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"[T]he only good n[igger] is a dead n[igger] and they should hang you in the town square to prevent any other n[igger] from coming in the area."
-- July 18, 2011 Statement by Oakland Public Schools Police Chief Pete Sarna, referring to an African-American police officer.
Sept. 12, 2011 1:07 p.m.
A former Philadelphia Mint police officer pleaded guilty Sept. 8 in federal court in New Jersey to stealing error Presidential dollars from the facility and selling them to a coin distributor in California for approximately $2.4 million. The stolen coins were Presidential dollars missing their edge inscription. The former Mint police officer, William Gray, 64, from North Wildwood, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden to one count each of theft of government property and tax evasion. The tax evasion charge stems from Gray’s failure to pay taxes on the coin sales. Gray remains free on $50,000 bond pending sentencing on Dec. 20. Gray faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 on the theft charge. The tax evasion charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.
According to Rebekah Carmichael from the Office of Public Affairs for the United States Attorney in New Jersey, Gray also entered guilty pleas on single mail fraud and money laundering charges included in court information filed Sept. 8.
Carmichael said it will be up to the judge at the time of sentencing Dec. 20 whether to accept the guilty pleas for the mail fraud and money laundering charges as has already been done with the theft and tax evasion counts.
Carmichael said Sept. 9 that federal authorities have not publicly identified the coin dealer in California to whom Gray was selling the stolen coins. She also would not confirm nor deny whether federal authorities have a separate investigation targeting the unidentified coin dealer.
The information containing the charges against Gray was the result of a coordinated investigation involving the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Treasury Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Service and U.S. Mint police.
Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Public Affairs, told Coin World Sept. 9 that the U.S. Mint and Treasury Department’s Office of Inspector General initiated investigations to examine how the thefts occurred and to implement measures to ensure they do not happen again.
Jurkowsky said the U.S. Mint was already conducting a system-wide protection evaluation at all Mint facilities before investigations were initiated involving Gray.
Paul J. Fishman, U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, said that the U.S. Mint has advised that it has implemented measures to improve security in all of its facilities.
Gray admits thefts
Gray worked as a Philadelphia Mint police officer from June 1996 through January 2011.
He admitted before Judge Hillman that the thefts began in 2007, the year the Presidential $1 Coin Program was introduced. Gray admitted in court that he removed coins missing the edge lettering from the coining area and placed them into small bags that he then removed from the Philadelphia Mint. Gray admitted taking coins missing the edge lettering because he knew they would be more valuable to collectors. He was initially paid $20 per coin, and eventually between $70 and $75 per coin.
The error coins were then shipped for sale to the coin distributor in California from the U.S. Post Office in Rio Grande, N.J., and from the Federal Express facility in Egg Harbor Township, N.J., Gray admitted. Gray also admitted that between 2007 and 2009, he failed to report the sales of the stolen error coins on his income tax return. Gray admitted understating his tax liability by $801,651.
The information filed against Gray states he must forfeit property that is traceable to having been associated with the sale of the stolen error coins. The property to be forfeited includes $2.3 million in cash, two row houses in Philadelphia, five motor vehicles, a boat and boat motor.
At the time the Presidential $1 Coin Program was launched, the incuse edge lettering — comprising IN GOD WE TRUST, E PLURIBUS UNUM, the date and Mint mark — was imparted on separate edge-lettering equipment in a room removed from the coin production floor.
Not long after the first 2007 George Washington Presidential dollars were released into circulation in February 2007, collectors, dealers and the general public began reporting numerous edge errors. United States Mint officials acknowledged that tens of thousands of Washington Presidential dollars had been mistakenly moved from the coining presses to the counting and bagging equipment without first being taken to the edge inscription equipment at the Philadelphia Mint. From there, the coins were shipped to Federal Reserve Banks for release into circulation.
Thousands of the Washington, Plain Edge dollars entered the marketplace through normal circulation channels, where they were found by the public. The coins quickly began selling for large premiums over their face value.
The release of the error Washington Presidential dollars and the prices they were bringing were the subjects of news coverage not only in the numismatic press, but also in the mainstream media, prompting widespread searches for the error coins.
Mint takes steps
To reduce the possibility that similar error Presidential dollars could be produced and released into circulation, Mint officials took interim steps to identify bins of coins that had been struck but not yet given their edge inscriptions. The number of similar errors for subsequent 2007 Presidential dollars decreased considerably, though some were produced and released.
By early 2008, the edge lettering operation was integrated as the final step in the production process on the coin production floor.
