Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Ralph Cipriano: Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Ross On Inspector Bologna's Firing: 'Should Have Never Happened'

 Ralph Cipriano at offers a piece on former Philadelphia Police Commissioner Ross’ view of the firing of Inspector Bologna. 

Former Commissioner Richard Ross was watching video of the incident during an allegedly peaceful protest that got Staff Inspector Joe Bologna fired.  

Ross froze the video in the middle of the action and said it was obvious that Bologna never struck protester Evan Gorski in the head with his baton, as falsely alleged by District Attorney Larry Krasner. 

"How did this unravel with his [Bologna's] career ending in an instant?" Ross asked. "That should have never happened."  

In an interview with Russell Kolins, a private investigator working for lawyers defending Bologna against criminal charges, Ross  ripped Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw for being missing in action on June 1st, the day of the protest on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway that got Bologna fired. 

"When you've got volatile circumstances," Ross said, "You have to know that things are going to go badly . . . To me, if your people are there and they're being put in harm's way, how do you not put yourself in that same predicament and lead from the front?" 

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

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

FBI Report On Crime Shows Decline In Violent Crime Rate For Third Consecutive Year


The Federal Bureau of Investigation released its 2019 edition of Crime in the United States, which showed that violent crime decreased nationwide for the third consecutive year.  

After decreases in both 2017 and 2018, the violent crime rate dropped an additional one percent this past year and the property crime rate decreased 4.5 percent. 

Since 1930, the FBI has tracked nationwide data on crimes and publishes its compilation each year.  Submitting data to the FBI is a collective effort on the part of city, county, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement agencies to present a nationwide view of crime. 

“For the last three years the Department of Justice has worked tirelessly with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners to pursue those violent criminals, cartels, and gangs who seek to harm our communities,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen. “We are steadfast in our commitment to protect the public safety of citizens and communities across the United States through violent crime initiatives like Project Safe Neighborhoods, Project Guardian and, most recently, Operation Legend.  Violent crime rates had been increasing during 2015-2016, so I am proud of the hard work by all prosecutors and law enforcement agents across the nation who have reduced violent crime rates during each of the last three years.  I look forward to continuing our joint efforts to protect the American public from the violence of criminals.” 

“I am encouraged by the great work being done by law enforcement to combat violent crime across the nation,” said FBI Deputy Director Dave Bowdich.  “The FBI continues to make clear that violence will not be tolerated, and we are committed to continuing our work with state, local, and tribal partners across the country to confront and deter violence, dismantle criminal organizations and gangs, eradicate drug trafficking, and bring justice to victims.” 

This past year, a total of 16,554 law enforcement agencies reported Uniform Crime Report (UCR) data to the FBI.  In 2019, there were an estimated 1,203,808 violent crimes and an estimated violent crime rate of 366.7 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants.  This represented a one percent decrease from the prior year.  The FBI’s UCR data indicates that the violent crime rate dropped 0.7 percent in 2017 and 3.5 percent in 2018 from the prior years. 

In October 2017, the Department of Justice reinvigorated Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a crime reduction initiative targeting gun and gang violence in particular geographic hotspots.  Each United States Attorney around the nation, in conjunction with state and local law enforcement, developed a customized strategy to prioritize prosecutions of the most violent criminals in the most dangerous areas in their district and to support locally based prevention and reentry programs to prevent additional violence.  Independent academic research found that PSN successfully reduced violent crime by an average of 4 to 20 percent, and as high as 42 percent in some locations. 

In November 2019, the Department launched Project Guardian, a comprehensive law enforcement strategy specifically aimed at gun crime.  United States Attorney’s Offices, coordinating with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and state and local law enforcement, developed a strategy for coordinating prosecution, enforcing background checks, improving information sharing, coordinating response to mental health denials, and coordinating on crime gun intelligence. 

Through violent crime initiatives, the Department charged the largest number of violent crime defendants since the Department began tracking this category more than 25 years ago.  The Department has also increased federal firearm prosecutions by 43 percent in the last three years.

While the downward trends of the past three years are encouraging, the Department remains steadfast in its efforts.  On Sept. 15, 2020, the FBI published its Preliminary Uniform Crime Report, January–June, 2020, which revealed overall declines in the number of violent crimes and property crimes reported for the first six months of 2020 when compared with figures for the first six months of 2019.   

While there were significant decreases in the number of rapes and robberies, there was a significant spike in murders and an increase in aggravated assaults. 

The report is based on information from 12,206 law enforcement agencies that submitted three to six months of comparable data for both years. 

The Department continues to closely monitor violent crime nationally and in July 2020, launched Operation Legend in Kansas City, Missouri, as a sustained, systematic, and coordinated law enforcement initiative where federal law enforcement agencies partner with state and local law enforcement to fight violent crime.  It has now expanded to Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis, and Indianapolis. 

Since Operation Legend’s launch, approximately 3,500 arrests have been made – including approximately 200 arrests for homicide.  Defendants have been charged in state and local courts, and approximately 815 of those 3,500 defendants have been charged with federal crimes.  

Together, the FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, and state and local law enforcement have seized over 1,200 firearms and weapons, nearly 19 kilos of heroin, over 11 kilos of fentanyl (enough to deliver more than five million fatal doses), over 94 kilos of methamphetamine, nearly 14 kilos of cocaine, and more than $6.5 million in drug proceeds. 

Monday, September 28, 2020

Sallie Gregory Hammett: I Wrote My Dog An Obituary Because Of Course I did. He Was The Best Boy.

 Janine Puhak at Fox News offers a piece on a woman who wrote an obituary for her late, beloved dog. 

Remembered fur-ever with love. 

