Sunday, August 30, 2009
Four men face attempted murder charges Sunday after they allegedly followed an off-duty Chicago police officer and fired shots into his vehicle early Thursday.
Jesus Rios, 20, of the 2600 block of South Kedzie Avenue; Jose Huerta, 21, of the 400 block of Jessie Street in Joliet; Fernando Gonzalez, 19, of the 2700 block of South Homan Avenue; and Fernando Lopez, 20, of the 2600 block of South Homan Avenue, were each charged with one count of attempted first-degree murder Sunday morning, according to a release from police News Affairs.
During a Sunday bond hearing, Lopez was denied bond by Cook County Judge Jackie Portman, according to a court spokesman. Gonzalez and Rios were both ordered held on $350,000 bond and Huerta's bond was set at $300,000.
The incident happened about 3 a.m. Thursday, as the officer was driving home from work in the 3900 block of West 26th Street and realized he was being followed, the release said.
The four men following the officer were allegedly in a Pontiac Grand Am, according to police News Affairs Officer David Banks.
As the officer came closer to his home, the men fired shots at him while he was inside his vehicle and fled the scene, the release said. They did not strike the officer, who also fired his weapon at the men.
The officer gave Harrison Area detectives a description of the men, and detectives were able to locate them.
All four suspects are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Monday.
The Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates all police-involved shootings, is also investigating.
A felon, but on force - Auxiliary's supervisor has conviction on record
Melrose Park Herald - 3/1/2006
by John P. Huston
For more than a decade Melrose Park has employed a convicted felon in a supervisory role in its Police Department.
A village spokesman said the matter was investigated six years ago by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office and nothing was ever done.
"End of story as far as we're concerned," said village spokesman Gary Mack.
A spokeswoman for the State's Attorney's Office did not confirm nor deny a past investigation and would not comment on the situation, referring all questions about the case to Melrose Park.
Michael "Mickey" Caliendo is the supervisor of auxiliary police for Melrose Park. He wears a badge, a lieutenant's shirt and occasionally drives an unmarked squad car, sources say.
Mack said Caliendo is employed as a "civilian."
In 1984, when he was a sergeant for the Melrose Park Police Department, Caliendo was convicted of three felony counts of mail fraud for falsifying accident reports in a scheme with then-Stone Park Police Chief Harry Testa and others. The scam involved $181,000 in phony insurance claims.
Vito Scavo, now chief of the Melrose Park Police Department, was an officer at the time and also charged in the scheme.
Scavo was the only one of 16 original defendants to be acquitted. Charges against Scavo were dismissed by a judge, who called the evidence against him "completely distorted."
Caliendo received 90 days' work release, followed by 33 months of probation for the federal crime, court records show. Caliendo was also stripped of his ability to carry a gun or become a police officer again.
Scavo was named Melrose Park police chief in 1994. Caliendo was hired the following year.
Before Caliendo 's arrest and conviction, he and Scavo were both street officers for the department.
Scavo and Caliendo are friends, say sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
"I've heard (Scavo) say that as long as he's chief, Mickey will be working there," said one source.
Scavo, who is reportedly on vacation, could not be reached for comment.
Caliendo did not respond to telephone messages seeking comment.
State statute has a separate entry dealing with auxiliary police officers, who are not required to be trained or regulated by a public agency.
"Before the appointment of an auxiliary policeman, the person's fingerprints shall be taken, and no person shall be appointed as an auxiliary policeman if that person has been convicted of a felony or other crime involving moral turpitude," the statute reads.
It also states auxiliary officers must wear "different and distinct" identification symbols than regular police officers.
Several sources said that Caliendo wears a lieutenant's white shirt and a badge.
In spite of the similarities to an officer's attire, village spokesman Gary Mack said Caliendo is hired as a civilian.
Ignacio J. Pena, president of the Illinois Association of Police Chiefs, was surprised to hear that the Melrose Park Police Department has a felon working as a supervisor.
"I don't think you can hold a shield if you're a convicted felon," Pena said. "If that's going on, I think there's an issue."
He also questioned the logic of a police department hiring a felon as a supervisor.
"It would be highly unusual for a community to have a convicted felon running any portion of its police department," Pena said. "I find it unusual. Now does that mean it can't happen? Obviously it can.
"But I don't think that'd be a practice that would be embraced by the law-enforcement community."
Melrose Park Mayor Ron Serpico could not be reached for comment.
Christopher Ray, 22, the passenger in the car, was killed on General Thomas Highway near Handsom Road outside Franklin, the sheriff's office said. The deputies' car hit a tree that had fallen across the roadway.
The sheriff's office said the driver was Jason Brinkley, a deputy who was treated and released from a hospital.
Ray joined the sheriff's office on June 1 after graduating from Radford University with a degree in criminal justice
Omaha World-Herald, Neb.
A Platte County sheriff's deputy was killed this morning in a crash just north of Cornlea, Neb.
Deputy Christopher Johnson, 34, of Columbus, was enroute to a reported crash with injuries. He was driving a 2006 Chevrolet Impala patrol car on Nebraska 91 when the fatal accident occurred.
The Nebraska State Patrol said a westbound 2000 Freightliner semi tractor trailer turning left onto the Cornlea spur struck Johnson's car, which was eastbound.
The deputy died at the scene.
The Freightliner's driver, Gene Schlake, 60, of Beatrice, was taken to a Columbus hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, the State Patrol said.
Johnson had been a Platte County sheriff's deputy since 2006.
The incident occurred around 8 p.m. on Aug. 27 when Assistant Fire Chief Don Payne began arguing with police after his son had a traffic ticket dismissed.
Even though Payne was unarmed, one of the officers pulled out a gun and hit him in the back and a fellow officer in the finger, according to the report.
The assistant chief was transported to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis and was listed in good condition and the officer who was shot was OK, according to the station.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
WAUKEGAN | Ex-officer not guilty of rape, but juge calls misconduct 'stunning'
August 29, 2009
Calling the misconduct by Delatwan Haynes "stunning," Lake County Circuit Court Judge Christopher Stride handed down a two-year prison sentence for the former Waukegan police officer Friday.
"You sullied the reputation of not only yourself, but also the reputation of the Waukegan Police Department," Stride told Haynes. "The misconduct is stunning. You violated the rules and regulations that come with being a police officer, and violated public trust."
In March, Haynes -- who left the force in January 2008 -- was found not guilty of nine of 12 counts he faced, including five counts of sex assault.
But he was found guilty of official misconduct stemming from using a Waukegan squad car for a sexual encounter and filing a false report as to his location that evening.
Haynes was accused of raping a woman while he was on duty in January 2008.
The accuser, who admitted at trial that she is a heroin and cocaine addict and that she was high on the evening in question, also has filed a $40 million civil lawsuit against the City of Waukegan.
Friday, August 28, 2009
August 28, 2009 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- The Federal Bureau of Prisons confirms former Cicero Town President Betty Loren Maltese has been transferred to a half-way house for the final months of her sentence.
Loren Maltese is now staying at what's known as a "community corrections center" - or half-way house closer to her mother and daughter in Las Vegas. It's the final leg of her seven year prison sentence for looting the town she once governed in a $12 million insurance scheme.
As part of her transition to freedom, the Federal Bureau of Prisons will require Loren Maltese to get a 40-hour-per-week job, pay a fraction of her living expenses at the half-way house and go through counseling to prepare her for when she's freed. The Bureau of Prisons website projects Loren Maltese's release date as February 12, 2010.
A former associate of Loren Maltese's told ABC7 earlier this month the larger-than-life former leader of Cicero has not decided whether she'll return to the Chicago-area upon her release.
Loren Maltese's mother and daughter currently reside in Las Vegas.
More than 20 people have been arrested this week in a suburban sting operation after they attempted to purchase drugs from undercover Cook County Sheriff's Police officers, police said today.
Among those arrested was a 41-year-old Oak Forest woman who asked the officer to give her a "good deal" on crack cocaine, since she was using it for medicinal purposes to help alleviate pain associated with her cancer,according to a news release from sheriff's police.
