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.
Monday, 27 August 2012
Saturday, 25 August 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.
Thursday, 23 August 2012
A Trail of Ink: Tracking a Rare Tattoo-Related Infection
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday, 12 June 2012
Investigations into the murder case of MiD DAY journalist J Dey began just a few hours after his killing, when sleuths began combing the scene of crime in Powai for clues. In the days that followed the murder, they scoured Dey’s email account, his phone records, interrogated hundreds of acquaintances, eyewitnesses, informants and operators. They gathered CCTV footage from the store outside which Dey had been slain, and obtained sketches of suspects based on eyewitness accounts.
A fortnight later, they arrested seven men who were scattered across the country — all had been directly involved in the shooting. Senior Inspector Arun Chavan, who was in charge of the property cell at the time, acquired the initial clues for these busts. Chavan said, “Through our informer network, we were told that these men had gone missing after the shooting. After verifying if they were indeed absconding, we probed further and traced their location.”
Three accused were found hiding in Rameswaram, another two in Karnataka, and two more in Sion. The primary arrested accused — Rohit Thangappan alias Satish Kalia — hailed from Thiruvananthapuram. He was one of the men picked up from Rameswaram. Kalia allegedly used a .32 Czech-made revolver to fire the five bullets that felled Dey. Arun Dhake, another accused, piloted the bike, on which Kalia rode pillion. Four other arrested accused — Sachin Gaikwad, Nilesh Shelge alias Babloo, Mangesh Agawane and Abhijeet Shinde — are natives of Maharashtra.
The seventh arrested accused was Anil Waghmode, whose contribution to the operation was to recce all the spots that Dey frequented, including areas near his home in Ghatkopar, and MiD DAY’s Parel office. Interrogating them, cops picked up some more names — underworld don Chhota Rajan’s aide Paulson Joseph had supplied the group with international SIM cards, from which Rajan provided them instructions. He had also provided them with finances for the killing. It was also learnt that Rajan had provided his contract killers Dey’s photographs and licence plate number via Skype, after obtaining them from senior journalist and another accused in the murder case, Jigna Vora.
The ninth link yielded by interrogations was that of Deepak Sisodiya, a Nainital-based weapons supplier. The next name to crop up was of builder-bookie Vinod Asrani alias Vinod Chembur, another of Rajan’s aides, who had allegedly physically identified Dey for Kalia, at the Uma beer bar in Chembur, not long before the murder.
Days after the shooting, Rajan gave a handful of interviews to various news channels, claiming that he regretted having masterminded Dey’s killing. He named Vora as his ‘instigator,’ and alleged that she had provided Dey’s licence plate number and photographs to Rajan. Later, the Crime Branch, acting on information received from Chembur unit’s senior inspector Shripad Kale, tapped the phone of Asrani’s relative Manoj. In a recorded conversation, Rajan was heard lamenting his role in the murder of Dey, and blaming Vora for instigating him.
The Delta family of a 32-year-old mother shot to death during a trip to India is hailing a life-sentence handed to her husband in Hoshiarpur, India.
The Delta family of a 32-year-old mother shot to death during a trip to India is hailing a life-sentence handed to her husband in Hoshiarpur, India.
In March 2009 police in India announced the arrest of Vancouver truck driver Manjit Singh Badyal, on suspicion of hiring contract killers to murder his wife, Kuldeep Kaur Badyal. The couple had been in India for several months, when the wife was shot in the chest at close range as she was going to visit a Sikh temple in the northeast Punjab. She died on the spot.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened by the heinous murder of our beloved sister, daughter, and niece Kuldeep,” Kuldeep’s brother Amandeep Bal said at the time. “She was a devoted wife and loving mother of two young children.”
In an interview Saturday, the victim’s uncle Gurmeet Bahia of Delta told The Province the family has been informed by officials in Hoshiarpur that last week session court judge JS Bhinder sentenced Badyal to life in prison.
Court details have not yet been logged on the district’s online legal database. Sentencing documents are being mailed to interested parties in Canada, the family says.
“We are very happy with the life sentence,” Gurmeet Bahia said. “She won’t be coming back, but he was punished for what he did.”
The victim’s cousin, Ravinder Bahia, said that police told the family an alleged conspiracy involved Badyal’s plan to profit from a life insurance policy on his wife, and return to Vancouver to marry a mistress.
“He had put a life insurance policy (reported to be $400,000) on her one week before leaving for India in January (2009),” Ravinder Bahia said.
Following Badyal’s arrest in 2009, Indian newspapers reported on a growing trend of contract killings involving Indo-Canadians from the Punjab.
The Vancouver-based South Asian Post reported at least two dozen contract hits involving Indian migrants had occurred since 2007, mostly in Punjab’s Doaba belt where many Indo-Canadians come from.
Quoting Indian investigators, the paper reported that culprits believe they can get away with crimes arranged in India for several reasons. Poor Indian policemen often are paid to cover up evidence or even play a role in hits, according to the South Asian Post. And extraditing suspects from Canada to face justice in India is an extremely difficult process.
Gurpreet Singh, a Vancouver-based Radio India commentator, applauded reports of the Badyal sentence and recent developments in the Jassi Sidhu case.
In 2000 Sidhu, a 25-year-old Maple Ridge beautician, was murdered in Punjab after she went against her family’s wishes and secretly married a poor Indian man. Ever since police in India have been trying to extradite her mother and uncle, alleged conspirators in her slaying.
“Some people come to Canada and get rich, and then they think they have the right to hire contract killers in India,” Singh said. “That is what happened in Jassi’s case. They hired people that were working for the police.”
In January, Malkit Kaur Sidhu, 63, and Surjit Singh Badesha, 67, both of Maple Ridge, were arrested under the extradition act based on a request by India. The pair were recently denied bail in B.C. Supreme Court, pending an extradition
“Now that we’ve seen some movements in these cases, this might send a strong message,” Singh said.
Singh said in context, contract killings are rare in the South Asian community. But the root problem of marital discord and spousal abuse is far too common.
“Community leaders have to sit down and find out why some of these cases go so far,” Singh said. “We are still living in that primitive age, those old time customs.”
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.”
Thursday, 7 June 2012
Two suspects were arrested for the Killing of Eswaradasan Keniswaran of Wairwan Kovil St. Palapettu, Trincomalee. The victim was hacked to death on April 18, 2012 at Aiyakarni by unidentified persons. The CID had taken over the investigations into the death and had arrested a pilot and another contract killer. According to the Police the Pilot was in an illicit love affair with the victims wife and together with the wife had paid 1750 punds to the contract killer for the murder of the man. The CID and the Police had conducted its inquiries based entirely on scientific evidence since there were no eyewitness accounts of the murder, the Police said.
Wednesday, 6 June 2012
Investigators who view the biker gang as a criminal organization feel vindicated by the statements of a star witness, whose testimony has sparked a massive police investigation. It may ultimately put the existence of the organization at risk. It's easy to reach the biker on his cell phone, which is surprising, given his reputation and celebrity status -- and the fact that quite a few police investigators view him as the head of a criminal organization. Of course Frank Hanebuth, 47, a former boxer, local celebrity and president of the "Hannover Charter" of the Hells Angels biker organization, would prefer to say nothing. He would much rather allow the myths surrounding this men's society to speak for themselves -- the clothing, the militaristic patches, the intimidating symbols. But silence is no longer an option, not since 5 a.m. on May 24, when members of a German GSG-9 special forces unit roped down from a helicopter above his fortress-like house, shot his Anatolian sheepdog, handcuffed Hanebuth and, during the ensuing raid, seized two laptops, a handful of mobile phones and a few decorative rifles. And silence certainly isn't an option since a star witness told a German court last Thursday that Hanebuth hired him to murder a troublesome rival in the northern German city of Kiel. On the phone, the biker boss calls the claims made by the witness, former biker Steffen R., nothing but fantasy. He is still audibly upset about the police raid on his property, the death of his dog and the fact "that my 11-year-old son had to see it all." In contrast, he coolly rejects the murder-for-hire accusation, saying that he doesn't even know Steffen R. or Tekin Biçer, the alleged Turkish-born murder victim. And what about the claim made by the star witness that as a reward for the murder, a Hells Angel was allowed in Hamburg to establish his own charter, the term the organization uses to describe their local groups? "It's all nonsense," says Hanebuth. There was never a contract killing, nor were any such orders issued in Kiel. "I'm the president of Hannover, and that's all," he says. The alleged murder was used as a pretext, says Hanebuth, but the real goal was to "make accidental discoveries to support an effort to ban the organization." In truth, what is at stake at the moment is not just Frank Hanebuth, the colorful owner of a security company, a real-estate management company and two brothels, but the very existence of the Hells Angels in Germany. Its will depend on whether the star witness, a man with a criminal past, told the truth. Breaking the Code of Silence Steffen R., 40, accused of procuring, extortion and assault -- charges he overwhelmingly denies -- complied with the bikers' code of silence and said nothing during his eight months in pretrial detention. But in mid-February R., the former leader of "Legion 81," a Hells Angels auxiliary group, started talking. He revealed details on the biker gang's illegal business dealings, about prostitution, drugs and protection money -- and about alleged contract killings. The ex-convict from the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt was questioned about 12 times. He told investigators about a second contract killing that Hanebuth had allegedly approved, although it was not mentioned in court last week. According to R.'s statements, Hanebuth had given the "green light" to kill the leader of the Tigers biker gang, a man named Hakan. R. claimed that Hanebuth had said that it was to be done in such a way as "not to attract a lot of attention." Three Hells Angels members were then given orders to spy on Hakan. However, Steffen R. could not say why the murder plan was not carried out. Hanebuth also characterizes this accusation as "complete nonsense." The star witness's extensive testimony led to the massive police strike against the Hell Angels on May 24. In a major operation, some 1,200 officers raided bars, brothels and apartments in northern Germany. On the outskirts of Kiel, experts used heavy equipment to search a warehouse where, according to R., the body of Tekin Biçer, who had disappeared, had been buried in the concrete foundation. The public prosecutor's office is conducting about 200 investigations against 69 defendants. So far, no insider has come clean to the extent that R. did. His statements sharpen the authorities' focus on the Hells Angels, and they support the theories of investigative authorities, if they are indeed true. According to those theories, the bikers form a hierarchically structured organization not unlike the mafia. For years, Germany's Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) has noticed that bikers are increasingly involved in cases of organized crime. They now control the red-light districts in many cities. And in places where they are not yet in control, they use brutality, and weapons like machetes, axes and firearms, to expand their influence. According to BKA Vice President Jürgen Stock, the Hells Angels show "a high potential for violence and brutal clashes, even in public spaces." The police have regularly found pistols, hand grenades and explosives during searches. 'Unsettling Characteristics' An internal BKA report finds that the four largest German biker clubs -- the Hells Angels, Bandidos, Outlaws and Gremium -- count more than 3,500 members. The gangs try to cover up their criminal dealings, say the investigators, with supposedly clean companies, such as security companies, bars and brothels. Security companies, in particular, are often used in protection rackets, say the report's authors. The bikers like to portray themselves publicly as tough guys with soft hearts. Hanebuth, for example, has been a guest at gentleman's evenings hosted by Hannover celebrity attorney Götz von Fromberg, parties attended by local notables like Carsten Maschmeyer, Michael Frenzel and former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Cultivating ties with politicians and business leaders is part of the concept, while donations to social causes are a helpful public relations tool. The Bandidos, for example, handed a check to a pediatric cancer organization in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, while the Hells Angels have donated money to organizations supporting Alzheimer patients. BKA Vice President Stock calls this pure camouflage, saying: "These are extremely unsettling characteristics of organized crime." Investigators have also noticed a "massive pressure to expand" into Southern Europe among some Hells Angels groups. According to the European police agency Europol, there are efforts underway on the so-called Balkan route, a classic path for heroin coming into Central Europe, to start new groups in countries like Croatia, Serbia, Albania and Turkey. The EU authorities believe that the bulk of the profits from the drug trade are deposited in Swiss banks. Europol has been gathering information about bikers, which it calls "outlaw motorcycle gangs," for more than 10 years. Officials say that biker gangs count their largest membership in Germany. According to Europol, 64 percent of all bikers have criminal records. "In almost every house search, the police find weapons and drugs," reports an official at Europol headquarters in The Hague. Europol's conclusions coincide with the investigations by Berlin authorities, which recently lead to the banning of the "Hells Angels Motorcycle Club Berlin City." According to the official order banning the club, anyone who got in the way of the bikers' business dealings was "eliminated through attempts at intimidation or, if necessary, with violence that led to serious injuries and even death." Leaks from Authorities According to the State Office of Criminal Investigation (LKA), the authorities could have -- and should have -- taken action against Kadir P., the future head of the gang, as long ago as 2008. A source at the LKA says that a bill to issue a ban on the biker gang already existed at the time, but it never made it past the internal administration of the city-state's senate. Hells Angels members claim that they have known about the senate's preparations for a ban since February. The fact that they were told in advance about the timing of a raid in Berlin last week, so that police ended up raiding empty premises, was the high point of an apparently long-standing, productive relationship between the bikers and corrupt officials. The circle of suspects is large. There are two special commissions at the LKA that handle biker crime, but a leak in the administration or judiciary also cannot be ruled out. The chumminess between biker gangs and the police is also glaringly evident elsewhere. Some police officers are apparently very attracted to the motorcycle gangs, with their rituals and uniforms, their insignias and macho behavior. In 2010, authorities in the western city of Essen investigated an officer with the criminal investigation department who had allegedly given the Bandidos information from his office computer. That same year, five officers were suspended in Frankfurt, including a 50-year-old first senior commissioner with the LKA, because they had allegedly sent internal information to the Hells Angels. Two defendants were even accused of dealing in drugs. In another case in Berlin, the police found a note during a search that read: "You don't have to kick down the door. It's open." According to star witness Steffen R., three officials in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein -- one each from the police, the prison system and the Kiel city administration -- helped the Hells Angels with their business dealings. State Interior Minister Klaus Schlie is outraged over the "lengths that the bikers went to infiltrate government structures." Central Investigation Needed Schlie was the first German cabinet minister in many years to introduce a motion in 2010 to ban the Bandidos and the Hells Angels. Some of his counterparts in other German states took a dim view of the dynamic, down-to-earth and fearless Schlie. But a conference of state interior ministers last Thursday, Schlie noted with satisfaction that there was a new receptiveness among his counterparts. Impressed by the statements of the star witness, a number of state interior ministers are now thinking about changing their tune. Schlie is even taking things a step further, saying: "If suspicions are borne out in the current trials that the bikers constitute a criminal network, and that certain individuals are assuming leadership positions in these criminal structures, it will be time to think about a nationwide ban." Experts are increasingly skeptical that the fight against the lawless gangs can be waged successfully, in light of the intricacies of state bureaucracies. The chairman of the Association of German Police Officers (BDK), André Schulz, is convinced that a nationwide phenomenon like biker gangs also needs to be "centrally investigated." For Schulz, the most recent accusations against Frank Hanebuth show that the local or regional charters are not nearly as independent as claimed, and that a concerted intervention by federal security agencies could make sense. Just how powerful Hanebuth really is, and how far his interest reaches, became clear in May 2010. In the law office of his friend and attorney, Götz von Fromberg, Hanebuth made a big fuss about sealing a nationwide peace treaty with Bandidos leader Peter Maczollek. The handshake between sworn enemies was binding for all Hells Angels in Germany, and it also sealed the agreement not to establish a new charter for a year. The search for the body that was allegedly embedded in concrete will continue this week. Interior Minister Schlie refuses to back down, and he is convinced that the star witness is reliable. In one detail, however, his investigators have had to explain to him that Steffen R. was apparently wrong. The star witness had testified that another biker was allowed to form his own charter in Poland to help solve the suspected murder of Tekin Biçer. When the biker gang celebrated its newest charter with much fanfare on April 10, 2010, Tekin Biçer had not disappeared yet. That happened 20 days later.Also attending the party were two bikers who still accuse each other of lying today: Steffen R. and Frank Hanebuth.
Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood called on Arab and other world powers on Monday to intervene in Syria after 108 people were killed in the town of Houla in an attack it blamed on President Bashar al-Assad's forces. Images of the bloodied bodies of children and others slain in Houla have shocked the world and highlighted the failure of a 6-week-old UN-backed cease-fire to stop the violence in the 14-month uprising against Assad's rule. "The Muslim Brotherhood calls on Arab, Islamic and international governments ... and the people of the free world to intervene to stop these massacres, especially after the failure of international forces and international monitoring to stop them," spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan said in a statement. He did not say exactly what the world should do about Syria. The Muslim Brotherhood's candidate in Egypt's presidential election topped last week's first-round poll, unofficial results show. The Islamist group already dominates both houses of Parliament after earlier elections. The UN Security Council on Sunday condemned Assad's government for firing heavy weapons at Houla. Ghozlan also called on Syrians to put aside their differences and unite to "bring down the regime, make the revolution succeed and free the heroic Syrian people." He said the Syrian government's crimes were worse than those of Genghis Khan, a warrior who founded the Mongol empire in the 13th century. Syria's Muslim Brotherhood is part of the opposition to Assad, whose father, the late President Hafez al-Assad, bloodily crushed an armed Islamist uprising in the 1980s. The Syrian and Egyptian branches of the Brotherhood share the same ideology but have no direct organizational links.
Sunday, 13 May 2012
THE man believed by police to be the central figure in a bikie feud has declared he is not at fault for Sydney's spate of drive-by shootings and says they are the "act of a coward". Wissam Amer, 28, broke his silence to The Sunday Telegraph to say he was not at the heart of the current shootings between the Hells Angels and Nomads outlaw motorcycle gangs. Last week The Sunday Telegraph revealed police believe Amer was the source of the conflict after he defected from the Hells Angels to the rival Nomads. Speaking through his lawyer Maggie Sten, the former bikie said unequivocally that he was no longer part of any gang and disputed police claims he's responsible for the feud. "The conflict between the Hells Angels and the Nomads is dead and buried - it has been for a while," Mr Amer said through his lawyer. "It has got nothing to do with me." Mr Amer was previously a member of the Bandidos, but left the group during a large scale "patch-over" of its members to the Hells Angels more than a year ago. Police believe he then tried to leave the Hells Angels to join the Nomads and burned bridges along the way - however he disputes this. Ms Sten said Mr Amer now wants to clear the record and confirm he is not part of any gang and is attempting to get on with a "normal life". What is not in dispute, however, is that Mr Amer was the target of two drive-by shootings over the past seven months. One was a drive-by at a Merrylands Oporto, two days after he was released on bail; the other happened three days later at his previous address at Canley Vale. Police believe both attacks were committed by Hells Angels, however Mr Amer said he could not prove this and neither could police. Mr Amer is unsure who the perpetrators were. "It could have been anybody - it's a dirty game, it could have been someone that I'd had a run-in with years ago," Ms Sten said on Mr Amer's behalf. "I live my life with no fear - I live now as a normal person." What Mr Amer was sure about was that drive-by shootings on himself or anyone else was a despicable act. "It's as weak as scratching somebody's car - anybody who drives a car and attacks you at 1am is a coward," he said through Ms Sten. "Especially when you know the people you're looking for are not there," referring to cases where the alleged targets were in jail. He could not explain the forces behind the current wave of shootings, but agreed with a police theory - revealed by The Sunday Telegraph - that a third party is trying to reignite animosities between the groups. Authorities brokered a peace agreement between the two gangs in January, but that faltered on April 16 when shots were fired at a home and car in Pemulwuy. "We believe it's other people trying to stir the pot," Ms Sten said for Mr Amer. "This is the perfect time for people to attack because they know the Hells Angels and Nomads were in a previous conflict which no longer exists." Police Strike Force Kinnarra has locked up 13 people in relation to the nine shootings that happened last month. Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis said the conflict was firmly between the two gangs.
Thursday, 10 May 2012
The US treasury department has put two sons of Mexico's most wanted man Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on its drugs kingpin blacklist. The move bars all people in the US from doing business with Ivan Archivaldo Guzman Salazar and Ovidio Guzman Lopez, and freezes any US assets they have. Joaquin Guzman, on the list since 2001, runs the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. Mexico has seen an explosion of violence in recent years as gangs fight for control of trafficking routes. The US administration "will aggressively target those individuals who facilitate Chapo Guzman's drug trafficking operations, including family members," said Adam Szubin, director of the department's Office of Foreign Assets Control . "With the Mexican government, we are firm in our resolve to dismantle Chapo Guzman's drug trafficking organisation." Ovidio Guzman plays a significant role in his father's drug-trafficking activities, the treasury department said. Ivan Archivaldo Guzman was arrested in 2005 in Mexico on money-laundering charges but subsequently released. As well as the Guzman brothers, two other alleged key cartel members, Noel Salgueiro Nevarez and Ovidio Limon Sanchez, were listed under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. They were both arrested in Mexico in 2011 and are still in custody. Under the Kingpin Act, US firms, banks and individuals are prevented from doing business with them and any assets the men may have under US jurisdiction are frozen. More than 1,000 companies and individuals linked to 94 drug kingpins have been placed on the blacklist since 2000. Penalties for violating the act range include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $10m (£6m). The US has offered a reward of up to $5m a for information leading to the arrest of Joaquin Guzman, who escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001.
