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Friday, 27 May 2011

Police in London have made two arrests following the theft of wine valued at up to £1 million.


Thieves used forklifts to remove 400 cases of wine from premises under railway arches at Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, last weekend.
The raiders broke through a padlock on the main gates and then bent a shutter door to gain access to the warehouse. They disabled alarms and CCTV cameras.
They are believed to have used three vehicles to make off after the theft:  two white Transit-style vans and a lorry with a brown cab and blue sides. Six white men were seen with the vehicles on Saturday afternoon.
Detective Constable Ash Rossiter said: “The stolen stock is rare and valuable. We would ask anyone with information or who is offered these goods for sale to contact us as soon as possible.
“It may be the aim of those who have stolen it to try to sell it to private collectors or auction houses.”
Some of the wine stolen was owned by private investors. A £5,000 reward has been offered by one of them for the return of a "substantial" part of the stolen stock.
Two men have been arrested on suspicion of burglary and taken to Bethnal Green police station where they remain in custody.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Authorities in Arizona have arrested three employees of a sheriff's office known for its tough stand on illegal immigration

Authorities in Arizona have arrested three employees of a sheriff's office known for its tough stand on illegal immigration, accusing them of aiding human traffickers and drug smugglers.
A sheriff's deputy and two detention officers were among 12 people arrested in an operation Tuesday, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
"That a deputy sheriff would provide information and associate with these drug and human traffickers is despicable," Arpaio told reporters.
Deputy Alfredo Navarrette, who had been a member of a unit targeting human smuggling, faces felony charges connected to human smuggling, money laundering and participating in a crime syndicate, Arpaio said.
"He admitted actually going to our command centers to obtain information to pass on to the drug traffickers and the smugglers," Arpaio said, noting that authorities found two illegal immigrants in Navarrette's home when they served a search warrant Tuesday morning.
The two detention officers who were arrested -- Sylvia Najera and Marcella Hernandez -- are accused of money laundering and having connections with drug-trafficking organizations. Hernandez had more than $16,000 in her purse when she was taken into custody, Arpaio said.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery praised the sheriff's office for its handling of the matter and pledged to hold the officers accountable.
"This wasn't swept under the rug. The cooperation that we received from the sheriff's office was complete and forthright," he told reporters.
"No one's above the law, and apparently no one is beyond the reach of drug-trafficking organizations in Mexico," he added.
Arpaio drew national attention and earned the nickname of "America's toughest sheriff" for his stance on illegal immigration, among other things.
Many of his prisoners are housed in tents and forced to wear pink underwear, and he once boasted of feeding them on less than a dollar a day per prisoner.
He faces a U.S. Justice Department investigation into whether his policies cracking down on illegal immigrants discriminate against Hispanics.
Earlier this month critics called for his resignation after an audit found he used nearly $100 million designated for jail funds to pay deputies' salaries.
Some activists said Tuesday's arrests are part of a public-relations ploy to clean up the sheriff's office image in the wake of such accusations.
"Now he's saying that he's cleaning out his department, but frankly, these problems have always existed inside the agency," human rights activist Lydia Guzman told CNN affiliate KTVW.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of attempting to kill Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killing six others in Tucson, Arizona, earlier this year,

Mr Loughner, 22, was found by Judge Larry Burns to be “mentally incompetent” to take part in a trial and assist with his own defence, during a hearing Tucson on Wednesday.
At one point he was dragged out of the courtroom by US marshalls, after an outburst in which he shouted: “She died in front of me” and “Thank you for the freak show”.
He is charged with 49 counts relating to the shooting spree at a meet-the-voters event hosted by Miss Giffords in a supermarket carpark on January 8.
The Democratic congresswoman, 40, was shot through the head but is recovering in a rehabilitation centre. Six people, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge, were killed and 12 others injured.
Mr Loughner, who is described by his lawyers as a “gravely mentally ill man”, denies all the charges. He could face the death penalty if he stands trial and is convicted.

 

Mexican police have arrested a man they suspect of being behind the murder of Juan Francisco Sicilia and six other young men in March.


