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Contract Killings


Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Gang murdered drug dealer then blew up his house


Drugs gang executed one of their dealer's and then blew up his house to cover-up the murder, a court heard this afternoon. Colliston Edwards, 38, of no fixed address and Andre Johnson, 25, also of no fixed address are accused of shooting Leroy Burnett, 43, after he kept back some of their money from drugs deals. Max Walter, 21, of no fixed address was then recruited by the pair to blow-up his house in Crichton Road, Battersea the Old Bailey heard. Mr Burnett was allegedly a low level drug supplier, who dealt drugs in Wandsworth Road and the Nine Elms area on behalf of Edwards. Edwards, whose street name is Lousy, was allegedly a drug dealer who commuted between Doncaster and South London and worked in a team with Johnson, known as Tallman. The court heard that Lousy had two mobile phones and gave out the numbers to his customers, travelling to their homes to sell the drugs. He allegedly expected Mr Burnett to carry out sales and look after his phones whilst he was away in Doncaster, but problems arose when Mr Burnett started miscounting money owed to him. Prosecuting, Aftab Jaffbrjee said: "There was simply no reason other than this pernicious deed of drugs supply to cost Leroy his life. Ads by Google Build Eco Friendly Visit us Today for Carbon Reduction Eco Tips for Construction Industry! Election Boundary Changes Constituencies are changing. Have your say on our report, Autumn 2013 "He was executed in his home having been shot in the head at point blank range. There was nothing else that accounted in his life for such a brutal attack. "Walter then blew up the entire house causing destruction to the building and the street." Edwards and Johnson are both on trial for joint enterprise of murder and intending to pervert the course of justice. They deny having anything to do with the murder or the cover-up. Walter has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and arson, but denies being reckless as to whether life was endangered. The trial which opened this afternoon is expected to last six weeks.

Jurors convict two men of first-degree murder in shooting death near Delray Beach


A jury convicted two men of first-degree murder Tuesday in connection with the 2007 shooting death of John Blazevige, whose body was found outside his still idling pick-up truck near Delray Beach. It took three days for jurors to return the verdicts against Michael Marquardt and Louis Baccari at the end of the week-long trial. At times they seemed entrenched into two separate camps, but in the end they made the unanimous decision to return the convictions on murder and armed robbery for each man. "We were surprised, and disappointed," Baccari's defense attorney Andrew Strecker said. "We thought for sure it would have been a hung jury." More puzzling, Strecker said, were the jury's findings in their verdict. For example, they found that Baccari, the alleged triggerman, had not used a firearm during the robbery of Blazevige, but they convicted him of armed robbery anyhow. Prosecutors Sherri Collins and Aaron Papero built their case largely on the testimony of Antonio Bussey, who deputies originally said was responsible for the killing. His DNA was found on the murder weapon, but he told deputies that Marquardt had made him touch the gun after Baccari shot Blazevige during a bad drug deal, telling him that they were "all in it together." Bussey made a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a 21-year sentence. Hours before they returned the verdicts Tuesday, jurors asked to hear Bussey's testimony again. Baccari's and Marquardt's attorneys Strecker and Scott Skier asked Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath to also allow jurors to hear their entire cross examinations of Bussey, but the judge ruled that jurors only needed to hear a small portion of it. Colbath also denied defense attorneys' subsequent requests for a mistrial. Baccari's relatives outside the courtroom described him as a warm-hearted person and said they were convinced there was no way he would ever harm Blazevige, who had been his longtime friend and formerly lived in West Palm Beach. Prosecutors had said that Blazevige was addicted to prescription drugs and had met Baccari, Marquardt and Bussey to buy pills when he was killed. But defense attorneys, along with Baccari's family, say Bussey made a deal with prosecutors even though he knew he was the one who killed Blazevige in order to avoid the life sentences both Baccari and Marquardt will now inevitably receive as result of their convictions. Colbath set sentencing for Marquart, a landscape company owner who lived in Boynton Beach, and Baccari for April 2.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Putin assassination plot foiled: Russian officials


