12 Mexican Police Officers In Custody After Attack On US Embassy Car

August 28, 2012

MEXICO – A Mexican judge ordered 12 federal police officers held for 40 days on Monday as prosecutors mull charges against them for shooting at a US embassy car and wounding two US government employees.

The officers are being treated as suspects over Friday’s incident, when a sport-utility vehicle with diplomatic plates was chased by four cars south of Mexico City and hit by a hail of bullets.

“We will continue to deepen the investigation,” Attorney General Marisela Morales Ibanez told reporters. “Right now we have an abuse of power.”

“We are cooperating with all national and international authorities that we must collaborate with to clarify the events,” Morales added.

She did not indicate what other charges the officers could face apart from abuse of power over the shooting, which the US embassy has described as an ambush. The judge must decide the degree of responsibility of each suspect.

“No crime and no investigative leads are being ruled out at the moment,” she said. “This is why we asked for provisional detention, so we have the time we need to carry out an exhaustive investigation.”

The officers will be transferred from the attorney general’s regional office in Cuernavaca, the capital of the state of Morelos, to a provisional detention center in Mexico City.

Relatives of the officers protested outside the federal prosecutor’s office in Cuernavaca, holding signs saying “Deprived of their freedom for doing their jobs” and “Mr. President, we ask for your support and justice.”

The Mexican navy and public security ministry say the officers were hunting for criminals south of the capital when they shot at the diplomatic car. A Mexican navy captain traveling with the US employees was slightly injured.

The US government employees and the Mexican navy captain were heading to a military facility when a carload of gunmen chased and fired at them on a dirt road, the navy and public security ministry said in a statement.

When the US vehicle veered back onto a highway, three more cars joined the chase and shot at the SUV, which was riddled with bullets near Tres Marias, a town 50 kilometers (30 miles) south of the capital.

The US embassy has not identified the two wounded employees or the nature of their work in Mexico, which is in the throes of a drug war that has left some 50,000 people dead since 2006.

Mexico’s ombudsman, Raul Plascencia, said the shooting was an “extremely serious mistake by the officers, which could be an orchestrated action.”

“There is no justification for such an excessive use of force,” the head of the National Human Rights Commission told a news conference.

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4 Quebec Canada Police Officers With Suspected Connections To Organized Crime Arrested

June 17, 2012

QUEBEC, CANADA – Four Quebec police officers were arrested and released this week in connection with suspected ties to organized crime.

Two officers from the Montreal police force were arrested Thursday, one day after two Longueuil policemen were taken into custody.

Several reports Thursday said the officers were arrested and questioned in connection with an attack on a Montreal officer in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico two years ago.

Montreal police won’t comment on the arrests.

One officer was reportedly suspended without pay, and the other one will be reassigned to administrative duties, said CBC reporter Lauren McCallum.

The Longueuil officers were arrested on Wednesday, questioned and released.

Authorities “don’t know as of yet if there will be any criminal accusations,” said Longueuil police spokeswoman Nancy Colagiacomo.

The South Shore officers have been suspended with pay, pending the investigation.

They are both in the early 30s, and have between five and ten years’ experience on the force.

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Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder – Full Of It – Questioned About His Department’s Operation That Supplied Guns To Criminals And Mexican Drug Cartel

June 6, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC  – Attorney General Eric Holder claimed during congressional testimony today that internal Justice Department emails that use the phrase “Fast and Furious” do not refer to the controversial gun-walking operation Fast and Furious.

Under questioning from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who read excerpts of the emails at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Justice Department oversight, Holder claimed that the phrase “Fast and Furious” did not refer to Fast and Furious but instead referred to another gun-walking operation known as “Wide Receiver.”

However, the emails refer to both programs — “Fast and Furious” and the “Tucson case,” from where Wide Receiver was launched — and reveal Justice Department officials discussing how to handle media scrutiny when both operations become public.

Among three of the emails, the second, dated “October 17, 2010 11:07 PM,” was sent by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein to James Trusty and it states: “Do you think we should have Lanny participate in press when Fast and Furious and Laura’s Tucson case [Wide Receiver] are unsealed? It’s a tricky case, given the number of guns that have walked, but it is a significant set of prosecutions.”

In the third email, dated Oct. 18, 2010, James Trusty writes back to Weinstein: “I think so, but the timing will be tricky, too. Looks like we’ll be able to unseal the Tucson case sooner than the Fast and Furious (although this may be just the difference between Nov. and Dec).”

“It’s not clear how much we’re involved in the main F and F [Fast and Furious] case,” reads the email, “but we have Tucson [Wide Receiver] and now a new unrelated case with [redacted] targets. It’s not any big surprise that a bunch of US guns are being used in MX [Mexico], so I’m not sure how much grief we get for ‘guns walking.’ It may be more like ‘Finally, they’re going after people who sent guns down there.’”

Operation Wide Receiver was run out of Tucson, Ariz., between 2006 and 2007 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), a division of the Justice Department.

In his testimony, Holder said that the emails only referred to Operation Wide Receiver.

Holder told the committee: “That refers to Wide Receiver, not to Fast and Furious. The e-mail that you [Rep. Chaffetz] just read [between Trusty and Weinstein] – now this is important – that email referred to Wide Receiver, it did not refer to Fast and Furious. That has to be noted for the record.”

Chaffetz, after a long pause, said, “No, it doesn’t. It says Fast and Furious. ‘Do you think we should have Lanny participate in press when Fast and Furious and Laura’s Tucson case [Wide Receiver] are unsealed?’ It’s specific to Fast and Furious. That is not true, Mr. Attorney General. I’m happy to share it with you.”

Brian Terry, border agent

U.S. Border Agent Brian A. Terry, shot and killed on Dec. 14, 2010, near Rio Rico, Arizona, while trying to catch bandits who target illegal immigrants. (AP Photo)

Operation Fast and Furious was carried out by the ATF. It began in the fall of 2009 and continued into early 2011, during which time the federal government purposefully allowed known or suspected gun smugglers to purchase guns at federally licensed firearms dealers in Arizona. The government did not seek to abort these gun purchases, intercept the smugglers after the purchases, or recover the guns they had purchased.

In some cases, as the government expected they would, the smugglers delivered the guns to Mexican drug trafficking organizations. Two rifles sold to a smuggler in the course of Operation Fast and Furious in January 2010 ended up at the scene of the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010.

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Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder Briefing Hundreds Of Black Pastors In Effort To Help Obama’s Campaign

May 30, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Attorney General Eric Holder, the IRS, and the liberal lawyers at the ACLU will brief several hundred pastors in the African American community on how to participate in the presidential election — which the Congressional Black Caucus chair expects will help President Obama’s campaign.

“We will have representatives from nine denominations who actually pastor somewhere in the neighborhood of about 10 million people, and we’re going to first of all equip them with the information they need to know about what they can say and what they cannot say in the church that would violate their 501c3 status with the IRS,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., told MSNBC today.

“In fact, we’re going to have the IRS administrator there, we’re going to have the Attorney General Eric Holder there, we’re going to have the lawyers’ organization from around the country, the ACLU — all giving ministers guidance about what they can and cannot do,” he noted.

Cleaver said they would not tell pastors which candidate to support. They will let them know who to regard as the bad guys, though (hint: not Democrats). “We’re going to talk about some of the draconian laws that have cropped up around the country as a result of the 17 percent increase in African American votes,” Cleaver said, describing voter ID laws as a form of Jim Crow-style “poll tax” on seniors and black voters.

The CBC chairman is confident that “President Obama is going to get 95 percent of the [African American] vote,” and wants to keep that turnout high. “We want to let them know that there is a theological responsibility to participate in the political process, at least in the Judeo-Christian tradition,” he said.

