Slideshow

GANGLAND NEWS

September 04, 2012

Griselda Blanco, gunned down in Medellin, Colombia Two armed riders pulled up to Blanco as she was leaving a butcher shop in her hometown

Florida Department of Corrections

Griselda Blanco in 2004.

The convicted Colombian drug smuggler known as the “Godmother of Cocaine,” Griselda Blanco, 69, was gunned down by a motorcycle-riding assassin in Medellin, Colombian national police confirmed late Monday, according to the Miami Herald.

Blanco spent nearly 20 years in prison in the United States for drug trafficking and three murders before being deported to Colombia in 2004, the Herald reported.

Two armed riders pulled up to Blanco as she was leaving a butcher shop in her hometown, and one shot her twice in the head, the Herald reported, citing a report in El Colombiano newspaper.

Family members said Blanco had cut her ties to organized crime after returning to her country, the BBC reported. Police said they were investigating the motive.

Blanco was one of the first to engage in large-scale smuggling of cocaine into the United States from Colombia and set up many of the routes used by the Medellin cartel after she was sentenced in the United States in 1985, the BBC reported.

Investigators told the Herald that they estimate conservatively that Blanco was behind about 40 slayings. She was convicted in connection with three murders: Arranging the killing of two South Miami drug dealers who had not paid for a delivery, and ordering the assassination of a former enforcer for her organization, an operation that resulted in the death of the target’s 2-year-old son, the Herald reported.

Three of Blanco’s husbands were killed in violence related to drugs, the Herald reported, and one of her sons was named Michael Corleone, a reference to “The Godfather” movies.

Blanco is credited with originating motorcycle assassinations, the Herald reported.

“This is classic live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword,” filmmaker Billy Corben, who with Alfred Spellman made two “Cocaine Cowboys” documentaries, told the Herald. “Or in this case, live-by-the-motorcycle-assassin, die-by-the-motorcycle assassin.”

August 27, 2012

Bikie gang suspects in brawl arrests at Penrith shopping centre

FOUR men with alleged links to outlaw motorcycle gangs were arrested last week after a brawl at a Penrith shopping centre. Police officers from the gangs squad and Penrith local area command had been investigating the brawl, which forced shoppers to flee for their safety about 2.45pm last Monday. Police will allege a man was leaving the shopping centre when he was confronted by a group of nine men and fighting began. A number of people tried to intervene, including an unknown male who was assaulted. All involved in the brawl then left the scene. At 7am last Thursday, police simultaneously raided four homes at St Marys, Emu Plains, South Windsor and Freemans Reach. Three men with alleged links to the Rebels were arrested at St Marys and Emu Plains, while an alleged senior Nomads member was arrested at Freemans Reach. During the search warrants, police seized distinctive gang clothing, quantities of anabolic steroids and prescription drugs and a set of knuckledusters. A man, 29, of Emu Plains, was charged with affray, participate in a criminal group and two counts of possess prescribed restricted substance. A man, 44, of Freemans Reach, was charged with affray, possess prohibited weapon, and two counts of possess prescribed restricted substance. A man, 25, of St Marys, and a 23-year-old New Zealand man were each charged with affray and participate in a criminal group. Penrith crime manager Detective Inspector Grant Healey said further arrests were anticipated.

27 charged in California-Mexico methamphetamine ring

 Local and federal authorities moved Thursday to break up an alleged drug trafficking ring connecting a major Mexican cartel and San Gabriel Valley street gangs, arresting 17 people in a pre-dawn sweep. A federal indictment unsealed Thursday charges 27 defendants with making, possessing and dealing methamphetamine imported by La Familia Michoacana, one of Mexico’s most violent cartels, to two Pomona gangs: Los Amables and Westside Pomona Malditos. Seven law enforcement agencies, including the Pasadena and Pomona police, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration, were involved in the sweep. Thursday’s crackdown is the culmination of a probe called Operation Crystal Light, a 16-month investigation by the San Gabriel Valley Safe Streets Gang Task Force. The investigation was launched after a 2011 kidnapping among suspected gang members in Southern California. Officers said they seized nine weapons, an undisclosed amount of methamphetamine, other drugs, and paraphernalia in Thursday morning raids in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The probe involved about 200 law enforcement officers and several undercover purchases. “The goal of the federal task force is to disrupt the network so it’s disrupted permanently,” Timothy Delaney, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Criminal Division in Los Angeles, said. “Today’s arrests took some very serious players in the methamphetamine world off the streets.” The methamphetamine came into the country in liquid form via airplane, boats and cars, officials said. The drug was recrystallized at an Ontario home before local gangs would sell it and funnel money to the Mexican cartel. Most of the drugs were being sold in Pomona and Ontario, according to Assistant U.S. Atty. Shawn Nelson. Dealers were selling multiple pounds a day and making up to $9,000 per pound, Nelson said. He described the arrests as “a good dent” in the Mexican cartel’s local drug network. Three suspects were in custody before the raid and seven remain at large, federal authorities said. The indictment alleges that a La Familia Michoacana associate named Jose Juan Garcia Barron oversaw the transport of the meth between Mexico and Los Angeles County. Delaney said Garcia Barron is among the suspects who have not been apprehended. The 17 arrested Thursday were expected to make their first court appearance Thursday afternoon at U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

Police think Ogden drive-bys are tied to gang's power struggle

Police believe drive-by shootings at an Ogden home Tuesday night and Wednesday morning may be related to a violent power struggle within a street gang over control of leadership, drugs and money. Ogden Police Lt. Scott Conley declined to identify the gang, but said members are not affiliated with the Ogden Trece. On Monday, 2nd District Judge Ernie Jones issued a permanent injunction against Trece members, banning them from associating with each other in public and being in the presence of guns, drugs and alcohol. The injunction also places Treces under an 11 p.m. curfew. The drive-by shootings at a home in the 500 block of 28th Street are signs of in-fighting among members of a local gang who are attempting to resolve their differences through escalating violence, Conley said. “They are in the same gang and are arguing back and forth,” he said, noting police have gathered intelligence on the dispute. “We are taking enforcement action to eradicate the problem or get the individuals involved incarcerated.” Six to eight gang members are believed to be involved in the dispute.

August 25, 2012

The nine people believed injured by stray police gunfire outside the Empire State Building were not the first to learn how dangerous a crowded street can be in a gunfight.

 Civilians occasionally find themselves in harm's way when officers use deadly force, though usually only a handful of times annually. When that happens, a rigid process of investigation is set in motion — and the police department can reasonably expect a lawsuit. The latest episode came when police say a man disgruntled over losing his job a year ago shot a former colleague to death and pointed his weapon at two police officers in the shadow of a major tourist attraction. He apparently wasn't able to fire before police killed him, one firing off seven rounds and the other nine. Bystanders suffered graze wounds, and some were struck by concrete gouged from buildings by the bullets, authorities said. At least one person said he was actually hit by a bullet. Robert Asika, a 23-year-old tour guide who was hit in the right arm, said he was "100 percent positive" he was shot by a police officer. A witness told police that laid-off clothing designer Jeffrey Johnson fired at officers, but ballistics evidence so far contradicts that, authorities said.

August 23, 2012

Tracking a Rare Tattoo-Related Infection

A Trail of Ink: Tracking a Rare Tattoo-Related Infection

PHOTO: Tattoo ink skin infection
An uncommon skin infection led to a doctor's investigation into tainted tattoo ink. (Monroe County Health Department)
The reddish-purple rash, seemingly woven into the tattoo on a 20-year-old New Yorker's forearm, was strange enough to have doctors scratching their heads.

This trail began when the man received a tattoo in Rochester, N.Y. in October 2011. A short while later, he noticed the raised, bumpy rash. He called his primary care physician.

Doctors initially treated the man's arm with topical steroids, thinking that the rash was allergic-contact dermatitis. But that only made the problem worse.

By the time dermatologist Dr. Mark Goldgeier saw the patient, it was clear that this was no simple allergy.

He performed a skin biopsy so he could take a closer look at the rash under a microscope. What he saw was startling: the sample was riddled with a wormlike bacterium related to tuberculosis.

"I explained [to the patient] that he had TB, and he had a look of horror on his face," Goldgeier said.

For the patient, the finding meant a trip to an infectious disease specialist to start up to a full year of treatment.

Goldgeier, meanwhile, called the Monroe County Health Department.

"As soon as biopsy came back," he said, "I knew something in the process of tattooing was involved -- the ink, the water used for dilution, the syringes, the dressings."

And so began a nationwide medical mystery.

An article published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine describes how this one dermatologist helped connect the dots in an outbreak of tattoo-related atypical skin infections.

Dr. Byron Kennedy, public health specialist at Monroe County Department of Public Health, took over the case from Goldgeier. Kennedy first confirmed the results by repeating a skin biopsy on the patient. Once again, tendrils of mycobacterium chelonae, a type of tuberculosis-related skin bacteria, showed up in the sample.

Mycobacterium chelonae is a rapidly growing bug found in soil, dust, water, animals, hospitals, and contaminated pharmaceuticals. This family of bacteria does not commonly affect healthy individuals, but in patients with suppressed immune systems -- like those with HIV or on chemotherapy -- these bacteria can cause serious disease, often resulting in death.

The finding sent Kennedy and his associates to the tattoo parlor where the patient had been inked. Everything in the clinic was sterile, which made it unlikely that the infection had arisen there. But the tattoo artist, they learned, had been using a new gray premixed ink purchased in Arizona in April 2011; he used the ink between May and December 2011.

The ingredients of the ink -- pigment, witch hazel, glycerin, and distilled water -- seemed innocuous enough. But further examination revealed that the distilled water in the pigment was the likely culprit of the contamination.

The finding raised a number of questions -- not the least of which was how the bottles of premixed ink passed U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged this gap in regulations Wednesday in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report.

"Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, tattoo inks are considered to be cosmetics, and the pigments used in the inks are color additives requiring premarket approval," the report says.

Armed gang fight breaks out in Venezuelan prison

Twenty-five people were killed and 43 others hurt in a prison battle in Venezuela as two armed gangs vied for control of a penitentiary near Caracas, authorities said on Monday.

July 29, 2012

NYPD detective suspended after kidnapping victim found in his garage

17-year veteran of the New York Police Department has been suspended without pay after a kidnapping victim was found tied up in his garage. The New York Post reports Ondre Johnson, a detective with the Brooklyn north gang unit, was being questioned in connection with the incident and was forced to surrender his gun and badge. A source tells the Post the 25-year-old victim was snatched off the street on July 26. The victim's friends then got calls demanding $75,000 for the victim's release. The call was traced to Johnson's home, MyFoxNY.com reports. When authorities arrived Friday afternoon, Johnson answered the door and identified himself as a detective with the NYPD. Investigators then found the victim tied up in the garage. Four men have been charged in the apparent kidnapping scheme, MyFoxNY.com reports. 30-year-old Hakeem Clark, who lives in the same building as Johnson, was charged with kidnapping and weapons possession along with 27-year-old Jason Hutson and 27-year-old James Gayle. 24-year-old Alfredo Haughton was charged with kidnapping.

Jamie “Iceman” Stevenson is back on the streets

Jamie “Iceman” Stevenson is back on the streets – less than halfway through his prison sentence for laundering £1million of drugs cash. Scotland’s most powerful mobster has been enjoying meals at expensive restaurants and socialising with pals after being allowed home for a week each month. Stevenson – who was also accused of shooting dead his best friend in an underworld hit – was put behind bars in September 2006 when he was arrested after a four-year surveillance operation by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. He was later sentenced to 12 years and nine months for money laundering. But, we can reveal, he is now allowed out of Castle Huntly open prison near Dundee – just five years and 10 months later. A source said: “He seems determined to show his face all around town to deliver the message that he’s back and, as far as he’s concerned, nothing has changed. “A lot of people are surprised that he’s being allowed out so early. Some are not too pleased about it for a number of reasons.” Stevenson, 47, has been spotted at Bothwell Bar & Brasserie, which is run by his friend Stewart Gilmore. He and his cronies have also dined at upmarket Italian restaurant Il Pavone in Glasgow’s Princes Square shopping centre. And Stevenson has joined friends at various other restaurants and hotels, including Glasgow’s Hilton Garden Inn. A Sunday Mail investigation can today reveal that the Parole Board for Scotland could recommend Stevenson’s total freedom as early as February next year. However, the final decision on his release will rest with Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill. Yesterday, Labour justice spokesman Lewis Macdonald said: “I’m surprised to hear this and that anyone in these circumstances should get out of jail before the halfway point of their sentence – far less so when the conviction is of someone involved in organised crime. “The only circumstances where that would be conceivable would be if someone completely changed their lifestyle. But even then that should not be before they’ve served half their sentence. “I’m sure the victims of these crimes – and with drugs there are direct and indirect victims – will also be surprised at this.” To prepare Stevenson for his release, prison bosses have allowed him to stay a full week each month at his modest flat in Burnside, near Glasgow. On Friday, we watched him leaving the property with his wife Caroline and driving off in a silver Audi. A prison service insider said: “The Parole Board expect the prison authorities to have allowed home visits to test suitability for release ahead of the first eligible parole date. In Stevenson’s case, that’s next February. “There are conditions attached which vary but usually include the obvious ones like not mixing with other criminals and staying only at the designated address. “For prisoners sentenced to more than 10 years, the Parole Board make their recommendations to the Justice Secretary, who then decides whether to release on licence. “Stevenson is trying to keep his nose clean to convince the Parole Board that he poses no threat to society. “But, given his high profile and significance, it’s inevitable that the authorities will be careful before making any final decision.” Stevenson headed a global smuggling gang with a multi-million-pound turnover when he was brought down by the SCDEA’s Operation Folklore, which seized £61million of drugs. He faced drug and money laundering charges along with eight other suspects, including his 53-year-old wife. But his lawyers struck a deal with the Crown Office to admit money laundering in exchange for his wife’s freedom and the drugs charges being dropped. Stevenson’s stepson Gerry Carbin Jr, 32, was also jailed – for five years and six months – but was freed in 2010. Stevenson was previously arrested for the murder of Tony McGovern, 35, who was gunned down in Glasgow’s Springburn in 2000. But prosecutors dropped the case through lack of evidence. A gangland source said: “He does not fear any kind of reprisal from Tony’s brothers, nor does he regard any other criminals in Scotland as a threat or even as rivals. He did not fear any other operation in Scotland before he was jailed. Why would he now?” Two years ago, the Sunday Mail exposed a backdoor deal when the Crown handed back Stevenson’s £300,000 watch collection, which had been seized under proceeds of crime of legislation. Last June, he was sent back to high-security Shotts jail in Lanarkshire from an open prison after a major SCDEA drugs probe, Operation Chilon. Detectives believed that the gang they investigated was controlled by Stevenson. Haulage firm boss Charles McAughey’s home was one of 11 targeted in raids. In 2009, we revealed that French police had found 684kg of pure cocaine worth £31million in a lorry owned by McAughey. Chilon resulted in the SCDEA seizing 242kg of cannabis worth £1.21million and the jailing of three men for a combined 15 years.

Four Dead in Gang Related Shooting

Police in Alice are investigating a shooting that occurred near Reynolds Street. According to investigators, it all started on South Nayer Street where police say Isaac Vela was standing on the side of the road waiting for a ride. A vehicle -- with four people inside passed by. One of the passengers, police say, shot Vela in the face. The vehicle fled the scene, but the driver only made it a few blocks before he lost control of the vehicle. It smashed into a nearby school. Three of the four people inside the car died. The other is in the hospital...where investigators will interview him tomorrow. Police say all of the men involved are known gang members.

July 28, 2012

Tulisa's Friend, 21, Shot Dead In Gangland Hit

Reece James, 21, a close friend of Tulisa Contostavlos has been shot dead in a reported gangland attack. The 21-year-old, who appeared with Tulisa in a video for rapper Nines, was shot in the head in a "pre-planned and targeted" hit, 100 miles from his home in London, reports the UK's Sun newspaper. Police found James' body in Boscombe, Bournemouth, at around 2.30am near where Somali drug gangs are said operate. A 22-year-old man was arrested. Reece was said to have been in the area with some friends for "a couple of months", though had filmed the video earlier this month with Tulisa and rapper Nines on the Church End Estate in Harlesden, North West London. The former N Dubz star caused controversy at the time, making a "C" symbol to the camera - the same sign that is used by Harlesden's notorious Church Road Soldiers gang. Tulisa claimed it was a reference to Camden, where she was born. Twitter tributes began flooding in last night, with one user writing, "RIP Reece James. Thoughts are with him and his family and friends". Local MP Tobias Ellwood described the killing as "a spill over from the drugs turf war in the capital", adding, "This was one London gang chasing down another, carrying out a professional hit and then going back".

July 18, 2012

Toronto police fear 'retaliatory vengeance' after deadly gang fight

Teams of street gang specialists began combing known gang hangout neighbourhoods in a bid to prevent revenge attacks after the worst mass shooting in Toronto's history, the city's top cop announced Tuesday. In addition to its gang-crime units, Chief Bill Blair said supervisors have "deployed significant uniformed resources into communities where we fear retaliation." They include the Toronto neighbourhoods of Scarborough, Rexdale and North York, Blair said, and the historically gang-plagued Jane-Finch area. "We are very concerned for retaliatory vengeance," he said, declining to characterize the shooting at a barbecue on an east-end residential street as part of a gang war. But with partygoers likely coming from other areas, "there are other neighbourhoods that could be impacted," Blair said, calling the Danzig St. shooting "unprecedented" and requiring "immediate action." There is a "strong indication of gang involvement," but despite believing they "have good investigative leads," he said it was too early in the hunt for the shooters to reveal further detail. Blair said he doesn't want to risk releasing information that could harm future court proceedings. One handgun was seized after gunfire erupted around 10:42 p.m. Monday at the house party in Toronto's east-end Scarborough neighbourhood. The high volume of shots suggests they were firing semi-automatics. Based on information given to police, Blair said gunfire was exchanged between two men, leaving two "innocent" people dead and 24 others - ranging in age from 22 months to 33 years - suffering various wounds. Shyanne Charles, 14, of Toronto, and Joshua Yasay, 23, of Ajax, became Toronto's 27th and 28th murder victims of the year when they were pronounced dead where they fell. Paramedics treated the wounded for wide-ranging injuries as slight as "grazing," Blair said, lauding their quick response to 911 calls. Several of the 16 survivors taken to hospital were released, but one man undergoing surgery was left in critical condition. Police are striving to "very quickly" bring this year's latest public shooting to a "quick resolution," the chief said. Those responsible "have to be held accountable."Referring to the June 2 shooting of seven people at the Eaton Centre, a crowded downtown shopping mall, in which two men were killed, plus the Boxing Day 2005 shooting death of teenage shopper Jane Creba, he said police efforts are aimed at protecting the "safety of the innocents." Blair said the "very brazen type of depraved violence is characteristic of people with a gang mentality." "We have received some co-operation from individuals at the scene," he said, adding that police have identified one person of interest as the investigation continues. Of the 23 injured by gunfire and the one person trampled in the chaos, Blair said "many of these people were innocent individuals." Some of the wounded were hit by projectiles that had already struck other victims. When the shooting started, many people in a crowd estimated at more than 100 fled, which was a natural fear reaction, the chief said. But he appealed to anyone who was there - especially those with video or photos and who care for the safety of themselves, loved ones and their community - to contact the police homicide squad. Blair also issued a warning about anyone who is linked to gang members: "If you associate with such individuals, you put yourself at risk." Asked about increasing gun incidents in the city, he said, "Today is not, in my opinion, a day to reflect on statistics." He said police did not have prior knowledge about the barbecue, which was "just recently organized." He said Toronto Police were very effective in tackling gangs and related shootings seven years ago, when the Gun and Gang unit was formed. Blair said he contacted Premier Dalton McGuinty and Mayor Rob Ford after Monday's shooting. "I believe Toronto is a very safe and liveable place, but last night (that street) was not a safe place," he said. In a statement, the city's police overseers expressed support for the investigation. "The Toronto Police Services Board is saddened to learn of the loss of life and the injuries resulting from the horrible shooting incident," chairman Alok Mukherjee said. "The board expresses its condolences to the families who have been so dreadfully affected by this senseless violence."We fully support the efforts being made by the Toronto Police Service under Chief Blair's leadership and are confident that those responsible will be identified and charged. "Everyone's co-operation is required in order to solve this crime."

Police suspect gangs behind Toronto BBQ shooting that killed 2, injured 24


A man is attended to on the scene and loaded onto a gurney for transport following a shooting that left 19 injured and two dead in Toronto late Monday, July 16, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Toronto Star - Rick Madonik
 

A man is attended to on the scene and loaded onto a gurney for transport following a shooting that left 19 injured and two dead in Toronto late Monday, July 16, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Toronto Star - Rick Madonik

TORONTO - The threat of revenge-fuelled violence weighed heavily on an east-end Toronto neighbourhood Tuesday as residents mourned the victims of a deadly shooting rampage at a bustling block party and police vowed to bring the gunmen to justice.

Officers pleaded for witnesses to come forward while promising to stand guard over those left shaken and fearful by the attack that killed two people and wounded two dozen Monday night.

About 200 people were at the barbecue held outside a community housing complex when two gunmen opened fire after an altercation in what police are calling the worst incident of gun violence in the city's recent history.

Police said they suspect gangs were involved in the shooting that killed 14-year-old Shyanne Charles of Toronto and 23-year-old Joshua Yasay of Ajax.

Twenty-three others were sent to hospital with gunshot wounds, including a 22-month-old child who was grazed by a bullet and is in stable condition, police said. One person was trampled in the ensuing stampede.

Some of the wounded, aged between one and 33 years old, were treated and released. One man remained in critical condition in hospital Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Messages of grief quickly appeared on social media even as some hinted the deaths could spur more violence.

"The hood gained another angel to look over us, RIP," one person wrote on Twitter.

Police Chief Bill Blair said police have received "some co-operation" from witnesses at the scene and called on all community members who attended the party to help with the investigation.

Police also asked for anyone with video or photos of the incident to send them in, a strategy they have used in similar investigations in the past.

"I'm here today to make an appeal through you all, to the many hundreds of people who were present at the event yesterday who may have some information relevant to this investigation to come forward," Blair said.

"We are very concerned not only with the quick resolution and solving of this crime but the potential for retaliatory violence, which we often see in this type of event," Blair said.

Police said one injured "person of interest" is in custody.

The incident took place before 11 p.m. Monday on Danzig Street near Morningside Avenue and Lawrence Avenue East.

The street was still strewn with empty water bottles and other remnants of the party on Tuesday, as swaths of police tape surrounded the area.

Shannon Longshaw said the party, which she helped organize, started as an afternoon barbecue for neighbourhood kids. But even as the crowd grew later in the day, she said the festivities stayed friendly — until shots suddenly rang out.

"There was no fighting, nobody got into an altercation, none of that," she said Tuesday morning, after spending much of the night being questioned by officers.

Bruce Strachan has lived in the area his whole life, but said he's now thinking of moving away.

"This is shocking," he said, watching police comb over the scene.

"I've got my two granddaughters living with me here. I brought them up from Trinidad to be safe from this type of violence and it's right around my corner."

Tears shone in one man's eyes as he recalled walking out of a friend's house and into the crowded celebration just moments before violence erupted.

"I saw people running, I heard 'crack, crack' and I hit the ground," said the man, who did not want to be identified out of concern for his safety.

"It was like a Quentin Tarantino movie," he said, calling it the most frightening thing he had ever seen in more than four decades in the neighbourhood.

Mayor Rob Ford visited the scene of what he called a "horrible tragedy" Tuesday and sought to reassure residents that Toronto remains safe, despite several high-profile shootings in recent weeks.

"We've had a couple of isolated incidents ... I know this is the safest city in the world, I've always said that, I truly believe it," said Ford.

"Everyone has to move on and carry on with their life," he added.

Federal and provincial officials quickly condemned the violence.

"The actions that unfolded there sadden us and anger us at the same time," Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty said. "They are, in a word, outrageous, something that we cannot and will not stand for, we will not tolerate."

Monday night's shooting came just weeks after a gunman opened fire in a crowded food court at Toronto's Eaton Centre. One man was killed instantly, another died of his injuries days later and several bystanders were sent to hospital.

In another recent incident, a man was shot in Toronto's east end shortly after the Canada Day fireworks display at the city's waterfront.

As well, a man was gunned down at a crowded cafe in Toronto's Little Italy on June 18.




June 26, 2012

High Court Judges to lose Their bodyguards

"This can not be right. They can not just do this from one day to the next," said one judge High Court on Monday after learning the bodyguards That Were Being Assigned To him taken away. The Interior Ministry HAS BEGUN ITS plan to massively reduce the number of bodyguards Assigned to Judges, Prosecutors and other Officials, High Court sources said. The Reductions, Including the elimination of Government vehicles for Some Officials, are to start in September Taking effect from today. Among Those Who will be left without protection are three anti-corruption Prosecutors who are Investigating the Russian Mafia Currently the Gürtel and Contracts-for-kickbacks case. It was the High Court's chief criminal judge, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who Informed His colleagues of the Government's decision. The Reasons? The Government no longer feels pressured by ETA, Which Announced an end to attacks last fall, and the move is part of overall cost-cutting Measures ordered by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. INITIALLY, Grande Marlaska, High Court Chief Judge Angel Juanes, chief prosecutor Javier Zaragoza and Judge Jose Luis de Castro, who covers penitentiary issues, will keep Their bodyguards and official vehicles. The rest of the Judges and Prosecutors will now Have to go to work unprotected and by Their Own means. Interior's decision will Radically change the Manner in Which protection is afforded to Courtrooms Interior's decision, if it is finally Implemented across the High Court, will Radically change the Manner in Which protection is afforded to Courtrooms. Until now, judge and prosecutor Each four police officers HAD Assigned to Them, as well as a vehicle. Some Judges Say That They Will the only protection is now Have Regular surveillance of Their homes. The High Court Judges and Its Prosecutors intendant to file a note of protest With The Interior Ministry, the sources said. Their colds are among a complaint That Neither Justice nor the Interior Ministry Officials to Assess Whether made evaluations at Risk Before They Were Deciding to Eliminate bodyguards. The decision to Affect también said the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ) legal watchdog and the Supreme Court. In a statement released on Monday, Prosecutors Say That state has not yet ETA disbanded and the Danger Posed by That terrorists still exists. According To Interior Ministry estimates, police officers who 1.010 Some Were serving as bodyguards will be reassigned to other Duties.

June 24, 2012

Bloods gang member from Paterson gets 89 months in prison

federal judge Wednesday sentenced Michael McCloud, of Paterson, to 89 months in prison for his role with the Fruit Town Brims, a set of the Bloods that authorities said terrorized a section of Paterson for years through violent activities connected to dealing drugs. McCloud, 26, also known as “Ike Brim,” was the second Bloods member to be sentenced this week by U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler for their part in a broad racketeering conspiracy to sell narcotics in Paterson and Newark. Chesler Tuesday sentenced Ricky Coleman, also known as “Pool Stick” and “Sticks,” 39, of Newark, to 151 months for a range of violent crimes and racketeering. McCloud was among 15 alleged members and associates of the Fruit Town and Brick City Brims charged in a 20-count federal indictment with racketeering, murder and other crimes. He was arrested by federal agents in Passaic in January 2011 and pleaded guilty to the RICO conspiracy charge in August. In his guilty plea, McCloud admitted to selling crack cocaine to an undercover officer on August 30, 2006, together with two other members of the gang. McCloud also admitted to participating in two robberies in Paterson in 2006. In the first robbery, McCloud and another gang member who was armed with an AK-47 broke up a dice game and took drugs, cell phones and money. In the second, McCloud worked with other gang members to commit a robbery in retaliation for the shooting of an associate by a member of a rival gang. In the sentencing hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa L. Jampol said the Fruit Town Brims had asserted a powerful control of a section of Paterson, centered at the intersection of 12th and 22nd streets. The gang members transformed this section into an area “that was completely uninhabitable,” to the point that residents were too afraid to leave their homes and attend church services, Jampol said. McCloud’s attorney, James Patton, said his client had worked hard to turn his life around, and was working full-time at Domino’s Pizza when he was arrested last January in the RICO sweep. McCloud told Chesler that he couldn’t change the past, but was trying to become a better person for the future. “I’m tired of going in and out of jail,” McCloud said. “I’m tired of letting my family down. And I’m tired of being a failure.” But Chesler was unmoved by this testimony. McCloud’s criminal history is a long one that begins at age 15, and there is nothing to indicate that his repeated contact with law enforcement had done anything to deter the young man from a life of drugs and violence, Chesler said. The sentence – the maximum under federal guidelines, with 36 months subtracted due to time already spent in a state prison – was meant to serve as a deterrent to other gang members engaged in the same activities, Chesler said. “His offenses are horrendous,” the judge said. “He was part of a gang that terrorized citizens of this state.”

Leaders of El Salvador’s Mara street gangs said they are ready to start negotiations with the government toward a permanent peace pact

Leaders of El Salvador’s Mara street gangs said they are ready to start negotiations with the government toward a permanent peace pact following the success of a three-month-old temporary truce that has lowered the Central American country’s murder rate dramatically. The gang leaders said during a ceremony at the Izalco prison to celebrate the first 100 days of the truce that they want the government to offer job programs or some other sort of aid to gang members in exchange. “We want to reach a definitive ceasefire, to end all the criminal acts of the gangs,” said Mara 18 leader Oscar Armando Reyes. “But we have to reach agreements, because we have to survive. There was talk of job plans, but we haven’t gotten any answers, and it is time for the government to listen to us.” Mr. Reyes said the gangs weren’t thinking of ending the temporary truce. “We are issuing a call for us all to sit down and have a dialogue, to reach a definitive accord,” he said. There was no immediate response from the government. Former leftist guerrilla commander Raul Mijango and Roman Catholic Bishop Fabio Colindres mediated a truce between the Mara Salvatrucha and the Mara 18 gangs in March that has helped lower homicide rates. Mr. Mijango said the country’s homicide rate has dropped from about 14 murders a day in March to about five a day in early June. “This effort has saved the lives of more than 850 innocent Salvadorans,” Mr. Mijango said. An estimated 50,000 Salvadorans belong to street gangs that deal drugs, extort businesses and kill rivals. Gang leaders say they want to stop the violence that has given El Salvador one of the highest murder rates in the world, behind neighbouring Honduras. In April, authorities rejected a proposal that El Salvador’s gangs receive the subsidies the government currently spends on public transportation in exchange for gang members stopping extortion of bus drivers.

Indicted gang member arrested

last of 27 alleged gang members indicted in April was arrested Tuesday afternoon by the U.S. Marshals Service. Darius Smith was taken into custody around 3 p.m. after authorities found him on James Street, officials of the service said. The indictment, handed up April 3, alleges that Smith, 29, conspired to sell more than 280 grams of cocaine and heroin. He was to appear Wednesday in U.S. District Court. Smith was allegedly a member of the Uptown, or Gunners, gang. In an April news conference, U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian said the gang used guns to terrorize the neighborhood and its members marked buildings in the Central State Street neighborhood with graffiti to mark their territory. The investigation led to the arrests of 27 alleged gang members listed on the indictment; 23 were arrested

Malvern Crew gang member ordered deported

An accused member of the notorious Malvern Crew street gang has lost a last-ditch bid to stay in Canada and is being deported to his native Jamaica for criminality. Raoul Andre Burton, 28, of Toronto, was one of 65 suspected members of the east-end gang rounded up in May 2004 by Toronto Police in Project Impact. Members of the gang were involved in a rivalry with the Galloway Boyz over turf in 2003 and 2004 that left four people dead. Burton was charged with nine offences and sentenced to eight-months in jail along with a 165-day stint of pre-sentence custody. He pled guilty to participating in a criminal organization, known as the Malvern Crew, and two counts of drug possession and trafficking that made him inadmissable to Canada Officers of the Canada Border Services Agency have been trying for years to deport Burton, who arrived here from Jamaica at age 10 and never obtained citizenship. Lawyers for Burton sought to appeal the deportation order to the Federal Court of Canada, but Judge David Near dismissed the application which means Burton will be sent packing. “Mr. Burton was right in the thick of things, an active member of the Malvern Crew, actively participating in the activities of the organization,” Near said in his June 11 decision. “He may have occupied a rather influential or responsible place in the organization.” Near said Burton’s involvement with the Malvern Crew was “significant.” “He was obviously fully integrated and well-invested into the organization,” Near wrote. “He was also prepared to engage in criminal activities on a significant scale for the benefit of the organization.” Police gang experts said Burton was a loyal Malvern foot-soldier who was a “good money-earner” for the gang. Officers said the gang was involved in the trafficking, importation and distribution of drugs as well as other crimes, including murder.

June 23, 2012

6 Charged in Murder of Rapper 50 Cent’s Associate

They called him Jimmy Henchman — the man with the Teflon reputation, tied for years to the feud that led to the murders of two legends of the hip-hop world. Related Rap Music Figure Convicted of Running Multimillion-Dollar Cocaine Ring (June 6, 2012) Connect with NYTMetro Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for news and conversation. But on Friday, officials in Manhattan said the man, James Rosemond, was being charged with arranging the murder of an associate of the rapper 50 Cent. The news came less than three weeks after Mr. Rosemond was convicted of running a multimillion-dollar cocaine ring. In an indictment announced on Friday, Mr. Rosemond, 47, was charged with conspiring with five other men to kill the associate, Lowell Fletcher, in 2009. “This has not been a good month for Jimmy the Henchman,” Raymond W. Kelly, the New York police commissioner, said in a statement. He said the murder of Mr. Fletcher had been retaliation for an assault on Mr. Rosemond’s son. Messages left for Mr. Rosemond’s lawyer were not returned. Mr. Rosemond, who ran a management company, Czar Entertainment, is perhaps best known for accusations that have trailed him since the killings of the rap music luminaries Tupac Shakur and Christopher Wallace, better known as the Notorious B.I.G., in the mid-1990s. Mr. Rosemond has denied involvement in the bitter feud that led to their shootings. Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said Mr. Rosemond and the five other defendants had “operated like a mini-gang, allegedly committing a revenge killing, and a host of drug and firearms offenses.” A seventh man was also charged with firearms and narcotics offenses but not murder. Mr. Fletcher was shot to death on the evening of Sept. 27, 2009, near Jerome and Mount Eden Avenues in the Mount Eden neighborhood of the Bronx. Mr. Rosemond and another man hired at least two of the defendants to kill Mr. Fletcher in exchange for drugs, according to the indictment in United States District Court in Manhattan. Mr. Rosemond is in federal custody for drug trafficking. On June 5, he was convicted in Federal District Court in Brooklyn of running an operation that sold millions of dollars’ worth of cocaine, often transporting it across the country in cases designed for musical equipment. Nineteen people have been convicted on drug-trafficking and money-laundering charges as a result of the investigation into Mr. Rosemond’s activities.

June 20, 2012

Fatal shooting possibly to bolster San Bernardino gang

Anthony Phillips, 26, of San Bernardino, is accused of fatally shooting Maurice Major, 29, of Riverside, at an apartment complex in the 1200 block of North Sierra Way. Phillips was arrested the next day. He is charged with one count of murder, and prosecutors have added a gang enhancement for Phillips' alleged involvement in a San Bernardino gang. Phillips, who was in San Bernardino Superior Court on Thursday, has pleaded not guilty to the charges. During the hearing in front of Judge James Dorr, a detective and an officer from the San Bernardino Police Department were called as witnesses. They testified about the shooting and gangs in the area. Phillips, also known as Ant, is affiliated with the Delmann Heights Bloods, said Officer Jonathan Plummer, a gang investigator with the San Bernardino Police Department. "(The shooting) enhances the gang by sending a message to rival gang members and to the community - that Delmann Heights is very violent," Plummer said. The officer testified about Phillips' reported noteworthy tattoos, including "DH" under his eyes, "Bloods" on his body, "San Murderdino" on his abs and "Delmann Heights" on both arms. Witnesses told police that Major was also a gang member, Detective Albert Tello testified. Advertisement His street name was West and he was affiliated with the West Covina Neighbor Hood Crips out of Los Angeles County. Recently, Los Angeles County gangs have come into the Inland Empire to sell drugs, Plummer said. Delmann Heights, which has more than 150 documented members, claims the boundaries of California Street to the west, Medical Center Drive to the east, Cajon Boulevard to the north and Highland Avenue to the south, according to police. Following a recent gang injunction in Delmann Heights, several DH members have migrated over to the 1200 block of Sierra to sell narcotics, Plummer said. Major's girlfriend told police that on the night of the shooting they were at a party outside a San Bernardino apartment complex, Tello testified. She told police that 20 to 30 people were there, including Phillips. The two men were familiar with each other, she told police, and at one point Phillips approached Major and asked to speak with him, Tello testified. The two walked away, Tello said, and while they were talking they got into an argument. Phillips then allegedly shot the victim several times in the chest, the girlfriend told police. "After he shot the victim, the suspect ran from the complex, put the gun away and ran toward Fame Liquor," on Base Line, Tello relayed on the witness stand. Major was taken to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Deputy District Attorney David Tulcan said prosecutors are still investigating whether Major had a gun on him that night. Authorities did find a clear, plastic bag with several pieces of suspected rock cocaine on the victim, police said. Testimony in the preliminary hearing will continue on Monday, where a judge is expected to set trial dates. May was a deadly month for the city. There were 12 reported homicides - five in one week. The spate of May violence prompted memories of the 1990s, when gang violence peaked in the area. The number of people killed in the city this year is up to 23

ranking member of the Fruit Town Brims set of the Bloods street gang was sentenced to 63 months in prison Wednesday

A Jersey City man who is a ranking member of the Fruit Town Brims set of the Bloods street gang was sentenced to 63 months in prison Wednesday for his role in the gang’s criminal enterprises, officials said. Tequan Ryals, 34, had pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy before U.S. District Court Judge Stanley R. Chesler, who imposed the sentence in Newark federal court Wednesday, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said. Ryals, with fellow gang members, conspired to distribute quantities of heroin in Jersey City between December 2008 and February 2009, according to court documents and statements. Ryals also made two drug sales monitored by law enforcement in December 2008, officials said. Ryals, who was involved in the daily activities of the Fruit Town Brims from 2004 until his arrest, acted as a middleman drug distributor, officials said. Ryals was supplied “bricks” of heroin by an associate of the set and he resold them to gang members, officials said. The indictment unsealed in January 2011 charged Ryals and 14 other defendants with racketeering conspiracy and other offenses including acts pertaining to murder, murder conspiracy, aggravated assaults, a kidnapping, firearms offenses and various drug distribution conspiracies, officials said. The gang members charged in the indictment ran the gang’s activities in Jersey City, Newark, Paterson and other locations, officials said. In November, Ryals completed a state prison term for drug crimes, corrections records say. Last week, 30-year federal prison terms were meted out to Emmanuel Jones, 28, of Jersey City, and Torien Brooks, 31, of Paterson, both members of the Fruit Town and Brick City Brims set of the Bloods, officials said. Jones and Brooks were charged in the July 2004 murder of 17-year-old Michael Taylor of Jersey City, who was gunned down in a case of mistaken identity during gang retaliation, officials said. Fishman credited a number of law enforcement agencies for the investigation leading to Ryals’ conviction, including the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, and Jersey City Police Department.

Mob snitch who botched three hits ratted out Colombo gangster in murder trial

A mob snitch who couldn’t shoot straight easily pointed the finger at a reputed Colombo gangster on trial for murder. Dino Basciano took the witness stand in Brooklyn Federal Court to testify that he heard Frank (BF) Guerra was part of a hit team that successfully whacked Joseph Scopo in 1993. Basciano, 56, wasn’t much of a hit man himself, botching at least three rubout attempts. In one case, he shot Patricia Capozzalo, the sister of Peter (Fat Pete) Chiodo, telling defense lawyer Gerald McMahon, “I knew I didn’t kill her. She was still screaming when we left.”

Slain teen Ramarly Graham's twin brothers convicted of heading gang

The twin half brothers of Ramarley Graham, the Bronx teen fatally shot by a police officer in February, were convicted Tuesday for gun possenion and being part of a Harlem street gang. Hodean and Kadean Graham were sentenced to eight years in jail for heading a crew known as "One-Twenty-Nine" and "Goodfellas/The New Dons" between 2007 and 2011 in the area around W. 129th Street, between Lenox and Fifth Avenues. The 20-year-old brothers were cleared of attempted murder. "This violent street gang was as young as it was dangerous, its members having been involved in multiple shootings over a four-year period," Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement. Fifteen members of the gang were convicted on charges of drug dealing and weapons possession. Last week, police officer Richard Haste, 31, pleaded not guilty to manslaughter for shooting Ramarley Graham in the Bronx while officers were investigating a drug deal. As officers made the bust, they were radioed that Graham was armed, when he in fact was not. Graham was shot was trying to flush a bag of marijuana down a toilet. Haste's attorney said in court that the officer was conviced the teen was carrying a weapon.

June 12, 2012

shooting a cop dead is now legal in the state of Indiana.

Governor Mitch Daniels, a Republican, has authorized changes to a 2006 legislation that legalizes the use of deadly force on a public servant — including an officer of the law — in cases of “unlawful intrusion.” Proponents of both the Second and Fourth Amendments — those that allow for the ownership of firearms and the security against unlawful searches, respectively — are celebrating the update by saying it ensures that residents are protected from authorities that abuse the powers of the badge. Others, however, fear that the alleged threat of a police state emergence will be replaced by an all-out warzone in Indiana. Under the latest changes of the so-called Castle Doctrine, state lawmakers agree “people have a right to defend themselves and third parties from physical harm and crime.” Rather than excluding officers of the law, however, any public servant is now subject to be met with deadly force if they unlawfully enter private property without clear justification. “In enacting this section, the general assembly finds and declares that it is the policy of this state to recognize the unique character of a citizen's home and to ensure that a citizen feels secure in his or her own home against unlawful intrusion by another individual or a public servant,” reads the legislation. Although critics have been quick to condemn the law for opening the door for assaults on police officers, supporters say that it is necessary to implement the ideals brought by America’s forefathers. Especially, argue some, since the Indiana Supreme Court almost eliminated the Fourth Amendment entirely last year. During the 2011 case of Barnes v. State of Indiana, the court ruled that a man who assaulted an officer dispatched to his house had broken the law before there was “no right to reasonably resist unlawful entry by police officers.” In turn, the National Rifle Association lobbied for an amendment to the Castle Doctrine to ensure that residents were protected from officers that abuse the law to grant themselves entry into private space. “There are bad legislators,” the law’s author, State Senator R. Michael Young (R) tells Bloomberg News. “There are bad clergy, bad doctors, bad teachers, and it’s these officers that we’re concerned about that when they act outside their scope and duty that the individual ought to have a right to protect themselves.” Governor Daniels agrees with the senator in a statement offered through his office, and notes that the law is only being established to cover rare incidents of police abuse that can escape the system without reprimand for officers or other persons that break the law to gain entry. “In the real world, there will almost never be a situation in which these extremely narrow conditions are met,” Daniels says. “This law is not an invitation to use violence or force against law enforcement officers.” Officers in Indiana aren’t necessarily on the same page, though. “If I pull over a car and I walk up to it and the guy shoots me, he’s going to say, ‘Well, he was trying to illegally enter my property,’” Sergeant Joseph Hubbard tells Bloomberg. “Somebody is going get away with killing a cop because of this law.” “It’s just a recipe for disaster,” Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police President Tim Downs adds. “It just puts a bounty on our heads.”

May 26, 2012

Gunchester masked slaying in the Cotton Tree pub

Police are hunting a masked gunman who opened fire in a Manchester pub, killing one and wounding three others.

The armed man burst into the Cotton Tree pub, in the city's Droylsden district, shortly before 11.50pm last night and shot dead a 23-year-old man.

The three people wounded have been taken to hospital, where their condition is not thought to be life-threatening, Greater Manchester Police said.

Crime scene: Police outside the Cotton Tree pub in Manchester, where a gunman opened fire

Crime scene: Police outside the Cotton Tree pub in Manchester, where a gunman opened fire

 

Murder inquiry: Forensics officers enter the scene where one man was shot dead and three others wounded

Murder inquiry: Forensics officers enter the scene where one man was shot dead and three others wounded

 

Two men, aged 25 and 26, were shot in the leg and a 29-year-old man was shot in his lower back.
They are in hospital but their injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

The gunman, who was wearing a balaclava, escaped in a Ford Focus, found abandoned and alight in Hattersley soon after.

Extra officers are on patrol in the area and a murder investigation has been launched.

 

 Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: 'A young man has been killed in tragic circumstances and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

'Three others were also seriously injured and I want to reassure the public that we will commit the full resources of our major incident team to investigate this incident.

'We are in the very early stages of this inquiry so to speculate on a motive would not be helpful to our investigation, the victims and their families or the local community.'

Police cordon: The gunman is thought to have escaped in a Ford Focus, found abandoned and alight a short time later

Police cordon: The gunman is thought to have escaped in a Ford Focus, found abandoned and alight a short time later

He added: 'That said, whoever is responsible has not thought twice about opening fire in a crowded pub and I would urge anyone with information about the gunman, his accomplices or conspirators to contact us in absolute confidence.

'Whether you have overheard someone talking about this before or since it happened, saw the car being abandoned or know anything else, no matter how insignificant you think it might be, please get in touch.

'We will have extra officers in and around the area today and across the weekend and if anyone wants to provide information about this or has any concerns please come and talk to us.'

John Aldridge, 50, who runs John's Barber Shop, next door to the pub, said he had been running his business there for 29 years.

He said: 'It's worrying. You try to keep it in the back of your mind to be honest.'

His business was forced to close for the day while police forensic teams carried out their investigations.

Another neighbour, 84, said he was now moving out of the area.

'It's bad, considering it's right on your doorstep,' he added.

Floral tributes left at the scene read: 'To Mark. Rest in peace. Love and miss you always. Amanda Joyce.xxxx', while another said: 'Bye Mark. So sad. May you have a bed in heaven. All my love. Teresa Joyce. xxxx'




May 23, 2012

Metropolitan police anti-corruption unit investigated over payments

Scotland Yard is investigating allegations that detectives working for its anti-corruption unit have been paid thousands of pounds by a firm of private investigators. A parliamentary inquiry was told today that invoices, also seen by the Guardian, purport to show how a firm of private investigators made payments in return for information about the Metropolitan police investigation into James Ibori, a notorious Nigerian fraudster. On Tuesday, the Commons home affairs select committee was told by a lawyer involved in the case that invoices showed about £20,000 of potential payments to police officers in what amounted to an undetected case of "apparent corruption right at the heart of Scotland Yard". In recent weeks, as the Guardian investigated the allegations, the Met has sought to discourage the paper from publishing details about the case. But , after MPs heard the evidence, the Met dropped its previous insistence that there was "evidence that casts doubt on the credibility" of the allegations. A police source with knowledge of the investigation, which has been ongoing since October, said developments over the last 24 hours had now led police to take the allegations more seriously. The case revolves around a private investigation firm called RISC Management. Five years ago the firm was hired to work for Ibori, a former Nigerian state governor, after he discovered he was being investigated by the Met for serious fraud. Ibori recently pleaded guilty to money laundering and was jailed in the UK, after the conclusion of a major investigation into his financial affairs. The allegation now being investigated by police is that some detectives on the Met's Proceeds of Corruption Unit, which investigated Ibori, were receiving payments in exchange for information about the ongoing investigation. Invoices and other documents appearing to support the allegations have been anonymously posted to the Met and Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The documents have also been seen by the Guardian and separately sent to the home affairs committee, which is conducting an inquiry in whether private investigators should be subject to statutory regulation. Keith Vaz, the chair of the committee, has said there is growing concern in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal that some private investigators are operating in "the shadows" of the law. The Commons inquiry has been scrutinising the nexus between private investigators - many of whom are retired police officers - and their former colleagues who are still serving. On Tuesday morning, Mike Schwarz, a lawyer who represents one of Ibori's co-accused, told the inquiry about what he understood to be the significance of the material. He said it indicated possible corruption at the heart of the police investigation into the Nigerian politician's money laundering activities. The invoices are alleged to be from RISC Management to Speechly Bircham, a top firm of lawyers hired by Ibori to prepare his defence. Schwarz told MPs the invoices "perhaps" documented "payments made by RISC Management to sources, presumably police officers or those close to the investigation". He added: "The records, which I think the committee have, show about half-a-dozen payments totalling about £20,000 over a period of eight or nine months [...] it appears to be inappropriate if not corrupt." Schwarz told the committee that he believed RISC Management had been hired to "extract" information from the police investigation into Ibori. He said he had also seen emails - which he believed had also been forwarded to the committee - which confirmed "contact" between detectives investigating Ibori and the private investigators. Schwarz, from Bindmans solicitors, represents Bhadresh Gohil, a London-based solicitor jailed along with Ibori for orchestrating his money laundering scam. Gohil is now considering an appeal. Gohil is understood to have been sent the invoices, anonymously, while in Wandsworth Prison last summer. In a statement, the Met said: "The [force] is investigating an allegation that illegal payments were made to police officers for information by a private investigation agency. The Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) referred the matter to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in October 2011 which agreed to supervise a DPS investigation into the allegations." Following Schwarz's evidence to parliament, the Met said it had dropped its previous claim to have recently "uncovered evidence" casting doubt on the allegations. Previously, the force had suggested an active line of inquiry was the theory that Gohil or his associates had fabricated the allegations to undermine the prosecution. In a previous statement, provided on Friday, the force said: "As a result of inquiries police have uncovered evidence that casts doubt on the credibility of these allegations. Warrants have been executed at two addresses in London and a quantity of paperwork and computer equipment recovered." Two weeks ago, following raids on properties, one of which was the Gohil's family home in Kent, the force said: "Officers believe that they have identified the originator of the information and a line of enquiry suggests that there may have been an attempt to pervert the course of justice." However, sources at the Yard said previous statements no longer fully represented their position. A source with knowledge of the Met inquiry said the change of stance was unrelated to Schwarz's parliamentary evidence. The source said that, instead, there had been developments in the investigation over the last 24 hours. Schwarz named three serving Met police officers in his testimony to parliament as being potential "culprits": detective inspector Gary Walters, detective constables named as John MacDonald and "Clark". All three officers declined an opportunity to respond to the allegations when contacted by the Guardian last week. However, RISC Management indicated Walters would deny "any and all allegations". RISC Management denied all the allegations about the company, saying it was not aware of the Scotland Yard investigation and had no knowledge of the alleged financial records. The firm confirmed it had been hired by Ibori's lawyers but denied making corrupt payments, saying it "has never paid a serving police officer for information and would never approve such payments". Keith Hunter, chief executive of the company, said: "RISC management does not need to pay serving police officers for confidential information as we pride ourselves on our ability to provide positive solutions and accurate information legitimately. RISC Management has a highly respected reputation for conducting professional investigations". He added that his company was "proud to have a network of highly professional consultants, contacts and resources. These individuals are hired precisely because of their unique skill set and expertise". He accused Schwarz of "grandstanding" in front of the Commons committee, instead of taking the "correct course of reporting the matter to the police". He said Schwarz had not produced any evidence to support his claims and acted for a convicted solicitor, Gohil, who was jailed for seven years for money laundering. Speechly Bircham denied any knowledge of wrongdoing and said it would be willing to assist with any police inquiries. The law firm stressed Schwarz did not suggest in his evidence to parliament that Speechly Bircham was "party to illegal or corrupt payments" and said any such allegation would be false and defamatory. Ian Timlin, the former Speechly Bircham lawyer who was at the time representing Ibori, said neither he nor the firm had "any knowledge of any payments to police officers for information." He added: "At no time, did RISC ever inform me who or what was the source/s they were paying."

May 22, 2012

Dog 'The Bounty Hunter' Chapman's Show Canceled

Dog "The Bounty Hunter" Chapman will have more time on his hands to catch criminals, because his show on A&E is being canceled ... TMZ has learned. Multiple sources connected with the show tell us ... Dog's people and A&E have been negotiating, but the network has now decided to pull the plug and not do season 9. One source connected with Dog tells us the cancellation is based on "creative differences."  But here's the reality ... saying "creative differences" is like breaking up with a girl and saying, "It's not you, it's me."

May 18, 2012

Gangsters blamed for 2008 Vancouver violence found guilty of gun charges

Three gangsters blamed for violence on Vancouver’s south slope in 2008 were found guilty Thursday on a series of gun charges stemming from a major Vancouver Police undercover investigation. Boby Sanghera and his cousins Navdip and Savdip Sanghera were each convicted on several counts that resulted from the police department’s Project Rebellion. Two other co-accused, Charanjit Rangi and Jaspreet Virk, were found not guilty by B.C. Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes, though she said she was “highly suspicious” of their activities at the time. Outside court, Boby’s dad Udham Sanghera — who police allege is the patriarch of the “Sanghera crime group” — said his family would appeal the convictions. Charges against Udham Sanghera and his purported lieutenant Gordon Taylor were stayed by the Crown without explanation in April 2011. Udham Sanghera is now suing Vancouver police. Holmes read out a summary of her 55-page written ruling as relatives of the accused, undercover police and reporters filled the courtroom. She said the evidence against Boby and his cousins convinced her of their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Boby and Navdip Sanghera were convicted of illegally possessing three loaded, semi-automatic handguns when their Chrysler was pulled over by police on Nov. 8, 2008. The guns, a CZ 100, a Raven and a Ruger, were hidden in a compartment behind the glove box, Holmes said. “The guns were loaded and ready to fire,” she said, adding that police also found other tools of the trade — an extra magazine, a balaclava and several gloves — in the vehicle. She found that “there was a compelling circumstantial case that Boby Sanghera knew about the guns and had a measure of control over them.” She convicted Navdip of possessing the same guns because his DNA was later found on two of them, which “supports no other rational inference” than his guilt. Both Rangi and Virk were in the vehicle as well, but Holmes said there was some doubt from the evidence that they knew the guns were there. Savdip Sanghera was convicted of transferring a fourth firearm, a combat semi-automatic CZ 85, to another person on Jan. 31, 2009. Holmes accepted expert testimony from a Vancouver sergeant who said he recognized Savdip’s voice on intercepted calls, during which he discussed selling the gun. Crown prosecutor Mark Sheardown argued that Navdip was also on the wiretaps talking about being in possession of the CZ-85. But Holmes ruled that the comments could have been taken another way and acquitted Navdip on the additional count. All five accused joked with each other and gestured to relatives in the gallery throughout the afternoon. The Sanghera trio will be back in court May 25 for sentencing. They are expected to get double-time credit for more than three years in pre-trial custody. During the five-month trial, Holmes heard about the gangster cat-and-mouse game on Vancouver’s south slope that led to the police undercover operation and the vehicle stop in November 2008. Vancouver Police Sgt. Dale Weidman, who headed Project Rebellion, testified that he had a reasonable belief someone in the vehicle was about to shoot one of their rivals that night. He said there were three gangs targeted in the probe — the Sanghera group, the Adiwal group and the Malli or Buttar group. At the time, the Sanghera group was at odds with both the Adiwal group and the Malli-Buttar group, Weidman explained. There had been a number of shootings resulting from the conflicts, some of which were witnessed by Vancouver police officers doing surveillance, he said. Just before the arrests on Nov. 8, 2008, a confidential source told police that the Sangheras were in “hunt mode,” armed and wearing bulletproof vests, as they looked for a gangster linked to the Adiwal group. That’s when police moved in to prevent more violence, Weidman said.

May 16, 2012

Marines sold stolen combat weapons to gangs,

American troops sold $2 million worth of weapons and combat gear, including assault rifles and night vision goggles to street gangs and to foreign countries, including China, in a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy uncovered by a Navy probe, according to military officials. A two-year undercover investigation has implicated more than 60 individuals, an official with the Navy Criminal Navy Investigative Service (NCIS) told The Daily News in Jacksonville, N.C. Many of those involved were stationed at Camp Lejeune, a sprawling coastal Marine Corps installation that is home to special operations and expeditionary forces. Advertise | AdChoices Some of the equipment was sold over eBay and Craigslist, though weapons and ammunition were also sold at yard sales and in secretive face-to-face meetings, according to the paper. The Navy probe eventually spilled into other military branches, including the Army and Air Force. In all, $1.8 million worth of equipment has been recovered as a result of the investigation. Officials said that in addition to the assault rifles and night vision goggles, $800 flashlights were recovered as a result of the probe. Panetta: Misconduct threatens war effort “We’re talking about sophisticated, high-tech flashlights that cost the government up to $800 per unit. The temptation and ease with which to steal and sell them, for some, is irresistible,” an unnamed military official told Stars & Stripes, which confirmed the report. So far, 47 service members and 21 civilians have been charged. About half of those have been to trial, with many pleading guilty to the offenses, Ed Buice, an NCIS spokesman, told The Daily News. Two Marines have been convicted in the case, The Daily News reported. Sgt. Daniel Adam Reich was convicted Monday of selling and attempting to sell military property as well as conspiracy. He was sentenced to 40 months in prison and given a dishonorable discharge. Capt. Donald E. Pump Jr. last week was convicted of attempting to sell military property and conspiracy. He was dismissed from the Marine Corps and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Though cases of what is sometimes called "mailing the war home" aren't unusual, the scope of the investigation and the number of people allegedly involved points to a deeper problem of checks and balances in how combat equipment is accounted for, Philip Cave, a Washington military attorney, told msnbc.com. "Who's minding the store? Where's the accountability? Where's the supervision and leadership?” Cave said. “Somehow these people figured out how to beat the system."

April 25, 2012

Shooting a 'warning' from rival bikie gang

SIMMERING tension between rival bikie gangs exploded on the Gold Coast yesterday with the drive-by shooting of a tattoo parlour in the heart of Bandidos territory. Police fear the attack could be a push for territory by the Hells Angels as the outlaw gang seeks a toehold on the lucrative Glitter Strip. Less than 24 hours after police commissioner Bob Atkinson told the Bulletin that bikie gangs were "one of the greatest challenges to face law enforcement", the Bandido-protected Mermaid Beach tattoo shop was hit by at least four shots in the early hours of yesterday morning.  High-ranking police yesterday said it was "inevitable" that the violence that has plagued Sydney would eventually spill across the border. "We do not believe it is directly connected to the war between the Hells Angels and the Nomads that has been unfolding in New South Wales," said police. "But it is a similar style of attack. "We know the Hells Angels have been pushing to establish a chapter on the Gold Coast -- that push is coming from Sydney. "Tradelink Drive is not their most profitable chapter." While detectives have attempted to play down the shooting, police say there is "no doubt" it was intended as a warning. The Bandidos are the largest and one of the most secretive bikie gangs on the Gold Coast. The club has gained strength as its main rival -- the Finks -- have been severely weakened with so many senior members behind bars and Bandido territory stretches south from Broadbeach. Police said last month's Hells Angels National Run was intended as a direct message to all gangs on the Gold Coast. More than 200 patched gang members descended on Surfers Paradise for the run. "These clubs are so well organised, they do nothing without a reason," police said. "You can bet they had some purpose in coming to the Gold Coast. "They taunted the Finks and nothing happened, now the Bandidos tattoo shop is shot up in the same way the gym controlled by the Hells Angels was hit a few months ago. "You join the dots." The shop is owned by a senior member of the outlaw gang who has been a patched member of the Bandidos "for years", police say. In an exclusive interview with the Bulletin, Mr Atkinson said the danger of bikie gangs was "under-rated" by the community. "The outlaw motorcycle gangs nationally present one of the greatest challenges to police. "I think the degree of that challenge and the risk they present to our society is underrated." The Gold Coast has one of the highest populations of bikie gangs in the country. Mr Atkinson said he would not be surprised if the Hells Angels were not considering a move closer to the Glitter Strip. "They are businesses, they look for opportunity so that wouldn't be a surprise," he said. "They market themselves as a group of mature men who have a love and interest in motorbikes and they do that very cleverly. The reality is they are highly sophisticated, well organised criminal enterprises that pose a genuine risk to the community and many are well represented by the finest and best lawyers who they retain to represent them." South East Region Assistant Commissioner Graham Rynders said the gangs were constantly looking to expand. "One of things about OMCGs is they look for opportunity for criminal enterprise," Mr Rynders said. "Throughout Queensland, throughout the country, probably throughout the world they are looking to expand. It is obviously dictated to by territory, depending on who or what other groups exist in what areas."

Jury hears grisly details about murder scene

Police discovered a grisly scene on Sept. 10, 2000, when they entered a Cogmagun Road home in Hants County. “It was a very brutal scene,” Cpl. Shawn Sweeney, who was a constable with the Windsor rural RCMP detachment that day, testified Tuesday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Kentville. It was the second day of trial for Leslie Douglas Greenwood, 42, who is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Barry Kirk Mersereau, 48, and his wife, Nancy Paula Christensen, 47. Sweeney, a Crown witness, testified that he and four other police officers who responded to a 911 call found Christensen sitting upright in a chair in the living room of her Centre Burlington home with a bullet wound in her left cheek, under her glasses. She had a cup of tea in her hand and a small dog was sitting in her lap. There were several bullet casings and lead fragments scattered on the floor. Mersereau was lying face down, with pools of blood around his head and body. Another dog, believed to be a German shepherd-Rottweiler mix, was hiding under covers on the bed in the master bedroom. A third dog was tied to the front porch and another had run off into the woods. Sweeney told Chief Justice Joseph Kennedy and the seven-woman, five-man jury hearing the case that the house appeared to be neat and orderly, with no signs of struggle. “It didn’t appear to be a house that was rifled through or things thrown around,” Sweeney testified. Const. Glenn Bonvie told the court it was immediately obvious that Mersereau and Christensen were dead. “There was no movement. There was no doubt that they were deceased.” Crown witness Ronald Connors owned a hunting cabin in the woods about half a kilometre away from the couple’s house. He testifed that he heard several shots at about 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 9. Connors said he heard six shots fired in quick succession, followed by a pause and a couple more shots. Moments later, there were more shots. He said he thought at first someone might be jacking deer, but Connors concluded that the shots didn’t sound like those from a high-powered hunting rifle. The jury was shown a video of the two bodies as they were found. Former RCMP officer David Clace, then in charge of the RCMP’s forensics identification unit in New Minas, said a large amount of money was found in plastic bags in a gym bag in one of the bedroom closets. The bag was later determined to contain about $65,000 in cash. Crown attorney Peter Craig has told the court that the victims were shot to death in their home in an execution-style killing as part of a Hells Angels-ordered killing. “They were killed in their home in a quiet community, with a teapot on the stove, with no signs of struggle and their baby in the next room,” Craig told the jury. He said evidence presented by as many as 40 Crown witnesses will show that Michael Lawrence and Greenwood murdered the couple on the orders of Jeffrey Lynds, a former Hells Angels operative who died recently in a Montreal jail of an apparent suicide. Lawrence, who owed Lynds money, pleaded guilty last January to three charges of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 25 years. Also killed that day, by Lawrence, was Charles Maddison, an innocent man who picked Lawrence up hitchhiking. Lawrence shot him to take his truck to commit a planned robbery. Craig said Lawrence, expected to be a crucial Crown witness, will testify that he and Greenwood shot the couple, one with a .357 Magnum, the other with a 32-calibre handgun, in what he called “planned and deliberate” killings. The couple’s 18-month-old baby boy was safely recovered from the house by neighbour Ruby McKenzie, who went to the victim’s home the day after the shootings. McKenzie said she brought the baby back to her mobile home and called police. Greenwood sat quietly during the proceedings, occasionally exchanging comments with his lawyer, Alain Begin. Begin is expected to argue that Greenwood went to the Mersereau house the day of the shootings to buy drugs, and that Lawrence shot the couple while Greenwood was waiting outside. Also charged with first-degree murder in the killings is Curtis Blair Lynds, 36, who is serving time in a federal prison for drug trafficking. A preliminary inquiry in his case is scheduled to begin July 16.

April 01, 2012

BRIT Government 'planning new Internet snooping laws'

The British government wants to expand its powers to monitor email exchanges and website visits, The Sunday Times reported. Internet companies would be instructed to install hardware to allow the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) to go through "on demand" every text message and email sent, websites accessed and phone calls made "in real time, the paper said. The plans are expected to be unveiled next month. The Home Office said ministers were preparing to legislate "as soon as parliamentary time allows" but said the data to be monitored would not include content. "It is vital that police and security services are able to obtain communications data in certain circumstances to investigate serious crime and terrorism and to protect the public," a spokesman said. "We need to take action to maintain the continued availability of communications data as technology changes. "Communications data includes time, duration and dialling numbers of a phone call, or an email address. "It does not include the content of any phone call or email and it is not the intention of government to make changes to the existing legal basis for the interception of communications." An attempt to bring in similar measures was abandoned by the Labour government in 2006 amid strong opposition. However, ministers in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government believe it is essential that the police and security services have access to such communications data in order to tackle terrorism and protect the public. The plans would not allow GCHQ to access the content of communications without a warrant. However, they would enable the agency to trace whom a group or individual had contacted, how often and for how long, the report said.

Eight people from 'Holy Death' cult arrested in Mexico over ritual sacrifices of woman and two 10-year-old boys


Eight people have been arrested in northern Mexico have over the killing of two 10-year-old boys and a woman in what appears to be ritual sacrifices. Prosecutors in Sonora, in the north-west of the country have accused the suspects of belonging to the La Santa Muerte (Holy Death) cult. The victims' blood has been poured round an altar to the idol, which is portrayed as a skeleton holding a scythe and clothed in flowing robes. The cult, which celebrates death, has been growing rapidly in Mexico in the last 20 years, and now has up to two million followers. Jose Larrinaga, spokesman for Sonora state prosecutors, said the most recent killing was earlier this month, while the other two were committed in 2009 and 2010. Their bodies were found at the altar site in the small mining community of Nacozari, 70 miles south of Douglas, Arizona. Investigations were launched after the family of 10-year-old Jesus Octavio Martinez Yanez reported him missing early this month.

March 31, 2012

Gang dispute sparked funeral home shooting that left 2 dead, 12 injured

 

Dispute among gang members at a North Miami-area funeral home sparked a mass shooting that injured 12 people and killed two men, according to Miami-Dade police and law enforcement. The gunmen, who fired a barrage of bullets at a crowd of mourners Friday night, remained on the loose. Investigators have not released information about the shooters, only that a white car may have been involved. One of the victims, a 43-year-old man, died outside the Funeraria Latina Emanuel funeral home, authorities said. The other, a 27-year-old man, died at the hospital. Witnesses at the funeral home had said one of the two people killed was shot in the chest. Among the wounded was a 5-year-old girl who was shot in the leg. She is hospitalized at Jackson Memorial Hospital and is listed in stable condition. The funeral was for Morvin Andre, 21, of North Miami, who was buried Saturday morning at Southern Memorial Park next to the funeral home. Andre was killed March 16 after he tried to jump 22-and-a-half feet from the fourth floor of the Aventura Mall parking garage to escape pursuit from Bloomingdale’s loss prevention employees. Andre landed on his feet, but then fell back and hit his head, according Aventura Police Major Skip Washa, a spokesman. Washa said Saturday the county medical examiner’s office has ruled Andre’s death a suicide because the Bloomingdale’s employees were one floor below Andre when they told him to stop. Instead, he jumped. Originally, it was reported that Andre, a nursing student at Broward Community College, had been killed in a shooting, according to mourners at the funeral home. A law enforcement official told the Miami Herald that the shooting involved members of several South Florida gangs who were in attendance at his wake Friday night to pay their respects. Andre was not part of a gang himself, the official said. Certain gang members took offense when someone touched Andre’s body in the casket, setting off an argument that spilled out into the street. Members of one gang retrieved an assault rifle and a handgun from a car and opened fire at other gang members in front of the funeral home, a police commander told Miami Herald news partner WFOR-CBS 4. Shooting erupted as more than 100 people were gathered outside the funeral home, in the 14900 block of West Dixie Highway, outside the city limits of North Miami. “I was on my way out of the chapel when I heard the shots,“ said A.D. Lenoir, the pastor who officiated at the service. “I told people to look for cover. It was chaos.” Lenoir, 29, said people were screaming, crying and yelling. Several victims were taken to Jackson, and others to local hospitals. The West Dixie Highway corridor has been the scene of several shootings in recent years. In 2007, the owner of a martial arts studio was fatally gunned down in a drive-by.

Kansas man struck by lightning hours after buying lottery tickets


A Kansas man was struck by lightning hours after buying three Mega Millions lottery tickets on Thursday, proving in real life the old saying that a gambler is more likely to be struck down from the sky than win the jackpot. Bill Isles, 48, bought three tickets in the record $656 million lottery Thursday at a Wichita, Kansas grocery store. On the way to his car, Isles said he commented to a friend: "I've got a better chance of getting struck by lightning" than winning the lottery. Later at about 9:30 p.m., Isles was standing in the back yard of his Wichita duplex, when he saw a flash and heard a boom -- lightning. "It threw me to the ground quivering," Isles said in a telephone interview on Saturday. "It kind of scrambled my brain and gave me an irregular heartbeat." Isles, a volunteer weather spotter for the National Weather Service, had his portable ham radio with him because he was checking the skies for storm activity. He crawled on the ground to get the radio, which had been thrown from his hand. Isles had been talking to other spotters on the radio and called in about the lightning strike. One of the spotters, a local television station intern, called 911. Isles was taken by ambulance to a hospital and kept overnight for observation. Isles said doctors wanted to make sure his heartbeat was back to normal. He suffered no burns or other physical effects from the strike, which he said could have been worse because his yard has a power line pole and wires overhead. "But for the grace of God, I would have been dead," Isles said. "It was not a direct strike." Isles said he had someone buy him ten more tickets to the Mega Millions lottery on Friday night. While one of the three winning tickets was sold in Kansas, Isles was not a winner. Officials of the Mega Millions lottery, which had the largest prize in U.S. history, said that the odds of winning lottery were about 176 million to one. Americans have a much higher chance of being struck by lightning, at 775,000 to one over the course of a year, depending on the part of the country and the season, according to the National Weather Service. Isles, who is out of work after being laid off last June by a furniture store, said he did once win $2,000 in the lottery and will keep playing. "The next time I will use the radio while sitting in the car," he said

Kevin 'Gerbil' Carroll murder trial

PHOTOGRAPHS of the spot where gangland figure Kevin “Gerbil” Carroll was shot dead were shown to a murder trial jury yesterday. The pictures – shown on day one of the trial – included an image of an Audi with smashed windows. The court was told the car was “subject to a significant degree of examination”. Carroll, 29, was shot in the car park of Asda in Robroyston, Glasgow, in January 2010. Ross Monaghan, 30, has been accused of Carroll’s murder. It is alleged that, while masked and acting with others, Monaghan repeatedly discharged loaded handguns at him, shooting him on the head and body. Monaghan is accused of – while acting with others – attempting to defeat the ends of justice by disposing of a revolver, pistol and ammunition in undergrowth in Coatbridge and Airdrie. It is also claimed a car bearing false number plates was set on fire. Monaghan also faces a number of firearms charges. He denies all the charges against him at the High Court in Glasgow and has incriminated Mr X, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and seven others. The trial, before Lord Brailsford, continues.

March 30, 2012

popular Caribbean dancing style used by adults, known as 'daggering', is sexualising the dance floors of a much younger generation.

 

 Teenagers as young as 11 are modelling sex acts and rape, in the form of daggering, on the dance floor with their peers. Deputy Children's Commissioner Sue Berelowitz said: "there's not a lot separating that kind of behaviour from actual violent, coercive sex." Footage seen by Channel 4 News [see above] shows an under-18s club night in East London. As with all 'under-18s' club nights, everyone is between 11 and 16. Some of the children look much younger. The club is packed. The music: Caribbean dancehall. The dancing style: daggering. It is a style of dancing that any carnival regular will be used to. Aficionados will no doubt, have a more technical description of the style but it mainly involves women bending over and rubbing their backsides up against the men's crotches. During that August weekend in Notting Hill every adult gives it a go. But what's different about this night club is that every child is giving it a go. Spurred on by the DJ, the 'daggering' becomes more enthusiastic, some of it verging on violent. Boys and girls end up on top of each other on the floor simulating sex. Throughout the night someone employed by the club promoter (presumably an adult) is filming it all and uploading it on the club's website via YouTube.

March 27, 2012

New Black Panther leader arrested as group sets bounty in Florida shooting

 

high-ranking member of the New Black Panther Party was arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office said Monday. DeKalb County Sheriff's Office Hashim Nzinga, 49, was arrested for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. More Atlanta area news » Immigration-related complaint may become ‘moot' 'Chicken Man' house explodes Trayvon Martin rally at Capitol draws many Gang member guilty of 2011 killing Hashim Nzinga, 49, recently announced on CNN that his group was offering a $10,000 reward for the capture of George Zimmerman, the man who fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. CNN identified Nzinga as the chief of staff of the New Black Panther Party. According to a DeKalb arrest warrant, Nzinga was in possession of an FN Herstal 5.7 x 28 handgun, which investigators said he pawned at a shop on Rockbridge Road. That alleged transaction would be illegal due to Nzinga’s convictions last month for felony deposit account fraud in Gwinnett County, the DeKalb Sheriff's Office said. Nzinga was arrested by members of the fugitive squad at a probation office in Lawrenceville and transported to DeKalb County Jail. The New Black Panther Party is offering a $10,000 bounty for the capture of Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch captain who shot and killed Martin, an unarmed teenager, last month. "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," Black Panther leader Mikhail Muhammad said Saturday at a rally in Sanford, where Martin was killed Feb. 26, according to Fox News. Zimmerman has claimed he shot Martin in self-defense, but the New Black Panthers are calling for mobilization of 10,000 black men to capture Zimmerman, who has gone into hiding, the Orlando Sentinel reported. "He should be fearful for his life," Muhammad said. "You can't keep killing black children." According to the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the New Black Panthers "is a virulently racist and anti-Semitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers." The group was founded in Dallas in 1989 and believes black Americans should have their own nation, according to the SPLC. Zimmerman shot Martin as he returned to his father's house from a store where he had bought candy. Zimmerman told a 911 dispatcher that Martin was acting suspicious and told police that he was attacked by Martin. Sanford police say they were advised by prosecutors that they did not have enough evidence to charge Zimmerman.

March 26, 2012

Russian shot in UK was due to give evidence

 

Russian banker shot five times close to London's financial district had been days away from giving evidence to an investigation into the attempted murder of a former business associate, his lawyer has said. German Gorbuntsov, who at the height of his business empire owned four Russian banks, was walking towards his apartment block near the Canary Wharf banking district when a gunman opened fire on Tuesday evening, leaving him badly injured. London police said on Saturday they were keeping an open mind about the motive of the attack. Gorbuntsov's lawyer, Vadim Vedenin, said the 45-year-old remained in a medically induced coma to give him a chance to recover, and that doctors were hoping to revive him in about three days. Vedenin said his client had been due to give evidence before the end of the month to an investigation by Russian prosecutors into the attempted murder of another Russian banker and former business associate of Gorbuntsov's, Alexander Antonov, in 2009. "He was preparing to give evidence on certain people. He has already given it in written form and he was going to do so in official testimony," Vedenin said by phone on Saturday, adding that Gorbuntsov had come to London because he feared for his life. The attack occurred outside the door of a block of high-end serviced apartments a short walk from the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf. A member of the building's staff, who declined to give his name, said he heard no shots, but ran outside when he heard frantic shouting. "He is a customer here. He was still alive. He spoke to us in Russian. I understood what he was saying," the member of staff, a Polish man, said. "He was swearing a lot." LONDON RUSSIANS London is home to thousands of Russian business people seeking capital, prestige and, in many cases, a haven from the rough and tumble of their home country's financial world. Alexander Antonov made his career in the nuclear industry, then became its banker as owner of Konversbank, a financial institution founded to serve the nuclear industry about two decades ago. Antonov said he and Gorbuntsov had disagreed over the terms of a bank sale just before the debt crisis of 2008, but that there had been no acrimony. "Our relationship is friendly, and it has always been friendly," he told Reuters. "I have a great personal interest in his testimony." The attempt on his life in 2009 was linked in Russia to the 2008 murder in Moscow of Ruslan Yamadayev, a powerful opponent of the Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. The two incidents were tried as a single case and three men were convicted. But the person or persons who ordered the murders was never identified, and the case had lain dormant until this year. Diplomatic relations between Russia and Britain have been tested by a series of disputes involving Russian emigres. Russia has refused to extradite the man suspected of murdering former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko by putting radioactive polonium in his tea in London. Meanwhile London courts have refused to extradite men wanted in Russia, including the Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky, a former Kremlin insider turned fierce critic with criminal convictions in Russia. Berezovsky, who says the charges brought against him in Russia are politically motivated, said by telephone from London that he did not know Gorbuntsov personally, nor did he know of any Russian criminals hiding out in London. "One can give differing views, but it is important to understand that, from my not-exactly-dilettantish point of view, there is no place safer than London from Kremlin bandits or from Russian or international criminals," he said. "But that of course is no guarantee they won't get you."

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