Ukrainian security services have thwarted a plot to kill Russian PM Vladimir Putin, Russian officials say. Two suspects were detained in the Ukrainian port of Odessa, Russia's state-owned Channel One TV reports. The arrested men were both shown on TV admitting their involvement in the plot, after an explosion at a flat in January in which one suspect died. Ukrainian security officials have refused to confirm the arrests were part of a plot to assassinate Mr Putin. But the Russian prime minister's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, told the BBC that the report was correct: "this was absolutely a plot to kill the prime minister." The attack was to happen after next Sunday's presidential vote, the report said. Mr Putin is expected to win the election and get a third term as president. The BBC's Daniel Sandford in Moscow said the two men were both shown on Russian TV, one being interrogated and the other giving an interview. Continue reading the main story Analysis Daniel Sandford BBC News, Moscow The Ukrainian security services have told the BBC that they did arrest some people in January after an apartment explosion. But when we asked them if it was part of a plot to assassinate Mr Putin, spokeswoman Maryna Ostapenko said she did not know what to say. She would not go on the record to confirm that this was part of a plot to kill Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. So it goes back only to the very detailed Russian Channel One report which even interviewed one of the suspects. But at this stage the Ukrainian authorities do not confirm that these men are being held in any way in connection with an assassination plot. In the footage, both admit plotting to attack Mr Putin. One, identified by Ria Novosti as Ilya Pyanzin, said he had been hired by Chechen militant leader Doku Umarov to carry out the killing and also by Ruslan Madayev, the suspect who died in the Odessa explosion. The other suspect was named by Channel One as Adam Osmayev, said to have been on an international wanted list since 2007. The plotters were planning to plant mines on Kutuzovsky Avenue in Moscow, used by Mr Putin on a daily basis, the report said. Russian media report that Mr Pyanzin was arrested in the Odessa flat where the explosion happened. He told police that he and Madayev had flown to Ukraine from the United Arab Emirates via Turkey, with precise instructions from representatives of Doku Umarov. According to the reports, details of the plot were found on laptops in the flat, along with a video showing Mr Putin's motorcade. Mr Osmayev was reported to be the local fixer in Odessa and the instructor for the plotters, and had lived for a long time in London.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Gang Member Pleads Not Guilty In Stabbing Death


documented gang member accused of stabbing a transient 19 times after the defendant issued a gang challenge to the victim pleaded not guilty Thursday to a murder charge. Josue Hernandez Gutierrez, 20, was ordered held in lieu of $1 million bail in connection with the slaying of 48-year-old Emiliano Cortez of San Diego. Gutierrez was arrested Monday outside a friend's College area home. Deputy District Attorney Kristian Trocha told Judge David Szumowski that Gutierrez and a 14-year-old boy attacked Cortez about 4:45 a.m. Saturday as he was walking in the 3700 block of T Street, about a half-mile from the home where the victim lived with relatives. Gutierrez issued a gang challenge, and for some reason, the victim responded that he was from a rival gang, the prosecutor said. The defendant then stabbed the victim 19 times, including 10 to the back, Trocha said. Cortez died Saturday night, according to the prosecutor. The 14-year-old was arrested Tuesday at a Chula Vista residence. His case is being handled in Juvenile Court. Police disclosed no suspected motive for the slaying, except that it was believed to be gang-related. There was no evidence that a robbery or other crime was involved, San Diego police Lt. Kevin Rooney said. Residents of the area where the killing happened told investigators a loud argument and a man's screams prompted them to look outside, at which point they saw someone lying on a sidewalk and two people running off to the east. It was unclear why Cortez was walking through the inner-city neighborhood just east of downtown San Diego, though he apparently was not on his way home. Gutierrez was charged with murder, a gang allegation and the use of a knife. He faces 26 years to life in prison if convicted. A status conference was set for March 1 and a preliminary hearing for March 7.

