Mexico Touts Arrests of El Chapo’s Tunnel Team

Mexico’s Attorney General this week announced the arrest of six people (and a few more with arrest warrants who are not yet caught) who helped Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman escape from Altiplano prison in July. She didn’t name them but their names are available on Mexican news sites. (More here and here.)

Several were arrested in July and August — in other words, not all are new arrests, just newly disclosed arrests. So who are they? See below: Read More

How to Get a Gold Star From the DEA

Bump and Update: The Flores Twins have each been sentenced to 14 years. The Judge said had they not continued to deal drugs while cooperating, they would have gotten 12 years.

The infamous Flores twins of Chicago will finally be sentenced Tuesday. Some background on twin brothers Pedro and Margarito Flores, is in this Chicago Reader article. The Government filed its sentencing memorandum a few weeks ago, which I have uploaded here. Their sentencing guidelines (level 47, Category I) call for a sentence of life in prison (there is no parole in the federal system and good time doesn't apply to a life sentence.)

Due to the Flores Twins' “extraordinary cooperation”, which the Government maintains resulted in more than 50 people being charged (list here), most of whom are their workers and customers, the Government is asking for a sentence at the low end of a reduced range of 10 to 16 years. The Government writes:

Absent their cooperation, the government would argue life imprisonment is the appropriate sentence for these defendants. However, they are not being sentenced absent cooperation.

How big were the Flores twins? Read More

San Diego : Newly Unsealed Sinaloa Charges Aren’t Very New

Amidst much fanfare and back-patting at a press conference Friday, the U.S. Attorney in San Diego Friday announced recently unsealed drug and money laundering indictments of various leaders and members of the Sinaloa cartel. The Government’s press release is here, and the list of charged defendants is here.

“Recently unsealed” does not mean “new.” Read More

Tsarnaev Defense Appeals Denial of Venue Change

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, accused of the Boston Marathon bombings. Yesterday, hours after the trial court refused its most recent request for a continuance, the defense filed a petition for writ of mandamus with the First Circuit Court of Appeals requesting a change of venue, or in the alternative, an order compelling the trial judge to hold an evidentiary hearing on its change of venue motion. You can read it here. It also filed a motion in the trial court requesting that jury selection be delayed until the appeals court has ruled.

The petition makes several references to the ruling of Judge Matsch in the OKC bombing case of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols (available here.) Judge Matsch rejected the Government’s arguments that a fair trial could be held outside of OKC, but still in Oklahoma. He ruled a fair trial was not possible anywhere in the state of Oklahoma, and moved the trial to Denver. Read More

Government Releases Tsarnaev’s Scrawled Boat Note

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The Government responded to several of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s motions today. In its response to his motion to suppress statements, it reprinted what Jahar has scrawled while hiding inside the boat:

I’m jealous of my brother who ha[s] [re]ceived the reward of jannutul Firdaus (inshallah) before me. I do not mourn because his soul is very much alive. God has a plan for each person. Mine was to hide in this boat and shed some light on our actions. I ask Allah to make me a shahied (iA) to allow me to return to him and be among all the righteous people in the highest levels of heaven. He who Allah guides no one can misguide. A[llah Ak]bar!

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House Hearing on Cartels and Extraditing El Chapo

The House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on “Taking Down the Cartels” this week. Predictably, several committee members called for the quick extradition of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

There were four witnesses at the hearing: James Dinkins, a director of Homeland Security Investigations for ICE; John Feeley, a deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Dept; Alan Bersin, an assistant secretary of international affairs and diplomatic officer at Homeland Security; and Christopher Wilson, from the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

I just read the transcript of the hearing (available on Lexis.com). A Republican from Georgia named Paul Broun really stood out — and not in a positive way — repeatedly referring to El Chapo as “an animal.” Here are some of his remarks: Read More

Zimmerman Case: Attorney Warfare and Witness 8

As I wrote the other day, George Zimmerman attorney Mark O'Mara filed a motion for sanctions against Florida prosecutors for withholding information favorable to the defense. It was a very civilized pleading, supported by factual instances, letters and e-mails.

Late yesterday, in response, the state filed one of the most scurrilous, unprofessional pleadings I have ever had the misfortune to read. I have uploaded it here.

I cannot imagine such a pleading being filed in our federal courts by any Assistant U.S. Attorney. If this is acceptable protocol for Florida state prosecutors, I'm glad I neither practice nor live there.

I have no interest in the diatribe contained in the pleading. But I do want to discuss a few factual allegations and the legal issue.[more..]

The Witness 8 Letter

The state attached to its motion a handwritten letter from Witness 8, dated March 19, 2012, the day she was interviewed by Martin family lawyer Benjamin Crump. The “letter” is her version of what she heard on the phone with Trayvon Martin the night of the shooting. Thanks to Diwata Man for transcribing it:

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George Zimmerman Lawyers Seek Sanctions Against Prosecutor

There are lots of new developments in the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin case. Before I get to them, some readers will remember that about 10 days ago, I wrote about the newly released ABC recording of a portion of Benjamin Crump’s March 19, 2012 interview with Witness 8 and said I would follow-up with analysis.

My analysis turned out to be more than 10 typewritten pages and difficult to convert into a blog post with accessible links. I posted it earlier today, in pdf format, since it is far too lengthy for a blog post.

Although it was written before the defense filed a 58 page motion asking Judge Nelson to reconsider her denial of its request to depose Martin family lawyer Benjamin Crump, and this week's Motions for Sanctions against the State, I think it is still relevant and also provides some context, especially for those who haven't followed all the goings on with Witness 8, the woman who says she was on the phone with Trayvon minutes before the shooting.

Now on to the recent developments:

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CO Prison Chief Murder: Suspect Killed in Shootout

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A suspect in the murder of Colorado prison chief Tom Clements has been killed in a shootout with Texas police. The suspect, a 28 year old white supremacist and parolee from a Colorado prison, was stopped by a police officer in Texas. He shot the officer and took off.

The officer was wearing a bullet-proof vest. Two shots were to the chest and did not injure him. The third shot grazed his head. He was able to radio in the car description.

According to a live news conference I just watched here, it was a a drug interdiction stop. The officer had no idea the driver might be connected to the Colorado shooting of Director Clements.

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Deciphering the Matthew Keys Indictment

The Indictment against Matthew Keys, the former Sacramento KTXL FOX 40 web producer and Reuters journalist charged in the Eastern District of California for providing members of Anonymous with network login credentials to hack into the server of the station and the LA times (both are owned by the Tribune company), is a bit of a head-scratcher. It seems he started out as double agent of sorts, infiltrating the group for journalistic purposes. Did he change from role-playing in internet chat room sessions to joining in the group’s illegal activity? Clearly, the Government believes he did.

The Indictment is here. One person who turned on him seems to be Anonymous Sabu, aka Hector Monsegur. But others may have as well. Read More