Julio de Jesus Radilla, known as El Negro and an alleged drug gang leader, was detained in the state of Veracruz.

Mr Sicilia's murder prompted his father, the poet Javier Silicia, to lead anti-violence marches in Mexico.

More than 34,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since December 2006.

Mr Radilla and two other men were detained in Coatzacoalcos in Veracruz, where they had been hiding since the killings in March, officials said.

Authorities suspect Mr Radilla of being the leader of the Pacifico Sur drug cartel in the central state of Morelos.

Juan Francisco Sicilia and the other six victims were murdered near Cuernavaca in Morelos. Bearing signs of torture, their bodies were found in and around a vehicle.

Officials said Mr Radilla had no previous ties to the victims, and they had no links to the drug gang.

Most of those killed over the past four and a half years have died in confrontations between rival gangs.

But the rising violence in many parts of Mexico and the number of innocent victims have led to increasing calls for an end to the bloodshed.

Mr Sicilia blamed both the government and the criminal gangs for the violence.

In a speech in May, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said the murders had shocked Mexico but he urged all Mexicans to support his government's four-year crackdown on drug cartels.

Deputy and two women who work for America’s 'toughest sheriff' arrested for human trafficking and drug smuggling

He likes to name and shame arrestees by posting their mugshots on his website and asking the public to vote for their favourite.

But America's 'toughest sheriff' was left red-faced today when three of his own staff appeared online after being arrested in a drug and human trafficking sting.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, said a deputy and two female detention officers were among 12 people accused of being in a Phoenix-based international drug smuggling ring.

Deputy Alfredo Navarette, who was once part of the sheriff's human smuggling unit, was also accused of being part of a separate human trafficking ring.

This morning his mugshot had shot to third place on mcso.org's 'Mugshot of the Day' leader board.

One of the accused detention officers, Marcella Hernandez, revealed she is  eight-months pregnant with the child of Francisco Arce-Torres, the alleged drug ring's leader.

Court documents say Arce-Torres is also a member of the Mexican Sinaloa cartel.

Navarette, Hernandez, and detention officer Sylvia Najera face felony charges.

Seven other sheriff's employees were also being investigated for their possible involvement.

'We have enough violence without having moles in my own organisation that put my deputies in danger,' Arpaio said in a press conference.

'Every organisation, you're going to find some people who do wrong,' he added.  'It's human nature.'

 

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Tel Aviv lawyer indicted for ordering gangland-style hits

Gur Finkelstein indicted on 11 charges, allegedly commissioning Jaffa gang to carry out his bidding; Finkelstein allegedly attempted to murder his ex-wife's husband in attempt to gain custody of ex's 11-year-old son.
The Tel Aviv district court indicted attorney Gur Finkelstein on Thursday of 11 charges, including attempted murder, sabotage, attempted sabotage, causing damage with explosives, arson, conspiring to commit a crime and aggravated assault.

Gur Finkelstein, a lawyer who represents the Scientology Center in Israel, was arrested several weeks ago, but details of the investigation were released for publication only earlier this week.

Among the crimes Finkelstein has been linked to is the attempted murder in Haifa last November of Danny Cohen, the current husband of Finkelstein's ex-wife, in an apparent attempt to gain custody of his and his ex's 11-year-old son.

On November 21, a bomb that had been planted in Cohen's car went off, wounding Cohen and his 4-year-old daughter. According to the indictment, Finkelstein paid members of a Jaffa gang between 120 and 140 thousand NIS for assassination attempts on his ex's husband.
Finkelstein is also alleged to have commissioned a hit against Tel Aviv building inspector Shoter Hovel, after the latter had stopped work on construction for the Scientology sect that Finkelstein represented.

When Hovel came to inspect the building, he found that it exceeded its building permit by 1,000 square meters, and ordered work stopped and the excess construction demolished.

Finkelstein then allegedly commissioned Abdi Bakar and Ramzi Bakar of the same Jaffa gang to harm Hovel, offering the two 40 thousand NIS to "maim or cripple Hovel, or to cause him an injury so that he would take sick leave for a few months."

The two gang members allegedly received an initial installment of 25 thousand NIS, to prepare and execute the operation.

Hovel was not hurt in the attempted hit, and Finkelstein allegedly then paid the suspects the remaining 15 thousand NIS, after which he paid them to carry out another attack on the building inspector.

According to the indictment, Finkelstein offered the two an additional 50 thousand NIS to try and hurt Hovel again.

The indictment stated that the two Jaffa gang members purchased shirts that said "police" on them, and an electric stunner. On May 29 of last year the two allegedly stopped Hovel as he was leaving his office and attacked him. This attempt to harm the building inspector also failed, and Hovel was only lightly wounded.

Finkelstein also allegedly ordered the torching of the same Scientology building in an effort to generate new construction work, from which he was getting commissions from the building subcontractors he employed. According to the indictment he paid 60 thousand NIS to burn the building down.

The gang that carried out these assignments, most of them members of the Bakar family, is also being linked to two other murder attempts: of a senior sheikh of the Hassan Bek Mosque in Jaffa, which they allegedly planned to use to frame rightists, and of businessman Eli Shakak. Finkelstein is apparently not connected to these assassination attempts.

Exposure in March of the plot against the sheikh and the subsequent arrest of five gang members emerged as the turning point in exposing Finkelstein's alleged crimes.

Under interrogation, one of the gang members turned state's witness and described various assignments he and his relatives had carried out for Finkelstein. Police were thus able to crack several cases that had eluded them for months.

Members of Finkelstein's law firm refused to comment on the allegations. A spokeswoman for the Scientology organization said that it was too early to respond to an ongoing legal proceeding, but stressed that "neither Gur, nor any of the other suspects, are members of the Scientology organization, period."

 

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Rapists who admit their guilt could have their sentences halved under new government proposals.



Ministers say the move would spare victims the ordeal of reliving their attack by giving evidence in court.
Under existing laws, those who plead guilty to rape at the earliest opportunity can have their jail terms reduced by up to a third. The standard tariff for a rape conviction is five years.
The new plans, which could see sex attackers walk free after as little as 15 months on license, have been criticised by victims groups.
Prisons minister Crispin Blunt revealed the scheme to MPs on Tuesday.
Difficulty of prosecution should not be used as an excuse to cut sentences.
Read Sophy Ridge's blog on prison sentences for rapists
He is backed by justice minister Kenneth Clarke, who said: "It is true we are thinking of putting it up to a half.
"It makes an enormous difference to the cost, the police time, the involvement of quite unnecessary preparations for trial if everyone leaves guilty pleas to the last moment."
The current conviction rate for rape is just 6%. Supporters of the changes hope this figure will rise significantly if more perpetrators admit their crime.
Louise Casey, the Commissioner for Victims, said the halving of rape sentences "underplays the harm caused" and placed "administrative efficiency over justice".
Former Home Secretary Jack Straw asked: "How on earth will giving half off a sentence help to protect the public?"

Monday, 9 May 2011

Kuwaiti Woman Blackmails Men With Their Nude Pictures

An unidentified young Kuwaiti woman is being interrogated for involvement in blackmailing public figures including some Members of Parliament and their immediate relatives, reports Al-Shahed daily quoting security sources.
According to reports the woman would lure her ‘victims’ to her apartment in Salmiya and then take their pictures when they were nude.
Security sources say police were tipped off about the dirty game played by the woman and most of them refused to file complaints against the woman for fear of getting involved in a scandal. Police acting on information allegedly set a trap for the woman and caught her red-handed.
They have also seized from her CDs depicting well-known personalities in compromising positions.

 

The customs officers at Abdally Border have arrested a Syrian truck driver for smuggling 9,000 narcotic pills

The customs officers at Abdally Border have arrested a Syrian truck driver for smuggling 9,000 narcotic pills worth KD 30,000 into the country.
The officers got suspicious when the driver looked agitated upon approaching the checkpoint.  They inspected the truck thoroughly, resulting in the discovery of the narcotic pills.  The suspect was referred to the concerned security department for the necessary legal action.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Golatt also faced sex crime charges in Idaho

Angelo "Doogie" Golatt cloaked himself in the clothes and voice of a pious man of God, ministering to church youths, working with the mentally disabled, being front and center in singing and testifying in church.

He was a Louisiana College graduate in 2005, majoring in religious education, and a youth minister at Donahue Family Church. Google his name and there are many hits on older social network websites: Xanga, MySpace and others, where Golatt thanks God for his many blessings.

Golatt worked with children at the majority of places he was employed, or with adults as vulnerable as children: youth minister positions at Baptist and Assembly of God churches; helping the developmentally challenged at a facility in Idaho; interacting with Head Start program youths in his recent employment at the LaSalle Detention Facility in Jena.

In his writings on the Xanga website, Golatt talks of his mission in Idaho, where in 2006 he was youth minister at the Buhl Assembly of God while also working at the facility for the disabled.

"It's just so awesome being up there and seeing our people worship our Savior," Golatt wrote in September 2006. "A couple of Sundays ago I looked out in the audience and saw one of our youths singing, but not JUST singing, actually agreeing with the words in his heart."

But despite the light that Golatt professed to spread, he apparently has a very dark side.

Golatt, 28, has been charged with more than 60 sex crimes involving children ages 13 years or younger from 2003 to 2007. Rapides Parish Sheriff's detectives said the investigation centers on Golatt's work as a youth minister at Donahue Family Church in Pineville, which no longer is open.

Pastors Keith Dickens and Curtis Campbell, ministers at Donahue during the time Golatt allegedly committed the crimes, did not return messages left by The Town Talk seeking comment.

Golatt is behind bars now in the Rapides Parish jail, with a hearing scheduled Friday in front of a 9th District judge. Golatt's attorney, public defender Joe Kutch, refused a Town Talk request to interview Golatt in jail.

His March 29 arrest on four counts of youth sex-crime charges was the beginning. By April 11 the number had grown to 63 charges, including 52 charges of raping children 13 or younger.

It wasn't the first time Golatt was accused of sexual crimes.

Golatt was arrested in Idaho in 2006 on two counts of sexual abuse of a mentally challenged adult when he worked at a Twin Falls branch of the Centers for Independent Living.

The crime in Jerome County, Idaho, was reported on Nov. 17, 2006. Golatt was arrested on Dec. 4 on two counts of sexual abuse/exploitation of a vulnerable adult, eventually pleading down to a misdemeanor battery charge, according to the Jerome County Prosecutor's Office.

Golatt was sentenced to 180 days in jail. He spent 30 days in jail. The remainder was suspended, a clerk in the county's prosecutor's office said recently.

Jerome County sheriff's deputies issued a warrant for Golatt in 2007 for parole violation on the battery conviction, but by that time Golatt was back in Louisiana and officials could not extradite him for violating parole on a misdemeanor.

A Town Talk request made Friday to Jerome County sheriff's officials for Golatt's 2006 arrest report was not immediately answered. The Prosecutor's Office said the case file on Golatt and his victim was sealed in 2007.

During his time in Idaho, Golatt also was youth minister at the Buhl Assembly of God, where he raised no suspicions of deviant behavior until the arrest.

"While I was there I didn't have any issues whatsoever. I didn't have any concerns," said the Rev. Travis Hedrick, who was the pastor in Buhl in 2006 but left before Golatt got into trouble. "I found out many years later that there was some sort of accusation against him, that the church "» asked him to step down for the better good of the church and him."

Hedrick is now a pastor in St. Louis.

Golatt returned to Louisiana in 2007, where he held jobs including student services coordinator at Blue Cliff College in Alexandria, and a position at the LaSalle Detention Center in Jena, where he was arrested March 29 by Rapides Parish Sheriff's deputies and deputy U.S. marshals.

Blue Cliff campus director Tracy Kazelski refused comment for this article. Pablo Paez, vice president of corporate relations for the Geo Group, said only that Golatt no longer works for the LaSalle Detention Center. The Geo Group is a private company that manages the LaSalle prison for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Questions posed to Kazelski and Paez included whether they had done a criminal background check on Golatt.

Golatt, in the first quarter 2011 Geo Group newsletter, wrote that the LaSalle prison teamed up with a local Head Start program, which helps educate very young and poor children, to deliver gifts to the kids.

"Seeing the children smile was enough to excite the LaSalle team to plan for a bigger and better next year," Golatt wrote.

Rapides Parish Sheriff's Detective Stephen Phillips said Thursday that the police investigation of Golatt has been completed and handed over to the District Attorney's Office. DA James Downs said his office would look at the findings and decide if it warrants bringing the case before a grand jury.

Assistant District Attorney Rocky Willson, who will prosecute the case if a grand jury indicts Golatt, said that although Louisiana law states the punishment meted out for aggravated rape can be the death sentence, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled otherwise.

Willson said, however, that if Golatt is convicted he'll be in prison for a long time.

The Rev. David Brooks, pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Alexandria, said Golatt was never employed by the church, but that he did help out at Calvary functions when he was a student at Louisiana College. Golatt was among many other college students who helped at church functions, Brooks said.

Brooks said no church members have come forward with accusations against Golatt, and that he's asked youth leaders at Calvary if they've heard of anything.

"Nobody ever suspected anything, never heard anything, so we don't know of anything that happened," Brooks said.

Louisiana College spokeswoman Amy Robertson said school policy prevents any comment on Golatt's years at LC.

 

Police in Detroit are hunting a gang of middle-aged women, nicknamed the "Mad Hatters",

Police in Detroit are hunting a gang of middle-aged women, nicknamed the "Mad Hatters", who they blame for a string of robberies, purse snatching and fraud.
The suspects typically steal a woman's wallet or purse, police said in a statement. Shortly afterward, the credit cards and checks are used at stores to buy merchandise or at banks to get cash.
Surveillance photographs supplied by police show the middle-aged to elderly women wear hats, usually of the floppy, fisherman variety, at the time of the incidents.
Purse-snatching crimes are not uncommon, but what is unusual is the organised nature of the crimes.
"Seldom are there these organised rings doing it, such as this one," Sterling Heights police Lt. Luke Riley said.
The incidents began about a year ago and the most recent incident occurred last week, according to a press release from the Sterling Heights Police Department.
The total value of merchandise and cash stolen could be as high as $500,000, police said. The women stole almost $200,000 from one bank.
Riley said authorities are looking for "at least" five or six women in this group.
Photographs show the person responsible for the theft is not always the one who uses the stolen items to commit the fraud, police said.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

youngest of the 24 accused Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gangsters operating in the Bay Area are barely 20

The youngest of the 24 accused Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) gangsters operating in the Bay Area are barely 20. They were still minors -- or had just turned 18 -- when they were arrested in 2008 during the Operation Devil Horns gang takedown. Since then, they have been indicted for conspiring to beat, rob, and murder with the gang -- or even to have been the triggermen themselves.

They didn't come out of the womb with devil-horn tattoos. So how did things go so wrong while they were so young?

Court documents, trial revelations, and an interview with one member's father outline a strikingly similar path to gangster life. As one defense attorney, who is defending a young man accused of murder, said during opening statements: "This is going to sound eerily familiar."  

1. They grew up dirt-poor in war-torn Central America, and were abandoned by parents moving to the United States.

Walter Chinchilla-Linar, one MS-13 member who pleaded guilty to gang conspiracy earlier this year, grew up in a tiny village in Guatemala during a series of coups when death squads roamed with impunity.

"Walter's earliest memories include the discovery of a body in the streets," according to a court document. "He has a particularly vivid memory of a stranger's body -- the head attached to a body by only a small strip of flesh."

Walter's father, an uneducated broom maker, moved to Guatemala City to find work, but after that failed, he moved to the United States when Walter was 3. His mother then left for the United States two years later -- to send money back to her family. Walter was left with his grandma and up to 12 family members in a three-room "structure" in rural Guatemala, the documents state.

This story was played over and over again in the opening statements of the trial. The father of one defendant was killed in the Salvadoran civil war. His mom left for the United States, and he was raised by his grandparents. Another member, born in Honduras in 1989, was abandoned by his parents and also raised by his grandma.

