Tuesday, October 20, 2020

DEA announces Launch Of Project Safeguard

 The DEA released the below information:

 WASHINGTON – Drug Enforcement Administration Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea (seen in the above photo) today announced that the DEA will direct resources to help reduce violent crime in communities throughout the country.  Under this initiative, called Project Safeguard, DEA will identify and prioritize ongoing drug trafficking investigations with a nexus to violent crime.

“Drug trafficking and violent crime are inextricably linked,” said Acting Administrator Shea.  “From the extreme levels of violence in Mexican cartels, to the open air drug markets in American cities, drug traffickers employ violence, fear, and intimidation to ply their trade.  Neighborhoods across our country are terrorized by violent drug trafficking organizations that have little regard for human life, and profit from the pain and suffering of our people.  Along with our law enforcement partners, DEA is committed to safeguarding the health and safety of our communities.”

Working in collaboration with our federal, state, and local partners, including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Marshals Service, DEA’s Project Safeguard will comprise three focus areas to address the growing violent crime threat in many cities across the United States:

  • Disrupting, dismantling, and destroying the most significant violent drug trafficking organizations throughout the United States;
  • Increasing collaboration with ATF to ensure effective federal prosecution of firearms traffickers associated with drug trafficking organizations; and
  • Prioritizing the capture of DEA fugitives who employ violence as part of drug trafficking.

The traffickers that flood our communities with deadly drugs, including opioids, heroin, fentanyl, meth and cocaine, are often the same criminals responsible for the high rates of assault, murder, and gang activity in our cities.  These criminals employ fear, violence, and intimidation to traffic drugs, and in doing so, exacerbate a drug crisis that claims more than 70,000 American lives every year.  DEA is committed to treating these crimes as homicides, where appropriate.

In recent months, violent crime has spiked in numerous cities and regions around the country, from major cities like Detroit, which has seen a 19 percent increase in homicides this year, to smaller towns like South Bend, Indiana, which has witnessed an increase of 36 percent increase in violent crime.  Drug trafficking is responsible, in part, for this violence in America’s cities and towns. 

Since it began in August 2020, Project Safeguard has resulted in more than 700 investigations, over 1,500 arrests – including nearly 40 DEA fugitives, more than 2,130 seized firearms, nearly $24 million in seized assets, and more than 6,100 kilograms of illicit drugs.

Today’s announcement was made at a press conference in Boston marking the successful conclusion of DEA New England Field Division’s Operation Under the Radar, a months-long investigation targeting street-level cocaine and fentanyl distributors with close ties to Mexico who had previously evaded prosecution.  This operation resulted in approximately 14 arrest warrants and eight search warrants spanning as far north as Lawrence, Mass., and as far south as Providence, R.I.   

Monday, October 19, 2020

A Little Night Music: Tori Kennedy and Andrea Bocelli's Perform 'The Prayer' Live

 Tori Kelly and Andrea Bocelli performed The Prayer live in Seattle. 

You can watch and listen to this beautiful performance via the below link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=l_VcRKlNnAg 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

FBI: Child Abductors Potentially Using Social Media Or Social Networks To Lure Victims In Lieu Of An In-Person Ruse

 The FBI released the below information:

The FBI warns the public of the potential threat of individuals posing as minors on popular social media or social networks to lure victims in lieu of immediate, inperson ruse with the intent to abduct. Due to COVID-19 related school closures, minors likely will be at greater risk for encountering offenders online as they seek to occupy their free time with increased social media use.

DEFINITION

The FBI defines child abduction as the unexplained disappearance of a minor, especially very young minors (generally, any child under 12). Additionally, the FBI defines "social media" as websites and mobile applications that allow users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. "Social networks" however, are defined as websites and mobile applications used to interact with other users or to find people with similar interests.

METHODOLOGY

While criminals exploit social media and social networks to commit crimes involving child sexual abuse material, sex trafficking of a minor, and child sex tourism, the use of these platforms to facilitate child abductions is lesser known.

FBI investigations indicate child abductors can use social media, social networks, and dating applications to identify, initiate contact, and gain access to children prior to their abduction. Potential child abductors use these tools as lower-risk methods of gaining access to and luring child victims, compared to other methods such as an in-person ruse. In some cases, child victims are groomed online, enticing the victim to meeting with an abductor in person, which can then lead to them being taken against their will.