Police set up a "reverse sting" at two locations in Robbins - at 13921 S. Grace St. and 13500 S. Woodlawn St. - - each on Cook County public housing project property. Residents in those areas had complained to police about rampant drug sales and gang activity in the neighborhood, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said.
"In the days leading up to the sting, sheriff's police had enacted a "zero tolerance" policy in the area, arresting numerous people who neighbors say regularly engage in questionable activity on those street corners. With the corners cleared, undercover officers began posing as drug dealers there on Wednesday night, offering buyers either baggies of oregano or crumbled white chunks instead of marijuana or crack, respectively," the news release said.
As buyers approached the undercover officers and cash transactions took place through a car window, nearby sheriff's police officers would wait for a signal and then pull the car over around the block, outside of the view of any incoming buyers.
Fifteen people were charged with attempted possession of drugs - including Kimberly Edelen, 41, of Oak Forest, who claimed to be a cancer patient in need of crack to help her illness.
Three others were arrested for actually possessing drugs. Two were arrested for aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, with one was arrested for obstruction of justice and another on an outstanding warrant. Police also recovered two loaded 9mm semi-automatic handguns in the sweep.
Arrested on Grace and charged were:
Leandre D. Nutull, 23, of Robbins, outstanding warrant for drug possession William Wylie III, 26, of Peoria, possession of cannabis Christopher Caston, 38, of Robbins, obstruction of justice Gilbert Vega, 29, of East Chicago, Ind., possession of cannabis, possession of drug paraphernalia Deandre Harris, 23, of Robbins, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon Dominque Buchanan, 21, of Blue Island, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, aggravated resisting arrest Jerome Jackson, 50, of Robbins, possession of cannabis Cory Flowers, 32, of Hazel Crest, attempted possession of cannabis Keith Davis, 44, of Markham, attempted possession of cannabis Joseph Burden, 58, of Robbins, attempted possession of cocaine Jason Anderson, 28, of Joliet, attempted possession of cocaine Johnny L. Williams, 41, of Alsip, attempted possession of cocaine Lyndon G Wesley, 25, of Markham, attempted possession of cannabis Linda Hill, 45, of Blue Island, attempted possession of cannabis Lamar Costello, 38, of Country Club Hills, attempted possession of cocaine
Arrested on Woodlawn and charged were:
Kenneth Babich, 22, of Crestwood, attempted possession of cocaine James Domina, 48, of Oak Lawn, attempted possession of cocaine Ticelyn Sallis, 26, of Orland Hills, attempted possession of cannabis Kimberly Edelen, 41, of Oak Forest, attempted possession of cocaine Jennifer Laidlaw, 43, of Tinley Park, attempted possession of cocaine George Mampreian, 31, of Tinley Park, attempted possession of cocaine Melita Malone, 28, of Robbins, attempted possession of cannabis Evelyn Emmons, 27, of Chicago, attempted possession of cocaine.
Chicago police quelled a large gang fight on a busy Northwest Side street early this morning.
Police were called to the area of the 5400 block of West Irving Park Road in the Portage Park neighborhood about 1:30 a.m. because of a "large gang fight," said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer David Banks. There were no major injuries.
The fighting started at a birthday party at a nightclub across the street from Portage Park and soon spilled out onto neighboring streets, police said.
"Various factions" that were attending the party got into a dispute and the fighting spilled out onto neighboring streets, with rocks and bottles thrown, a police source said.
Officers in as many as 40 squad cars responded to the fighting at one point.
One person was treated and released from an area hospital, and no police officers were injured, Banks said.
One person was arrested on an unrelated marijuana charge, police said.
The fighting ended and police were doing "minor housekeeping" work by about 2 a.m., Banks said.
-- Staff report
City has been too quick to settle 'meritless' suits against cops, he saysAugust 28, 2009
BY FRANK MAIN AND STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporters
Bring it on!
That's what police Supt. Jody Weis is telling lawyers who sue his officers.
Weis has asked the city to become more aggressive in fighting lawsuits he views as "meritless" by going to trial instead of settling them.
Last month, Weis notified Chief U.S. District Judge James F. Holderman of the change in strategy.
"I have asked the Department of Law to litigate those cases which would have been settled [as] a matter of financial concern," Weis told the judge in a July 23 letter obtained by the Sun-Times.
Weis told the chief judge he realizes his decision may bring increased litigation in federal court. But he added that "if plaintiffs know their complaint will in fact be litigated, more focus and concern will be given to the factual validity of the complaints signed."
Attorney Jeffrey Granich, who represents clients who claim they have been victims of police abuse, said of Weis' strategy: "They are making decisions that are going to cost the city millions of dollars."
Granich said Weis isn't addressing the underlying problem of officer abuse.
But the city's Law Department is moving forward with the new strategy.
"We have seen an increase in the number of small-value lawsuits being filed" against the police, said Law Department spokeswoman Jennifer Hoyle, who defined such cases as those that seek less than $100,000.
In the past, city attorneys might settle such a lawsuit for $2,000 if they thought it might cost $10,000 to defend against it, Hoyle said.
"We believe that taking a more aggressive approach in these cases will lead to a decrease in the number of lawsuits being filed," she said.
The Law Department took the same approach about a decade ago when it started to see a rise in "slip-and-fall" lawsuits, Hoyle said. The tough stance resulted in a decline in those cases, she said.
The Law Department is farming out such "lesser" lawsuits against the police to outside counsel who will receive a flat fee per case, instead of an hourly fee. That will reduce the cost of defending the cases, Hoyle said.
The department will pay a bonus for cases that are successfully tried, Hoyle said. So far, about 50 police cases have been referred to outside counsel and two have been dismissed voluntarily, she said.
A Sun-Times analysis of lawsuits filed against the police department found about 275 settlements were paid out for the first six months of 2009 for a total of nearly $22 million.
Nearly half of those settlements involved a payout of less than $5,000. And about 85 percent of the payouts were for less than $50,000.
Over the same period, the city paid about $1.65 million to satisfy verdicts in nine other cases that went to trial.
Those figures don't include attorneys' fees the city pays lawyers who file civil-rights cases against officers.
In his letter to the chief judge, Weis said officers have approached him about the seemingly high number of lawsuits against the department that result in settlements.
Officers have continued "to raise concerns that their reputation is being tarnished, they are not allowed to clear their names, and, that criminal defendants are using civil litigation to either assist their criminal defense or to intimidate the officers from conducting lawful enforcement activity," Weis wrote.
But Fraternal Order of Police president Mark Donahue said he was skeptical of the timing of Weis' strategy, which comes as disgruntled rank-and-file officers continue to wait for a new contract.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The Black was back.
Not real black, but that was how he had come to think of it, feel it, experience it. But what blackness was... the absence of all light; the absence of all color. When he was 10 or 11, he went on a field trip to a large cave where the guide had the class stand in a massive rock room, hundreds of feet below ground, and told them they were about to experience absolute darkness. Then he cut the lights. It was a darkness so black, so deep, so intense it actually made his eyes hurt. For thirty seconds they stood in the blackened room, not a giggle or a word or even a shuffle of feet from three dozen fifth graders struck dumb! No sound but the trickle of water falling down the walls. The thirty seconds felt like a day as their senses were assaulted by nothingness until finally, and with great relief, the lights came back on.
That was why he thought of it as The Black; life without light and without color, yet assaulting his senses. But he now knew The Black was just his name for what the shrinks and social workers called depression. The Black had come and gone for years, visiting for a few days or weeks before retreating to its den until next time. For awhile he called it burnout but it was not quite really burnout either. Then The Black starting getting blacker, deeper, and more menacing.
Seventeen years on the Job. Seventeen very good years in patrol, narcotics, the burglary task force, financial crimes and then back to patrol as a sergeant. He had seen a lot of depressed people in seventeen years - listened to them, counseled them, arrested them, sent them for psych evaluations - and for a long time thought them somehow weak and pathetic. He had been to the funerals of four coworkers who had succumbed to their own depressions, opting out with a bullet. He publicly hung his head in grief but privately he scorned them for their weakness.
