Joe Biden’s border crisis is having deadly consequences nationwide.
Border agents apprehended 188,829 illegal immigrants last month, the most since March 2000, and as the number of people surging to the border has increased, so has the flow of lethal drugs.
For the 5th straight month, more fentanyl has been seized at the southwest border than in the corresponding months in 2018, 2019, and 2020 combined.
Enough fentanyl was seized in June 2021 to kill 238 million Americans.
That was just the fentanyl that was seized. Biden’s own Border Patrol Chief warns that cartels are “dictating” where illegal immigrants cross the border so criminals can smuggle lethal narcotics without detection.
As CBS News reports, the result is “a flood of drugs coming into this country at the US-Mexico border” with “deadly consequences” throughout the nation – reporting confirmed by law enforcement, who described a fentanyl explosion linked to Biden’s border crisis.
Biden’s open borders agenda is aiding and abetting the flow of lethal drugs, fueling a nationwide opioid crisis, profiting criminal organizations, and costing American lives.
President Joe Biden’s administration has announced a federal initiative to bring back to the United States illegal aliens who were deported for committing crimes but who are the relatives of American service members, as well as Veterans and service members who were deported after committing crimes.
On July 4th weekend, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas revealed the details of the initiative designed to bring back to the U.S. illegal alien service members, their illegal alien relatives, and Veterans who were deported after having committed crimes.
“The Department of Homeland Security recognizes the profound commitment and sacrifice that service members and their families have made to the United States of America,” Mayorkas said in a statement:
Together with our partner the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), we are committed to bringing back military service members, veterans, and their immediate family members who were unjustly removed and ensuring they receive the benefits to which they may be entitled. Today we are taking important steps to make that a reality. [Emphasis added]
DHS and the VA will work to identify deported Veterans who they say are potentially eligible for VA benefits and ensure that they, as well as their families, are provided any one of the coronavirus vaccines.
Mayorkas said he has directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to review cases of “all eligible current and former” illegal alien service members and the immediate illegal alien relatives of service members who would be eligible under the initiative to return to the U.S.
“USCIS, ICE, and CBP will develop a rigorous, systematic approach to review the cases of individuals whose removals failed to live up to our highest values,” a DHS news release stated.
Mayorkas has billed the decades-long deportations of illegal alien Veterans, service members, and the family members of service members as “unjust removals” and is directing a DHS review of policies to prevent similar deportations in the future.
As Breitbart News reported, the Biden administration issued a DHS memo advising that illegal alien service members and their relatives should not, in most cases, be deported.
The initiative is part of a larger operation by the Biden administration to bring potentially hundreds of thousands of deported illegal aliens back to the U.S.
Last month, top DHS officials revealed to Congress that they are looking to bring potentially 35,000 deported illegal aliens back to the U.S. who were initially enrolled in the now-defunct “Remain in Mexico” program. In addition, the administration is reviewing thousands of cases of deported illegal aliens whom they claim may have been wrongly deported under former President Trump’s administration.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.
Facebook has revealed that it will ban anyone who’s charged in connection with the riot at the US Capitol on January 6 and may start “fact-checking” claims that the riot was staged.
In an article detailing how Alan Hostetter, a man who has been charged with obstructing official government proceedings and breaching restricted government property, was banned from Facebook and Instagram within hours of posting a video describing the January 6 riot as a “false flag” and a “fakesurrection” because he believed infiltrators were in the crowd, The Washington Post notes that:
“Facebook says that it does not allow people charged in the insurrection on the platform and that it may fact-check claims that the riot was staged.”
In the case of Hostetter, the prosecutors do not allege that he was violent or entered the Capitol building but claim that he “pushed through the area that the law enforcement officers had been blocking, moved up the stairs onto a structure erected for the Inauguration, and continued moving on to the Upper West Terrace.”
After arriving at the terrace, the indictment alleges that Hostetter declared, “The people have taken back their house. … Hundreds of thousands of patriots showed up today to take back their government!” and posted a picture of himself and co-defendant Russell Taylor on the terrace to the Instagram account of Hostetter’s non-profit – the American Phoenix Project.
Hostetter’s attorney, Bilal Essayli, argues that his client was there to lawfully protest.
“This whole thing — trying to make it sound like an insurrection or trying to block Congress — is troubling,” Essayli said. “He’s working within the legal process. He was there to support the objection to the election, which members of Congress did do. I am concerned because we are getting to a dangerous place where we’re trying to criminalize political differences.”
But under Facebook’s newly revealed policy, Hostetter and anyone else facing similar charges, will lose their Facebook and Instagram accounts before they’ve had a trial and before guilt has been established through a conviction.
By basing the policy on charges and not convictions, it appears that Facebook will also deplatform users who are charged, even if the charges are subsequently dropped or they’re acquitted at trial.
Not only has Facebook stated that it will ban users based on charges related to the January 6 riot but the potential “fact-checks,” which slash the click-through rate of posts by 95%, only appear to target specific narratives related to the US Capitol riot.
An accused illegal alien serial killer will escape the death penalty in the murder trial against him, Dallas County, Texas prosecutors revealed this week.
Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot announced that his office will not seek the death penalty against Billy Chemirmir, an illegal alien from Kenya who is accused of murdering 24 elderly Americans in Texas from April 2016 to 2018.
Instead, Cruezot said prosecutors will seek life in prison while only pursuing two of the 18 capital murder charges against Chemirmir should they win the cases. The other charges would be dismissed.
In a statement, Creuzot’s office said he spoke with victims’ families last month and explained that he hoped to secure convictions against Chemirmir in two jury trials, each with an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole, and ask a judge to order that those sentences be served consecutively. [Emphasis added]
“In effect, there will be no chance for Mr. Chemirmir to die anywhere except in a Texas prison,” the DA’s office said. [Emphasis added]
“[The death penalty] something that’s being turned away from,” Creuzot told the families. “Society is less accepting of it.” [Emphasis added]
Chermirmir’s 24 alleged victims include:
83-year-old Leah Corken
82-year-old Juanita Purdy
88-year-old Mary Brooks
84-year-old Minnie Campbell
82-year-old Ann Conklin
75-year-old Rosemary Curtis
85-year-old Norma French
92-year-old Doris Gleason
81-year-old Lu Thi Harris
81-year-old Carolyn MacPhee
81-year-old Miriam Nelson
91-year-old Phyllis Payne
94-year-old Phoebe Perry
80-year-old Martha Williams
82-year-old Joyce Abramowitz
87-year-old Glenna Day
89-year-old Solomon Spring
90-year-old Doris Wasserman
86-year-old Margaret White
79-year-old Diana Delahunty
93-year-old Mamie Dell Miya
86-year-old Catherine Probst Sinclair
90-year-old Marilyn Bixler
An 81-year-old “Jane Doe”
Breitbart News exclusively reported that Chemirmir first arrived in the U.S. on a B-2 tourist visa in July 2003. Though Chemirmir was supposed to only temporarily be in the U.S., he overstayed his visa and became an illegal alien who was eligible for deportation.
Rather than being deported, Chemirmir was able to use a loophole in the nation’s legal immigration system, allowing him to obtain a green card after marrying an American citizen. In November 2007, Chemirmir was approved for a green card.
Chemirmir had a criminal record, Breitbart News exclusively learned, including convictions for drunk driving, trespassing, assault, and obstructing a police officer. Chemirmir is currently being held in the Dallas County Jail.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.
Illegal Aliens Who Killed Americans Removed from DHS ‘Most Wanted’ List
By John Binder June 18,2021
Six illegal aliens accused of killing Americans have been removed from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “Most Wanted” list.
This week, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that ICE’s Victim Of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office, which served Angel Families in navigating their cases, would be disbanded in order to create the Victims Engagement and Services Line (VESL) which will expand to include providing benefits to illegal aliens who claim to be crime victims.
Following the announcement, as the Center for Immigration Studies’ Jon Feere first noted, top DHS officials removed six criminal illegal aliens accused of killing American citizens from ICE’s Most Wanted list — that is illegal alien fugitives who have yet to be captured by the agents.
In April 2019, ICE placed illegal aliens Saul Chavez, Jesus Maltos-Chacon, Alan Jacob Mogollon-Anaya, Edwin Mejia, Gonzalo Harrell-Gonzalez, and Luis Alberto Rodriguez-Castro on its Most Wanted list after each was charged with killing an American citizen and subsequently was evading arrest and criminal charges.
