Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Operation Dead Hand: Federal Indictments Allege International Organized Crime Syndicate Imported And Exported Narcotics Across North America

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

Ten people were arrested in multiple cities over the past day in relation to two federal indictments charging members of an organized crime syndicate who allegedly conspired to traffic and import hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and other controlled substances from Mexico through Los Angeles for export to Canada or re-distribution throughout the United States.

Arrest and search warrants were executed this morning by a coalition of international law enforcement partners in various cities, including Los Angeles; Sacramento, California; Miami; Odessa, Texas; Montreal; Toronto; and Calgary, Canada.

In addition to those arrested, two defendants were already in state custody, and seven defendants are fugitives, including three Mexicans who allegedly supplied wholesale quantities of narcotics to the traffickers in the United States and Canada.

The investigation, known as “Operation Dead Hand,” resulted in two federal grand jury indictments returned under seal in Los Angeles earlier this month. The indictments, which were unsealed today, collectively charge 19 individuals for their alleged roles in the organized crime syndicate, including Mexico-based suppliers who brought large quantities of narcotics into the United States, United States distributors, a Canadian who led an exportation organization, Canadian-based semi-truck drivers who operate in the United States, and a large-scale Canadian trafficker and Italian organized crime figure, Robert Scoppa, whom investigators allege was purchasing massive quantities of drugs on a wholesale basis.

“Today’s charges and arrests across North America reflect the Justice Department’s close coordination with our Mexican and Canadian partners to disrupt international narcotics trafficking,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “These cases provide yet another example of how our agents and prosecutors work side-by-side to uncover and dismantle organized criminal networks peddling and profiting from deadly drugs.”

“Drug trafficking is a global problem being driven by sophisticated, organized crime groups who put profits over people’s lives,” said U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada for the Central District of California. “Motivated by greed, these criminals destroy lives, devastate families, and wreak havoc in our community. But this case shows that we will collaborate with our international partners to bring these criminal networks to justice. Those who traffic in highly addictive and dangerous drugs will be held accountable.”

“Until today, the organized members of this conspiracy operated with impunity throughout the many thousands of miles that comprise the North American continent, poisoning communities along the way,” said Assistant Director in Charge Donald Alway of the FBI Los Angeles Field Office. “The strength of this partnership cannot be overstated. The agents and detectives on this case did an outstanding job of pooling resources and worked seamlessly across borders toward a mutual goal of putting this massive drug pipeline out of business.”

Investigators developed information indicating the organized crime group used Canadian “handlers” and “dispatchers” who travelled from Canada to Los Angeles for short amounts of time. The handlers coordinated the pick-up and delivery of large shipments of cocaine and methamphetamine, which were loaded onto long-haul semi-trucks destined for Canada. Wholesale quantities of fentanyl were seized as a result of the investigation. The transportation was coordinated by a network of drivers working with dozens of trucking companies who made numerous border crossings from the United States to Canada via the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, the Buffalo Peace Bridge, and the Blue Water Bridge.

The indictments allege illicit drug trafficking activity cumulatively involving approximately 845 kilograms (1,860 pounds) of methamphetamine, 951 kilograms (2,092 pounds) of cocaine, 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of fentanyl, and 4 kilograms (nearly 9 pounds) of heroin. Over $900,000 in cash was seized during the investigation. The estimated wholesale value of the narcotics seized was between $16-28 million.

“Customs and Border Protection’s partnerships with international, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies are a key component of our efforts to combat the transnational organized crime threat and prevent the movement of dangerous illicit drugs,” said Director of Field Operations Cheryl M. Davies of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s Los Angeles Field Office. “CBP will continue to invest in these partnerships as we work together to keep dangerous drugs out of our communities.”

U.S. v. Sandoval:

An 18-count indictment returned on Jan. 4 charges 10 defendants for their roles in an organization which allegedly began operating on an unknown date and continued to on or about March 2023. The charges in the indictment allege two drug trafficking conspiracies; conspiracy to import cocaine; drug exportation conspiracy; distribution/possession with intent to distribute controlled substances; possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking; and being a felon in possession of ammunition.

