Archive for October, 2011

INVASION USA: Congressman Tells U.S. Attorney General to Explain Prosecution of U.S. Border Patrol Agent

October 28, 2011

Jailed officer’s wife says ‘offense’ was ‘what we were taught in the academy’

From WorldNetDaily, October 28, 2011 By Bob Unruh

A member of Congress familiar with the controversial federal prosecution of two Border Patrol agents several years ago for confronting and shooting a fleeing Mexican drug smuggler now is demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder explain a conviction of another agent in similar circumstances.

“It’s amazing to think that the federal government and the Justice Department in particular, under your leadership, continued with a case against one of our nation’s own Border Patrol officers that ended with an excessive two-year prison term for restraining a smuggler,” U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter wrote to Holder.


U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jesus Diaz Jr.

“The incident involving Agent [Jesus] Diaz would have been far better suited for an administrative decision on the part of his immediate superiors. It’s certainly not worthy of such a disproportionate prison term,” he continued. “After what happened with [Ignacio] Ramos and [Jose] Compean, and now with the details of Operation Fast and Furious coming to light, the case against Agent Diaz is troubling.

“I believe you owe it to the men and women of our nation’s Border Patrol and other law enforcement to set the record straight and explain why a two-year prison term is an appropriate punishment for Agent Diaz when smugglers and criminals are doing everything they can to evade our nation’s security and illegally enter the U.S.,” he told Holder.

“I hope you will think about what this type of decision means to those who are protecting our borders and provide a thorough explanation based on the concerns I have raised,” he said.

WND previously reported that Diaz was sentenced to 24 months in jail for grabbing the arms of the drug smuggler and lifting them to make him comply with orders.

According to a new FreeAgentDiaz.com website, Diaz was “maliciously prosecuted at the request of the Mexican consul in Eagle Pass, Texas.”

The legal case against the officer, who previously had been cleared of wrongdoing in two separate investigations, was “solely motivated by politics and is yet another example of prosecutorial abuse and misconduct while protecting Mexico’s narco-terror influences,” organizers of the website said.

The prosecution was conducted after the juvenile suspect, who reportedly was caught with some 75 pounds of drugs he had smuggled into the U.S., was given immunity by the U.S. government.

The sentence was announced by U.S. District Judge Alia Moses Ludlum in San Antonio.

Border watchers will remember the extended battle fought by Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean after they were prosecuted, convicted and jailed, again at the request the Mexican government, for shooting at and striking a drug smuggler who reportedly dropped a load in the U.S. and was fleeing back to Mexico.

Their punishments ultimately were commuted by President George W. Bush, although they did not receive pardons, leaving their convictions on their records.

The Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council said the prison term for Diaz was for “deprivation of rights under the color of law in allegedly lifting the arms of an illegal alien drug smuggler.”

“We have reviewed the paperwork … as well as the official court transcripts. … The government’s case is based on false testimony that is contradicted by the facts. This includes the charge that Agent Diaz was physically abusive to the then minor ‘MBE’ as noted by court documents and transcripts in that Diaz allegedly put his knee on his back and pulled back on his handcuffs,” said a statement prepared by Andy Ramirez, president of the LEOAC.

Witnesses who claimed to have seen misbehavior also could not, as it was 2 a.m. and dark at the time of the incident on Oct. 16, 2008, the organization said.

“The agent who stood next to Mr. Diaz, Marco Ramos testified that he did not see anything that was claimed to have taken place,” noted Ramirez.

Those who testified against Diaz not only didn’t raise any objection at the time, they “went off-duty to a local ‘Whataburger’ restaurant, got their stories straight and reported it hours later to an off-duty supervisor at his house, he said.

The wife of Agent Diaz, Diana, also an employee of the Border Patrol, told WND in an interview that the maneuver used by her husband in the incident in 2009 was one that agents are trained to do.

“It was what we were taught at the academy,” she said.

She said the couple at first thought the case was simply a mistake and Jesus Diaz soon would be cleared and back to work. However, a first trial, which was declared a mistrial because the judge ordered jurors not to take notes on the various stories they were told, and one did, enlightened both Jesus and Diana Diaz, she said.

She cited manipulation of testimony, evidence and even jury instructions.

They realized then that “this was going south,” she told WND.

She cited some of the same concerns as LEOAC: conflicting testimony from the same witnesses at different times; changed testimonies, testimonies that contradicted reality (how could someone at a distance see what was going on at 2 a.m. without lights?) and the like.

She also noted that Jesus Diaz had been cleared of wrongdoing – twice – before federal prosecutors finally insisted on bringing a case. Diaz previously was cleared by the Office of Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility.