A South Carolina woman has eulogized her late, great golden Retriever in a moving obituary that is melting hearts on social media.


Sallie Gregory Hammet recently announced the passing of her beloved dog Charlie, who died at age 7 following a five-month battle with lymphoma. The Greenville woman, 30, said the precious pup had been her best pal since she adopted him seven years ago when she was single and living in a new city.

You can read the obit above and read the rest of the piece via the below link: 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Babylon Bee: Democrats Prepare To Give Republicans Free Ad Footage Of Them Attacking Successful, Religious Mother Of 7

 The Babylon Bee offers a satirical piece on Judge Barrett's upcoming Senate confirmation hearings.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—With Judge Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearings coming up in just two short weeks, Democrats say they are excited to give Republicans free ad campaign footage of them interrogating a successful, powerful, religious mother of seven for hours on end.

"We are prepared to be even more obnoxious than we were during the Kavanaugh hearings, if that's what it takes," said Senator Kamala Harris. "We're gonna unleash everything we got on this powerful woman, because honestly, she kinda scares us."

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

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Philadelphia Weekly: 2020: When Conservative Became Alt In PHILLY - Tailgating And Dining In, Bad, Homeless Camp Occupations, Good

Philadelphia Weekly, a left-leaning alt newspaper, made a bold statement in announcing that that they are considering changing the newspaper to a conservative alt weekly.

Alternative journalism is in Philadelphia Weekly’s DNA.

But today, “alt” in Philly isn’t what it used to be. We want to reflect that change and continue to be a voice for the voiceless, but we need to know if you support such a move.

In 1971, we opened our doors as the Welcomat. Frank Rizzo was lording over City Hall and the LGBT crowd, punks and people of color kicked around by his police force needed a voice. It was us. Twenty years later, another Democrat promising to clean up Philly was in City Hall, and we became Philadelphia Weekly — a platform to push back against the city’s transformation into Ed Rendell’s gubernatorial campaign. For the people who called Philly home and didn’t have a voice – against City Hall, against whomever – we were there.

Then something happened in Philly: Alt became mainstream. We elected a district attorney who is anti-cop and doesn’t want to prosecute crimes. We elected a mayor who protects homeless encampments instead of local residents. We elected “leaders” who cater to special interests, while ignoring the needs of hard-working, taxpaying Philadelphians. The alternative voices we spoke to aren’t the alternative today – they’re in power.

Whose voice is ignored today? Who’s “alt” in Philly in 2020?


People enraged by an inept and ineffectual city government. Those who oppose socialist and intrusive government programs and public policy. Those who see their neighborhoods ravaged by senseless violence and rampant drug use – while their elected leaders refuse to help under the guise of social justice. 

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

Note: When I read the Philadelphia Weekly piece, I wrote "Bravo" on their Facebook page. Philadelphia needs an alternative to the liberal press in Philadelphia, which supports wholeheartedly the liberal mayor, the DA and other overwhelming left-of-center leaders in the city.

The Philadelphia Inquirer is losing readers due to their liberal slant. Once people in the center and on the right learn of Philadelphia Weekly's shift to a conservative voice, they will become regular readers and supporters. 

Philadelphia needs an alt newspaper and the Philadelphia Inquirer, where I was a contributor for 19 years, needs a bit of competition. Washington has both the liberal Washington Post and the conservative Washington Times, where I am currently a contributor. 

Washington residents have a choice. Philadelphia area residents deserve a choice as well.                    

On a personal note, I recall that when I was 16 in 1968, I sent a bold query letter to the editor of the Drummer offering my services as a crime columnist. I told the editor that although the Drummer was a leftie newspaper and I was a conservative, I assured him that I was tuned into the city's counterculture and crime scene. 

As a South Philly street kid and aspiring crime writer, I knew crime. I knew about drugs, street gangs and other things happening on the street. 

The editor did not respond.

A few years later after I got out of the Navy, I sent a similar query letter to the editor of the Welcomat.  

The editor did not respond.

All things come to those who wait, and many years later I wrote a piece for Philadelphia Weekly on South Philly. A year later I was finally writing a crime column for the South Philadelphia American

These days, my On Crime column appears weekly in the Washington Times and my online Crime Beat column appears here on this site.

You can read my 1994 Philadelphia Weekly piece below:

Philadelphia City Treasurer Arrested And Charged With Multiple Frauds

 The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Pennsylvania released the below information yesterday: 

PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney William M. McSwain announced that Christian Dunbar, 40, of Philadelphia, PA, the current Philadelphia City Treasurer, was arrested this morning and charged by Criminal Complaint with embezzlement by a bank employee, conspiracy to commit marriage fraud, and fraudulent procurement of citizenship. U.S. Attorney McSwain detailed the charges at a press conference this afternoon in front of the James A. Byrne U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia.

As the Philadelphia City Treasurer, Dunbar’s responsibilities include: (1) managing the City’s debt obligations, which includes overseeing the issuance of the City’s municipal bonds; (2) managing the City’s bank accounts, including its operating account, capital account, and petty cash accounts in various departments; (3) paying the City’s bills, including making payments to vendors, cutting payroll checks, and making payments to pension plans; and (4) managing the City’s cash reserves.

According to the Criminal Complaint, Dunbar allegedly participated in two schemes – (1) bank embezzlement and (2) marriage fraud in order to become a U.S. citizen.

