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Monday, 31 October 2011

Welcome to Oculto Café – Cordoba’s infamous Satanic saloon.

Posted On 23:51 0 comments

 

GLASSES shoot across tabletops, busty vamps serve blood-red cocktails, and twisted locals raise a toast to an image of Aleister Crowley. Welcome to Oculto Café – Cordoba’s infamous Satanic saloon. The bar is situated in a maze of narrow, winding streets in the ancient ‘Old Town’ district. Stepping outside for a Marlboro, I scan my surroundings. It’s a chilly, moonlit night and the streets are deserted. Strain your ears, however, and you’ll hear muffled voices coming from dark balconies. It’s like a scene from Interview with the Vampire. As I re-enter, the room falls silent. A cross-eyed chap stares at me… well, I think it’s me… it’s hard to tell. Had my gothic guy-liner run, or had he caught a whiff of fresh meat? In this insular atmosphere, I feel as welcome as Gary Glitter at Tivoli World! Forget fruit machines and pool tables, it’s ouija boards and tarot cards that keep these punters amused. A little weakened, I seize a newspaper and hide in the corner. Alongside ads for ‘Black Angels’ and ‘Colombian Swallowers’, the classifieds are swarming with clairvoyants. I’m shocked! Isn’t Spain supposed to be a God-fearing country? But the truth is, up until the Inquisition (1478), Iberia was a hotbed of magic and sorcery. With the coming of Catholicism, however, mystics – including ‘witches’ and ‘healers’ were round-up and executed. For survival’s sake, Spaniards severed their ties with the ‘other side.’ Today, however, there is growing evidence that Spain is returning to its supernatural roots. Church-going is down (just 14.4%), and stories of Satanism are everywhere. In March 2011, an Almerian church was littered with satanic scrawls. Investigators claimed that the site had been used for a “black mass.” Tenerife’s Arona Cemetery has also been targeted by sinister cults. In 2008, graves were desecrated and animals sacrificed during “bizarre nocturnal rituals”. For sceptics, it’s easy to blame rebellious youth or drug-addicts for these atrocities. However, as someone who’s experienced dark forces – first hand – I try to keep an open mind. It all started in 2001 when I was filming a documentary at Devon’s Berry Pomeroy. In the castle grounds, I indivertibly captured an inhuman figure on camera.  Whilst replaying the footage to BBC colleagues, the office computers went wild. In 2009, I moved my family to a 15th century cottage on the West Pennine Moors. Unbeknown to us, our ‘dream house’ was built on a Quaker burial site. During our six-month stay – we endured stamping noises, icy chills and orbs zipping round the lounge. At night, the constant thumping would deprive us of sleep, and we’d trudge into work like a couple of zombies. However, my most recent spooking occurred right here in Andalucia. One evening, I watched a can of Asturiana cider move sideways, hover and then drop off the table! Earlier that day, an old drinking buddy had been buried in Devon – was this his final ‘chin-chin’? Whatever it was, it scared the bejesus out of my missus and she hasn’t slept properly since. Two weeks on, and we’re sitting in Oculto, trying not to blush at orgy paintings. After some Dutch courage, I enquire about a séance at the bar. A black-toothed midget points towards a battered wooden door. Timidly, I wander down the corridor and knock on wood. It’s opened by a raven-haired gypsy. She’s both beautiful and grotesque: Penelope Cruz’s mum meets the Bride of Chucky. Without speaking – she beckons me in with a long, black talon. With low ceilings, purple walls and an absence of windows – the room is claustrophobic and unsettling. Under flickering candlelight, the Victorian death portraits seem to eyeball you from the walls. But it’s the cold air and fetid stench that’s really sending shivers down my spine. The woman glides over to a monolithic Ouija board and orders me to sit. She lays out a clutch of cards, including The Hanged Man, The Fool, The Stig, Jeremy Clarkson, Dog the Bounty Hunter, The Archbishop of Canterbury and Boy George. Okay… I lied about Boy George – but it’s all the scary ones! Suddenly, my stomach churns and I shout ‘Stop!’ I apologise for wasting her time – but I’ve got the heebie-jeebies. A floating cider is hardly The Ring – so why risk opening a fresh can of worms? I chat to Jose, a Pepe Reina lookalike in his late 20s. Around us, weirdoes chuck darts at an image of the Pope (only joking….it’s Desmond Tutu!) Jose is erudite and speaks fine English. Over Osbourne brandies, I pose the question: “So….Are you a Satanist?” “Of course”! Jose replies: Usually, I’d grab my coat, but by now, I’m immune to the madness. After dispelling myths of “priest-beating” and “baby-eating”, Jose insists that Satanists are “Perfectly normal.” Apparently, the only difference is they choose “indulgence over abstinence’, and prefer “vengeance” to forgiveness. Oh…..and they enjoy kinky sex and coke-snorting – but hey… so does the cast of Skins. By 1am I’m craving a Horlicks and a late night snack. I thank Jose and wish him a “hell-of-a-life.” We leave Occulto and hot-foot it to the Corredera for a greasy kebab. After filling our faces, we clamber into a taxi. We’re only 10-minutes from the hotel – but I’m bloated on beer and lamb offal. Back at the room, Jose’s words haunt me. Having spent the last five hours binge-drinking, ogling rude pictures and eating crap – could I be accused of “indulgence”? If Christianity equals modesty, chastity and turning the other cheek, what about all those times I’ve bought designer togs, belted a thug or lusted over lesbians? Perhaps I’m more Satanic than I thought? By bedtime, I’d seen no demons, virgin sacrifices or people snacking on goats’ head soup. This said, not everyone was as friendly as Jose, and the yokels at the bar seemed quite menacing. I’ve yet to decide whether Satanists are ordinary folk – daring to be different, or psychopaths to be avoided at all costs. I DO know, however, that pentangles are not for me. For one – I like animals too much to put their heads on sticks – and secondly, I root for the “goodies” when it kicks off on Buffy. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my time at Occulto and found the experience enlightening. Whatever they are (or aren’t), there’s a pub full of them in Cordoba, and if you ever feel like taking a walk on the wild side, you know where to head.


Body found in boot of crashed car on Alicante motorway

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Firemen called out to an accident on the A-31 Alicante-Madrid motorway early on Monday found an unidentified body in the boot of a car which had crashed into the central reservation at Sax and then burst into flames. The body was partially burnt but appears to be that of a man. Reports indicate that the deceased had been tied up and gagged. No other occupants were found at the site and the Civil Guard are now trying to identify the victim and the cause of death.


Hells Angels have had a rough year in California.

Posted On 16:38 0 comments

 