She noted her husband even refused to “apologize” to the drug smuggler when ordered by the judge, because he hadn’t done anything wrong.

She said there was no logical or reasonable reason for such an intensive prosecution.

“There was nothing there. If he had broken his [the smuggler’s] skin, or a bone, if there was blood. But there was nothing wrong with him,” she said. “Just markings on his shoulders from the drugs [carried in a backpack].”

Diana Diaz said her suspicion is that there was some high-level favor trading going on between the U.S. and Mexican governments.

She said she and her children are hoping for success on appeal, to clear her husband’s name. She also pointed out the conflict that will develop otherwise, because in her job she’s required to be armed. With a conviction, however, her husband would not be allowed to be around weapons.

“If I leave my purse in the vehicle… and he gets in. … There are so many things I have to deal with,” she said.

She said after he was suspended from his job, he worked various shelf-stocking positions to earn an income.

Hunter pulled no punches in his letter to Holder.

“I’m certain that you will disagree, but there are striking similarities between the Ramos and Compean conviction and the Justice Department’s case against Border Patrol Agent Jesus E. Diaz,” he wrote. “For doing his job, Diaz was sentenced to two years in prison for improperly lifting the arms of a 15-year-old drug smuggling suspect while handcuffed.

“Reports indicate that the Justice Department cited the incident as a deprivation of the smuggler’s constitutional right to be free from unreasonable force – something that I find hard to comprehend under the circumstances,” he said.

Ramos and Compean were convicted of various charges that stemmed from firing their service weapons at a fleeing drug smuggler, and they were given prison terms of more than a decade.

While Bush commuted the prison sentences – releasing the former agents for time served – a pardon was not granted, leaving the felony convictions on their records.


Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean

The original case stemmed from the Feb. 17, 2005, shooting of Oswaldo Aldrete-Davila. The two officers said they thought Aldrete-Davila was armed and made a threatening move.

WND was among the first to report Aldrete-Davila then committed a second drug offense, smuggling a second load of 750 pounds of marijuana across the border while he was under the protection of immunity from federal prosecutor Johnny Sutton’s office and in possession of a border-pass card authorized by the Department of Homeland Security.

WND also reported when Aldrete-Davila admitted to federal drug smuggling charges, was convicted and sentenced to federal prison for a 57 months.

In a commentary on WND, former Congressman Tom Tancredo explained how Diaz “mistreated” the suspect.

“The man was handcuffed, and allegedly, Diaz lifted his handcuffs to force him to the ground because he was not cooperative” he wrote. “These two Border Patrol prosecutions have more in common than the eternal vigilance of Johnny Sutton. In these cases and many others, the U.S. attorney’s office was responding to protests from the Mexican government that its citizens were being mistreated by Border Patrol agents.

“Why do we see this acute sensitivity to the wishes and interests of the corrupt government of Mexico in matters of U.S. criminal law and U.S. border security? This is almost laughable, but to the 20,400 officers of the Border Patrol, it is more than a nuisance. It is a threat held over their heads daily,” Tancredo said.

Aldrete-Davila was granted immunity for his drug smuggling by federal prosecutors in exchange for his testimony against the agents. He had crossed the Rio Grande and picked up a marijuana-loaded vehicle near El Paso. After a car chase in which he fled from the officers, he abandoned the vehicle and ran back across the border on foot. He was shot in the buttocks as he ran.

Union Bemoans ‘Tradition of Bias’ in Prosecution of U.S. Border Patrol Agent

October 28, 2011

By Jerry Seper of The Washington Times, October 27, 2011

The vice president of the union that represents all 17,000 nonsupervisory U.S. Border Patrol agents said Thursday that federal prosecutors spent “thousands of man-hours and millions of tax dollars” to win a two-year prison sentence for an agent accused of using excessive force on a drug-smuggling suspect.

Shawn P. Moran, himself a veteran Border Patrol agent, said the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) disagreed with the “exorbitant waste of time and resources” devoted to the prosecution of Agent Jesus E. Diaz Jr., sentenced last week in U.S. District Court in Texas to 24 months in prison for depriving a 15-year-old suspect of his constitutional rights under color of law.

Mr. Moran said the case against Diaz “continues the tradition of bias against Border Patrol agents in the Western District of Texas,” where the U.S. attorney’s office also prosecuted Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean in 2006 after they shot a drug-smuggling suspect, Osvaldo Aldrete-Davila, in the buttocks as he tried to flee back to Mexico after abandoning a van filled with 800 pounds of marijuana.