Due to the availability of the Internet to all age groups, potential abductors can mislead children by pretending to be someone in their age group and creating a relationship of false trust. While the stated minimum age for most social media and social networking websites and applications is 13, younger children can, and often do, find alternate ways to gain access.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, children had access to playgrounds, bus stops, malls, and public spaces more frequently. And while the risk of abduction existed, a criminal abducting a minor in person in a public place was at greater risk of exposure due to potential witnesses. The risk of immediate detection is much lower online. Although the number of abductions in which offenders used social media and social networks as the initial contact accounts for a small percentage of FBI child abduction investigations, as children spend more time on a computer or mobile devices with access to social media or networks, the FBI expects the percentage of offenders using social media or networks as the initial contact method to increase. Open source research indicates 22 percent of teenagers log on to their preferred social media website more than 10 times per day and 50 percent of children log on more than once a day. Due to their limited capacity for self-regulation and their heightened susceptibility to peer pressure, children are at greater risk of falling prey to potential child abductors as they navigate social media.

With current restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools in many areas of the United States are likely to remain closed, resulting in children being left at home and potentially unsupervised due to reduced daycare options and parents having to return to work. As a result, they are likely to spend more time on the Internet, further increasing their vulnerability.

REPRESENTATIVE EXAMPLES

During and prior to COVID-19 restrictions, the FBI identified instances where social media or social networks were used to facilitate child abductions, such as in the following examples:

  • In June 2020, a 13-year-old girl was reported missing by her father, who stated she met someone on social media the week prior. The 13-year-old used social media to communicate with a 21-year-old man who traveled from Louisiana to Texas to pick up the girl. Customs and Border Protection intercepted the abductor's vehicle, recovered the victim, and arrested and charged the abductor with aggravated kidnapping and sexual assault. The victim later revealed she believed she found a new friend online who would help her run away to Mexico.
  • In October 2019, an 11-year-old girl was reported missing. She had been using a social media application to connect with two people, who communicated with the child over the course of several months. The individuals later revealed they planned to abduct the girl and instructed her to bring her passport and immunization records when they met. The victim was recovered and reunited her with her family before the abductors could fully follow through with their plan.
  • In March 2016, a 13-year-old girl left her home to meet with an individual she had been communicating with online, whom she thought was a young boy. When she arrived at the agreed upon meeting place, she realized he was not who he claimed to be, but he forced her into his car and sped away. The abductor physically and sexually assaulted her. The FBI recovered the victim four days after the kidnapping, when the abductor posted online images of himself abusing the victim.

VICTIM REPORTING

If you believe you are or someone you know is the target or victim of child abduction:

·         Contact your local law enforcement agency or your local FBI field office (contact information can be found at https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices

·         File a complaint online with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov

·         Report child abductions and/or attempted child abductions to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678)

·         Victims are encouraged to keep all original documentation, emails, text messages, and logs of communication with the subject. Do not delete anything before law enforcement is able to review it; and

·         Tell law enforcement everything about the online encounters. It may be embarrassing for the parent or child, but it is necessary to find the offender. When reporting online scams, be as descriptive as possible in the complaint form by providing:

    • Name and/or username of the subject
    • Email addresses and phone numbers used by the subject
    • Web sites used by the subject
    • Description of all interaction with the subject

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DEVICE HAS BEEN COMPROMISED

  • Do not forward any suspected e-mails or files.
  • Disconnect the device from all networks immediately and turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
  • Consult with your corporate IT department, ensuring they are notified of any significant changes.
  • If there is no IT department, consult with qualified third-party cyber security experts.
  • Report cyber attacks or scams to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.gov.

It is helpful for law enforcement to have as much information as possible to use in the course of investigating these incidents; however, it is not required in order to receive assistance.

The FBI produced this public service announcement to bring awareness to parents and children of the threat posed by child abductors and increase awareness of the dangers of sharing details with or trusting strangers on social media or social network platforms.

Friday, October 16, 2020

The Case Of The Vanishing Blonde And Other True Crime Stories: My Washington Times 'On Crime' Column On Veteran Reporter And Author Mark Bowden

 The Washington Times ran my On Crime column on Mark Bowden (seen in the below photo) and his new collection of true crime stories. 

Mark Bowden is perhaps best known for his book “Black Hawk Down” and his other books about the American military, such as “Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America’s War with Militant Islam,” and “Hue 1968: A Turning Point of the American War in Vietnam.” But in his latest book, “The Case of the Vanishing Blonde and Other True Crime Stories,” he returns to his roots as a crime reporter.    


Mr. Bowden, who received a lifetime achievement award from the International Thriller Writers organization, offers six true crime stories he had written previously for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Vanity Fair and Air Mail. The stories range from a case of a campus rape at the University of Pennsylvania in 1983, to three stories involving cold cases investigated by a Long Island private detective named Ken Brennan, as well as a fascinating case of a Los Angeles Police Department investigation into a 26-year-old murder that leads to one of their own.

 

“Newspaper reporting hones an appetite for crime,” Mr. Bowden writes in the introduction to the book. “When I wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer, back in its heyday, when it had reporters based all over the region, nation, and the world, we reporters competed vigorously for the paper’s limited news hole. You learned fast that a good crime yarn was a shortcut to page one.”