ICE detailed each case, at the time, and named each American victim:
Saul Chavez, a Mexican national charged in Cook County, Illinois, with vehicular homicide resulting in the death of William Dennis McCann, 66. Despite a detainer lodged by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in November 2011 following his arrest, Chavez was released from Cook County custody. Chavez, who entered the country without inspection at an unknown place and unknown time, is wanted by ICE as an illegal alien in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]
Jesus Maltos-Chacon, a Mexican national, charged in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with homicide and vehicular manslaughter for the death of 20-year-old Blake Zieto. Maltos-Chacon also had previous convictions for DUI and assault. Maltos-Chacon, who entered the country without inspection at an unknown place and unknown time, was ordered removed in October 2006. He is an ICE immigration fugitive in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]
Alan Jacob Mogollon-Anaya, a Mexican national, charged April 2017 for aggravated vehicular homicide, DUI and aggravated assault following the crash that resulted in the death of Shirra Branum, 37, in Washington County, Tennessee. Mogollon-Anaya, who had two prior DUI convictions, entered the country without inspection at an unknown place in 2003. He was ordered removed in October 2017. He is an ICE immigration fugitive in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]
Edwin Mejia, a Honduran national, charged in Omaha, Nebraska with motor vehicular homicide in the death of Sarah Root, 21 in January 2016. Mejia, who entered the country unlawfully as an unaccompanied minor in 2013, was ordered removed in April 2016. He is an ICE immigration fugitive and criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]
Gonzalo Harrell-Gonzalez, a Mexican national, indicted by a Gilmer County, Georgia grand jury on charges of homicide by vehicle in the first degree, two counts of serious injury by vehicle, and reckless driving in the death of Dustin Inman, 16, in January 2001. He is wanted by ICE as an illegal alien in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]
Luis Alberto Rodriguez-Castro, as Honduran national, charged in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina in October 2011 with negligent homicide and vehicular manslaughter linked to the death of Joseph Storie, 51. Rodriguez-Castro, who entered the country without inspection at an unknown place in 1998, is wanted by ICE as an illegal alien in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]
Michelle Root, the mother of 21-year-old Sarah Root who was allegedly killed by illegal alien Edwin Mejia in January 2016 on her graduation day, alerted Senators this week to the DHS’s erasing criminal illegal aliens from ICE’s Most Wanted list.
“The administration also removed the VOICE office’s most wanted list from their website — including my daughter’s killer, Edwin Mejia,” Root said before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “They want to abolish ICE and get rid of any law enforcement whose mission it is to carry out our immigration laws and protect the homeland.”
Searches for each of the criminal illegal aliens removed from ICE’s Most Wanted list result in a message that reads “Page Not Found,” indicating that the previous web pages for the fugitives have been wiped clean off the agency’s website.
(Screenshot via ICE.gov)
It is unclear if ICE has changed its metrics for how it identifies criminal illegal aliens as “Most Wanted” fugitives. ICE officials did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by Breitbart News.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.
Immigration cases deciding if migrants will be legally allowed to stay in the U.S. have doubled since 2017, according to migration data released Monday.
Over 1.3 million cases are pending, with more than 110,000 pending in New York courts alone, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). Migrants wait an average of two and a half years for a judge to decide their case, Axios reported Monday.
“The number of pending deportation cases more than doubled during the Trump administration, but the court backlog still continues to grow under the Biden administration,” TRAC Assistant Professor Austin Kocher told the Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday.
Immigration courts accepted nearly 127,000 cases between October 2020 and May, compared to the 68,000 cases the courts ruled on in the same time frame, according to Kocher. Less than 4% of new cases issued deportation orders based on the migrant’s alleged criminal activity, Kocher tweeted.
“As of the end of May 2021, there were more than 1.3 million people facing deportation just in the immigration courts. That’s about the number of people that live in Dallas, Texas. And the number only grows each month,” Kocher told the DCNF.
“At this point, it seems unlikely that the president — whether Democrat or Republican — can fix the problem, and that Congress will need to step in and enact immigration reform,” Kocher added.
Nearly 28,000 removal and voluntary departure orders were issued from October 2020 through May, Kocher said in a tweet. Only around 20% of migrants issued deportation or removal orders had legal assistance.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact email@example.com.
Mark Delgado told Border Patrol agents he was scrolling through TikTok one day when he came across a video asking for drivers and offering $4,000 a trip.
He needed the money, so he reached out to the guy on WhatsApp, a messaging service owned by Facebook. They made arrangements to meet this month in the Rio Grande Valley, where the TikTok recruiter put a man in the trunk of Mr. Delgado’s Nissan Altima and piled clothes on top to try to conceal the migrant, according to court documents.
Mr. Delgado was sent on his way with a warning — stay relaxed while going through the Border Patrol checkpoint — and a promise of $5,200 when the migrant was dropped off outside Houston.
A canine at the checkpoint alerted on Mr. Delgado’s car, and agents found the migrant. Agents said Mr. Delgado begged them to cut him a break: “Can’t you let me go since this is my first time?”
A day later, at the same checkpoint, agents nabbed another man, Alvaro-Vazquez-Ruiz, who said he was recruited over Telegram, another social media app. He was promised $1,500 for every person he was able to get through the checkpoint.
He turned the fuel tank of his Ford F-350 truck into a compartment to hide a migrant, but the smugglers told him he had to transport two people, so he tried to stash the second person underneath the back seat. Agents manning the checkpoint spotted that person and swooped in to make the arrest, according to court files.
Social media apps such as TikTok, Snapchat, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have upended the smuggling world.
Connecting a driver to a group of migrants is as easy as messaging a GPS “pin” location. Scouts can alert smugglers to Border Patrol agents so they can avoid them or, in some cases, to make sure the migrants are spotted, distracting agents while a more valuable load is sneaked through.
FBI agents in California revealed that smugglers holding illegal immigrants for ransom also use WhatsApp to arrange meetups with relatives to transfer the cash.
Recent news reports show smugglers advertise their services on social media like regular businesses. The difference is that the “customers” are desperately poor migrants willing to go $10,000 into debt for an attempt to cross illegally into the U.S.
The value and dangers of a smartphone
There seem to be few areas where social media has not touched the smuggling world and few cases where it is not a factor.
The Washington Times reviewed 25 criminal smuggling cases filed in Arizona over the past two months in which migrants were held as witnesses — court documents usually provide the information — and found 17 had indications that smartphones were involved. That’s a rate of 68%.
The actual figure could be higher because Border Patrol agents filing other cases might not report smartphone use in court documents.
In about half of the Arizona cases, migrants were guided across the border and to rendezvous locations by smartphone.
Smugglers in several cases received real-time instructions or scouting reports. One smuggler said a text message gave a pin-drop location for his pickup. Another said he was communicating via WhatsApp with the smuggling coordinator throughout his trip. When agents got on his tail, he said, he was ordered not to pull over and to try to escape.
Smuggling organizations know the value — and the dangers — of the smartphone. Criminal case files are full of reports about foot guides, drivers and boat captains who tossed, smashed or wiped data from their phones once they saw Border Patrol agents closing in.
When agents do get access to texts or apps, they can build better cases and often puncture smugglers’ stories and excuses.
Smartphones also are valuable to migrants.
“I’ve never met an immigrant who didn’t have a modern cellphone, a smartphone, that was fully plugged into the social media world and that gave them live-time intelligence information about where to go, when to go and how people upstream were doing,” said Todd Bensman, a national security fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.
He said the most powerful lure is the collection of selfies their relatives, neighbors and friends text back home, advertising the ease of gaining a foothold in the U.S.
Smugglers have been using Facebook and Snapchat for years, but TikTok is relatively new, according to The Times’ database. Most major social media platforms have been used to recruit drivers or connect them with migrants.
Malik Jackson was nabbed in 2019 for smuggling after a citizen tipped off authorities. He said he responded to a Snapchat ad seeking drivers, according to court documents. He told agents the ad offered $300 per person to smuggle Mexicans and $600 per Chinese migrant.
Gequon Willis, nabbed at a highway checkpoint in California in 2019, said he saw a Snapchat video titled “Want to make some money.” He had been fired from his job and needed work, so he clicked through and someone contacted him and gave him instructions.
He picked up two illegal immigrants and was to be paid $1,000 per person.
WhatsApp is the most popular platform for smugglers, according to The Times’ database, followed by Facebook and Snapchat. WhatsApp is particularly useful once drivers are recruited. Smuggling organizers use the app to relay instructions, help connect drivers and migrants and make sure they get through checkpoints.
Connecting migrants with drivers, which used to be tricky in remote areas, is now as easy as messaging a GPS pin to the driver over one of the apps. Smuggling scouts can give step-by-step directions to help migrants on foot avoid checkpoints.
