Category Archives: Crime

US Customs and Border Protection Arrests Smuggler with 35 Pounds of Liquid Cocaine

I suppose it looks odd for someone to need that much shampoo.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston caught an airline passenger trying to smuggle 35 pounds of liquid cocaine in shampoo bottles into the country earlier this week, the agency said in a press release.

The CBP said officers discovered the bottles containing cocaine valued at more than $400,000 in the checked luggage of a 26-year-old Colombian citizen Monday after observing him at baggage claim and conducting a bag search. A K-9 search indicated the presence of narcotics, backed up by testing.

“Our officers are the first line of defense at our ports of entry, so they are trained in the various smuggling methods people use to bring illicit goods into the U.S.,” CBP Port Director Shawn Polley said in the press release. “We take every opportunity to intercept those illicit goods before they enter our communities, in this case, it was 35 pounds of liquid cocaine.”

Weather Underground Scion is Now DA of San Francisco

Yikes.

Boudin entered the race as an underdog and captured voters’ attention with his extraordinary life story: He was 14 months old when his parents, who were members of the far-left Weather Underground, dropped him off with a babysitter and took part in an armored car robbery in upstate New York that left two police officers and a security guard dead.

His mother, Kathy Boudin, served 22 years behind bars. His father, David Gilbert, may spend the rest of his life in prison.

“Growing up, I had to go through a metal detector and steel gates just to give my parents a hug,” Boudin said in his campaign video.

He said that as one of the dozens of people whose lives were shattered by the deadly robbery in 1981, he experienced first-hand the destructive effects of mass incarceration and it motivated him to reform the nation’s broken criminal justice system.

He was raised in Chicago by Weather Underground leaders Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn before studying law at Yale University. He later won a Rhodes Scholarship and worked as a translator for Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez before coming to San Francisco.

You’ll notice how his concern is over the fact that he had to visit his parents in jail instead of the three people his parents killed and the family they left behind. He was not a victim of mass incarceration. He was a victim of just incarceration.

Mormons Fear in Mexico

Sad

By Lizbeth Diaz

COLONIA LEBARON, Mexico, Nov 9 (Reuters) – Members of a breakaway Mormon community tucked in the hills of northern Mexico buried the last of their dead on Saturday after a devastating massacre, and some headed for safer ground in the United States.

Hundreds of friends and family from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border gathered in rural Colonia LeBaron to honor Christina Langford, who died in an ambush on Monday that killed nine. Family members say she exited her car with her arms outstretched to signal she was not a gang member – but not before wedging her infant daughter’s car seat on the floor of the vehicle.

The baby, Faith, was found unharmed in the bullet-riddled sport utility vehicle.

[…]

Tucked away in the fertile valleys of the Sierra Madre mountains a few hours drive south from the U.S. border, the communities stem from the late 1800s, when upheaval over polygamy in the Utah-based church led to their founding.

Shrouded in fog on Saturday morning, LeBaron showed its roots, with some aging buildings appearing to be straight from a Wild West movie set. LeBaron is scattered with signs touting religious life but also advertisements for rodeos featuring alcohol, hinting at traces of secularism.

Agriculture is the heart of the local economy and pecans are among the main crops, with children often helping collect the nuts on their families’ property. Many families send their sons to the United States to work when they get older, though they maintain deep roots in Mexico.

While fears of further violence may send some north, Rosa LeBaron, 65, said she had no doubt the tragedy would bring their community closer.

War in Northern Mexico

Authorities tried to arrest El Chapo’s son, who is believed to be running the cartel now. All hell broke loose.

The state government said Mr Guzmán was found in a house by a police patrol on a routine search. It said cartel members subsequently launched the huge attack in an attempt to seize him back from the authorities. Fighters also attacked security forces in other parts of Culiacán.

Witnesses described scenes of panic in the city, a stronghold for the Sinaloa cartel, as families with small children fled from gunfire.

“No one knows what is going on but everyone is afraid and they have told us to not come in to work tomorrow,” Ricardo González, a city resident, told AP.

Footage on social media showed a pick-up truck with a machine gun mounted on the back, in scenes reminiscent of a war zone. Other footage showed families scrambling to take cover under cars and in shops as gunfire roared. In one video, a girl asked her father: “Why are they shooting bullets?”

Sinaloa state’s head of security, Cristobal Castañeda, told the Televisa network that two people had been killed and 21 injured, according to preliminary information.

Pictures showing what appeared to be dead bodies on the streets suggest the death toll could rise.

Some police officers were wounded, local officials said, but would not provide further details.

As fighting brought the city to a standstill, the Sinaloa state government said an unknown number of inmates had escaped from the Aguaruto prison.

It said it was “working to restore calm and order” and called on residents to “remain calm, stay off the streets and be very attentive to official advisories on the evolving situation”.

Kids Tackle and Disarm Student

Good for them.

Students at a California high school tackled a gunman and managed to take his weapon from him after he brandished it at the school, police said.

La Habra High School went on lockdown Tuesday morning after a student yielded a .22 caliber gun in the school, according to a statement from La Habra police.

However, two freshmen in the class ran up to him, wrestled him and got the weapon out of his hands, Sgt Jose Rocha told ABC News on Wednesday.

“It was the students who tackled him,” Rocha said.

America’s Deadliest Serial Killer

Wow. The evil is overwhelming.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The inmate who claims to have killed more than 90 women across the country is now considered to be the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said.

Samuel Little, who has been behind bars since 2012, told investigators last year that he was responsible for about 90 killings nationwide between 1970 and 2005. In a news release on Sunday, the FBI announced that federal crime analysts believe all of his confessions are credible, and officials have been able to verify 50 confessions so far.

Investigators also provided new information and details about five cases in Florida, Arkansas, Kentucky, Nevada and Louisiana.

The 79-year-old Little is serving multiple life sentences in California. He says he strangled his 93 victims, nearly all of them women.

Some of his victims were on the margins of society. Many were originally deemed overdoses, or attributed to accidental or undetermined causes. Some bodies were never found.

Eclectic Group to Pick New Police Chief

This will not end well. They will undoubtedly choose the perfect politically correct chief who checks all of the appropriate demographic boxes, but will probably stink at actual policing. I hope I’m wrong.

The five people slated to pick Madison’s next police chief include a former UW-Madison basketball player targeted two years ago in an alleged racist attack, the author of a city-commissioned report on community perceptions of police body cameras, and a longtime union leader.

And in an overwhelmingly white city where the intersection of race and policing has become a flashpoint among a vocal set of police critics, four of the five are people of color.

Brother of Murdered Man Forgives Murderer

What an amazing act of Christian compassion and forgiveness.

In an astonishing act of compassion, Jean’s 18-year-old brother, Brandt, asked the judge if he could also hug Guyger, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Brandt and a sobbing Guyger then both stood up, met in front of the bench and embraced for a long period of time. The judge and the majority of the courtroom wiped away tears as they hugged.

‘If you truly are sorry, I forgive you. I know if you go to God and ask him he will forgive you,’ Brandt said to Guyger in the courtroom.

‘I love you just like anyone else. I’m not going to say I hope you rot and die just like my brother did. I want the best for you. I don’t even want you to go to jail.’

City Commissioner Berates Award-Winning Cop

Wow. Way to ruin a public event and abuse his official position to air his personal grievance.

A Florida city commissioner shocked his colleagues during an awards ceremony for outstanding officers last week when he claimed one of the honorees was a “bad police officer” who had falsely arrested him years earlier.

The surprise moment came after other city officials in Tamarac, Florida, honored Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy Joshua Gallardo with the deputy of the month award for his role in arresting an alleged gang member who had been wanted for murder.

Gallardo accepted his award, took pictures with the city’s mayor and was heading back to his seat in when Tamarac City Commissioner Mike Gelin took the microphone and asked him to come back to the front, as seen on a video recording of the meeting.

“Joshua Gallardo, will you come down for a second? It’s good to see you again,” said Gelin, before erupting into a tirade over what he believed to have been a false arrest in 2015. “You probably don’t remember me, but you’re the police officer who falsely arrested me four years ago.”

“You lied on the police report. I believe you’re a rogue police officer. You’re a bad police officer, and you don’t deserve to be here,” he added.

Madison Cop Haters Drive Out Police Chief

What a shame.

After serving more than five years as the head of the Madison Police Department, Police Chief Mike Koval announced his retirement Sunday morning in his daily blog.

Starting Monday, Koval will no longer be chief.

“I did my best to be a guardian to the community and a guardian to the ‘guardians’ (cops),” Koval said. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this community.”

Koval’s sudden announcement came as a shock even to those who knew it was coming. Ald. Paul Skidmore, 9th District, said “probably around a year ago” Koval told him he was thinking of retiring this fall.

“I know it was coming, but it was still a shock when he called me this morning,” Skidmore said.

Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said Koval told her Sunday morning that Sunday would be his last day.

[…]

Skidmore said over the last couple of years, Koval has been “beaten bloody” by “cop haters.”

In his blog post, Koval said he was “eternally grateful” to constituents who have encouraged and supported of the police department. He said those supporters will “never know how important” their efforts were “to the morale of our Department.”

Koval also had a message for those who have spoke in opposition to local police.

“To the ‘haters,’ thanks to you as well — for through your unrelenting, unforgiving, desire to make the police the brunt of all of your scorn — I drew strength from your pervasive and persistent bullying,” Koval said.

I give massive credit to those willing to wear the badge in a place like Madison. It’s a dangerous business in any community, but imagine going to work every day, putting your life, health, and livelihood on the line, for people who generally hate your guts.

Who is going to patrol Madison’s streets when nobody wants to do the job anymore?

Dems Come to Pimp School

The decision by the DNC to have their convention in Milwaukee is making more and more sense.

MILWAUKEE — Big events, such as political conventions, come with a dark side, and the crime of human trafficking is already a big concern in Milwaukee as tens of thousands plan to head to the city for the Democratic National Convention in July.

[…]

“Milwaukee is considered the Harvard of pimp school,” Dana World-Patterson said.

I had no idea that Milwaukee was held in such high esteem by pimps.

Woman Steals $100k From George Webb, Allegedly

Wow. How does that even happen?

WEST BEND — One West Bend woman is accused of stealing as much as $100,000 from a local business and appeared in court to fight her charges.

Pamela Hastings allegedly stole from a George Webb restaurant between January and May of this year. Police spoke with the restaurant owner, who said he found his daily bank deposits did not add up and realized some were missing entirely. The ensuing investigation led police to the 47-year-old, who was responsible for the bank deposits at that time. Hastings allegedly admitted what she had done verbally and in an apology to the owner. She was able to provide the missing statements and the information she gave matched what the owner observed, according to a criminal complaint.

When questioned by police, the defendant allegedly stated she was in financial hardship and turned to stealing from the restaurant. Hastings admitted stealing before the period the owner noticed money missing, the complaint states, but she could not give the money back because she had already spent it.

If you run a business, non-profit, charity, or anything else that handles money, never trust any one person. Check, verify, triple-check, audit, have multiple layers of sign-off, etc. Even good people get desperate and bad people will put themselves in a position to thieve. In this case, the owner caught it, but only after a lot of money was stolen over five months. If the owner had simply checked his bank account every day to ensure that the deposits were put in from the day before, he would have caught it much earlier. It’s a shame that you can’t trust people to do a simple deposit, but that’s the world we live in.

Elmo Tickles… and is Arrested

You really don’t know who is behind the mask.

A New Jersey street performer dressed as Elmo was arrested for fondling a 14-year-old girl in Times Square.

Inocente Andrade-Pacheco was taken into police custody on Saturday after he allegedly groped a young girl’s rear on Broadway near 46th street.

New York Daily News reports that the victim approached Andrade-Pacheco with her family and asked for a photo with the 54-year-old man.