Now he felt like such a hypocrite, staring at the pistol on the table next to him as his wife slept upstairs without knowing of his plan, finally understanding why, knowing a sadness without reason that hurt so intensely. He could no longer take The Black. He had to escape it, to do this thing he could no longer put off.
Now sobbing and shaking with fear of the unknown to come, he pressed it against his ear, shocked at how heavy it felt in his hand, and tried to compose himself as the tears flowed. He was petrified this was going to hurt - he knew it would - but it could not possibly hurt worse than The Black. He had run out of choices. He had to do this. He pressed harder, waiting, waiting... then:
911, what is your emergency? 911, what is... Sir? Kurt? Kurt, is that you? Kurt, talk to me, what is it Kurt?
Sherri... Hi, Sherri, it's Kurt. Sherri, please, send someone. Sherri, I need help...
Depression hurts. Sometimes, depression kills.
Understand, the type of depression we are talking about is not merely a case of the blues, being down in the dumps, or experiencing normal sadness one would expect due to circumstantial events. It is normal to be sad, even depressed for awhile, if you have suffered a loss, experienced a major disappointment, or find yourself facing something unpleasant. The type of depression we are talking about is the kind that takes hold of someone mentally, emotionally and physically, to the point it impacts nearly every aspect of their life. It is the type that becomes their dominant emotional state, even when there is no apparent reason to feel sad or depressed. It is the type that, unlike simple sadness that will soon pass, persists to smother hope, leave its sufferer despairing of things ever getting better, and in the worst cases decide that not living at all is far better than living without hope. It is the cruel type that can come and go, unbidden and unexpected, to throw someone to the mat and hold them down for a few days or weeks or months, only to slip away as quickly as it arrived with no idea of when to expect the next bout.
Major Depression (also known as major depressive disorder, clinical depression or unipolar depression) is a serious, chronic, often debilitating, and frequently even deadly, disease. It is also one of our most common serious illnesses. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that in any given year some 15 million American adults, or about five to eight percent of the adult American population, will suffer from major depression. Consider also that there are other types of serious depressive disorders, such as bipolar disorder, dysthymia (chronic low-grade depression often lasting for months or years), and adjustment disorders with depressed mood, and the number of depression sufferers grow by millions more. Children and adolescents are certainly not immune either, as more and more enter treatment at ever younger ages diagnosed with depression.
Because depression and other depressive disorders are so common (who has not come face-to-face with depression in themselves, a family member, a coworker, or a close friend at some point?) and the devastation they wreak so significant, understanding of depression as a disease of the brain is greater than ever before.
Police officers have a front row seat to the world of depression and its effects: think of the despondent subject calls, the suicides, the mental health transports, the domestics, and the myriad other calls you routinely go to. Although there are still vocal and determined opponents of the disease model holding to the vestigial belief that someone who complains of depression is lazy, of weak character and constitution, a malingerer, or even demon-possessed, far more people now see depressive disorders for the serious and debilitating problems they are.
Ironically, few of us give much thought to the most remarkably complex and important organ in our bodies - the brain. We understand the brain is crucial as it relates to keeping the heart pumping and the eyes seeing and the nerves sensing, but it is as if we somehow separate the idea of our mind - the manifestation of our consciousness - from the organ from which it springs.
The truth is, the mind and all its processes of experiencing, analyzing, feeling, and thinking simply cannot be separated from the brain. Our consciousness, and its relative health, is a product of a stunningly complex, delicately balanced, and often fragile biochemical stew. Add any number of external variables that we know can act on that delicate balance, such as stress, trauma, health problems, and the unique genetic markers each of us carries (some of which can lie dormant for decades before popping up to raise a bit of havoc), and is it any wonder the delicate balance is so often upended?
As with many diseases, there is no are easy answer to the question of What causes depression? The simplest and most easily articulated answer is that it is caused by a chemical imbalance of some sort. In the brain are neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine, that relay electrical signals between cell receptors and are necessary for healthy emotional functioning. If there is an imbalance or dysfunction in these neurotransmitters depression can result. The problem is, as each individual is unique so is each individual's chemical balance unique; personal habits, relative health, diet, life events, genetics, temperament, etc can all play a role in depression. In reality, that is the case with many non-mental illnesses, too. How can one person develop heart disease or cancer to cut short a relatively healthy life while his neighbor pushes the century mark on a diet rich in cigarettes and bourbon?Major depression is a serious, sometimes tragic, disease from which no one - not even a cop - is immune. As the police, it is easy to see the effects of depression on the people you respond to. You respond based on training, policy, and experience. Will you be able to see it so clearly if it hits a colleague, a friend, or even yourself? Will you know what to do then?
Human Factor Contributors
Also, the U.S. Attorney filed a collective response to the motions by Vito Scavo, Gary Montino, and Michael Wynn.
Two convicted members of the Insane Deuces received life sentences from a federal judge.
During separate hearings Tuesday, Judge Harry Leinenweber sentenced Brian Hernandez and Miguel Rodriguez each to life in prison for racketeering and drug conspiracy.
They are the seventh and eighth men to receive life sentences from the 2005 sweep.
"The Insane Deuces was a diabolical group," Leinenweber said at one point during the hearings. "I can't feel particularly sorry."
Of the 16 men charged, 14 were convicted, one pleaded guilty and one is still missing. The racketeering convictions tied the men to three murders, five attempted murders and up to $1.25 million in drug trafficking in 2002.
Both men plan to appeal.
A suspended McHenry County correctional officer has formally pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual misconduct involving four female inmates at the county jail.
At his hearing Tuesday, 29-year-old Elias Dario Fortoso asked for a jury trial on the accusations. They which include four new felony charges alleging inappropriate activity with two women not included when the claims against him first were made public late last month.
A grand jury last week indicted the South Elgin resident on four counts of custodial sexual misconduct and two counts of official misconduct. They allegedly stemmed from six separate incidents between Feb. 1 and July 9.
Fortoso was arrested July 27 after a two-week investigation begun when a female inmate reported allegations to a staffer in the McHenry County Public Defender's office.
--The Associated Press
Bellwood police have several men in custody in relation to a shoot-out on Monday afternoon.
The incident took place at 5:30 p.m. at 51st Avenue and St. Charles Road.
Bellwood Deputy Police Chief Richard Blass said police are questioning three people as well as the victim, who Blass says was being targeted.
He would not give details of the shooting, but said the incident was "quite serious."
Witnesses reported an exchange of gunfire in the area.
They saw the offenders driving a black Buick Lucerne. They stopped and ran away before police caught them.
As of Monday, police were expecting to press charges.
By STEVE MILLS
CHICAGO, Ill. -- In a withering critique, a nationally known fire scientist has told a state commission on forensics that Texas fire investigators had no basis to rule a deadly house fire was arson - a finding that led to the murder conviction and execution of Cameron Todd Willingham.
The finding comes in the first state-sanctioned review of an execution in Texas, home to the country's busiest death chamber. If the commission reaches the same conclusion, it could lead to the first-ever declaration by an official state body that an inmate was wrongly executed.
Indeed, the report concludes there was no evidence to determine that the December 1991 fire was even set, and it leaves open the possibility the blaze that killed three children was an accident and there was no crime at all - the same findings found in a Chicago Tribune investigation of the case published in December 2004.
Willingham, the father of those children, was executed by lethal injection in February 2004. He protested his innocence to the end.
The Tribune obtained a copy of the review by Craig Beyler, of Hughes Associates Inc., which was conducted for the Texas Forensic Science Commission, created to investigate allegations of forensic error and misconduct. The re-examination of the Willingham case comes as many forensic disciplines face scrutiny for playing a role in wrongful convictions that have been exposed by DNA and other scientific advances.
Among Beyler's key findings: that investigators failed to examine all of the electrical outlets and appliances in the Willingham house in the small Texas town of Corsicana, did not consider other potential causes for the fire, came to conclusions that contradicted the witnesses at the scene, and wrongly concluded Willingham's injuries could not have been caused as he said they were.
The state fire marshal on the case, Beyler concluded in his report, had "limited understanding" of fire science. The fire marshal "seems to be wholly without any realistic understanding of fires and how fire injuries are created," he wrote.