The defendants charged in this indictment are:

  • Jesus Ruiz Sandoval Jr., 45, of Guadalajara, Mexico;
  • John Joe Soto, 42, of Guadalajara;
  • Eduardo Carvajal, 50, of Guadalajara;
  • Roberto Scoppa, 55, of Montreal;
  • Ayush Sharma, 25, of Brampton, Canada;
  • Subham Kumar, 29, of Calgary, Canada;
  • Carlos Barragan, 51, of Long Beach, California;
  • Corell Carbajal Garcia, 38, of Hemet, California;
  • Humberto Luis Bermejo, 26, of Odessa, Texas; and
  • Esteban Sinhue Mercado, 24, of San Jacinto, California.

Sandoval Jr., who is currently a fugitive, is believed to be a large-scale drug trafficker involved in importing drugs from Mexico into the United States for distribution. John Joe Soto is believed to work under Sandoval. Eduardo Carvajal, also an alleged large-scale drug-trafficker, is believed to export drugs from the United States to Canada. Robert Scoppa is an alleged Canadian drug trafficker with close ties to an Italian organized crime family in Montreal. Barragan is an alleged drug trafficker who lives in the United States. Sharma and Kumar are semi-truck drivers involved in exporting drugs to Canada.

U.S. v. Sidhu:

A 23-count indictment returned on Jan. 3 charges nine defendants for their roles in a related criminal enterprise which allegedly operated from at least September 2020 through February 2023. In addition to a drug trafficking conspiracy, the indictment alleges a drug exportation conspiracy and substantive counts of distribution/possession with intent to distribute controlled substances.

The defendants charged in this indictment are:

  • Guramrit Sidhu, 60, of Brampton, Canada;
  • Ivan Gravel Gonzalez, 32, a resident of both the Dominican Republic and Montreal;
  • Daniel Antonio Trejo Huerta, 43, of Riverside, California;
  • Ignacio Lopez, 53, a resident of Santa Ana, California;
  • Daniel Joseph Alan Herrera, 27, of Miami;
  • Orlando Velasco Jr., 29, of Stanton, California;
  • Angel Larry Sandoval, 32, of Bell Gardens, California;
  • Jorge Pina Nicols, 22, of Long Beach, California; and
  • Bryan Ureta Valenzuela, 24, of Ontario, California.

Sidhu, also known as King, is alleged to have orchestrated the trafficking and exportation of large-scale quantities of controlled substances to Canada working with several co-defendants described as suppliers. Ivan Gravel Gonzalez is alleged to be part of Sidhu’s exportation team based in the United States. Sidhu is charged with one count of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. According to the indictment, Sidhu occupied a position of organizer, supervisor, and manager, and in this role obtained substantial income and resources.

If convicted, each defendant faces maximum penalties ranging from 40 years to life in prison. If convicted, Sidhu would face a mandatory minimum penalty of 20 years in prison. If convicted, Sandoval and Carvajal each would face a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison.

The FBI, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (LA IMPACT), the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, CBP, and law enforcement authorities in Mexico investigated the case. Significant assistance was provided by Homeland Security Investigations and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the FBI’s Legal Attaché Offices in Mexico City, Ottawa, and New Delhi, and the FBI Miami, El Paso, and Buffalo Field Offices provided substantial assistance and support.

Operation Dead Hand is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations that threaten the United States by using a prosecutor-led, intelligence-driven, multi-agency approach that leverages the strengths of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies against criminal networks.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brittney M. Harris for the Central District of California’s International Narcotics, Money Laundering, and Racketeering Section is prosecuting this case.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Monday, January 29, 2024

South Philly Cheesesteak Restaurant Tony Luke Defendants Concealed More than $8 Million In Sales And Paid Employees “Off The Books” For More Than A Decade

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

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that two owners of a popular South Philadelphia cheesesteak restaurant were sentenced to prison today for their decade-long conspiracy to defraud the IRS. The court sentenced Nicholas Lucidonio, 57, and Anthony Lucidonio Sr., 84, to 20 months in prison each.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the Lucidonios owned and operated Tony Luke’s, a cheesesteak and sandwich restaurant located in South Philadelphia. From 2006 to 2016, they hid from the IRS more than $8 million in cash receipts by, among other things, depositing only a portion of the cash they received into Tony Luke’s business bank accounts and providing incomplete information to their accountant, which caused their accountant to file false tax returns that substantially underreported business receipts and income.