The details of the alleged bank embezzlement scheme are as follows: Just weeks before his appointment to serve as the City’s Deputy Treasurer, Dunbar, while employed at Wells Fargo Bank in Newtown Square, stole $15,000 from two different bank customers. The Complaint alleges that on two separate occasions, once in December 2015 and again in January 2016, Victim #1 met with the defendant to transfer $5,000 between Victim #1’s Wells Fargo bank accounts. During both meetings, Dunbar allegedly directed Victim #1 to sign several documents, including a blank withdrawal slip. He later allegedly used the blank slips to withdraw cash from Victim #1’s account and deposit those funds into his own personal bank account.

The defendant allegedly used the same trick with Victim #2. In December 2015, Dunbar assisted Victim #2 in the same Wells Fargo branch and directed Victim #2 to sign several documents, including a blank withdrawal slip. As alleged in the Criminal Complaint, he later used the blank withdrawal slip to withdraw money from Victim #2’s account. Soon thereafter, Dunbar allegedly made significant cash deposits into his personal bank account.

Dunbar also allegedly participated in a conspiracy to enter into a sham marriage in order to secure immigration benefits, and ultimately U.S. citizenship, for himself and his family. The details of that alleged fraud are as follows: The Criminal Complaint alleges that the defendant and his current wife, identified in the Complaint by the initials “F.N.D.,” both entered into fraudulent marriages, Dunbar with Person #1 and his wife with Person #2. Prior to these sham marriages, Persons #1 and #2 were U.S. citizens, but Dunbar and F.N.D. were not – having been born in Liberia and Senegal, respectively. By marrying U.S. citizens, Dunbar and F.N.D. were able to gain their own U.S. citizenship.

These four individuals – Christian Dunbar, F.N.D., and Persons #1 and #2 – attended Temple University together and allegedly coordinated this sham marriage plan. Both of these sham marriages occurred within days of each other in December 2006 and were performed by the same officiant — a former Temple University professor. But since the time they attended Temple University together, Dunbar and F.N.D. were the only legitimate couple, marrying each other in Senegal in June 2013 (while Dunbar was still legally married to Person #1). On their child’s 2014 birth records, Dunbar is listed as the father, F.N.D. is listed as the mother, and they are listed as married to each other.

But in February 2012, relying on his sham marriage to Person #1, the defendant allegedly applied to become a permanent resident of the United States (which he certified as true under the penalty of perjury), was granted that status in October 2012, and then submitted additional paperwork to become a naturalized citizen in late 2015 and early 2016. As detailed in the Complaint, in paperwork he submitted in 2015 and in subsequent interviews, he continued to make fraudulent claims about his marital status, which was the basis for his becoming a naturalized citizen in January 2016. Two months later, he filed paperwork to divorce Person #1.

“The alleged conduct in this case shows a pattern of deception, dishonesty and criminality that no individual should ever engage in – but is especially alarming and intolerable for a high ranking City official,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “City officials whose job is to handle money should not be thieves. And they should not have a track record of engaging in elaborate immigration fraud against the public that they are supposed to serve. My Office will continue to hold public officials to the high standard of conduct that residents of this City deserve. And when we find that a public official’s behavior falls short, we will hold them accountable.”

“The accusations against Christian Dunbar run quite the criminal gamut, from stealing his own bank customers’ money to violating the immigration laws that help protect our national security,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division. “In his role as City Treasurer, Dunbar holds a position of public trust, making these charges lodged against him today extremely disturbing. The FBI is working every day to battle public corruption and the corrosive damage it does to people’s faith in government. We must hold public officials to high ethical standards — and we will hold them to obeying federal law.”

If convicted, Dunbar faces a maximum possible sentence of 45 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $1.5 million.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Denise S. Wolf.

An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

You can also read my
Crime Beat column about the bug in the mayor's office and other Philadelphia  public corruption via the below link:

Friday, September 25, 2020

Over 300 People Facing Federal Charges For Crimes Committed During Nationwide Demonstrations

 The Justice Department released the below information yesterday. 

The Department of Justice announced today that more than 300 individuals in 29 states and Washington, D.C., have been charged for crimes committed adjacent to or under the guise of peaceful demonstrations since the end of May. 

To date, of the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices (USAOs), more than 40 USAOs have filed federal charges alleging crimes ranging from attempted murder, assaulting a law enforcement officer, arson, burglary of a federally-licensed firearms dealer, damaging federal property, malicious destruction of property using fire or explosives, felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, unlawful possession of a destructive device, inciting a riot, felony civil disorder, and others.  Violent opportunists have exploited these demonstrations in various ways.  

Approximately 80 individuals have been charged with offenses relating to arson and explosives.  Approximately 15 individuals have been charged with damaging federal property. In some instances, these individuals are alleged to have set fires to local businesses as well as city and federal property, which will regrettably incur millions of taxpayer dollars to repair damages to the Portland CourthouseNashville CourthouseMinneapolis Police Third PrecinctSeattle Police East Precinct, and local high school in Minnesota; and, to replace police cruisers in South CarolinaWashingtonRhode Island, GeorgiaUtah, and other states. 

Corporate and local businesses were also targeted, including a Target Corporate headquarters in MinneapolisBoost Mobile Store in MilwaukeeChamp Sports Store in Tampa, and local restaurants including a pizza parlor in Los Angeles and a sushi bar in Santa Monica.  Through these acts, these individuals have shown minimal regard to their communities and for the safety of others and themselves. 

In Washington, D.C., outside of the U.S. Supreme Court, a man was engulfed in flames after he poured a liquid from a gas can onto three U.S. Supreme Court Police vehicles; he suffered severe burns. In Virginia Beach, authorities identified a man who is alleged to have threatened to burn down an African American church  

Approximately 35 individuals have been charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer and related offenses.  One of these cases was charged in Massachusetts; the rest of these individuals were charged in Oregon.  The assaults have targeted local and federal law enforcement officers.  