As the family posed with the costumed man, Andrade-Pacheco hand began on the victim’s back before wandering inappropriately downwards to her backside.

Milwaukie Man Steals ATM by Covering with a Cardboard Box

Clever.

 – A man walked into a hospital in Oregon and covered an ATM using a cardboard box in order to discreetly wheel it out of the building, police said.

The suspect, described as a white male, was captured on surveillance footage around 7:20 p.m. on Aug. 17 walking into the Providence Milwaukie Hospital, police said. The man covered the ATM with a cardboard box, cut the wires and wheeled it out on a hand cart.

The ATM was then loaded into a black or dark-colored Subaru, which appeared to have a sticker in the right-hand corner of the rear window, according to police.

The ATM was reported to have $17,000 in it when the machine was stolen.

Woman Charged With Terroristic Threatening

Too much?

Linda Morford, 43, of Saratoga Springs, Utah, has been charged with one count of terroristic threatening, a second degree felony.

[…]

The receptionist said Morford became angry after being told she would need to rearrange her two kids’ appointments.

It’s alleged that she said: ‘Gun people come in and they shoot everybody.

‘I’ll be there next Tuesday at 2, and if we are five minutes late and you guys make us reschedule, then I will come in and KILL EVERYBODY.

‘That’s what I’ll do… Well, I might this afternoon, because I’m super angry, so watch out.’

[…]

Police told the site: ‘I advised these threats are extremely substantial and based on the high occupancy of the building during the day, this falls under a Domestic Terrorism level.’

This is a good example of the grey lines that make Red Flag laws so unworkable. There is no doubt that she made a threat. Was it serious? Have any of you ever said to yourself, “I’m going to kill someone if…”? Have you said it out loud? Have you said it in front of someone? In an age of increasing surveillance, have you said something like that in front of a smart speaker? What about something a little less drastic… have you ever quoted a movie line or something like, “say hello to my little friend?” Or “I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse?”

Then again, we need to take threats seriously. If this woman had actually gone to the dentist’s office to kill the people, the lack of reaction would have been viewed as inexcusable.

Obviously, there are details of this story that aren’t in the brief news story. Here’s what I think should have happened… the receptionist was right to notify the police. The police should have gone to the woman’s house and questioned her. If she doesn’t have a record of violence and was appropriately apologetic, the police should have sternly warned her against making threats and moved on. If she was belligerent and has a record, then perhaps arrest her for disorderly conduct or something.

Without more than a baseless threat made in anger over the phone, putting someone in jail for a felony seems like an overreaction. But we don’t know all of the facts and there may be more to it that made law enforcement decide that a felony charge was appropriate.

But back to my Red Flag comment… under red flag laws, this would certainly have been enough justification to disarm the woman (assuming she has firearms). Then, whether she was serious about the threat or not, she would be put in the position of proving that she was not intending to actually do anyone harm to anyone. Do you see how a red flag laws shift the burden of proof AND force the accused to prove a negative?

As it is proceeding, the burden is upon law enforcement to prove that she made a serious threat and convict her of a felony, which would deprive her of her 2nd Amendment rights. She will be afforded due process and is presumed innocent. This is as it should be and adheres to the Rule of Law that is the bedrock of a free society.

If a Red Flag law were in place and the government decided to take her firearms because the phone threat is certainly a “red flag,” then her 2nd and 4th Amendment rights would have been violated without any due process or presumption of innocence. In fact, the opposite would have been true. She would have been presumed guilty and put in a position of having to prove her innocence in order to have her rights restored. It front of a judge with an authoritarian streak, such a burden would be insurmountable.

I don’t envy law enforcement in this case. It is a judgment call to decide whether or not her threat rose to the level of a crime or not. Their inclination will be to err on the side of caution and let the court system sort it out. Perhaps that is what is happening here, but it would be an entirely different story if Utah had Red Flag laws in place.

Gun Control as Race Control

It’s an important perspective.

Kenyatta, co-founder of Detroit’s Black Bottom Gun Club, points to the growing emergence of violent white supremacist sects and the persistence of structural racism as reasons to reject calls for gun restrictions.

