the indictment alleges Rodriguez had sexual intercourse with a female detainee on or about Oct. 26, 2008 while she was being held at WDC pending removal.
On Thursday, Rodriguez appeared before U.S. Magistrate Felix Recio and entered a plea of not guilty. Judge Recio ordered Rodriguez to remain in federal custody without bond pending a detention hearing on June 27.
The indictment is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Rodriguez faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kebharu Smith and Civil Rights Division Criminal Section Trial Attorney Adriana Vieco both from the Justice Department in D.C. are handling the prosecution.