In Portland, a man is alleged to have approached a U.S. Marshals Deputy from behind and struck the deputy in the upper back, neck, and shoulder with a wooden baseball bat; another man, allegedly assaulted a Deputy U.S. Marshal with an explosive device.  In Boston, a man allegedly shot at least 11 times toward officers, including a deputized federal officer. 

Approximately 30 individuals have been charged with offenses related to civil disorder.  In several instances, these individuals leveraged social media platforms to incite destruction and assaults against law enforcement officers.  In Cleveland, two Pennsylvania men are charged with driving to the city with the intent to participate in a riot and commit acts of violence.  In their possession, authorities found a black backpack containing a hammer, two containers of Sterno Firestarter Instant Flame Gel, a can of spray paint, a glass bottle of liquor with a bar-style pour top, a Glock semi-automatic firearm and two magazines loaded with ammunition. 

In Knoxville, one individual allegedly instructed his social media followers to, “bring hammers bricks whatever you want.” The same defendant allegedly used a trashcan lid filled with an unknown liquid to strike a law enforcement officer in the head while the officer was seated in a police vehicle. 

Charges have also been filed against individuals accused of committing burglary and carjacking.  In Pittsburgh, two individuals allegedly attempted to burglarize a Dollar Bank.  In Louisville, two individuals were charged with conspiracy to commit burglary involving controlled substances at a local WalgreensAnother Louisville individual was charged with carjacking; at the time of the carjacking, the individual was on a felony diversion as a result of a February 2020 conviction for charges that were initially filed as complicity to murder and complicity to robbery.  

Several of these charges carry significant maximum prison sentences. For example, felony assault of a federal officer with a dangerous weapon is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.  Arson is punishable by up to 20 years in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. 

The following agencies and U.S. Attorney’s offices have investigated these cases along with multiple federal, state and local law enforcement agencies: The FBI; U.S. Marshals Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and United States Attorneys’ Offices (including the District of Arizona, the Central District of California, the Northern District of California, the Southern District of California, the District of Colorado, the District of Columbia, the District of Delaware, the Middle District of Florida, the Northern District of Georgia, the Central District of Illinois, the Northern District of Illinois, the Southern District of Indiana, the Western District of Kentucky, the Middle District of Louisiana, the District of Maine, the District of Massachusetts, the District of Minnesota, the Eastern District of Missouri, the Western District of Missouri, the District of Nevada, the District of New Jersey, the Eastern District of New York, the Northern District of New York, the Southern District of New York, the Western District of New York, the Eastern District of North Carolina, the District of North Dakota, the Northern District of Ohio, the Southern District of Ohio, the District of Oregon, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Western District of Pennsylvania, the District of Rhode Island, the District of South Carolina, the Eastern District of Tennessee, the Middle District of Tennessee, the Northern District of Texas, the Western District of Texas, the District of Utah, the Eastern District of Virginia, the Western District of Washington, the Eastern District of Wisconsin, and the Western District of Wisconsin). 

The ATF and FBI continue to urge the public to report suspected arson, use of explosive devices, or violent, destructive acts associated with the recent unrest.  Anyone with information can call 1-888-ATF-TIPS (1-888-283-8477), email, or submit information anonymously via 

In addition to those who commit fires, the FBI is looking for people who may have incited or promoted violence of any kind.  Anyone with digital material or tips can call 1-800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324) or submit images or videos at

An indictment and criminal complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed.  The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

A Doctor High On Greed, A Biker Gang High On Opioids And The Woman Who Paid The Ultimate Price: My Washington Times 'On Crime' Column On 'Doctor Dealer'

 The Washington Times ran my On Crime column on George Anastasia and Ralph Cipriano’s Doctor Dealer. 

Veteran crime reporters and authors George Anastasia and Ralph Cipriano have written an interesting true crime book titled “Doctor Dealer,” which is about greed, drug trafficking and a murder-for-hire. 

April Kauffman, an attractive radio host and military veterans advocate, was found murdered in her New Jersey home in 2012. Her husband, Dr. James Kauffman, a respected endocrinologist, was later charged with arranging her murder with an outlaw biker who was his partner in a lucrative and illegal “pill mill” operation. 

Freddy Augello, a Pagans biker gang leader, went on trial for murder and drug dealing in 2018. Andrew Glick, another Pagan leader, became a witness against Augello. James Kauffman, who remarried not long after his wife’s murder, was awaiting trial for murder when he was found dead in prison. 

“The book had a strange genesis. George had been talking to Andrew Glick, who had approached George about doing a book on the Kauffman case,” Ralph Cipriano told me. “At the same time, Carole Weintraub approached me and said she had a story I might be interested in. 

“Then George and I talked, and we decided if we put the two stories together, we might have something. The book is a quirky story about a doctor of osteopathy whom patients loved but who was also a scam artist, and, as it turned out, a killer. The book is also a mystery, in my opinion, because some people think Kauffman is still alive, others think he was murdered, and his third wife, Carole, still isn’t sure what to believe. Part of her still wants to believe he was innocent.” 

Mr. Cipriano said he wrote the parts about Carole Weintraub and George Anastasia wrote the parts about Andrew Glick. Both writers covered the Augello trial. Mr. Cipriano credits George Anastasia with doing most of the on-the-ground crime reporting. 

“Ralph and I had worked on stories together at the Philadelphia Inquirer. This was just an expanded version of that,” George Anastasia told me. “I thought it was a compelling story, especially with the opioid backdrop. So many people are concerned about the crisis and here, in microcosm, is an example of how those drugs get to the streets. Once Ralph and I got access to two of the key players, it seemed like a no brainer.” 