The motto IN GOD WE TRUST was moved from the edge to the obverse in 2009 following complaints in 2007 and 2008 about the production of “Godless dollars” — the Presidential dollars without the edge inscriptions. Congress in 2008 ordered the motto moved from the edge to the obverse or reverse; the Mint implemented the change on the 2009 Presidential dollars.
The space for IN GOD WE TRUST replaced on the edge with 13 five-pointed stars. ■
'Amped & Tweaked' Kinesiology
Updated: 3:30 pm PDT September 3, 2011
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (WCJB) — A California professor is suspected of leading a motorcycle gang and methamphetamine drug ring. Authorities say that he’s wanted for arrest in California. Steve Kinzey, 43 (pictured left) believed to be the president of the local chapter of the Devils Diciples motorcycle club, has been the target of a 6-month narcotics and weapons trafficking investigation, sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller said. Kinzey has been an associate professor of kinesiology (the study of human movement) at California State University, San Bernardino for nearly 10 years. University president Albert K. Karnig said in a statement that the campus would assist in the investigation.
During a raid at his Highland home last week, investigators seized more than a pound of methamphetamine, rifles, handguns, body armor, leather biker vests and other biker paraphernalia and evidence of his involvement with the Devils Diciples. Investigators believed that Kinzey received large amounts of methamphetamine from a supplier and distributed the drug to a network of dealers, Miller said. Police also found an undisclosed amount of cash at the house and said all the guns recovered were unregistered, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“To have an associate professor who is a member of the Devils Diciples and allegedly dealing methamphetamine is quite alarming. I mean, it’s unusual to say the least,” Sheriff Rod Hoops said.
Kinzey’s live-in girlfriend, 33-year-old Holly Robinson, and six others suspects were arrested on drug-related charges. They included Jeremy Disney, 30, of San Bernardino, who is suspected of supplying Kinzey with the drugs. Robinson, who is believed to be a member of Devils Diciples, was arrested on suspicion of drug and weapon possession and participating in the drug ring. A call to the home she shares with Kinzey went unanswered. Authorities are searching for three other suspects.
Posted on August 30, 2011 at 5:47 PM
Updated Tuesday, Sept 3 at 4:35 PM
OAKVILLE, Wash. -- Marcus Searls wants $15 million dollars from Grays Harbor County; $1 million for every time he claims a sheriff's deputy forced him to have sex. Searls filed a lawsuit against Grays Harbor County on Monday.
In February he opened Oakville's Freeworld Enterprises, a medical marijuana dispensary. The dispensary closed in June after Searls said he received a letter from the Grays Harbor County Sheriff informing him the dispensary was an illegal business.
Searls said he was under the impression the police were not going to bother his business because he was supposedly being protected by a deputy.
Searls said that deputy threatened to arrest him when he first opened the dispensary unless he agreed to have sex with him.
Local News is not naming the deputy, a 24-year veteran of the force, because he has not been charged with a crime.
Drug Dealing Cops!
Posted: 09/09/2011 BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Fugitive David Britto may be out of reach of American authorities forever. This city's former Police Officer of the Year was under house arrest, awaiting trial on drug trafficking charges, when he cut the electronic monitoring bracelet from his ankle Aug. 24 and hopped on a plane in Miami, bound for his native country, Brazil , according to court documents filed Wednesday. Brazil's constitution prohibits the extradition of Brazilian nationals. "Basically he's gone unless the Brazilian government, through political pressure, allows U.S. agents to pick him up," said attorney David Rowe, an adjunct law professor at the University of Miami and an extradition expert. Britto, 28, appears to have successfully gambled on a high-stakes escape, rather than risk facing years in prison. He is to stand trial beginning Tuesday. The daring run, however, raises questions about how he pulled it off and who, if anyone, helped him. On Thursday, the U.S. Marshals Service, which is spearheading the hunt for Britto, said federal agents are looking at every possible way of getting Britto back to Miami, where he faces one count of conspiring to possess and traffic 500 grams of methamphetamine. "We're still pursuing him," Marshals Service spokesman Barry Golden said. "He's one of the big cases that are on the top of our list … We're still tracking down every lead. We're trying to get him back into custody at all costs."
Fugitive of the Year!