Kenyatta believes that gun control measures are often a  response to black Americans’ attempts to exercise their Second Amendment rights. He points to Michigan’s adoption of gun ownership restrictions after Ossian Sweet, a black physician who bought a house in a heretofore white Detroit neighborhood in 1925, used a shotgun to protect his family against an angry white mob. Sweet was eventually acquitted of murder charges, but in 1927 the state lawmakers adopted legislation giving counties control over the issuance of gun permits, a move designed to limit black gun ownership.

[…]

Kenyatta, who resigned his NRA membership over its demonization of the Black Lives Matter movement, disagrees with 59% of Americans who said they support a ban on assault weapons in a recent HuffPost poll. He points out that out that many mass shootings have been committed by white men with connections to white nationalism, and he believes that if he gives up his weapons, he may be making himself vulnerable to racists who will be unlikely to surrender their firearms.

“I know that there are people who don’t like me just for the color of my skin who are heavily armed, and I can’t in good conscience relinquish my ability to defend myself, my family and my community knowing that law enforcement and even the government doesn’t have the capability and often times isn’t willing to protect my community,” Kenyatta says.

He adds, “It’s incumbent upon especially black men to be armed for means of self-defense. Being in tune with the national rhetoric and being conscious of our history and our present here, I see nothing wrong with being able to match fire with fire with those who have historically attacked our community with physical violence and social-economic violence as well.”

Space Crime

Wow.

NASA is looking into claims that an astronaut accessed her estranged wife’s bank account from space during a six-month stint on the International Space Station.

Decorated astronaut and  US Army lieutenant colonel Anne McClain has been accused of improperly gaining access to Summer Worden’s online bank account using NASA computers, the New York Times reported.

McClain allegedly accessed the bank account as part of a ‘highly calculated and manipulated campaign’ to obtain custody of Worden’s son, who she had given birth to about a year before the couple got married.

Worden, a former Air Force intelligence officer, brought a complaint against McClain with the Federal Trade Commission, claiming that McClain had committed identity theft, even though none of Worden’s funds had been tampered with.

Ending the carnage

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print!

Another spate of senseless mass killings have left Americans reeling. Our natural and justifiable instinct is to do something — anything – to stop the madness. While the usual opportunists are pouncing on the latest tragedies to advance their political careers or raise money for their interest groups, there seems to be an evolution in the national discussion this time.

First, we must identify the problem. Mass killings are still rare. Far more people are killed by drug overdoses, crime, distracted driving, medical errors, suicide, and other unnatural causes. But mass killings are sensational, and that is part of the problem.

There have been mass killings for centuries. In our modern interconnected and instant media age, mass killings take on a life of their own. Often before a mass killing is even reported, there are live pictures and video streaming onto social media platforms. The carnage and chaos that can be replayed over and over again eats into the mind of the next killer as he (usually he) plans his virtual immortality. The internet and social media enable a kind of gamification of death where one mass killer tries to outdo the previous one.

But the internet and media do not cause mass killings. They are one facet of a complex issue. The same can be said for guns and gun laws. In most cases, a gun is the instrument used by a mass killer for the simple reason that a gun is a cheap and efficient means of inflicting harm. The United States already bans several of the most deadly kinds of guns and prevents the legal sale of guns to people who have previously committed a heinous crime. Do we need to do more? Can we do more and remain within the confines of the Constitution? Should we?

So far, the proponents of more gun control have centered on two ideas. The first is to implement so-called “red flag” laws. These are laws that allow the government to confiscate a person’s guns if they exhibit “red flags” that indicate that they might be about to commit a crime. Would such laws help? Maybe a little. Is it possible to craft a law that works while still upholding an American’s individual rights protected by the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Seventh Amendments? Doubtful.

The second new law proponents advocate is for more rigorous and “universal” background checks. What they mean by that is background checks for when an individual sells or gives a gun to another individual. The vast majority of mass killers obtained their guns legally, so there is little to indicate that expanding background checks would have any impact on abating mass killings. This is simply a reflexive measure designed to give politicians the veneer of “doing something.”

