Friday, March 22, 2019

Feds Bust Largest Cocaine Seizure In 21 Years At Port Of Philadelphia


The U.S. Customs and Border Protection released the above photo and the below information:

PHILADELPHIA – A multi-agency examination of imported shipping containers at the Philadelphia seaport netted 1,185 pounds of cocaine Tuesday.

This multi-agency team was led by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and consisted of partner agencies Homeland Security Joint Task Force-East, U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Investigative Service, Philadelphia Police Department, Delaware State Police, Pennsylvania State Police, Nether Providence Police Department, the Office of the Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, and the DEA’s Philadelphia Division.
Inside one of the containers offloaded from the MSC Desiree, authorities discovered 13 large black duffel bags containing a combined 450 bricks of a white powdery substance. A sampling of that substance tested positive for cocaine.
The cocaine weighed 537.6 kilograms, or 1,185 pounds, three ounces, and has a street value approximately $38 million.
CBP officers seized the cocaine. HSI is investigating.
“Taking a half-ton of dangerous drugs out of circulation is a significant success for this collective team of federal, state and local law enforcement officers who work very hard every day to keep people safe,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s Director of Field Operations in Baltimore.  “Customs and Border Protection remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners and to disrupting narcotics smuggling attempts at the Area Port of Philadelphia.”
This is CBP’s fourth largest cocaine seizure in the Area Port of Philadelphia, and the largest since a 1,945-pound cocaine seizure May 23, 1998.
The shipping container commodity was natural rubber, which was laden in Guatemala.
CBP officers screen international travelers and cargo and search for illicit narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products that could potentially harm the American public, U.S. businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality. 
On average, CBP seized 4,657 pounds of narcotics every day across the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Mob Talk 29: The Murder Of A New York Mob Boss And Other Mob Stories


Veteran organized crime reporters George Anastasia and Dave Schratwieser  discuss the murder of reputed Gambino Cosa Nostra Crime Family boss Frank "Franky Boy" Cali in New York and other mob stories..  

You can watch the video via the below link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzLiQcZ9Svo

A Look Back At The First James Bond Classic Film, 'Dr. No'


As a pre-teen growing up in South Philadelphia in 1963, my crowd went to the Colonial movie theater every Saturday afternoon no matter what film was playing.

One afternoon, as I sat in the third row with my friends, a black and white image of the inside of a gun barrel came up on the screen and a man walked by, twirled and fired his gun. Red blood poured down on the barrel. I was hooked. 

At this point in my life, I had not heard of Ian Fleming, James Bond or Dr. No. I loved the film, loved the actor who portrayed Bond, Sean Connery, and I loved the character of James Bond. I’ve been a James Bond fan and an Ian Fleming aficionado ever since. 

The introduction of Connery’s Bond, clad in a tuxedo at a gambling casino, stating his name as “Bond,” - cue the Bond theme as he lit a cigarette - “James Bond,” was just terrific. 

For this young movie fan, I had never seen a movie character as cool. And it only got better as the film continued.

There are so many other iconic scenes in the film, such as the three Jamaican blind beggars (Three Blind Mice) turning on the British intelligence chief and shooting him with handguns equipped with suppressors, the tarantula crawling up Bond as he lay in bed, Bond shooting Professor Dent in cold blood, Honey coming out of the ocean, sexy in her white bikini complete with a knife on a belt,  Dr No sneaking up behind Bond and stating “One million dollars” in answer to his question of how much his criminal haunt cost, and Dr No describing his backstory and evil plot during dinner. 

I returned to the Colonial many more times and watched Dr No again and again. 



The first Bond film was atmospheric, thrilling, action-packed, suspenseful, clever and sexy. It is not a perfect film, but it had all of the ingredients I would discover when I later saw the second Bond film, From Russia With Love, and soon after began to read Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.

When I read Dr. No, I was sorry that the film makers did not use the deadly obstacle course Dr. No designed to test a man’s pain limit but I was glad they passed on filming Bond’s fight with a giant squid, which was a bit much. I’m also sorry that they didn’t show how Honey’s pain test of being tied down while crabs crawled over her. In the novel, I liked the irony that a simple island girl knew more about Jamaican crabs than the brilliant scientist Dr No, as she knew they wouldn’t harm her. 

The film only showed Bond crawling through the vent system over heated plates and then hit with a current of water (which cooled the plates, thank you), and only showed Honey tied down with crabs around her.

Dr No’s director, Terence Young, a former WWII tank commander, was a stylish and sophisticated man. He took Sean Connery under his wing and dressed him and taught how to act as James Bond. (Young later directed From Russia With Love and Thunderball). 





In addition to Sean Connery, the film has a fine cast with the beautiful Ursula Andress as Honey, Joseph Wiseman as Dr No, John Kitzmiller as Quarrel, Anthony Dawson as Professor Dent, and of course, Bernard Lee as M and Lois Maxwell as Moneypenny. 





I’d like to edit the film and remove the cringe-worthy line in which Bond orders Quarrel to “fetch my shoes,” (the line did not appear in the novel as Bond respected Quarrel, who also appeared in Fleming’s earlier novel, Live and Let Die) and edit out some of the film’s mistakes. 