Published: Thursday, August 25th 2011, 4:00 AM EDT The feds have charged a Brooklyn firefighter with acting as the "muscle guy" for a home delivery cocaine service, the Daily News has learned. Anthony Cilento, assigned to Ladder 166 in Coney Island, is the second civil servant charged with working for the drug ring; a retired NYPD cop was busted in May. Cilento, whose nickname is "December," dropped out of the crew in 2009 when he entered the Fire Department Academy, according to a criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court. "He wanted to turn his life around," said a source familiar with the case. But his alleged past caught up with him after three snitches pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges and fingered him to the feds. The former ringleader of the service claimed that from 2002 to 2009, Cilento was deeply involved in various aspects of the operation - including violence. The drugs-on-demand service arranged the daily delivery of cocaine to customers in southwestern Brooklyn, FBI agent Samantha Bell said in court papers. Cilento took drug orders over the phone, allowed his home in Brooklyn to be used to store drugs, bagged bulk amounts of cocaine into smaller quantities for sale, met with suppliers and accompanied sellers on deliveries, according to court papers. Another informant claims Cilento committed several assaults, which included breaking a crew member's nose for stealing cocaine and cracking another worker over the arm with a paintball gun. The informant also told the FBI that Cilento bought drugs for his own use, and the third snitch said Cilento stopped buying coke "when he began training for the FDNY," the complaint states. All firefighter applicants are screened for drug use, so Cilento was apparently clean while going through that process. Cilento, 27, is being held without bail and is suspended without pay. His lawyer did not return a call. Co-defendant John Avvento, who retired from the NYPD with a disability pension, has been charged with riding shotgun with the drug sellers in case they were stopped by cops, and with providing police gear used during a home-invasion robbery.
Brothers in Drugs!
Archive: April 26, 2011
NYPD: Emmanuel Tavarez!
Posted: 12/06/2012 07:26:03 AM PST Updated: 12/06/2012 09:66:52 PM PST OAKLAND, CA -- The ousted head of an elite Contra Costa County vice squad pleaded guilty to five felonies in federal court Wednesday, nearly two years after his state Department of Justice colleagues caught him selling stolen drug evidence. Former Central Contra Costa Narcotics Enforcement (CNET) Cmdr. Norman Wielsch, 51, of Antioch (pictured left) kissed his father before he stood in front of the judge and admitted to selling drugs that had been seized by CNET agents, robbing prostitutes and making phony arrests. He was taken into custody after, in a barely audible tone, he said he was "guilty" of crimes dating back to 2009. His plea was part of a deal he made with federal prosecutors. Wielsch, a law enforcement officer for 25 years, apologized for the shame he brought to the badge, and particularly the members of CNET, a Department of Justice operation that was shut down after Wielsch's arrest. "We (at CNET) did a lot a lot of good things before I did all these stupid things," Wielsch said. "Most of all, I want to say sorry to my dad, who I let down and brought disgrace to my family name," he said, breaking down in tears. "I'm very sorry." Wielsch pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute marijuana and methamphetamine, theft from programs receiving government funds, robbery, and two counts of conspiracy against civil rights. Another six felony charges were dismissed as part of the plea deal. Describing to the judge how he and former Concord private investigator Christopher Butler would make dates with prostitutes they found on the Internet and then rob them, Wielsch stopped himself and said, "I'm sorry, I really can't believe we did this." Butler and Wielsch, friends since they were on the Antioch police force together in the 1990s, were arrested in a state Department of Justice sting in February 2011, prompting a countywide police-corruption probe that expanded to include allegations that the pair ran a Pleasant Hill brothel and led to more arrests. A judge will decide how much prison time Wielsch receives at his sentencing hearing scheduled for Feb. 19. The federal sentencing guidelines call for between 14 and 17.5 years in federal prison. Wielsch's attorney says he's forbidden from arguing for fewer than 10 years. Wielsch's attorney said Wednesday that it's unclear why Wielsch "went bad" after serving "the public honorably for a number of years." "I don't think even Norm knows the answer to that," Cardoza said. Former CNET agent and San Ramon police officer Louis Lombardi, 40, of Discovery Bay, pleaded guilty to stealing drugs in the case and was sentenced in January to three years. Former Danville officer Stephen Tanabe, 48, of Alamo, is awaiting trial on charges that he conspired with Butler to set up the estranged husbands of Butler's P.I. firm clients for DUI arrests. San Ramon attorney Mary Nolan, of Oakland, is among the defendants being sued in civil court for the so-called Dirty DUI scheme. She is also awaiting trial on charges that she and Butler used eavesdropping equipment on her clients' estranged spouses. Butler, 51, of Concord, also took a plea deal and was sentenced in September to eight years in federal prison. His attorney said Butler was motivated by a need for cash when his business suffered at the expense of his failed attempt to launch his own reality TV show.