Another serious aspect in the discussion of mass killings is how we treat and help the mentally ill. Here again, do we need to do more? Can we do more and remain within the confines of the Constitution? Should we? Much like the vast majority of gun owners never kill anyone, the vast majority of mentally ill people never kill anyone. And while it is easy for people to assume that anyone who commits mass murder is mentally ill, the truth is that many, or even most, are not. They are evil, but not insane. The mainstreaming of the mentally ill into our society has not done them or our society any favors, but a process started sixty years ago is not responsible for 20-somethings committing mass murder today.

There isn’t a single law or policy that we can implement that will prevent mass killings. Nor, short of a complete police state, will we end them completely. There is a price to be paid for living in a free society that is not always paid on a distant battlefield. The root of the problem lies in our culture; in our homes; on our streets; and on our computers.

According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, “The characteristics [of mass killers] that most frequently occur are males, often hopeless and harboring grievances that are frequently related to work, school, finances or interpersonal relationships; feeling victimized and sympathizing with others who they perceive to be similarly mistreated; indifference to life.” We do not have a deficiency in our laws. We have a deficiency in our culture that leaves people in such isolation and hopelessness.

Passing another law will not deter people in this state of mind, but kindness might. A hand extended in friendship and fellowship might. An invitation to a bowling league, summer community event, or to attend church might. Faith in God and salvation will. It is difficult to feel hopeless and indifferent to life when you are enveloped in the full panoply of human relationships.

Mass killings will never be stopped by a government that respects individual liberty, but they can be stopped by a trillion simple acts of kindness. Love one another.

It’s Hardest on the Kids

Indeed.

Mark Morgan, the acting Customs and Border Protection commissioner, said on Sunday that children’s reactions to their parents being detained during the Mississippi raids, doesn’t change the fact that they committed a crime.

‘I understand that the girl is upset and I get that. But her father committed a crime,’ Morgan told CNN, dismissing a video of a crying 11-year-old girl who was begging for ICE to release her parents.

He said the young girl, Magdalena Gomez Gregorio, saw her mother, who was home, shortly after the viral video of her sobbing was recorded.

‘I know it’s emotional and I know it’s done on purpose to show a picture like that,’ Morgan said of the video when speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper over the weekend.

If CNN had a mind to, they could go find the kids of any criminal and show how the kids are impacted. The fault lies with the parents for engaging in illegal activities and putting their families at risk.

Investigating Epstein’s Death

Hmmmmmmmmm

NYC’s Chief Medical Examiner has completed Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy but said more information is needed before a cause of death can be determined.

‘The ME’s determination is pending further information at this time,’ Chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson said in a statement.

‘At the request of those representing the decedent, and with the awareness of the federal prosecutor, I allowed a private pathologist (Dr. Michael Baden) to observe the autopsy examination. This is routine practice.’

[…]

The news of the delay to the autopsy results comes after a source told the New York Post there was no video of the moment he died in his jail cell at Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Cameras are said to film the doors to each cell which would show anyone who entered or exited, but they do not point inside.

On Sunday it was revealed that the two prison guards at Epstein’s jail who reportedly failed to follow procedure and check on prisoners every 30 minutes were working long overtime shifts the night the pedophile took his own life.

A prison official told The New York Times one of the guards was working his fifth straight day of overtime at the short staffed jailhouse while the second corrections officers had been forced to work overtime.

A source had said that guards are required to make separate checks on all prisoners every 30 minutes, but that procedure was not followed overnight.

In addition, every 15 minutes guards are required to make another check on prisoners who are on suicide watch.

The decision to remove Epstein, who was possibly the most high-profile inmate in the federal jail system, from suicide watch has both baffled former wardens and veterans of the federal prison system alike.

Occam’s Razor would dictate that Epstein killed himself and rank incompetence and/or indifference by prison staff let it happen. But we certainly need to get to the bottom of it.