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Gangster was started ten years ago as a methods of tracking and reporting the social growth of gangs worldwide.It is based on factual reporting from journalists worldwide.Cultural Research gleaned from Gangster is used to better understand the problems surrounding the unprecedented growth during this period and societies response threw the courts and social inititives to Gangs and Gang culture. Gangster is owner and run by qualified sociologists and takes no sides within the debate of the rights and wrongs of GANG CULTURE but is purely an observer.Gangster has over a million viewers worldwide.Please note by clicking on "Post Comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite.
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Monday, 28 July 2014

two sisters running a bakery in a desert

Posted On 07:13 0 comments

The land in Los Monegros in Aragon in northeastern Spain, is almost as arid as a desert. In the 1960s, it was one of the backdrops chosen for spaghetti western films.

Yet for two twenty-something Spanish sisters, it has become the perfect place for their farming and bread-baking business.

Ana Marcen, the elder of the two, says she had no previous experience in agriculture.

"I studied Greek and Latin and used to work in an orchestra as a singer."

Her younger sister Laura used to work as a waitress and studied engineering.

Their business idea grew out of something their uncle told them - that in times gone by, the bread in this part of Spain tasted different.

It was a flavour he missed.

From seed to loaf

'For the seed we grow, the climate is perfect', two sisters explain why they started a bakery and are growing wheat in a Spanish desert.

The sisters say their uncle was "a very curious person, he used to ask himself why bread didn´t taste any longer as it used to."

They discovered that a type of wheat seed, known as Aragon 03, had been the secret behind the region's distinctly-flavoured bread.

They found an elderly couple who still had a small quantity of the Aragon 03 seed. The Marcens bought two bags of the seeds - and from that their business has grown.

The concept of their business is to control the entire bread-making process.

They grow the wheat, mill the flour and bake the bread, muffins and other bakery snacks.

"Unlike other traditional bakeries that just sell organic products, we control the whole process", says Laura.

A combine harvester in a wheat field Los Monegros may be very dry - but the Marcen sisters' wheat is well-suited to these conditions

'You must be mad'

They set up their business in 2007, just before Spain's economic and financial crisis hit.

They were able to get a bank loan of €250,000, ($335,000; £200,000) which they think would be harder to come by in today's post-recession climate.

In the first year, their business lost lots of money, but by the third year they broke even.

Now, seven years after they first started farming and baking, they own two bakeries and sell their products in eight others.

Whatever profit they make, they reinvest in their business as they want to expand and sell online.

"Many people told us we were crazy for trying to run a business like ours in a (dry) place like this. But we found out that the seed we grow is perfect for this climate", says Laura.

"People think that there is no life in Los Monegros, but in reality the region is rich in plants and wildlife.

"As my uncle used to say, you have to bend your knees and look closely. For example, I see opportunities where others don't."

A man buying baked goods in the company shopThe niche product has a loyal clientele which has been the key to the business turning a profit

Family idea, family business

From the very start, this was a family-run business.

Their father Daniel harvests the crop, their mother Mercedes, works in one of their shops, and their younger brother, Jesus, mills the flour and bakes the bread.


Sunday, 27 July 2014

Spain: Royals' plane food budget to double

Posted On 08:45 0 comments

The Spanish Ministry of Defence has doubled its catering budget for a fleet of seven planes carrying Spanish royals, ministers and other senior officials, it seems. The government's congressional record has said the annual budget is going up to 133,000 euros (£105,000) from 65,000 euros the year before, news website 20minutos reports, adding that it's not unusual for officials to end up exceeding the budget. The website suggests the final bill for 2014 could come in at around 414,000 euros. Trays of peeled seasonal fruit, sirloin steak, Segovia suckling pig and Bilbao sea bass are among the 29 dishes on the menu - although it's reported that alcohol hasn't been served on board since 2012. Prices will be capped for some individual items - for example, the government won't pay more than 35 euros for a kilo of pecorino cheese - and some of the most expensive items have been taken off the menu altogether. The new budget comes amid a defence department review of the fleet's maintenance procedures following two recent breakdowns, and may consider renewing some of the aircraft in the fleet.


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Colombian cocaine smuggler gets 15 years

Posted On 19:20 0 comments

A federal judge in Tampa sentenced a cocaine smuggler on Friday to more than 15 years in prison. U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. sentenced Luis Alberto Urrego-Contreras to 15 years and six months in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. In January 2005, Urrego-Contreras, who was known by the nickname “Bacon,” bought a Beechcraft King Air airplane from a St. Petersburg business. He bought the plane on behalf of Colombian cocaine trafficker Fabio Enrique Ochoa-Vasco, according to the federal court. In June 2005, the plan was for the plane to fly from Venezuela to Colombia to retrieve 2,000 kilograms of cocaine. But when the pilot saw the Colombian Air Force was monitoring the Colombian airstrip, the pilot flew back to Venezuela where the pilot and co-pilot were arrested, according to the federal court. In October 2010, Urrego-Contreras was arrested at the American Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, according to the federal court. He agreed to speak to agents where he identified Ochoa-Vasco in several photographs and others involved in the smuggling conspiracy, according to the federal court. Urrego-Contreras told investigators that he was paid $50,000 to $100,000 for each cocaine load. He admitted to investigators that he was responsible for 1,000 kilograms of cocaine that was flown from Colombia to Mexico and later distributed in the United States by Ochoa-Vasco, according to the federal court.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Dream Warrior Recovery: Individual selfhood is expressed in the self's capacity for self-transcendence

Posted On 09:40 0 comments

Dream Warrior Recovery: Individual selfhood is expressed in the self's capacity for self-transcendence

Individual selfhood is expressed in the self's capacity for self-transcendence and not in its rational capacity for conceptual and analytic procedures." Reinhold Neibuhr - Theologian/Author of the "Serenity Prayer"


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Tramps bikie club loses appeal to get back its guns because of link to Hells Angels Motorcycle Club

Posted On 16:14 0 comments

MEMBERS of a small-town motorcycle club linked to the Hells Angels have failed in their appeal to retrieve their confiscated guns. A decision was handed down today by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal upholding a decision to cancel four Tramps bikies’ gun licences because of their membership and social associations with other gangs. The verdict comes almost a year after nine current and former members of the Tramps MC fronted the Firearms Appeal Committee, one of which is a mobile butcher, arguing that Victoria Police had no right cancel their licences. Club head Ronald Harding, who took leave to withdraw, butcher Michael Oxenham, Malcolm Dinsdale and David Windsor are now considering appealing the decision to the appeal court of the Victorian Supreme Court. In August 2012, Chief Commissioner Ken Lay made a controversial decision to seize more than 100 registered guns from members of “outlaw’’ bikie gangs across the state. The VCAT appeal, taken on by four Tramps members, was seen as a test case for other “outlaw’ bikie members who also had their gun licences cancelled. The guns were seized under the test to whether the licence holder was a “fit and proper’’ person.


Sunday, 20 July 2014

Spanish police have arrested a Colombian drug boss dubbed ‘The Mouse’, the alleged leader of a major cocaine smuggling gang accused of 400 killings

Posted On 20:31 0 comments

Spanish police have arrested a Colombian drug boss dubbed ‘The Mouse’, the alleged leader of a major cocaine smuggling gang accused of 400 killings, officials said on Saturday. Officers arrested the 40-year-old, whose real name is reportedly Hernan Alonso Villa, in the eastern seaside city of Alicante on Friday, according to a police statement. He is considered ‘the top leader of the military wing of the Oficina de Envigado, a Colombian criminal organisation accused of 400 killings as well as drug-trafficking, extorsion and forced displacements of Colombian citizens’, it said. ‘He is one of the criminals most wanted by the Colombian authorities. He had more than 200 people under his command and was responsible for exporting cocaine to Spain, the United States and Holland,’ the statement said. Spanish officers arrested him under a Colombian extradition warrant for charges including alleged homicide and arms offences. He was carrying 40,000 euros ($54,000) in cash when he was caught, the statement said. Authorities say the ‘Oficina’ gang dates back to the 1980s when it carried out killings for the now-dismantled Medellin Cartel. Spain is one of the main entry points for illegal narcotics into Europe and Colombia is one of the world’s biggest sources of cocaine. Colombia produced 290 tonnes of cocaine in 2013, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.


Saturday, 12 July 2014

Underworld gang boss has £20,000 bounty for prisoner who attacks Dale Cregan's good eye in jail

Posted On 22:56 0 comments

Underworld gang boss has £20,000 bounty for prisoner who attacks Dale Cregan's good eye in jail London crime boss said to have offered reward to attack Cregan in jail Came as grave of victims Mark and David Short was attacked during trial Marble headstone was attacked with hammer and photos scattered Head of a criminal family offers reward for what he considers retribution Police theory is that Cregan's left eye was 'plucked out' with a knife He had claimed it was crushed in a Thai street fight with a knuckle-duster


Thursday, 26 June 2014

A herd of hippopotamuses once owned by the late Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar has been taking over the countryside near his former ranch

Posted On 04:32 0 comments

A herd of hippopotamuses once owned by the late Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar has been taking over the countryside near his former ranch - and no-one quite knows what to do with them. It was in 2005, 12 years after Escobar's death, that people in rural Antioquia, 200 miles north-west of Bogota, began phoning the Ministry of Environment to report sightings of a peculiar animal. "They found a creature in a river that they had never seen before, with small ears and a really big mouth," recalls Carlos Valderrama, from the charity Webconserva. He went to look, and found himself faced with the task of explaining to startled villagers that this was an animal from Africa. A hippopotamus. "The fishermen, they were all saying, 'How come there's a hippo here?'" he recalls. "We started asking around and of course they were all coming from Hacienda Napoles. Everything happened because of the whim of a villain." Continue reading the main story “ Start Quote It's just like this crazy wildlife experiment that we're left with” Rebecca Lewison San Diego University Situated halfway between the city of Medellin and Bogota, the Colombian capital, Hacienda Napoles was the vast ranch owned by the drugs baron Pablo Escobar. In the early 1980s, after Escobar had become rich but before he had started the campaign of assassinations and bombings that was to almost tear Colombia apart, he built himself a zoo. He smuggled in elephants, giraffes and other exotic animals, among them four hippos - three females and one male. And with a typically grand gesture, he allowed the public to wander freely around the zoo. Buses filled with schoolchildren passed under a replica of the propeller plane that carried Escobar's first US-bound shipments of cocaine. While Don Pablo masterminded the operations of the Medellin Cartel from his villa on the hill, the locals gazed at the strange animals and even stranger concrete dinosaurs that Escobar built for his son.


