Catapulting Marijuana; across the Border into Arizona!

Flinging Marijuana into Arizona!

Flinging Marijuana into Arizona!

HERMOSILLO, Mexico — the Mexican army says soldiers have seized two catapults that were being used by drug smugglers to fling packages of marijuana across the border into Arizona.

A military statement Tuesday says an anonymous tip led troops to a house in the border city of Agua Prieta where they found a catapult in the bed of a pickup truck and another inside the house.

It says soldiers also seized 1.4 tons (1.3 metric tons of marijuana) during Monday’s raid in Agua Prieta, which is across the border from Douglas, Arizona.

Mexican troops also seized two catapults in the area last January. Authorities said then that it was the first time they had seen this smuggling method used by local traffickers.

130 Customs and Border Patrol officers have been arrested on charges of corruption!

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents

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In the last three years, about 130 agents of Immigration and Customs and Border Patrol United States have been arrested on charges of corruption for ties to Mexican drug cartels, of which 23 so far in 2011, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS, in English).

Last June, the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Alan Bersin, admitted before the Senate Subcommittee on Homeland Security and Intergovernmental Affairs, the long “seven years and tens of thousands of employees have been tainted by this, with evidence of corruption. We take every case seriously. ”

Bersin said the officers participated in “acts of corruption, including drug smuggling, alien smuggling, money laundering and conspiracy.”

According to the DHS, the bribing strategies involve different levels in the border to inform them of operating, monitoring, research and locate government actions.

The Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported that one of its active agents, Jason AL, 34, was arrested Oct. 18 on charges of drug trafficking, and according to the documents court, also accused of attempted conspiracy and distribution.

The officer was arrested after trying to flee at high speed while marijuana packages thrown out the window of his official vehicle. He had been under surveillance for over a month until a known smuggler arrested gave Arizona authorities a track in an effort to receive a lesser sentence.

According to a complainant, the detainee used his official position of ICE drug for Mexican cartels, including theft. The prisoner faces 15 to 40 years in prison, said Manuel Tarango, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in Phoenix, Arizona.

“ICE is cooperating with federal and state authorities. We are committed to helping agencies in the investigation of this incident,” said Vincent Picard, spokesman for the agency.

Additionally, ICE reported that the cartels increased in the last six months, the drug crosses Arizona.

“With these arrests have taken a significant blow to Mexican drug trafficking organizations that moved the drug through the Arizona desert,” said Matt Allen, ICE agent in Phoenix.

Most recent arrest of Mexican cartel members arrested in Arizona occurred on 13 October, when ICE agents arrested in the central and southern Arizona 17 people who formed a drug trafficking ring, who are accused of 22.5 tons per month traffic from Mexico into the United States.

ATF, had prior Knowledge that cash was in the pipeline…………………!

 

Fast and Furious

Fast and Furious

In a breaking news story reported today it was revealed that the ATF—the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives—had prior knowledge that cash was in the pipeline, multi-thousands of dollars from taxpayers, for the Gun-walker scheme known as ‘Operation Fast and Furious.’

New information has just been disclosed from ATF whistleblowers and other sources inside the government indicating that in 2009 ATF agents on the ground who were involved in the Gunwalker scheme were aware that money from the federal government would be made available to straw purchasers, unnamed, faceless pawns that the federal government used to buy and smuggle weapons into Mexico. These persons used the government money supplied by taxpayers to buy large quantities of weapons from gun stores in Arizona, weapons that would be walked across the border where they would be placed into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

Two key figures are central to the discovery of this new information: Hope MacAllister of the Phoenix Field Division of the ATF, and Andre Howard, owner of the Lone Wolf Trading Company in Glendale, Arizona, one of the many local gun store owners who was cooperating with the ATF in allowing straw purchases of weapons at their businesses.

deportation officer throwing bundles of marijuana out of the window as he fled; apprehended!

ARIZONA BORDERS AND CITIZEN SAFETY...

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A deportation officer with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement led Arizona state police and federal agents on a high-speed desert chase in his government vehicle, throwing bundles of marijuana out of the window as he fled, the Department of Public Safety said Wednesday.

The deportation officer, identified as Jason Alistair Lowery, 34, had been under surveillance for more than month after a known smuggler who had been arrested gave authorities a tip about the officer in an effort to get lenient treatment, Department of Public Safety Officer Carrick Cook told The Associated Press.

In a criminal complaint filed late Wednesday against Lowery, who also used to be a Border Patrol agent, a Department of Homeland Security investigator wrote that he got further information about Lowery through a confidential informant on Oct. 4.