The Hells Angels have had a rough year in California. Three Northern California members have died violently in the last month amid a turf battle with a rival biker gang. And law enforcement officials on both ends of the motorcycle club's home state are pursuing and jailing members, with 26 Angels and their associates arrested recently in San Diego. The violence spilled into public view in the unlikeliest of places two weeks ago when thousands of Harley-Davidsons rolled up to a San Jose cemetery on a sunny Saturday afternoon to bury a Hells Angels leader who was gunned down weeks earlier in a Nevada casino. A Hells Angel allegedly shot and killed a fellow member at the cemetery and fled — the latest sign of the in-fighting and violence that has plagued the gang in recent months. And if the deadly gunfire were not enough, a member was plowed down by a van a week later near Oakland, the alleged the victim of road rage. While no one is predicting the demise of the notorious outlaw motorcycle club, law enforcement officials and gang experts said the Hells Angels' recent woes still stand out for an organization they describe as violent, sophisticated and disciplined with loyal-to-the-death members. "They are the heavyweight champions of the biker gang culture," said Jay Dobyns, an agent with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who infiltrated the Hells Angels in Arizona for two years beginning in 2001. "And every other biker gang wants the belt." The organization has a long history in California, dating to its founding in 1948 by returning World War II veterans in the dusty town of Fontana and including a notorious incident during a Rolling Stones show in Altamont in 1969 in which a spectator was stabbed by a Hells Angel working security. A jury later acquitted the killer, finding he acted in self defense. The U.S. Department of Justice says the Hells Angels now have as many as 2,500 members in 230 chapters in 26 countries, and are a major source of drug-trafficking. Federal, state and local police have pursued the club for decades, infiltrating it with undercover agents, prosecuting suspects with harsh charges once reserved for the Mafia and indicting members on charges ranging from drug trafficking to mortgage fraud. Yet the club flourished. They opened chapters worldwide, aggressively enforced their trademarks in court like a responsible Wall Street corporation and won high-profile acquittals and other legal battles with law enforcement. The ATF, which handles many federal biker cases, said it arrested more outlaw motorcycle gang members last year than any other since 2003. Police in Germany, Canada and elsewhere also report a surge in motorcycle gang violence, with much of it connected to the Hells Angels. The California Hells Angels' current problems are partly rooted in a battle with the Vagos, a California-based motorcycle club founded in the 1960s. The clubs have been bitter enemies dating at least back a decade to a violent 2001 confrontation at a Costa Mesa swap meet. "These groups are trying to expand their membership and dominance," said Kent Shaw, the California Attorney General's acting head of law enforcement. "There's going to be a number of clashes and it seems to have gotten worse over the last couple years. It seems to be coming to a flash point." After dozens of Vagos took over a bar in Lakeport, Calif., and rode their motorcycles up and down the main drag, officials went so far as to close the downtown to traffic on May 14. Lake County Sheriff Frank Rivero said the Vagos were making a statement about controlling the region after one of its members was allegedly beaten by Hells Angels earlier in the year. So Rivero put up a road block that day after the California Highway Patrol and FBI warned that Hells Angels were traveling toward town. The Angels turned back before reaching the road block. But now the district attorney is investigating whether the sheriff violated the club members' civil rights with his plans to stop them. The sheriff is unapologetic. "It's a basic response," Rivero said. "I'm not going to tolerate gang violence in Lake County." A month later, a Vagos member and a friend were severely beaten in a casino. Four Hells Angels have been charged with assault. Three were arrested and the sheriff said they were bailed out by fellow Angel Steve Tausan, who owned a bail bonds company. A fourth is being sought. In September, the two gangs fought again. San Jose Angels leader Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew was slain during a wild shootout with rival Vagos in a Reno-area casino on Sept. 23. It was at Pettigrew's burial where more violence occurred. Two shots were fired, and Tausan, Pettigrew's good friend and high-ranking Angel, lay bleeding with a mortal wound. Police suspect fellow Angel Steve Ruiz of firing on Tausan after they argued over the casino shooting and whether enough was done to protect Pettigrew, the president of the San Jose chapter. Police are now searching for Ruiz, who reportedly was hustled into a waiting car, leaving behind his motorcycle. Investigators initially feared Ruiz was killed and went so far as to dig up Pettigrew's grave in search of a body. But now police believe he is on the run with his girlfriend. San Jose police were out in force Saturday as Tausan was laid to rest at the same cemetery where he was killed during the Oct. 15 funeral. A police spokesman said there were no reports of any disturbances or violence. The Hells Angels didn't respond to numerous phone calls and email messages sent to their clubhouses in San Jose and Santa Cruz, where Tausan served as the chapter's sergeant at arms. The Angels have always maintained they are a club of motorcycle enthusiasts who are unfairly regarded as an organized crime syndicate because of the crimes of a few members acting independently. The club participates in charity events, such as "Toys for Tots" motorcycle runs and blood drives. "When we do right, nobody remembers," the club's Web site states. "When we do wrong, nobody forgets." Karen Snell, a lawyer who won a $1.8 million settlement in 2005 after the San Jose chapter filed a lawsuit claiming illegal police searches during a murder investigation, said Pettigrew, Tausan and the others involved with the case were serious businessmen with families. "They were really responsible clients," Snell said. "In my all my interactions with them, they were always gentlemen." Now Pettigrew and Tausan are dead. "We lost our brother, our father, our son and our friend," said Karen Tausan, Steve's sister. "He left a big hole in our family and we can only hope this will come to an end now."


Sunday, 30 October 2011

Funeral held for Hells Angel killed at fellow biker's burial begins

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The only gunfire at the funeral of Hells Angel Steve Tausan on Saturday came as a salute from the U.S. Marine honor guard. The former Marine, professional boxer and legendary biker was memorialized Saturday morning at Jubilee Christian Church before being buried at Oak Hill Memorial cemetery in San Jose -- exactly two weeks after he was shot and killed at the funeral of another member of the motorcycle club. Although about 1,000 bikers rumbled in from all quarters, there was no trouble, dissension or arrests. There were only bear hugs, tears and memories of the Santa Cruz "enforcer" who called himself Mr. 187, after the penal code for murder. On top of Sunrise Hill they buried his red-and-white casket in the Hells Angels tradition -- by shovel. Sonny Barger, a founding member of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angel and an iconic figure in the club, tossed one of the last shovels of earth on the grave, as a police helicopter circled overhead. "They said they would have a quiet, respectful funeral and then they were going to leave town," said acting Capt. Jeff Marozick, the commander of the San Jose Police Department's special operations who had negotiated details of the funeral with the notorious biker club. "Everything they said is what they did." Amid the heavy police presence, Saturday's somber service was relatively smaller and peaceful, in sharp contrast to the huge and chaotic funeral of Jeff "Jethro" Pettigrew. That Advertisement service drew more than 3,000 bikers. Before Pettigrew could be buried, Tausan, a Santa Cruz resident, was fatally wounded during a bloody biker battle with another Hells Angel. Aside from the odd arrest of an individual member, the notorious outlaw motorcycle club has been out of the headlines in the South Bay for years. But in recent weeks, the shooting deaths of Pettigrew and Tausan, the continued search for suspect Steven Ruiz and the bizarre traffic homicide of an East Bay member have put a hot spotlight on the Hells Angel, which law enforcement views as a criminal gang. The Hells Angels have long denied this, and many members have reacted to the recent events with dismay. But the violent way Tausan died was not mentioned at his sentimental service. It was his colorful life they talked about, as an eclectic soundtrack from Tausan's favorite performers -- James Brown, Stevie Ray Vaughn and gospel singers -- reverberated through the big hall. "He was an imposing man," said the Rev. Dick Bernal during the service at Jubilee. "But underneath the muscles and the tattoos beat the heart of a man, the heart of a brother." Bikers from Tausan's home club, along with Henchmen, Devils Dolls and many others from as far away as New England and abroad, made up a long line of mourners. They paid their last respects as he lay in the casket, draped with an American flag and custom painted with the Angels' death's head with wings and the Marine Corps insignia. Tausan was clad in his leather Hells Angels vest, with a pack of Marlboros and an extended combat knife in his folded hands. Next to the casket, there was a blown-up photo of him as a young Marine, his military haircut in stark contrast to the long, silvery mane he sported when he died. Also arrayed around the casket were pictures of Tausan on his Victory motorcycle and with his friends and family. Tausan was better known than most Angels because of the charges he faced in the 1997 beating death of a man at the Pink Poodle strip club in San Jose. He was acquitted. But to the Hells Angels and others, the gregarious and intense man was bigger than life. "His love for his family and his friends in the club was undeniable," Bernal said. "If Steve loved you, you never had to guess. If he didn't love you, you never had to guess." Bernal recalled that Tausan once summoned him to his bail bondsman's office so the two of them could view a 90-minute DVD of James Brown and opera great Luciano Pavarotti performing together. Tausan turned to Bernal and said, "Wasn't that the greatest thing you've ever seen?" Bernal said he agreed, then paused for effect. "You don't disagree with Steve." That drew an appreciative laugh from the crowd.


Boy, 17, shot in back in Poplar, east London

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teenager has been shot in the back in east London. The 17-year-old boy was wounded in East India Dock Road, Poplar, in the early hours of the morning. A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "A 17-year-old male had a gunshot wound to the back and is in hospital in a serious condition." The attack happened just before 01:00 GMT, police said. Any witnesses to the shooting should call the Metropolitan Police.


Armed guards are to be deployed on British civilian ships for the first time to protect them from pirates,

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Armed guards are to be deployed on British civilian ships for the first time to protect them from pirates, David Cameron announced today.

A legal ban on weapon-toting protection staff will be relaxed so that firms can apply for a licence to have them on board in danger zones.