2. They were themselves were fearful of gangbangers back in Central America.  

None of the seven men in the current trial claim to have had gang ties before coming the United States. The father of one defendant, who asked that their names not be published, says he left for the United States before his son was born. His son would call him on the phone, saying gangsters had threatened to rob him on the way to school. "He was very scared talking on the phone," the man recalls. 
 
3. They trekked solo to the United States, entering illegally, to reunite with parents in their early teen years.

Chinchilla-Linar ventured north across Mexico when he was 15 to rejoin his parents. He paid a coyote to cross the desert into the United States, remembering those who were too weak to continue were left behind to die. He arrived "emaciated and exhausted," a court document states.
 
The father mentioned previously says his then-14-year-old son called him from detention at the U.S.-Mexico border. His son and older brother had made the trip riding north through Mexico on the top of freight trains to surprise their father in San Francisco. The older brother had been caught by authorities in Mexico, and was deported to Salvador. But the 14-year-old boy had continued -- and made it into the U.S. before getting nabbed. He evaded deportation, supposedly for being a minor with a father who was a permanent resident in the United States. 

The father invited the teen to join him in San Francisco; he was worried about the pressure on Latino boys growing up in the Mission. "I was a little worried he'd join a gang, but I thought I'd be able to have more influence on him than the gangs would." 

4. They face bullying and isolation upon arriving in San Francisco.

Chinchilla-Lina moved into a basement of a Bayview apartment with his

​ parents and two young brothers he'd never met. For his entire first year in San Francisco, he didn't go to school and barely left the house. Rather than getting the reunion he'd always wanted, he found himself estranged from his family members, who struggled with addictions and mental health problems, court documents say.

Similarly, the defendants in the ongoing trial had inauspicious starts in the city. Jonathan Cruz Ramirez had moved into the Potrero Hill housing projects and Guillermo Herrera moved in with his mom in the Bayview, where he was robbed twice in two years. By the time Moris Flores arrived from El Salvador at the age of 12, his mom was working several jobs.

5. They met other MS-13 members in San Francisco public schools.  

A number of the indicted gang members entered the school system through Newcomer High School, a landing pad for immigrants to improve their English skills so they can to transfer to a mainstream school. (Newcomer was closed last year because of budget cuts.)

That's where some indicted gang members met each other. "As a young El Salvadoran immigrant, he had to find his place among other Spanish-speaking immigrant children he was in contact with everyday in school," says Mark Rosenbush, the attorney for Moris Flores. "He ended up associated with MS-13 because they, like him, came from El Salvador."

Chinchilla-Linar, Cruz-Ramirez, and Herrera also attended Newcomer High School. But the school wasn't necessarily the root of the problem.

The father we interviewed said he had no problems with his son during his six months at Newcomer. But when he transferred to Burton High School, things took a turn for the worse.

"The first week, he started to have problems with boys. He didn't want to go to school. They had him scared." The father recalls his son would come home with his Nike sneakers or his backpack stolen. Another time he came home beaten up -- saying it was at the hands of three gangsters.

6. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

Suddenly his son went from being bullied to being one of the bullies. "The school called saying he's not going to school and was hanging out with bad kids," the father says.

Likewise, court documents about Chinchilla-Linar say: "Walter did not seek recruitment into the gang. Instead, he felt persuaded to join once gang members confronted him, since he had witnessed what happened to others who refused."
 
The father says gang members started giving his 15-year-old son brand-name clothes -- baggy

​ pants, long T-shirts, shoes -- and a lot of weed. "He was manipulated," the father says. "They tried to win him over."

The father realized he was losing his son to the MS-13 gang. "I told him the Mara was the worst of the worst," he says. "At first he listened to me, but once they brainwashed him, he no longer listened to me."  
 
As for the eldest son who was deported to El Salvador? He's completing his computer-engineering degree, his father says. If only they would have deported his younger son -- the one now on trial for gang conspiracy -- he would have likely taken a different path, the father says: "He would be in the third year of the university right now."

He says his son recently called him from jail to apologize for not listening.

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