Monday, 7 May 2012
Eduardo Ravelo, born on October 13, 1968 was added as the 493rd fugitive to the FBI 10 most wanted list on October 20, 2009. He is originally from Mexico, however he holds permanent residency status in the United States which gives him free movement across the border. An FBI informant and former lieutenant in the Barrio Azteca, a prison gang active in the U.S. and Mexico, testified that Ravelo told him to help find fellow gang members who had stolen from the cartel. In March 2008, he became the leader of the gang shortly after betraying his predecessor, stabbing him several times and shooting him in the neck. (Eduardo Ravelo: Wikipedia) Eduardo Ravelo was indicted in Texas in 2008 for his involvement in racketeering activities, conspiracy to launder monetary instruments, and conspiracy to possess heroin, cocaine and marijuana with the intent to distribute. His alleged criminal activities began in 2003. He is believed to be living in an area of Cuidad Juarez controlled by the Barrio Ravelo, with his wife and children just across the border from El Paso, Texas. He is also said to have bodyguards and armored vehicles to protect him from rival gangs as well as rival cartels.
Thursday, 3 May 2012
Former Sydney bikie boss Sam Ibrahim has been sent back to jail for allegedly breaching his parole. The 46-year-old was arrested yesterday at his home in Sydney's north-west at Bella Vista by a police strike force targeting the city's bikie gun war. The New South Wales Parole Authority revoked parole for the former Nomads boss after receiving a report from parole officers alleging he had been taking prohibited drugs and failing to obey directions. The arrest followed a police raid of his house last Friday, which was part of an operation targeting 18 homes and businesses linked to feuding Hells Angels and Nomads bikies. The house had been sprayed with bullets only a week earlier, in one of nine tit-for-tat shootings between the gangs in just over a week. Ibrahim is being held at Silverwater jail, ahead of a public hearing by the NSW Parole Board later this month. The board will decide whether to keep the former Nomads boss in prison until his sentence expires on October 7, or whether to extend his jail time. Ibrahim spent five months in jail as part of the 15-month sentence over the violent kidnapping of a 15-year-old boy in 2009. His arrest was part of a crackdown by the Gangs Squad's Strike Force Kinnara, which was set up to combat an escalation in bikie gun crime. The strike force also arrested convicted Sydney drug boss Bill Bayeh a fortnight ago for an alleged breach of parole.
Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Rupert Murdoch was branded “not a fit person” to run a major company in a bombshell report by MPs today. His son and business heir James was accused of “wilful ignorance” towards phone hacking, while Murdoch executives were accused of lying to cover it up. The verdicts leave the 81-year-old tycoon fighting to justify his leadership of a worldwide empire including the broadcaster BSkyB. He faces being dragged before Parliament to apologise. The force of the report was partly diminished by a row between members of the culture select committee. Four Conservatives voted against the final draft because they felt the attack on Rupert Murdoch’s fitness to run a company was over the top. However, the final 100-page report backed by the Labour and Lib-Dem MPs on the committee amounted to one of the most scathing parliamentary verdicts on an international business. The MPs said Rebekah Brooks, former News of the World editor and chief executive of News International, “should accept responsibility” for the culture that led to Milly Dowler’s phone being hacked, along with hundreds of others. The report also found editors, lawyers, the police and prosecutors guilty of a catalogue of failings. Several former Murdoch lieutenants were singled out for misleading Parliament, including former News International executive chairman Les Hinton, former News Group lawyer Tom Crone, and former News of the World editor Colin Myler. It criticised the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, and the former Metropolitan Police acting deputy commissioner John Yates, saying “they both bear culpability for failing to ensure that the evidence ... was properly investigated.” Rupert Murdoch was accused of “wilful blindness” about the mounting evidence of phone hacking. The verdict will add muscle to shareholders seeking to topple Mr Murdoch and to critics demanding that media regulator Ofcom strip him of his broadcasting licence. The report accused the Murdoch companies of trying to “buy the silence” of victims by awarding huge payouts to victims of hacking such as football players’ union boss Gordon Taylor. Verdicts on some figures who have been arrested by the police were held back in case they hampered fair trials. Among these was Andy Coulson, the former News of the World editor who was hired by David Cameron as his spin chief at No 10. The ferocious conclusion, which divided the committee in a series of votes on the final wording, was that Mr Murdoch was ultimately to blame and therefore not fit to hold his position. It said: “On the basis of the facts and evidence before the committee we conclude that, if at all relevant times Rupert Murdoch did not take steps to become fully informed about phone-hacking, he turned a blind eye and exhibited wilful blindness to what was going on in his companies and publications. “This culture, we consider, permeated from the top throughout the organisation and speaks volumes about the lack of effective corporate governance at News Corporation and News International. We conclude, therefore that Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.” The committee branded it “simply astonishing” that Rupert and James said it was not until December 2010 that they realised that News International’s claim that hacking involved a single “rogue reporter” was untrue. It poured scorn on James Murdoch’s “lack of curiosity” that raised “questions of competence”. Mr Hinton was “complicit in the cover-up at News International” that included paying inflated compensation to victims. Mr Crone and Mr Myler misled the committee by answering questions “falsely”. The final devastating verdict on Mr Murdoch was a triumph for Labour MP Tom Watson who drafted the conclusions. But the 11-member committee divided along party lines, with the full denunciation being passed by the vote of a single Liberal Democrat member. Mr Watson said of Rupert Murdoch: “More than any individual alive, he is to blame. Morally, the deeds are his. He paid the piper and he called the tune.” Conservative MPs Louise Mensch and Philip Davies insisted the MPs had no right to make such a ruling and hit out at “partisan” voting by Labour members led by Mr Watson and Paul Farrelly. Mrs Mensch said Tory members could not back the declaration, describing it as “wildly outside the scope” of the committee and “improper attempt to influence” watchdog Ofcom.” Mr Davies said Mr Murdoch was “very clearly” a fit and proper person to run a major firm, pointing to the jobs he had created. He added: “Many people may conclude that some people’s conclusions were written before any of the evidence was heard, and that is very sad.” Mr Watson said he was disappointed there had been splits, but insisted Mr Murdoch must be held to account for crimes at News Corporation. Committee chair John Whittingdale said he did not vote on any of the amendments in the report, but hinted at his opinion on whether it should have branded Mr Murdoch unfit, saying: “I would merely observe that as well as being the chairman of the committee, I am a Conservative MP.” Lib-Dem member Adrian Sanders who was effectively left with the casting vote, sided with the Labour view. He said he would have faced accusations of party bias whichever way he had decided. After the report was published Mr Watson said he had “reason to believe” that even more the material in the form of hard drives was in the hands of the Serious Organised Crime Agency. He sought to extend the probe into new areas — including claims News Corp could be in contempt of Parliament over claims they sought to use private investigators to dig dirt on committee members. He also said politicians — including Tony Blair and Gordon Brown as well as David Cameron and George Osborne — should reveal their email and text message contacts with News Corp executives.
Saturday, 28 April 2012
Detectives hunting double murder suspect James Allen have urged Yorkshire residents to lock their doors and windows after reported sightings of him on the East Coast raised fears the killer could strike again. Allen, a 35-year-old drug user with previous convictions for violence, is believed to have killed his former next-door neighbour in Middlesbrough and murdered a Whitby housewife while on bail for other offences. Police called on him to hand himself in yesterday as they revealed sightings of the suspect had been reported in Whitby, Scarborough and Middlesbrough. More than 100 officers from the Cleveland and North Yorkshire forces are investigating the murders of Colin Dunford, 81, and Julie Davison, 50. Both victims suffered head injuries. The detective leading the inquiry, Temporary Detective Chief Superintendent Gordon Lang of Cleveland Police, said it was a “24/7 operation” that would not stop until Allen is found.
