Tuesday, May 22, 2018

On This Day In History Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Creator of Sherlock Holmes, Was Born

On this day in 1859 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, was born. 

You can read about his life and work via the below link: 

Note: The top photo is of Sir Arthur Conan Dole. The above photo is of Jeremy Brett, my favorite Sherlock Holmes actor.  

Monday, May 21, 2018

Honduran Drug Kingpin Sentenced To Life In Prison

The U.S. Justice Department released the below information:

Honduran national Sergio Neftali Mejia-Duarte was sentenced today to life in prison for his involvement in a large-scale international narcotics transportation organization.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg for the Southern District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge Adolphus P. Wright of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Miami Field Division, made the announcement.

On Jan. 9, a Miami jury found Mejia-Duarte, 41, guilty of conspiring to distribute over five kilograms of cocaine with the knowledge that the cocaine would be unlawfully imported into the United States.  The evidence at trial, which included the testimony of multiple co-conspirators and pictures from a seizure of over 2,000 kilograms of cocaine, showed that defendant Mejia-Duarte led a large-scale international narcotics transportation organization based in Honduras and Guatemala that was part of a distribution chain spanning from Colombia to Mexico and the United States.  In that role, Mejia-Duarte and his workers secretly received multi-hundred kilogram quantities of cocaine from Colombia and Panama, temporarily stored the narcotics in Honduras or Guatemala, and then transported the narcotics onward, typically northward, including into Mexico.

Mejia-Duarte used go-fast boats, helicopters, and airplanes to operate his shipping route and, as witnesses detailed at trial, much of the cocaine was supplied to the Sinaloa Cartel led by Joaquin Guzman Loera, also known as “Chapo,” and Ismael Zambada, also known as “Mayo.”  Based on the witnesses’ trial testimony and documents submitted in the case, Mejia-Duarte is responsible for trafficking at least an estimated 20,000 kilograms of cocaine.  In operating his criminal network, the witnesses described how Mejia-Duarte carried guns, employed bodyguards and assassins, and engaged in a bloody war with a rival trafficker.  During Mejia-Duarte’s arrest, Honduran law enforcement officers found a Glock pistol and an automatic rifle in the closet of the bedroom where he was residing.

“Until his arrest, Sergio Neftali Mejia-Duarte was a violent and prolific drug trafficker whose criminal organization supplied cocaine to the Sinaloa Cartel, knowing full well that the poison would make its way to our streets,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan.  “Today’s sentence reflects the unwavering commitment of the Department of Justice to prosecute those who fuel our drug crisis by sending illegal narcotics across our borders.  I especially thank our law enforcement partners in Honduras and Colombia for their assistance in bringing Mejia-Duarte to justice.”

“The life sentence imposed upon Mejia-Duarte ends the reign of a ruthless drug trafficker,” said U.S. Attorney Greenberg.  “Backed by the united front of our international allies, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida will continue to strip the drug traffickers of their power and dismantle the trafficking organizations that cross our borders and infect our communities with illicit narcotics.”

“The DEA Miami Field Division is very pleased with the deserving sentence given to Mejia-Duarte today,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Wright.  “This adjudication is evidence of the strong partnership with our international law enforcement partners who also sacrifice much to strike down and bring to justice all those who willingly engage in dangerous and criminal acts against the United States which threatens the welfare of its citizens.”

The prosecution was part of Operation Hollow Point, which is a result of the ongoing efforts by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.  The OCDETF mission is to identify, investigate, and prosecute high-level members of drug trafficking enterprises, bringing together the combined expertise and unique abilities of federal, state, and local law enforcement.

Assistant Deputy Chief Michael Lang of the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS) and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Walter M. Norkin and Joseph Schuster of the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the case.

The governments of Honduras and Colombia, the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs and DEA Division Offices in Honduras and Colombia assisted in obtaining the conviction against Mejia-Duarte. 

Longmire, Netflix's Modern Western Crime Drama, Wraps Up

I watched the final episode of the sixth and final season of Longmire, the modern Western crime drama, on Netflix last night. 

The outstanding series was based on Craig Johnson's crime novels about a Wyoming sheriff. 

As I noted in my Washington Times review of Craig Johnson's latest Longmire novel, The Western Star, Walt Longmire is a big man who is taciturn and possesses a dry sense of humor. Craig Johnson describes him as overage, overweight and overly depressed, but he still gets up in the morning and tries to do his job. Longmire offers a modern take on what Craig Johnson calls the cowboy mythos and the romance of the old West.