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Third World: 6th Graders Made Gay Porn Video In Mexican School

May 10, 2012

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - Authorities in Mexico’s Gulf coast state of Campeche said Wednesday they are investigating how a porn video was made by sixth-graders inside their school.

State Education Department spokesman Omar Kantun said the video was apparently made in an empty classroom during recess in late April.

“It is real, the case is real, the video exists,” Kantun said. “The Education Department is very concerned.”

He said an investigation is being conducted by his department and the teachers union to determine whether any adults were involved.

Kantun said the teacher who uses the classroom did not appear to have been present when the video was made. He said no disciplinary action has been taken against any students or teachers as of yet. He said the students involved are being given psychological counseling.

The incident occurred in late April at a grade school in the town of Calkini, which is in a relatively conservative and heavily Indian area. Three boys are seen on the video engaging in oral and anal sex recorded on a cellphone by a fourth person, apparently another student.

The mother of one of the boys saw the video on the Internet and notified authorities, Kantun said. He said the video had since been taken down.

Authorities didn’t announce the students’ ages, but sixth-graders in Mexico are generally 12 or younger.

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Effort By House Oversight Committee To Hold Disgraced US Attorney General Eric Holder In Contempt Making Progress – His Department’s Efforts Armed Mexican Drug Cartels, Then Hid Documents Amid Investigation

May 3, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Republicans on the House Oversight Committee were to take the first formal step Thursday toward contempt proceedings against Attorney General Eric Holder over the Fast and Furious “gunwalking” operation, CBS News has learned.

The case for a citation declaring Holder in contempt will be laid out in a briefing paper and 48-page draft citation distributed to Democrats and Republicans on the committee. CBS News has obtained copies of both documents. In them, Republican members use strong language to accuse Holder of obstructing the committee’s investigation, which is now in its second year.

The documents allege that the Justice Department has issued, “false denials, given answers intended to misdirect investigators, sought to intimidate witnesses, unlawfully withheld subpoenaed documents, and waited to be confronted with indisputable evidence before acknowledging uncomfortable facts.”

“The Justice Department’s demonstrable contempt for the congressional investigation has inflicted harm on the people of two nations seeking the truth – and very pointedly on the family of fallen Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ATF whistleblowers who now face retaliation in the wake of their own heroic efforts to expose wrongdoing,” says the brief to be distributed Thursday.

For its part, the Justice Department says it has complied with the congressional investigations, led by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa).

“We’ve done twice-a-month (document) productions since last year, and the Attorney General has testified about this matter no less than seven times,” a Justice official tells CBS News.

There have been at least three House contempt actions against the Executive Branch in the past 30 years.

In 1983, Congress found EPA administrator Anne Gorsuch Burford in contempt for failing to produce subpoenaed documents.

In 1998, the GOP-controlled House Oversight committee found Attorney General Janet Reno in contempt for failing to comply with a subpoena on campaign finance law violations.

In 2008, the Democrat-controlled House found former White House counsel Harriet Miers and Chief of Staff John Bolton in contempt for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into whether a purge of federal prosecutors was politically motivated.

In 2008, the Democratic-led Oversight Committee found two White House officials in contempt in the probe of Bush Administration firings of U.S. Attorneys. Congress went to federal court to seek enforcement of that contempt action, but a compromise was reached with the Executive Branch before any court decision was final.

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No Bond For US Border Patrol Agent Ricardo Montalvo And Girlfriend – Charged With Smuggling Guns To Mexican Drug Cartel Members

April 19, 2012

EL PASO, TEXAS – A federal judge on Wednesday denied bond for an El Paso Border Patrol agent and his girlfriend, both accused of smuggling guns to members of a Mexican drug cartel.

Federal agents arrested Border Patrol Agent Ricardo Montalvo, 28, and his girlfriend, Carla Gonzales-Ortiz, 29, last week after their indictment on conspiracy, firearms and smuggling charges. The couple showed no emotion after the judge announced his ruling.

An investigation into the allegations began in early 2011, after a man identified in court documents only as E.P. told agents he worked as a “straw purchaser” for Montalvo, who allegedly once tried to recruit other straw purchasers while wearing his Border Patrol uniform.

A straw purchaser is a person who fills out paperwork to buy a gun from a licensed dealer but is actually illegally buying the gun for someone else.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Richard Mesa made his bond ruling during a detention hearing Wednesday morning. After reviewing the possible maximum punishment of more than 10 years in prison, Mesa determined that both Montalvo and Gonzales-Ortiz are flight risks.

During the hearing, Special Agent Jesus Lowenberg, who works for Customs and Border Protection’s Internal Affairs, testified that in the fall of 2010, Montalvo and Gonzales-Ortiz became involved in buying weapons, ammunition and accessories destined for Mexico. Montalvo recruited straw purchasers by paying them for buying weapons and other items, and paid them extra if they delivered
the items to Mexico, Lowenberg testified.

The couple’s indictment states Montalvo bought ammunition and firearms, such as AK-47-type pistols favored by Mexican drug cartels. He also allegedly bought about 20,000 rounds of ammo, 97 high-capacity magazines — including 10 100-round magazines for 5.56-mm rifles — and four 37-mm flare launchers that drug cartels can convert to grenade launchers.

During a five-week span beginning in November, Montalvo allegedly spent $11,200 on weapons and ammunition, but his take-home pay as a Border Patrol agent was only $42,000 a year.

Montalvo made hundreds of calls to Mexico between November 2010 and January 2011 on one of two cellphones he kept — one apparently for personal use, and the other for “illicit activity” –ÊLowenberg testified. During the same span, Montalvo was considered a “frequent” border crosser, making six or seven visits a month to Mexico.

In January 2011, agents executed two search warrants at the couple’s home on Emerald Point Drive in far East El Paso. There, the agents seized nine weapons, a handwritten ledger with descriptions of the weapons and price markups, and a photo from Montalvo’s computer showing Montalvo, dressed in plain clothes, holding a large wad of money. Topping the wad was a $100 bill. The photo was titled “Pay Day.”

At one point, Lowenberg testified, Montalvo threatened E. P., telling him, “You know what happens to snitches? Bad things happen to snitches.” Lowenberg also said Montalvo once patted down E. P. to find out whether he was wearing a wire.

During cross-examination, Montalvo’s attorney, Sib Abraham, pointed out that the ledger didn’t have any notes indicating the weapons were indeed sold to cartel members in Mexico, although Lowenberg in turn pointed out that the weapons Montalvo and Gonzales-Ortiz allegedly bought are favored by the cartels.

Lowenberg also testified that many of the statements made between E. P. and Montalvo weren’t recorded.

Abraham also pointed out that Montalvo has several family members who live in Mexico, including siblings and his father.

Gonzales-Ortiz was charged in the case after she attempted to buy two weapons in 2010 but was denied based on her expired immigrant visa status at the time. At the time the investigation began, Gonzales-Ortiz was living illegally in the U.S. with Montalvo.

She was later granted conditional permanent legal residency, and her parents are legal permanent residents who live in Ruidoso, her attorney Leonard Morales said during the hearing.

Montalvo and Gonzales-Ortiz have a 6-month-old baby, whom Gonzales-Ortiz was breast-feeding when she was arrested, Morales said.

During the hearing, Montalvo’s U.S. citizenship was also called into question but wasn’t the basis for the federal prosecutors’ request that he be detained without bond.

Lowenberg testified that in early 2011, he and two other agents visited Montalvo’s mother and stepfather in Brownsville, where Montalvo is originally from, to find out why Montalvo’s U.S. birth certificate is flagged as fraudulent by the Texas Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Montalvo also has a Mexican birth certificate, Lowenberg said on the stand.

Lowenberg testified that Montalvo’s mother never verified whether Montalvo’s U.S. birth certificate is valid, but during cross-examination, Abraham pointed out Montalvo was enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2001 to 2005, when he was honorably discharged, and that Border Patrol agents are required to be U.S. citizens.

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