The Prime Minister said radical action was required because the increasing ability of sea-borne Somali criminals to hijack and ransom ships had become 'a complete stain on our world'.

He unveiled the measure after talks at a Commonwealth summit in Australia with leaders of countries in the Horn of Africa over the escalating problem faced in waters off their shores.

Under the plans, the Home Secretary will be given the power to license vessels to carry armed security, including automatic weapons, currently prohibited under firearms laws.

Officials said around 200 ships were expected to be in line to take up the offer, which would only apply for voyages through particular waters in the affected region.

It is expected to be used by commercial firms, rather than private sailors such as hostage victims Paul and Rachel Chandler.

Pirates: There are around 50 ships currently being held hostage

Pirates: There are around 50 ships currently being held hostage

 

Asked if he was comfortable with giving private security operatives the right to 'shoot to kill' if necessary, Mr Cameron told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: 'We have to make choices.

'Frankly the extent of the hijack and ransom of ships round the Horn of Africa is a complete stain on our world.

'The fact that a bunch of pirates in Somalia are managing to hold to ransom the rest of the world and our trading system is a complete insult and the rest of the world needs to come together with much more vigour.

 


Saturday, 29 October 2011

Hells Angels feud leaves trail of death and destruction

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The bloody turf war between the Hells Angels and a rival motorcycle club called the Vagos, has also led to shoot outs in the neighbouring states of Nevada and Arizona. According to the US Justice Department both the Hells Angels and the Vagos are "outlaw" gangs involved in drug and weapons trafficking, extortion and money laundering. The current spate of bloodshed between them can be traced to a disagreement at a Stabucks in the beach town of Santa Cruz last year. A brawl in which some participants wielded ball-peen hammers erupted outside the coffee shop before police arrived and bikers scattered. That led to a gunfight in the northern Arizona town of Chino Valley which left five people wounded and 27 under arrest.


Two killed in biker gang war started over Starbucks

Posted On 05:25 0 comments

 

TWO men have been killed and a number wounded in a turf war between two California biker gangs that began over who got to hang out at Starbucks. The San Jose Hells Angels has clashed with the rival Vagos gang in a series of violent incidents in the state. In the latest, senior Hells Angel Steven Tausan, 52, was shot and killed by a fellow member in an apparent quarrel, the Telegraph reports. That shooting occurred at the funeral of the chapter’s captain Jeffrey Pettigrew, 51, who was killed at a casino last month.  Security is tight for Tausan’s funeral tomorrow, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The row began in January 2010 when Hells Angels and Vagos members fought with hammers outside a Starbucks in Santa Cruz. Local deputy police chief Steve Clark told Reuters: “It was all about who would be allowed to hang out at the Starbucks downtown,” adding that the Vagos had made an attempt to gain control of the area. “Only in Santa Cruz would you have biker wars over who’s going to control pumpkin spice lattes,” Clark added. The conflict escalated in August last year, when the two gangs exchanged gunfire near a house in Prescott, Arizona, where CBS reports the Hells Angels were having a party. At least five people were wounded and 27 arrested after the incident.


Thursday, 27 October 2011

Fresh appeal launched to find man living abroad accused of murdering Nantwich man

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NEW appeal has been launched to capture a man wanted in connection with the murder of a Stapeley market trader. Christopher Guest More, 33, of Lymm, near Warrington, is one of 10 individuals wanted in the latest campaign being run by Crimestoppers and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). He is suspected to have been part of a gang involved in the torture and murder of market trader and cannabis farmer Brian Waters, who was killed in a barn in Tabley, near Knutsford, in June 2003. Three of his alleged accomplices, Otis Lee Matthews, James Stuart Raven and John Godfrey Wilson, received life sentences for their part in the brutal attack. More is also sought in connection with the attempted murder of Suleman Razak and for the alleged false imprisonment and assault of other victims present during the incident. It is believed he fled to Spain just 24 hours after the incident. The appeal is part of crime charity Crimestoppers’ ‘Operation Captura’ campaign, which is trying to locate wanted criminals abroad. Crimestoppers’ regional manager Gary Murray, said: “This extremely heinous crime saw an individual lose their life and the person responsible needs to be tried for their actions. “I’d urge anyone with information to contact Crimestoppers on our 0800 555 111 number or use our online form on our website – we guarantee your anonymity.” Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Smith said: “Eight years on, we still remain determined and committed to finding and arresting Christopher More for his alleged involvement in the brutal murder of Brian Waters. “Cheshire Police will not close this case until the family of Brian Waters sees justice done.”


A deadly spat with origins in Halifax has an eastern Canada police dragnet hunting the gangster wanted for a slaying in Toronto.

Posted On 00:48 0 comments

darnell wrightDarnell St. Clair Wright, 32, is wanted for first-degree murder in the Oct. 2 shooting of Jefflin Beals, 25, on Crawford St. near Trinity Bellwoods Park.

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TORONTO - A deadly spat with origins in Halifax has an eastern Canada police dragnet hunting the gangster wanted for a slaying in Toronto.

Toronto Police said Wednesday Darnell St. Clair Wright, 32, is wanted for first-degree murder in the Oct. 2 shooting of Jefflin Beals, 25, on Crawford St. at Lobb Ave., near Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Homicide Det.-Sgt. Wayne Banks said the two men had an ongoing dispute stretching back at least to 2009, when Beals was a target of a drive-by shooting in Halifax.

The father of two wasn’t injured in that attack and he refused to co-operate with police.

Banks said he’s still not yet clear about the motive of the murder, whether it was personal or gang-related.

Police said Beals, was in a friend’s car when a gunman approached on Crawford St. and opened fire.

Beals got out of the car and stumbled to a lane between two homes, but he died by the time emergency crews found him.

The victim had been staying with friends in Peel after arriving in the city just a few days before he was gunned down in the usually quiet area of west Toronto.

Banks said the gang Wright belongs to — the North Preston Finest — is suspected to be involved in the 2009 drive-by, but it’s unclear if the suspect was involved in that shooting.

“We believe he (Beals) was set up — that Wright found out he was in Toronto and that he was set up to be at that location,” Banks alleged.

The location of the murder, a residential street, “there’s no way it was a chance meeting, say like a night club or somewhere like that,” Banks said.

“He was there for a reason and they were waiting for him.”

But Banks doesn’t know yet what lured Beals to the spot.

He warns anyone who helped set up the ambush or is now hiding Wright will face charges.

“This isn’t just about arresting Darnell, this will be finding out anybody involved in the planning of it and anybody involved in the aiding and abetting after it,” he said.

Banks said there’s conflicting street information that Wright is in Halifax, and “we’re hearing information that he’s still in the city.”

Wright is considered dangerous, he said.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

“El Gallito” or “The Little Rooster”. Heavily tattooed, El Gallito appears more mature than his age, prosecutors said. State Attorney General Gaspar Garcia Torres said the boy claimed to have been in charge of the lucrative Isla Mujeres drug market

Posted On 09:22 0 comments

 

Mexican police arrest 15-year-old alleged drug-gang operator in murders of 2 women  Prosecutors said Saturday that a 15-year-old boy has confessed to running a drug trafficking gang on the Mexican resort island of Isla Mujeres and murdering two women who reportedly worked as drug dealers. It was the second time in less than a year that an extremely young male has been detained as a purported drug gang killer in Mexico. Last November, soldiers arrested a 14-year-old U.S. citizen who confessed to killing four people whose beheaded bodies were found hanging from a bridge. Comments Weigh InCorrections? Mexican officials say the involvement of youths in such crimes reflects the difficulty drug cartels are having in recruiting adults, but it also raise fears that Mexico’s drug violence may have accustomed young people to extreme levels of violence. The Isla Mujeres cases involve a youth who prosecutors in the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo identified only by his nickname, “El Gallito” or “The Little Rooster”. Heavily tattooed, El Gallito appears more mature than his age, prosecutors said. State Attorney General Gaspar Garcia Torres said the boy claimed to have been in charge of the lucrative Isla Mujeres drug market for a local gang known as “Los Pelones,” equivalent to the Bald or Shaved Heads. The gang is reputedly fighting the Zetas cartel for control of the area around the coastal resort of Cancun. A spokesman for the prosecutors office said the boy told investigators that he and two older associates slashed the throats of the two women at a hotel on Isla Mujeres. Their women’s bodies were found before dawn Thursday, and El Gallito was detained Friday. “He confessed to having full participation in carrying out these deeds, and from the start he claimed to have been in charge of drug sales in the area, in this case for the Pelones, and that his duties were to receive the drugs,” said the spokesman, who was not allowed to be quoted by name. The women were purportedly killed after they betrayed the Pelones gang by selling drugs they obtained from other sources. The boy was turned over to a youthful offender facility to face homicide charges. Because of his age, he cannot be identified or tried as an adult. In most parts of Mexico, youths are tried and sentenced in juvenile courts, but cannot be held after they turn 18. Last year’s case involved a 14-year-old U.S. citizen, who was identified by his family as Edgar Jimenez Lugo, known as “El Ponchis.” He was sentenced in July to three years in prison for homicide, kidnapping and drug and weapons possession. It was the maximum sentenced allowed for a minor. Authorities say the teenager confessed to working for the South Pacific cartel, which is allegedly led by Hector Beltran Leyva.