Australian actor Robert Taylor portrayed Walt Longmire, Katee Sackhoff portrayed his deputy Victoria "Vic" Moretti, a South Philly girl and former Philadelphia cop, and Lou Diamond Philips portrayed Henry Standing Bear, Longmire's best friend. The series offers a good number of other fine cast members as well.

I enjoyed the series and I'll miss it.

You can read my Washington Times review of  The Western Star via the below link: 

Note: The above photo is of author Craig Johnson. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

DHS Honors Fallen Law Enforcement Officers During Police Week

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released the below information and photos:

WASHINGTON— Throughout the 2018 National Police Week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) honored law enforcement officers and their families for their service and sacrifice. In Washington and around the country, DHS has been involved in memorializing these heroes throughout the week.

Secretary Kirstjen M. Nielsen (seen in the below photo) attended memorials that focused on the important work that DHS law enforcement officers and agents do every day, and honored those killed in the line of duty:

“Every year, in honor of Police Week, we pay tribute to the law enforcement community,” said Secretary Nielsen. “We lay a wreath in memory of those who put on a badge, went to work, and never came home again. We take time —one week out of the year—to say ‘thank you,’ and ‘I miss you.’ We reflect on those who’ve gone before us. We remember their sacrifice, and we comfort those they’ve left behind.

“It is a remarkable privilege to lead the men and women of this Department, particularly the members of our law enforcement family. I am grateful for every one of you who has answered the call to stand up for our homeland.”

DHS is the largest employer of federal law enforcement agents. Approximately one-third of our employees serve as law enforcement officers, and nearly 70 percent perform law enforcement functions. The Department’s law enforcement family includes U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Federal Protective Service (FPS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

DHS also plays an important role in training law enforcement across the country through the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), which provides vital training to more than 90 federal partner organizations, as well as many state and local officers. Since its inception in 1970, FLETC has trained more than one million law enforcement professionals nationwide.

DHS is proud to participate in Police Week to pay tribute to law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty and honor all law enforcement officers and their families for their service to our country.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Armed Forces Day 2018

Mob Talk 18: Legal Sports Betting And The Mob

Veteran organized crime reporters George Anastasia and Dave Schratwieser discuss legalized sports gambling and how this will impact mob bookmaking and loan sharking. 

So how will the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing sports betting across the country impact the Mob. Some say this is a crippling blow, others say not so much.  And where will the Mob find new revenue streams in the future? 

You can watch the rest of the video via the below link:  

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A Bombshell Breach Of Security Issues

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden offers an interesting piece in the Washington Times.

The admonition “do not brag” likely will not be found in any intelligence manual. But strictures on revealing “sources and methods,” as well as common sense, dictate that certain matters are not discussed in public.

The obvious drawback to such disclosures — be they deliberate or accident — is that adversaries will take advantage of such information to avoid future losses.

Thus, considerable concern and dismay were heard in the intelligence community in early May about what can only be described as a bombshell breach of security procedures.

In an article distributed worldwide, the Reuters news agency reported that what were described as “four very senior members” of the Islamic State terrorist group were captured near the Turkish border by American and Iraqi intelligence officers.

Reuters reported that the team used intelligence garnered from what was described by as “a popular messaging app, WhatsApp,” which was attached to the cell phone of another ISIS figure who was captured earlier.

The chain of events began in February, when Turkish counterterrorism officers captured a man named Ismail al-Eithawi, who was a close aide to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, described as the “Iraqi-born leader of the group known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS).

The capture produced the “WhatsApp” device and a sizable amount of electronic gear and other documents. The captured man, al-Eithawi, was no flunky. According to Iraqi security officials, he was tasked with arranging the secret transfer of ISIS funds to bank accounts around the world.

…One can envision what happened when the Reuters report was circulated through Middle Eastern media: A mad scramble by ISIS figures to dispose of mobile phones that might be tapped, and to clean out the covert bank accounts before they were seized.

Who was responsible for the leak? Several retired American intelligence veterans — stressing that they had no first-hand knowledge of the episode — were hesitant to point a finger.

But these veterans stressed that any Americans with even basic training by the Central Intelligence Agency would have known instantly the necessity of keeping the seizure a secret.

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