 


Thursday, October 15, 2020

Rudy Giuliani In Philadelphia: Cancel Culture Is Ruining The American Dream

 Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was in Philadelphia earlier this week for the launch of Italian Americans For Trump. He spoke to a group of supporters at a Trump campaign office in Northeast Philadelphia. 

He also wrote an op-ed that appeared today in The Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Our rights and liberties are under assault by the Democratic Party’s embrace of the radical left. Together, they are attacking our history, our society, and our shared values in the form of “cancel culture.” It is rapidly infecting the mainstream media, social media, and liberal elites in academia throughout America. 

Everyday patriotic Americans are branded by the radical left for their previous “insensitive” comments or statements, ostracized by their families and communities, fired by their employers, and shamed for alleged transgressions with no opportunity for explanation. If charged with such a violation you are seen as a pariah. For high-profile figures, this can mean that the public will stop supporting your work, as we’ve seen with people like Kevin D. Williamson, who was fired from the Atlantic in 2018 for his pro-life views after social media outrage from the radical left. It can happen to average citizens, too, if a “problematic” social media post from their past is discovered and publicized. 

In this toxic climate, Americans, especially young adults, are left wondering what their incentive is to dream, dare to be great, and fight for their American Dream. All around them, our children are seeing the heroes of our storied American history torn down, both literally and figuratively. Right here in Philadelphia, the city voted to remove the statue of Christopher Columbus in Marconi Plazawhich I visited on Monday. 

Why would today’s children endeavor for greatness or struggle to create positive change in the world, if posterity will simply demonize them for their flaws? Our history, while imperfect, is a story of hope, progress, and the creation of the most free and equal society in the history of the world. By erasing the figures that populate our textbooks and animate our collective national conscience, chaos and a lack of moral authority fill the void that is inevitably left. 

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

https://www.inquirer.com/opinion/commentary/cancel-culture-trump-rudy-giuliani-20201014.html

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Talking To Legendary Former FBI Profiler John Douglas, The Author Of 'MindHunter' And "The Killer's Shadow'


I had a long and most interesting telephone conversation this morning with John Douglas, the legendary former FBI profiler.

John Douglas is the author of The Killer's Shadow: The FBI's Hunt for a White Supremacist Serial Killer, and Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit. His career profiling and interviewing serial killers and other dangerous criminals is the basis for the outstanding Netflix series Mindhunter. 


John Douglas discussed his career, explained behavioral analysis and spoke of Joseph Paul Franklin (shown in the below photo), an expert sniper, avowed racist, serial murderer and the subject of his latest book, The Killer's Shadow.

  

My long-form Q&A with John Douglas will appear in the upcoming issue of Counterterrorism magazine. I'll post the Q&A here when the magazine comes out. 



American Contractor Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Steal Government Equipment From U.S. Military Base In Afghanistan

 The U.S. Justice Department released the below: 

An American military contractor pleaded guilty today to her role in a theft ring on a military installation in Kandahar, Afghanistan. 

Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian Rabbit of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger of the Eastern District of Virginia, and Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F. Sopko made the announcement.

Varita V. Quincy, 35, of Snellville, Georgia pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of making false official statements.  Sentencing is set for Feb. 23, 2021 before Judge Rebecca Beach Smith. 

Quincy admitted that, between April 2015 and July 2015, she, Larry J. Green of Chesapeake, Virginia, and others conspired to steal, and did steal, equipment and property of value to the United States while working for a government contractor operating on Kandahar Airfield, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Kandahar Airfield was used by U.S. military forces to support U.S. military missions throughout Afghanistan.  

Quincy was a supervisor in the office that issued security badges required for the movement of personnel and property on and off Kandahar Airfield.  Quincy admitted that as part of the conspiracy, Green identified items of value to steal, such as vehicles, generators, refrigerators, and other equipment. Green negotiated the sale of those items with persons outside of the installation.  Quincy then facilitated the thefts by creating false official documents, or instructing those she supervised to prepare such documents, to facilitate the entry of unknown and unvetted Afghan nationals and their vehicles on to the military installation to remove the stolen property. Quincy shared in the profits from this scheme.  The false documents she created, or directed others to create, were used to deceive security officers and gate guards and thereby compromised the security and safety of the military installation. 

Quincy’s co-conspirator Green pleaded guilty on July 8, 2020, to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and commit theft of property of value to the United States worth over $300,000, one count of theft of property of value to the United States; and one count of aiding and abetting the submission of false statements. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 19, 2020. 

SIGAR investigated the case with help from Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) and the 939th Military Police Detachment of the Indiana Army National Guard.  Trial Attorneys Sasha N. Rutizer of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, Rosaleen O’Gara of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Kosky of the Eastern District of Virginia are prosecuting the case.