Friday, 1 March 2013

Twenty-five-year old Jujhar Singh Khun-Khun of Surrey has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Posted On 22:58 0 comments

one of three gangsters charged with the 2011 murder of Red Scorpion Jonathan Bacon in Kelowna.

Twenty-five-year old Jujhar Singh Khun-Khun of Surrey has been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder. Jason Thomas McBride, 37, and Michael Jones are also charged. All three are reported to have connections with the late Sukh Dhak, who had been killed in a gang shooting in Vancouver this past fall.

Bacon and several associates were shot at during a busy day in Kelowna's downtown area in August 2011.

The 2011 shooting killed Bacon and injured those he was with. No passersby were injured, but the boldness of the hit reverberated throughout the province.

"This violent incident rocked the city of Kelowna in an act so brazen it might have been mistaken for an action movie," said Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit Chief Supt. Dan Malo during a news conference to announce the arrests. "We were all appalled by the public nature of this reckless act."

According to Malo, since Bacon's death, investigators had been working around the clock to tie people to the case, culminating in Monday's announcement.

"We've had over 50 investigators on this case (at any given time)," said Malo.

All three suspects are known to police and have ties to various criminal organizations throughout the province.

"All three individuals charged have in the past been associate to several different groups," said Malo, noting that it would be difficult to describe any of them as belonging to just one group.

Khun-Khun has been shot at twice in the past, once in September 2011 and again last month while out with other gang associates.

He also has a number of incidents on his record, including having been arrested in Abbotsford in relation to a shooting and having been pulled over in August 2011 with a cache of drugs and $1,700. In 2007 Khun-Khun was also convicted of kidnapping following an incident that involved him holding a person hostage at gunpoint for several hours.

"In my many years investigating gangs and criminal cases, the one thing that always stands out is that organized crime groups do attract broken people," said Malo. "They're looking for connections, love and acceptance. They demand loyalty and give little in return."





Gilbert Spiller self-admitted "general" in the Black P Stone Nation

Posted On 22:44 0 comments

A high-ranking gang member previously convicted for his role in a fatal drive-by shooting was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday for dealing drugs and guns in the South Shore neighborhood.

U.S. District Judge Charles Kocoras sentenced Gilbert Spiller to 20 years in federal prison Wednesday, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.

Spiller, 37, a self-admitted "general" in the Black P Stone Nation, pleaded guilty in September 2012 to two counts of selling crack cocaine and one count of illegally selling a firearm, according to a statement from federal prosecutors.

He admitted selling 62.2 grams of crack cocaine on July 13, 2011, and 59.2 grams of crack on July 21, 2011, to an informant in the 7800 block of South Kingston — an area he and his associates called "Terror Town," the U.S. Attorney's office said.

Spiller also sold the same informant a .40 caliber handgun on Oct. 18, 2011, according to the U.S. Attorney's office, which said Spiller knew he was selling the gun to a felon on parole. But he sold the gun because he believed it would be used to settle a score with rival gang members.

Authorities said Spiller joined the Black P Stone Nation when he was in grade school and has been convicted of aggravated battery with a firearm, aggravated discharge of a firearm and aggravated battery of a Chicago Police officer.

He has admitted to shooting at people 5-10 times, and one of his convictions was from a drive-by shooting that left one person dead and four others injured.





Friday, 21 September 2012

1960s London Gangster Dies

Posted On 10:45 0 comments

London gang leader Charlie Richardson, who was a rival to the Kray twins, has died, according to Sky sources. Richardson, aged 78, fronted the notorious Richardson Gang, a group of criminals based in the south east of the city. His life story was made into a drama in 2004 starring actor Luke Goss. Richardson had been trying for years to clear his name after he was jailed for 25 years in 1967 when the Old Bailey heard lurid evidence from men who fell out with him and his brother Eddie and were summoned to their scrap metal yard. A key prosecution witness was travel agent Lucian Harris, who said he was tortured for information after his partner disappeared owing the Richardsons money. Richardson said a key witness lied and the judge was biased because he knew one of his fellow defendants and the jury foreman.


A reputed Albanian gangster who likes to show off his bling on Twitter was named yesterday

Posted On 10:42 0 comments

A reputed Albanian gangster who likes to show off his bling on Twitter was named yesterday in a federal indictment along with a dozen cohorts. Christopher Nrecaj, 29, posted photos of the jewelry and designer duds he amassed while allegedly leading a Bronx-based crew of drug dealers known as the “Wolfpack.” Nrecaj — whose Twitter avatar shows him with a snarling wolf’s head and the word “loyalty” tattooed on his chest — tweeted more than 500 times before getting busted last month.


Gang Member Arrested in Connection with Shooting

Posted On 10:16 0 comments

An arrest warrant was issued in August for Franky Hernandez for a crime that occurred in November 2010. Sgt. Dan Cohen said Hernandez is suspected of supplying a firearm to a fellow gang member who then used that same firearm in a shooting. New evidence recently surfaced that gave detectives probable cause to seek the arrest warrant, according to Cohen. Hernandez was booked into the Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, providing that firearm to a convicted felon, and being an active participant in a criminal street gang. He is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail.


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Griselda Blanco, gunned down in Medellin, Colombia Two armed riders pulled up to Blanco as she was leaving a butcher shop in her hometown

Posted On 16:34 0 comments

Florida Department of Corrections

Griselda Blanco in 2004.