The marshal's findings, he added, "are nothing more than a collection of personal beliefs that have nothing to do with science-based fire investigation."
Over the last five years, the Willingham case has been reviewed by nine of the nation's top fire scientists - first for the Tribune, then for the Innocence Project and now for the commission. All concluded that the original investigators relied on outdated theories and folklore to justify the determination of an arson.
The only other evidence of significance against Willingham was another inmate who testified that Willingham had confessed to him. Jailhouse snitches are viewed with skepticism in the justice system, so much so that some jurisdictions have restrictions against their use.
Samuel Bassett, an attorney who is the chairman of the commission, said the panel will seek a response from the state fire marshal and then write its own report.
Contacted Monday, one of Willingham's cousins said she was pleased with Beyler's report but was skeptical that top state officials would acknowledge Willingham's innocence.
"They are definitely going to have to respond to it," said Pat Cox. "But it's difficult for me to believe that the state of Texas or the governor will take responsibility and admit they did in fact wrongfully execute Todd. They'll dance around it."
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
A Weymouth police officer working a detail was killed Monday after being struck by a pickup truck.
NewsCenter 5's Jack Harper reported that Ronald Gale, 79, pinned the officer between his Mazda pickup truck and a utility truck at the intersection of West Street and Route 18 in Weymouth at about 10 a.m. Monday.
Officials identified the police officer as Michael Davey, 34. Weymouth Police Chief Tim Carr described Davey as a hometown boy who "always wanted to be a police officer."
Through tears, Carr said Davey returned to his family five years ago from serving in Iraq, and he immediately signed up with Weymouth police, walking in his father's footsteps.
"We will miss him," Carr said.
"Today is a profoundly sad day first and foremost for the spouse of Michael Davey, for his three children, for his father and mother and two brothers and his extended family," Norfolk County District Attorney William Keating said.
The district attorney described Davey as "a person who served his country and his law enforcement community," adding, "Those people are not commonplace. He will be missed."
Gale told NewsCenter 5 that he first hit a Toyota Camry, and that crash sent his truck into the police officer and a National Grid utility truck. Police said Gale drove through a stop sign.
Gale, of Weymouth, was cited for motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, failure to stop at a stop sign, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and speeding, Keating said. The Registry of Motor Vehicles revoked Gale's license.
According to witnesses, Gale seemed unable to react after the crash, and a National Grid worker had to release the accelerator and put the truck in reverse. But Gale told NewsCenter 5 that he backed up the truck after the crash.
"I have no idea whether it knocked (the Camry) into the police officer or what happened at that point," Gale said.
"All our guys are trained in first aid and CPR and they tried to help. But I was informed when I got here that the scene didn't look very good right from the get go. It was a very, very bad collision. Very, very bad," said National Grid Safety Officer Ted Wheeler.
The officer was taken to South Shore Hospital where he died.
"I am nervous as hell. Let's put it that way. I'm shaking, because since I was 16 years old, I've never had an accident," Gale said.
Gale told NewsCenter 5 that he was praying for the officer's family. Fresh flowers adorned West and Front streets as the foundation for a growing memorial to Davey.
Gale did not have any other offenses on his driving record before Monday's crash.
KwiatekAugust 24, 2009
By DAVID POLLARD email@example.com
A Hillside resident who is a foreman in the village's Public Works Department was arrested last week in connection with allegations that he sexually abused several underage girls.
Andre Kwiatek Sr., 53, was arrested Aug. 19 while he was eating lunch at his home, 515 Iroquois Road, police said. He was charged with eight counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Hillside Police Detective Tony Milazzo said the police department received an anonymous tip about a public employee in Hillside molesting children. He said the information from the tip was enough to prompt an investigation.
Police would not say how many victims were involved, but only that "several" girls ranging in age from 15 to 17 were the victims.
"He was doing inappropriate things to young girls," Milazzo said.
Kwiatek allegedly touched girls in inappropriate places on their bodies with his hands and mouth, police said.
Hillside Village Manger Russ Wajda said Kwiatek, who has worked for the village for more than 30 years, is currently on unpaid administrative leave. He said the Village Board would have to review the situation if any further action is taken. The Hillside Village Board meets tonight (Aug. 24).
Wajda said the village has never received any complaints regarding Kwiatek's job performance as foreman. Police said Kwiatek had no past criminal background.
Kwiatek is currently being held on $200,000 bond and his court date is scheduled for Friday.
Joyce Vaughn, who has lived next door to the Kwiatek for 16 years, said there were always children in and out of his home. She said some neighborhood children often would called him "Dad" or "Pop," but she thought nothing of it.
"I never would've thought anything like that," she said. "He's done (handyman) work for everybody around here."
A police car in front of Kwiatek's home last week did spark neighbors' interest. Milazzo said the car was placed there to secure the home in case police had to issue a search warrant and to make sure nothing was removed from the home. He said the search warrant wasn't necessary.
Milazzo believes there may be other victims who have not come forward yet. If so, he encourages anyone with information to contact Hillside Police Department at (708) 449-8851.
Newsday via YellowBrix
August 23, 2009
A Nassau Sheriff’s Department officer has filed a $100-million suit against the department and the county, saying he was denied the right to take a leave of absence when his wife was gripped by postpartum depression after the birth of their son.
An attorney for Jeff Colletti filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Central Islip Thursday, alleging the department blocked Colletti’s access to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
The measure requires employers to grant unpaid leave to workers who request time off for medical reasons associated with themselves or family members or for the birth of a child.
“They were incredibly insensitive to me, my wife and a couple-days-old baby,” said Colletti, 42, a 20-year correction officer. “It made me mad and my rights were violated.”
His attorney, Paul Margiotta of Bay Shore, said the Sheriff’s Department had plenty of opportunities to grant Colletti leave and avoid the suit.
“It doesn’t cost anything to comply with this and it really doesn’t send a good message to their officers,” Margiotta said.
County jail officials declined to comment on pending litigation. “Even without having had the opportunity to review Mr. Colletti’s claims, however, we can state that the county has made every effort to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act for all its employees and does not deny leave to employees who meet the statutory eligibility requirements,” said jail general counsel Elizabeth Loconsolo.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Inquirer Staff Writer
Announcing criminal charges against 40 people, authorities today declared they had smashed a major methamphetamine ring operating in the Philadelphia area and dealt a major blow to the Outlaws motorcycle gang.
The 11-month investigation, code-named Operation Ice Breaker, grew of out an earlier probe, Operation Mexican Ice, which targeted the meth pipeline between Mexico and the Philadelphia region, Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett said at a news conference in Philadelphia.
The three men arrested in that first wave, announced in June, were mid- or lower-level participants, Corbett said at the time.
This phase, which included hundreds of wiretaps, led to the arrest of leaders, including William Lees, 55, of Philadelphia, who distributed crystal meth shipped from Mexico through Atlanta to the biker gang, whose activities were directed by president Thomas "The Boss" Zaroff Jr., Corbett said.
"We have not only taken down the main methamphetamine dealers in the region but we also have arrested the leaders and key members of the Philadelphia chapter of the Outlaws motorcycle gang," Corbett said.
He called the Outlaws the nation's fourth largest motorcycle gang that uses violence to further illegal activities.
Between September and March, Lees, who was not himself part of the Outlaws, moved about 28 pounds with a street value of about $2.5 million, according to the statewide grand jury that recommended the prosecutions.
The organization operated in Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks and Chester Counties in Pennsylvania and in Camden and Burlington Counties across the river, Corbett said.
Seventeen people had been arrested as of this morning, including Lees and three of his alleged suppliers, Jose Torres, Rebecca Guirate and Andrew Bernard Jr., all from Philadelphia.
More are expected to surrender shortly, an official said. The office's narcotics bureau spearheaded the investigation
Of the 40 who were charged, 15 were members of the Outlaws, who would hold weekly meetings known as "church" to discuss illegal activities such as dealing narcotics, gambling, prostitution and extortion, Corbett said.
In one wiretapped conversation, Zaroff spoke of plans to rob and assault members of the rival Pagans following a confrontations at an April tattoo convention in Philadelphia, according to a news release from the attorney general's office.