The Lucidonios also committed employment tax fraud by paying employees “off the books” in cash. To evade detection, they paid most employees a portion of their wages “on the books.” The Lucidonios then paid the remainder of their wages in cash without withholding federal income tax, Social Security and Medicare taxes or paying those to the IRS. They did not report these cash wages to their accountant, which caused the accountant to prepare and file false quarterly employment tax returns with the IRS.

When a dispute over Tony Luke’s franchising rights arose between the Lucidonios and another individual in 2015, the Lucidonios became concerned that their tax fraud scheme would be revealed, so they directed that the prior year’s tax returns be amended to increase reported sales. The Lucidonios continued to hide their ongoing payroll tax scheme.

As a result of their tax fraud scheme, the defendants caused a loss of $1,321,042 to the United States.

“For a decade, these successful restaurateurs boldly cooked the books, cheating the government and honest taxpayers alike,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “As this investigation and prosecution show, tax fraud is a crime with some pretty high stakes, with violators held fully accountable.”

“Anyone contemplating cheating on their taxes should know that IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agents work tirelessly, year-round, to investigate tax and financial crimes,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Yury Kruty. “Our largest enforcement program is directed at the portion of American taxpayers who willfully and intentionally violate their known legal duty of filing and paying their taxes.”

In addition to the terms of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Gerald A. McHugh ordered both defendants to serve three years of supervised release.

IRS Criminal Investigation investigated the case.

Acting Section Chief John Kane of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Criminal Division Chief Richard Barrett of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania are prosecuting the case.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Navy Lowers Bar To Enlist Again Amid Continued Recruiting Woes

Michael Lee at Fox News offers a piece on the U.S. Navy allowing high school dropouts to enlist. 

The U.S. Navy will start to enlist applicants who have not graduated from high school or obtained a GED as the service continues to struggle with its recruiting goals.

"We get thousands of people into our recruiting stations every year that want to join the Navy but do not have an education credential. And we just turn them away," Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman, the Navy's chief of personnel, said of the change, according to a report in The Associated Press.

The new plan will allow recruits who don't have an education credential to enlist as long as they score a 50 or above out of 99 on the qualification test, according to the report, marking the first time the Navy has allowed such recruits since the year 2000.


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

Navy lowers bar to enlist again amid continued recruiting woes | Fox News

I think this is a smart move.

There are many fine young dropouts just looking for a break and an opportunity, and the Navy is a good place to start.         


I know this as I was a high school dropout when I attempted to enlist in the Navy on my 17th birthday in 1969.


As many men were enlisting in the Navy at that time to avoid being drafted into the Army and fighting in the jungles of Vietnam, the Navy had no trouble finding recruits.


I scored high on the battery of tests, but I had to wait some months before the Navy failed to meet its monthly goal, which was when I was finally called up.  

I went on to serve on the USS Kitty Hawk as the aircraft carrier performed combat operations off the coast of North Vietnam in 1970 and 1971. 

We also visited Sasebo, Japan, Hong Kong, Subic Bay in the Philippines and other ports of call. 

I received my GED while serving on the Kitty Hawk and I completed several college correspondent courses as well.  

After my separation from the Navy in 1972, I attended Penn State, majoring in journalism, on the G.I. Bill. 

I went back into the Navy in 1974 and served two years on the U.S. Navy harbor tugboat USS Saugus at the U.S. nuclear submarine base at Holy Loch, Scotland.  

I traveled all over the British Isles, as well as Italy, Spain, France and Germany.    

After leaving the Navy in 1976, I served many years as a Defense Department civilian employee, writing news and features for Defense Department magazines in addition to overseeing security and other command support programs.

I went on to become a newspaper crime reporter and columnist, as well as a magazine writer and a crime fiction short story writer. 

The Navy was my first break. And it was not just a job - it was an adventure.    

The U.S. Navy Is An Aircraft Carrier Superpower For A Reason

As a former teenage sailor who served on an aircraft carrier during the Vietnam War, I was interested in Peter Suciu’ piece on aircraft carriers in The National Interest, an online publication that focuses on defense issues, national security, military affairs, foreign policy and U.S. politics.

Including amphibious assault ships (LHA), there are now 47 active aircraft carriers in the world, operated by fourteen navies. More than a third of the flattops are in service with the United States Navy, which maintains eleven nuclear-powered CATOBAR carriers, including ten Nimitz-class and one Gerald R. Ford-class.