Posted: 08/22/2011 11:59:21 AM PDT Updated: 08/22/2011 1:50:23 PM PDT OAKLAND, CA -- The former head of a Contra Costa drug task force pleaded not guilty in federal court this morning to an array of corruption charges, and is expected to be released on bond -- if he allays prosecutors' concerns he is a suicide risk. A federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Norman Wielsch, 50, of Antioch, Calif., and Christopher Butler of Concord, Calif., on Aug. 8, 2011, for federal narcotics offenses, civil rights violations, and extortion. Wielsch (pictured above, left) of Antioch appeared in an Oakland courthouse Monday, handcuffed and dressed in the red jail garb that, for their own safety, marks former peace officers separated from the general population at Alameda County Jail. He fought back tears as Federal Magistrate Laurel Beeler read the charges against him, which include allegations the ousted drug agent -- who routinely oversaw some of Contra Costa County's biggest narcotics busts -- resold methamphetamine and marijuana taken from police evidence. Collectively, the charges carry maximum penalties of life imprisonment and millions in fines and restitution. "Yes, your honor" and "Yes, ma'am" were the only words Wielsch uttered during the hearing as he entered his not-guilty plea and answered Beeler's questions. Wielsch's father Ernest attended with the intent to post $50,000 of a $100,000 surety bond to free Wielsch from custody Monday. Nearly two dozen of Wielsch's family and friends packed the courtroom and watched him get led into the courtroom by a U.S. Marshal, and the sight of them drew a whimper from the defendant, who struggled with fits of emotion throughout the hearing. Federal prosecutor John Hemann negotiated with Wielsch's attorney over the conditions of his release, the major sticking point concerns that Wielsch might be suicidal. Wielsch has been receiving counseling since he was taken into federal custody last week along with co-defendant Christopher Butler, 50, a former Concord private investigator. "The suicide concern is sufficiently grave that we would be opposed to release without an assessment," Hemann said in court. Beeler sympathized with Wielsch and tried to give him solace by urging him to think about his life once the federal case is over. For Wielsch to remain out of jail, prosecutors need by Thursday a psychological assessment contending Wielsch is not a risk to himself. His prospective release limits him to three federal districts in the state: Northern, which encompasses the Bay Area; Eastern, so that he can care for a family member in San Joaquin County; and Southern, so that he can accompany relatives for medical treatment in Southern California. The maximum statutory penalties for each count are as follows, although any sentence imposed by the court following conviction would take into consideration the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553: Count 1 - Narcotics Conspiracy, 21 U.S.C. § 846 (Wielsch and Butler) •» Life imprisonment (10 year mandatory minimum) •» Five years supervised release •» $10,000,000 fine •» $100 special assessment Count 2 - Methamphetamine Distribution, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Wielsch and Butler) •» Life imprisonment (10 year mandatory minimum) •» Five years supervised release •» $10,000,000 fine •» $100 special assessment Count 3 - Methamphetamine Distribution, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Butler) •» Life imprisonment (10 year mandatory minimum) •» Five years supervised release •» $10,000,000 fine •» $100 special assessment Counts 4 through 9 - Marijuana Distribution, 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1) (Butler) •» Five years imprisonment (10 year mandatory minimum) •» Three years supervised release •» $10,000,000 fine •» $100 special assessment Counts 10 through 13 - Theft From Programs Receiving Federal Funds, 18 U.S.C. § 666(a)(1) (Wielsch) •» 10 years imprisonment •» Three years supervised release •» $250,000 fine •» $100 special assessment Count 14 & 16 - Civil Rights Conspiracy, 18 U.S.C. § 241 (Wielsch and Butler) •» Life imprisonment •» Five years supervised release •» $250,000 fine •» $100 special assessment Count 15 & 17 - Extortion, 18 U.S.C. § 1951 (Wielsch and Butler) •» 20 years imprisonment •» Five years supervised release •» $250,000 fine •» $100 special assessment Corrupt Justice™: We note the day is fast approaching where Norman will be the New Guy In Prison.