Ramos and Compean, who claimed they were acting in self-defense, were convicted and sentenced to 11 and 12 years in prison, respectively. President George W. Bush commuted the sentences in 2009 after they had served two years.

“While the U.S. attorney’s office in the Western District of Texas has a job to do, one that includes prosecuting Border Patrol agents who commit crimes, it has shown a distinctly quick trigger finger in going after Border Patrol agents,” Mr. Moran said.

“That same quickness would be better served in prosecuting the criminals who routinely assault Border Patrol agents and violate the immigration and drug laws of the United States,” he said, adding that “thousands of man-hours and millions of tax dollars were spent to obtain a 24-month sentence for someone who had already spent eight months in custody.”

Diaz was named in a November 2009 federal grand jury indictment with deprivation of rights under color of law during an October 2008 arrest near the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass, Texas, where agents had responded to a report that illegal immigrants had crossed the river with bundles of drugs. He was convicted on one count of excessive force and five counts of perjury.

The prosecution had been sought by the Mexican government, with the Mexican consulate in Eagle Pass sending a formal written complaint just hours after the arrest, alleging that the teenager had been beaten.

Defense attorneys argued there were no injuries or bruises on the suspected smuggler’s lower arms where handcuffs had been placed nor any bruising resulting from an alleged knee on his back. Evidence presented at trial showed the only marks on his body came from the straps of the pack he carried containing the suspected drugs.

Border Patrol agents found more than 150 pounds of marijuana at the arrest site. The defense claimed that the smuggling suspect was handcuffed after becoming uncooperative and resisting arrest, and that Diaz had lifted the teenager’s arms to force him to the ground – a near-universal police technique.

The charges against Diaz, 31, a seven-year Border Patrol veteran, had been investigated by Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which cleared the agent of any wrongdoing. The Internal Affairs Division at U.S. Customs and Border Protection ruled differently nearly a year later and the agent was charged.

Mr. Moran said Diaz’s actions in the arrest did not rise to the level of a crime, and that the accusations should have been dealt with at the administrative level – resulting at most in his termination.

It’s Cop vs. Perp And The Cop Goes to Jail!

October 28, 2011

Invasion USA Campaign set to reveal federal officer’s ‘malicious’ conviction

From WorldNetDaily, October 26, 2011 By Bob Unruh

It’s happening again!


Jesus Diaz Jr.

U.S. Border Patrol agent Jesus Diaz Jr. has been sentenced to 24 months in jail after his arrest of an illegal alien for grabbing the arms of the drug smuggler and lifting them in order to make him comply with his orders.

According to a new FreeAgentDiaz.com website, Diaz was “maliciously prosecuted at the request of the Mexican consul in Eagle Pass, Texas.”

The legal case against the officer, who previously had been cleared of wrongdoing in two separate investigations, was “solely motivated by politics and is yet another example of prosecutorial abuse and misconduct while protecting Mexico’s narco-terror influences,” organizers of the website said. 

The prosecution was conducted after the juvenile suspect, who reportedly was caught with some 75 pounds of drugs he had smuggled into the U.S., was given immunity by the U.S. government.

The sentence was announced by U.S. District Judge Alia Moses Ludlum in San Antonio.

Border watchers will remember the extended battle fought by Border Agents Iganica Ramos and Jose Compean after they were prosecuted, convicted and jailed, again at the request the Mexican government, for shooting at and striking another drug smuggler who reportedly dropped a load in the U.S. and was fleeing back to Mexico.

Their punishments ultimately were commuted by President George W. Bush, although they did not receive pardons, leaving their convictions on their records.

Officials with the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council said the prison term for Diaz was for “deprivation of rights under the color of law in allegedly lifting the arms of an illegal alien drug smuggler.”

“We have reviewed the paperwork … as well as the official court transcripts. … The government’s case is based on false testimony that is contradicted by the facts. This includes the charge that Agent Diaz was physically abusive to the then minor ‘MBE’ as noted by court documents and transcripts in that Diaz allegedly put his knee on his back and pulled back on his handcuffs,” said a statement prepared by Andy Ramirez, president of the LEOAC.

Other witnesses who claimed to have seen any misbehavior also could not, as it was 2 a.m. and dark at the time of the incident on Oct. 16, 2008, the organization said.

“The agent who stood next to Mr. Diaz, Marco Ramos testified that he did not see anything that was claimed to have taken place,” noted Ramirez.

Those who testified against Diaz not only didn’t raise any objection at the time, they “went off-duty to a local ‘Whataburger’ restaurant, got their stories straight and reported it hours later to an off-duty supervisor at his house.