Friday, 27 April 2012
One of the country's busiest shopping streets has been closed as a man wearing gas canisters stormed into an office and threatened to blow himself up, it was reported. Tottenham Court Road in central London was closed after police received emergency calls at midday. Scotland Yard sent a hostage negotiator to the scene amid reports the man had held people hostage inside the building several floors up. Pictures emerged of computer and office equipment being thrown through one of the office windows. A police spokesman said it was "too early to say if the suspect was armed or indeed had taken any hostages" but businesses and nearby buildings were evacuated. Joaqam Ramus, who works at nearby Cafe Fresco, said before being evacuated: "There was talk of a bomb and somebody having a hostage in a building. "All Tottenham Court Road is closed and so are we - the police told us to shut. "We don't know what it is but it seems someone has a hostage."
Thursday, 26 April 2012
Three men have been arrested and 36 criminal websites selling credit card information and other personal data shut down as part of a two-year international anti-fraud operation, police have confirmed. The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), working with the FBI and US Department of Justice, as well as authorities in Germany; the Netherlands; Ukraine; Australia and Romania, swooped after identifying the sites as specialising in selling card and bank details in bulk. The move comes as a blow to what is a growing black market for stolen financial data. Detectives estimated that the card information seized could have been used to extract more than £500m in total by fraudsters. SOCA claimed it has recovered more than two and a half million items of compromised personal and financial information over the past two years. “The authorities have shut down 36 websites but it is difficult to know how many other people had access to that data. They could spring back up somewhere else if a gang is not eradicated completely,” said Graham Cluley of internet security firm Sophos. He added: “This is big business and, just as in any legitimate company there are people who specialise in different things, so there are those who actually get their hands on the personal data and those who sell it on; they are not often the same person.” An investigation by The Independent last summer found that scammers were making a “comfortable living” getting their hands on sensitive information and selling it online. Card details were being offered for sale for between 4p and £60 per card – depending on the quality – according to one source in the business. Some cards would be sold with incomplete or unreliable information; others ready to use. Some of the card details for sale on the websites shut down by SOCA were being sold for as little as £2 each. Investigators said that the alleged fraudsters were using Automated Vending Carts, which allowed them to sell large quantities of stolen data. They are said to be a driver of the growth in banking fraud over the last 18 months because of the speed with which stolen data can be sold. Lee Miles, Head of Cyber Operations for SOCA said: “This operation is an excellent example of the level of international cooperation being focused on tackling online fraud. Our activities have saved business, online retailers and financial institutions potential fraud losses estimated at more than half a billion pounds, and at the same time protected thousands of individuals from the distress caused by being a victim of fraud or identity crime.” An alleged operator in Macedonia was one of those arrested, while two British men accused of buying the information were also detained. Britain’s Dedicated Cheque & Plastic Crime Unit also seized computers suspected of being used to commit fraud.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
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."
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.
Tuesday, 17 April 2012
Monday, 16 April 2012
jailed British terrorist has had his sentence cut by two years in a supergrass deal after giving evidence about an al Qaeda-linked “martyrdom” plot in New York, it was revealed today. Former teacher Saajid Badat was jailed for 13 years in 2005 for plotting with shoe bomber Richard Reid to blow up a transatlantic airliner in 2001 in what an Old Bailey judge said was a “wicked and inhuman” plot. He has now had his term reduced by two years under the first “supergrass” deal involving a terror convict, after providing intelligence to US prosecutors investigating an alleged plot to blow up the New York subway on the eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attack. Details of the deal — kept secret for more than two years — were revealed today by the Crown Prosecution Service as a trial of the alleged al Qaeda plotters began in New York. Defendant Adis Medanjanin, a 27-year-old Bosnian-born US citizen, is charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction, conspiring to commit murder in a foreign country, and providing “material support” to al Qaeda. He is said to have had terrorist training in Pakistan in 2008 and then returned to begin a plot to use beauty parlour chemicals to blow up the subway. Badat, from Gloucester, joined Reid’s shoe bomb conspiracy but pulled out at the last minute.
Sunday, 15 April 2012
Gunmen have launched multiple attacks across the Afghan capital Kabul. Western embassies in the heavily-guarded, central diplomatic area are understood to be among the targets as well as the parliament building in the west. There are reports that up to seven different locations have been hit. The Taliban has admitted responsibility, saying their main targets were the British and German embassies. There is no word at this stage on any casualties.
Hundreds of prisoners are believed to have escaped from a jail in northwest Pakistan after it was attacked by anti-government fighters armed with guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Some of those who escaped from the facility in the town of Bannu, in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, early on Sunday morning were "militants", an intelligence official told the Reuters news agency. "Dozens of militants attacked Bannu's Central Jail in the early hours of the morning, and more 300 prisoners have escaped," Mir Sahib Jan, the official, said. In Depth Profile: Pakistani Taliban "There was intense gunfire, and rocket-propelled grenades were also used." Many of those who escaped following the raid were convicted Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) fighters, Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder reported from Lahore. A prison official in Bannu confirmed that "384 prisoners have escaped". A police official identified one of the inmates who escaped as a "dangerous prisoner", who took part in one of the attempts to kill the former president, Pervez Musharraf. The TTP, an umbrella organisation for anti-government groups that are loosely allied with the Taliban in Afghanistan and al-Qaeda, took responsibility for the attack. A spokesman for Hakeemullah Mehsud, TTP's leader, confirmed to Al Jazeera that the group was responsible for the attack. Another Taliban spokesman told Reuters: "We have freed hundreds of our comrades in Bannu in this attack. Several of our people have reached their destinations, others are on their way.". Our correspondent said the attack took place in the early morning and had resulted in an exchange of fire that had left several people wounded. "After the attack the paramilitary and regular military forces came to that location and tried to surround the area," he said. "They have arrested up to a dozen men, but most of the people have indeed escaped." The injured were rushed to a local hospital in Bannu. Sources told Al Jazeera that as many as 150 fighters were involved in the attack. After blowing up the gates of the main prison at around 1:30am local time (20:30 GMT on Saturday), they entered the compound and freed the inmates, the sources said. The attackers had arranged for the transportation of the inmates from the facility. A police official told Reuters that Bannu's Central Jail held 944 prisoners in total, and that six cell blocks had been targeted in the attack.
Friday, 13 April 2012
Two members of the US Coast Guard in Alaska have been found dead, prompting concerns that a killer could have struck at a remote island outpost. A captain at the Kodiak Island Station said they were unsure what happened and a suspect could still be at large. The base and schools in the area were put on lockdown and residents of the island were told to remain vigilant. The names of the victims will be released after their families have been notified, the coast guard said. "It is possible that the suspect remains at large," Commanding Officer Captain Jesse Moore said. "Since we don't have all the details, we strongly advise all Kodiak residents to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement officials." The captain also said the unit was "deeply saddened" to have lost two shipmates. Officials were unable to determine whether the deaths were a double murder or a murder-suicide. "This is a rare occurrence and we are going to do everything possible to ensure we find out exactly what happened," he said. Agents from the FBI have been sent to Kodiak from the town of Anchorage, about 250 miles (402km) away. Kodiak has a population of about 6,300 people.
An Albanian fugitive accused of multiple murders in his home country has been arrested in north London after 15 years on the run.
Ndrieim Sadushi, 41, was last night picked up on an international warrant by police outside his home in Southgate.
An Albanian court found him guilty in his absence of three killings and an attempted murder in the eastern European country in 1997.
At an extradition hearing in Westminster Magistrates' Court today, Sadushi claimed he had been the victim of mistaken identity and was in fact 31-year-old Arjan Kasa.
But district Judge Michael Snow ruled police had got the right man after being told his fingerprints matched those of the convicted killer.
Sadushi, who is said to have used at least six aliases while evading the authorities, will face a life sentence if he is sent back to his homeland.
Prosecutor James Stansfeld said that, in addition to being wanted by the Albanian police, authorities in Italy accuse Sadushi of drug trafficking, passport fraud and controlling prostitutes.
Italian courts sentenced him to 13 years and four months in his absence.
He has been linked to the notorious Kadeshi armed gang, of which all the other leaders have been arrested.
Sadushi is due to appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court today
Hannah Pye, representing the Albanian authorities, said: 'The request for extradition comes from Albania, after he was handed a custodial sentence, following a conviction for five offences.'
‘Those were, the creation and participation in an armed gang, three counts of murder and one attempted murder.
‘For that he was sentenced to life imprisonment, and an appeal against the sentence was upheld by the Albanian appeal court in 2000.’
Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s extradition unit arrested Sadushi outside a property in High Road, Southgate.
The UK Border Agency holds no record of him claiming asylum and he is thought to have entered Britain on the back of a truck in 2000.
Last year he was one of 14 suspects to have their mugshots released as part of Operation Sunfire, a coordinated effort to bring some of the UK's most wanted fugitives before extradition courts.
Twelve of the suspected murderers, rapists and robbers pictured were from eastern Europe, while the other two were wanted in connection with crimes in Italy and Australia.
Sadushi will return to court on April 25.
Tuesday, 3 April 2012
Philip Halliday, the Nova Scotia man who has been detained in Spain for more than two years on drug-trafficking charges without a trial date, is extremely weak and thin but in good spirits, his family said Monday, hours after returning home from their first visit to him in jail. "It was pretty emotional. It's hard to describe. Definitely a lot of hugs, some tears," Halliday's son, Daren, told Postmedia News. Philip Halliday, 55, was arrested in December 2009 about 300 kilometres off the coast of Spain aboard a converted Canadian Coast Guard research vessel, the Destiny Empress. Inside a hidden compartment, authorities found more than 1,000 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of $600 million. Halliday, an ex-fisherman who spent more than 30 years dragging scallops off the sea floor, insists he had no idea the drugs were onboard and believed he was simply delivering the vessel to a new owner. Daren Halliday said he, his older brother Cody, and their mother Sheree, were able to spend several hours with Philip in a private room over a span of two days. Recalling the first moments they laid eyes on their father, Daren said, "I don't know if there was a lot said. We hugged him pretty quick. Told him it was good to see him, that we missed him and how much we love him." One thing that was readily apparent to everyone was how much weight Philip, dressed in a buttoned-up shirt and blue jeans, had lost. Since landing in jail, he has had to have his gall bladder removed. He has also had problems with his liver and kidneys. "I thought I'd prepared myself for what Philip would look like, but I must admit I was shocked," Sheree later recalled in a Facebook posting. "He is extremely thin and weak. He walks like an elderly man and is quite emotional." "But," Sheree added, "he still has that beautiful smile that I've missed! And he hasn't lost his sense of humour." Philip was able to buy some pop, juice, chips and some sweets for the occasion, turning it into something of a family picnic, Sheree recalled. Daren said family members peppered Philip with questions about what life was like in jail. Philip, in turn, asked about life back home in Digby, N.S. The family brought Philip some novels, Sudoku game books and some clothes, including a T-shirt that said "Canada" that one of Philip's fellow inmates had requested. Philip gave the family a duffle bag full of letters that people had written to him to bring home. On the third day of their visit, the family was only able to communicate with Philip through a glass partition. "We couldn't physically touch him," Daren said. "He was on a phone. We talked through a mic. Like the movies, we put our hands on the glass. "There was a hallway he had to walk down. And one we walked down. We waved goodbye. And that was it. That was pretty hard." Family and friends back home have been pleading with Canadian officials to help get Halliday released — or at least to get a trial date set. "We're hoping to get him a quick and fair trial, to speed things up," Daren said. "It's very frustrating that nothing's changed." The amount of time someone spends in pre-trial detention varies widely across the European Union. Some countries, including Spain, can hold someone for up to four years, while other countries don't have a limit. Canadian foreign affairs officials have said that while this country cannot interfere with the judicial proceedings of another country, they have been pressing Spanish authorities for a timely and transparent trial. So far, the Halliday family has incurred $90,000 in legal fees and has had to sell their home in Digby. Family friend Peter Dickie said Monday that a Halliday Family Support Society has been formed with the goal of raising $250,000 to help cover expenses.
The United States has put up a $10 million reward to help arrest Pakistani Islamist leader Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, suspected of masterminding two spectacular attacks on Mumbai and the parliament building in New Delhi. The offer comes at a time of heightened tension between Washington and Pakistan and increases pressure on Pakistan to take action against the former Arabic scholar, who has recently addressed rallies despite an Interpol warrant against him. India has long called for Saeed's arrest and said the bounty - one of the highest on offer - was a sign the United States understood its security concerns. Only last week Saeed evaded police to address an anti-U.S. rally in Islamabad. "India welcomes this new initiative of the government of the United States," External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said on Tuesday of the reward announced on the U.S. Rewards for Justice website. "In recent years, India and the United States have moved much closer than ever before in our common endeavour of fighting terrorists." The United States only offers a $10 million reward for three other people it suspects of terrorism, with a single reward of up to $25 million for Egyptian-born Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri. Saeed, 61, is suspected of masterminding numerous terrorist attacks, including the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. Poor train commuters, foreigners and some of India's wealthy business elite were killed by 10 Pakistani gunmen in a three-day rampage through some of Mumbai's best-known landmarks, including two luxury hotels and a Jewish centre. A total of 166 people died, including six U.S. citizens. In the 1990s, he founded Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), or the Army of the Pure, one of the largest and best-funded Islamist militant organisations in South Asia. He abandoned its leadership after India blamed it and another militant group for an attack on the parliament in December 2001. Saeed, released from prison by a Pakistani court in 2010, now heads an Islamic charity that the United Nations says is a front for the militant group. LeT was nurtured by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency to fight India in disputed Kashmir and analysts say it is still unofficially tolerated by Pakistan, though it was banned in the country in 2002. Admiral Robert Willard, the head of the United States military's Pacific Command, last year expressed concern over the expanding reach of LeT, saying it was no longer solely focused on India, or even in South Asia.
Wednesday, 28 March 2012
An American teenager has been found guilty of the first degree murder of two British tourists in Florida. James Cooper, 25, from Warwickshire, and James Kouzaris, 24, from Northampton, were shot dead on a public housing estate in Newtown, Sarasota. The pair, who met at Sheffield University, were killed after drunkenly wandering into the estate in the early hours of 16 April 2011. The court heard Shawn Tyson, 17, killed them after trying to rob them. Tyson, who was tried as an adult despite being 16 at the time of the shooting, faces life in prison with no chance of parole. 'Shattered soul' The families of Mr Cooper and Mr Kouzaris were not in court but said in a statement they were satisfied with the verdict. They added: "It is a fact that we were given a life sentence when our sons were so brutally and needlessly taken from us. "Ours is a life sentence, with no chance of parole from a broken heart, and a shattered soul." Mr Kouzaris and Mr Cooper had been out drinking in downtown Sarasota before they were shot The families also criticised the Sarasota court system that freed Tyson after a judge warned he was a danger to the public. Hours before he shot the two Britons, Tyson was arrested for a separate shooting incident in which no-one was hurt. In the statement the families said: "The evil of the killer is one thing, but the fact is, he would not have been on the streets had instructions to keep him incarcerated been passed from one judge to another." Killer's boast When the mistake came to light the Mayor of Sarasota, Kelly Kirschener, vowed the city's prosecutors would never let anything similar happen again. During the trial jurors heard how Mr Kouzaris and Mr Cooper had been out drinking in downtown Sarasota before getting lost and wandering into the Newtown area in the early hours. The prosecution said they were confronted by Tyson who tried to rob them and then shot them when he realised they had very little money. The court heard Tyson had boasted to his friend Latrece Washington, who testified against him, that one of the men had begged for his life but he shot him anyway.
Two French judges sought an international arrest warrant for the son of Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema on money laundering charges, a judicial source said on Tuesday. The two judges, Roger Le Loire and Rene Grouman, consider there are grounds to suspect that Teodorin Obiang, who is agriculture minister in the small, oil-rich central African country, acquired real estate in France by fraudulent means. The warrant will not be released until a prosecutor has reviewed the request and decides whether to proceed. Teodorin is frequently seen enjoying an extravagant lifestyle abroad with multi-million dollar mansions, jets and yachts. Billboards in the capital Malabo seek to show him at work and in touch with the people, but diplomats and analysts cite his playboy lifestyle as a cause for concern. The French judges, who have been handling the case since 2010 on the basis of "concealment of embezzled public funds," suspect that the properties were purchased with public money from Equatorial Guinea. The judges had previously sought permission from the government of Equatorial Guinea to question Teodorin, but that request was rejected, Olivier Pardo, lawyer for the oil producing nation, told Reuters in Paris. "Unless one wishes to violate the sovereignty of the State of Equatorial Guinea and harm relations between France and Equatorial Guinea, it is absurd to want to launch an arrest warrant," he said. As part of the investigation, French police raided a building belonging to Equatorial Guinea in a wealthy area of Paris in February. After three days they removed art works and fine wines worth several million euros. The building was valued at about 150 million euros and investigators say it housed a nightclub and hairdressers, which suggested it was not being used as a diplomatic residence. Anti-corruption organisation Transparency International had filed the original legal complaint against Teodorin Obiang. On March 1, Teodorin filed for defamation against Daniel Lebegue, the president of the French arm of Transparency, denying he had embezzled funds. President Teodoro Obiang has ruled the former Spanish colony for more than three decades, making him the longest-serving African leader following the demise of Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, with rights groups labelling his regime one of the world's most corrupt. The country produces about 240,000 barrels of oil per day. In January, Teodorin asked a U.S. court to dismiss attempts by the Obama administration to seize some $71 million worth of his assets, denying charges that they were obtained with allegedly corrupt funds taken from his country. He argued he had not violated U.S. or Equatorial Guinea law and called the corruption allegations "character assassination" against him and his country. Equatorial Guinea in October said it wanted to appoint Teodorin as its deputy permanent delegate at U.N. cultural agency UNESCO in Paris, a position that would give him diplomatic status in France. Until now the agency has not received any official documentation to proceed further with that request.
The captain of a JetBlue plane screamed "They're going to take us down!" and rambled about al-Qaida as passengers pinned him to the floor while another pilot took charge to make an emergency landing. An off-duty airline captain who was a passenger on the flight entered the cockpit, locked the door and landed in Amarillo, Texas, the airline said in a statement. JetBlue Airways said the original pilot on flight 191 from New York's John F Kennedy international airport had been taken to hospital after suffering a "medical situation" on board. The captain had earlier stormed through his plane rambling about a bomb and threats from Iraq until passengers on the Las Vegas-bound flight tackled him just outside the cockpit, passengers said. He had seemed disoriented, jittery and constantly sipped water when he first marched through the cabin, then began to rant about threats linked to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan after crew members tried to calm him down. "They're going to take us down! They're taking us down! Say the Lord's prayer!" the captain screamed, according to passenger Tony Antolino. Josh Redick, who was sitting near the middle of the plane, said the captain seemed "irate" and was "spouting off about Afghanistan and souls and al-Qaida". Gabriel Schonzeit, who was sitting in the third row, told the Amarillo Globe-News: "He started screaming about al-Qaida and possibly a bomb on the plane and Iraq and Iran and about how we were all going down." "A group of us just jumped up instinctually and grabbed him and put him to the ground," Antolino said after arriving in Las Vegas later Tuesday. "Clearly he had an emotional or mental type of breakdown." Antolino, a security executive, said he and three others pinned down the captain as he ran for the cockpit door and sat on him for about 20 minutes until the plane landed at Rick Husband Amarillo international airport at 10am. Shane Helton, 39, who was seeing off his son at Amarillo airport, said: "They pulled one guy out on a stretcher and put him in an ambulance." The flight had left New York around 7am and was in the air for three and a half hours before landing in Texas. The passengers completed their journey to Las Vegas several hours later on another flight. The FBI was co-ordinating an investigation with the police, the FAA and the Transportation Safety Administration, said FBI spokeswoman Lydia Maese in Dallas. She declined to comment on arrests. Earlier this month an American Airlines flight attendant took over the public address system on a flight bound for Chicago and spoke for 15 minutes about 9/11 and the safety of their plane, saying: "I'm not responsible for this plane crashing," passengers said. She was wrestled into a seat while the plane was grounded at Dallas-Fort Worth international airport. The attendant was taken to hospital. In 2008 an Air Canada co-pilot was forcibly removed from a Toronto to London flight, restrained and sedated after having a mental breakdown. A flight attendant with flying experience helped the pilot make an emergency landing in Ireland. None of the 146 passengers and nine crew members on board were injured. In August 2010 JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater pulled the emergency chute on a flight from Pittsburgh after it landed at John F Kennedy international airport. He went on the public address system, swore at a passenger, grabbed a beer and slid down the tarmac. He was sentenced to probation, counselling and substance abuse treatment for attempted criminal mischief. An aviation expert remembered only two or three cases in 40 years where a pilot had become mentally incapacitated during a flight. John Cox, an aviation safety consultant and former airline pilot, said incidents in which pilots become mentally incapacitated during a flight were "pretty rare". He said he could only recall two or three other examples in the more than 40 years he has been following commercial aviation. Airlines and the FAA strongly encouraged pilots to assert themselves if they thought safety was being jeopardised, even if it meant contradicting a captain's orders, Cox said. Aviation safety experts had studied several cases where first officers deferred to more experienced captains with tragic results. In Tuesday's case the FAA is likely to review the unidentified captain's medical certificate, which must be renewed every six months to a year.
Tuesday, 27 March 2012
CANNABOOST plant food is one of the best selling products at the Hydroexpress hydroponics store in Stirchley, a working-class part of Birmingham. The small shop, its windows filled with graffiti-style posters, also sells fertilisers with names like “Nirvana” and “Bud Candy”, alongside strong lights and giant rolls of tin foil to line greenhouses. In one corner, a couple of juicy-looking tomato plants grow in a demonstration set-up. But the youth behind the counter guesses that his customers are “not all growing tomatoes”. Birmingham now has 58 hydroponics shops, up from 42 just a year ago. Whether aided by the latest plant-growing technology or not, cannabis production is soaring. According to the Association of Chief Police Officers, the number of cannabis factories detected each year increased from around 800 in 2004 to 7,000 in 2010. Birmingham is one of the most fertile areas; West Midlands Police, which set up a Cannabis Disposal Unit in 2010 to tackle the problem, dismantled more than 500 factories last year. Your correspondent visited one recently closed by police; the gardener was a cocaine-addicted woman growing a few plants in a spare room in the hope of earning a cut. Other set-ups have been found in tents in the bedrooms of high-rise council flats and in the lofts of terraced family houses. Many growers are simply feeding their own habits. As one officer on the West Midlands Police drugs team says, “It’s becoming the most popular cottage industry in the country.” In this section A big splash with little cash Falling flat Earning a hearing The worst job in the world Constituency of the world Mother tongue Money for old metal »Legal high A rock and a hard place The Notting Hill budget Reprints Related topics United Kingdom Birmingham, England Small growers are squeezing out both importers and the well-connected, often Vietnamese, gangs that once dominated domestic production. The big cannabis factories set up by the latter, with their telltale heat hazes, are fairly easy to spot. Smaller operations are often uncovered only when the electric lights start fires, or when local teenagers mount a burglary. The police and the courts can neither keep up with the surge in small-scale production, nor are they desperately keen to do so. Last month the government published new sentencing guidelines that advised judges to treat small cultivators less strictly. Attitudes to smokers are softening, too. The reclassification of cannabis in 2009, from class C to the more stringent class B, was oddly accompanied by a more liberal approach to policing consumption. Users caught on the street are rarely arrested; rather, they are issued “cannabis cautions” (a reprimand which doesn’t appear on a criminal record) or fined. In Brixton, a south London neighbourhood, an open-air cannabis market exists within ten minutes’ walk of the underground station. The dealers are frequently moved on but they soon regroup elsewhere. As one dealer admits, his competitors are a bigger hassle than the police. “They get to fightin’, over money and things,” he says in a deep Caribbean drawl. Violence is far more likely to get a dealer into legal trouble than business. Strangely, this lackadaisical approach is not encouraging people to take up the reefer habit. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the proportion of people who admit to having used cannabis in Britain has fallen more quickly than in any other European country over the past few years. Just 6.8% of adults told another survey that they used cannabis in 2010, down from 10.9% eight years earlier. The herb is now ubiquitous and effectively tolerated—and, perhaps as a result, not all that alluring.
Cat-sized rats are causing trouble in the Florida keys. A pack of Gambian giant pouched rats have been breeding in the keys despite officials’ efforts to eradicate them. NBC Miami reports that Officials are worried about the vermin making it over to the mainland, saying that the hungry species could wipe out crops and upset the delicate ecological balance in Florida. Scort Hardin, the exotic species coordinator for Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said: “We thought we had them whipped as of 2009…. In the early part of 2011, a resident e-mailed me and said he saw one of the rats. We were skeptical but went back and talked to people and [saw] there were rats that we missed.” Hardin believes that there are less than two dozen giant rats roaming Grassy Key where they were trapped during multiple efforts last year. The Wildlife Conservation Commission will set out once again this July in an attempt to trap the Gambian giant pouched rats. Hardin told Keys Net: “I would not imagine there’s more than another couple of dozen at most. We’ve caught them all within a half-mile of each other… We think they have not moved far but they clearly reproduced.” MSNBC reports that the cat-sized rats were introduced to the island by a local rat breeder more than a decade ago. The rats have moved into the wild where they are now breeding and wreaking havoc on the ecosystem.
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.
Sunday, 25 March 2012
Whitney Houston’s full autopsy report may offer more clues about whether the singer suffered a heart attack before her drowning death, officials said Friday. The full report, which is expected to be released in a few weeks, may include test results and physical descriptions of the singer’s heart that will show whether she suffered a heart attack, Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said. The report is being compiled and Winter said he did not have access to its findings, which might show whether there were any obvious signs such as discoloration of her heart that would suggest Houston had a heart attack before slipping underwater in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 11. Houston’s death has been ruled an accidental drowning, with heart disease and cocaine use listed as contributing factors. The report also will include detailed toxicology results that will show how much cocaine and its byproducts were in Houston’s system when she died. Coroner’s officials said Thursday that the results showed the singer used cocaine shortly before her death, and there were indications of chronic use. Beverly Hills police detectives will use the full coroner’s report to complete their investigative file, which is not expected to be publicly released. The department has said there were no signs of foul play in connection with Houston’s death. Houston’s death on the eve of the Grammy Awards stunned the music industry and fans worldwide. The singer had battled addiction for years, but friends and family have said she appeared committed to making a comeback in the months before her death.
Pakistani intelligence officials say dozens of French Muslims have been training with the Taliban in northwest Pakistan. The officials said on Saturday they were investigating whether Mohamed Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian descent suspected of killing seven people in southern France, had been part of this group. Merah traveled to Pakistan in 2011 and said he trained with al-Qaida in Waziristan. He was killed in a gunfight with police Thursday in the French city of Toulouse. The officials said 85 Frenchmen have been training with the Pakistani Taliban in the North Waziristan tribal area for the past three years. Most have dual nationality with France and North African countries. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
Saturday, 24 March 2012
Sex is a multibillion-dollar industry in Spain, with colorfully lit brothels staffed mainly by poor immigrant women from Latin America, Africa and eastern Europe lining highways throughout the country
Police in Spain arrested 22 alleged pimps who purportedly tattooed women with bar codes as a sign of ownership and used violence to force them into prostitution. Police are calling the gang the "bar code pimps." Officers freed one 19-year-old woman who had been beaten, held against her will and tattooed with a bar code and an amount of money — €2,000 ($2,650) — which investigators believe was the debt the gang wished to extort before releasing her. The woman had also been whipped, chained to a radiator and had her hair and eyebrows shaved off, according to an Interior Ministry statement.All those arrested were of Romanian nationality and had forced the women to hand over part of their earnings, the statement said. The women were tattooed on their wrists if they tried to escape, the statement said. Police also seized guns and ammunition. It was not immediately clear when the raids took place. Police seized €140,000 ($185,388) in cash, which had been hidden in a false ceiling, a large amount of gold jewelry and five vehicles, three of which were described as luxury cars. The gang was made up of two separate groups, referred to as "clans" in the statement, each dedicated to controlling prostitution along fixed stretches of a street in downtown Madrid. One of the alleged ringleaders who was identified only by the initials "I.T." is wanted by authorities in Romania for crimes linked to prostitution, the statement said. The women were controlled at all times to ensure "money was taken off them immediately," the statement said. Sex is a multibillion-dollar industry in Spain, with colorfully lit brothels staffed mainly by poor immigrant women from Latin America, Africa and eastern Europe lining highways throughout the country. Prostitution falls in legal limbo: it is not regulated, although pimping is a crime. The northeastern city of Barcelona plans to introduce regional legislation in coming weeks banning prostitution on urban streets.