Drivers about to be caught are ordered to trash phones or erase data. Smuggling networks have been derailed by undeleted texts with stash house locations or names that can be used to build cases.
Trying to crack down
Customs and Border Protection said it is “aware of the use of social media” to connect with migrants and recruit operators.
The agency’s answer: public relations.
“CBP works in close coordination with its federal, local and international partner agencies, including local community leaders to message the inherent dangers to all would-be migrants thinking of crossing the border illegally, especially those using the services of smuggling organizations,” the agency told The Times.
Neither Telegram nor TikTok responded to questions about the platforms’ use in smuggling.
Snap, the company that runs Snapchat, also didn’t answer questions.
Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp along with its own platform, said it tries to ban illegal activity such as advertising for smuggling. The company pointed to an exchange between CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Rep. Buddy Carter, Georgia Republican, at a hearing this spring.
“That’s against our policies, and we’re taking a lot of steps to stop it,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.
Mr. Carter told The Times this month that whatever Facebook is doing, it’s “clearly not enough.”
“We are facing a crisis at the border, and Facebook’s products are contributing to it. More needs to be done by them faster,” he said. “Congress has a responsibility to provide oversight over these companies, and I will continue to press them until their products are no longer used for human smuggling at the border.”
Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee have begun to probe TikTok’s use as a recruiting tool, particularly for the teenage audience that the app attracts.
Rep. John Katko of New York, the top Republican on the panel, said TikTok does have the power to flag and remove messages and can control which videos “go viral” and which clips are aimed at certain users.
“With such control, TikTok should be able to eradicate the cartel activities outlined above from the platform,” the Republicans wrote.
Illegal activity is sometimes in plain sight for those who know where to look.
Rolando Lucio, nabbed at the Falfurrias, Texas, checkpoint in December, told agents he used a YouTube video to coach the three migrants he was carrying on how to act and what to say to agents. He got tripped up when he told the agent the two migrants were family members but couldn’t remember their names.
An agent dryly wondered whether a relative wouldn’t know his family’s names. Lucio then came clean, according to court documents.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced this spring to 15 months in prison.
At times, social media accounts come back to bite the smugglers.
Edward Olivas, arrested at a Laredo, Texas, checkpoint in March, said he was a Lyft driver on a run from Laredo to San Antonio, albeit one booked outside of the app. He said he charged about $100.
When agents looked through his phone — after getting his legal consent — they found messages confirming that he knew he was smuggling and expected to be paid $2,000 to transport a Mexican woman through the checkpoint. He even checked to see whether her English was “decent.”
The head of the Border Patrol union slammed Vice President Harris on Sunday morning for advocating for migrants and, in turn, “advocating for lawlessness” that has extended into other parts of the country.
Just days after Harris concluded her trip to Latin America – her first foreign trip since taking office – she has faced persistent questions about her decision not to visit the U.S.-Mexico border. To date, neither President Biden nor Harris has visited the border.
Speaking to Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures,” National Border Patrol Council president Brandon Judd said Harris “can’t go to the border – if she goes to the border, she’s going to be expected to solve this problem.”
“This is a problem that she created. She even came out and said that she’s an advocate for illegal aliens,” Judd said. “She’s supposed to be an advocate for citizens of this country. Yet, she’s coming out and she’s saying that she’s advocating for lawlessness.”
Instead, while Harris was in Guatemala City, she told those thinking of making the journey to the U.S.: “Do not come.”
Judd said Harris’ alleged lax attitude toward lawlessness is “the reason that we’re seeing all of the problems that we’re seeing in cities like Oregon, New York, Chicago.”
Earlier this week, immigration officials said border agents made 180,034 apprehensions on the Mexican border in May. There were 178,854 a month earlier.
Total encounters are near 20-year-highs, though they aren’t directly comparable because expulsions under pandemic-related powers that deny an opportunity to seek asylum carry no legal consequences, encouraging people to make repeated attempts.
Federal prosecutors announced the arrest Tuesday of three people accused of a grisly extortion scheme against illegal immigrants trying to make their way into California that involved kidnapping, rape and exorbitant demands for cash to secure the migrants’ release.
Investigators said they are aware of at least five kidnappings with similar tactics, including using the electronics section of stores like Walmart as meet-up locations to collect ransom but refusing to release the migrants and demanding still more money.
The kidnappers preyed on migrants coming during the current border surge, which has spawned reports of increased abuses of those trying to jump the border, believing they have a better chance of success under the Biden administration.
While extortion is a disturbingly common occurrence for illegal immigrants, federal law enforcement usually sees it only when it happens on the U.S. side, after people have crossed and are being held at stash houses here.
But in this case, investigators said, it was a cross-border operation, with the kidnapping ring approaching would-be migrants while they were in Mexicali, offering to smuggle them in for a fee, then making the exorbitant ransom demands.
One woman told investigators after she agreed to pay $14,000 to be smuggled in, she instead was held at gunpoint and forced to talk to her husband as part of the ransom demand. She also said she was raped and beaten.
Her husband paid $19,000, but then was told he had to come up with another $1,500. He pleaded that he couldn’t scrounge the cash and was begging for money on the streets, and his wife eventually was released.
In another kidnapping in late May, a man said his wife had made arrangements to be smuggled into the U.S. and the husband was to pay $12,000. He soon began to receive messages demanding $15,000, which he turned over at a Walmart. But then he was told it would take another $16,000, an FBI agent said in an affidavit.
Investigators obtained Walmart security video showing the ransom exchanges and were able to tie one of the collectors to a car in the parking lot, which they then used to track down his identity.
Arrested were Edgar Adrian Lemus, Francisco Javier Hernandez Martinez and Junior Almendarez Martinez. All are charged with money laundering conspiracy.
Once investigators identified the men late last month, they tracked them and saw what they believed to be other attempts at ransom exchanges.
In one, at the same Walmart as a previous exchange, agents say they saw Mr. Lemus meet with someone in the electronics section and collect a white bag. Agents tried to talk with the person who handed over the bag, but the person was too scared to talk.
In Texas, authorities said they broke up another extortion operation after migrants called the police saying they were being held against their will.
They told responding Border Patrol officers that they were being held in an RV until their families made additional $1,500 payments.
Unable to pay, the migrants escaped and used a cellphone they found in the RV to call 911.
Victoria Perez spent 10 months as a migrant smuggler. When agents finally caught up with her, she told them she had made $200,000 over that time, working two days a week, driving migrants through a Border Patrol highway checkpoint near El Paso, Texas.
She charged $1,500 per person when the checkpoint was operating but only $600 when the checkpoint was closed because the risk was low and the roads were wide open, she told agents.
The $200,000 she earned for what was essentially part-time work exceeds the annual salary of a member of Congress. It works out to three times the starting pay for a Border Patrol agent.
Perez was, in essence, a gig worker, contracting herself as a driver for a much larger organization.
It has become an accepted part of border wisdom that the surge of illegal immigrants is enriching the cartels. That’s true to some extent, but most of the money ends up not in the hands of the Gulf Cartel or Zetas, but in the pockets of people like Perez.
And 2021 is turning into a boom year. Based on the number of migrants and the prices they are paying, smugglers are easily on track for their biggest profits in history.
“Demand is so strong that the prices are going up,” said Todd Bensman, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies who tracks smuggling tactics. “There’s huge, huge money being made right now.”
Talk to anyone familiar with the cartels, and they will inevitably start speaking in business terms. People are the product, and their families are the customers paying to smuggle them into the U.S. The cartels franchise the operations to coordinators and independent operators such as Perez.
What the cartels are selling is a vision: the American dream. People who have the cash or, more often, are willing to go into debt pay big money to chase that dream.
What the organizations bring to the table is logistics. The coordinators arrange housing, meals and transportation for tens of thousands of people each month who make the trip, and the cartels take a cut of the profit.
The Washington Times has tracked smuggling cases along the southwestern border for several years and maintains a database based on affidavits from Border Patrol agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and Customs and Border Protection officers. The accounts in this article are chiefly based on those interviews.
According to The Times’ data, Mexicans paid an average of about $7,900 in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic upended cross-border traffic. The average payment this February rose to about $8,900. Central Americans’ average payment increased from about $9,400 last year to $11,000. Rates have held fairly steady in the months since.
Who’s getting paid?
For some migrants, the first contact with a smuggling organization begins in South America or even farther afield. Federal authorities in recent years have broken up several smuggling operations that they said specialized in guiding migrants from terrorism-tinged parts of the world such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. They travel through Brazil and then up the spine of the Western Hemisphere to reach the U.S. border.