Mr. Anastasia said “Doctor Dealer” was the story of a man consumed with greed and power who thought he could get away with murder and the story of two women who were fooled by him. One paid with her life. The other is still dealing with the aftermath. 

You can read the rest of the column below or via the below link: 

Note: The below photos are of George Anastasia and Ralph Cipriano:

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Fisher-Price Releases 'My First Peaceful Protest' Playset With House You Can Actually Burn Down

 The Babylon Bee scores again with another clever satirical piece. 

EAST AURORA, NY—The toy geniuses at Fisher-Price have announced a brand new toy made just for leftist parents and their kids: the My First Peaceful Protest playset. The kid-size clubhouse will come with several varieties of spray paint so kids can tag the tiny building with their own empowering slogans. It will also be made out of cardboard, allowing the cute little tikes to burn the whole thing down if their demands are not met.  

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

International Law Enforcement Operation Targeting Opioid Traffickers On The Darknet Results In Over 170 Arrests Worldwide And The Seizure Of Weapons, Drugs And Over $6.5 Million

 The Justice Department released the below information: 

The Department of Justice, through the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (JCODE) team joined Europol to announce the results of Operation DisrupTor, a coordinated international effort to disrupt opioid trafficking on the Darknet. 

The operation, which was conducted across the United States and Europe, demonstrates the continued partnership between JCODE and Europol against the illegal sale of drugs and other illicit goods and services.  

Operation DisrupTor builds on the success of last year’s Operation SaboTor and the coordinated law enforcement takedown of the Wall Street Market, one of the largest illegal online markets on the dark web.  

Following the Wall Street Market takedown in May 2019, U.S. and international law enforcement agencies obtained intelligence to identify Darknet drug traffickers, resulting in a series of complementary, but separate, law enforcement investigations. Operation DisrupTor actions have resulted in the arrest of 179 Darknet drug traffickers and fraudulent criminals who engaged in tens of thousands of sales of illicit goods and services across the United States and Europe. 

This operation resulted in the seizure of over $6.5 million in both cash and virtual currencies; approximately 500 kilograms of drugs worldwide; 274 kilograms of drugs, including fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, MDMA, and medicine containing addictive substances in the United States; and 63 firearms. Darknet vendor accounts were identified and attributed to real individuals selling illicit goods on Darknet market sites such as AlphaBay, Dream, WallStreet, Nightmare, Empire, White House, DeepSea, Dark Market and others. By leveraging complementary partnerships and surging resources across the U.S. government and Europol, Operation DisrupTor was used to significantly disrupt the online opioid trade and send a strong message that criminals operating on the Darknet are not beyond the reach of law enforcement.  

Operation DisrupTor led to 121 arrests in the United States including two in Canada at the request of the United States, 42 in Germany, eight in the Netherlands, four in the United Kingdom, three in Austria, and one in Sweden. A number of investigations are still ongoing to identify the individuals behind dark web accounts. 

“Criminals selling fentanyl on the Darknet should pay attention to Operation DisrupTor,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.  “The arrest of 179 of them in seven countries—with the seizure of their drug supplies and their money as well—shows that there will be no safe haven for drug dealing in cyberspace.” 

“With the spike in opioid-related overdose deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that today’s announcement is important and timely,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray.  “The FBI wants to assure the American public, and the world, that we are committed to identifying Darknet drug dealers and bringing them to justice.  But our work does not end with today’s announcement. The FBI, through JCODE and our partnership with Europol, continues to be actively engaged in a combined effort to disrupt the borderless, worldwide trade of illicit drugs. The FBI will continue to use all investigative techniques and tools to identify and prosecute Darknet opioid dealers, wherever they may be located.” 

“The 21st century has ushered in a tidal wave of technological advances that have changed the way we live,” said DEA Acting Administrator Timothy J. Shea.  “But as technology has evolved, so too have the tactics of drug traffickers.  Riding the wave of technological advances, criminals attempt to further hide their activities within the dark web through virtual private networks and tails, presenting new challenges to law enforcement in the enduring battle against illegal drugs.  Operation DisrupTor demonstrates the ability of DEA and our partners to outpace these digital criminals in this ever-changing domain, by implementing innovative ways to identify traffickers attempting to operate anonymously and disrupt these criminal enterprises.” 

“U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has played an integral role in Operation DisrupTor which has effectively removed opioids from our communities,” said ICE Acting Deputy Director Derek Benner. “It has been an honor to work alongside our domestic and international law enforcement partners and pursue bad actors hiding on the Darknet.  Our trained cyber analysts and investigators have conducted undercover efforts that target dark website operators, vendors and prolific buyers of these dangerous drugs. HSI special agents employ unique investigative capabilities to trace and identify the proceeds stemming from the distribution and online sales of fentanyl and other illicit opioids. These efforts will continue to thwart a significant amount of criminal drug sale activity and deter criminals believing they can operate with anonymity on the Darknet.” 

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has worked diligently for years to rid the mail of illicit drug trafficking and preserve the integrity of the mail,” said Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale.  “Most importantly, these efforts provide a safe environment for postal employees and the American public.  Today’s announcement serves as an outstanding example of the worldwide impact Postal Inspectors can make through our ever-growing partnerships with federal and international law enforcement agencies.  On behalf of the U.S. Postal Service, we offer our sincere appreciation to all of our partners in this operation who helped protect the nation’s mail, and we pledge to never relent in our pursuit of criminals seeking to exploit the U.S. mail.” 