August 16, 2011 - 01:49 PM PDT A former state narcotics investigator and a Concord private investigator at the center of a widening law enforcement scandal have been indicted by a federal grand jury on drug and corruption charges, authorities said Monday. Norman Wielsch, 50, a former state Department of Justice agent who led an antinarcotics task force in Contra Costa County, and Christopher Butler, 50, who worked as a private investigator, were named in a 17-count indictment that was unsealed Monday after FBI agents arrested Butler and Wielsch. Each is being held without bail in an Alameda County jail pending detention hearings. The two were accused of crimes including stealing marijuana and methamphetamine from police to sell, embezzling cash and opening a massage parlor in Pleasant Hill that served as a front for prostitution. The methamphetamine allegations could lead to a mandatory minimum term of 10 years in federal prison if the men are convicted. The indictment "brings dishonor to all the fine men and women in law enforcement who work hard, do the right thing and risk their lives every day protecting our communities," said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag in San Francisco. Wielsch's (pictured above, left) attorney said, "It's nothing that we didn't expect. We knew what they were investigating." Butler's attorney did not return a call for comment. The grand jury indictment was the result of an investigation that Contra Costa prosecutors asked the FBI to take over earlier this summer. The men were already facing state drug charges, but the indictment represents the first time that the men were formally charged with running a place of prostitution. Both were charged with extortion under color of official right for allegedly setting up the parlor on Gregory Lane in Pleasant Hill and protecting the women who worked there in exchange for "weekly payments to Butler (pictured above, left) which Butler shared with Wielsch," the indictment said. The men were also charged with running phony sting operations by contacting suspected prostitutes through online ads, meeting them in hotels and then stealing their money and property, authorities said.
August 4, 2011 Laredo, Texas - Former Laredo police officer Pedro Martinez III, 34, was sentenced August 4 to 6 ½ years in prison for helping a drug trafficker move and store cocaine. Martinez agreed to escort loads of cocaine in exchange for payment from undercover FBI and BATF agents he thought were smugglers and recruited fellow officer Orlando Hale to help out. He escorted three loads and Hale escorted two, with the pair receiving $1,000 for each load. The undercover agents also persuaded Martinez to lead them to a cocaine supplier, who has already pleaded guilty to drug trafficking charges and awaits sentencing. Martinez testified against Hale when Hale took his case to trial last year. Hale lost and got 24 ½ years. Martinez pleaded to bribery charges.
Dual Escorts! HPD Dope Bribe!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011 HOUSTON (WCJB) -- A former Houston police officer has been convicted by a federal jury on corruption charges. U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson says 46-year-old Leslie Aikens (pictured below, left) of Houston was convicted Tuesday. The 19-year veteran of the Houston police had been charged with aiding and abetting possession of a controlled substance by providing an escort for drugs through the Houston area in his police vehicle. He was also charged with extortion for accepting a $2,000 bribe to provide the protection for the vehicle he believed to be transporting 7 kilograms of cocaine. The indictment was returned in June. Magidson says the jury found Aikens guilty on all counts he was charged with. Aikens faces up to life in prison. He's set to be sentenced Feb. 2, 2012. July 27, 2011 Texas -- A veteran Houston police sergeant was arrested Wednesday and charged with accepting a bribe to provide protection for a vehicle carrying several kilograms of cocaine, federal authorities announced. Houston Police Department Sgt. Leslie Aikens, 46 (pictured left) was charged with aiding and abetting the possession with the intent to distribute more than 5 kilograms of cocaine on or about March 10, U.S. Attorney's Office officials said. Aikens also was charged with accepting a $2,000 bribe to provide protection for a vehicle transporting 7 kilograms of cocaine. Aikens, who's worked for the department for nearly 19 years, has been relieved of duty with pay pending the outcome of an investigation by the department's internal affairs division, according to a statement by HPD Chief Charles McClelland: "As is customary with internal investigations, the Houston Police Department will make no further comments regarding this matter until the investigation(s) are completed," McClelland said in the statement. Houston Police Officer's Union Vice President Ray Hunt said its office is not aware of the matter and has not been contacted by Aikens for legal representation. He noted that requests from officers for legal representation are reviewed and if evidence of criminal activity is found, the union will not provide an attorney. He said HPOU represents officers acting only within the scope and course of their job. "Any criminal conduct is outside of the scope and course of your job as a Houston police officer," Hunt said. Aikens, who is assigned to the HPD Jail Division and was promoted to sergeant last year, was arrested after the unsealing of the June 22 indictment on Wednesday by officers with HPD Internal Affairs Division, Texas Rangers and FBI agents. He appeared before a federal judge Wednesday and was released on $50,000 bail. The drug offense charge carries a penalty of not less than 10 years or more than life imprisonment and a $10 million fine upon conviction. The extortion charge is punishable by up to 20 years incarceration without parole and a $250,000 fine.
Guilty All Counts! Movie Intermission! The Front Lines Border Wars!
Description: Officer Hector Navarro stops a silver pickup truck at the Nogales port of entry -- and ends up breaking a drug bust record. © National Geographic Channel