The informant, whose identity was protected, said that he or she was involved with Lowery and another man in a “rip” crew in which Lowery used his status in law enforcement to help steal marijuana from illegal immigrants, wrote Brian Gamberg-Bonilla, a special agent with the DPS’s Office of Investigations.

The informant agreed to call Lowery and arrange for him to pick up 500 pounds (226 kilograms) of pot in the desert on Tuesday, which is how authorities were able to follow him and begin to make their case, Gamberg-Bonilla wrote in the document.

DPS and federal agents tried to pull Lowery over after he picked up the marijuana with his unmarked ICE pickup truck, Cook said. Lowery then fled, leading agents on a 45-minute chase at speeds of up to 110 mph as he threw 10 of the 14 bundles of pot that he had in the truck out of the window, he said.

“He got pretty desperate,” Cook said.

The chase began in the Vekol Valley about 45 miles (72 kilometers) south of Phoenix and ended just south of Sacaton, about 20 miles as the crow flies northwest from where the chase began. It ended when Lowery’s truck rolled over and he gave himself up.

Lowery, who lives in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, appeared in federal court in downtown Phoenix on Wednesday but did not address the court. He sat quietly awaiting the hearing and at one point looked up at the ceiling and repeatedly shook his head.

Prosecutor John Lopez argued that Lowery should be detained as his court case proceeds, saying that he poses a risk to the community and could flee the state. He also said that Lowery had a non-government-issued gun on him when he was arrested.

Federal Magistrate Michelle Burns set a hearing in the matter for Tuesday.

Lowery’s court-appointed attorney, Rebecca Felmly, declined to comment. Lowery’s wife, who identified herself as Trina Lowery, also declined to speak to The Associated Press.

Mexican drug cartels have infiltrated federal law enforcement agencies along the border for years, targeting hiring initiatives with their own people or recruiting officers.

Between 2003 and early 2010, 129 U.S. customs officers and Border Patrol agents were arrested on corruption charges, according to Tom Frost, the Department of Homeland Security’s assistant inspector general for investigations. The office was not immediately able to provide an updated figured to the AP.

“This is becoming all too common, in my opinion,” said Jim Dorcy, a retired Border Patrol agent who later investigated corruption among agents for the Justice Department. “Statistically it’s pretty rare, but you have to understand that as a law enforcement agency, it should be approaching zero.”

He said any amount of corruption in a police agency, let alone dozens of cases, destroys the public’s confidence and criminals’ respect. The heart of the problem lies in recent hiring booms in ICE and the Border Patrol in which the bar was lowered to meet hiring quotas, Dorcy said.

As for the corruption cases he investigated, Dorcy said it usually came down greed.

“They just want to make more money than the job offers, and they get offered a very tempting amount of money,” he said.

In one notable case, former Customs officer Margarita Crispin was arrested in El Paso, Texas, in 2007 and sentenced to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to import more than 1,000 kilograms (2,204 pounds) of marijuana. Prosecutors alleged that she accepted more than $5 million in bribes over several years in exchange for letting smugglers’ vehicles pass through her checkpoint without inspection.

In a more recent case, former Border Patrol agent Michael Angelo Atondo was found guilty of trafficking marijuana in southwestern Arizona after fellow Border Patrol agents found him in a remote area along the border near San Luis — several miles outside of his patrol zone — with 745 pounds (338 kilograms) of marijuana in his vehicle.

Prosecutors say Atondo appeared to be a mole who infiltrated the agency to smuggle drugs. The 34-year-old will be sentenced Jan. 9.

In Lowery’s case, DPS believes that he was taking the 500 pounds (226 kilograms) of marijuana that he picked up in the desert to a man working for a drug cartel whose house served as the nexus of the drug distribution.

Lowery was booked into Pinal County jail on charges of smuggling and felony flight and was turned over to ICE custody Wednesday morning. The sheriff’s office also booked the man who was to receive the marijuana, identified as 33-year-old Joshua Duane Powell of Arizona City.

At Powell’s home, police found 14 rifles and guns in the trunk of his car, seven of which had been reported stolen, according to a DPS document.

The document also said that Powell had been out on a $25,000 bond stemming from a separate investigation last month in which multiple bulletproof vests, weapons, stolen night-vision equipment, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and various drugs were found in his home.

Powell does not yet have an attorney and he has declined interview requests from the news media.

ICE spokesman Vinnie Picard said that Lowery worked as a deportation officer for the agency since August 2008 but declined to provide further information about Lowery.

Lowery worked as a deportation agent in ICE’s fugitive operations team, which goes after illegal immigrants who fail to leave the country after they’re ordered to be deported. Such officers carry weapons and have arrest powers.

Border Patrol spokesman Mario Escalante said Lowery also worked for that agency before going to ICE, but did not know for how long.