“Law enforcement is most effective when working together, and today’s announcement sends a strong message to criminals selling or buying illicit goods on the dark web: the hidden internet is no longer hidden, and your anonymous activity is not anonymous,” said Edvardas Šileris, the Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3). “Law enforcement is committed to tracking down criminals, no matter where they operate – be it on the streets or behind a computer screen.” 

The extensive operation, which lasted nine months, resulted in over dozens of federal prosecutions including: 

The Los Angeles JCODE Task Force, in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, successfully dismantled a drug trafficking organization that used online monikers such as “Stealthgod” to sell methamphetamine and MDMA on multiple Darknet marketplaces. Investigators have linked the crew to more than 18,000 illicit drug sales to customers in at least 35 states and numerous countries around the world. During law enforcement actions in Southern California earlier this year, members of JCODE arrested five defendants and seized approximately 120 pounds of methamphetamine, seven kilograms of MDMA and five firearms.

Two of the five – Teresa McGrath, 34, of Sunland-Tujunga, and Mark Chavez, 41, of downtown Los Angeles – have since pleaded guilty to narcotics-trafficking and other offenses, and each faces a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence. As the investigation continued, the Los Angeles JCODE Task Force made additional seizures, including $1.6 million in cryptocurrency, 11 pounds of methamphetamine and 14 pounds of pills pressed with methamphetamine. Andres Bermudez, 37, of Palmdale, California, who allegedly was a main supplier of methamphetamine to the “Stealthgod” crew, was charged last week with a narcotics-trafficking offense that carry a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence. He is considered a fugitive. 

Arden McCann, 32, of Quebec, Canada, was charged with conspiring to import drugs into the United States and money laundering conspiracy, in a four-count indictment returned by a grand jury in Atlanta, Georgia. According to court documents, the defendant is alleged to have imported alprazolam, fentanyl, U-47700, and fentanyl analogues such as carfentanil, furanyl fentanyl, 4-fluoroisobutyryl fentanyl, acryl fentanyl, and methoxyacetyl fentanyl into the United States from Canada and China. The superseding indictment alleges that fentanyl analogues the defendant imported into the United States resulted in a non-fatal overdose in April 2016, and fentanyl the defendant imported into the United States resulted in an overdose death in December 2016. 

Khlari Sirotkin, 36, of Colorado; Kelly Stephens, 32, of Colorado; Sean Deaver, 36, of Nevada; Abby Jones, 37, of Nevada; and Sasha Sirotkin, 32, of California, were charged with drug trafficking and money laundering conspiracy, in a 21-count indictment returned by a grand jury in Cincinnati, Ohio. According to court documents, the defendants are alleged to be members of one of the most prolific online drug trafficking organizations in the United States and allegedly specialized in the manufacturing and distribution of more than one million fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills and laundered approximately $2.8 million over the course of the conspiracy. The pressed fentanyl pills, along with heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine, were shipped to the Southern District of Ohio and throughout the country. FBI, DEA, FDA, HSI and USPIS agents seized 2.5 kilograms of fentanyl; 5,095 pressed xanax; 50 suboxone; 16.5 grams of cocaine; 37 grams of crystal meth; 12 grams of black tar heroin; an industrial pill press; 5,908 pounds of dried marijuana with an estimated street value of $9 million; $80,191 in cash, 10 firearms and one pound of fentanyl. 

The FBI Washington Field Office’s Hi-Tech Opioid Task Force, in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, successfully thwarted a firebomb attack plot involving explosives, firearms, the Darknet, prescription opioid trafficking, cryptocurrency, and sophisticated money laundering. William Anderson Burgamy, 33, of Hanover, Maryland, and Hyrum T. Wilson, 41, of Auburn, Nebraska, pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to charges related to a conspiracy to use explosives to firebomb and destroy a competitor pharmacy in Nebraska. Burgamy, who is not a pharmacist, operated as the Darknet vendor NeverPressedRX (NPRX) since at least August 2019. Wilson, who was a licensed pharmacist, illegally mailed to Burgamy over 19,000 dosage units of prescription medications, including opioids, from his pharmacy in Nebraska. Burgamy illegally sold prescription drugs through his Darknet vendor account to customers nationwide, and claimed at one point that he made nearly $1 million total. Burgamy and Wilson agreed that Burgamy and another individual would carry multiple firearms during the attack operation and use explosives, specifically Molotov cocktails enhanced with Styrofoam as a thickening agent, to burn the victim pharmacy down in furtherance of their drug trafficking scheme. Law enforcement agents seized thousands of opioid pills, eight unsecured firearms, including two loaded AR-15 assault rifles with high capacity magazines, and over $19,000 cash. Prior to Burgamy’s arrest in April 2020, which uncovered and thwarted the firebombing plot, Burgamy and Wilson fully intended on the attack occurring after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. 

Aaron Brewer, 39, of Corsicana, Texas, was charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and distribution of a controlled substance in a two-count indictment returned by a grand jury in the Northern District of Texas. According to court documents, the defendant allegedly sold cocaine, heroin, and other drugs via the dark web. He allegedly accepted payment in cryptocurrency, primarily bitcoin, and then shipped the drugs to customers’ addresses through the U.S. mail and other shipping services.  Following Mr. Brewer’s arrest on July 2, agents with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and FBI Dallas Field Office seized roughly 650 grams of black tar heroin, cocaine, and OxyContin, two computers, and more than $870 in postage stamps, as well as a ledger outlining 757 drug shipments sent to 609 unique addresses between December 2019 and March 2020.

An indictment and criminal complaint merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. 

Operation DisrupTor was a collaborative initiative across JCODE members, including the Department of Justice; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN); Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF); Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Department of Defense (DOD). Local, state and other federal agencies also contributed to Operation DisrupTor investigations.  The investigations leading to Operation DisrupTor were significantly aided by essential support and coordination by the Department of Justice’s multi-agency Special Operations Division, the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section, and Organized Crime and Gang Section, the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the National Cyber Joint Investigative Task Force (NCJITF), Europol and its Dark Web team and international partners Eurojust, Austrian Federal Investigation Bureau (Bundeskriminalamt), Cyprus Police (Αστυνομία Κύπρου), German Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt), Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Portuguese Judicial Police (Polícia Judiciária), Dutch Police (Politie), Swedish Police (Polisen), the British National Crime Agency, Australia's Western Australia Police Force and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission. 

Federal prosecutions are being conducted in more than 20 Federal districts, including: the Central District of California, the Eastern District of California, the Northern District of California, the Southern District of California, the District of Colorado, the District of Columbia, the District of Connecticut, the Middle District of Florida, the Southern District of Florida, the Northern District of Georgia, the District of Hawaii, the Western District of Missouri, the District of New Jersey, the Western District of North Carolina, the Northern District of Ohio, the Southern District of Ohio, District of Oregon, the Western District of Pennsylvania, the Northern District of Texas, the Eastern District of Virginia, the District of the Virgin Islands and the Western District of Washington. 

JCODE is an FBI-led Department of Justice initiative, which works closely with the DEA-led, multi-agency, Special Operations Division to support, coordinate and de-conflict investigations targeting for disruption and dismantlement of the online sale of illegal drugs, especially fentanyl and other opioids. Additionally, JCODE targets the trafficking of weapons and other illicit goods and services on the internet. Operation DisrupTor illustrates the investigative power of federal and international partnerships to combat the borderless nature of online criminal activity.

In A 'Coast-To-Coast Roast,' Colin Quinn Finds Humor In The State We're In

 NPR offers a piece on comedian Colin Quinn, author of the new book Overstated: A Coast-To-Coast Roast of the 50 States.  

No state escapes unscathed in Colin Quinn's new book: Vermont is "The Old Hippie"; Florida is "The Hot Mess"; in Wisconsin, "The Diet Starts Tomorrow." Even Quinn's beloved home state of New York is "The quiet state with the city that never shuts up." 

As a veteran stand-up comedian, Quinn has spent more than a couple of decades on the road, performing in 47 out of the 50 states he now affectionately eviscerates in Overstated: A Coast-to-Coast Roast of the 50 States. 

Mining history for material has become Quinn's specialty, from the Ancient Greeks in Long Story Short to America's founding fathers in Unconstitutional. For research, Quinn says he reads contemporary history sources as well as books written in the "really arcane language" of, say, the 1800s. He's careful not to get too mired in historical detail, though. (He says if he were to throw out names like Peter Minuit or Peter Stuyvesant to his late night comedy club audience they'd be like: "What did you just say? Stop saying Peter with some old name.") 

At the same time, Quinn makes a point to connect history with what's happening today. In Overstated, he compares modern-day Social Justice Warriors (SJW) to the Puritans and observes that the current political divide has roots in the "determination" and "individualism" of white settlers who battled for territory as the United States was forming. " 'Don't tell me what to do' is basically the mission statement of the United States," he says. 

… As Quinn puts it in Red State Blue State: "The right sees only the positive. The left sees only the negative. Right sees this country like they're at a high school football game in the stands cheering 'USA! USA! We're number one!' The left sees it like they're at an ICU unit: 'I'm sorry there's nothing we can do.'" 

You can read the rest of the piece and/or listen to the audio via the below link:  

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

FBI Strategy Addresses Evolving Cyber Threat: Director Wray Emphasizes Closer Partnerships To Combat Cyber Threats And Impose Greater Costs To Cyber Actors

The FBI released the below message and video of FBI Director Wray.

FBI Director Christopher Wray announced the Bureau’s new strategy for countering cyber threats in remarks at the National Cybersecurity Summit.

The strategy, Wray explained, is to “impose risk and consequences on cyber adversaries”—making it harder for both cyber criminals and foreign governments to use malicious cyber activity to achieve their objectives.

You can read the rest of the piece and watch the video via the below link: 

Behind The Black Mask: My Piece On The Threat Of Antifa

 Counterterrorism magazine published my piece on the threat of Antifa.

You can read the piece below:

As rioters, looters and violent protestors cause chaos in American cities in protest to the death of George Floyd and other perceived grievances, many government officials and private analysts blame anti-government groups such as Antifa for organizing the national violence and destruction.

At the time of this writing, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on The Constitution, scheduled  to convene a hearing titled ‘The Right of the People to Peaceably Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence,’ which will highlight how Antifa and other anti-American anarchists engage in riots and violence.


Americans have a constitutional right to gather, protest, and otherwise have their voices heard, but they must do so peacefully. Antifa is fundamentally against free-speech and is using peaceful protests as a cover and an excuse to engage in violence and other criminal actions,” Senator Cruz said upon announcing the hearing. “We are seeing this most clearly in Portland right now, as criminals are trying to burn down the federal courthouse. The hearing will highlight how Antifa and other anarchists are hijacking peaceful protests and engaging in political violence that is not only criminal, but antithetical to the First Amendment.


Last year, Senator Cruz and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced a resolution to the U.S. Senate condemning the violent acts carried out by members of Antifa and calling for the designation of the group as a domestic terrorist organization. 

“Antifa are terrorists, violent masked bullies who ‘fight fascism’ with actual fascism, protected by Liberal privilege,” said the Senator. “Bullies get their way until someone says  “no”.  Elected officials must have courage, not cowardice, to prevent terror.”