Mongols Motorcycle Gang Member Convicted of Murdering President of San Francisco Hells Angels


federal jury found Christopher Bryan Ablett, a/k/a “Stoney,” a member of the Modesto Chapter of the Mongols outlaw motorcycle gang, guilty of all four felonies with which he was charged including murder in aid of racketeering, assault with a deadly weapon in aid of racketeering, using a firearm during a crime of violence, and using a firearm causing murder during a crime of violence, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. The charges stemmed from the defendant’s gang-related murder of Mark “Papa” Guardado, the president of the San Francisco Chapter of the Hells Angels, on September 2, 2008, at 24th Street and Treat Avenue in the Mission District of San Francisco. Evidence at trial showed that Ablett traveled to San Francisco to visit a friend. He was armed with a foot-long military knife and a .357 magnum revolver. Ablett brought with him a Mongols full-patch vest and t-shirt that only a full member of the Mongols is allowed to wear. According to testimony from Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) gang expert Special Agent John Ciccone, and former Mongols undercover ATF Special Agent Darrin Kozlowski who infiltrated the gang, the Mongols are an organized criminal motorcycle gang whose primary rival is the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. When word traveled to Guardado that the defendant was wearing a Mongols patch shirt in a bar in the Mission, Guardado went to the street outside the bar and approached Ablett. A fight broke out during which Ablett stabbed Guardado four times and shot him twice, killing him. According to the testimony of FBI Special Agent Jacob Millspaugh, the case agent, the defendant’s phone records showed that he spent the next several hours calling people who were identified as members of the Mongols—showing that he was reaching out as part of the Mongols communication network. The jury rejected the defendant’s defenses of self-defense, defense of his friends, and heat of passion after the defendant took the stand and testified. The jury also found that the defendant murdered Guardado to maintain or increase his position in the Mongols gang, and that the Mongols engaged in racketeering activity. Ablett is scheduled to be sentenced on May 15, 2012. He faces a possible sentence of three terms of life in prison plus 10 mandatory consecutive years, a $1 million fine, and five years of supervised release. Specifically, for the charge of murder in aid of racketeering, in violation of 18 United StatesC. § 1959, Ablett faces a mandatory minimum sentence of life without parole. For the charge of assault with a deadly weapon in aid of racketeering, in violation of 18 United StatesC. § 1959, Ablett faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. For the charge of using a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of 18 United StatesC. § 924(c), Ablett faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. And for the charge of using a firearm causing murder during a crime of violence, in violation of 18 United StatesC. § 924(j), Ablett faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the United States Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 United StatesC. § 3553. The case was prosecuted by former Assistant United States Attorney Christine Wong, Assistant United States Attorneys Kathryn Haun, Wilson Leung and William Frentzen, paralegal specialist Lili ArauzHaase, legal techs Marina Ponomarchuk, Daniel Charlier-Smith, and Ponly Tu, all of the Organized Crime Strike Force and Violent Crime Section of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, and the San Francisco Police Department.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Forces open fire on Kerobokan jail, which houses Schapelle Corby and the Bali Nine