Man dead after N. Portland gang shooting

Posted On 09:14 0 comments

 

A man who suffered life-threatening injuries in a gang-related shooting in North Portland Friday night died early Monday morning. An autopsy was planned for Monday for Deandre Clark, 25, according to Lt. Robert King. Police responded just after 10 p.m. to a shots fired call near N Haight Avenue and N Emerson Street, according to King. Officers arrived to find a group gathered in the street around a man who had been shot. Medical crews arrived and took Clark to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police set up a perimeter around the scene and called in a K-9 unit to assist with the search, but did not find any suspects.


Brooklyn Woman's Death Result Of Feud Between Gangs

Posted On 09:07 0 comments

 

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Police officers on rooftops (NBC New York)
As police try to find the suspect whoseFriday afternoon shooting from a Brooklyn rooftop left a woman dead and another woman and an 11-year-old girl injured, the slain woman's family remains bereft. Zurana Horton, 34, was killed when picking up a child from P.S. 298 in Brownsville, at Pitkin Avenue and Watkins Street, and apparently died trying to shield other youngsters. One of Horton's children told the Post that she actually walked by the crime scene, not realizing her mother was the victim, "I was wondering where my mother was. I found out later [the body] was my mother. My little sister [Alexis] said, ‘Mommy died. She got shot.’"

 

According to the Post, the violence is due to a feud "stemmed from an ongoing beef between two warring factions, the Hoodstars and the Waves. Members of both gangs told The Post that they consider themselves the modern-day Bloods and Crips -- and sources say their violent feud has been raging for several years." Apparently residents are too afraid to call 911 and say the violence is worse at night, when the gangster "do not hesitate" to shoot.

While neighbors said that Horton, who had 13 living children (a 14th died of pneumonia a few years ago), was pregnant, but the ME's office said that she was not. Still, the tragedy is huge, as her children  will be split up between Horton's mother and her ex-boyfriend, Oniel Vaughn, the father of eight of the children,who told the Daily News, "She gave her life for those kids, and she would have done it all again because that's just the kind of person she was. She was worried about the violence. She said she wanted to move and buy a house for her kids. Those kids were her life." He added, "I didn't tell the younger kids yet. The older ones know. They're devastated."


Police smash gun supply ring operating out of tiny suburban tobacco shop

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POLICE have smashed an alleged black market gun supply ring operating out of a tiny suburban tobacco shop. Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad detectives arrested the alleged leaders of the syndicate last week after a covert buy-up of the weapons and ammunition. The men allegedly used a Lakemba tobacconist shop, King of the Pack, as a front. Detectives are testing three firearms that the police bought to see if they had been used in any crimes, documents tendered in court reveal. George Boulos, 27, and Said Rawdah, 36, charged with numerous offences relating to possessing and supplying illegal firearms, were refused bail in court on Friday. Tobacconist Ayman Said, 50, charged with similar offences, was also refused bail. Instead of an undercover detective, police from Strike Force Snaidero enlisted a "registered source" who was given pre-counted "buy money" to purchase weapons. The court heard that on July 18 the registered police source, known only by a code name, went to the tobacconist and asked the owner, Ayman Said, if he could buy a gun. They negotiated a price of $5000, with Said allegedly telling the buyer the next step would be introducing him to a dealer. The following Monday, police say their source was introduced to Rawdah - the alleged dealer - who handed over a Smith and Wesson .38 revolver for $5000. Police later found it had been in circulation for more than 13 years. It was reported stolen from a break and enter on January 31, 1998.   On August 20, the informant went back to the tobacco shop and, after asking for more guns, was introduced to Boulos, of Padstow, who told the informant he had access to plenty more weapons, including military-grade firearms, the court heard. "Those firearms were a 9mm pistol, a .22 calibre pistol, an AK-47 machinegun and numerous SKS assault rifles," police facts state. "Twelve days later, the pair met at Lakemba railway carpark, where for $13,000 the police source allegedly received a .22mm Jennings pistol, a 7.62mm pistol and ammunition. The buyer viewed the guns in a white van which was driven by an unknown man who was summoned with a phone call from Boulos, Burwood Local Court heard. Last Thursday, police arrested the trio at various locations.   All three will reappear in court in December.


Florida a top source of guns linked to crimes in other states

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2,000 Florida guns last year were linked to crimes committed around the country, and experts say they likely came from the cars and homes of law-abiding Floridians. In 2010, law-enforcement officers around the country traced 2,251 crime guns to Florida, one of the states with the most guns traced in out-of-state crimes. It follows Georgia's 2,568 guns and Texas' 2,301, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Related Top states for crime guns Broward crime rises in first half of 2011 Video: Crimes caught on camera Photos Close calls: Crime artist's sketches Topics Personal Weapon Control Gun Control Interior Policy See more topics » That's because Florida has a huge number of gun owners, and burglars find the weapons when breaking into their homes and cars, authorities said. Video: Mother of pit bull attack victim discusses son's condition "In almost any burglary to a residence, a gun will turn up," Boynton Beach Police Sgt. Sedrick Aiken said. "There's a lot of stolen guns out there." In fact, South Florida last year had the most reported stolen guns in the state. That's 2,310 guns reported stolen in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, according to state records. The number does not include guns reported stolen and then recovered. Typical was the recent arrest of two suspects in Boca Raton, accused of taking $3,750 worth of hunting guns in the burglary of a home in Jupiter. The owner of the guns told police he kept them in a gun safe that was broken into. Richard Sasso, 23, and a 17-year-old boy were arrested in connection with the September burglary. The Sun Sentinel is not naming the juvenile because of his age. He told police they traded the guns for marijuana. It's unclear where the guns ended up. Stolen guns often are sold to criminals, who may end up crossing state lines, experts said. Florida guns also end up in the wrong hands in other states when people come to Florida because gun laws here are more relaxed, Aiken said. Unlike New York, for example, Florida does not require gun buyers to get a permit and allows people convicted of violent misdemeanors to own a gun. Florida also prohibits municipalities from enacting their own gun-control measures. New York is where most of Florida's crime guns — 358 — ended up last year. Not all guns used in crimes are traced through ATF, and not all guns traced are directly used in crimes. They could be guns found at a crime scene or in the possession of a suspected criminal. Marion Hammer, spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association in Florida, said Florida's laws have nothing to do with guns turning up in out-of-state crimes. Many state laws regulate who can sell a gun and to whom a gun can be sold, she said. "If anything, it's lax law enforcement," Hammer said. "I don't know if it's ATF or [the Florida Department of Law Enforcement] or who isn't enforcing it." In December 2009, Washington, D.C., police and FBI agents arrested dozens of alleged gun traffickers and seized 123 guns in an undercover sting, according to The Washington Post. Authorities posed as gun traffickers interested in buying illegal guns to sell to Mexican cartels. In the end, 44 people were arrested in the sting, and the trafficked weapons were traced to Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky. Federal authorities blamed the out-of-state guns for much of the violent crime in the capital. Gary Kleck, professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University, said large-scale, interstate gun trafficking is rare, and often overblown by politicians who want to blame crime on outside factors. Rarely do criminals travel to Florida because they think it's easier to buy guns down South, he said. "This is not about gun trafficking. It's interstate migration," said Kleck, who has interviewed convicted felons and studied the movement of crime guns across state lines. The most common scenario is when someone buys a gun legally in Florida, moves out of state and has his or her weapon stolen in a home burglary. Or a burglar in Florida steals a homeowner's guns and sells it to a someone in another state. "The chances of a burglar coming across a gun here is that much greater than in other states," he said.


Monday, 24 October 2011

Hells Angel biker rammed intentionally, dragged a mile by East Bay Paratransit bus in San Leandro

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A paratransit bus driver intentionally rammed a Hells Angels biker on Interstate 580, and then dragged him about a mile, killing him, a CHP spokesman said. The biker, who has not been identified, was traveling eastbound on I-580 in San Leandro near Grand Avenue with a small group of Hells Angels members before 4 p.m. when an altercation began, said CHP Sgt. Trent Cross. After being hit, the motorcyclist and his bike were dragged for about a mile, said San Leandro police Lt. Greg Lemmon. Eventually, the biker was released from under the East Bay Paratransit bus, but the driver kept dragging the motorcycle, which was wedged underneath the front grill, until the vehicle stopped on the shoulder just east of the 150th Avenue onramp. The Hells Angels biker was flown to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, where he was pronounced dead, Lemmon said. The bus driver has been arrested, Lemmon said. Police are interviewing four witnesses who saw the incident. "The preliminary information they are providing was that it wasn't an accident, it was an intentional ramming," Lemmon said. All eastbound lanes were closed from Grand Avenue to 150th Avenue so police could conduct a homicide investigation over a large swath of freeway, Cross said. The lanes were expected to remain closed until 10 or 11 p.m., he said, and there were significant traffic delays in the area. An East Bay Paratransit manager referred calls to First Transit, a Advertisement contract agency that operates the bus. The First Transit representative did not return calls. No passengers were on board the bus during the collision, said San Leandro police Sgt. Doug Calcagno. The paratransit bus provides door-to-door service for people unable to ride regular public transit because of disabilities. It has been a tragic autumn for the Hells Angels motorcycle club. San Jose chapter President Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew was killed outside a Nevada casino last month. At his packed funeral Oct. 15, Steve Tausan, a 52-year-old Hells Angels enforcer and friend of Pettigrew's, was shot dead.


Stockton search for Hells Angels slaying suspect comes up empty

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A man suspected of fatally shooting a member of the Hells Angels at a recent funeral in San Jose was not holed up in a Stockton home Saturday as police had believed. Steve Ruiz, 38, of San Jose is being sought for allegedly shooting and killing fellow Hells Angels member Steve Tausan, 52, after the two fought Oct. 15 at a funeral for a slain motorcycle club member, according to police. Police had received information that Ruiz had been hiding out at the three-bedroom home on the 3700 block of McDougald Boulevard in Stockton, said San Jose police Sgt Jason Dwyer. Investigators asked Stockton police and the San Joaquin County sheriff's office to serve a search warrant for the home, but both agencies were unavailable, Dwyer said. As a result, San Jose police drove tactical vehicles to the scene. Neighbors said they had seen San Jose police at the scene, calling out to someone in the home to surrender. But after storming the home and firing tear gas at about 8 p.m. Saturday, police came up empty-handed and left. The occupants of the home "are new to the area or they're new to the house" after moving in several months ago, said Noelia Trelles, whose sister-in-law lives next door. "I think we live in a pretty crazy world, but it's still crazy that it's happening in the neighborhood," Trelles said. Ruiz and Tausan were among thousands of Hells Angels members who attended a funeral for Jeffrey Pettigrew, president of the San Jose chapter of the motorcycle club, at the Oak Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park on Curtner Avenue. After the shooting, Ruiz, 38, of San Jose disappeared and one or more people tampered with the crime scene, washing away bloodstains and removing evidence of the shooting, police said. Police found Ruiz's motorcycle at the funeral, Lt. Alan Cavallo said. Ruiz has not come to claim it. Authorities initially speculated that it was possible Ruiz had been killed and possibly buried along with Pettigrew. Investigators obtained a search warrant to dig up Pettigrew's grave, but Ruiz's remains were not found, Cavallo said. But now investigators say they have proof that Ruiz is alive and "actively evading law enforcement," Dwyer said. Ruiz is believed to have two black eyes "and other facial injuries consistent with being in a fight," Dwyer said. Police said Ruiz is in the company of Christel Renee Trujillo, 42, also known as Christel Renee Ferguson, and that her life "is now in danger." The two are possibly traveling in a gold or pewter Chevrolet Suburban. No year of the vehicle or license plate number was available. Ruiz has family and associates in Arizona and New York and may try to contact them, Dwyer said. Police said Pettigrew was shot and killed Sept. 23 by Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez, an alleged member of the rival Vagos motorcycle gang, at John Ascuaga's Nugget casino in Sparks, Nev. Gonzalez, 53, of San Jose was arrested by a UCSF police officer in San Francisco six days later. Tausan and the manager of the Pink Poodle, a strip club west of San Jose, were tried for murder in 1999 in the beating death of a club customer two years earlier. They were acquitted on grounds of self-defense.


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

identified a suspect in the slaying of a high-ranking member of the Hells Angels who was shot and killed at a funeral

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identified a suspect in the slaying of a high-ranking member of the Hells Angels who was shot and killed at a funeral for another member in Northern California. San Jose police say Steven Ruiz, also a member of the motorcycle gang, shot and killed 52-year-old Steve Tausan on Saturday during a fight at the funeral for Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew. About 3,000 people attended the ceremony at Oak Hill Memorial Park. On Tuesday, police said Ruiz was fighting with a member of the gang when he was knocked to the ground. Tausan apparently became involved and Ruiz drew a handgun and shot Tausan. Ruiz is now missing. Investigators say they dug up Pettigrew's grave to see if Ruiz may have been killed and buried there, but didn't find anything.


Jury hands down conviction in Hells Angels motorcycle theft

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A man associated with the Hells Angels motorcycle club was found guilty Monday of vehicle theft, Ventura County prosecutors said. Aaron McIntosh, 39, of Ventura stole the motorcycle of a former Hells Angels member from the backyard of his home, authorities said. He committed the theft on behalf of the Hells Angels to punish the former member, authorities said. McIntosh also was convicted of a count of committing a criminal felony while participating in a criminal street gang, authorities said. McIntosh faces a maximum sentence of 13 years and eight months in prison. A sentencing date has yet to be set.


Authorities Dig up Hells Angels Member's Grave

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Authorities who feared quick justice among bikers dug up the grave of a Hells Angels member to look for the body of a Northern California man suspected of killing another gang member during a shootout at a weekend funeral, a police spokesman said Tuesday. San Jose police have an arrest warrant for Steven Ruiz, a member of the Hells Angels' Santa Cruz chapter. He's suspected of fatally shooting Steve Tausan after a fight broke out at Saturday's funeral for Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew, who had been the president of the gang's San Jose chapter. Ruiz and Tausan disappeared from the Oak Hill Memorial Park cemetery shortly after the Saturday afternoon shooting, which sent thousands of mourners fleeing in panic AP San Jose Police Chief Chris Moore, right, and... View Full Caption Tausan was taken by a private vehicle to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Witnesses saw Ruiz bundled into a car and driven away from the cemetery, but police haven't been able to locate him and his Harley Davidson motorcycle was left behind hours after the last mourner left the cemetery, San Jose police spokesman Jose Garcia said. Police obtained a warrant to dig up Pettigrew's grave in search of Ruiz's body and other evidence, Garcia said. A backhoe was used to remove a large cement fixture over the grave and the soil above the coffin was removed, he said. When nothing was found, the grave was refilled and the cement slab affixed over the site. "The grave was not desecrated," Garcia said. Police felt it necessary to search the grave because Hells Angels members, relatives and others poured dirt over the casket rather than the cemetery staff, which is the usual custom, Garcia said. The investigation was hindered even more by the scrubbing of the crime scene of blood. In addition, no bullet casings were found. "The crime scene was washed down with water," Garcia said. Authorities named Ruiz a suspect on Tuesday and said they would continue searching for him. Pettigrew was shot and killed last month during a brawl with a rival biker gang at a Nevada casino.


Monday, 17 October 2011

Mexico opposition may work with criminals

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Mexican President Felipe Calderon has said politicians in the main opposition party may consider deals with criminals, opening an inflammatory new front in the nation's presidential election campaign. Calderon's blunt remarks about the centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which is favored to win the July 1, 2012 election, are unusual in a country where the president is expected to stay largely aloof from party politics. Centering on the policy that has dominated his presidency -- an aggressive army-led crackdown on drug cartels -- his comments risk polarizing opinion on how to restore stability to Mexico, where the drug war has killed 44,000 in five years. Leading members of Calderon's conservative National Action Party (PAN), other PRI opponents and political analysts have accused the once-dominant party of making secret deals with drug cartels in the past to keep the peace in Mexico. In a weekend New York Times interview published a day after he said a state governed by the PRI had been left in the hands of a drug gang, Calderon was asked whether the opposition party might pursue a corrupt relationship with organized crime. "There are many in the PRI who think the deals of the past would work now. I don't see what deal could be done, but that is the mentality many of them have," said Calderon, whom the law prevents from seeking a second six-year term. Calderon's office later issued a statement saying the newspaper had expressly noted when posing the question that the PRI had a reputation for making deals with organized crime. His office underlined that the president recognized many in the PRI did not favor this approach and supported his policy. Analysts say Calderon is bitterly opposed to the PRI, which dominated Mexico for seven decades until PAN won the presidency in 2000 under its candidate Vicente Fox. The tide of drug war killings has eroded support for the PAN, and the PRI's main hopeful, the telegenic former governor of the State of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, has around twice the support of his nearest rival. NAMING NAMES The PRI has attacked Calderon for the spiraling death toll, and analysts said the president's remarks were tailored for the election, putting in jeopardy any hope of passing many pending reforms that have been stalled in Congress. "This is really serious," Javier Oliva, a political scientist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), said of Calderon's comments about the PRI. "The president has an obligation to prove this now. To name names." "The president is regressing into a negative stance of being president of the PAN, and not president of Mexico." The Times noted that Calderon "looked disgusted at the mere mention of the PRI" during the interview. The statement issued by his office said Calderon mentioned the ex-PRI governor of Nuevo Leon state, Socrates Rizzo, as someone who had pointed to the existence of such pacts. Rizzo's comments, which were reported early this year, were rejected by leading PRI figures at the time. The PRI's national chairman, Humberto Moreira, told El Universal's Sunday newspaper his party did not want to make deals with organized crime and that Calderon was trying to exploit the issue of public security for political ends.


Mexico’s military says soldiers freed 61 men being held captive by the Zetas drug cartel for use as forced labor

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Mexico’s military says soldiers freed 61 men being held captive by the Zetas drug cartel for use as forced labor. The army says the men were found guarded by three Zetas kidnappers in a safe house in the border city of Piedras Negras on Saturday. Soldiers made the discovery during a security sweep in the area that also turned up an abandoned truck filled with 6 tons of marijuana. Loading... Comments Weigh InCorrections? In a press conference Sunday, Gen. Luis Crescencio Sandoval Gonzalez said one of the captives was from Honduras and others were from various parts of Mexico. He said the three kidnappers were arrested. Piedras Negras sits across the border from Eagle Pass, Texas, in the Mexican state of Coahuila, which has been the scene of ongoing battles between drug gangs.


Four former members of the Colombian army's special forces are training members of Los Zetas

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Four former members of the Colombian army's special forces are training members of Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent drug cartel, the Bogota daily El Tiempo reported Sunday. The retired soldiers - two captains and two sergeants - served time in Colombia for human rights violations. "The identities of the soldiers have not been released because charges have not been filed against them," El Tiempo said, adding that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Mexican police and Colombian police were tracking their movements.


You shoot a police officer, you’re going to get shot back at

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A little before dawn on a sticky summer night in June, one of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s Ranger Reconnaissance Teams was running a clandestine operation along the Rio Grande when its surveillance squad came across a Dodge Durango pickup truck loaded with bales of Mexican marijuana. Bad idea, messing with Texas. 37 Comments Weigh InCorrections? inShare Gallery  The Texas governor is seeking the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. Gallery  Mexico's ongoing drug war continues to claim lives and disrupt order in the country. More On This Story Read more on PostPolitics.com Rick Perry a hawk on Texas border security Perry and Romney dominate GOP fundraising Cain defends ‘9-9-9’ tax overhaul plan View all Items in this Story The lawmen chased the truck along the river, with a Texas Department of Public Safety helicopter swooping overhead and Texas game wardens roaring down the Rio Grande in boats, state authorities said. In minutes, the traffickers had ditched the truck in the muddy water and were rafting the dope back to Mexico. Then the shooting started. Alone among his Republican rivals running for president, the Texas governor has a small army at his disposal. Over the past three years, he has deployed it along his southern flank in a secretive, military-style campaign that his supporters deem absolutely necessary and successful and that his critics call an overzealous, expensive and mostly ineffective political stunt. A hawk when it comes to Mexican cartels, Perry said in New Hampshire this month that as president he would consider sending U.S. troops into Mexico to combat drug violence there and stop it from spilling into the United States. The June incident along the Rio Grande was typical of Perry’s border security campaign: a lot of swagger, with mixed results. The initial news release said the Texas Rangers team came “under heavy fire” by members of the Gulf cartel, though officials later said it was “four to six shots.” The Texas Rangers and their multi-agency task force, which included U.S. Border Patrol agents, returned fire — big time — lighting up the Mexican riverbank with 300 rounds. “You shoot a police officer, you’re going to get shot back at,” said Steven McCraw, Perry’s homeland security chief and director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.


Frightening 'Drug Threat Assessment' for the USA and Mexico

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The National Drug Intelligence Center, a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice, recently released a document entitled the "National Drug Threat Assessment 2011."  You can read the document online here.  The document paints a gloomy picture for both the U.S. and Mexico. The Assessment's Executive Summary begins: "The illicit trafficking and abuse of drugs present a challenging, dynamic threat to the United States.  Overall demand is rising, largely supplied by illicit drugs smuggled to U.S. markets by major transnational criminal organizations (TCOs).  Changing conditions continue to alter patterns in drug production, trafficking, and abuse. Traffickers are responding to government counterdrug efforts by modifying their interrelationships, altering drug production levels, and adjusting their trafficking routes and methods. Major Mexican-based TCOs continue to solidify their dominance over the wholesale illicit drug trade as they control the movement of most of the foreign-produced drug supply across the U.S. Southwest Border. "The estimated economic cost of illicit drug use to society for 2007 was more than $193 billion...." One of the contributing factors is the high demand for drugs in the United States. This high demand finances the drug cartels, allowing them to spend more and expand their operations.   According to the 2011 Assessment, that demand is growing. The document reports that "The abuse of several major illicit drugs, including heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine, appears to be increasing, especially among the young."  Elsewhere it says that "Overall drug availability is increasing."  One exception to this tendency is cocaine - its availability and use are down.   The document states that "The Southwest Border remains the primary gateway for moving illicit drugs into the United States.  Most illicit drugs available in the United States are smuggled overland across the Southwest Border...."  The Southwest Border is comprised of the southern borders of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas with Mexico. Then there is the tunneling: "Despite enhanced detection efforts and better countermeasures, Mexican drug traffickers will continue to build tunnels under the Southwest Border." In the U.S., Mexican cartels have cornered the market.  The 2011 Assessment states that "Mexican-based TCOs [transnational crime organizations] dominate the supply, trafficking, and wholesale distribution of most illicit drugs in the United States."  Elsewhere, it predicts that "Major Mexican-based TCOs and their associates are solidifying their dominance of the U.S. wholesale drug trade and will maintain their reign for the foreseeable future." The Mexican cartels are active in many urban areas.  The Assessment calculates that "Mexican-based TCOs were operating in more than a thousand U.S. cities during 2009 and 2010...." And, "Mexican-based trafficking organizations control access to the U.S.-Mexico border, the primary gateway for moving the bulk of illicit drugs into the United States.  The organizations control, simultaneously use, or are competing for control of various smuggling corridors that they use to regulate drug flow across the border. The value they attach to controlling border access is demonstrated by the ferocity with which several rival TCOs are fighting over control of key corridors, or ‘plazas.'" The document says that seven major Mexican drug cartels are supplying the United States, but that "... the Sinaloa Cartel is preeminent - its members traffic all major illicit drugs of abuse, and its extensive distribution network supplies drugs to all regions of the United States." U.S.-based gangs are involved in the distribution north of the border: "The threat posed by gang involvement in drug trafficking is increasing, particularly in the Southwest Region. With gangs already the dominant retail drug suppliers in major and midsized cities, some gang members are solidifying their ties to Mexican TCOs to bolster their involvement in wholesale smuggling, internal distribution, and control of the retail trade." The Assessment reports that "Criminal gangs - that is street, prison, and outlaw motorcycle gangs - remain in control of most of the retail distribution of drugs throughout much of the United States, particularly in major and midsize cities." The document predicts that "Collaboration between U.S. gangs and Mexican-based TCOs will continue to increase, facilitating wholesale drug trafficking into and within the United States.  Most collaboration occurs in cities along the U.S.-Mexico border, although some occurs in other regions of the country. Some U.S.-based gangs in the Southwest Border region also operate in Mexico, facilitating the smuggling of illicit drugs across the border." The 2011 Assessment paints a gloomy picture of the drug trafficking situation, drug cartels, and the safety and security of both the U.S. and Mexico.


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Tony Mokbel supergrass set for $1 million reward

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THE drug dealer who dobbed in crime boss Tony Mokbel is likely to be paid Victoria's first $1 million reward. He has already escaped being charged over his prominent role in Mokbel's gang, which included helping Mokbel organise a false passport to flee Australia. But veteran underworld figure Billy Longley yesterday warned the "grass" who fingered Mokbel would have to keep looking over his shoulder for the rest of his life. "A lot of people have gone to jail because of him, including Mokbel," Mr Longley said. "Such people have long memories and will want revenge." The previous biggest amount paid out by Victoria Police was a $100,000 reward in 1991. There are nine other $1 million rewards up for grabs at present. The police informer in the Mokbel case, codenamed 3030, was a key member of Mokbel's drug syndicate, known as The Company, as well as a drug user. Fat Tony doomed by his greed for speed Fat Tony doomed by his greed for speed Herald Sun, 1 hour ago Fat Tony drops legal bid for freedom Courier Mail, 1 day ago Fight to seize Mokbel's drug millions Herald Sun, 4 Oct 2011 Prosecutors set sights on Mokbel millions Courier Mail, 4 Oct 2011 Man jailed for helping Mokbel escape Herald Sun, 5 Sep 2011 He turned on Mokbel, and his other fellow gang members, soon after Victoria Police offered the $1 million bounty to find Mokbel in April 2007. Purana gangland killing taskforce detectives persuaded 3030 to work for them inside The Company. Information provided by 3030 resulted in multiple arrests of members of The Company, including Mokbel in Greece on June 5, 2007. The informer is a significant step closer to being paid the $1 million, as Mokbel is due in court tomorrow for a pre-sentence hearing. Mokbel pleaded guilty in April to drug charges relating to his masterminding The Company while on the run in Victoria and Greece. A Victoria Police spokesman yesterday confirmed the process of deciding on the reward would begin at the end of a 28-day appeal period after Mokbel's sentencing. Supreme Court judge Justice Betty King already has described 3030's assistance to police as "invaluable". And police have paid tribute to 3030, saying he played a vital role in helping them to locate and arrest Mokbel. Apart from providing telephone numbers so police could bug phones of Company members, including Mokbel's, 3030 helped identify people in The Company's business as well as the houses, hotels and storages they were using. Information provided to Purana by 3030 enabled officers to put recording and listening devices in The Company's cars, houses and storages, as well as bug phones. He also assisted police in introducing undercover operatives into The Company. With 3030's co-operation, Purana detectives were able to find Mokbel and arrest nine of The Company gang members in Melbourne on the same day Mokbel was picked up in Greece. Raids on Victorian properties associated with The Company led to the seizure of amphetamines, cocaine, precursor chemicals used to make amphetamines, drug-making equipment valued at more than $500,000, and almost $800,000 in cash. The informer also helped police to identify properties The Company bought with drug money, which enabled their seizure. Lawyers acting for Joseph Mansour, one of The Company members convicted as a result of 3030 turning police informer, queried the lack of charges against 3030. In jailing Mansour for 10 years, Justice King said: "Your counsel referred to the fact 3030 is not charged in respect of these activities, which is not surprising, as a number of these activities that he undertook were at the behest of the police to gather evidence. "His assistance in identifying and breaking this very large conspiracy could be described as invaluable."


top bike-club enforcer nicknamed "Mr. 187'' after the state penal code number for murder was gunned down Saturday in front of stunned spectators.

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Despite a heavy police presence at a Hells Angels funeral Saturday, a top bike-club enforcer nicknamed "Mr. 187'' after the state penal code number for murder was gunned down Saturday in front of stunned spectators. Multiple sources told this newspaper the victim was Steve Tausan, a notorious sergeant-at-arms for the Santa Cruz chapter of the club suspected of killing another biker years ago. Sources said the incident Saturday was an inter-club squabble set off when Tausan punched a fellow biker and the biker retaliated by shooting him. A photographer for this newspaper saw other Hells Angels jump the shooter. Police declined to comment, saying only that there had been a shooting at the Oak Hill Cemetery. The funeral at the cemetery was for fellow Hells Angel Jethro Pettigrew, president of the San Jose chapter of the club, who was shot in a Sparks, Nev., casino by a member of the rival Vagos club. Townsend told a reporter that shortly after Pettigrew was killed that he had received death threats. Police and Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office are now guarding the Hells Angels headquarters in San Jose, as well as other locations where bikers gather.


Hells Angels and Bandidos club members ''own nightspots in Thailand tourist centres that have become popular haunts for bikies worldwide

Posted On 18:42 0 comments

 

Australian bikies with dubious reputations are now infiltrating Thailand and gang members have opened businesses on Phuket, reports an Australian newspaper. Hells Angels and Bandidos club members ''own nightspots in Thailand tourist centres that have become popular haunts for bikies worldwide,'' reports the Courier-Mail newspaper, which is based in the northern Australian state of Queensland. Members of the Bandidos - who acquired four new chapters in Indonesia during ''Bandidos Bali Bike Week'' earlier this year - are looking to set up business as far afield as Japan, a Queensland police source told the newspaper. Thailand was significant as a source of chemicals for drug manufacture and trafficking and scrutiny of the travels of Gold Coast bikies' travel would show ''a lot of trips'' to the country, the officer said. ''A lot of them are looking into Thailand - it gives them the opportunity to source pharmaceuticals. Hells Angels and Bandidos have got premises in Thailand. ''Of course, the Finks [another prominent bikie club] can't be left behind and they're looking too.'' The newspaper names one bar in Patong and another on Koh Samui as having been purchased by bikies with Hells Angels connections. The newspaper report on bikie connections on Phuket and in Asia is part of a series on the activities of Australian gangs at home and overseas. It's titled 'Bikie Inc, Organised Crime on the Glitter Strip.' Some have been involved in alleged property scams on Phuket, the report says. Danish, British and Norwegian bikie gang members have also been connected to the activities of Australian gang members, the report adds. Phuket expat motorcycle riders have always distanced themselves from gang activities and drugs and drawn the distinction between bikers and ''bikies.''