Most of the migrants, though, are likely to begin their transactions with hawkers in plazas in southern Mexico or Central America.
Victor Manjarrez, a former chief patrol agent in the Border Patrol’s Tucson, Arizona, sector and now a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, said the scene is like something out of Las Vegas, where street hawkers pass out flyers for shows on the Strip.
The product the smugglers are selling is the fastest or safest trip north. In some cases, it’s a two-for-one promise: If you get caught the first time, then the smugglers will give you a second attempt free of charge.
Migrants fork out payments along the trip for every bus ride, boat trip or foot guide.
Darlyn Josue Mass-Montenegro, a Honduran man nabbed in 2019 as part of a group of 23 migrants in a truckload of watermelons, gave agents the breakdown of the $13,000 tab for reaching Los Angeles: $3,000 in Honduras; $1,500 in Monterrey and $2,000 in Tamaulipas, Mexico; $1,500 to the stash house operator who kept him holed up at a car wash in McAllen, Texas; and $2,000 in Houston. The remainder was due once he reached Los Angeles.
That doesn’t include out-of-pocket costs.
Many migrants who take the land route to Panama cross the forbidding jungle of the Darien Gap and emerge at the village of Bajo Chiquito. There, they pay $5 for a canoe ride downriver to a migrant camp. Such scenes are repeated dozens of times across a journey.
The big money, though, is collected near the U.S. border.
Someone usually houses the migrants on the Mexican side. Migrants owe a “piso” or “mafia fee” to whatever cartel controls the approach they’re taking to cross the border. They also must pay a foot guide to take them through the desert or someone to raft them across the Rio Grande, and a driver to pick them up and transport them to a stash house on the U.S. side, where they wait for a long-haul driver to try to get them through the network of Border Patrol checkpoints that act as secondary borders.
The checkpoint is the key step for most migrants. Once they make it through the checkpoint, they are in the interior of the U.S. and are unlikely to be caught, much less deported.
Drivers might earn about $50 per person to ferry migrants along local routes from the border to nearby stash houses.
Stash house operators get more. Eduardo Salinas, nabbed May 24 in Eagle Pass, Texas, by agents who heard he was threatening migrants at the stash house he was running, told agents he was paid $500 per person. He was holding six people at the time he was arrested.
Bringing food to a stash house can earn a couple of hundred bucks a week.
Scouts, who track Border Patrol movements or run interference on driving routes, also can make a couple of hundred per job.
Truck drivers are usually paid the most. A single run can net tens of thousands of dollars.
Richard Codoluto, nabbed by agents last month with 45 illegal immigrants inside his tractor-trailer, said he was getting $15,000 for the trip and had made 10 or so previous runs.
Rafael Cazarez, arrested May 28 near Laredo with a load of 54 migrants in a truck, told agents he charged a “flat rate” of $50,000 for each run. He said that was his eighth trip.
Some smugglers stop for food and pick up snacks for the migrants. Others treat them like merchandise. They lock the migrants inside compartments, zip them into suitcases or force them into car trunks.
Things can go tragically wrong, particularly in the summer heat along much of the border. Agents often take the temperatures of compartments where they find migrants stashed and regularly find the thermometer topping 100 degrees.
Agents at a California checkpoint nabbed two people carrying two illegal immigrants in the trunk of a Nissan Sentra in the June heat. Using a Fluke 917 Temperature Humidity Meter, agents measured 134 degrees in the trunk. The Mexican migrants had paid $8,000 apiece for the trip. The smugglers were sentenced to time served.
Two months later, agents at the same checkpoint in the desert just south of the Salton Sea found migrants stashed in the trunk of a Toyota Corolla. They recorded a temperature of 158 degrees.
Judges often respond with stiff sentences.
Juan Contreras was sentenced last month to nearly 11 years in prison for migrant smuggling — his third conviction — after he was found carrying 35 illegal immigrants in the trailer of his truck, which broke down on the side of Interstate 35.
The tow truck driver heard banging from inside the trailer and called Border Patrol. Agents arrived to find that the migrants had punched holes in the trailer to try to escape the heat. Two had passed out and were rushed to a hospital for treatment. Contreras admitted that he never tried to help the migrants.
The border surge this year has been accompanied by a rise in deaths. Drownings, death by exposure and highway accidents are increasing, law enforcement officials say.
Those who study the smuggling operations say rough treatment is common. They aren’t surprised when migrants are viewed as cargo or merchandise.
The FBI brought charges April 30 against two people who agents said ran an extortion operation in New Mexico, where migrants were held and beaten until their families paid extra. The violence was captured on video and sent to relatives to hasten the payments.
One family paid $7,000 to have a Honduran man released. Another man, from the country of Georgia, said his family paid $10,000.
That same day in Houston, police got a call from a woman who said she had paid $11,000 to smuggle her brother from Honduras into the U.S. and was told he was being held for an additional $6,300 ransom. Police tracked down the smugglers’ cellphone number, sent in a SWAT team and found 97 illegal immigrants stuffed into two rooms with deadbolt locks to prevent escape.
The need for cash during the pandemic has created a large pool of people willing to smuggle, but some stand out.
Perez, the woman who earned $200,000 in 10 months of smuggling migrants around a highway checkpoint, walked the route herself and mapped it out.
She knew the 2-mile hike took two hours. She would drop off migrants just west of the checkpoint, drive through the checkpoint alone and then wait a couple of hours at a rest stop before heading to the pickup spot. Her usual destination was Dallas.
Perez was nabbed in December 2019 while dropping off 12 people before the checkpoint. At $1,500 a head, she stood to make $18,000 for that load alone.
She told agents her employer was a man in a Juarez, Mexico, prison and paid her by MoneyGram.
Perez pleaded guilty to that smuggling charge and was ordered to report to prison six months later, but she was arrested again in another smuggling attempt in May 2020. She told agents she was trying to make some quick cash to support her son while she was behind bars.
Francisco Javier Ayala-Reyes, arrested at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Texas in October with two illegal immigrants in his SUV, told agents he had been involved in smuggling since age 11. He was to be paid $3,200 per person when he dropped off the two sisters in Houston.
He said he picked up the women from a stash house, where he saw 30 illegal immigrants as well as drugs. He selected the two women for the run because they looked the most “American.” He figured they would be less likely to be flagged at the checkpoint.
He told the women to rub some oil on their hands, but the oil turned out to have some properties of marijuana. When he arrived at the checkpoint near Sarita, a Border Patrol dog trained to sniff out drugs and smuggled humans alerted on the vehicle.
He was sentenced last month to time served in prison plus three months of house arrest. He also was ordered to undergo substance abuse treatment.
Ayala-Reyes preferred American-looking migrants, but Jose Rene Gonzalez told agents he usually asked for Chinese because they were usually smaller and easier to conceal. He got a 28-month sentence for a 2019 attempt.
Sometimes it is illegal immigrants who are pressured into doing the smuggling.
Agents this month nabbed a carload of migrants who said the smuggler insisted that one of them drive the SUV. The smuggler followed in another vehicle. Agents charged the Mexican illegal immigrant, who paid $10,000 for the trip and then got recruited to drive, but the man who orchestrated the scheme got away.
Taken as a whole, migrants are paying billions of dollars a year to be smuggled.
The rate can vary dramatically. It depends on where the migrant is from, the route they take and, in particular, how they choose to enter the U.S.
Among the more expensive options is being boated up the California coast and dropped off at a San Diego beach. Mexicans pay perhaps $15,000 for the trip.
Coming through an official border crossing stashed in a car trunk or stuffed into an aftermarket compartment between the engine and glove compartment — a surprisingly common method — also commands top dollar. A common rate in recent months is $18,000.
Chinese migrants smuggled through those border crossings pay the highest rates, according to The Times’ database, with some topping $70,000. The average rate is nearly $30,000.
Swimming the Rio Grande or walking over the border in Arizona or California is usually the cheapest way. Some migrants say they paid as little as $500, but a $20,000 tab is not uncommon for Brazilians and $17,000 is a frequent rate for Ecuadorians.
Mexicans usually have the lowest payments. Central Americans come in slightly higher.
Meralis Reanos-Canales told agents she paid $9,000 to smugglers for her journey from Honduras. She was shuttled between stash houses on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande before she got a chance to cross. She was given a wristband — a tactic smugglers use so they know who is going where — and then swam across the river as part of a group of 35 people.
Once on the banks in the U.S., the migrants ran away from agents before they were loaded into trucks and taken to stash houses.