“The doper claimed he suffered no injuries during his testimony during the trial. He was sore from his shoulders. However, that was due to the weight of the drug load, approximately 75 pounds that he carried across the border. There were two dopers apprehended during the incident and 150 pounds total drugs seized,” the agent’s support team said.

The then-minor lied to the field agents, the Border Patrol station, the government and the consulate, as well as the grand jury.

He “then admitted to his lies … after being granted immunity,” Ramirez said.

Diaz’ wife, in a statement released through LEOAC, said, “This is a bogus case to begin with as the facts clearly showed.”

“We will continue to lead this fight and stand by Chito, Diana, and their children until his name is cleared,” said Ramirez. “Having worked on as many cases as we have, this one is without question, the most atrocious yet. It is clear that our government gave Mexico City the scalp of yet another agent.”

He noted Diaz previously was cleared by the Office of Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility.

“How this became a criminal case demands intense scrutiny and oversight. It should have been prosecuted against the dopers,” he said. “Our government is far more concerned with the so-called rights of criminal illegal alien dopers than our agents who continued to be prosecuted for doing their job.

“Congress needs to investigate this case and the pattern of misconduct and abuse that has resulted in an innocent agent going to prison yet again,” he said.

He said he’d been in touch with several members of Congress already regarding this issue, and said the unvarying response has been, “Again?”

Ramirez said the courts have proven unreliable for delivering justice in such cases, and he’ll be working to present evidence to Congress and others.

Ramos and Compean were convicted of various charges that stemmed from  firing their service weapons at a fleeing drug smuggler, and they were given prison terms of more than a decade.


Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean

While Bush commuted the prison sentences – releasing them for time served – a pardon was not granted, leaving the felony convictions on their records.

The original case stemmed from the Feb. 17, 2005, shooting of Oswaldo Aldrete-Davila. The two officers said they thought Aldrete-Davila was armed and made a threatening move.

WND was among the first to report Aldrete-Davila then committed a second drug offense, smuggling a second load of 750 pounds of marijuana across the border while he was under immunity by federal prosecutor Johnny Sutton’s office and in possession of a border-pass card authorized by the Department of Homeland Security.

WND also reported when Aldrete-Davila admitted to federal drug smuggling charges, was convicted and sentenced to federal prison for a 57 months.

In a commentary on WND, former Congressman Tom Tancredo explained how Diaz “mistreated” the suspect.

“The man was handcuffed, and allegedly, Diaz lifted his handcuffs to force him to the ground because he was not cooperative” he wrote. “These two Border Patrol prosecutions have more in common than the eternal vigilance of Johnny Sutton. In these cases and many others, the U.S. attorney’s office was responding to protests from the Mexican government that its citizens were being mistreated by Border Patrol agents.

“Why do we see this acute sensitivity to the wishes and interests of the corrupt government of Mexico in matters of U.S. criminal law and U.S. border security? This is almost laughable, but to the 20,400 officers of the Border Patrol, it is more than a nuisance. It is a threat held over their heads daily,” Tancredo said.

Aldrete-Davila was granted immunity for his drug smuggling by federal prosecutors in exchange for his testimony against the agents. He had crossed the Rio Grande and picked up a marijuana-loaded vehicle near El Paso. After a car chase in which he fled from the officers, he abandoned the vehicle and ran back across the border on foot. He was shot in the buttocks as he ran.

Joseph Farah, editor of WND, launched a petition and letter-writing campaign in the latter days of the Bush administration, seeking support for the agents.

The petition collected more than 40,000 signatures by the time President Bush commuted the agents’ sentences. The letter campaign produced more than 3,000 FedEx letters to the White House.

WND sent copies of some of the news stories and commentaries to the agents in prison. When Compean learned about the petition and FedEx campaign, he sent a letter to WND from the Federal Correctional Institution in Lisbon, Ohio.

“Although our case received attention before we reported to prison, I truly believed people would forget all about us,” Compean wrote at the time. “Once we reported to prison, I was very happy to see how wrong I was. I have received thousands of letters from people all over the country. I have also received letters from other countries such as Italy and even a few from soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Joe Loya, Ramos’ father-in-law, also said at the time he was thankful for the in-depth coverage.

“We can only thank Joseph Farah, Jerome Corsi and the staff at WorldNetDaily because from the beginning you have been with us and you never gave up on the case,” he said at the time of the commutation. “Your reporting had a lot to do with the decision … by President Bush to commute the sentences.”

“America’s Sheriff” Predicts Obama Investigation to be a “Shock”

October 28, 2011

From WorldNetDaily, October 26, 2011 By Jerome R. Corsi

The results of a formal law-enforcement investigation into whether Barack Obama is eligible to be president of the United States could come as a “shock,” according to Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio.