In addition, the U.S. Navy operates two America-class LHAs of a planned 11; as well as seven Wasp-class ships – while an eighth was seriously damaged by fire and subsequently decommissioned last year.

The current U.S. fleet of Nimitz-class carriers will also be followed into service and replaced on a one-for-one basis by future carriers of the Gerald R. Ford-class, which are more automated in an effort to reduce the amount of funding required to maintain and operate the vessels.

In its 2018 report to Congress, the Navy stated its intention to maintain a 12 CVN force as part of its 30-year acquisition plan.

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

The U.S. Navy Is An Aircraft Carrier Superpower for a Reason | The National Interest 

Friday, January 26, 2024

A Look Back At Richard Hornberger, The Author Of MASH

I watched an episode of MASH on METV last night. 

The show was funny, and I laughed a couple of times, but the TV series was nowhere near as funny and clever as the Richard Hornberger (seen in the below photo) MASH novel or the 1970 Robert Altman film.

I first saw the film MASH in 1971 when I was an 18-year-old sailor serving on the USS Kitty Hawk as the aircraft carrier performed combat operations on “Yankee Station,” in the South China Sea, off the coast of North Vietnam. 

A lot of the older officers and senior enlisted hated the film, as they saw it as an anti-Vietnam War message, even if the film portrayed the Korean War.  

Although I was a fervent anti-communist and supported the Vietnam War – I thought we should have gone all out to win the war – I loved the film. 

I thought it was funny and irreverent, like other service comedies that preceded it.   

I bought the book, MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, soon after we returned home from Southeast Asia. I liked Richard Hornberger’s classic satirical novel even better than the film. 

Richard Hornberger (seen in the above photo in South Korea in front of the tent famously known as the "Swamp"), wrote the slim novel under the pen name Richard Hooker in 1968. 

Hornberger served as an Army doctor in a MASH unit during the Korean War, and according to those who knew him, he based the wise-cracking and irreverent character Hawkeye Pierce on himself.  

Richard Hornberger, who died in 1997 when he was 73, liked the film, and he liked actor Donald Sutherland’s portrayal of Hawkeye Pierce (seen in the above photo), although he hated the actor’s long hair, which a soldier in the Army would not have.  

He disliked the TV series, as actor Alan Alda and the producers used the comedy show as an antiwar allegory against the Vietnam War - even more than the film. 

The author, a political conservative, said he was not against the Korean War (or the Vietnam War), but as a doctor and draftee, he laughed at the nonsense he encountered in the Army. 

I watched the TV show, as it was often funny (I loved Harry Morgan's Colonel Potter character), but I too disliked the cheap shots at the U.S. military, while they never once condemned the brutal and dictatorial North Koreans, who invaded South Korea and started the war. 

You can watch three clips from the Robert Altman film with Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye, Elliot Gould as Trapper John, Tom Skerrett as Duke, Robert Duval as Frank Burns, and Sally Kellerman as "Hot Lips" via the blow clips:

Donald Sutherland,Elliott Gould,Tom Skerritt in M*A*S*H - martini (

MASH (2/5) Movie CLIP - Sayonara to Frank Burns (1970) HD - YouTube

MASH (4/5) Movie CLIP - A Shower With Hot Lips (1970) HD (

Mash 1970, Football - YouTube

Meet The American Who Served As The Model For Huck Finn, 'Kindly Young Heathen' Tom Blankenship

Kerry J. Byrne at Fox News offers a piece on the man who inspired Mark Twain and was the model for the great American character Huckleberry Finn in Mark Twain’s classic novel The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn. 

“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" enjoys acclaim as the "Great American Novel," its title character a uniquely beloved figure in our national heritage.

Author Mark Twain's riverfront Missouri boy was poor in manners and material wealth, but rich in spirit and charisma. 

Huckleberry Finn "is part of the tapestry of not just American culture but American education," said Matthew Seybold, scholar-in-residence at the Center for Mark Twain Studies ( at Elmira College in Elmira, New York. He also told Fox News Digital in an interview, "It is inescapably and irrepressibly American in all its beauty and horror."

Huck Finn, however, was more than just a fictional figure forged from the imagination of a great writer and wit. Huckleberry was a real-life, hardscrabble, all-American boy. 

His name was Tom Blankenship.  

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

Meet the American who served as the model for Huck Finn, 'kindly young heathen' Tom Blankenship | Fox News

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Flight And Fight: The Feds Are Cracking Down on Violence Aboard Aircraft.

Broad + Liberty ran my piece on violence on aircraft in flight today. You can read the piece via the below link or the below text:

Paul Davis: Flight and fight (

Having fought many times in my youth – both inside the boxing ring and out – I’m no stranger to the chaos, anger and pain that comes from engaging in or witnessing a physical altercation between people.

But thankfully, I’ve never been engaged in or witnessed a fight aboard an airplane in flight. Having flown frequently over the years, I can only imagine what it’s like to be involved with or watching fisticuffs in such dangerous and cramped quarters.

There is not much room on a plane, so when an intoxicated or insane person commits an act of violence against another passenger or a member of the flight crew, one is forced to be a ringside observer. This is especially terrible if one has a child with them.    

And even worse, there have been several cases of crazed passengers endangering the lives of the other passengers and flight crew by trying to open a cabin door in flight or trying to force their way into the cockpit.  

There have been too many physical disturbances aboard aircraft, and the Federal Government is cracking down on the offenders. 

On January 19th, Jacqueline C. Romero, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania here in Philadelphia, announced that Jessica Navarro, 31, of Winter Springs, Florida, was sentenced to nine months’ imprisonment and one year of supervised release.

Navarro pleaded guilty in June of 2023 to one count of interfering with a flight crew, one count of assaulting a flight attendant, and one count of assaulting a passenger. The criminal incident occurred on January 11, 2022, when Navarro, under the influence of alcohol, kicked the seats in front of her, spat on passengers, and physically fought the flight crew. 

According to Romero, Navarro’s conduct escalated, with Navarro striking a flight attendant and a passenger, which caused a Frontier Airlines flight that departed Orlando, Florida, to be diverted from its intended Islip, New York, destination and land at Philadelphia International Airport.

“Jessica Navarro’s violent conduct endangered and traumatized passengers, and severely inconvenienced everyone aboard that plane,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “Air travel can already be a stressful experience, and the last thing anyone should have to deal with is such drunken and dangerous behavior en route to their destination. If you commit a federal crime aboard an aircraft, expect to be held accountable.”

Wayne A. Jacobs, the FBI’s Special Agent in Charge in Philadelphia, added, “Passengers like Navarro do more than disrupt a flight, they put all passengers and the entire crew at risk. Today’s sentencing sends a message to anyone who might engage in disruptive behavior or violence aboard an aircraft: Upon your arrival, FBI agents will be waiting to bring you to justice.”

Back in April of 2022, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made its Zero Tolerance policy against unruly passengers permanent.   

“Behaving dangerously on a plane will cost you; that’s a promise,” said Acting FAA Administrator Billy Nolen, a former commercial pilot“Unsafe behavior simply does not fly and keeping our Zero Tolerance policy will help us continue making progress to prevent and punish this behavior.”   

According to the FAA, the Zero Tolerance policy, combined with the agency’s public awareness campaign, has helped reduce the incident rate more than 60 percent. The FAA stated they will continue to work with its airline, labor, airport and security and law enforcement partners to continue driving down the number of incidents.      

The FAA pursues legal enforcement action against any passenger who assaults, threatens, intimidates, or interferes with airline crewmembers, and can propose civil penalties up to $37,000 per violation. 

“If you act out on a plane, you should just stay at home because we will come after you with serious consequences,” Nolen said. We have zero tolerance for unruly behavior.”

FBI Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the Criminal Investigative Division stated, “The FBI will continue to work with our FAA partners to ensure the safety of all passengers and to combat violence aboard commercial flights. We remain committed to investigating all incidents that fall within FBI jurisdiction aboard commercial flights.” 

The FBI investigates the following violations if they’re committed during a flight: 

·         Sexual misconduct, including sexual assault; indecent exposure; lewd, indecent, sexual, or obscene acts; and indecent/sexual proposal to a minor.

·         Assault, including striking or hitting, throwing an object, grabbing or unwanted touching, and spitting. 

·         Interference with flight crew members, including assault, threats or intimidation, and/or an attempt or conspiracy to do the same. 

·         Theft.

The FBI also investigates airport-based violations:  

·         Violence against persons and property at international airports. The FBI investigates this violation if:

·         the victim or offender is a United States national

·         or if the offender is located within the U.S. 

·         Interfering with airport security screening personnel ahead of a flight, including airport employees or airline employees working at the gate. 

The FBI advises that if you are a victim or witness a crime aboard an aircraft, report the incident to the flight crew and the FBI at or call 1-800-CALL-FBI. 

Paul Davis, a Philadelphia writer and frequent contributor to Broad + Liberty, also contributes to Counterterrorism magazine and writes the “On Crime” column for the Washington Times. He can be reached at

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Happy 87th Birthday To Joseph Wambaugh, Former LAPD Detective Sergeant And The Author Of Classic Police Novels

Happy 87th birthday to Joseph Wambaugh, former LAPD detective sergeant and best-selling author of classic police novels such as The New CenturionsHollywood Station and The Choirboys, as well as classic true crime books such as The Onion FieldEchoes in the Darkness, and The Blooding.   

You can read my Counterterrorism magazine Q&A with Joseph Wambaugh via the below link:

Paul Davis On Crime: My Q&A With Former LAPD Detective Sergeant And Best-Selling Author Joseph Wambaugh

And you can read my Washington Times On Crime column on Wambaugh and The Onion Field via the below link:

Paul Davis On Crime: My Washington Times On Crime Column: A Look Back At Joseph Wambaugh's 'The Onion Field'

Joint Statement From Australia, Bahrain, Canada, The Netherlands, United Kingdom And United States On Additional Strikes Against The Houthis in Yemen

Yesterday, a coalition of nations issued a joint statement regarding the additional strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen.

Included were air sorties from aircraft launched from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower (seen in the above U.S. Navy photo).

Below is the statement:    

Today, the militaries of the United States and United Kingdom, at the direction of their respective governments with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands, conducted an additional round of proportionate and necessary strikes against 8 Houthi targets in Yemen in response to the Houthis' continued attacks against international and commercial shipping as well as naval vessels transiting the Red Sea. These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade and the lives of innocent mariners, and are in response to a series of illegal, dangerous, and destabilizing Houthi actions since our coalition strikes on January 11, including anti-ship ballistic missile and unmanned aerial system attacks that struck two U.S.-owned merchant vessels.

Today's strike specifically targeted a Houthi underground storage site and locations associated with the Houthis' missile and air surveillance capabilities. 

The Houthis' now more than thirty attacks on international and commercial vessels since mid-November constitute an international challenge. Recognizing the broad consensus of the international community, we again acted as part of a coalition of like-minded countries committed to upholding the rules-based order, protecting freedom of navigation and international commerce, and holding the Houthis accountable for their illegal and unjustifiable attacks on mariners and commercial shipping.

Our aim remains to de-escalate tensions and restore stability in the Red Sea but let us reiterate our warning to Houthi leadership: we will not hesitate to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world's most critical waterways in the face of continued threats.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

A Little Humor: A Cowboy And His Coffee

A lone cowboy rode into another cowboy’s camp from the trail. 

He introduced himself as “Cap” Smith. 

The cowboy squatting over a campfire and holding a pot of coffee said his name was “Buck” Jones. 

Jones offered Smith a cup of coffee. 

Smith said thanks as he was handed a tin cup full of hot coffee. After his long ride in the saddle, Smith was pleased to sip the refreshing coffee. 

“Good coffee,” Smith told Jones. 

“Thanks,” Jones replied. “I call my coffee “Trouble,” so I can say Trouble is brewing.”

Friday, January 19, 2024

The Lawmakers Strike Back — Politicians Declare War On Shoplifters

Broad + Liberty ran my piece on lawmakers fed up with rampant shoplifting. 

You can read the piece via the below link or the below text:

Paul Davis: Lawmakers strike back — Politicians declare war on shoplifters (

Local and national politicians have had enough of rampant shoplifting, or perhaps they simply realize that the general public has had enough.

In Philadelphia, Cherelle L. Parker (seen in the above photo), the city’s new mayor, appears to be targeting shoplifting, as well as other crimes, by signing an executive order to restore lawfulness in the city. 