The film’s editor, Peter Hunt, who later directed one of the best films in the series, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, said that in the 1960s, directors and editors had no idea that viewers would one day own personal copies of the film and would watch it time and time again, picking up on the mistakes. He said they glossed over mistakes, thinking that the one-time viewer who not catch them.

Ian Fleming reportedly described the film as “Dreadful. Simply dreadful."

He initially disapproved of Connery, a working-class Scotsman, as Bond. But he later warmed to him, writing in a letter to a friend that Connery had the right physique for Bond and that the actor was a fine man. 

Much has been made of the fact that when Fleming wrote Bond’s premature obituary in You Only Live Twice, he noted that the character was half Scot and half Swiss. Many people believe this was due to Connery’s performance, and perhaps this was partly true, but Fleming was also Scottish, and he gave Bond many of his personal attributes.    

Although he knew Bond was made for the movies, he could not have realized just how successful the film series would be, and that the films would ensure that future generations of readers, millions of them, would go on to read his novels. 

I was one.    

You can watch a documentary film on the making of Dr. No via the below link:  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZPjEYxymgE



Note: In the above photo Sean Connery talks to Ian Fleming on the set of Dr. No

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

My Washington Times Piece On How Philadelphia's Sancuary City Polices Freed Illegal Imigrant Who Went On To Rape Child


The Washington Times published my piece on Philadelphia’s sanctuary city policies.

The City of Philadelphia does not like the term sanctuary city. The city’s liberal leaders prefer the term “Welcoming City.” Unfortunately, the city’s “welcoming” policy welcomed an illegal immigrant who was also a child rapist.

On Feb. 26, William S. McSwain, the Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, announced the sentencing of Juan Ramon-Vasquez, a Honduran citizen, to 21 months in federal prison for illegal re-entry into the United States. Ramon-Vasquez was deported in 2009, but like many illegal immigrants, he chose to sneak back to the United States again.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, he was discovered to be back in America by U.S. Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers while being held in a Philadelphia prison. The City of Philadelphia refused to comply to a detainer lodged by ICE and he was subsequently released from prison.

Instead of being in the custody of ICE and facing deportation once again, Ramon-Vasquez was free to roam around Philadelphia. He was also free to rape a young child.

He is currently serving eight to 20 years in state prison for rape and his federal sentence will run consecutive to his state sentence.

“The facts of this case illustrate all too well the direct threat to public safety caused by the City of Philadelphia's sanctuary city policies,” Mr. McSwain said. “After the City let this criminal loose on the streets of Philadelphia, Ramon-Vasquez repeatedly raped an innocent child. If the ICE detainer had been honored by local law enforcement, this crime never would have happened, and the victim would have been spared horrendous physical and mental trauma.”

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/mar/19/philadelphia-sanctuary-city-policies-welcome-crimi/

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

My Parents Didn't Bribe Anyone To Get Me Into One Of The Most Elite Schools In The Nation


Note: I enlisted in the U.S. Navy when I was 17 and I attended Navy Basic Training (Boot Camp) at the U.S. Navy Training Center at Great Lakes, Illinois.

A Little Humor: Granny


The family wheeled Granny out on the lawn in her wheelchair, where the activities for her 100th birthday were taking place. 

Granny couldn’t speak very well, but she could write notes when she needed to communicate.

After a short time out on the lawn, Granny started leaning off to the right, so some family members grabbed her, straightened her up, and stuffed pillows on her right.

A short time later, she started leaning off to her left, so again the family grabbed her and stuffed pillows on her left.

Soon she started leaning forward, so the family members again grabbed her, then tied a pillowcase around her waist to hold her up.

A grandson who arrived late came running up to Granny and said, “Hi Granny, you’re looking good! How are they treating you?”

Granny took out her little note pad and slowly wrote a note to the nephew, “They won’t let me fart.” 

Note: The above photo is Irene Ryan, who portrayed Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies.  

Born Into Al-Qaida: The Rise to Prominence of Hamza bin Laden, Osama bin Laden's Son


The son of Osama bin Laden is the subject of a piece at militarytimes.com.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Years after the death of his father at the hands of a U.S. Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan, Hamza bin Laden now finds himself in the crosshairs of world powers.
In rapid succession in recent weeks, the U.S. put a bounty of up to $1 million on him; the U.N. Security Council named him to a global sanctions list, sparking a new Interpol notice for his arrest; and his home country of Saudi Arabia revealed it had revoked his citizenship.
Those measures suggest that international officials believe the now 30-year-old militant is an increasingly serious threat. He is not the head of al-Qaida but he has risen in prominence within the terror network his father founded, and the group may be grooming him to stand as a leader for a young generation of militants.
“Hamza was destined to be in his father’s footsteps,” said Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent focused on counterterrorism who investigated al-Qaida’s attack on the USS Cole. “He is poised to have a senior leadership role in al-Qaida.”
"There is probably other intelligence that indicates something's happening and that's what put this thing on the front burner," he said.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link: