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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

D.C. police make arrest in shooting near festival

Posted On 19:21 0 comments

A man charged in a weekend shooting near a Caribbean Festival in Northwest was trailing members of a rival gang when he opened fire on them and instead killed an innocent bystander, according to police charging documents.

Terry Jiminez, 19, is charged with second-degree murder in the slaying of Robert Foster Jr., 43, who was caught in the crossfire of two rival gangs Saturday afternoon. Two other innocent bystanders and Mr. Jiminez were also injured in the shooting.

“This was a rival gang that came across another rival gang and decided to open fire,” said Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier at a morning news conference at police headquarters on Monday.

Mr. Jiminez, who was arraigned Monday, will be held in jail pending a hearing July 18, said William Miller, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney for the District Ronald C. Machen.

The spray of gunfire Saturday in the 700 block of Gresham Place erupted after Mr. Jiminez and two companions followed three men from Georgia Avenue, where the Caribbean Festival parade had ended, onto the residential street, police charging documents state. After following the men about halfway up the block, Mr. Jiminez took cover behind a parked car and began firing at the men he had pursued. Two of the men fired back, trapping numerous people in the crossfire between the two groups.

“Somebody like this is a magnet for violence,” said D.C. Council member Jim Graham, of Mr. Jiminez, who was shot in the arm.

Mr. Jiminez was a member of a neighborhood gang who had left the D.C. area for Buffalo, N.Y., after witnessing the slaying of a close friend in February, said Mr. Graham, Ward 1 Democrat. He reappeared in the neighborhood over the weekend.

The charging documents say that Mr. Jiminez was the intended target of a Feb. 19 shooting. Mr. Graham confirmed that the incident was the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Cardozo High School student Lucki Nancy Pannell, who was fatally shot outside a house in the 3000 block of Sherman Avenue in Northwest where she lived.

Police said Mr. Jiminez initially indicated after Saturday’s shooting that he was the one targeted by his adversaries.

However surveillance video of the shootout indicates Mr. Jiminez was the aggressor, charging documents state.

The site of the shooting was near Howard University and the Caribbean Festival parade route but was “not connected” to the festivities, which have been peaceful for many years, Chief Lanier said.

A large scale brawl unrelated to the shooting also erupted near Howard University during the festival. An amateur video posted online shows dozens of people racing through the streets and pummeling each other with their fists and at one point even a chair.


INFAMOUS crime boss Arthur Thompson Snr was born in Glasgow's Springburn district in September 1931.

Posted On 19:14 0 comments

He rose to take charge of the city's underworld, which he ruled over for 30 years.

Thompson forged links with the Kray Twins from London's east end, as well as the capital's feared Richardson clan.

He had begun his criminal career as a money lender and safe blower and also ran a string of protection rackets.

He built a reputation as a ruthless mobster who tortured and executed his underworld enemies.

Thompson was a highly intelligent operator, who hid his criminal fortune behind a trail of seemingly legitimate businesses that included scrap-metal merchants, joinery firms, casinos, bookies, car salesrooms and even a timber yard.

It was rumoured he was trousering up to £100,000 a week in returns from his money lending ventures alone.

Thompson Snr died of a heart attack at his home, the Ponderosa, in 1993. He was 61.

Three arrested in Metairie kidnapping, beating and robbery

Posted On 17:49 0 comments

Three men purporting to be members of the Mexican drug gang Los Zetas were held under $250,000 bonds Monday on charges of kidnapping a man in Metairie, beating him with a shovel and stealing his wallet.

From left: Walter Farina, Jonathan Pavon, Heriberto Sanchez
Walter Farina, 46, and his son, Jonathan Pavon, 27, along with Heriberto Sanchez, 28, all of Metairie, were booked with armed robbery and simple kidnapping, Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office arrest reports said.
They are accused of accosting a 28-year-old man who was walking on Transcontinental Drive near Hearst Street on Friday around 11;45 p.m. The man told investigators they used a shovel and some sort of "lever" to beat him in the head, trunk and legs then forced him into a pick-up truck.
His attackers told the man that they were members of Los Zetas and threatened to kill him, the Sheriff's Office report said. One of them stole his wallet and phone while holding a knife to the back of his neck.
The man told investigators that the truck traveled down Clearview Parkway until he managed to escape near Veterans Memorial Boulevard and run to a nearby vehicle for help. The people in that vehicle drove him to East Jefferson General Hospital in Metairie, where he was treated for two-inch gash on his head and bruises across his back and thighs, the report said.
A few hours later, deputies stopped a truck matching the one described by the beating victim and arrested Sanchez and Farina, said Sgt. Larry Dyess, a Sheriff's Office spokesman. Pavon was arrested later Saturday when he arrived at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center to post bond for his father.
All three remained in jail Monday, however.
Los Zetas is a violent group of Mexican military deserters involved in drug trafficking, sometimes on its own and sometimes in association with the the Gulf Cartel, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration says.


Monday, 27 June 2011

Alleged Vancouver gangster named as fatal shooting victim

Posted On 20:47 0 comments

Mounties have named the man targeted and shot to death in North Surrey over the weekend as Christopher Jai Reddy.

Sgt. Peter Thiessen, an RCMP spokesman, said the Gang Task Force is assisting the Integrated Homicide Investigative Team on the case.

“We’re still actively trying to move forward,” said Thiessen.

“We’re not in a position to really comment directly on what we believe the motive may have been, other than it was clearly targeted and gang related,” he said.

Reddy, a 24-year-old from Vancouver, was well known to police in the Lower Mainland.

He was found guilty of carrying two loaded handguns, a Beretta .380 pistol in one pocket and a Colt .45 in the other, in a June 2005 incident. But that decision was overturned when the B.C. Court of Appeal found that police had violated his rights when they searched him after receiving reports that two suspicious men were sitting in a vehicle in the 2900-block Windsor Street in Vancouver and might be selling drugs.

Reddy was also charged in 2006 in connection with a home invasion in Chilliwack. The charges were forcible confinement, assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, wearing a disguise to commit a crime, robbery, break and enter, uttering threats and pointing a firearm.

He was also arrested in 2010 after the gang-related shooting of Gurmit Singh Dhak in a Metrotown parking lot. Reddy was one of six people rounded up by police as they tried to defuse gang tensions after Dhak’s slaying.

Because he was under a 10-year prohibition against possessing weapons, he was arrested Oct. 29, 2010 near Mill Ross Avenue when he was found in possession of a firearm.

The RCMP received a 911 call Friday at 3:40 p.m. about multiple shots in the 13100-block 111 Avenue in the northwest part of Whalley in Surrey. Officers responded in minutes and found Reddy lying on the roadside suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.

They began CPR immediately but Reddy was confirmed deceased when the B.C. Ambulance Service arrived.


Scotland's most notorious gangster Jamie "Iceman" Stevenson has been running a nationwide drug dealing ring from INSIDE his jail cell.

Posted On 00:31 0 comments

The thug's "drug mules" deliberately get sent to jail to act as his enforcers on the inside, while he uses mobile phones to co-ordinate his gang on the streets.
We revealed this week how he was moved from a cushy open prison back to Shotts in Lanarkshire as police bid to smash his massive drugs empire.
Despite his setback, underworld sources claim the 46-year-old kingpin is still very much the "chairman of the board", raking in millions from dealing coke, heroin and valium inside Scotland's jails.
Stevenson, of Burnside, Glasgow, used the lax regime at Noranside in Angus to organise a network of drug dealers to infiltrate Barlinnie, Shotts and Glenochil.
During his three-month stay in the cushy open set-up, he had access to four different mobile phones to conduct his business. He also met key lieutenants to co-ordinate his drugs operation while out on home leave.
Last night, a source said: "Stevenson is now the main man behind all the drugs getting into the country's biggest jails.
"It was a dream come true for him when he got sent to Noranside in April because it meant he could lay the groundwork for his massive behind-bars drugs operation and it's being run like clockwork.
"He's not happy being back in Shotts but he is still the 'chairman of the board' and the most feared crime boss in Scotland.
"He will have access to a mobile and continue to control his empire and make a fortune from his network of drug dealers who carry made-to-order drugs into jails."
Stevenson was jailed in 2007 for laundering s1million of drugs cash. A year later, the crook was ordered by the courts to hand over nearly s750,000 of his criminal profits.
He was snared along with his stepson Gerry Carbin, whose dad was late drug dealer Gerry "Cyclops" Carbin, in Operation Folklore, which seized more than 12 tons of drugs worth more than s61million.
Carbin, 31, was freed last year after serving less than three-and-a-half years of his five-and-a-half-year sentence.
Sources say that Carbin continues to work for his stepdad and is helping him mastermind the operation from the outside. An insider said: "Carbin is still in the thick of it but is keeping a very low profile as he knows the cops will be watching his every move.
"Stevenson has a network of drug dealers who are repeat offenders prepared to get jailed for breaches of the peace and shoplifting so they can infiltrate prisons and get orders.
"They get a list of those who want coke, heroin or valium and phone numbers for friends or relatives on the outside who are willing to pay for the drugs.
"Arrangements are made for a meeting and, after payment is made, the team of couriers who are due to be jailed for minor offences take in the drugs, hidden in their rear ends.
"Because these guys are not in for drugs offences, they won't be strip searched. When they get into jail, they look up their order book and deliver the drugs to the right cell., This process is called 'send-ons'."
Earlier this month, the Record told how elite cops from the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency had spent a year tracking Stevenson's gang in an operation codenamed Chilon.
The day after Stevenson returned to Noranside from his first home visit, they staged a series of raids aimed at his key lieutenants.
Nine men were detained in swoops on 11 homes in Glasgow and Lanarkshire, including trucking boss Charles McAughey who is linked to the biggest cocaine bust in French history.
Last night, the SCDEA said a report on the raids was being prepared for the procurator fiscal.
In 2009, our sister paper the Sunday Mail revealed that French police had found nearly three-quarters of a ton of cocaine in the back of a lorry owned by McAughey.
The vehicle was registered to the 51-year-old, who runs haulage company Kirimar Plant.
He employed the two Glaswegian men arrested in the bust in the Montpellier.
Stunned French cops found 684kilos of pure cocaine, worth s31million, hidden in the back of the truck. The lorry was scheduled to travel to London then Glasgow.
Police said they would be reported to the fiscal for "offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act and money-laundering".
Two other men, including Stevenson's top lieutenant, are still being hunted. The cops seized s40,000 in cash, 21 laptops, 60 mobile phones, jewellery, watches, shoes, paintings and paperwork on property and land assets.
Police believe that, out of 360 crime gangs in Scotland, Stevenson's group pose "the highest threat".
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Kerr, who led this month's raids, said the mob were the SCDEA's No1 target.
Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole, head of investigations at the SCDEA, said the raids were the "big wash-up" at the end of Operation Chilon.
The investigation led to the seizure of 15kilos of cocaine worth s5million.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Capture of Boston gangster could mean more scandal

Posted On 00:39 0 comments

After 16 long years, the arrest of notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger appeared to end a long, frustrating manhunt that had embarrassed the FBI and raised questions about its efforts to find one of its most wanted fugitives.

But Bulger's capture could be only the beginning of a new scandal for the Boston FBI and others.

If Bulger decides to cut a deal with prosecutors, he could implicate an untold number of local, state and federal law enforcement officials, according to investigators who built a racketeering indictment against Bulger before he fled in 1995.

"If he starts to talk, there will be some unwelcome accountability on the part of a lot of people inside law enforcement," said retired Massachusetts state police Maj. Tom Duffy. "Let me put it this way: I wouldn't want my pension contingent on what he will say at this point."

Bulger, the leader of the violent Winter Hill Gang, is charged in connection with 19 murders. He was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., Wednesday, where he had lived for 15 of the last 16 years, according to his landlord.

Bulger's flight in early 1995 allegedly came after a tip from former Boston FBI Agent John Connolly Jr., who was convicted of racketeering and obstruction of justice in 2002 for protecting Bulger and his cohort Stephen "The Rifleman" Flemmi from prosecution. Both Bulger and Flemmi were FBI informants who ratted out members of their main rivals, the New England Mob.

During Connolly's trial, Bulger's right-hand man, Kevin Weeks, testified that Bulger boasted that he had corrupted six FBI agents and more than 20 Boston police officers. At holiday time, Bulger stuffed envelopes with cash, Weeks testified.

"He used to say that Christmas was for cops and kids," Weeks said.

Edward J. MacKenzie Jr., a former drug dealer and enforcer for Bulger, predicted that Bulger will disclose new details about FBI corruption and how agents protected him for so long.

"Whitey was no fool. He knew he would get caught. I think he'll have more fun pulling all those skeletons out of the closet," MacKenzie said.

"I think he'll start talking and he'll start taking people down."

Bulger, now 81, appeared briefly in federal court in Los Angeles Thursday, agreeing to waive extradition. He is expected to be returned to Boston within the next week to face charges of murder, conspiracy, narcotics distribution, extortion and money laundering.

Neighbors were stunned to learn they had been living in the same building as the man who was the model for Jack Nicholson's ruthless crime boss in the 2006 Martin Scorsese movie, "The Departed."

Connolly, the retired FBI agent who was convicted of protecting Bulger, also was found guilty of murder in Miami for helping to set in motion a mob hit in 1982 against a business executive.

The Bulger arrest could have a huge impact on whether Connolly spends the rest of his life in a Florida prison. Connolly is set for release next Tuesday from a federal penitentiary after serving nearly 10 years for his Boston racketeering conviction.

But Connolly will be whisked to Florida right away to begin serving a 40-year sentence for his role in the slaying in Miami of gambling executive John Callahan. Connolly was convicted of murder in 2008 for tipping Bulger that Callahan was about implicate Bulger and Flemmi in the 1981 killing of Oklahoma businessman Roger Wheeler.

Connolly, who is appealing the conviction, insists he never fingered Callahan. Now, if Bulger backs up Connolly's story, it could change the outcome of the Florida case.

"If Bulger says that John (Connolly) had no involvement in the Callahan murder, then John will file a motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence and should prevail," said Connolly's attorney Manuel Alvarez. "If that happens, we might see Whitey testifying in a Miami courtroom."

Thursday, 23 June 2011

James “Whitey” Bulger, the accused Boston crime boss who has been on the run for 17 years, and his longtime girlfriend were finally caught in California by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday.

Posted On 08:59 0 comments

They were arrested without incident at a residence in Santa Monica, the FBI said, just days after the agency renewed its public campaign to capture Mr Bulger and Catherine Greig, his 60-year-old girlfriend.

The 81-year-old former fugitive has been wanted on 19 counts of murder committed in the 1970s and 1980s, drug dealing, extortion, money laundering and conspiracy. He is the older brother of William “Billy” Bulger, a former president of the Massachusetts state Senate.

“Recent publicity produced a tip which led agents to Santa Monica where they located both Bulger and Greig at a residence,” said Richard DesLauries, FBI Boston special agent in charge.

A $2m reward was offered for information leading to Mr Bulger’s arrest and $100,000 for details of Ms Greig’s whereabouts. He was placed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1999 and she was charged in 1997 with harbouring a fugitive.

The FBI late on Wednesday slapped “captured” tags on photos it had posted on its website of Mr Bulger and Ms Greig, including enhanced pictures of the fugitive to account for the time that had passed. Ms Greig had multiple plastic surgeries before fleeing.

Before their capture in California, the last credible sighting of the pair was in London in 2002. Mr Bulger is thought to have travelled extensively in the US, Europe, Canada and Latin America.

The FBI produced a 30-second public service announcement focused on finding Ms Greig and it began airing on Tuesday during daytime TV programs in 10 states. It was aimed at female viewers in her age group.

The agency had hoped that a hairstylist, manicurist, doctor or other acquaintance might recognise Ms Greig, a former dental hygienist.

The two are expected to make initial appearances in federal court in California, though it was not immediately clear when.

Mr Bulger, said to be an avid reader and history buff who likes to take long walks on beaches, has been featured on the TV show America’s Most Wanted more than a dozen times between 1995 and 2010.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

FRAIL, sick and lonely, gangland widow Judy Moran will find jail time hard going and may well die behind bars

Posted On 23:52 0 comments

FRAIL, sick and lonely, gangland widow Judy Moran will find jail time hard going and may well die behind bars, a court has been told.

Defence barrister Bill Stuart told Justice Lex Lasry that Moran was an ‘‘old’’ 66-year-old  whose vast medical issues, including a blood disorder and thyroid problem, would make prison more burdensome.

Moran, who uses an electric wheelchair, also needs hip and knee replacements but has failed  until now to get the required treatment, the Victorian Supreme Court pre-sentence hearing was told.
She was found guilty in March of orchestrating the execution of her brother-in-law Des ‘‘Tuppence’’ Moran, who was gunned down at an Ascot Vale cafe in 2009.

Mr Stuart asked Justice Lasry to jail Moran for less than the usual minimum term given her poor health and the expectation it would worsen behind bars.

‘‘She is a woman who at the age of 66 is, if I can put it bluntly, an old woman for the age of 66,’’ he said.

‘‘That is a significant matter in terms of how she will cope within the prison system.

‘‘There is every reason to expect as a high probability that ... she will die in custody.’’

Mr Stuart said Moran had a flamboyant persona that had masked her grief over losing two husbands and two sons in gangland murders.

This was compounded by the death of her parents within two days of each other, he said.

Since her arrest in  2009, Moran has had no contact with her four grandchildren.

‘‘My client is alone, save for one friend,’’ Mr Stuart said.

Moran had post traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, survivor’s guilt and depression, he added.

Her anxiety increased after she was moved from a mainstream unit at Dame Phyllis Frost centre to isolation following an incident.

Justice Lasry described the Tuppence killing as a carefully planned and ‘‘particularly bad murder’’.

Prosecutor Hayley Bate submitted Moran’s crime was motivated by greed and hatred. Her remorseless offending was aggravated by her recruitment of others in the execution, Ms Bate said.

She said  the crime occurred in  public  and Moran was directly involved, driving the getaway car then hiding and  disposing of weapons and a vehicle.

Justice Lasry  noted putting a prisoner into isolation for ‘‘calming purposes’’ had an ‘‘Orwellian tinge’’. Moran is to be sentenced at a later date.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Heriberto “El Lazca” Lazcano Lazcano, the leader of the Zetas, died Friday in Matamoros after a gruesome firefight with the Gulf Cartel, sources outside law enforcement confirmed.

Posted On 18:06 0 comments

But Mexico’s Defense Ministry issued a statement late Friday night disputing reports Lazcano was killed.

The slaying of the kingpin behind Mexico’s most brutal drug trafficking organization came after firefights with the Gulf Cartel broke out shortly after 5 a.m. Friday across Matamoros.

Neither Mexican nor U.S. authorities had confirmed Lazcano’s death late Friday evening.

However, three Mexican sources familiar with criminal activity in Matamoros said Lazcano arrived in that city amid a convoy of more than 130 SUVs loaded with his Zeta followers.

Lazcano attempted to flee gunfire along Avenida Lauro Villar, triggering widespread gunfire near Los Tomates International Bridge. Enforcers with the Gulf Cartel took Lazcano’s corpse after he was slain near the bridge, the sources said.

A Mexican army official said the regimiento motorizado — soldiers deployed in large trucks — had been stationed in downtown Matamoros and patrolled the area but did not participate in the gunfire.

But a U.S. federal law enforcement official not authorized to speak publicly confirmed a separate motorized army regiment based elsewhere backed up the Zetas.

Sources familiar with the criminal situation confirmed Friday morning the Gulf Cartel kidnapped 11 Zetas — six men and five women — following a shootout Thursday that left 13 people dead.

A U.S. federal law enforcement official not authorized to speak publicly confirmed the Mexican soldiers and Zeta enforcers were working together as they tried to free 11 male and female comrades kidnapped by the Gulf Cartel.

Briefed by agents in Matamoros, the U.S. official said four Gulf Cartel members were killed, but the condition of the kidnapped Zetas was unknown.

In a statement, Mexico’s Defense Ministry said military personnel found a body inside a vehicle after a shootout.

Defense officials said the corpse was not Lazcano's — contrary to foreign media reports.

Soldiers also found a building nearby occupied by 17 people — 13 men and four women who had apparently been kidnapped.

The gunfire ignited before dawn Friday and spread throughout the city, with grenade blasts reported as opposing sides clashed, eyewitnesses said.

Another U.S. federal law enforcement official not authorized to speak publicly said heavy firefighting took place close to Veterans International Bridge. The widespread gunfire had subsided Friday evening, witnesses said.

Rio Grande Valley law enforcement briefed by federal agencies said they were on alert to any gunmen or Mexican residents attempting to flee the gunfire in Matamoros after a street battle broke out Friday afternoon, about a mile south of the Rio Grande.

No photos or video of Lazcano’s corpse had surfaced as of The Monitor’s press deadline.

Alejandro Poire, spokesman for Mexico’s Public Safety Ministry, posted on Twitter that he could not confirm Lazcano’s death.

“With the information available at the moment, Heriberto Lazcano ‘El Lazca’ is not among those killed in Matamoros,” he wrote before the defense secretariat’s bulletin was issued.

The news quickly spread across Mexico, with national media outlets interpreted Poire’s post as an outright denial of Lazcano’s death.

Friday’s street battles came after widespread shootouts across Matamoros in recent days.

A bulletin posted by Stratfor, an Austin-based private intelligence firm, stated that a body believed to be Lazcano’s was being fingerprinted and forensically tested. The Stratfor bulletin expressed doubt Lazcano was killed.

Born on Christmas Day 1974, Lazcano was one of the founding members of the Zetas, founded by elite Mexican army soldiers who defected to side with the Gulf Cartel.

The Gulf Cartel employed the Zetas as their mercenary enforcement arm for years.

The latter group gradually gained power, and the friends turned foes in February 2010, when the alliance dissolved. The split sent much of Northeast Mexico into disarray as the two drug trafficking organizations struggled to control territory, including prized smuggling routes into South Texas.

U.S. prosecutors named Lazcano, also known as “El Verdugo,” Spanish for executioner, as one of several kingpins of the Zetas and Gulf Cartel in a June 2009 indictment filed in U.S. federal court in the District of Columbia. Beyond outlining the operation of the then allied force, known as “The Company,” prosecutors allege Lazcano took part in trafficking a 13-ton load of cocaine from Colombian suppliers into Mexico in 2007.

In addition to directing drug loads through Mexico into the U.S., the Zeta leader was involved in directing southbound bulk currency shipments, the indictment states.

And the Zetas have stepped up their violent tactics since the split from the Gulf Cartel, raising the former commandos’ profile through brutal beheadings and mutilation of victims who cross their paths. Mexican authorities have identified the cartel as responsible for mass graves unearthed near San Fernando, Tamps., about 80 miles south of Brownsvile that had 72 bodies in August 2010 and nearly 200 bodies at other graves found in March.

U.S. and Mexican authorities also have identified the Zetas as the responsible group behind an attack on Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jaime Zapata in San Luis Potosi state in February.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Lazcano’s arrest; Mexican authorities offered a $2 million reward.

Lazcano was named in a superseding indictment in June 2009 alongside other Mexican drug trafficking bosses, charged with conspiracy to import cocaine to the United States.

“El Brad Pitt,” or Marco Guzman, a leader in the La Linea drug cartel has been apprehended by Mexican federal police

Posted On 18:02 0 comments

Mexican Federal Police Mexican Dark T-Shirt by CafePress“El Brad Pitt,” or Marco Guzman, a leader in the La Linea drug cartel has been apprehended by Mexican federal police. Guzman’s capture is a coupe for officials in the on-going Mexican drug war. Where one does not know who to trust, the arrest of Guzman should be great news. He is one of several leaders in the La Linea drug cartel, many other members of the gang are affiliated with Mexico’s corrupt police.
Guzman takes the moniker after the famous American actor. “It’s a name given to the man by his associates. I guess they think he looks like him;” stated a spokeswoman for federal police.
Ironically, Guzman has black hair, dark eyes and a goatee. There is little physical resemblance to the famous Brad Pitt. It is common for members of the drug cartels to have an alias. From powerful symbols to the downright absurd. “El Winnie the Pooh’s,” name may not strike fear in the hearts of man, but his strength and gun loaded backing do.
Thousands have died in the border towns of Mexico this year. Acapulco, a famous city known for global tourism, has been bankrupt by violence. Tourists have been killed. Many migrants coming north from South America have been kidnapped, raped, decapitated and buried in mass graves.
A large cache of weapons showed that many of the automatic weapons used by the cartels were bought in the US. The war continues to take its toll on the innocents in the crossfire. With backing, protection and participation by some police; it is difficult to find safety between the warring gangs.
Guzman was arrested in the border city of Ciudad Juarez. Juarez controls much of the drug trafficking routes into the U.S. Guzman was arrested with two other alleged gang members. He is facing charges of multiple murders, kidnapping and attacks on police.

Mafia gangster to claim his brother killed Meredith Kercher

Posted On 00:14 0 comments

convicted mobster is set to claim his brother killed Meredith Kercher during a bungled burglary, at Amanda Knox’s appeal.

Luciano Aviello is one of five serving prisoners who will be giving evidence at the convicted murderess’s appeal after a judge ruled their evidence could be heard.

Knox, 24, and her then boyfriend, Rafaele Sollecito, were found guilty in December 2009 of killing of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher, from Coulsdon, in what prosecutors say was a sex game taken to the extreme.

Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison and Sollecito to 25 years for the murder.

Rudy Guede, a small-time drug dealer was imprisoned for 30 years during an fast track trial in 2009.

Meredith, a university student, was sharing a house with the American student while on a year abroad in Perugia, Italy.

The five prison witnesses are all expected to testify that neither Knox nor Sollecito had any part in the murder.

Aviello, a mafia gangster who is serving 10 years in prison, claims his brother, who is on the run from the police, killed the Coulsdon student when she disturbed him during a burglary.

Another witness is child killer Mario Alessi, who shared a cell with Guede. He is expected to claim the convicted murderer told him the pair were innocent.

Carlo Dalla Vedova, Knox's lawyer, told a national newspaper: “All of the five have very important evidence to give and we have taken statements from them and videotaped their interviews.

“They all say that Amanda and Raffaele are innocent - Aviello insists that his brother carried out the murder and he was given the keys and knife to hide.

“We asked that he be heard during the original trial after he wrote to the judge three times, but this was denied us.

“The decision made was the correct one and the five serving prisoners will all give evidence to the appeal - in essence they all heard in jail that Amanda and Raffaele are innocent and the court will hear them and decide.”

VICTIMS of an "organised" gangster who carried out a Hannibal Lecter-style face slashing

Posted On 00:13 0 comments

VICTIMS of an "organised" gangster who carried out a Hannibal Lecter-style face slashing are being urged to come forward after he was jailed indefinitely.

Police today made the appeal as brutal knifeman Peter Hannah, 40, was put behind bars for the public’s protection for a sickening attack on vulnerable Stephen Tully, 32.

Ruthless Hannah carved open both sides of Mr Tully’s face with a Stanley knife, leaving him fighting for life.

The gangland figure then tried to evade justice by attempting to buy off his victim with £30,000. When his plot failed he went on the run for more than four months before officers captured him in York following a high-speed chase, just as he was about to be featured on Crimewatch.

Ordering him to serve a minimum of seven years before he can even be considered for parole, Judge Adrian Lyon said: This was an appalling offence that could in fact have resulted in far more serious consequences than in fact occurred. "I am satisfied this was effectively a gang operation. It was premeditated, taking the victim to a particular location with other men. He was held down while his face was sliced with a knife."

Judge Lyon told Hannah his victim "could easily have died. The amount of blood he was losing was substantial".

In the wake of the sentence, Merseyside Police’s Det Insp Dave McCaughrean praised ECHO readers and Crimewatch viewers for helping to bring the underworld figure to justice. He urged anyone who has been a victim of Hannah to come forward.

He said: "Quite clearly Peter Hannah was involved in organised crime and was an organised criminal. Clearly it is not the first time he has been involved in assaulting people like this. The message we want to send out is that anybody who has been assaulted by Peter Hannah or any of his associates can have the confidence to come forward to Merseyside Police, can have the confidence that justice will be done and can have the confidence they will be supported." Merseyside Police will leave no stone unturned in bringing organised criminals to justice."

The officer added that Hannah’s conviction showed how people in the community had stood up again organised criminals.

Zillah Williams, prosecuting, told how Hannah’s dished out the gangland punishment because he believed Mr Tully had stolen £10,000 of drug money from him. The pair agreed to meet and Mr Tully, who has learning difficulties and a personality disorder, insisted his innocence. He arranged to take Hannah and his two unknown accomplices to someone who knew about the cash. But when that failed, the gang drove Mr Tully to remote Landican Lane, off the M53, near ASDA Woodchurch, where they carried out their brutal attack.

Friday, 17 June 2011

ADAM Freeman, the son of former Kings Cross identity George, handed himself in to the Australian embassy in Bangkok yesterday.

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A global arrest warrant was issued for the 27-year-old last month after he was allegedly linked to a drug manufacturing syndicate.

Freeman presented himself shortly before 5am (AEST) and told authorities he was aware there was a warrant in Australia for his arrest.

Australian Federal Police in Thailand will question Freeman - whose brother David co-owns Kings Cross nightclub Lady Lux - after he left Australia hours after his associates were charged with drug matters allegedly involving almost 20kg of ecstasy.

The drugs were found in a van linked to Freeman's childhood friend and business partner Andrew Moss.

Two weeks before last Christmas Freeman paid cash for a one-way ticket to Thailand via Hong Kong.

Freeman's solicitor Abigail Bannister said her client was in Thailand on business and had been unaware of any police interest in him.

She said Freeman had booked a flight to return voluntarily to Australia this weekend, but after being informed that he needed to hand himself in to Thai custody prior to returning he surrendered himself to the Australian embassy.

"Mr Freeman strongly protests his innocence and (will) strenuously defend the charge," Ms Bannister said.

"He hopes that as an Australian citizen and as a person innocent of any wrongdoing, that the government will do their absolute utmost to ensure his swift and safe return."

Ms Bannister also denied there had been a warrant for Freeman's arrest issued prior to him leaving the country.

On May 18 The Daily Telegraph revealed the global arrest warrant had been issued for Freeman's arrest, with police alleging his fingerprints had been found on glassware used to make the drugs.

The arrest warrant was granted in early May after police established they had solid evidence linking Freeman to the drugs.

A police statement tendered to Sutherland Local Court alleged Freeman is linked to a number of co-accused charged with manufacture of the ecstasy haul, one of the largest ever found in NSW.

Police said Moss and co-accused Michael Haynes, 27, both of Cronulla, were driving a rented van near Tamworth on December 15 when they were stopped for a random breath test.

Police allegedly saw drug manufacturing equipment in the van, impounded it and arrested the two men, charging them with with possessing drug-making apparatus.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

La Mara Salvatrucha (“MS-13”) member Rene Mendez Mejia, also known as “Zorro,” pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death through use of a firearm

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LA MARA SALVATRUCHA 2La Mara Salvatrucha (“MS-13”) member Rene Mendez Mejia, also known as “Zorro,” pleaded guilty to two counts of causing death through use of a firearm in connection with the February 5, 2010, execution-style murders of Vanessa Argueta, a 19-yearold woman, and her two-year-old son, Diego Torres, in Central Islip, New York.1 When sentenced by United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco on October 21, 2011, Mejia faces a maximum term of life imprisonment. In addition, nine of Mejia’s MS-13 co-defendants have pleaded guilty to racketeering offenses over the last several days.

The plea proceedings were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, Thomas C. Krumpter, Acting Commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department, and Richard Dormer, Commissioner of the Suffolk County Police Department.

As detailed in previously-filed court documents and Mejia’s plea allocution, the bodies of Argueta and Torres were found in a secluded wooded area; Argueta had been shot in the head and chest, and Torres had been shot twice in the head. Mejia’s fellow MS-13 gang members have also pleaded to the following charges:

Walter Flores-Reyes, also known as “Scrappy,” pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Assault with Dangerous Weapons in Aid of Racketeering, in connection with a September 14, 2008, attack at Antojitos Bar in Hempstead, New York.

Diego Ninos, also known as “Veneno,” and Cesar Landaverde, also known as “Rebelde,” pleaded guilty Conspiracy to Commit Murder in Aid of Racketeering in connection with an October 2008, plot to murder a rival 18th Street gang member in Glen Cove, New York.

Emilio Saballos, also known as “Caballo,” pleaded guilty to RICO charges, including predicate acts of Witness Tampering and Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine, which took place in Freeport, New York.

Wilber Ayala-Ardon, also known as “Pajaro,” pleaded guilty to two counts of Attempted Murder in Aid of Racketeering in connection with two shootings of rival gang members in June and July 2009, both of which took place in Hempstead, New York.

Giovanni Prado, also known as “Joker,” Erick Alvarado, also known as “Gato Seco,” and Elenilson Ortiz, also known as “Shorty,” pleaded guilty to Attempted Murder in Aid of Racketeering, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering, and Witness Tampering, respectively, all stemming from a baseball bat beating outside El Cibao Bar in Freeport, New York in November 2009.

Francisco Ramos, also known as “Cruiser,” pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Murder in Aid of Racketeering, and two counts of Conspiracy to Commit Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Aid of Racketeering. During his plea, Ramos admitted, in sum and substance, that after being arrested for the September 14, 2008, assaults at Antojitos Bar, he conspired to kill three witnesses to the assaults. He also admitted to plotting to assault another inmate at the Nassau County Correctional Center, who he believed to be cooperating with law enforcement authorities.
"This young mother and her child lost their lives to senseless gang violence. Street gangs, and their associated wanton violence, have no place in our communities,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We will utilize all available resources to eliminate them and put an end to these senseless and brutal crimes.” Ms. Lynch praised the work of the FBI Long Island Gang Task Force,2 which investigated the case.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys John J. Durham and Raymond A. Tierney.

The Defendants:

ERICK ALVARADO (a/k/a “Gato Seco”)
Age: 29

WILBER AYALA-ARDON (a/k/a “Pajaro” and “Piolin”)
Age: 19

CESAR LANDAVERDE (a/k/a “Flaco” and “Rebelde”)
Age: 23

RENE MENDEZ MEJIA (a/k/a “Zorro”)
Age: 18

DIEGO NINOS (a/k/a “Veneno” and “Mico”)
Age: 23

ELENILSON ORTIZ (a/k/a “Shorty”)
Age: 40

GIOVANNI PRADO (a/k/a “Joker”)
Age: 26

FRANCISCO RAMOS (a/k/a “Cruiser”)
Age: 21

WALTER REYES (a/k/a “Scrappy”)
Age: 21

EMILIO SABALLOS (a/k/a “Caballo”)
Age: 28

1 Adalberto Ariel Guzman, also known as “Gringo,” and Heriberto Martinez, also known as “Boxer,” were also indicted in connection with the Argueta and Torres murders. The charges remain pending against those defendants, and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

GANGSTER Mark 'Guinea Pig' Desmond is believed to be back in Dublin.

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The 38-year-old thug has reportedly returned for the first time since he was linked with the disappearance of Islandbridge man James Kenny McDonagh (28) last October.

Gardai have received reports that feared gangland figure Desmond is hiding out in a safe-house in Dublin's northside after returning from the UK.

The return of the so-called 'Guinea Pig', originally from Ballyfermot, is likely to place Dublin's underworld in a heightened state of tension and gardai are checking if accounts that he is back are true.


Little has been heard of him since the abduction and murder of low level criminal Mr Kenny McDonagh last October and sources believe Desmond has been in Manchester.

He is notorious in Dublin's underworld and is suspected of murdering two men before dumping their bodies in the Grand Canal in 2000.

A huge garda investigation is still being carried out in this case which was sparked after underworld touts told gardai that Desmond had been boasting that he buried the 28-year-old alive at a remote location.

A major line of enquiry is whether Mr Kenny McDonagh was targeted in retaliation for an attack on Desmond in the Memorial Park in Ballyfermot last year.

Desmond managed to escape from his attackers on a quad when they approached him in the park in April 2010.

The Guinea Pig is notorious in Dublin's underworld and was the only man to have been charged in the notorious 2000 'canal murders' investigation.

The two victims in the drug-related canal murders were shot and their bodies dumped in the Grand Canal at Karneystown, Co Kildare, between December 19, 1999, and January 10, 2000.

One of these men, Darren Carey, was a neighbour of Mr Kenny McDonagh.

The murder charges were dropped by the DPP and the Court of Criminal Appeal later overturned Desmond's conviction and eight-year sentence on a charge of unlawful possession of firearms with intent to endanger life.

Sources say that Desmond was furious when he was linked in media reports in February to the murder of Clondalkin man Damien Dowdall (22) who was shot dead in 2007.

Gardai are satisfied that Desmond was not involved in that murder which was carried out by another local gang.

The incident in which Desmond was shot at in Memorial Park was not the first time that he has been a target.


In July 2006, Desmond and one of his associates were shot at in Tallaght by senior members of crimelord King Ratt's gang over a drugs dispute.

Desmond and his associate were at traffic lights at the junction of Old Bawn Road and Seskinview Road, Tallaght, when a motorcycle carrying two men pulled up alongside. The pillion passenger opened fire at the vehicle. Desmond was shot in the arm and his associate was hit in the buttock.

One of the suspected gunmen was gangland figure Anthony Cannon who was shot dead in Ballyfermot three years later. Considered one of Ireland's most dangerous and volatile criminals, Desmond also has links to a Ballyfermot IRA boss who is in Spain.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Gangster gave orders from inside jail

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30-year-old suspected gang leader suspected of ordering the killing of a Swedish footballer and his brother used notes and binoculars to continue giving orders to his gang from within inside a Swedish jail.

The man has been in remand in Stockholm since November 2010 when he was arrested on suspicions of having ordered the killing of Swedish second division football player Eddie Moussa and his brother in Södertälje in July.

Three weeks ago, however, police discovered that several people who belong to the same criminal network as the 30-year-old were standing on the sidewalk outside the Kronoberg jail in Stockholm where the 30-year-old is being held.

In the window of the jail, a man was standing holding up notes with instructions written on them, the local Södertälje newspaper Länstidningen reported.

According to the newspaper, the suspect has now been moved to a different remand centre in Gothenburg.

Ulf Göranzon, a spokesperson for the Stockholm County police, refused to comment on the report, but instead directed inquiries to the Swedish Prison and Probation Service (Kriminalvården).

Anders Leckne, head of the Kronoberg jail, confirmed that what he termed as an attempt to communicate had occurred.

"An incident occurred which we learned of and took action upon. It led to a person behind moved within the jail to a room with a limited view," Leckne told the TT news agency.

Leckne, however, can't confirm that the man was moved to a jail in Gothenburg.

It remains unknown whether or not the 30-year-old communicated with the outside world on previous occasions before being discovered.

The 26-year-old Moussa was and his 40-year-old brother Yaacoub were shot dead in Café Oasen, a known gambling club in Södertälje’s Ronna shopping precinct on July 1st, 2010.

According to witnesses, three men came into the premises shortly after 2am in the morning and began firing automatic weapons, killing the two brothers and injuring a third victim.

At the time, police suspected the killings may have been a targeted killing orchestrated by elements of the criminal underworld.

Eddie Mousssa was a promising young football star of Lebanese-Assyrian extraction who held both Swedish and Dominican passports. He debuted for Assyriska FF, a Södertälje-based club which played one season in Sweden's Allsvenskan top-flight after winning promotion in 2004.

The club, which was founded only in 1974, has a large following in Södertälje and is considered by many to be a substitute national team for the Assyrian people.


Sunday, 12 June 2011

Cop blitz links gang lord Jamie 'Iceman' Stevenson to France's biggest coke bust

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COPS battling to smash the empire of Scotland's top mobster have arrested a trucking boss linked to the biggest cocaine bust in French history.
Haulage firm chief Charles McAughey's home was one of 11 targeted last week in synchronised raids aimed at lieutenants of drug-smuggling kingpin Jamie "Iceman" Stevenson.
The Sunday Mail revealed in 2009 that French police had found nearly threequarters of a ton of cocaine in the back of a lorry owned by McAughey.
The vehicle was registered to the 51-year-old, who runs haulage company Kirimar Plant. He employed the two Glaswegian men arrested in the bust in the city of Montpellier, west of Marseilles.
Stunned French cops found 684 kilos of pure cocaine, worth an estimated £31million, hidden among cash registers and coffee in the back of the truck. We revealed at the time that the lorry had been scheduled to travel to London, then on to Glasgow.
Stevenson, 46, now serving 10 years for money-laundering, smuggled drugs into Scotland using his own lorries.
He ploughed cash into legitimate haulage firms, who he then used to flood the nation with cocaine and heroin.
McAughey's £1.5million home in Bothwell, Lanarkshire, was among those raided on Tuesday after a year-long investigation by the elite Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency. The clampdown, codenamed Operation Chiron, was targeted at drugs and proceeds of crime.
Eight other men, aged between 39 and 49, were arrested in the raids.
Officers seized around £40,000 in cash, 21 laptops and 60 mobile phones. Other items, including jewellery, watches, shoes and paintings, were also confiscated under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
A scdea spokeswoman said: "Nine men arrested will be reported to the procurator fiscal for offences under the Proceeds of Crime Act and money laundering."
Kirimar Plant's yard on Uddingston's Greenelms Industrial Estate was also raided last Tuesday. McAughey appears to have re-branded the firm as Kinetic Heavy Haulage.
We spoke to McAughey at his portacabin office to ask about his arrest. He said: "I don't think it would be appropriate to comment."
McAughey is also a director of the Artists Studio in Bath Street, Glasgow, and the Bothwell Partnership - a firm who organise corporate events - with his partner Alison Donnell, 56.
It's understood a number of paintings were seized in the raid on his house, yards from the home of Rangers and Scotland midfielder Lee McCulloch.
The Artists Studio closed last month and was deserted yesterday. A worker at another business in the building said: "One minute the studio seemed to be open, the next it was an empty shell."
The two men arrested in the Montpellier truck bust are awaiting trial in Marseilles, where 1971 drug thriller The French Connection was filmed.
One of the suspects has been named as James Davidson, a father of two from Yoker, Glasgow. His wife Patricia has travelled to France several times to visit him.
A family friend said: "The last two years have been nightmare for Jim's family.
"He swears he knew nothing about the drugs and only decided to go along with the other driver at the last minute to help him out.
"Jim agreed to be second driver so the guy could get back for his daughter's birthday."
The Foreign Office said the two arrested men, both in their 50s, had been offered consular assistance.
Police in Marseilles said the suspects were still "under investigation" and the interior ministry said the investigation was "ongoing".
The French bust has also been linked to two mi l lionaire crime brothers from Glasgow, now based in Marbella. The pair, in their mid-30s, were property developer s but started working for cocaine baron Stephen Docherty in the mid-90s.
They are known simply as "The Brothers" in the underworld. They took over Docherty's operation after he killed himself.
A source told us that the SCDEA had "nothing to do" with the cocaine seizure in France.
French customs officers stopped the truck when it passed through a scanner and didn't match specifications.
Mobster who flooded Scotland with truckloads of misery
Jamie Stevenson became Scotland's biggest ever drugs smuggler after the murder of one-time friend and criminal ally Tony McGovern.
The Iceman was prime suspect for the gangland assassination.
Within a few years of McGovern's death, Stevenson had set up a worldwide trafficking operation.
He recruited an army of lorry drivers to carry drugs and guns, hidden among legal cargos, into Scotland and Ireland from across Europe.
Trucker Robert McDowall, 54, turned supergrass after he was jailed for smuggling £6million of Stevenson's heroin into Scotland. In prison interviews, he told detectives how he ferried drugs inside loads of flowers from markets in Rijnsburg, Holland.
McDowall insists he had to turn informer because Stevenson believed he was behind the operation being busted and had taken out a £10,000 contract on his life.
He said: "I messed up. I'll be paying the price for the rest of my days."

Saturday, 11 June 2011

THE former Crime Commission investigator Mark Standen ''compartmentalised'' his life and believed receiving a ''Christmas present'' of more than $47,000 from a former drug dealer-turned informer did not compromise him.

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But he admitted to attempts to ''thinly disguise'' the payment because he knew it would ''ring alarm bells'' with his employer and breach commission rules.

Mr Standen, who is on trial on three charges including conspiring with the informer James Kinch and the businessman Bill Jalalaty to import pseudoephedrine, was giving evidence in his defence.

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He also told the court he did not believe Mr Jalalaty when he told him he had received $1 million in cash in a sportsbag from a friend of Mr Kinch's.

He said he believed Mr Kinch had transferred the money into Mr Jalalaty's account to invest.

For most of yesterday Mr Standen interpreted emails between himself and Mr Kinch, outlining the assistance Mr Kinch had given to Crime Commission investigations.

Among other people, Mr Standen said Mr Kinch was providing information about a British criminal who was planning to come to Sydney, and he and Mr Kinch were plotting how to obtain the man's secret phone number.

He said he asked Mr Jalalaty to inquire about buying acetone, so the man could be asked to contact him, and his number could be obtained.

The plan was a ruse but before he knew it Mr Jalalaty had bought $30,000 worth of the substance, which the court heard could be used to make illegal drugs or cleaning products.

Mr Standen said yesterday he discussed personal matters with Mr Kinch, including his plans to go into business with Mr Jalalaty in late 2005.

In late 2005 Mr Kinch asked Mr Standen for account details because he wanted to pay for his laser eye surgery as a Christmas present. Mr Standen asked the money be sent to Mr Jalalaty's account. Instead of the required, Mr Kinch sent £20,000.

Mr Standen said he did not consider the money might be from illegal sources. ''It would be a little crazy for him to send illegally acquired money to my account … which was the initial plan,'' Mr Standen said.

His barrister, Mark Ierace, SC, asked him if he believed it compromised his professional relationship with Mr Kinch.

''Not in my mind,'' Mr Standen replied.

''In my mind I compartmentalised things and I operated on the basis [that] provided the work compartment remained intact and I did all the things that were required of me in relation to information coming from Mr Kinch … the business compartment operated independent of that.''


JAMAICAN Grammy Award-winning reggae artiste Buju Banton wants the court to impose a prison term below the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years

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JAMAICAN Grammy Award-winning reggae artiste Buju Banton wants the court to impose a prison term below the mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years at his sentencing hearing later this month.
Banton, whose real name is Mark Myrie, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 23 in the Sam M Gibbons Federal Court in Tampa, Florida, United States. The artiste was convicted in February on charges of conspiracy to distribute five or more kilogrammes of cocaine, possession of a firearm in the furtherance of a drug-trafficking crime and using the wires to facilitate a drug-trafficking offence.

The documents asking for the reduced sentence were filed yesterday by his legal team led by attorney Oscar David Markus.
"The 10-year minimum mandatory sentence for the drug count and the five-year minimum mandatory consecutive sentence for the gun count are unconstitutional in this case because it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment and also because it constitutes too severe a penalty for proceeding to trial," the lawyers noted.
The lawyers also stated that the court is well aware that, according to United States v Booker, a sentence "calculated pursuant to the United States Sentencing Guidelines is no longer mandatory". The lawyers also pointed out that Banton's limited role in the drug offence entitles him to a reduction in sentence, while citing the artiste's good character and clean record as it relates to the offence for which he was convicted.
"Throughout both trials, it was clear that the significant players in the December 10, 2009 drug transaction were Isaac 'Ike' Camon, a major drug dealer in Georgia, as the buyer; and Alex Johnson as the seller. Not Mark Myrie," said the lawyers.
Ian Thomas, a friend of Banton's who was instrumental in the drug transaction, was sentenced in May to 51 months' imprisonment after pleading guilty and assisting the prosecution.
Banton's first trial in September last year ended with a hung jury, resulting in the second trial in which he was convicted. The artiste was arrested at his south Florida home in December 2009.
Yesterday's document also contained letters from actor, activist, and humanitarian Danny Glover, as well as from several of Banton's 15 children, asking for the court's leniency.
Banton's pending motion seeking acquittal and for a new trial will also be heard on June 23.

'I'm no Teflon Don,' says gangster suspect who has dodged three murder charges

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A wealthy businessman who has been cleared of three separate murder charges has walked away from another major trial.

Millionaire Arran Coghlan, 39, declared ‘I’m no Teflon Don’ after he escaped charges of masterminding a plot to flood the UK with cocaine.

Coghlan sat back in court and laughed as he told the judge: ‘I’ve booked a two-week cruise.’

Arrran Coghlan has been dramatically released from prison after a fourth trial over drugs charges collapsed

In 1996, Coghlan was acquitted of the gangland murder of drug baron Chris Little, dubbed the ‘Devil Dog Mobster’ because he set his rottweilers on rivals.

Little, 32, was shot dead at the wheel of his Mercedes but Coghlan was cleared after telling the jury he was playing computer games at the time of the killing. In 2002, Coghlan was accused of the horrific murder of drug dealer David Barnshaw, who was kidnapped, forced to drink petrol and burnt to death in the boot of a car in September 1999.

The £5million case against Coghlan and others collapsed when it was revealed police had failed to pass on vital information about another possible suspect.

And in February 2010, he was arrested after Stephen ‘Aki’ Akinyemi, 36, was found lying  dead in a pool of blood in the bathroom of Coghlan’s £2million Cheshire mansion.

Coghlan dialled 999 and told police he had been stabbed in an unprovoked attack by Mr Akinyemi.

He was charged with murder but the case was dropped when the Crown Prosecution Service said it could not prove Coghlan had not acted in self defence.

Coghlan, who drives a Bentley Turbo, lives in a mansion in Alderley Edge, Cheshire, where he rubs shoulders with Premier League footballers and soap stars. He claims he runs a legitimate enterprise offering consultancy services to businesses and says he has been victimised by detectives in a decade-long campaign.

Coghlan – who survived an attempt on his life in a bar on New Year’s Day, 2009 – emerged from Strangeways prison in Manchester on Thursday night and said: ‘I’m no Teflon Don like the police say I am.’

Coghlan was greeted by a group outside the prison after the case at Liverpool Crown Court was dropped

The nickname is a reference to the non-stick coating used in saucepans, with the implication that no charge will stick to him.

Coghlan was arrested in September last year by officers for the Serious Organised Crime Agency as he stepped off a flight from Amsterdam at Manchester Airport.

It was alleged he and others were heading a multi-million-pound cocaine smuggling ring.

But at Liverpool Crown Court, Brian Cummings, prosecuting, said: ‘In the light of a lack of evidence and other developments, the prosecution no longer has enough evidence to proceed.’

Coghlan, who appeared on a video link from Strangeways, rubbed his hands and laughed.

He told the judge: ‘I have booked a cruise for two weeks and I have had enough with people stabbing me in the neck and trying to say that I deal drugs.’ Coghlan was arrested as part of an investigation into a massive cocaine smuggling ring and had spent ten months awaiting trial.

He added: ‘They were quite happy to suggest I was involved in some way in drug trafficking. Anybody who knows me knows I have nothing to do with drugs whatsoever.’

He said: ‘I am completely legit. It seems like the police have created the Teflon Don legend themselves.’

After returning home, he enjoyed a meal with partner Claire and their children, Lincoln and Francesca.


Friday, 10 June 2011

100 suspected gang members were sent to jail after a series of raids across the Central Valley.

Posted On 22:11 0 comments

The attorney general came to Los Banos city hall, where she was joined by a team of local, state and federal officials along with the officers who carried out these raids. The targets were street gangs the state attorney general says are controlled by inmates in the state prison system.

The raids started early, in homes and apartments throughout Los Banos, catching many of the suspected gang members at home, sleeping.

Neighbor Latanya Powe was surprised by all the commotion at her apartment complex. "They had helicopters and swat and everything, they did what they had to do to get them."

Powe says she never had any trouble with those arrested, but said she's glad gang activity is being targeted. "Yeah, well I mean, I have a three year old, I don't want drugs and stuff around my son."

Drugs, guns and cash taken in the raids were put on display by State Attorney General Kamala Harris at a news conference in Los Banos. She said the raids in Los Banos, Dos Palos, Livingston, Atwater, Merced and Madera netted 101 suspected members of two violent gangs.

Harris said, "We have individuals who are associated with a very lethal gang that is mainly run out of the California state prison system, Nuestra Familia, operating in conjunction with local Norteno street gang members, wreaking havoc on this community, committing acts of violence in this community and threatening the safety of everyone in this community."

Many of those arrested will be facing federal charges. U.S. Attorney Ben Wagner says the goal is to keep them out of the state prison system, which has become a center for running organized crime throughout the state.

"One of the remedies is to send people to federal prisons in places like Texas or Pennsylvania or Georgia what have you," said Wagner. "That gets them outside of California, out of touch with their comrades it helps break up the leadership of these very entrenched gangs."

The danger posed by these gangs is clear from the weapons they carry, high caliber assault weapons with illegal magazines capable of holding 30 or more bullets. Gangs have turned the once quiet town of Los Banos into a dangerous place, there were 12 drive by shootings in April and May.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Gangster Domenyk Noonan has hit out after being banned from attending a friend’s funeral.

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Noonan, 46, says he was stopped from paying his final respects to pal Patrick ‘Paddy’ Walsh by probation officers who he has accused of ‘just being awkward’.

Noonan, who was released from prison under strict licensing conditions last year, wanted to attend the service in Stockport on Friday. But that morning he was asked to meet probation officers who handed him a letter banning him from showing up.

It says that because Mr Walsh’s brother Adam, an associate of Noonan’s, would be attending the service from prison, Noonan was not allowed to be present.

But Moston-born Noonan believes his life is being made difficult as he tries to go straight.

The 46-year-old, who set up a delivery service named GMP after his release, said: "They say that because of my licence conditions and my association with Adam I am not allowed to go. I don’t know what they think I’d do – there’ll be police officers everywhere. I wanted to go and pay my respects. Our families are very close. Their mum used to change our nappies.

"They have even stopped me from going to the wake. Prisoners aren’t allowed to go to wakes and Adam won’t even be there.

"They are just doing this to be awkward and to show that I have to do what they tell me to do.

"It’s not as if it was a wedding, it was a wake and I just wanted to go and pay my respects. Our families have known each other since the 60s.

"I have been out for 14 months now and haven’t done anything since I came out."

Noonan, who now uses the surname Latllay-Fottfoy, was jailed in 2005 after a gun was found under the bonnet of his car. Since being released last May he remains on a licence under a strict monitoring regime and cannot leave the Greater Manchester area.

A spokeswoman for the Probation Service said that it was part of Noonan’s conditions not to have any contact with Adam Walsh. She added that Noonan’s solicitors had been contacted and that he had signed a letter of acceptance.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

BUNGLING gangster has lost thousands in cash -- after spending three months putting money into a frozen account

Posted On 09:59 0 comments

The man, who leads a gang suspected of carrying out a spate of ATM raids across the country, is out of pocket because he continued to deposit large amounts of cash into his credit union account without knowing that gardai had frozen it.

The feared gangster, who is originally from the Ballyfermot area but now lives in Co Wicklow, has not been able to get any of the cash that he put into the account over three months.

"He went absolutely mental when he discovered his account was frozen -- it just goes to show that he is not the smartest criminal in the world," said a source.


The man's gang have been linked to an ATM robbery in Tinahely, Co Wicklow, in May when six men used a digger to demolish the front of a Bank of Ireland building.

During the robbery in the early hours of May 1, a gang member shoved a gun in a man's face as he filmed them tearing down the bank and hundreds of thousands of euro worth of damage was caused.

The gang which is led by the Ballyfermot crime figure -- who is in his 40s -- has major links to crime gangs based in Wicklow, Wexford and Carlow. He cannot be named for legal reasons.

The man's gang was also linked with murdered brothers Paul and Kenneth Corbally who were shot dead last June but the brothers fell out with the gangster after a major row over the proceeds of ATM robbery.


A special garda operation codenamed Operation Slope was set-up to target the gang.

As part of the investigation, gardai examined bank accounts held by gang members who were all in receipt of welfare and unemployment benefits.

The accounts showed that sums of between €30,000 and €50,000 were going each month through an account of one female member based in north Co Wexford, who was also in receipt of welfare payments.

A detailed file on the gang has been sent to the DPP which outlines the links between 20 armed robberies across Ireland in the past three years.

The DPP is expected to make a decision on charging gang members before the end of this month.

Officers believe the gang has netted over €500,000 from the raids which caused over €1m worth of damage.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

handgun that once belonged to notorious Chicago gangster Al "Scarface" Capone will be auctioned on June 22 and is expected to fetch more than $100,000.

Posted On 11:23 0 comments

handgun that once belonged to notorious Chicago gangster Al "Scarface" Capone will be auctioned on June 22 and is expected to fetch more than $100,000.

Leonie Ashfield, a spokeswoman for the fine arts auction house Christie's, told AOL Weird News that the nickel-plated .38 Special belongs to a private collector. The historic pistol will be the first item belonging to the pudgy ex-mobster that Christie's has auctioned in at least a decade.

"We've had film memorabilia but nothing related to the actual Al Capone that's coming up [on my computer] in the last 10 years," Ashfield said.

Capone, who was once king of the Chicago rackets, was a Prohibition-era gangster who ruled a multimillion-dollar empire of illegal booze, gambling and prostitution in the 1920s. Capone's reign as ruler of Chicago's gangland ended in 1931 when he pleaded guilty to tax evasion and prohibition charges.

After serving seven years and six months in federal prison, which included a stay at Alcatraz, Capone was paroled on Nov. 16, 1939. By that time, however, he suffered from paresis derived from syphilis. Capone went into seclusion at an estate near Miami, Fla., where he died of a stroke and pneumonia on Jan. 25, 1947.

Since Capone's death, many of his belongings have made their way into auction houses:

In 1971, a bullet-proof 1928 Cadillac that Capone owned sold at auction for $37,000. According to the Nov. 21, 1971, issue of the Daytona Beach Morning Journal, the winning bid was roughly $8,000 more than the price paid for President John F. Kennedy's 1963 Lincoln Continental sedan.
In 1982, a rare signed photo of Capone sold at auction for $4,250. The previous high price for a 20th century photograph at that time was a signed picture of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon, which went for $3,200.
In 1992, a Christmas card signed by Capone netted $3,600 at an auction, and a mounted sailfish labeled "Caught by Al Capone, March 1929," sold for $5,200, according to the Gainesville Sun.
According to Ashfield, Capone's six-shot, double-action Colt revolver is expected to net more than $100,000, a hefty sum comparable to the $95,600 a California collector paid in 2009 for a pistol that once belonged to Depression-era gangster and bank robber John Dillinger.

"That is what we estimate the market value to be," Ashfield said.

Christie's has Colt records that indicate the pistol was manufactured in May 1929, "a significant date in Capone's life -– the same year as the famous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre," according to the auction house.

Along with the handgun, the winning bidder will receive an original personal letter from Madeleine Capone Morichetti, the widow of Capone's brother, Ralph Capone, along with an affidavit sworn by her in March 1990. The documents, the auction house states, affirm the gun "previously belonged to and was only used by Al Capone while he was alive."

Capone's revolver will be sold alongside several other items dating from the 10th century to the 20th century, including arms, armor and military items. Among them is another notable gun being sold by a private collector: a .44 six-shot revolver that was once owned by Cole Younger, a member of the 19th-century James-Younger Gang, which included legendary outlaw Jesse James.

According to Ashfield, the auction is already drawing significant interest.

"The catalog for the sale will not be out until next week, but several international collectors [have called] to request more [information]," she said.

Friday, 3 June 2011

man charged with attempting to kill the son of an alleged gang leader in Adelaide will go to trial

Posted On 17:17 0 comments

man charged with attempting to kill the son of an alleged gang leader in Adelaide will go to trial even though his alleged victim won't give a statement and has left the country.

Hameed Ullah Dastagir, 24, of Para Vista, pleaded not guilty in the Supreme Court of South Australia to attempted murder and aggravated unlawfully causing serious harm to Giovanni Focarelli, 21.

Dastagir allegedly stabbed the son of alleged New Boys gang leader Vince Focarelli outside his father's Hindley St tattoo parlour in May.

The court was told the case would go to trial, even though the alleged victim had refused to cooperate and had gone overseas.

Dastagir was remanded on bail to reappear in the court on July

unrepentant enforcer for Montreal mob boss Vito Rizzuto was denied parole after threatening to kill a prison guard and boasting about his underworld connections

Posted On 17:14 0 comments

Joe Bravo’s behind bars but he’s still dangerous.

The unrepentant enforcer for Montreal mob boss Vito Rizzuto was denied parole after threatening to kill a prison guard and boasting about his underworld connections.

Bravo, whose real name is Juan Ramon Paz Fernandez, spoke of his mob ties when he made the threat to the guard who was searching him, according to the parole board ruling on May 2.

Bravo was sentenced to 12 years in jail in 2004 for conspiring to murder another gangster.

A source familiar with the jailhouse incident said it occurred within the past six months and that Bravo claimed he was in control of the prison and could shut it down if he wanted.

“The thing to fear about him is him,” the source said. “He’s a mercenary. He’s a Mafioso.”

The report also notes that continued meetings with “a lawyer who has worked for persons identified as being part of organized crime further reinforces your continuing involvement with this criminal subculture.”

As in previous years, Bravo didn’t apply for parole, but the board reviewed its 2009 decision to keep him in jail and ruled again he is likely to “commit a serious drug offence before the end of your sentence if released.”

Bravo was identified in 2009 as a suspect in the still unsolved 2008 murder of fellow mobster Constantin “Big Gus” Alevizos.

Big Gus, a former CFL prospect, is the man Bravo is convicted of conspiring to murder in 2001.

Big Gus was marked for death because he was accused of stealing money that was considered Rizzuto’s.

He gave the job to whack the hulking 6-foot-4, 450-pound Alevizos to a police agent now living in witness protection.

Alevizos was assassinated outside St. Leonard’s Place, a Brampton halfway house, in January 2008 and Peel homicide detectives consider Bravo a suspect in the still unsolved murder.

Bravo’s threat in prison was overheard by other guards, the parole board report states.

“Several correctional officers witnessed death threats you made to another guard who was attempting to search you,” the report says.

“During this incident, you seemed to flaunt your well-established ties to traditional organized crime in an effort to further intimidate the guard — this implies you remain connected to the same criminal lifestyle that enabled your considerable drug dealing activities.”

The report says the guard decided against filing criminal charges against Bravo “for personal reasons,” but states a “serious institutional charge remains outstanding in connection with this incident and that your security classification was again increased to maximum.”

The source said the guard is scared of filing a criminal charge because Bravo “is the real deal.

“This guy doesn’t care,” the source said. “He’s one-of-a-kind. He’s everybody’s gangster. He’d be a modern-day Gaetano Panepinto.”

Bravo was part of Panepinto’s organization, which was in turn an extension of Montreal’s crime family in Ontario.

Panepinto was a gangster highly respected in the underworld.

He was murdered in a settling of scores between Rizzuto and local ‘ndrangheta clans.

But Panepinto — despite knowing he was targeted for death unless he relinquished control of his crew — refused to back down and was slain in 2000.

Bravo faces deportation to his native Spain once his prison term ends April 21, 2012. He was twice deported and twice snuck back into Canada.

Despite being in jail, police know he still has a crew on the streets working for him and Rizzuto, the beleaguered Montreal mob boss who’s had senior members of his crime family, including his son and father, killed in assassinations.

Federal prosecutors are asking a jury to impose a death sentence on a flashy New York City gangster.

Posted On 17:11 0 comments

Federal prosecutors are asking a jury to impose a death sentence on a flashy New York City gangster. His lawyers say a life term would be enough punishment.

The jurors heard closing arguments Thursday at the penalty phase of the Brooklyn trial of Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano.

They were expected to begin deciding his fate later in the day.

The same jury convicted Basciano last month of ordering a gangland killing while taking control of the Bonanno organized crime family.

Prosecutors argued that the one-time owner of Hello Gorgeous beauty salon deserved death because he had a history of doing mob business from behind bars using messengers.

The defense countered that 51-year-old Basciano would be largely cut off from the outside world once placed in a maximum-security prison.

Legendary gangster accused of blackmailing

Posted On 17:10 0 comments

Police are investigating allegations that former gang leader Cho Yang-eun blackmailed a singer to compensate his acquaintance for loss from his stock investment.

Police said the notorious gangster, 60, intimidated the singer in August 2009, and threatened to chop the man's leg off and bury it unless he paid back 1.7 billion won (S$1.87 million).

Cho denied the charges, though he admitted having met the man.

Cho led now-debunked "Yangeun Faction," one of Korea's largest crime rings, in the 1970s.


Ex-porn club owner and reputed gangster Mille Markovic said on Tuesday he plans to publish compromising pictures of Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf he claims to have in his possession.

Posted On 17:09 0 comments

Markovic said he has been in touch with people who helping write a book about his life and that he plans to publish pictures featuring the King online in connection with the book's publication.

"They are going to make sure my book is done in a few months and not wait until next year," he told the TT news agency.

According to Markovic, the pictures portray the King in compromising situations. He has previously shown the images to a reporter from Sweden's TV4 and claims that they are genuine.

He added, however, that he never planned to sell the pictures or use them to blackmail the King.

One of the writers working on the book about Markovic is Deanne Rauscher, a co-author of "Den motvillige monarken" ('The reluctant monarch'), a tell-all book published in November 2010 about the King's life which details his alleged affairs and porn club visits.

In an interview with the TT news agency on Monday night, the King denied that the compromising images of him referred to in previous media reports exist or that he ever visited any porn clubs.

Despite the King's denials, the Left Party has no plans to drop its demand that a truth commission be launched to get to the bottom of the book's claims.

"Now we're in a situation where word stands against word and it's clear that there are many who are lying while the King is telling the truth. I still think we should dig deeper and investigate the matter," Left Party MP Lena Olsson told TT.

Olsson, who sits on the Riksdag's justice committee, proposed forming a truth commission last week in a question posed to Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt in the Riksdag.

She pointed out that, if the reports are true, the King could have been the subject of blackmail which "could be a threat to national security".

"Against this background, it would be appropriate for the King to take a time out from the Foreign Affairs Council (Utrikesnämnden) and a truth commission set up to investigate the truth," she wrote.

Meanwhile, the Social Democrats continue to push their demand that changes be made that make it easier to investigate Sweden's head of state, regardless of the King's latest statements.

"This interview doesn't change anything, the problem remains," Social Democrat constitution committee spokesperson Sven-Erik Österberg told TT.

The party now plans to discuss the matter internally with the goal of presenting a bill to the Riksdag.

"Now the King has been clear in denying a lot, so one has to accept that is the case until something else is proven. If something else should come out, then naturally that would be very bad. There is a lot at stake if it should come out that it isn't true," said Österberg.

drug courier caught with £5.5m of cocaine in his van on the M74 has been jailed for nearly seven years.

Posted On 17:06 0 comments

John Ashcroft, 43, from Newmains, North Lanarkshire, pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to the supply of the Class A drug.

Ashcroft was arrested by officers from Strathclyde Police as part of an investigation by the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency (SCDEA).

He was stopped by police on the M74 near to Canderside Toll on January 28 after investigators believed he was in possession of illegal drugs. Officers searched the van he had been driving and found 4kg of high purity cocaine worth approximately £1.76m.

Police later searched Ashcroft’s home and recovered a further 8.25kg of high purity cocaine worth approximately £3.8m, as well as three 25kg drums of benzocaine - a chemical commonly used to cut the drug - in his garage.

The judge jailed Ashcroft for six years and eight months.

Experts at the SCDEA estimated that the total amount of high purity cocaine and contaminants seized could have been used to produce over 139kg of street level cocaine, with a total approximate street value of £5.56m.

Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Mole, head of investigations group at SCDEA, said: "The amount of high purity cocaine and adulterants we seized as part of this operation are an indication of the extent to which this individual was involved in serious organised crime.

"As a result of our investigation, we have prevented a significant amount of illegal drugs from reaching our streets and causing untold harm in our communities. A drug dealer is also now serving a much-deserved prison sentence."

Lindsey Miller, head of the Serious and Organised Crime Division at Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, added: "This was a very significant haul of Class A drugs and its interception would have caused significant disruption to the drug traffickers involved."

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