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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.

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