“Antifa is a terrorist organization composed of hateful, intolerant radicals who pursue their extreme agenda through aggressive violence,” added Senator Cruz. “Time and time again their actions have demonstrated that their central purpose is to inflict harm on those who oppose their views. Like any terrorist organization they choose to pursue their political ends through violence, fear and intimidation. They must be stopped. I am proud to introduce this resolution with Senator Cassidy to properly identify what Antifa is: “domestic terrorists.”

But there are many others, such as New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, who claim the threat from Antifa is a myth.

In defense of Antifa, Mark Bray, author of “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook,” claims that the groups’ militant anti-fascism is a reasonable response to what he believes is the rise of right-wing politics.

“It is an unabashedly partisan call to arms that aims to equip a new generation of anti-fascists with the history and theory necessary to defeat the resurgent Far Right,” Mark Bray said.

This past June, ABC News reported that Attorney General Bill Barr directed the creation of a new law enforcement task force that will be focused on countering anti-government extremists.

ABC News reported that a memo was issued to the Justice Department in which Barr mentioned both the Antifa movement and the right-wing Boogaloo movement as among the groups that the Justice Department seeks to stop from carrying out coordinated acts of violence around the country.

“The ultimate goal of the task force will be not only to enable prosecutions of extremists who engage in violence, but to understand these groups well enough that we can stop such violence before it occurs and ultimately eliminate it as a threat to public safety and the rule of law,” Barr reportedly said in the memo.

“In a news conference at the Justice Department, Barr and FBI Director Chris Wray singled out the Antifa movement – which President Donald Trump has also blamed for the violence – in their opening remarks, though the DOJ has not provided direct evidence of widespread involvement of Antifa followers in the violence seen thus far across the country,” ABC News reported.


ABC News noted that in a podcast interview with Senator Cruz, Barr addressed the Justice Department’s investigations of acts of violence surrounding the protests of the George Floyd’s death. Barr stated that the Justice Department has about 500 ongoing investigations and singled out the Antifa movement by name, although no federal indictment has publicly tied the movement to a charged individual.

On July 2nd, Jason Charter, 25, of Washington, D.C., was arrested and charged with destruction of federal property. Although Charter was identified as a leader of Antifa in some media accounts, the Justice Department announcement did not mention this affiliation.


According to the Justice Department, on June 20, 2020, Charter, together with other individuals, destroyed the Albert Pike statue in Northwest, Washington, D.C., by pulling it from its base and setting it on fire. The complaint alleges that Charter was captured on video dousing the statue with a flammable liquid and then igniting it as it lay on the ground.  Charter is shown on video using the fire to light a cigarette. The complaint further alleges that Charter and others damaged and attempted to tear down the statue depicting Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans, located in Lafayette Square. Charter was captured on video climbing up onto the statue and affixing a rope to the statue that was then used to try to pull the statue down.  Three other men were previously charged with also destroying the Jackson statue.

“While the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is committed to protecting the First Amendment right of individuals to protest peacefully, today’s additional arrest in connection with the violent destruction of federal property is a testament to our further commitment to prosecuting those criminal offenders who threaten not only property, but ultimately the safety of all through their violent acts,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin.

James A. Dawson, the Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division, added, “These individuals chose to engage in unlawful activity while among fellow citizens who were conducting lawful and Constitutionally protected protest activities. The FBI is dedicated to protecting peaceful protesters from those threatening their safety with violence and destruction of property, and where there is a federal nexus, we will investigate and hold the wrongdoers accountable.”

This past June, veteran national security reporter and Washington Times columnist Bill Gertz (whose Q&A appeared here in a previous issue) offered a lengthy piece on Antifa.

“Activists of the far-left Antifa movement began planning to foment a nationwide anti-government insurgency as early as November as the U.S. presidential campaign season kicked off in earnest, according to a law enforcement official with access to intelligence behind the shadowy group,” Bill Gertz wrote.


Bill Gertz reported that senior Trump administration officials and private analysts are warning that the radicals have rushed to exploit recent anti-police protests to set into motion a program of widespread civil unrest, a program that involves using the protests for looting and burning cities with the help of criminals and street gangs.

“Far from a centrally organized movement, Antifa is a shadowy “anti-fascist” political front of loosely organized, quasi-underground activists known for wearing black-clad outfits and masks who see destructive street violence as a political tool,” Bill Gertz wrote.


Bill Gertz noted that what makes Antifa unique is its willingness to use violence, what Antifa organizers and sympathizers call “direct” action in support of the anarchist and Marxist-Leninist agenda. “That often involves setting fires, looting, throwing bricks and bottles at police, and in one case the apparent use of a milkshake laced with quick-dry cement in attacking an opponent in the face.”


Bill Gertz explained that the name Antifa is derived from the Moscow-based Communist International that in 1933 directed the Soviet-led Communist Party USA to form the American League Against War and Fascism. That group was patterned after Germany’s Antifascist Action — or Antifa — formed in 1932. He noted that Communist Party leader Manning Johnson testified to Congress in 1953 that the goal of the front group was never the abolishment of fascism, but rather “the subversion and subsequent overthrow of the United States.”

In 2019, Gabriel Nadales, a former Antifa member, told Fox News that there many different groups within Antifa.

“You’ll find a lot of the members may do it for animal rights or for anti-capitalism, and pro socialism. Personally, when I was in Antifa, a lot of the activism I did was for animal rights,” Nadales said. “But once they came together in the Black Bloc and behind the black mask, they kind of forget all that.”

About the Author

Paul Davis is a regular contributor to the Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security Int’l.