Hells Angel member killed at San Jose funeral for fellow biker

Posted On 18:39 0 comments

 

Hells Angels member was fatally shot Saturday at the San Jose funeral for a fellow biker who was killed last month at a Nevada casino, police said. The victim, who police have not identified, was shot shortly before 1 p.m. and taken to a hospital where he died about an hour later, said San Jose police spokesman Jose Garcia. No suspect has been arrested and the shooting remains under investigation. The shooting occurred at the funeral for Jeffrey Pettigrew, 51, president of the San Jose chapter of the Hells Angels, authorities said. The service was held at the Oak Hill Funeral Home & Memorial Park and drew an estimated 4,000 people. Pettigrew was attending a motorcycle festival last month when he was shot four times in the back by a member of the rival Vagos motorcycle gang during a brawl at a casino in Sparks, Nev. Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez of San Jose was arrested on suspicion of murder. Ten Vagos members were arrested earlier this month on suspicion of drug trafficking and a rash of violence during law enforcement raids throughout the Inland Empire. Garcia said he couldn't speculate whether the San Jose shooting was related to rivalries between the motorcycle gangs. Anticipating a large turnout, police were in the area around the cemetery as a precaution, patrolling and helping with traffic. Garcia declined to say whether police were at the funeral. "We had no credible information suggesting there would be violence," he said.


just 13 years old and yet he poses brazenly with a deadly sawn-off shotgun during a 10-day robbery spree which brought terror to a city.

Posted On 06:28 0 comments

He is just 13 years old and yet he poses brazenly with a deadly sawn-off shotgun during a 10-day robbery spree which brought terror to a city.

Police found pictures of Jobe Kilbride brandishing the gun that his friends had taken on his mobile phone.

The teenage thug was the youngest of a gang of five who went on a terrifying 10-day robbery spree across Liverpool in April and May this year.

Bringing fear to the streets: Gun gang member Jobe Kilbride, 13, with the shotgun used by him and others when they robbed taxis and shops

Bringing fear to the streets: Gun gang member Jobe Kilbride, 13, with the shotgun used by him and others when they robbed taxis and shops

During their rampage the gang, whose members' ages ranged from 13 to 18, targeted taxi drivers and shopkeepers and one man was shot.

Today, they were starting a total of more than 20 years behind bars after police rounded them up.

 

 

Ringleader Bradley Beveridge, 18, has been on the police radar since his early teens and has already racked up a host of convictions.

He yelled abuse at Judge Mark Brown as he was taken out of court after being locked up indefinitely.

Jailed: Kilbride was locked up for four years for his part in the armed robberies

Jailed: Kilbride was locked up for four years for his part in the armed robberies

Campaign of fear: The gang's first crime was robbing a Quickhomesave store in Selwyn Street, Walton

Campaign of fear: The gang's first crime was robbing a Quickhomesave store in Selwyn Street, Walton

Violent rampage: The boys threatened staff with a shotgun at the All in One convenience store in Huyton and stole cash and cigarettes

Violent rampage: The boys threatened staff with a shotgun at the All in One convenience store in Huyton and stole cash and cigarettes

Kilbride was given four years while his older brother Declan, 16, was locked up for nine years. Declan Culshaw, the 15-year-old who acted as look-out in the gang's final robbery, was given five years while the final gang member, 14-year-old Dylan Currie, was jailed for six years.

The judge lifted the normal anonymity restriction to allow the press to name the gang, locked up for a raft of robbery and gun convictions.

Their spree was opportunistic, their faces covered by hoods or simply by pulling their jumpers up as they prowled the streets with a loaded shotgun.

It began just before 1am on Saturday April 30 when a private hire taxi driver went to pick up a fare on Daneville Road, Norris Green.

When he pulled up he was faced with three figures with a shotgun who stole his takings and his cab, a silver Ford Mondeo, dumping it less than half-a-mile away.

At around 1am the following morning, Sunday May 1, another private hire driver - this time in a silver Ford Focus - became the gang's next victim.

Jailed: Jobe Kilbridge (left) was given a sentence of four years
14-year-old Dylan Currie (right) was jailed for six years

Jailed: Jobe Kilbridge (left) was given a sentence of four years, while 14-year-old Dylan Currie (right) was jailed for six years

He picked up three youths on Scargreen Avenue, Norris Green, and was told to take them to Delamore Street, in Anfield.

As they neared their destination, one of the thugs reached through from the back, grabbing the handbrake while the driver had a shotgun shoved in his face.

Again the thugs took his cash and taxi, abandoning it on Scarisbrick Road, Norris Green, 45 minutes later.

At 11.10pm the same day two youths with a shotgun burst into the Quickhomesave store, on Selwyn Street, Walton, threatened staff and fled with cash.

They lay low for three days before striking again at the All in One convenience store on Tarbock Road, Huyton, again threatening staff with a shotgun and helping themselves to cash and cigarettes.

Declan Kilbride (left) was locked up for nine years
Declan Culshaw (right), who acted as look-out in the gang's final robbery, was given five years

Declan Kilbride (left) was locked up for nine years and Declan Culshaw (right), who acted as look-out in the gang's final robbery, was given five years

The last two crimes happened within minutes of each other at around 10.15pm on May 10.

The gang stood huddled in a bus stop on Muirhead Avenue East, Norris Green, for 20 or so minutes, one by one going to peer inside the nearby All in One shop until they were sure the coast was clear.

As seen on CCTV, they filed into the shop and robbed it, leaving the lone staff member cowering in a corner.

Ringleader Bradley Beveridge, 18, has been on the police radar since his early teens

Ringleader Bradley Beveridge, 18, has been on the police radar since his early teens

As they fled across the main road into a nearby estate, they were confronted by the shop's owner who was on his way to his business after hearing what was going on.

In Winskill Road, the gang shot at Sri Lankan-born Rajeethan Pulendran and a friend when they tried to stop them, hitting the friend in the body. Thankfully he escaped the attack with only minor injuries.

Det Insp Andy O'Conner led the investigation to catch the gang for the police Matrix unit.

He said: ‘We were looking at the CCTV and when we identified our suspects you just can't believe you're looking at 13 to 14-year-old kids who are out committing armed robberies.

‘It is concerning that boys of this age have become involved in criminality with firearms.

‘Teenagers need to understand they are masters of their own destiny. At the age these kids are, they have a choice.

‘If they get involved in this type of thing, there are only two outcomes - they're either looking at a lengthy prison sentence or seeing themselves seriously injured or dead.’

The Matrix detective team was given the task of catching the gang after the Quickhomesave robbery.

Within seven days, they had their suspects locked up, charged and off the streets. That signalled the end of the robberies.

DI O'Connor said: ‘We investigated 10 offences in total that occurred across or just after the May Day bank holiday weekend.

‘Because of the forensic evidence we collected and the information that came into us from the public, we identified our suspects and in a week had enough on them to lock them up, which is where they have stayed since.’

Judge Mark Brown said: ‘This case highlights the scourge of gun crime and gang culture which we have in our society today.

'This case highlights the scourge of gun crime and gang culture which we have in our society today'



‘This is a wonderful city but there are certain parts which are blighted by a combination of gang and gun culture. 

‘The residents of those communities are sick and tired of it. Shopkeepers should be entitled to go about their work in safety and secure in the knowledge that they are not going to be held up at gunpoint by anyone like you.’

To Beveridge, of Anfield, the judge said: ‘The prosecution has described your offending as determined, ruthless villainy and I utterly agree with that description. You are an extremely impulsive individual who has no sense of danger and you have limited thinking skills. 

‘It appears to me that you have no respect for authority. It is plain to me that you have no insight at all into the impact of your offending on others. 

‘I am satisfied that you are a very dangerous individual. The sentence I am to pass is to all intents and purposes a life sentence.’

Addressing Declan Kilbride, of Huyton, Judge Brown said: ‘It seems to me that you have little respect for authority which is typical of the individuals who are part of these gangs. You have little respect for anyone. It is take take take.’ 

And to Currie, from Walton, Jobe Kilbride from Huyton and Culshaw, from Clubmoor, he said: ‘I have no doubt the general public will be shocked and horrified to hear that individuals as young as you have got involved in such a serious offence involving the use of a loaded gun. 

‘In my judgement it is a terrible, sad and disturbing state of affairs. 

‘I can only hope that during the course of the sentence you will have the opportunity to reflect upon your criminality, that you will have the chance to mature and grow up and when you are released there may still be some hope for you.’




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