Ms. Reanos-Canales said she went first to a trailer and then to a “factory,” where hundreds of people were kept. After two weeks and another $1,800, she was told she could leave. The smugglers put her into a Nissan Altima with a driver and three other migrant women. They made it through a Border Patrol checkpoint by lying about their citizenship, but a sheriff’s deputy later stopped the Nissan for speeding and uncovered the smuggling attempt.
Few have upfront cash for the trip. They borrow from family, friends or neighbors and sometimes go into debt to cartels with plans to work it off once they reach their destinations. Most find their own way to northern Mexico and hook up with smugglers for the final push into the U.S.
Mr. Manjarrez said 40 to 50 people can be involved in a single migrant’s journey, and each of them is getting a cut of the money.
Mr. Bensman compared it to a relay race, with migrants as batons handed off from one person to another.
Everyone knows their territory. Some specialize in mountains, and others get migrants onto the trains that run across Mexico. They have relationships with local authorities and know whom to pay to ease the passage.
Mr. Bensman once tried to arrange a fake smuggling trip north from Central America. He was told it would cost $1,000 just to move someone from Costa Rica to Nicaragua.
“They said, ‘We need the money to pay the police,’” he said.
The cartels, which sometimes oversee the trips, come into play when it’s time to cross the border.
They control the approaches and charge for each crossing through their territory. Some agents refer to it as a “mafia fee,” and migrants call it a “piso.” The fee can range from a couple of hundred dollars to more than $1,000.
During a visit in the Rio Grande Valley several years ago, Mr. Manjarraz said, agents told him they had calculated that the cartel controlling the routes into that region made $100 million over the previous 12 months simply from fees paid by folks taking those routes.
That’s one cartel in one region of the border.
The Rand Corp. developed its own estimates. It calculated that pisos paid by migrants from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala in 2017 ranged from $30 million to $180 million.
‘The winners are the cartels’
Like so much about illegal immigration, a massive range of uncertainty is involved. For one thing, it’s impossible to know exactly how many people are coming across the border.
The government reports arrests, but Customs and Border Protection declined to release its data to The Times on “gotaways,” or migrants known to have crossed but evaded capture.
In Texas, the Department of Public Safety runs a network of cameras at the border and calculates that the number of gotaways is up 156% from last year.
Cochise County in Arizona, which also runs its own camera system, calculated that only 27.6% of migrants spotted jumping the border from July through January were caught by Border Patrol agents.
Using that “probable capture rate” as a rough yardstick means that if agents borderwide nabbed 96,974 migrants last month, another 250,000 or so made it through. Even assuming the “gotaway” rate is higher in Arizona’s remote areas than in Texas, many people still don’t show up in the monthly apprehension statistics.
The gotaway numbers don’t account for those who sneak into the U.S. by hiding in car trunks, gas cans or other nooks and crannies in vehicles coming through the official border crossings or who are carried by boat or personal watercraft north along the coast.
Agents generally figure that the ratio of gotaways versus those apprehended is steady. If the rate of apprehensions doubles, so does the number of people who evade capture. That means the smuggling world’s income is growing along with it.
Given that Border Patrol arrests more than tripled from about 30,000 in February 2020 to about 97,000 last month, it stands to reason that the smuggling world’s income also has tripled, assuming all else is the same.
“The winners here in open borders are the cartels,” said Mark Morgan, a former chief of the Border Patrol and acting commissioner at Customs and Border Protection in the Trump administration.
Business is so good that operations are expanding. The Big Bend area of Texas, which is so rugged and remote that smugglers usually have avoided it, has suddenly become active.
“They’ve got so much revenue now and so many more resources available to them they’re able to take these tactics and open up new franchises now, and Big Bend is one of the franchises now,” Mr. Morgan said.
(June 9, 2021, Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) revealed that immigration authorities apprehended 180,034 illegal aliens at the southern border in May—marking the fifth consecutive month of increased illegal immigration and the highest monthly total since President Biden took office.
“What we are witnessing is an unprecedented immigration crisis that threatens national security, national health, and the economic interests of the American people. What makes it unprecedented, is that it is a crisis created and perpetuated by the Biden administration,” commented Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “As chief architect of the border and immigration crises, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas must resign or be fired.
“Not only are the record-breaking numbers of illegal migrants entering our country a threat to the interests and security of the United States, they are also further destabilizing countries to our south. Even with Vice President Kamala Harris engaging in a public relations tour of Guatemala and Mexico to talk about the ‘root causes of migration,’ the presidents of those two nations are publicly blaming her administration for creating the crisis and strengthening the malign grip of criminal cartels. Rather than addressing the root causes of migration, the Biden-Harris policies are creating new root causes,” Stein charged.
“While the vice president is engaging in a transparent publicity stunt, Secretary Mayorkas continues to design and implement border enforcement and immigration enforcement that ensure that more illegal migrants can enter the country, and that virtually no one who is here illegally will ever be removed,” Stein continued. “He, and the people he is appointing to key positions within the department, are busy undermining the very laws they are sworn to enforce.”
FAIR is joining with members of Congress, including many border district Democrats, local government officials, and citizens from all across the country, in demanding that the Biden-Harris administration take immediate steps to restore order and credibility to our border and immigration policies. These include:
§ Resumption of border wall construction.
§ Reinstatement of the recently canceled Migrant Protection Protocols.
§ Maintaining COVID-related Title 42 authority to immediately remove border-crossers.
§ Ending catch-and-release policies.
“More than 180,000 border apprehensions in a single month leaves little doubt that chaos at the border is the Biden-Harris policy, and that Secretary Mayorkas, who is charged with carrying it out, must go,” Stein concluded.
His callsign is Tango 5, or Tango for short. Tango is an undercover investigator in one of the most dangerous jobs in the world – taking on the elephant and rhino poachers of Africa’s organized crime syndicates.
It is too dangerous for Tango, and his family, to reveal his name, face, or current location.
Crime syndicates are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of elephants, rhinos, and other animals each year. Their business is worth a staggering $20 billion annually in illicit profits.
But they can be stopped. And Tango is one of the best at stopping them. He works for the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) based in Zimbabwe.
The IAPF protects more than 1.5 million hectares of African wilderness. Where the IAPF operates, poaching is reduced by over 80 percent.
The IAPF is the conversation group behind ‘Akashinga’- the all-women vegan anti-poaching team featured in the National Geographic film of the same name.
But anti-poaching work remains incredibly dangerous. Two rangers, investigators or wildlife protectors are killed every week trying to save the wild animals of the forests and savannah.
Which makes Tango luckier than some.
Earlier this month, Tango was returning home to be with his family after a successful undercover operation involving IAPF and government agencies, which saw the arrest of two suspects involved with rhino poaching.
It was a Sunday evening. He was driving from Beitbridge to the capital Harare when he was allegedly forced off the road by two vehicles and assaulted. The assailants poured petrol over both Tango and his car and set it alight while he was inside, blindfolded with his jacket and tied with his own shoelaces to the steering wheel. Tango’s Car Was Totally Obliterated by Fire. Credit: IAPF
The fire engulfed the car and the windows began to explode. However, Tango managed to get one hand free and then extricate himself from the burning car. That was not before suffering serious burns to around 30 percent of his face, neck, arms, chest, and stomach.
He was in desperate need of help on the side of the road by a burning vehicle. He attempted to wave vehicles down for help, but they drove past.
Eventually, a good Samaritan stopped and took him to Beitbridge hospital, a remote border town in southern Zimbabwe. The public medical system there struggles with basic needs, strained even further with COVID-19 cases. Left there, he would have died.
They were only able to offer limited primary care. But they kept him alive overnight. The next morning he was evacuated by air to a private hospital where a medical team was on standby.
That’s where Tango remains today. His whereabouts are a secret, and his room is being guarded by the investigation team to guarantee his survival.
Tango is 28 years old. His injuries – both physical and psychological – mean he’s likely never to work again as an undercover investigator, but will be redeployed within IAPF.
Tango is currently in intensive care. Credit: IAPF
“He’s a silent warrior,” says Iraq War veteran Damien Mander, who founded IAPF in 2009. “It’s no understatement to say he moves amongst the shadows of night in the fight against wildlife crime. And he is one of the best, as part of a region-wide team operating across borders.”
The crime syndicates specialize in rhino horn and ivory poaching, as well as other illicit trades such as weapons and human trafficking.
“Tango has been one of our most fearless and committed wildlife crime fighters for a long time,” added Mander.mil
The attack appeared to be in direct retaliation for arrests made earlier on that Sunday, involving those suspected rhino poachers.
Tango and others like him are the last line of defense for African wildlife, animals under serious threat of being poached and hunted to extinction.
According to the IUCN, populations of African forest elephants have fallen by more than 86 percent over 31 years, while African savanna elephants have decreased by 60 percent over the last 50 years.
For some African rhinos, the situation is worse. In 1970 there were 70,000 black rhinos, but just 2,410 in 1995 – a dramatic decline of 96 percent.
Thanks to the efforts of conservation by organizations such as the IAPF, black rhino numbers have risen to a population of between 5,366 and 5,627 individuals. But that is still over 85 percent down from 1970.
Globally the combined pressures of animal agriculture, wildlife trafficking, and poaching mean only four percent of the total mass of mammals on the planet are free-living wild animals. More than 60 percent of all living mammals are now animals farmed for agriculture such as cows, pigs, and sheep. Humans make up the other 36 percent.
That makes it critical to protect those animals who are left – and support those on the frontline of protecting them.
Every year it gets harder. It is a perverse law of market economics that the more endangered the animals become, the more valuable they are. This attracts even more attention from the organized crime syndicates. Rhino horn is currently selling for around $65,000 per kilogram on the black market.
And that makes the job of protecting them even more dangerous.
The IAPF, and Tango, knew that something like this could happen. As the crime syndicates get more involved, the costs – and the risks – to protect wildlife increase.
Tango will stay with the IAPF on full pay throughout his recovery. He’ll be retrained for another role within the company. But, his loss to the Special Investigations Unit is a big blow.
“He’s been involved in hundreds of arrests,” says Mander. “It’s a huge loss for us and the animals.
“We’ll need to replace him too, and that requires us to retrain a new operator over a minimum of 12 months. And provide additional training and protective resources for all investigation officers.”
The IAPF will be covering the ongoing costs and compensation with the help of donors until Tango returns.
But that may not be for a while. Right now, he’s in a sealed-off room specifically set aside for serious burns. His screams of pain can be heard throughout the hospital when his bandages are changed daily.
“He’ll be severely scarred both mentally and physically for life,” explains Mander. “He’s having flashbacks. He’s in and out of consciousness and is in a serious but stable condition.
The IAPF does plan financially for emergencies, but Tango’s is an extreme case. There are no “victims of crime” compensation payment systems in Zimbabwe.
“The best way the international community can help right now is to donate to Tango’s recovery fund,” says Mander. “We’ve already raised $21,000 for him.
“We’ve got medical bills, the air evacuation and paramedic treatment, the secure room in a private hospital, a burns specialist, and trauma counseling. The costs will get closer to $100,000.”
The special investigations team works across Zimbabwe and other regions alongside and as part of Akashinga, the world’s only armed all-female teams of wildlife rangers, the plant-based project that protects much of Zimbabwe’s wildlife in the Zambezi Valley. Donors to the campaign have the option to be kept regularly updated with Tango’s recovery.
Luckily, no other IAPF rangers or staff were involved in the assault. It does at least mean they can continue normal operations in protecting Zimbabwe’s environment, communities, and wildlife.
Tango is still in intensive care, although Mander points out their priority is to get him back to good health, and he’s responding well.
“He’s there until at least the end of the month,” he says, “but Tango is fighting strong. He’s started to speak now, and wiggle his fingers.”
IAPF is focused on driving the investigation and bringing those responsible for this attempted murder to justice. It’s essential – a strong message that the culprits are held responsible will protect other investigators. And as such, more animals.
“The reason investigators like Tango are so effective is that they go precisely where the problem is,” explains Mander. “We use limited resources in a focused way.
“Only three percent of crimes are solved by catching someone in the act. The other 97 percent is through investigation,and then getting law enforcement to take action.
“This is the only way to continue to crush these and similar organized crime syndicates.
“We condemn the use of violence against those who attempt to uphold the laws of Zimbabwe and protect its wildlife against poaching. We are working with the appropriate authorities and will leave no stone unturned in efforts to bring the perpetrators of this horrific crime to justice.”
International Anti-Poaching Foundation is a USA-registered 501c(3) charity. IAPF has the Platinum Seal of approval from independent charity evaluator GuideStar. This is the highest level that GuideStar recognizes and less than 0.5 percent of nonprofits in the USA earn it.
Venezuelans warn that it’s a very hard way to migrate and shouldn’t be undertaken, especially by women and children. They tell of rapes of young children, women, and deaths. They say that they are going to join family in the United States.
“Darien Gap, Panama: Rape of Small Children Migrants between Colombia and Panama“https://youtu.be/-qXPVBwSwc4
(Seattle) – A 19-year-old Alaska man was charged with arson today for the fire he set Monday, August 24, 2020 at the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. DESMOND DAVID-PITTS was arrested shortly after the fire following a Monday night protest march. DAVID-PITTS appeared today in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
“This is the fourth defendant to appear in federal court after being charged with criminal conduct that went far beyond any peaceful protest,” said U.S. Attorney Brian Moran. “Those who go to protest but choose violence and criminal acts over protected speech will face the full weight of federal criminal sanctions. This illegal conduct must end.”
“The intentional fire set Monday evening in an organized, pre-planned attack endangered the lives of our officers and our entire community. This was not a peaceful protest, or demonstration for equity, but an act of lawlessness. We are grateful our federal partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office recognize the criminal nature of these acts and are holding those responsible accountable,” said Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.
Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz promised to maintain the SPD’s federal partnerships as he takes command of the Department and added “We are hopeful that the federal charges now filed against Mr. David-Pitts will serve as a warning that crimes of violence will not be tolerated in Seattle.”
According to the criminal complaint, DAVID-PITTS had arrived in Seattle from Alaska just three days before Monday’s protest. After marching with the group in downtown Seattle, DAVID-PITTS is seen on surveillance video piling up trash against the sally-port door at the Seattle Police East Precinct. Over an eleven minute period the surveillance video captures DAVID-PITTS not only piling up the trash, but repeatedly lighting it on fire and feeding the flames with more trash. While DAVID-PITTS was lighting the fire, other people who appeared on the surveillance were attempting to use crowbars and cement-like materials to try to disable the door next to the sally-port to prevent officers from exiting the building. At various times DAVID-PITTS appeared to be communicating with the others. Despite efforts to disable the door, officers were able to get outside and extinguish the flames. A similarly equipped group set a second fire around the corner from the DAVID-PITTS arson, and DAVID-PITTS was seen on surveillance working with the others to cut through a chain-link fence that was a barrier around the building. The second fire was extinguished by Seattle Police Officers and members of the Seattle Fire Department.
DAVID-PITTS was identified less than an hour later in the crowd outside the precinct because of the distinctive pink camouflage trousers he was wearing. He was arrested without incident.
Three people have already been charged with federal crimes in connection to civil unrest:
Joseph D Rosenbaum was the man who died after being shot by Kyle Rittenhouse. @RichieMcGinniss was punched in the head multiple times while loading this man into a vehicle for transport to hospital. I just spoke with Richie in person. pic.twitter.com/min5tYgQfu
The founder and chairman of a multinational investment company and a company consultant were sentenced to prison today for orchestrating a bribery scheme involving independent expenditure accounts and improper campaign contributions.
Greg E. Lindberg, 50, of Durham, North Carolina, the founder and chairman of Eli Global LLC (Eli Global) and the owner of Global Bankers Insurance Group (GBIG), was sentenced to 87 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Lindberg’s consultant, John D. Gray, 70, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was ordered to serve 30 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release. Lindberg and Gray were also ordered to pay forfeiture in the amount approximately $1.45 million held in accounts established by the defendants for the purpose of funneling the bribe payments.
On March 5, 2020, a federal jury convicted Lindberg and Gray of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds following an approximately three-week trial. U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. presided over the trial and today’s sentencing hearings.
Co-defendant, Robert Cannon Hayes, 74, of Concord, North Carolina, was also sentenced today to a one-year probationary term. Hayes previously pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI and agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation.
“When Greg Lindberg and John Gray offered millions of dollars in bribes to the North Carolina Insurance Commissioner, they referred to their elaborately corrupt scheme as a ‘win-win’ – unaware that the FBI was watching and listening,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Today, both men have been held accountable for their crimes, and their sentences underscore the Department of Justice’s unyielding commitment to rooting out corruption wherever we find it.”
“Lindberg and his accomplices, driven by greed, devised an extensive political bribery scheme to illegally funnel millions of dollars to an elected official for the benefit of Lindberg’s business interests. To this day, Lindberg and Gray remain unremorseful and refuse to accept responsibility for their criminal actions. The severity of their brazen conduct is reflected in the Court’s sentence,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray for the Western District of North Carolina. “Bribery of a public official is far from a victimless crime. It is our duty to the American people to stop bad actors with deep pockets and unscrupulous intentions from wrecking the foundation on which this country proudly stands. To those that greedily seek to line their own pockets through deceit and fraud, I offer the following advice: Keep a travel toothbrush handy.”
“When the prison bars close behind Mr. Lindberg and Mr. Gray, they will hear the sound of justice, loud and clear,” said Special Agent in Charge John Strong of the FBI’s Charlotte Field Office. “The FBI will root out any and all forms of public corruption. We remain committed to ensuring those who attempt to interfere with the integrity of our democratic process pay the price.”
According to filed court documents, evidence presented at trial, and today’s sentencing hearings, in January 2018, the elected Commissioner (Commissioner) of the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) reported concerns to the FBI about political contributions and other requests made by Lindberg and Gray, and agreed to cooperate with the federal investigation that was initiated.
According to evidence presented at trial, from April 2017 to August 2018, Lindberg and Gray engaged in a bribery scheme involving independent expenditure accounts and improper campaign contributions for the purpose of causing the Commissioner to take official action favorable to Lindberg’s company, GBIG. Trial evidence established that Lindberg and Gray gave, offered, and promised the Commissioner millions of dollars in campaign contributions and other things of value, in exchange for the removal of NCDOI’s Senior Deputy Commissioner, who was responsible for overseeing regulation and the periodic examination of GBIG.
According to trial evidence, Lindberg, Gray and the Commissioner held numerous in-person meetings at different locations, including in Statesville, North Carolina, and had telephonic and other communications with each other, and others, to discuss Lindberg’s request for the personnel change in exchange for millions of dollars, and to devise a plan on how to funnel campaign contributions to the Commissioner anonymously. In order to conceal the bribery scheme, at the direction of Lindberg, two corporate entities were set-up to form an independent expenditure committee with the purpose of supporting the Commissioner’s re-election campaign, and Lindberg funded the entities with $1.5 million as promised to the Commissioner. In addition, at Lindberg and Gray’s direction, Hayes caused the transfer of $250,000 from monies Lindberg had previously contributed to a North Carolina state party of which Hayes was chairman, to the Commissioner’s re-election campaign.
According to admissions Hayes made in connection with his guilty plea, on or about Aug. 28, 2018, Hayes falsely stated to FBI agents that he had never spoken with the NCDOI Commissioner about personnel or personnel problems at NCDOI, or about Lindberg or Gray. Hayes further admitted that, at the time he made the materially false statements, Hayes knew that it was unlawful to lie to the FBI, and knew that his statements were false because Hayes had in fact spoken with the NCDOI Commissioner about Lindberg and Gray, and about Lindberg’s request that the Commissioner move certain personnel within NCDOI.
The FBI’s Charlotte field office investigated the case.
Trial Attorney James C. Mann of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys William T. Stetzer and Dana O. Washington of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina prosecuted the case.
The Cleveland Division of the FBI—Lima Resident Agency, and the United States Attorney’s Office—Northern District of Ohio, announce the federal arrest of Michael Zacharias, age 53, of Findlay, Ohio.
Zacharias is federally charged with coercion and enticement, sex trafficking of a minor, and sex trafficking of an adult by force, fraud, or coercion. Zacharias was taken into custody today, August 18, 2020, without incident at his residence by members of the Northwest Ohio Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force.
According to the complaint, investigators, at this time, are aware Zacharias has engaged in sexual conduct with minors since the late 1990’s.
Father Michael Zacharias was a priest at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Findlay. He has been placed on leave by the Diocese of Toledo.
The FBI is encouraging anyone that has had contact with Michael Zacharias where they may have been “groomed” for possible future sexual purposes, they were inappropriately touched, or they were sexually assaulted by Michael Zacharias to contact the FBI at (216) 622-6842. All information will be strictly confidential.
SALT LAKE CITY – A federal complaint unsealed Wednesday charges a fifth individual with one count of using fire and explosives to damage and destroy a Salt Lake City Police Department patrol car during May 30, 2020, riots in Salt Lake City.
Larry Raynold Williams, Jr., 22, of West Haven was arrested at his home Wednesday morning on the arson charge by the FBI and members of its Joint Terrorism Task Force. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations at Hill Air Force Base (HAFB) assisted the FBI. According to the complaint, Williams is an Airman First Class in the U.S. Air Force. He is stationed at HAFB in northern Utah.
During the afternoon of May 30, 2020, a peaceful protest in downtown Salt Lake City transitioned into acts of destruction, property damage, arson, and other criminal conduct. During the riot, a Salt Lake City police officer, driving a police vehicle, became boxed-in and immobilized by surrounding protestors. Fearing for her safety, the officer fled from her patrol car. Her patrol vehicle was subsequently overturned, vandalized, looted, and then set on fire. Video footage from the event shows individual rioters using fire and explosives to damage and destroy the police vehicle. Federal prosecutors in Utah have filed arson charges against five individuals allegedly responsible for burning the patrol vehicle.
“Since May 30, investigators and prosecutors have engaged in a determined investigation of those who were responsible for burning the police patrol car in downtown Salt Lake City. Our intent has been to bring consequence to the lawlessness that we witnessed. While available video and photographs played a prominent role in the investigation, solid investigative efforts by agents and detectives made the difference in these arrests,” U.S. Attorney John W. Huber said today.
According to the complaint, video footage from the afternoon of May 30, 2020, shows a white male, later identified by law enforcement as Christopher Isidro Rojas, standing next to an African American male. This individual, subsequently identified by law enforcement as Williams, was dressed in a black Nike hoodie, black Nike sweatpants, black shoes, and a black gas mask.
Rojas was observed holding a blue cigarette lighter in his hands while Williams held a white combustible fabric material, similar to a tablecloth or bedsheet, according to the complaint. Rojas used the cigarette lighter to ignite the fabric. Once the fabric began to burn, the complaint alleges Williams threw the material into the window of the overturned patrol car. The burning material landed partially within the interior of the patrol car and partially on the street.
Williams was wearing a gasmask. Investigators subsequently identified the gas mask worn by Williams as an M50 Joint Service General Protective Mask. Clarified photographs of Williams wearing the mask revealed lettering on its attached M61 filter canister, written in what appeared to be white marker, which stated, “TRNG ONLY.” A lot number was also observed on the canister, according to the complaint.
Williams was also observed unmasked at the riot. Law enforcement officers were able to use several photographs to identify Williams.
Williams was identified as an Airman First Class in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Hill Air Force Base. He was issued an M50 gas mask by his unit for training purposes in March 2020. Markings on the mask are consistent with the markings applied at HAFB. On Aug. 13, 2020, the readiness squadron at HAFB conducted a general inventory check of equipment issued to Williams and other members of his group during an exercise. According to the complaint, serial/lot numbers were documented for each inventoried item. The lot number for one of the gas canisters assigned to Williams was identical to the number observed on the gas mask as depicted in pictures taken at the riot.
Williams will make an initial appearance on the arson charge at 3 p.m. Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dustin Pead.
Federal arson charges in the case are pending against Jackson Stuart Tamowski Patton, 26, Latroi Devon Newbins, 28, Christopher Rojas, 28, and Lateesha Richards, 24, all of Salt Lake City, who were charged earlier. Patton and Richards are in custody. Newbins and Rojas have been released on conditions of pretrial release. Previous complaints filed against Patton, Newbins, Rojas, and Richards have been consolidated in a one-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on July 23, 2020.
Complaints and indictments are not findings of guilt. Individuals charged in complaints or indictments are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty in court. Arson carries a potential sentence of 20 years in prison with a minimum-mandatory five-year sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office are prosecuting the case. Investigating agencies include members of the FBI’s JTTF, the Salt Lake City Police Department, the ATF and the Utah Department of Public Safety.
HIDALGO, Texas—Officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations (OFO) within the Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas Port of Entry were busy this weekend intercepting loads of alleged methamphetamine at the three border crossings.
“As these three seizures and the continual drumbeat of recent area narcotics seizures illustrate, the hard narcotics threat at our ports of entry is quite evident and our frontline officers remain dedicated to uphold our border security mission,” said Port Director Carlos Rodriguez, Port of Hidalgo/Pharr/Anzalduas.
On Aug. 15, 2020, CBP officers assigned to the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge cargo facility selected a tractor/trailer with fresh mangoes for further inspection and after a thorough examination, officers discovered 48 packages of alleged methamphetamine concealed within the truck. These narcotics weighed 319.70 pounds (145 kg) and are valued at $6,393,000.