Sheriff Joe Arpaio (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Tuesday night, speaking to a tea-party group in Arizona, Arpaio said, “I can’t tell you everything, but there could be a shock there somewhere that my guys came up with. I can’t talk too much about it. It’s in the process.”

WND previously has reported that Arpaio has constituted a special five-member law enforcement posse to investigate allegations brought by members of the Surprise, Ariz., Tea Party that the birth certificate released to the public April 27 might be a forgery.

The posse, assembled under the authority of Arpaio’s office, consists of three former law enforcement officers and two retired attorneys with law enforcement experience. Members have been examining evidence since September concerning Obama’s eligibility to be president under Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution, which requires a president to be a natural-born citizen.

He referenced disputes over the Social Security number attributed to the president and said, “There are a couple of things you and nobody else here knows anything about yet that could be a little bit exciting.”

“The investigation into Obama’s eligibility to be president is proceeding as planned,” Arpaio later told WND. “I expect to have the investigation completed early next year.”

He continued, “Yesterday, I met with the leader of the posse conducting the investigation, and I am very satisfied with their progress. The posse is doing a thorough and very professional job, and I am confident the posse is asking the right questions.”

Arpaio declined to reveal to WND any specifics of the investigation, but he suggested the issues being examined are comprehensive in their scope.

Attorney Orly Taitz, who has fought for more information about Obama in a number of the court cases she has filed since before Obama’s election, flew on short notice from her office in California to attend an evening meeting of the Surprise Tea Party. She brought evidence she claimed proved Obama is using a fraudulent Social Security number.

WND previously reported that two private investigators working independently have asked why Obama is using a Social Security number set aside for applicants in Connecticut while there is no record he ever had a mailing address in that state. WND also has reported a private investigation revealed that the Social Security number being used by Obama does not pass a check with E-Verify, the electronic system the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has created to verify whether or not someone is authorized to work legally in America.

Arpaio accepted the evidence Taitz presented, although sources close to the sheriff’s investigation told WND the posse already had the information she presented.

During her approximately 10-minute speech delivered in the front of the room, Taitz made her case to Arpaio, with her comments punctuated by audience applause. Arpaio, standing next to the podium, listened to Taitz attentively and politely.

“Thanks for your input,” Arpaio said, after she handed him the papers containing her evidence and arguments regarding the Social Security number controversy. “We are looking at this very closely.”

He commented that he was a little sorry Taitz went into details of specific investigative issues while the investigation was ongoing, but he acknowledged, “You have a right to do so. I’m investigating and I have to be careful sometimes. It’s very complex.”

Arpaio told Taitz and the tea-party audience he could not go public on any specifics regarding the probe until it was concluded.

Regarding the Social Security concerns, he said, “What you are saying here, we know all about.”

Arpaio said he was “not going to wait forever to get the investigation done,” adding that he wants to complete it as soon as possible, so he can make his recommendations on steps that may be needed to move forward.

“I’m really the Lone Ranger on this one,” he told the group candidly. “I’m doing my job. I’m getting shots from everyone. Nobody is going to tell me not to address this issue. The investigation is moving forward.”

Arpaio repeated to the tea-party group what he has told WND previously: “My door is open to everyone, and I don’t kick them out. If a complaint is legitimate, I don’t dump it into the wastebasket. When I get allegations brought to me by the people of Maricopa County, I look into the allegations, just like I am doing here.”

On April 15, Arizona Gov. Janet Brewer vetoed a bill passed by the state legislature that would have required candidates for the presidency to prove to the Arizona secretary of state their eligibility to be president under Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution to have their names placed on the ballot.

There are more than 3,000 volunteers who participate in Arpaio’s posse program. The power to constitute posses is authorized to Arizona sheriffs under the state constitution.

The “Cold Case Posse” conducting the Obama eligibility investigation has been described as a “posse within the posse,” consisting of volunteers with professional experience in conducting investigations, including individuals chosen because of their professional backgrounds in law enforcement, as well as lawyers who have participated in criminal or civil cases and individuals with specialized skills in fields ranging from accounting to conducting criminal forensic examination.

The Cold Case Posse investigating Obama’s eligibility was constituted as a 501(c)3 organization so that donations could be used for expenses and the investigation would not cost the people of Maricopa County any taxpayer money.

 

Man Reports Date as Burglar When Girlfriend Comes Home Early

October 27, 2011

From The Associated Press – October 27, 2011

Colorado Springs, CO — Police say a man’s girlfriend unexpectedly came home just before another woman was due to visit, so he called police to report his new acquaintance as a burglar.