The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City
Aug. 22--The "drive-by" statute is usually a charge reserved for "gangbangers," Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said. On Friday, Prater filed the felony charge against two Oklahoma City police officers.
"If these off-duty officers want to conduct themselves that way, that's exactly how we'll treat them -- just like any other gangbanger," Prater said.
Sgt. Diron Carter, an eight-year veteran, and Sgt. Michael W. McKethan, a seven-year veteran, were charged Friday with "using a vehicle to facilitate the intentional discharge of a firearm," in a drive-by shooting that occurred in mid-June outside Night Trips, a strip club near Meridian and Reno avenues.
Carter and McKethan were booked into the Oklahoma County jail on Friday afternoon and released on $25,000 bail each.
Prosecutors allege in the charge that McKethan, 34, was behind the wheel of a white Tahoe and was driving away from the club when Carter, 30, fired a pistol "in the direction of several bystanders."
No one was hurt by the bullet that had to be cut out of a metal wall at a nearby laundry supply business, but prosecutors say someone could have been killed.
Shots fired outside bar
On June 16 as Night Trips was closing, police got a call that shots had been fired outside the bar.
Witnesses told police a man in a white sport utility vehicle was throwing beer bottles as he drove through the strip club parking lot, according to the police report.
When the witnesses confronted the men in the car and asked "what their problem was," an argument began to escalate until the passenger in the car reportedly leaned out of the window with a black handgun and said 'You want to see my baby Glock?" as he fired a single shot.
Police responding to the scene soon learned McKethan and Carter had been there that night and that McKethan, who drives a white Chevy Tahoe, had a conversation earlier with one of the strippers whose child may be McKethan's, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Carter admitted being at the club that night, but he denied being involved in any incident in which a shot was fired, the affidavit states.
Later when Carter was questioned by a fellow officer, Carter allegedly replied "it was an accidental shooting," the affidavit states.
Officers also recovered a .40-caliber shell casing in the street, which Prater said came from a "baby Glock" which is an off-duty weapon used by police officers.
'We police our own'
An officer being charged in a case involving strippers, beer and firing a weapon at bystanders can be perceived as a "black eye" on the entire department, said Capt. Steve McCool, the police department's spokesman.
"But we would hope the citizens would understand that once we gained this information, we immediately put them on leave," McCool said. "We investigated it thoroughly. We did what was right, and we police our own."
When a crime is committed, McCool said, it doesn't matter whether the person responsible is a citizen or an officer, they will be subject to the law.
Prater said it's disappointing to receive cases involving police officers.
"Because that's not the way the majority of these outstanding men and women in law enforcement conduct themselves," he said. "But if you're involved in criminal activity, I don't care what you do for a living. You're going to be held responsible and accountable in this office."
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The new television series, Paranormal Cops, is coming into your home this Fall from A&E.
We originally covered the story this past March in Chicago's 'Paranormal Cops' take on reality TV.
The trailer looks promising. I've spoken to cast members and offered to follow along in what looks like one of the best new paranormal series on television.
Stay tuned. Watch for cast interviews here.
Friday, August 21, 2009
In March, a young woman talking to a friend on the phone said she heard someone coming in the back door of her Kentucky apartment. She hasn't been heard from since.
Decades earlier, on March 15, 1967, the remains of a woman clad in a blue dress and white shoes were discovered in a field in Baltimore, Maryland.
The two cases are separated by nearly 500 miles and more than 42 years, but authorities are hoping they can both be solved with the help of a federal database that went online this year.
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (http://www.namus.gov//) is designed to help law enforcement agencies and medical examiners across the country unravel the mysteries of cold cases involving missing persons and unidentified remains. It also gives countless families a place to look for loved ones and a chance to find answers and peace of mind.
Launched in January, the database was created after the Department of Justice was tasked with finding ways to help solve the thousands of missing persons and unidentified decedents cases in the United States, according to a statement on the Web site. It's funded through a cooperative agreement from the National Institute of Justice, which is part of the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs.
NamUs communications director Christine Vivian said the project "was created to address the issue of the estimated 40,000 unidentified dead nationwide, and give families a tool to assist in finding missing adults."
"As more cases are entered into the system, more people in every area -- law enforcement, victim advocacy and the general public -- can become part of the conversation that will resolve cases," Vivian told CNN in an e-mail.
The database offers what may be the most comprehensive public search engine to date for this undertaking.
"With advances in forensic sciences, there is always the possibility of closing an old case," NamUs Operations Manager Billy Young told CNN. "No matter how old the records are, we have someone looking at them."
NamUs is operated by the National Forensic Science Technology Center in Largo, Florida. It has two separate parts: a database of missing persons information containing 1,996 cases -- of which 147 have been closed -- and an unidentified decedent data system, which lists 5,569 cases. Of those, 149 people have been identified.
Information entered in the missing persons file is automatically cross-referenced with the unidentified remains cases to see if there are any matches, the Web site said.
The woman in the blue dress in Baltimore is not one of them. Her skeletal remains were found in a field in the winter of 1967, but forensic experts believe she probably died the previous year. She was 5 feet, 3 inches tall and between the ages of 21 and 45.
The young woman in Kentucky is listed on the missing persons database. She is Crystal Hall, of Pikeville. On March 1, the 24-year-old who called herself "Red" was in her apartment and told a friend on the phone that someone was trying to enter her home from the rear door. It was the last time anyone has heard from her.
Hall was last seen wearing a red shirt, dark blue jeans and large hoop earrings. She has the name "Willy" tattooed on her left leg and another tattoo of a heart on her right arm.
Her case file is typical of thousands of other entries for both NamUs databases, which contain detailed information on physical characteristics, clothing, accessories, police reports, photographs and dental charting.
Typical also is case 5593, which describes a man believed to be in his 30s who was found intoxicated and unconscious on the ground in New York on May 31. He was taken to a hospital with a traumatic brain injury and died on June 3.
The man, who had black hair and was wearing blue jeans, had several scars on his body. He was also missing part of a finger on his right hand.
Young hopes that posting the man's case on the Web site will provide answers to family or friends who may be searching for him.
"It lets them know that someone is constantly looking for their loved ones and they are not being forgotten," he said. "It gives them hope that one day they will be able to get closure."
Pasadena Police DepartmentBy RENEE LEE, JASON WITMER and JAMES NIELSEN
Officer Jesse Hamilton
A Pasadena police officer was killed this morning in a shootout in which the suspect also was seriously wounded.
Officer Jesse Hamilton, 29, was flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital-Texas Medical Center, where he died of a head wound.
Four Pasadena police officers responded to a disturbance call made at 6:09 a.m. from a trailer park near the intersection of Shaver and Queens before 6:30 a.m., Assistant Police Chief Bud Corbett said. Hamilton was the first officer to arrive.
The suspect, 24-year-old Sergio Robles, arrived at his mother's trailer home around 5 a.m. after his wife and child spent the night there following a domestic dispute elsewhere, Corbett said. The disturbance call more than an hour later indicated no guns were involved.
Corbett said Hamilton was talking to the mother on the porch when he learned Robles had a handgun, and he radioed that in around 6:25 a.m.
Almost immediately after that, Robles came to the door and shot the officer in the head with a semiautomatic handgun.
At 6:29 a.m. an officer called dispatch to report that shots were fired and an officer was down.
Another officer approached the trailer in a cruiser and saw Robles on the porch near Hamilton's body. Corbett said the suspect, a gun still in his hands, turned toward the officer who got out of his vehicle and shot Robles with at least one round.
Robles was struck in the head and is in serious condition at Memorial Hermann.
Police said Hamilton was a four-year veteran and a married father of an infant and twin daughters.
The last fatal shooting of a Pasadena police officer was in 1993 when Officer Les Early was shot and killed in a drug raid.
"It doesn't happen very often in Pasadena," Corbett said. "We wish it was more rare than it is. I think each one of the officers react to it in their own way. It has an emotional reaction."
Robles was charged with driving while intoxicated on July 17, according to Harris County court records. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 days confinement on July 24.
Records show Robles was also charged with two prior misdemeanors. In November 2005 he was charged with driving after his license had been suspended. That charge was dismissed the following month. In February 2004, Robles was charged with discharging a firearm in a metro area. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 days confinement.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
3 other deputies suspended after photo session outside ‘flirty’ Texas eatery
In this photo provided by the Midland County Sheriff's Office, an unidentified waitress poses on a patrol vehicle outside the Twin Peaks restaurant in Round Rock, Texas, on Aug. 10.MIDLAND, Texas - A Texas sheriff fired one deputy and suspended three others without pay after a scantily dressed waitress holding a rifle posed for photographs on the hood of a patrol vehicle.
Police said Round Rock officers were dispatched to a restaurant after someone reported the waitress with the weapon, which had been given to her by one of the Midland County deputies who had been attending a training session near Austin.
The incident occurred last week in the parking lot of a Twin Peaks restaurant, which promotes its "fun, friendly and sometimes flirty atmosphere!"
The deputies told Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter that they had about three to five beers each.
A fifth deputy who remained inside the eatery got a letter of reprimand.
A drug-sniffing dog named Rambo uncovered more than 10 pounds of opium-saturated wood chips and leaves in a package at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, officials said today.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said the parcel was found Tuesday at the airport's foreign mail facility.
The wood chips and leaves were found in 29 plastic bags. Officers said they tested positive for opiates.
The parcel was shipped from Laos and headed to a residence in St. Paul, Minn. It was marked "Lao Traditional Medicines."
The border protection agency said that since September, officers at the foreign mail facility have made more than 60 opium seizures weighing a total of 300 pounds.
The opium has been found in bars of soap, in twigs and leaves, and in bottles of lotion.
--The Associated Press
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Channel 7 News story with mention of Northlake
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEWASHINGTON – Forty-three defendants in the United States and Mexico, including 10 alleged Mexican drug cartel leaders, have been charged in 12 indictments unsealed yesterday and today in U.S. federal courts in Brooklyn and Chicago, the Department of Justice, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced. The alleged leaders and other high-ranking members of several of Mexico’s most powerful drug cartels are charged with operating continuing criminal enterprises or participating in international drug trafficking conspiracies.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
TDD (202) 514-1888
Ten Alleged Mexican Drug Cartel Leaders Among 43 Defendants Indicted in Brooklyn and Chicago as Part of Coordinated Strike Against Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations
"Breaking up these dangerous cartels and stemming the flow of drugs, weapons and cash across the Southwest border is a top priority for this Justice Department," said Attorney General Eric Holder. "The cartels whose alleged leaders are charged today constitute multi-billion dollar networks that funnel drugs onto our streets and what invariably follows is more crime and violence in our communities. Today’s indictments demonstrate our unwavering commitment to root out the leaders of these criminal enterprises wherever they may be found. We will continue to stand with our partners in Mexico to dismantle the cartels’ insidious operations."
"Realizing that neither of our two countries can win over drug traffickers on its own, we have built up the bilateral cooperation between the United States and Mexico to allow us to combine our investigative and legal resources to dismantle these transnational drug organizations and bring the leaders to justice," said Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora. "We can only protect the right of our societies to live in peace and harmony through our governments’ mutual trust and shared responsibility."
Three of the suspected leaders were charged in both Brooklyn and Chicago. Joaquin "el Chapo" Guzman-Loera, Ismael "el Mayo" Zambada-Garcia and Arturo Beltran-Leyva, who are allegedly among the most powerful drug traffickers in Mexico, are alleged to be present and former heads of an organized crime syndicate known as the "Sinaloa Cartel" and "the Federation." Each of these three is designated as a Consolidated Priority Organization Target or CPOT by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).
Also charged in the Brooklyn indictments were seven other cartel leaders, including CPOT Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel Villarreal, Hector Beltran-Leyva (Arturo’s brother) and Jesus Zambada-Garcia (Ismael’s brother), each alleged leaders within the Federation; CPOT Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, the alleged head of the Juarez Cartel; CPOT Luis and Esteban Rodriguez-Olivera, alleged leaders of Los Gueros; and CPOT Tirso Martinez-Sanchez, the alleged head of his own international drug trafficking organization.
Together, the four Brooklyn and eight Chicago indictments charge that between 1990 and December 2008, Guzman-Loera, Ismael Zambada-Garcia, Arturo Beltran-Leyva and others were responsible for importing into the United States and distributing nearly 200 metric tons of cocaine, additional large quantities of heroin, and the bulk smuggling from the United States to Mexico of more than $5.8 billion in cash proceeds from narcotics sales throughout the United States and Canada.
The indictments unsealed today collectively seek forfeiture of more than $5.8 billion in drug proceeds. Also, more than 32,500 kilograms of cocaine have been seized, including approximately 3,000 kilograms seized during the Chicago investigation, approximately 7,500 kilograms seized during the New York investigation and 22,500 kilograms seized previously that were later linked to the activities of the Federation. The indictments also detail seizures of 64 kilograms of heroin and more than $22.6 million in cash during the course of the investigation.
As part of the coordinated actions, eight defendants have been arrested in the Chicago and Atlanta areas in the last week. Earlier this year, 10 additional defendants, all customers of or couriers for the organizations, were charged separately in Chicago. Five defendants, all New York-based wholesale distributors or logistics coordinators for the cartels, were charged separately in Brooklyn. In all, 58 individuals have been charged in the investigation coordinated between the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in Brooklyn and Chicago. All but one of the defendants face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of the charges against them.
"The indictments announced today are the result of a sweeping national and international effort to stem the flow of drugs across the U.S./Mexico border and into our communities," said Benton J. Campbell, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. "We will apply all available resources to win this battle." Mr. Campbell extended his grateful appreciation to ICE and the DEA Task Force in New York, the agencies responsible for leading the Eastern District’s investigation, and to the assistance provided by ICE and DEA in Miami, Houston, Mexico and Colombia.
"These indictments are among the most significant drug conspiracy charges ever returned in Chicago," said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. "They charge two major international supply organizations with importing many tons of cocaine and large quantities of heroin into the United States, often to wholesale distribution customers in Chicago, as well as to customers in other major cities. The defendants allegedly used practically every means of transportation imaginable to move these large amounts of drugs and to funnel massive amounts of money back to Mexico. I applaud the efforts of the DEA investigators who worked hard to put these cases together." Mr. Fitzgerald also thanked the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division agents in Chicago and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin in Milwaukee for their assistance.
"Today’s indictments are yet another strike against the leadership of the Mexican drug cartels," said DEA Acting Administrator Michele M. Leonhart. "Our relentless investigations penetrated deep into these pervasive criminal organizations, connecting street operations in U.S. communities like Chicago and New York to the top drug kingpins calling the shots in Mexico. Make no mistake; along with our courageous partners in Mexico, we will break these cartels and pursue their leaders."
"Law enforcement agencies in the Americas are working closer than ever before and setting up a united, borderless offense against drug cartels," said Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for ICE John Morton. "This is a significant step in breaking down the infrastructure of these criminal organizations."
According to one of the Brooklyn indictments, between 1990 and 2005, Guzman-Loera, Ismael Zambada-Garcia and Arturo Beltran-Leyva, together with Hector Beltran-Leyva, Jesus Zambada-Garcia and Villareal as leaders of the Federation, conspired to import more than 120 metric tons (264,000 pounds) of cocaine into the United States through the cooperative arrangements and coordination that the Federation provided. Members of the Federation shared drug transportation routes and obtained their drugs from various Colombian drug organizations, in particular, the Colombian Norte Valle Cartel. For example, in 2004, two shipments totaling 22,500 kilograms of cocaine were seized by the U.S. Coast Guard off the coast of Mexico. The indictment alleges that the defendants employed "sicarios," or hitmen, who carried out hundreds of acts of violence in Mexico, including murders, kidnappings, tortures and violent collections of drug debts, at their direction.
The indictments in Chicago allege that in approximately early 2008 Arturo Beltran-Leyva split his alliance with Guzman-Loera, Ismael Zambada-Garcia and the Federation due to various issues, including control of lucrative narcotics trafficking routes into the United States and the loyalty of wholesale narcotics customers, including the alleged leaders of a Chicago distribution cell. The indictments charge that Guzman-Loera and Ismael Zambada-Garcia, together with seven other high-ranking associates, including two of their sons, Alfredo Guzman-Salazar (Guzman-Loera’s son) and Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla (Ismael Zamada-Garcia’s son, who is in custody in Mexico), coordinated their narcotics trafficking activities to import multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Central and South American countries, through Mexico, and into the United States using various means of transportation, including Boeing 747 cargo aircraft; submarines and other submersible and semi-submersible vessels; container ships; go-fast boats; fishing vessels; buses; rail cars; tractor trailers; and automobiles
Guzman-Loera and Ismael Zambada-Garcia allegedly coordinated their cocaine and heroin smuggling activities to wholesale distributors throughout the United States, including a large distribution cell in Chicago of which 16 individuals were charged in an indictment unsealed today. On average, the Chicago cell allegedly received 1,500 to 2,000 kilograms of cocaine per month, at times obtaining all or a large portion of that quantity from Guzman-Loera and Ismael Zambada-Garcia and the factions of the Sinaloa Cartel they controlled, while also obtaining a substantial portion of that quantity from the Arturo Beltran-Leyva Cartel. From Chicago, the indictments allege that large quantities of cocaine and heroin were further distributed to customers in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Milwaukee; New York; Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; Vancouver, British Columbia; and elsewhere.
Guzman-Loera, Ismael Zambada-Garcia and the factions of the Sinaloa Cartel they controlled allegedly used various means to evade law enforcement and protect their narcotics distribution activities, including obtaining guns and other weapons; bribes; engaging in violence and threats of violence; and intimidating with threats of violence members of law enforcement, rival narcotics traffickers and members of their own drug trafficking organizations. According to the indictment, Guzman-Loera, Ismael Zambada-Garcia and his son, Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, discussed obtaining weapons from the United States and using violence against American and/or Mexican government buildings in retaliation for each country’s enforcement of its narcotics laws and to perpetuate their narcotics trafficking activities.
In one of the indictments unsealed today in Brooklyn, Vicente Carrillo Fuentes is alleged to be the leader of the Juarez Cartel, which operates in the Juarez-El Paso corridor, one of the primary drug smuggling routes along the border between the United States and Mexico running from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to El Paso, Texas. The DEA estimates that approximately 90 percent of the cocaine that enters the United States comes through Mexico. The Juarez Cartel allegedly received multi-ton cocaine shipments in Mexico from the Colombian Norte Valle Cartel and from the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC), a Colombian paramilitary organization and a major drug trafficking organization. According to the indictment, the Juarez Cartel maintained its power through the payment of bribes and through numerous acts of violence, including murder.
In another Brooklyn indictment, brothers Luis and Esteban Rodriguez-Olivera are charged with leading Los Gueros, a drug trafficking organization that rose to prominence within the Federation. According to court documents, Los Gueros operated a narcotics supply route that originated in Mexico, stretched into Texas and then branched off to various points, including the New York metropolitan area. Between 1996 and 2008, Los Gueros allegedly imported more than 100,000 kilograms of cocaine into the United States. The DEA estimates that between 2004 and 2006, the organization was responsible for shipping more than 2,000 kilograms of cocaine to New York City alone. In January 2006, Mexican authorities seized approximately 5,200 kilograms of the organization’s cocaine destined for the United States.
Tirso Martinez-Sanchez is alleged in one of the Brooklyn indictments to be an organizer and leader of an extensive international narcotics importation, distribution and transportation organization that is responsible for the distribution of multiple tons of cocaine in the United States. Martinez-Sanchez’s organization allegedly imported cocaine into the United States from Mexico through California and Texas, and then transported the cocaine overland to large distribution centers, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. In addition to coordinating the distribution of his own organization’s cocaine, Martinez-Sanchez also allegedly transported and distributed narcotics for members of the Juarez Cartel and the Federation.
The cases in the Eastern District of New York are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrea Goldbarg, Claire Kedeshian, Bonnie Klapper, Stephen Meyer, Walter Norkin, Patricia Notopoulos and Carolyn Pokorny.
The cases in the Northern District of Illinois are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Shakeshaft, Michael Ferrara, Greg Deis, Lindsay Jenkins, Renai Rodney, Angel Krull and Halley Guren.
The cases were investigated by the DEA, ICE and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, in cooperation with Mexican and Colombian law enforcement authorities. Additional assistance was provided by U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Milwaukee, Miami and Houston. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided assistance in these cases. The investigative efforts were coordinated with the Special Operations Division, comprised of agents, analysts and attorneys from the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section (NDDS); DEA; FBI; ICE; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Marshals Service; and Internal Revenue Service. Certain individuals named in indictments unsealed today have also been charged by other U.S. Attorneys’ Offices around the country and by NDDS.
An indictment is a formal charging document notifying the defendant of the charges. All persons charged in an indictment are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
(Top row, left to right) Cesar Ramirez-Mendez, 5022 W 24th St., Cicero; Julianna Del Percio, 1113 Saylor St., Downers Grove; Steven Bernberg, 6313 Wilshire Drive, Downers Grove; Marcos Lara, 1550 N 43rd Ave., Stone Park; (bottom row, left to right) Gerardo Lara, 5139 W. 22nd Place, Cicero; JP Burgos, 1160 Valleyview Drive, Downers Grove; Stephen Gaudreau, 8300 S. Lemont Road, Downers Grove; and Elizabeth Vojtek, 5829 Lee Ave., Downers GroveBy Catherine Donovan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Downers Grove Reporter
Wed Aug 19, 2009, 11:19 AM CDT
Downers Grove, IL -
The Downers Grove Police Department have announced the conclusion of a drug investigation that resulted in charges against nine people, seizure of drugs, guns and vehicles.
With the assistance of the DuPage Metropolitan Enforcement Group, police said several Downers Grove residents were arrested in connection with alleged cocaine sales in the village.
Those indicted by a DuPage County Grand Jury and have been charged in the investigation include:
John-Paul S. Burgos, 26, 1160 Valley View Drive, Downers Grove, who was charged with criminal drug conspiracy
Elizabeth Vojtek, 18, 5829 Lee Ave., unincorporated Downers Grove Township, who was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver
Stephen Gaudreau, 24, 8300 S. Lemont Road, unincorporated Downers Grove Township, who was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of a controlled substance
Steven Bernberg, 35, 6313 Wilshire Drive, Downers Grove, who was charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver and possession of a controlled substance
Marcos Lara, 24, of Stone Park, who was charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance and resisting arrest
Gerardo Lara, 23, 5139 W. 22nd Place, Cicero, who was charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance
Indicted by a Cook County Grand Jury include:
Cesar Ramirez-Mendez, 25, 5022 W. 24th St., Cicero, who was charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled substance
Those also arrested during the course of the investigation include:
Jacquelyn Burgos, 24, 1160 Valley View Drive, Downers Grove, who was charged with possession of marijuana
Julianna Del-Percio, 18, 1113 Saylor St., Downers Grove, who was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia
Downers Grove police said in August 2008 the department and the DUMEG initiated their investigation. The U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Illinois State Police Narcotics and Currency Interdiction Team also assisted in the case.
Police said the investigation led to obtaining search warrants in Cicero and Stone Park.
From those search warrant, police said agents seized over 21 ounces of cocaine with an estimated street value of $61,000, three guns, two cars and about $4,500.
>>Berkeley, Bellwood, Maywood, Melrose Park<<
>>Elmwood Park, River Grove<<
>>Harwood Heights, Norridge<<
By DAVID POLLARD email@example.com
Police chiefs in Proviso Township say when it comes to racial profiling their departments have no part of it.
What they do say is the high number of minorities pulled over in their communities annually is only a reflection of the racial makeup of their respective communities.
In Broadview, according to Illinois Department of Transportation's annual report on traffic stops, in 2008 total stops made by police of white drivers was 340 compared to 1,056 minorities who were stopped.
Broadview Police Chief Raymond Pelletier said his officers are only doing their job in a village where the majority of residents that live there are minorities.
"We have no racial profiling," he said. "Racial is based on the color of a person's skin and profiling is what a person is doing."
"We know the law and when you're out patrolling you're looking for criminal activity," he said. "We don't care about a person's skin color. The color of a person's skin has nothing to do with their driving habits."
Hillside Police Chief Joseph Lukaszek said the numbers are a reflection of the community he and his officers work in as well. Last year the number of stops made by Hillside police officers involving white drivers was 1,253 and 2,076 stops involving minorities.
He said the job he and his officers do is not based on race.
"You see a violation and you write the violation," he said. "That's all we do. Radar is non-discriminatory until you come out (of the squad car) and make a stop."
When asked if police officers often single out minorities while out on patrol he said it's possible, but not under his watch.
"Are there people who look for minorities?" he said. "I'm sure they do. If there was someone in our department who did that I'm sure we'd address that and we'd monitor it very closely."
Lukaszek said he believes he's been racially profiled while driving.
"I was driving down a street in an African-American community and I was pulled over," he said. "The police officer said I'm stopping you because you're white and you're in a known drug area. It was a black officer."
He would not say what community he was driving through, but did find it a bit disturbing. "Just because I'm white driving down the street, but I'm not buying drugs," he said.
Ultimately he says the driver has a lot to do with receiving a ticket.
"It boils down to attitude," he said. "If you come off with an attitude toward cops, you probably will get a ticket."
In Stone Park the total stops of white drivers last year were 187 versus 226 of minority drivers.
Stone Park Deputy Police Chief Lou Fatta said the numbers are the result of police in the village doing their job.
"Good police work is good police work," he said. "It's justice for all."
When he goes out patrolling he said he doesn't think about race.
"When I go out there I'm thinking about deterring and preventing crime, meeting the needs and expectations of my community," he said. "Race doesn't fit into that."
"If there was an issue or accusation we would examine or look at it," he said. "If we (police department) felt someone was doing something like that, they would be fired. I have no problem saying that."
By MARIO BARTOLETTI firstname.lastname@example.org
Maywood and Melrose Park have large minority populations which means a driver from those ethnic groups is much more likely to be pulled over in those communities than a Caucasian driver.
Statewide, a minority driver is 13 percent more likely to get pulled over in Illinois than a Caucasian driver according to a study at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Maywood officials said technically Caucasians are a minority, as the village has a low Caucasian makeup, which also contributes to the lower number of Caucasian traffic stops in the village. The community had about 27,500 residents in 2008 with 70 percent of residents being black, 20 percent Hispanic and about 10 percent Caucasian.
According to the data from the Illinois Department of Transportation, in Maywood, in 2008, 746 white drivers were stopped compared with 1,048 minority drivers, the study showed. For the white drivers, 231 were stopped for moving violations, 503 for equipment violations and 12 for license or registration violations. For minority drivers, 831 were stopped for moving violations 189 for equipment violations and 28 for license or registration violations.
For the total outcome of white drivers, 283 were given citations, two were issued a written warning and 461 received a verbal warning. For minority drivers, 852 were issued citations, none were given written warnings and 196 verbal warnings.
Village spokesman Larry Shapiro said the data is reflective of an "active and visible police department." "We're proud of our record," he said. "We certainly believe in enforcement and in stopping individual drivers where there's reason to. We don't engage, or support or encourage, arbitrary traffic stops of any kind."
According to the study, because the village is near Chicago and major thoroughfares, most Caucasians were given moving violations as the result of equipment violations which are more easily observed by police officers during rush hours.
Additionally, Maywood police receive many calls for drug trafficking, most of which lead to traffic stops. Fewer verbal warnings may be issued during a traffic stop because other factors, like the presence of illegal substances.
In Melrose Park, 817 white drivers were stopped in 2008, compared with 3,166 minority drivers, the study showed. For the white drivers, 372 were stopped for moving violations, 312 for equipment violations and 133 for license or registration violations. For minority drivers, 1,481 were stopped for moving violations, 1,281 for equipment violations and 404 for license or registration violations. For the total outcome of white drivers, 817 were given citations, three were issued a written warning and 79 received a verbal warning. For minority drivers, 2,919 were issued citations, 17 written warnings and 230 verbal warnings.
Also charged were Joaquin "el Chapo" Guzman-Loera, Arturo Beltran-Leyva and Ismael "el Mayo" Zambada-Garcia.
Those charged include twin brothers from Chicago -- Margarito and Pedro Flores.Download the indictments >>HERE
August 20, 2009
BY NATASHA KORECKI Federal Courts Reporter
Federal authorities have disrupted a massive cocaine operation that was bringing 1,500 to 2,000 kilos of cocaine a month to Chicago from the most powerful drug traffickers in Mexico, in what law enforcement is calling the most significant drug conspiracy ever to be broken up in Chicago.
Thirty-six people in Chicago and Mexico were indicted.
"These are the most significant drug importation conspiracies ever charged in Chicago," U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said. "The indictments charge two major international supply organizations with importing many tons of cocaine and quantities of heroin into the United States, often to wholesale distribution customers in Chicago." Authorities, led by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, are seeking to seize $1.8 billion in cash.
Those charged include twin brothers from Chicago -- Pedro and Margarito Flores -- who, according to federal authorities, controlled Chicago¹s distribution cell in the operation.
They Flores brothers were allegedly supplied by two warring cartel factions that have contributed to escalating violence in Mexico, including one reputedly led by Joaquin "el Chapo" Guzman-Loera and Ismael "el Mayo" Zambada-Garcia, and another authorities said was led by Arturo Beltran-Leyva. They are described as the most powerful drug traffickers in Mexico, each of which threatened the Flores brothers with acts of violence if they did business with the other, authorities said.
The Flores brothers, who are in custody, had done business with each, authorities said.
Cpl. Mike Roberts, center, flanked by Mayor Pam Iorio and Chief Steve Hoguehere at his promotion ceremony last month.
TAMPA, Fla. --
A Tampa police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty Wednesday night.
Authorities said they've arrested Humberto Delgado Jr., 34, and believe he was responsible for the shooting.
Cpl. Mike Roberts, 38, was killed around 10 p.m. while responding to a call north of downtown Tampa. Witnesses said the officer became involved in a violent struggle with the assailant, who hit the officer several times with a pistol and then shot him once.
Assistant Police Chief Jane Castor said Roberts was wearing body armor, but the bullet went through his arm and into his chest. Investigators said Delgado fled the scene, but officers were able to track him down and arrest him. He was reportedly found carrying a backpack containing several firearms.
Roberts was married and had a 3-year-old son.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The Chronicle, Centralia, Wash.
A Lewis County sheriff's deputy died Tuesday night of injuries sustained almost exactly 24 hours earlier when his patrol cruiser hit an elk in Packwood.
Deputy Stephen "Mike" Gallagher, Adna, died at 8:05 p.m. He was 34.
Gallagher had been rushed by helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after the crash at 8:23 p.m. Monday. He was on his way to back up another officer for a domestic violence call when he hit the elk near mile post 130 on U.S. Highway 12.
The deputy had worked for the sheriff's office for six years. He started work in the Lewis County Jail in July 2003. He was hired as a deputy sheriff in September 2007 and graduated from law enforcement academy in January 2008.
Gallagher was also an Army veteran. He served eight years in the military, including in Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti and Operation Joint Guardian in Kosovo as a staff sergeant and squad leader.
He was married and leaves behind two young children.
For several years a controversy has been boiling over whether a heightened number of elk in East Lewis County should prompt an increased hunt. Estimates of the number of elk vary, and the state recommended an increase in hunting early this year after numerous complaints from neighbors, some in Packwood.
That proposal met opposition from the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, but the general consensus between the two is that elk at the East End are growing less shy around roads and homes.
The last sheriff's office employee to die while on duty was Deputy Richard Alfred Snider, who had a heart attack while on duty at the jail in February 1986. Before that, Deputy Ernest Runke died after an assault in September 1957. Two other line-of-duty deaths are listed in records from 1937 and 1919.