Parker’s executive order declared a citywide public safety emergency and directed the police department to develop “comprehensive plans” that addressed crime across the city. The executive order directs her new police commissioner, Kevin Bethel, to coordinate with the Managing Director’s office and other city departments to develop a plan to hire more police officers, reduce violent crime, as well as reduce quality-of-life crimes, and permanently shut down pervasive open-air drug markets, such as the notorious one in Kensington.

Mayor Parker offered an open letter to Philadelphians on January 4th that read, “In our first 100 days, my administration will announce specific plans to increase the number of Philadelphia police officers on our streets — with a focus on community policing citywide. 

“We will declare a Public Safety Emergency and expeditiously get every available resource into neighborhoods struggling with the scourges of crime, gun violence, drugs, and addiction. Our Police Commissioner will deliver plans for those crises and for crimes — like car theft, shoplifting, and illegal ATV use — that diminish the quality of life in our city.” 

The mayor has also stated that she will reinstate “stop and frisk,” and stated that she was open to the idea of bringing in the National Guard to clean up open-air drug markets.

“If somebody tells you, ‘We think she lacks compassion because she wants to be too aggressive in cleaning up the open-air drug market,’ you tell them to think about whether or not they would want their mother, father, sister, brother, loved one on the streets openly using intravenous drugs,” Parker said,

Parker spoke out against car theft, shoplifting, retail theft and the illegal use of ATVs, which she noted diminishes the quality of life for the city’s citizens.

“We’re going to make our city safe for the people who live here, who work here and who come into our city from the suburbs and from the country and across the world.”

But, one has to ask, will Philadelphia District Attorney “Let ‘Em Loose Larry” Krasner properly prosecute the crooks that the cops collar? 

In Harrisburg, a bill to crack down on looters and thieves was approved with strong bipartisan support in the Commonwealth’s House of Representatives and Senate and was signed by the governor on December 14, 2023.

State Senator Dave Argall (R-29) introduced the bill after reading the reports of widespread looting in Philadelphia and other cities.

“Small business owners are under siege,” said Argall. “As rising theft continues to grip communities across Pennsylvania, we need to act now.”

According to Senator Argall, the United States Chamber of Commerce reported that organized retail theft has resulted in the loss of almost 700,000 jobs nationwide due to over $125 billion in economic losses.

The legislation, Senate Bill 596, creates a first-degree felony offense, which can result in up to 20 years in prison, for thieves who steal $50,000 worth of goods and intend to resell them. The bill would also create the Office of Deputy Attorney General for Organized Retail Crime Theft to pursue the leaders of these criminal rings.

“Retail theft has become a plague on employers large and small in recent years,” Argall continued. “We must take harsh action to deter these criminals and protect family-sustaining jobs in Pennsylvania.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a left-of-center Democrat, has also declared war against shoplifting, stating that retail thievery in New York has spiraled out of control, with many products being placed under lock and key in many stores. 

Hochul unveiled a plan to tackle the shoplifting problem, which includes boosting penalties for offenders who assault retail workers.

“I say, ‘No More!’ The chaos must stop!” Hochel said during her 2024 State of the State address delivered in Albany, New York.

The plan will create a new category of crime to prosecute those who sell stolen goods online and set up a new “smash and grab unit” in the New York State Police Department to prosecute theft rings. Hochul also stated she would provide funding to state-wide district attorneys to prosecute property crime and retail theft.

“Across our nation and state retail theft has surged, creating fear among the customers and workers. Thieves brazenly tear items off the shelves and menace employees,” Hochul said. “Owners go broke replacing broken windows and stolen goods, driving many out of business. These attacks are a breakdown of the social order.”

Republican presidential candidate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill last year that created second-degree and third-degree felony crimes for people who commit repeated thefts within a short period. 

Not to be outdone, former President Donald Trump stated last October, with his usual hyperbole, that shoplifters should be shot on the spot.

“We will immediately stop all of the pillaging and theft. Very simply: If you rob a store, you can fully expect to be shot as you are leaving that store,” the former president said in a speech to California Republicans.

Paul Davis, a Philadelphia writer and frequent contributor to Broad + Liberty, also contributes to Counterterrorism magazine and writes the “On Crime” column for the Washington Times. He can be reached at