The Gazette reports that 24-year-old Kevin Gaylor was cited with a misdemeanor of false reporting to authorities.

Police say Gaylor had invited a woman he met online to come to his home after 3 a.m. Wednesday so they could get better acquainted, but his girlfriend came home first.

Police say that when the other woman arrived, Gaylor called police and falsely reported an intrusion.

Gaylor has an unlisted phone number and couldn’t be reached for

Worst California Biker Feud in Decade Erupted at Starbucks

October 27, 2011

From Reuters News Service – October 26, 2011

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A turf war between the Hells Angels and a rival motorcycle gang that erupted outside a California Starbucks shop last year has left several men dead, wounded or missing in three states, stirring fears of more bloodshed.

Ranked by law enforcement as the most severe clash of two California-based biker groups in nearly a decade, the spate of violence turned deadly last month when it spilled into Nevada with a brawl and shooting among members of the Hells Angels and Vagos motorcycle clubs.

The president of the Hells Angels’ San Jose, California, chapter, Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew, 51, was shot to death, and one Vagos member was wounded in the melee at John Ascuaga’s Nugget hotel and casino in Sparks. A second Vagos member was wounded in a drive-by shooting the next day at the site of a nearby motorcycle rally in town.

Cesar Villagrana, 36, of Gilroy, California is seen in this booking photograph.

The Pettigrew killing — coming 11 months after a gunfight between the two gangs in Arizona that left five people wounded — in turn sparked tensions within the Hells Angels’ ranks that led to yet another slaying in California, authorities say.

Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez is pictured in this September 30, 2011 booking photograph

“There have been concerns about this rivalry for some time,” said Graham Barlowe, resident agent in charge of the Sacramento office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The last California biker feud of similar proportions grew out of a 2002 casino riot in Laughlin, Nevada, between the Hells Angels and another group known as the Mongols, Barlowe said. At least three bikers died as a result of that conflict.

DEAD OR ALIVE

The latest casualty of the Hells Angels’ recent battle against Vagos actually was inflicted by one of their own.

At Pettigrew’s funeral in California weeks after he was slain in Nevada, his close friend and sergeant-at-arms of the San Jose chapter, Steven Tausan, 52, was shot and killed by a fellow Hells Angel in an apparent quarrel among club members.

A police source familiar with the investigation said Tausan and others confronted the accused gunman, Steve Ruiz, over his perceived failure to have protected Pettigrew during the Nugget casino brawl, prompting Ruiz to pull a gun on Tausan.

A group of bikers then pounced on Ruiz as thousands of mourners streamed out of the cemetery, preventing police officers at the funeral from making an arrest, San Jose police spokesman Jose Garcia said.

In the end, it was unclear whether the bikers who descended on Ruiz did so to subdue him, beat him or help him escape, but witnesses said he was whisked away in a car, Garcia said.

Suspecting that Ruiz may have been killed at the scene and his body dumped into Pettigrew’s grave, police later obtained a search warrant to dig up the burial site, but they found no trace of Ruiz, Garcia said.

Last week, San Jose police received a tip that Ruiz was alive and hiding out in the northern California city of Stockton, but he was believed to have slipped away after investigators searched a home there to no avail on Saturday.

Garcia said authorities now believe Ruiz is on the run with a current or former girlfriend, noting that he has family and associates in Arizona and New York.

The recent bloodshed can all be traced to last year’s push by Vagos, founded in the 1960s in a Southern California desert community, into the northern coastal town of Santa Cruz, long claimed as Hells Angels territory, police said.

CAFFEINE FOR BIKERS

Tensions boiled over in January 2010, when members of the rival gangs, some wielding ball-peen hammers, fought outside a Santa Cruz Starbucks before scattering as police arrived.

“It was all about who would be allowed to hang out at the Starbucks downtown,” Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark said. “The Vagos brazenly came in and tried to cement their presence. It was a pretty strong play on their part to establish themselves as the premiere club.”

He added: “Only in Santa Cruz would you have biker wars over who’s going to control pumpkin spice lattes.”

Seven months after the Starbucks ambush, violence between the two groups flared again in a gunfight in August 2010 that left five people wounded and led to 27 arrests in the northern Arizona town of Chino Valley.

The U.S. Justice Department has classified both the Hells Angels and Vagos as outlaw gangs deeply involved in drug and weapons trafficking, as well as extortion, money laundering, theft and various violent crimes.

The Hells Angels, by far the larger and better known of the two, was founded in 1948 in Fontana, California, and has since established over 230 chapters with an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 members worldwide, the government says.

The organization denies its involvement in criminal activity and argues the club should not be blamed for the illegal actions of individual bikers.

Members insist the overwhelming majority are law-abiding citizens who share a love of powerful motorcycles, especially Harley-Davidsons and choppers, and point to their prominent role in certain charity events as evidence that their outlaw reputation is exaggerated by the media.

Karen Snell, a San Francisco-based lawyer who has represented a number of Hells Angels members, said Pettigrew and Tausan, for example, were “family guys.”

“They made honest livings. They worked hard and were responsible,” she told Reuters.

Police have arrested two people in connection with last month’s casino brawl, including Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez, 53, a Vagos member suspected in Pettigrew’s slaying.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Greg McCune)

Mint Hill, NC Man Convicted of Raping Young Relative

October 27, 2011

From The Charlotte Observer of October 27, 2011 By Meghan Cooke

A Mint Hill man will spend up to 40 years in prison after he was convicted this week of raping a young relative.

The trial against 63-year-old Michael David McDaris began Monday in Mecklenburg court and ended Wednesday when a jury found him guilty of two counts of statutory rape.

The crimes happened in 2003 and 2004 when the victim was a high school sophomore. Prosecutors alleged McDaris gave her cocaine before performing the sex acts at his Mint Hill home.

The victim told her mother about the abuse in 2009 after she learned that McDaris was babysitting other young relatives, prosecutors said. Then she went to police.

In an interview with police, McDaris told investigators he had been a drug addict and admitted to the sex acts but said it was consensual, according to prosecutors.

Arrest records show McDaris was charged in 2009 with several counts each of statutory rape and indecent liberties.

He’s also charged in connection with the sexual assaults of two other female victims, but those cases are still pending.

During McDaris’ sentencing Wednesday, the victim – now in her early 20s – spoke to the court and called McDaris a monster.

“A couple of years ago, I would have never imagined having the courage to stand in front of you, look you in the eyes and confront you for raping and molesting me,” she said in her statement. “I am not the same 14- and 15-year-old girl that I was before.”

McDaris was sentenced to 32-40 years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Kelly Miller said teenage victims of sexual abuse often feel they’re at fault or that no one will believe them, especially if the abuser is a trusted family member.

“The defendant in this case told his victim that even if she told, no one would ever believe her,” Miller said. “Thankfully, the jury obviously did, and justice was served. I hope that her bravery gives other victims the courage to know that they will indeed be believed and that there are people willing to fight to get them justice.”

5 Current and 3 Former NYPD Officers Charged in Smuggling Ring

October 26, 2011

From The New York Post, October 25, 2011 – By Amber Sutherland and Bruce Golding

Call them the bootleggers in blue.

Eight current and former city cops were part of a $1 million ring that smuggled guns, cigarettes and slot machines into New York from out of state, the feds charged today.

The 12 defendants — including five active-duty officers NYPD officers based in Brooklyn — were busted this morning on charges including conspiracy to transport firearms and conspiracy to transport and receive stolen merchandise.

The weapons included M-16 assault rifles and handguns, some of which had “obliterated” serial numbers, according to a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court.

All of the firearms had been rendered inoperable, however, as part of an elaborate sting operation to snare the allegedly crooked cops.

“Our city has lost too many people – and too many police officers – to criminals who buy guns illegally, including Detectives James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews, who were killed trying to take illegal guns off the street in 2003,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Our administration is taking every possible step to crack down on illegal guns and continue making the safest big city in the country even safer.

“The NYPD is the finest police department in the world, and these arrests do nothing to diminish the selfless commitment of the 35,000 men and women who put on a uniform every day, and who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.”

The early-morning arrests capped an undercover investigation that began in late 2009 after an FBI informant was introduced to one cop — William Masso of the 68th Precinct station house — “as a person who could ‘fix’ the [informant’s] traffic tickets,” the court papers say.

But a law-enforcement official told The Post that the probe was “totally unrelated” to the massive NYPD ticket-fixing scandal currently under investigation by the Bronx District Attorney’s Office.

Sources have said that a grand jury has voted indictments against at least 17 cops in that case.

In addition to Masso, the other active-duty cops named in today’s federal complaint are Eddie Goris and John Mahoney, also of the 68th Precinct; Ali Oklu of the Brooklyn South Task Force; and Gary Ortiz of the 71st Precinct station house.

Three retirees from the 68th — Joseph Trischitta, Marco Venezia and Richard Melnik — and former Sanitation Police officer Anthony Santiago were also arrested, along with New Jersey Corrections Officer David Kanwisher and two friends of Santiago’s, Michael Gee and Eric Gomer.

The NYPD released a statement saying, “Four other officers who had contact with Masso but who were neither named in the complaint nor arrested have been placed on modified assignment as the Internal Affairs Bureau looks more closely at Masso to see if there were any indicators of misconduct before his involvement in this case.”

Law enforcement officials said that In a March 2011 meeting with the ring, Masso said they should carry their police badges and if stopped say they were cops working off-duty to deliver items purchased at auction.

Masso told an informant in July that a shotgun he had provide was just a “sample” and that he could get anything “from A to Z,” officials said.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, dealing with latest stain on the NYPD’s reputation, said Masso represents “a betrayal of the highest order of an officer’s oath.”

“These crimes are without question, reprehensible – particularly conspiring to import untraceable guns and assault rifles into New York. The public trusts the police not only to enforce the law, but to obey it,” added the FBI’s New York Assistant Director Janice Fedarcyk.

“These crimes, as alleged in the complaint, do nothing but undermine public trust and confidence in law enforcement. We are committed to continuing to work with the Internal Affairs Bureau of the NYPD to root out corruption, wherever it may be.”

To watch a video report about this story paste the address below into your web-browser:

http://m.nypost.com/;s=MwJi_7kj6g35wOE_mfbMz03/video/?vxSiteId=0db7b365-a288-4708-857b-8bdb545cbd0f&vxChannel=NY%20Post&vxClipId=1458_1333653&vxBitrate=300

To read the actual criminal complaint filed against the accused individuals in this case paste the link below into your web-browser:

http://m.nypost.com/;s=MwJi_7kj6g35wOE_mfbMz03/rw/nypost/2011/10/25/media/102511_Masso_William_etal_Complaint.pdf

Harrisburg, NC Man Exposed Himself in Home Depot

October 26, 2011
From The Charlotte Observer of Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011
A Harrisburg man has been charged with exposing himself and masturbating in front of a 14-year-old boy in the restroom of a Gastonia Home Depot on Franklin Boulevard, the Gaston Gazette is reporting.

Thomas Koroskenyi, 51, of Harrisburg was booked into Gaston County Jail on Monday night under a $100,000 bond on charges of indecent liberties with a child and indecent exposure.

koroskenyi.jpg

Thomas Koroskenyi, of Harrisburg, has been charged in Gaston County with indecent exposure and taking indecent liberties with a child. Photo Courtesy of Gaston County, NC Jail.

Koroskenyi doesn’t appear to have any past sex crime history, or a record with the N.C. Department of Corrections, the Gazette reported.

The 14-year-old boy lives in Cleveland County.

AntiSec Says It’s Behind Police Website Attacks

October 24, 2011

Group says it wanted to support Occupy Boston movement, but also was bored

From Security News Daily By Matt Liebowitz, October 24, 2011

The hackers who defaced police department websites in Boston and Alabama did so in support of the Occupy Boston movement, and to protest the Boston Police for what they perceive as unprovoked violence against demonstrators. There’s another, decidedly less righteous reason behind their attacks, however: they were bored.

The hack, according to Wired, replaced the websites of the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association (BPPA) the Baldwin County Sheriff’s office in Alabama and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) with an anti-police rap video.

Claiming responsibility for the attacks is the AntiSec hacking movement, an offshoot of the Anonymous hacking group. In the past, AntiSec has made its social agenda felt by launching online campaigns against controversial political figures such as Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and U.S. law enforcement agencies such as the Arizona Department of Public Safety, in retaliation for Arizona’s controversial immigration laws.

[Hackers Leak Arizona Border Police Data for Second Time]

The hackers dumped the names and passwords of at least 2,000 members of the BPPA, the union that represents Boston police officers. From the Alabama Sheriff’s office, the hackers exposed names, addresses, phone numbers and Social Security numbers. The hackers also made public 600 MB of data stolen from the IACP, including names and addresses.

The security firm Sophos obtained a recording of a call made to one of the hacked law enforcement agencies, in which the hacker, speaking with a British accent, tells the officer he performed the hack because he “got a bit bored.”

(Sophos’ senior technology consultant, Graham Cluley, writes that the call was placed to the BPPA, but it’s possible, given the officer’s accent, that Cluley was mistaken and the recording is from the Alabama Sheriff’s office.)

The hacker taunts the officer, laughing at him when the officer says he’s going to trace the call, obtain a warrant and put him in jail.

“I’m going to get on a plane in the next few minutes and head that way, start looking for you somewhere,” the officer tells the caller, to which the hacker replies, “Bring it on.”