INMATES at an Indonesian prison in Bali, which holds 12 Australians, have taken over the jail again after a second night of riots. Some 400 heavily armed police and military forces were gathered outside the overcrowded Kerobokan prison, which holds 1,000 inmates, including 12 Australians convicted of drug smuggling. "The prisoners took over the prison again, which forced security personnel to fire warning shots into the air," provincial military command spokesman Wing Handoko told AFP. "The rioters wanted their friends being treated in the hospital to be taken back because they were afraid they would be mistreated by security forces," he added. An AFP reporter heard three minutes of continuous gunfire, but it was not clear if there were any casualties. A flaming torch made of rags wrapped around a pole was flung from inside the prison and landed near a television vehicle, but was extinguished before the fire could spread.  Riots continue in Kerobokan prison The prison was without light because electricity, cut off during Tuesday's rioting, still had not been restored by authorities. "There are 51 foreign prisoners from 17 countries at the prison. We will give them special security if the situation warrants," Handoko said before the shooting. It was not clear whether the most recent riot was close to the wing where Australian or other foreign prisoners are housed. Shouting and the rattling of the prison's inner gates were heard before police opened fire, but after the shooting silence and darkness descended upon the jail with inmates and security forces in a tense stand-off. Heavily armed forces had stormed the prison early Wednesday to regain control after inmates took over the prison during a night of arson and stone-throwing. All 12 Australian prisoners at Kerobokan, including two on death row and six serving life sentences, were safe after that trouble, Australia's foreign ministry said after Indonesian police had regained control of the facility. Some 100 heavily armed police and military had stormed the jail on the holiday island at around dawn on Wednesday, firing volleys of rubber bullets. Officials said they intervened after attempts to negotiate with the rioting prisoners had failed, and after some inmates managed to get hold of firearms. Three inmates had been injured in the legs, and a police officer was lightly hurt, police said. Among the Australians at the jail are convicted drug trafficker Schapelle Corby and a group known as the "Bali Nine", who were caught attempting to smuggle drugs from Bali. Up to 1,000 armed security forces backed by armoured vehicles and water cannon were stationed Wednesday morning outside the jail, which is in a suburban area of Bali seven kilometres from the tourism hub of Kuta beach. But police said the situation had returned to normal by late afternoon, and that only about 30 armed personnel had remained outside. Police and local reports said Tuesday's trouble began when one inmate stabbed another prisoner on Sunday, touching off reprisals that erupted into a full-blown riot. Prisoners began trashing cells and throwing stones at the guards who were forced to abandon the jail - built for just 300 inmates but now housing more than three times that many prisoners, both male and female. Police said the inmates were in charge for more than seven hours - from around 11pm Tuesday until 6.45am the following morning. Prison staff said the jail's registration office, including the files of prisoners, was destroyed in a blaze. After the rioting Tuesday, Michael Chan whose brother Andrew Chan is one of the Bali Nine, said he was worried about his brother given that during a previous riot "things got pretty bad, and they were in lockdown for a couple of days". Corby's family said she was well, with the women's wing of the prison untouched by the violence. There have been a number of riots at the jail in recent years, including one triggered by a police drug raid in June. It is one of Indonesia's most notorious prisons, with a combustible mix of inmates including convicted murderers, sex offenders and others guilty of violent crimes.

Sweden's Chicago grapples with deadly wave of shootings

A wave of execution-style shootings and a police station bombing in Sweden's third largest city have sparked fears that gangster violence is taking hold in a Nordic country widely seen as one of the world's safest places. Only minutes into the new year, a 15-year-old was found with gunshots to his chest and one to his head outside an apartment block in one of Malmo's poorest and most troubled districts, where firefighters have occasionally sought police protection. Eight killings have occurred across the city since a 36-year-old with links to organised crime was gunned down in a parking lot in May last year. The latest victim, a 48-year-old man, was found shot in a car at the end of January. None of the murders have been solved, and now some newspapers are calling Malmo "Sweden's Chicago". "Why don't police have better control?" national daily Svenska Dagbladet asked in an opinion piece, suggesting Malmo look to New York which slashed its crime rates in recent decades. For their part, police refuse to reach the conclusion that the bomb at the police station and the killings were definitely linked, which would gangland violence is out of control. "We believe it's linked to the prevalence of weapons. It is big. But I can't say why we have a larger share here than in Stockholm," Hans Nordin, Deputy Chief Commissioner of Police in the Skane region of southern Sweden, told Reuters. With a population of just 300,000, Malmo is one of Sweden's roughest cities, long a base for smugglers because of its proximity to Denmark, with which it has been connected by a bridge since July 2000. Roughly 40 percent of Malmo's population are first- or second-generation immigrants and one in three is unemployed, compared with a national rate under nine percent. Among young immigrants, the rate is nearly 40 percent. Formerly a prosperous industrial town, much of the old industry has declined and jobs have vanished. Gangs took root here decades ago, starting with motorcycle groups and increasingly dominated by immigrants, at first thanks to an influx in the 1990s of refugees of Balkan wars and then, over the past 20 years, immigrants from the Middle East, Africa and eastern Europe. SHAKING SWEDEN Along with the July 2011 killings of 77 people in Norway by right-wing fanatic Anders Breivik, the city's problems have helped to shatter the cherished image of Sweden as a refuge of safety and peace, sparking a national media debate, soul-searching throughout Sweden and street protests. Dozens of police reinforcements sent in this year are still in the city. "I'm thinking of leaving Malmo because it is getting more and more dangerous," said Henrik Hammar, 28, who stocks shelves at a grocery store and was awakened when a small bomb exploded at the police station in his neighbourhood at the end of January, close to where the latest victim was found. "When it comes to shooting, we are used to that in Malmo. But not bombs," Hammar said outside the police station with a shattered window and a hole torn in its brick wall. The bombing happened in Fosie district, a centre of the violence. The wave of killings since May is not the first to shake Malmo. Peter Mangs was arrested in 2010 on suspicion of three murders and 13 attempted murders over a seven-year period, a string of shootings on Malmo's streets targeting immigrants. Luciano Astudillo, a Chilean-born former MP who was moved by the New Year's Day shooting to launch a campaign to say "Enough is enough," compared the crime wave to the violence that plagues Mexican border towns. "We have the same problem here as in the north of Mexico though on a smaller scale," he said, pointing to the drug and weapons smuggling that pass through Malmo from Denmark on their way to the rest of Scandinavia. "So it is logical for the gangs to gather here and fight each other," he said. Astudillo said he hopes the protests he has helped lead, including a street demonstration by more than 6,000 people on January 6, will make politicians notice what is happening. "I don't think murders will become more and more frequent in the near future, but there is nothing that indicates things will improve a bit longer-term," said Tobias Barkman, a crime reporter at regional daily Sydsvenska Dagbladet. "Society has fallen behind - with regards to the police and to the social situation. It's hard to see any rays of hope."

Violent gangs are deeply entrenched in Spanish Town, just west of Kingston, and in some residential sections of the northwestern parish of St. James, which includes the resort city of Montego Bay.


 Fighting between the gangs for control of drug trafficking and extortion rackets has long been blamed for the majority of Jamaica’s homicides. Police Commissioner Owen Ellington said at a news conference with Bunting that much of the security forces’ resources are now focused on trying to contain 42 active gang conflicts. Ellington told reporters that the Shower Posse gang, which was controlled by convicted drug kingpin Christopher “Dudus” Coke from his slum stronghold of Tivoli Gardens, has been significantly hobbled since his capture in June 2010 but remains an active gang in West Kingston. Bunting said Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller’s nearly two-month-old government intends to fast-track anti-gang legislation and is crafting a new security policy meant to reduce crime to “First World levels” by 2017, when he hopes to have a maximum of just 321 killings. A U.N. study on the Caribbean released earlier this month said Jamaica has had the world’s third-highest murder rate over the past decade, with about 60 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. Jamaica loses some $529 million a year due to crime, according to the report. Last year, Jamaica had 1,125 slayings, a roughly 22 percent drop from the 1,442 killings in 2010. A record 1,683 people were killed in 2009. Bunting said a major goal is to target gang kingpins and facilitators for organized criminal networks, not the people lower down the chain. Many of those arrested in previous years have been underlings who had little connection to gang leadership. Such workers are easily replaced. “We don’t always want to be chasing out the symptoms, we want to get to the infection,” he told reporters at the prime minister’s offices. Bunting intends to create a task force to identify and arrest crime facilitators, such as accountants, real estate brokers, lawyers and corrupt public officials. He also hopes to give courts greater power to seize their assets. He also said Jamaican society must undergo “mental reconditioning” to encourage more people to report crimes. Those who live in Jamaica’s slums are deeply distrustful of the police and authorities, and an anti-informant culture is widespread.

Bolivian minibus gang murdered up to 69 people on their way to work


Police in Bolivia are blaming a gang for a spate of early morning murders in Bolivia where people have been strangled on minibuses while heading into work. Up to 69 people have been killed and dozens more were left for dead in El Alto, a working class city of one million people on an arid plateau above Bolivia's capital, La Paz. "This kind of assault came about because people, by necessity, take whatever transport they can get," said Felix Rocha, chief of Bolivia's police. Gang members would ride the buses posing as passengers, police said. After their victims had boarded, they were strangled with a rope or scarf and stripped of valuables that often amounted to little more than a mobile phone and the clothes on their backs. A 64-year-old man who said he survived an attack by the gang, recounted leaving his house at 4am on 5 February on his way to the bank where he collects his monthly pension. He said he boarded what he thought was a public transit minibus and as usual, his 25-cent fare was collected by "a cholita," or indigenous woman. "They had me sit in the front and suddenly I felt a scarf tightening around my neck. I fought back but they hit me in the ribs and face and I fell unconscious," said the man, who asked to be identified only by first name, Macario, because he fears for his safety. "I woke up later in a dumpster," Macario added. Gone was his mobile phone and the equivalent of £35 in the local currency. Police last week announced the arrest of eight alleged members of the gang, ranging in age from 30 to 45 and including a woman, Yuli Gutierrez Jimenez. Rocha said police seized four 14-seat minibuses used by the gang. Most of the killings occurred between 4am and 6am, when public transport is relatively scarce and only 400 police are on duty in the entire city, which is mostly unpaved and where many neighbourhoods lack running water and electricity. The gang is believed to have killed 69 people whose bodies have been found over the past 13 months, said Rocha, though prosecutor Santos Valencia said investigators are still trying to determine if the group was responsible for all those deaths. More than 70 people told police they had survived attacks after recognising gang members in local media reports, Rocha said. Other such gangs are known to exist, but the minibus gang seems to have been the best organised and most methodical, he added. Its alleged leader, Julio Edwin Valdez, 33, was arrested last week. Also captured was Galo Mamani, the bus's driver. Prosecutors said the two face murder charges but offered few other details. Valencia told reporters that police found wallets and the clothes of victims in the homes of those detained. Authorities did not say how they tracked down the alleged criminals. Rocha said police were investigating whether the group was also involved in the recent murders of several taxi drivers whose vehicles were stolen after the drivers were strangled.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

2 Dead, 5 Wounded In Chicago Drive-by Shooting

Police in Chicago are investigating a drive-by shooting that killed two people and left five others wounded. Police officials say the shooting happened just before 7 p.m. Sunday outside a liquor store on the city's South Side. Police say a vehicle pulled up outside the store and someone inside the vehicle opened fire on a crowd of people outside. Authorities say 19-year-old Jamal Harris died inside the store, while 61-year-old Gregory Glinsey was found dead outside. Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford says both men suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Police officials say the five surviving victims were all teen-age boys. Four were treated for their wounds and released, while a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the stomach remains hospitalized.

Fatal Detroit shooting of baby gang-related, police say


Diamond Salter said she was asleep in her west-side home early Monday morning when shots rang out. As her son, Delric Miller IV, dozed nearby on a living room couch, bullets pierced windows and walls, striking the 9-month-old. "I grabbed my baby and wrapped him up in a blanket … and ran in the basement," said Salter, 19, who also has a one-year-old daughter who was staying with a relative. "I thought he was asleep because that's how I left him. I thought he was alive … I started feeling for him, and he wouldn't wake up." Someone fired 37 rounds from an AK-47 assault rifle at about 4:30 a.m. into the home in the 8400 block of Greenview Avenue, near Tireman. Police Chief Ralph Godbee said the shooting was gang-related. Godbee said police have details about the shooting he didn't want to release to the public, but that investigators have a handle on what happened. "We know who they are," Godbee said. "This was not a random incident." Salter said there were eight people in the house, including three children, when the shooting took place. She called the incident "senseless" and said she doesn't know why someone opened fire on their home. Salter added that she's no stranger to violence; she was inside her home at a different location years ago when a similar crime occurred: Someone started shooting at the house, and her sister, who was also inside, was killed. "I got to be strong, because I still have a daughter to live for," Salter said. The boy's maternal grandmother, Cynthia Wilkins, 39, added: "They killed a precious baby." Delric was rushed to Sinai-Grace Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival following the shooting. Police believe that shots could have been fired from a van after a witness reported that a light-colored van sped away from the scene. "It's an act of God that more people weren't killed," Godbee said. A pink and purple motorized cart sits in front of the home and shattered glass glittered on the front porch Monday morning. Neighbors said there were usually 10 to 15 people living in the home over the past year, including three to four children. The boy's father, Delric Miller III, was not at the home when the shooting began. He arrived early Monday afternoon and stayed for approximately 20 minutes. He said his son loved to play with his toy hammer. The last gift Miller gave his son was a multicolored teething ring for Christmas, he said. When Miller left the home Monday afternoon he said, "I need some time for myself." Neighbor Diane Fryst, 67, was coming out of the bathroom when she heard the shots. Fryst said she was worried about ricochets, so she immediately laid down on top of her two rescue collie dogs to shield them from harm. "The shooting didn't last more than a few minutes," said Fryst, who has lived in her home (formerly owned by her parents) for 66 years. "It sounded like an AK-47 because of the 'pop, pop, pop' sound that it made. I've heard shots around here before so you get to recognize the sound." According to Fryst almost a dozen people, including four to five children, lived in the home where the shooting occurred. "I've never seen any trouble over there before, no violence," Fryst said. This is the second killing of a youngster in Detroit within the last three weeks. Twelve-year-old Kadejah Davis was shot to death on Jan. 31 when a gunman fired through the front door of the home in which she was living with her mother. Police arrested Joshua Brown, 19, and his mother, Heather Brown, in the incident. According to police, Joshua Brown came to the home of Kadejah's mother, Amanda Talton, on Ferguson Street and demanded the return of a cellphone Talton had found earlier at her tax preparer's office. Police said he fired shots through the door after Talton told him she didn't have the phone and closed the door. Brown has been charged with first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder and felony firearm. His mother, Heather, has been charged with accessory after the fact. Godbee has recently unveiled initiatives aimed at stemming the violence. Earlier this month, he moved his department to a "virtual precincts" model, in which officers who manned the city's police precincts were reassigned to patrol.

Inmate Massacre Highlights Mexico Jail Corruption


Nine guards have confessed to helping Zetas drug gangsters escape from prison before other Zetas slaughtered 44 rival inmates, a state official said late Monday, underlining the enormous corruption inside Mexico's overcrowded, underfunded prisons. The top officials and as many as 18 guards at the Apodaca prison in northern Mexico had been detained under suspicion that they may have helped 30 Zetas escape during the confusion of a riot early Sunday in which 44 members of the rival Gulf cartel were bludgeoned and knifed to death. Nuevo Leon state public security spokesman Jorge Domene Zambrano said nine of the guards confessed to aiding the escape. He said it appeared the breakout happened before the deadly fight. The massacre in this northern state was one of the worst prison killings in Mexico in at least a quarter-century and exposed another weak institution that President Felipe Calderon is relying on to fight his drug war. Mexico has only six federal prisons, and so sends many of its dangerous cartel suspects and inmates to ill-prepared, overcrowded state penitentiaries. Drug trafficking, weapons possession and money laundering are all considered federal crimes in Mexico. "The Mexican prison system has collapsed," said Raul Benitez, a professor at Mexico's National Autonomous University who studies security issues. "The prisons in some states are controlled by organized crime." AP A child yells out for her father as she... View Full Caption An increase in organized crime, extortion, drug trafficking and kidnapping has swelled Mexico's prison population almost 50 percent since 2000. But the government has built no new federal prisons since Calderon launched an offensive against drug cartels when he took office in late 2006, leaving existing jails overcrowded. Calderon's administration has renovated three existing state prisons to use as federal lockups. Built to hold about 185,000 inmates, the prison system nationwide now holds more than 45,000 above that capacity, according to figures from the National Public Safety System. Of the 47,000 federal inmates in the country, about 29,000 are held in state prisons. That has drawn complaints from Nuevo Leon Gov. Rodrigo Medina and other state governors, who say their jails aren't equipped to hold members of powerful and highly organized drug cartels. The federal government counters that none of the escapes or mass killings have occurred at federal lockups, and it cites corruption on the state level, not overcrowding, as the main cause of the deaths and escapes. "The constant element has been corruption in the control processes" at the prisons, said Patricio Patino, assistant secretary for the penitentiary system. Prison employees say guards are underpaid, making them more likely to take bribes. And even honest guards are vulnerable to coercion: Many live in neighborhoods where street gangs and drug cartels are active, making it easy to target their families with threats. The same can be said for Mexico's municipal police forces, another weak flank in Calderon's attack on organized crime. Thousands of local officers — often, entire forces at a time — have been fired, detained or placed under investigation for aiding drug gangs. "Yesterday, Apodaca, tomorrow, any other (prison)," columnist Carlos Puig wrote in the newspaper Milenio.

Dead gangster's assets seized


Anti-mafia authorities impounded real estate, automobiles and financial assets from Domenico Campisi, who was shot dead last June in an ambush in the southern Calabria region. He was 44 years old. Campisi was a member of the 'Ndrangheta crime network based in Calabria, considered Italy's most violent and wealthy mafia groups. It was reportedly one of the first time police went after assets of a deceased mafioso.

U.S. Ordered to Pay $1 Million to Family of Man Murdered by Gangster Whitey Bulger


The federal government went too far in shielding an FBI informant from the 1970s through the 1990s, not only tipping him off about state and local police investigations, but even covering up his involvement in several murders. Last week a three-judge panel of the First Circuit Appeals Court in Boston ruled that the family of one of those murder victims, Louis Litif, who was murdered by Boston organized crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger in 1980, was entitled to government compensation of $1.15 million.   Litif, a bookmaker facing murder charges, offered to help the Boston police with a drug conspiracy case against Bulger, who was already secretly informing on the rival Patriarca crime family to the FBI. About three weeks after his offer, Litif was found dead in the trunk of his car. The First Circuit concluded that “there was a pattern of FBI leaks of informants to Bulger,” mainly by Bulger’s FBI handler, John Connolly, who “was present when Litif’s plans to cooperate and incriminate Bulger were made known to the Boston Police, …[and who] leaked the names of between six and twelve informants to” Bulger, at least three of whom, including Litif, were later found dead.   In a similar case last year, the First Circuit ruled that the families of Bulger murder victims Michael Donahue and Brian Halloran could not sue the government for their deaths, because even though FBI leaks led to their murders, the two-year statute of limitations on lawsuits against the government had run out. The difference was the large amount of publicly available information linking the FBI to the Donahue and Halloran murders, compared to the lack of such information in the Litif case.   Former FBI agent Connolly is currently in prison, convicted of racketeering and obstruction of justice in 2002, and of second degree murder in 2008, although his wife runs a website maintaining his innocence. Bulger, who went on the lam in December 1994 and spent 12 years on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list, was captured on June 22, 2011, and is facing charges for 19 murders.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Two arrests after five men shot in Homerton


Two men have been arrested after five people were injured during a shooting in Homerton High Street early yesterday morning (Sunday). One of the suspects arrested was also shot in the incident, which happened at about 5.40am. Police and ambulances rushed to the scene following reports of gunfire, but no one was there. Homerton High Street was closed both ways between Ponsford Street and Digby Road for several hours while officers from Trident investigated. Later that day, four men – two aged 25, a 45-year-old and a 27-year-old – turned up at an east London hospital, while a 21-year-old man arrived at another hospital seeking treatment. The four men remain in hospital where their injuries are still being assessed. “For at least three of them, the injuries are not thought to be serious,” a police spokesman said. Detectives are keeping “an open mind” regarding the motive, he added. The 21-year-old was later discharged from hospital, and was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and possession of a firearm. Another man, aged 20, was also arrested on suspicion of the same offences. Both were bailed to return to an east London police station on April 3, pending further inquiries.

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