The convicted Colombian drug smuggler known as the “Godmother of Cocaine,” Griselda Blanco, 69, was gunned down by a motorcycle-riding assassin in Medellin, Colombian national police confirmed late Monday, according to the Miami Herald.

Blanco spent nearly 20 years in prison in the United States for drug trafficking and three murders before being deported to Colombia in 2004, the Herald reported.

Two armed riders pulled up to Blanco as she was leaving a butcher shop in her hometown, and one shot her twice in the head, the Herald reported, citing a report in El Colombiano newspaper.

Family members said Blanco had cut her ties to organized crime after returning to her country, the BBC reported. Police said they were investigating the motive.

Blanco was one of the first to engage in large-scale smuggling of cocaine into the United States from Colombia and set up many of the routes used by the Medellin cartel after she was sentenced in the United States in 1985, the BBC reported.

Investigators told the Herald that they estimate conservatively that Blanco was behind about 40 slayings. She was convicted in connection with three murders: Arranging the killing of two South Miami drug dealers who had not paid for a delivery, and ordering the assassination of a former enforcer for her organization, an operation that resulted in the death of the target’s 2-year-old son, the Herald reported.

Three of Blanco’s husbands were killed in violence related to drugs, the Herald reported, and one of her sons was named Michael Corleone, a reference to “The Godfather” movies.

Blanco is credited with originating motorcycle assassinations, the Herald reported.

“This is classic live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword,” filmmaker Billy Corben, who with Alfred Spellman made two “Cocaine Cowboys” documentaries, told the Herald. “Or in this case, live-by-the-motorcycle-assassin, die-by-the-motorcycle assassin.”


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Amber Gold affair is one of the biggest financial scandals to hit Poland since the fall of communism in 1989.

Posted On 12:44 0 comments

It was pretty much all the money Bozena Oracz had after a working life as an accountant: the equivalent of $15,000. She placed it in a fund investing in gold, with the hope of paying for her daughter's studies and getting treatment for a bad knee.

Those dreams were dashed when she discovered she had fallen victim to an elaborate fraud scheme that has left thousands of Poles, many of them elderly, facing financial ruin.

The so-called Amber Gold affair is one of the biggest financial scandals to hit Poland since the fall of communism in 1989. The extent of wrongdoing is still murky, but it seems to have some elements of a pyramid scheme, meaning the financial institutionused funds from new clients to pay off older clients rather than investing them.

Consumed with anger and desperation, 58-year-old Oracz traveled last week from a small town near Warsaw to a law firm in the capital to consider whether, after losing 50,000 zlotys, she should risk another 3,000 zlotys ($920; €730) on the fee to join a class-action lawsuit seeking to recover some of the losses.

"This was a lot of money to me — it was my savings," Oracz said, fighting back tears. Now retired and living on a small pension, she sees no way of building another nest egg. "My pension barely covers my needs," she said.

The affair has raised questions about the effectiveness of Poland's justice system and government because authorities failed to act against the scheme despite red flags from regulators and the criminal record of its young owner. Scrutiny has also focused on the prime minister due to business dealings his son had with those running the scheme. The scandal has even touched democracy icon Lech Walesa, who fears it could tarnish his good name.

Prosecutors say investors lost about 163 million zlotys ($50 million; €40 million), a number that has been mounting as more and more victims come forward. Any law suits could take care years to go through the courts, with no guarantee of their outcome.

"People are desperate," said Pawel Borowski, a lawyer preparing the class-action suit that Oracz is considering joining. "In most cases the clients lost life savings or sold family properties to make investments."

The financial institution, Amber Gold, promised guaranteed returns of 10 to 14 percent a year for what it claimed were investments in gold. Many of its clients were older Poles who grew up under communism and lacked the savvy to question how a financial firm could guarantee such a high return on a commodity whose value fluctuates on the international market. The promised returns compared well to the 3 to 5 percent interest offered by banks on savings accounts — earnings essentially wiped out by the country's 4 percent inflation rate.

"These were people with a low level of financial education," said Piotr Bujak, the chief economist for Poland at Nordea Markets. "They think it's still like in the old times, where everything was guaranteed by the state. They underestimated the risk."

Amber Gold launched in 2009, opening branches in city centers alongside respected banks, with white leather sofas and other sleek touches that conveyed sophistication and respectability. It bombarded Poles with convincing advertisements. Some early investors got out with their expected gains, adding to the fund's credibility.

The company, based in Gdansk, capitalized on gold's allure while playing on people's anxieties in unpredictable financial times. "We are dealing with a loss of confidence in the entire financial system and an urgent need for safe investments," one ad said. "The environment for gold is perfect."

Amber Gold drew in 50,000 investors over its three years of operation, though the company's founder, Marcin Plichta, said there were only about 7,000 at the time of liquidation.

Soon after Amber Gold began operations, the Polish Financial Supervision Authority put it on a "black list" of institutions that operate like banks without authorization. There are 17 other such black-listed institutions in operation, but the regulators lack the authority to shut them down. This has sparked a debate in the government and news media about whether courts should be more aggressive in intervening.

According to prosecutors, the company did use some of its money to invest in at least one legitimate business: It was the main investor in budget airline OLT Express. It was this investment that brought Amber Gold down — when the airline filed for bankruptcy, Amber Gold entered liquidation and its scheme of investments unraveled. Its bank accounts were blocked and it was unable to return the money of thousands of its customers.

Plichta was charged this month with six counts of criminal misconduct.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk's center-right government went into damage-control mode when it emerged that the leader's son, Michal Tusk, had done PR work for the airline. Tusk said he had warned his son against doing business with Plichta but that ultimately he son makes his own decisions.

Leszek Miller, the head of the opposition Democratic Left Alliance, asked how Tusk could warn his son against involvement in the airline but not warn the thousands of Poles who invested in the fund. Miller has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the scandal.

Public discontent is also centering on the justice system because Plichta, 28, has past convictions for fraud, and many Poles are asking why authorities — aware of his criminal record — didn't stop him sooner. Born Marcin Stefanski, he took his wife's last name to distance himself from his past crimes.

The country's top prosecutor, Andrzej Seremet, admitted Monday that prosecutors were negligent in failing to heed multiple warnings since 2009 about Amber Gold from the financial supervisory body. He announced personnel changes in the office he blamed for mistakes.

The affair also has an unlikely connection to the Solidarity leader and former president, Lech Walesa, because an Oscar-winning director, Andrzej Wajda, was relying on money from Amber Gold to produce a film about Walesa's struggle in the 1980s.

Walesa came out publicly to make clear he is not involved in any way, saying he doesn't want his name "dirtied."

Many of the unlucky investors are not only furious but wracked by shame and guilt.

Engineer Andrzej Malinowski, 61, put three months of salary — 25,000 zlotys ($7,660; €6,100) — into Amber Gold. He made the investment without consulting with his wife, sensing that there was some risk and that she would not have agreed.

Now he is so shaken and embarrassed that he doesn't want to talk about it, leaving his wife, Danuta Malinowska, to help unravel the mess.

"He saw that gold was going higher and higher so he believed that maybe it would be a good deal," Malinowska said. "Now he has so much guilt that I am trying to help — contacting the lawyer, filling in the forms, writing to the prosecutors. But the justice system is very ineffective. I don't believe we will be getting any of this money back."


Monday, 27 August 2012

Miguel Angel Trevino Morales new leader is emerging at the head of one of Mexico's most feared drug cartels.

Posted On 14:27 0 comments

  • Mexico Drug War Zetas_Plan.jpg

    This undated image taken from the Mexican Attorney General's Office rewards program website on Aug. 23, 2012, shows the alleged leader of Zetas drug cartel, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, alias âZ-40.â (AP Photo/Mexican Attorney General's Office website)

Mexico's Violent Zetas Cartel Sees New Leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales A split in the leadership of Mexico's violent Zetas cartel has led to the rise of Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, a man so feared that one rival has called for a grand alliance to confront a gang chief blamed for a new round of bloodshed in the country's once relatively tranquil central states.

Trevino, a former cartel enforcer who apparently has seized leadership of the gang from Zetas founder Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, is described by lawmen and competing drug capos as a brutal assassin who favors getting rid of foes by stuffing them into oil drums, dousing them with gasoline and setting them on fire, a practice known as a "guiso," or "cook-out".

Law enforcement officials confirm that Trevino appears to have taken effective control of the Zetas, the hemisphere's most violent criminal organization, which has been blamed for a large share of the tens of thousands of deaths in Mexico's war on drugs, though other gangs too have repeatedly committed mass slayings.

"There was a lot of talk that he was pushing really hard on Lazcano Lazcano and was basically taking over the Zetas, because he had the personality, he was the guy who was out there basically fighting in the streets with the troops," said Jere Miles, a Zetas expert and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent who was posted in Mexico until last year.

"Lazcano Lazcano, at the beginning he was kind of happy just to sit back and let Trevino do this, but I don't think he understood how that works in the criminal underworld," Miles said. "When you allow someone to take that much power, and get out in front like that, pretty soon the people start paying loyalty to him and they quit paying to Lazcano."

The rise has so alarmed at least one gang chieftain that he has called for gangs, drug cartels, civic groups and even the government to form a united front to fight Trevino Morales, known as "Z-40," whom he blamed for most of Mexico's violence.

"Let's unite and form a common front against the Zetas, and particularly against Z-40, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, because this person with his unbridled ambition has caused so much terror and confusion in our country," said a man identified as Servando Gomez, leader of the Knights Templar cartel, in a viedo posted Tuesday on the internet.

A Mexican law enforcement official who wasn't authorized to speak on the record said the video appeared to be genuine,

"He is the main cause of everything that is happening in Mexico, the robberies, kidnappings, extortion," Gomez is heard saying on the tape. "We are inviting all the groups ... everyone to form a common front to attack Z-40 and put an end to him."

Trevino Morales has a fearsome reputation. "If you get called to a meeting with him, you're not going to come out of that meeting," said a U.S. law-enforcement official in Mexico City, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

In two years since Zetas split with their former allies in the Gulf cartel — a split in which Trevino reported played a central role — the gang has become one of Mexico's two main cartels, and is battling the rival Sinaloa cartel.

Now the Zetas' internal disputes have added to the violence of the conflict between gangs. Internal feuds spilled out into pitched battles in the normally quiet north-central state of San Luis Potosi in mid-August, when police found a van stuffed with 14 executed bodies.

San Luis Potosi state Attorney General Miguel Angel Garcia Covarrubias told local media that a 15th man who apparently survived the massacre told investigators that both the killers and the victims were Zetas. "It was a rivalry with the same organized crime group," Garcia Covarrubias said.

The leadership dispute also may have opened the door to lesser regional figures in the Zetas gang to step forward and rebel, analysts and officials said.

Analysts say that a local Zetas leader in the neighboring state of Zacatecas, Ivan Velazquez Caballero, "The Taliban," was apparently trying to challenge Trevino Morales' leadership grab, and that the 14 bullet-ridden bodies left in the van were The Taliban's men, left there as a visible warning by Trevino Morales' underlings.

The Taliban's territory, Zacatecas, appears to have been a hot spot in Trevino's dispute with Lazcano. It was in Zacatecas that a professionally printed banner was hung in a city park, accusing Lazcano of betraying fellow Zetas and turning them in to the police.

Trevino began his career as a teenage gofer for the Los Tejas gang, which controlled most crime in his hometown of Nuevo Laredo, across the border from the city of Laredo, Texas, officials say.

Around 2005, Trevino Morales was promoted to boss of the Nuevo Laredo territory, or "plaza" and given responsibility for fighting off the Sinaloa cartel's attempt to seize control of its drug-smuggling routes. He orchestrated a series of killings on the U.S. side of the border, several by a group of young U.S. citizens who gunned down their victims on the streets of the American city. American officials believe the hit men also carried out an unknown number of killings on the Mexican side of the border, the U.S. official said.

Trevino Morales is on Mexico's most-wanted list, with a reward of 30 million pesos ($2.28 million) offered for information leading to his capture.

Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico's National Autonomous University, said that the Zetas are inherently an unstable cartel with an already huge capacity for violence, and the possibility of more if they begin fighting internal disputes. "I think the Zetas are having problems, and there is no central command," he said.

The Zetas have been steadily expanding their influence and reaching into Central America in recent years, constructing a route for trafficking drugs that offloads Colombian cocaine in Honduras, ships it overland along Mexico's Gulf Coast and runs into over the border through Trevino Morales' old stomping grounds.

Samuel Logan, managing director of the security analysis firm Southern Pulse, notes that "personality-wise they (Trevino Morales and Lazcano) couldn't be more different," and believes the two may want to take the cartel in different directions. The stakes in who wins the dispute could be large for Mexico; Lazcano is believed to be more steady, more of a survivor who might have an interest in preserving the cartel as a stable organization.

"Lazcano may be someone who would take the Zetas in a direction where they'd become less of a thorn in the side for the new political administration," Logan said in reference to Enrique Pena Nieto, who is expected to take office as president on Dec. 1. "In contrast, Trevino is someone who wants to fight the fight."

Referring to Ignacio "Nacho" Coronel, a member of the rival Sinaloa Cartel who died in a shootout with soldiers in July 2010, Logan noted, "Trevino is someone who is going to want to go out, like Nacho Coronel went out, with his guns blazing."





Laurence Kilby, 40, of Cheltenham, who built and raced cars, was arrested after police seized cocaine with a street value of £1m.

Posted On 14:19 0 comments

 

Laurence Kilby, 40, of Cheltenham, who built and raced cars, was arrested after police seized cocaine with a street value of £1m.

A "privileged" racing driver has been jailed with 11 other drug smugglers. Crown Court heard he was head of a gang moving drugs from Eastern Europe along the M4 corridor to London, western England and south Wales.

Kilby was heavily in debt and turned to crime to maintain his lifestyle of fast cars and high living.

Raids on properties

Kilby was jailed in June but his conviction, and those of the rest of the gang, can now be reported following the conclusion of another trial.

In an undercover operation between Gloucestershire and Avon and Somerset Police, officers seized 3kg of cocaine as it was being ferried between London and Cheltenham in October 2010.

Another 1kg of the drug was intercepted in Cheltenham in February 2011 and 2.5kg was discovered in raids on properties in Cheltenham, Staverton, Bristol and London in July 2011.

The gang of 12 drug dealers from Gloucestershire, Bristol and London received sentences of between 18 years and four years seven months.

It can now be reported Kilby, who was jailed in June, and Vladan Vujovic, 43, of Grange Road, London were found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs. Both were jailed for 18 years.

Laurence Kilby racing in the 2009 Castle Combe Saloon Car ChampionshipKilby built and raced cars with the company he owned, Ajec Racing

Richard Jones, 42, of Bradley Stoke, Bristol, was sentenced to 15 years for the same offence, and Mark Poole, 47, from Portishead, was sentenced to nine years seven months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Police said Kilby sourced the drug in London from an East European criminal gang, which included Vujovic.

Vujovic ran a baggage handling company at Heathrow Airport and was said to receive the cocaine before it was distributed around the South West and Wales.

Kilby is the former husband of Flora Vestey, daughter of Lord Vestey, and was owner of motor racing firm Ajec Racing which was based in Staverton.

He was heavily in debt and turned to crime to maintain his lifestyle of fast cars and high living.

'Well-connected socialite'

In a separate charge, Kilby also pleaded guilty to stealing money from the charity Help for Heroes and was sentenced to 10 months, to run concurrently with his 18-year sentence.

He organised a charity race day at Gloucestershire Airport in July 2010, but failed to pass on between £3,500 and £4,000 in proceeds to the charity Help for Heroes.

Det Insp Steve Bean, from Gloucestershire Police, said Kilby was the main man.

"He portrayed himself as a well-connected socialite and businessman, whilst indulging his ambition as a minor league racing driver.

Drugs wrapped in plastic packagesPolice seized 6.5kg of drugs during the operation

"Despite a privileged background, the reality was that his lifestyle was funded by the ill-gotten gains of drug dealing.

"He continually lied and blamed others in an attempt to distance himself from the conspiracy.

"He displayed an air of arrogance and thought he could get away with it because he didn't get his hands dirty."

The majority of the gang were jailed in June, but reporting restrictions meant it could not be reported until now, after the sentencing of the remaining gang members.

Others members of the gang to be sentenced were:

  • David Chapman, 29, from Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply and was sentenced to nine years.
  • William Garnier, 31, from Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to supplying Class A drugs and was sentenced six years and eight months.
  • Garry Burrell, 46, from Easton, Bristol, and John Tomlin, 28, from Newtown, Gloucestershire both pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and were sentenced to six years and six months and four years and six months respectively.
  • Timothy Taylor, 40, from Bristol was found guilty of supplying Class A drugs and was sentenced to four years and seven months.
  • Brian Barrett, 48, from Keynsham was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was sentenced to 10 years.
  • Scott Everest, 39, from Clevedon was found guilty of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs and was jailed for seven years.

Jonathan Tanner, 45, from Warminster was sentenced to 18 months for possession with intent to supply of cannabis, but was cleared of conspiracy to supply Class A drugs.

Darren Weetch, 38, from Bristol, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply. He was sentenced to 16 months.

Officers also worked with Thames Valley Police and the Metropolitan Police during the operation.


Bikie gang suspects in brawl arrests at Penrith shopping centre

Posted On 14:05 0 comments

FOUR men with alleged links to outlaw motorcycle gangs were arrested last week after a brawl at a Penrith shopping centre. Police officers from the gangs squad and Penrith local area command had been investigating the brawl, which forced shoppers to flee for their safety about 2.45pm last Monday. Police will allege a man was leaving the shopping centre when he was confronted by a group of nine men and fighting began. A number of people tried to intervene, including an unknown male who was assaulted. All involved in the brawl then left the scene. At 7am last Thursday, police simultaneously raided four homes at St Marys, Emu Plains, South Windsor and Freemans Reach. Three men with alleged links to the Rebels were arrested at St Marys and Emu Plains, while an alleged senior Nomads member was arrested at Freemans Reach. During the search warrants, police seized distinctive gang clothing, quantities of anabolic steroids and prescription drugs and a set of knuckledusters. A man, 29, of Emu Plains, was charged with affray, participate in a criminal group and two counts of possess prescribed restricted substance. A man, 44, of Freemans Reach, was charged with affray, possess prohibited weapon, and two counts of possess prescribed restricted substance. A man, 25, of St Marys, and a 23-year-old New Zealand man were each charged with affray and participate in a criminal group. Penrith crime manager Detective Inspector Grant Healey said further arrests were anticipated.


Al Capone’s signature to star in gangster auction

Posted On 12:10 0 comments

If he was known by his full name, he might not have been so universally feared.   But that’s the way the notorious king of Chicago’s Prohibition-era underworld signed it — “Alphonse Capone.” And that flowing signature, which Capone inked four times on a transcript of his January 24, 1925, interrogation by Chicago Police, could fetch $100,000 next month when it will be the star lot in an auction of gangster memorabilia. The four-page, typed deposition details a mostly nonresponsive interview Capone gave detectives investigating the attempted murder of his former mentor and associate, John Torrio. Though Capone almost certainly knew that members of the rival O’Bannion gang were responsible for Torrio’s shooting, he stonewalled the cops with deadpan humor, the transcript shows. Asked what he did for a living, Capone told the officers he had an antique furniture business at 2224 S. Wabash. Asked the name of the store he said it had “no name.” Later asked how many times he’d been arrested in Chicago, Capone told the officers, “Every time something happens, I get arrested.”


The lakefront Florida retreat where FBI agents gunned down gangland legend Ma Barker in 1935 is up for sale - bullet holes and all.

Posted On 12:07 0 comments

The two-story wood frame house in rural Ocklawaha, 62 miles northwest of Orlando, is the site of one of the most celebrated raids in FBI history and the water-side home is expected to fetch up to $1 million.

 

Kept in the family since the famous gangland boss' final stand, the home is still riddled with the bullet holes from the gun-fight in which the FBI reportedly fired 2,000 shots during a four-hour stand-off.

Located on Lake Weir, the home where Kate 'Ma' Barker was shot dead by the FBI in 1935 is up for sale - bullet holes and all

Located on Lake Weir, the home where Kate 'Ma' Barker was shot dead by the FBI in 1935 is up for sale - bullet holes and all

 

'It's like walking into a time capsule in 1935. The fact that it has this extra history is a really interesting cachet,'  said  Mark Arnold, an agent with Stirling Sotheby's International Realty, who are handling the sale.

 

He was referring to how Kate 'Ma' Barker, who was branded Public Enemy No. 1 by the federal government for a rash of murders, kidnapping and robberies committed in the early 1930s, was killed in the house along with one of her sons in a barrage of bullets from federal agents.

 

 

Photos released at the time, believed by some to have been staged, show Barker lying dead in a second-floor bedroom clutching a machine gun.

 

But the Barker story is the stuff of gangster legend and crime buffs may put a premium on a prime piece of criminal memorabilia.

The bedroom where Kate 'Ma' Barker was shot dead by the FBI in 1935

The bedroom where Kate 'Ma' Barker was shot dead by the FBI in 1935

Stirling Sotherby's real estate advisor Mark Arnold stands in the second floor of the home that Kate 'Ma' Barker was shot dead by the FBI in 1935

Stirling Sotherby's real estate advisor Mark Arnold stands in the second floor of the home that Kate 'Ma' Barker was shot dead by the FBI in 1935

 

A bullet hole remains on the wall that Kate 'Ma' Barker was shot dead by the FBI in 1935. The two-story frame house in rural Ocklawaha, is the site of one of the most celebrated raids in FBI history

A bullet hole remains on the wall that Kate 'Ma' Barker was shot dead by the FBI in 1935. The two-story frame house in rural Ocklawaha, is the site of one of the most celebrated raids in FBI history

 

The house is 2,016 square feet (187 sq meters) with four bedrooms and 1 1/2 bathrooms. The sale includes 9.5 acres shaded by stands of old oak trees and 1.5 acres of sandy beach on Lake Weir.

 

Books and movies including the 1970 film "Bloody Mama" starring Shelly Winters focus on what some see as the mythical Ma Barker. But the real Barker may have had little to do with Hollywood images and the criminal exploits of her four sons.

 

The four men were members of the ruthless Barker-Karpis gang that rampaged across the South and Midwest in the 1920s and early 1930s. But there has been little evidence to support claims that Barker herself was some sort of stone-cold criminal mastermind.

 

Taken directly after the raid this picture shows the house where Fred and Ma Barker were both were slain after a four hour gun battle with the F.B.I.

Taken directly after the raid this picture shows the house where Fred and Ma Barker were both were slain after a four hour gun battle with the F.B.I.

 

Ma Barker and her Thompson gun in an undated picture of the legendary matriarch

Ma Barker and her Thompson gun in an undated picture of the legendary matriarch

 

A realtor working for Bradford rented the home to a woman flashing a lot of cash who introduced herself as Kate Blackburn and her husband. The renters turned out to be Ma Barker and her fugitive son Fred.

Agents surrounded the two-story, wooden-framed home and fired more than 2,000 rounds during the course of the ensuing firefight.

The home, built in 1930 by Miami entrepreneur Carson Bradford, was described as the 'scene of the battle' by then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.

Put up for sale by Orlando resident and family member Carson Good, the 10-acre property in southeast Marion County is being sold through Stirling Sotheby's International Realty.

'There's unbelievable interest around the world in crime memorabilia,' said Roger Soderstrom, the broker who is conducting the sale to the Orlando Sentinel.

Fred Barker, and his mother, Kate Barker, are pictured in the morgue at Ocala, Florida, shortly following their gun battle with Federal agents at their hideaway at Oklawaha, Florida

Fred Barker, and his mother, Kate Barker, are pictured in the morgue at Ocala, Florida, shortly following their gun battle with Federal agents at their hideaway at Oklawaha, Florida

'People have never seen a property where everything is intact from the time of the event.

'We think the buyer could be someone who has a passion for crime memorabilia and who wants to build their own house [on the property] and keep this as a collector's house. 

'It could be a bed-and-breakfast. You could have weddings there.'

Official FBI reports from 1935 say that agents began the shoot-out at the Barker household by throwing three canisters of tear gas inside the house at 7.15 a.m.

Shooting began soon afterwards and the Barkers were reported to have used Thompson machine guns to attempt to repel the federal agents.

A bullet hole remains on the wall that Kate 'Ma' Barker was shot dead by the FBI

A bullet hole remains on the wall that Kate 'Ma' Barker was shot dead by the FBI

 

Stirling Sotherby's real estate advisor Mark Arnold holds a crime scene photo at the second floor of the home in Ocklawaha

Stirling Sotherby's real estate advisor Mark Arnold holds a crime scene photo at the second floor of the home in Ocklawaha

Three hours later, the agents reportedly had almost run out of ammunition and asked Willie Woodbury, a handyman on the estate to check that Barker and her son were indeed dead.

Finding that they were, agents detailed the scene and noted that Barker had died in a curled-up position, her slippers on the floor nearby, beneath the bedroom window.

 

The report filed said that Fred Barker died with 10 bullet holes in his left shoulder and chest, three bullets in his head, a steel Colt pistol underneath his body and four $1,000 bills folded in his pocket.

Upstairs and downstairs walls are pockmarked with indentations and raised plaster patches where bullets hit, and at least one through-and-through bullet hole remains un-repaired on the staircase. 

A still-serviceable wooden bedroom chair shows gouges from flying bullets.

Located on Lake Weir, the home where Kate 'Ma' Barker was shot dead by the FBI in 1935 is up for sale and could fetch up to $1 million

Located on Lake Weir, the home where Kate 'Ma' Barker was shot dead by the FBI in 1935 is up for sale and could fetch up to $1 million

 

In the ensuing years, four generations of Bradfords continued to use the house as a summer getaway, Arnold said. 

The only updates made to the house were in the kitchen. 

Generations of Bradford children idled away summers at the Ocklawaha house digging around the property in an unsuccessful hunt for the gang's stash of stolen money, Arnold said.

 

'What is remarkable is this family has preserved all of this through four generations and it's still there and it's in good shape,' said Arnold said. 

'It just has a few bullet holes.'

 

He said potential buyers have expressed interest in a variety of uses for the property including a bed-and-breakfast resort. Offers will be accepted through October 5.





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