Later that evening, at the Hidalgo International Bridge, CBP officers conducting an inspection of a commercial passenger bus located 10 packages weighing 23.46 pounds (10.64 kg) of alleged methamphetamine hidden within a suitcase located in the luggage compartment. This methamphetamine load is valued at $1,034,000.
Lastly, on Aug. 16, officers working at the Anzalduas International Bridge discovered three packages of alleged methamphetamine hidden with a Jaguar’s battery. These narcotics weighed 15.30 pounds (6.94 kg) have a value of $306,000.
With the November election just months away, Democrats are working overtime to find new ways to get more people to vote. They have mounted new crusades, recently, to get people to vote who have traditionally been disqualified.
In Florida, there was a situation that would allow nearly 1 million felons to register to vote. These felons have finished their sentences, but have not paid back what they owe. A lower court upheld this restriction, forcing advocates to take it to the Supreme Court.
But the Supreme Court denies voting rights to these felons:
The Supreme Court on Thursday let stand a lower court ruling that could strip voting eligibility from up to 1 million Florida felons who have completed their sentences but have yet to pay outstanding fines, restitution and other fees.
In an unsigned opinion, the conservative-majority court declined to revisit a federal appeals court ruling that permits Florida to stop felons with outstanding court-imposed debt from registering to vote as a July 20 primary election registration deadline approaches.
Allowing convicted felons the right to vote has been met with much controversy. Some say these are American citizens being denied a fundamental right. Others say that because they committed a crime serious enough to be incarcerated, they have given up their right to vote.
Conservatives often accuse Democrats of trying to get felons to vote, saying they are urged to vote for liberal candidates. Democrats accuse conservatives of implementing voter suppression, by not letting felons vote.
In the case of this Florida law, felons that have paid back fines and other fees can register. The only ones ineligible are ones who have yet to pay outstanding fines and restitution. These are part of their sentencing, just as much as prison time.
To allow them to vote appears to be letting them off the hook. According to reports, there are roughly one million former felons in the state of Florida who have yet to pay back what they owe. This appears to be less about “voter suppression” and more about getting people to finish their debt to society.
The three liberal justices, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Elena Kagan, dissented the decision. This shows how deeply dividing this issue is among conservatives and liberals.
The question of whether felons should vote might have to be left up to American citizens. Should someone be allowed to vote—even if they are still under penalties of law?
The Supreme Court rejected a law that would allow felons to register to vote in Florida.
Nearly 1 million felons would have been affected—those who have yet to pay off outstanding debts.
All three liberal justices dissented from the majority ruling.Source: The Hill
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Leadership for Black Lives Matter (BLM) has openly admitted that they hold and practice Marxist ideologies. Since their inception, they have yet to provide any actual aid to black neighborhoods or black Americans who are affected by the violence that runs rampant in their own neighborhoods. BLM has been responsible for numerous violent uprisings, and has incited as well as committed acts of violence and destruction against innocent Americans and their property. BLM and ANTIFA are responsible for the recent riots which have plagued our American cities most recently while continuing to ignore the major spikes in black on black crime in cities like NY and Chicago. BLM doesn’t care about black Americans. Sign this petition to get BLM designated as a domestic terror organization!
Yesterday, the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) began investigation of an assault that occurred in the downtown area where an adult male associated to a white pick-up truck was violently assaulted. Investigators positively identified the suspect as 25 year-old Marquise Love. Investigators made attempts to contact Love but could not locate him.
Investigators have left messages for Love to turn himself in but will continue to look for him as there is probable cause for his arrest.
PPB Investigators have been made aware of attempts by members of the public to contact Love after possible personal information was posted online. Investigators urge the public to not do this as it can be dangerous. Also, the information circulating on social media is not always accurate.
Other reports around social media claim that the victim in this case is not recovering or has succumbed to the injuries. These reports are false. The victim has been released from the hospital and is recovering.
Investigators are still trying to locate a transgender female who had some of her things stolen in the area of Southwest Taylor and 4th Ave, the location where this incident began. That person has not been contacted and their identity is unknown. Investigators would like to speak to this person.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Detective Brent Christensen at 503-823-2087 or at Brent.Christensen@portlandoregon.gov.
PPB understands the high public interest in cases such as these. The release of information may not be as timely as the public would like. Social media platforms make it quick to circulate information but investigators often need to make other connections not seen in videos. Investigators need to protect the integrity of the cases they are assigned in order to present the best case to prosecutors and sometimes an early release of unverified information can hinder that process.
“The Portland Police Bureau is taking this assault and other incidents of violence extremely seriously,” said Chief Lovell. “Our Detectives continue to investigate this assault as well as other acts of violence directed toward protestors, but we need more than just videos from social media. In order to hold individuals responsible for criminal acts, we need the public to provide information and refrain from tampering with evidence.”
###ORIGINAL MESSAGE BELOW###
On August 16, 2020 at 10:27 p.m., Portland Police officers responded to an accident call at the intersection of Southwest Taylor Street and Broadway. The call read that “protestors chased a white Ford 4×4, which has crashed” at that location and “protestors drug him out of car.” Another witness called prior to police arrival and reported that 9-10 people were “beating the guy.”
Officers responded and found an adult male who was unconscious with injuries. The victim was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and is recovering.
Portland Police became aware of video’s circulating through social media, which show various events of what led up to an assault of the victim. The series of events was carried out in different locations involving many different people. This in an ongoing investigation and the Police Bureau will provide further information as it is available. Below are chronological links to the videos posted on Twitter by Drew Hernandez @livesmattershow and Kalen From Scriberr @FromKalen:
Investigators learned that the victim may have been trying to help a transgender female who had some of her thing stolen in the area of Southwest Taylor and 4th Ave, the location where this incident began. That person has not been contacted and their identity is unknown. Investigators would like to speak to this person.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Detective Brent Christensen at 503-823-2087 or at Brent.Christensen@portlandoregon.gov.
The Portland Police Bureau has been learning of criminal activity captured on social media, as it relates to the ongoing protests, which go unreported. Portland Police would like to remind witnesses and victims to call police immediately so that a timely investigation can begin and valuable evidence can be collected.
Media Relations: PPBPIO@portlandoregon.gov Phone: 503-823-0830 1111 SW 2nd Ave Portland, OR 97204
A Virginia state senator and several NAACP officials were slapped with two felony charges over their alleged roles in the destruction of a Confederate statue by a mob in Portsmouth, Virginia. A protester received life-altering injuries in that incident when a statue fell on his head.
Portsmouth Police Chief Angele Greene announced the charges in a media briefing Monday.
“As the result of our efforts in this matter, we have identified and secured arrest warrants of numerous individuals who conspired, organized, and participated in the felonious acts on June 10th. This investigation yielded the same results of holding individuals who commit crimes in our city accountable but was done in a safe manner so that my officers and no other members of the public were harmed,” Greene said.
“Therefore on today’s date, felony warrants for conspiracy to commit a felony and felony injury to a monument in excess of $1,000, have been obtained for the following individuals: Senator L. Louise Lucas, NAACP representative James Boyd, NAACP representative Louie Gibbs, NAACP representative LaKeesha Atkinson,” she continued.
Greene went on to name several school board members, three public defenders and other individuals who were also charged.
“I am asking for these persons with current arrest warrants to immediately turn themselves in to the Portsmouth Police Department,” Greene added.
Protester grievously injured
The mob attack on Confederate statues in Portsmouth made national headlines over a video that showed a statue landing on a protester’s head after being toppled from its monument.
The video quickly went viral on social media:
Protesters take down pieces of Portsmouth’s Confederate monumentwww.youtube.com
The protester who was seriously injured was later identified as Chris Green. His wife said that he flatlined twice on the way to the hospital where he was placed in a medically-induced coma.
After the horrendous incident, many noted that Louise Lucas personally told police officers to stand down as the protesters attacked the statue, and she was caught on video doing so.
“They cannot arrest them because the city owns this property,” Lucas said at the time. “Come July 1, they can take it down anyway. So, these police officers cannot arrest them for being on city property. So, I’m going to stand right here and see what’s going to happen.”
Lucas later demanded that the city manager fire the police chief because she had “abdicated her responsibility to maintain peace and failed to uphold the law.”
Police said they are seeking the help of the public to identify others involved in the protests against the Confederate monument.
The family for Green created a GoFundMe account that garnered more than $55,000 in donations to aid in paying his health bills.
Here’s a local news video about the charges:
Sen. Louise Lucas among several charged in Portsmouth Confederate monument incidentwww.youtube.com
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“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard