MEXICO CITY (AP) — The mayor of a city south of Mexico’s capital was shot to death on Saturday, less than a day after taking office, officials said.
Gunmen opened fire on Mayor Gisela Mota at her house in the city of Temixco, said the government of Morelos state, where Temixco is located. Two presumed assailants were killed and three others detained following a pursuit, said Morelos security commissioner Jesus Alberto Capella. He said the suspects fired on federal police and soldiers from a vehicle.
On his Twitter account, Morelos Gov. Graco Ramirez attributed Mota’s killing to organized crime, without citing a particular drug cartel or gang. Cartels seeking to control communities and towns have often targeted local officials and mayors in Mexico.
Mota’s leftist Democratic Revolution Party released a statement describing her as “a strong and brave woman who on taking office as mayor, declared that her fight against crime would be frontal and direct.”
Temixco is a city of about 100,000 people neighboring Cuernavaca, a resort and industrial city which has been suffering kidnappings and extortion linked to organized crime groups. Though Cuernavaca is the capital of Morelos, Temixco is the seat of several state institutions including the Public Security Commission, which coordinates state and local police forces. Morelos also neighbors drug cartel-plagued Guerrero state.
Mota, who had been a federal congresswoman, was sworn into office on New Year’s Day. She was killed the following day.
Morelos Gov. Ramirez vowed there “would be no impunity” in her killing and promised that state officials would not cede to what he described as a “challenge from criminals.”
Federal and state forces are deployed in Cuernavaca and municipalities near the Guerrero state border in what is called operation “Delta.”
Capella did not provide more details about the attack on Mota, but said that when the suspects were detained, authorities found a 9-millimeter gun, an Uzi, ski masks and an SUV with Mexico State license plates.
Morelos Attorney General Javier Perez Duron said the detained suspects have been tied to other crimes, but declined to provide more details.
January 3, 2016
Bal Harbour, FL – The village of Bal Harbour, population 2,513, may have a tiny footprint on the northern tip of Miami Beach, but its police department had grand aspirations of going after international drug traffickers, and making a few million dollars while they were at it.
The Bal Harbour PD and the Glades County Sheriff’s Office set up a giant money laundering scheme with the purported goal of busting drug cartels and stemming the surge of drug dealing going on in the area. But it all fell apart when federal investigators and the Miami-Herald found strange things going on.
The two-year operation, which took in more than $55 million from criminal groups, resulted in zero arrests but netted $2.4 million for the police posing as money launderers. Members of the 12-person task force traveled far and wide to carry out their deals, from Los Angeles to New York to Puerto Rico.
Along the way, the small-town cops got a taste of luxury as they used the money for first-class flights, luxury hotels, Mac computers and submachine guns. Meanwhile, the Bal Harbour PD and Glades County Sheriffs were buying all sorts of fancy new equipment.
Besides these “official” uses of the money, confidential records obtained by the Miami-Herald show that officers withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars with no record of where the money went.
“They were like bank robbers with badges,” said Dennis Fitzgerald, an attorney and former Drug Enforcement Administration agent who taught undercover tactics for the U.S. State Department. “It had no law enforcement objective. The objective was to make money.”
The operation, which was not fully reported to federal authorities, funneled millions of dollars to overseas criminals and interfered with investigations being carried out on known money launderers.
The latest revelations show that at least 20 people in Venezuela were sent drug money from the Florida cops, including William Amaro Sanchez, the foreign minister under Hugo Chavez and now special assistant to President Nicolas Maduro.
They wired a total of $211,000 to Sanchez, even while the U.S. government was investigating Venezuelan government leaders involved in the drug trade. Instead of reporting their knowledge of Sanchez to federal agencies, the cops went on laundering money, taking their cut, and all the while aiding Sanchez in his machinations, which likely included political corruption.
Four other Venezuelan criminals and smugglers were major recipients of the millions being wired from the Bal Harbour PD and Glades County Sheriff’s Office, including a figure tied to one of the largest drug cartels in the hemisphere.
These actions violated strict federal bans on sending illegal money overseas, and the Florida cops never investigated the backgrounds of the people receiving their laundered drug money.
“I can’t think of a more podunk town than Bal Harbour — not in a bad way. But in the sense that these cops would have otherwise been stopping traffic or shooting radar,” said Ruben Oliva, who has represented alleged narco-traffickers since the 1980s. “In reality they were being launderers. The minute they started doing busts, it would have been over.“This is like a movie. You’ve got these guys and they’re flying all over. They’re saying, ‘Hey, I’m in the big leagues.’ I’ve seen every kind of law enforcement money-laundering investigations. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s really one for the ages.”
After the Department of Justice busted the Bal Harbour PD for misspending seized money to pay police salaries, the Miami-Herald began deeper investigations and found a much bigger pool of money that was never noticed by the feds. Soon after that, the ambitious sting operation—which was really just a money-making scheme—began to fall apart.
“The Miami Herald gained unprecedented access to the confidential records of the undercover investigation, reviewing thousands of records including cash pickup reports, emails, DEA reports, bank statements and wire transfers for millions of dollars. The inquiry found:
Police routinely withdrew cash — thousands at a time — totaling $1.3 million from undercover bank accounts, but to this day there are no records to show where the money was spent. “In all my years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Chief Overton said.
Bal Harbour officials say they cannot find receipts for hundreds of thousands in expenses, including five-star hotel bookings, dinners that ran up to $1,000 and scores of purchases like laptops, iPads, electronic money counters, flower deliveries, and even iTunes downloads.
While posing as launderers, police delivered nearly $20 million to storefront businesses in Miami-Dade to launder the money for drug groups — gathering critical evidence against the business owners — yet took no action against them. Years later, the businesses are still open, some still suspected by federal agents of laundering for the cartels.”
Cash deposits to SunTrust Bank totaling $28 million do not appear anywhere in police records. It’s no coincidence that the operation was launched “at a time law enforcement agencies across Florida were looking to boost their budgets during one of the state’s toughest economic periods.”
“We had to find a revenue stream,” said Duane Pottorff, chief of law enforcement for Glades. “It allowed us to have resources we wouldn’t normally have.”
Federal authorities and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have launched probes into the Bal Harbour police, which will surely confirm the rampant abuses of power. However, the fact that these types of shady operations, carried out with the help of agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, can occur at all is even more troubling.
Government creates a black market of drugs and blood money through prohibition, then under the War on Drugs it grants itself the power to break the law and get involved in money laundering operations. While the professed goal is to “sting” the bad guys, government rakes in millions upon millions of dollars to further bolster its prohibition and war on drugs.
The War on Drugs is the real scheme that should be investigated.
About 90 women have reported being robbed, threatened or sexually molested at New Year celebrations outside Cologne’s cathedral by young, mostly drunk, men, police said on Tuesday, in events they have described as ‘a new dimension in crime’.
Cologne police chief Wolfgang Albers told a news conference officers described the men as looking as if they were from “the Arab or North African region” and mostly between 18 and 35 years old. “We have one complaint that represents a rape,” he added.
Integration commissioner Aydan Ozoguz warned against putting foreigners and refugees, hundreds of thousands of whom have entered Germany largely from Middle Eastern war zones, under “blanket suspicion”.
Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed shock over the attacks that police said occurred when about 1,000 men split into gangs as officers cleared a square to stop fireworks being thrown from the top of steps into the crowd below.
While politicians also urged people not to become wary of all refugees, the incident fuelled calls from right-wing groups to stop letting in migrants.
Germany took in just over a million last year, far more than any other European country.
Cologne mayor Henriette Reker said it was “unbelievable and intolerable what happened on New Year’s Eve” but there was no reason to believe those involved in the attacks were refugees.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas said Germany would not accept such attacks which he described as “a new scale of organised crime”.
Around 150 people gathered in front of Cologne’s cathedral on Tuesday evening to protest against violence against women. One of them held a sign saying: “Ms Merkel where are you? What do you say? This scares us!”
The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has gained in polls in part at Merkel’s expense thanks to a campaign against refugees, said she should close the border.
“Mrs Merkel, is Germany ‘colourful and cosmopolitan’ enough for you after the wave of crimes and sexual attacks?” tweeted AfD chief Frauke Petry.
Merkel told Reker in a phone call the attacks deserved a tough response.
“Everything must be done to investigate those responsible as quickly and completely as possible and punish them, regardless of where they are from,” she said, according to her spokesman.
There are almost daily attacks on refugee shelters.
“Events like that in Cologne foster xenophobia,” said Roland Schaefer, head of Germany’s association of towns and localities.
After a crisis meeting, Cologne mayor Reker said new steps would be taken to avoid a repeat, including increasing police numbers at big events and installing more security cameras.
She stressed that women must feel safe at traditional carnival celebrations next month when the city closes down for five days of drunken street parades and parties.
Reker was stabbed in the neck and seriously hurt in October, just a day before she was elected mayor. Police said that attack appeared to be motivated by her support for refugees.
(Additional reporting by Joseph Nasr and Matthias Sobolewski in Berlin and Andreas Kranz in Cologne; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)
The latest batch of Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department early Friday contain what may be the smoking gun that forces the Justice Department to charge the former secretary of state with a crime, according to former federal prosecutor Joseph diGenova.
“This is gigantic,” said diGenova. “She caused to be removed a classified marking and then had it transmitted in an unencrypted manner. That is a felony. The removal of the classified marking is a federal crime. It is the same thing to order someone to do it as if she had done it herself.”
On the June 17, 2011, email chain with senior State Department adviser Jake Sullivan, Clinton apparently asked Sullivan to change the marking on classified information so that it is no longer flagged as classified.
Clinton, using her private email server, asks for “the TPs,” apparently a reference to talking points being prepared for her. Sullivan, who is using his official State Department email, responds, “They say they’ve had issues sending secure fax. They’re working on it.” Clinton responds, “If they can’t, turn into nonpaper w[ith] no identifying heading and send nonsecure.”
It’s not clear if Sullivan actually followed through on Clinton’s orders. But if he did, it may expose Clinton to serious legal jeopardy.
“This makes it impossible for the bureau not to recommend charges,” diGenova said of the FBI. “This makes it impossible not to go forward, and it certainly ties the hand of the attorney general.”
Some have speculated that while the FBI may recommend charges, Attorney General Loretta Lynch might try to avoid doing so for political reasons.
Related: The Pallid Prince: Bill Can’t Rescue Hillary
The revelation also appears to put the lie to Clinton’s claim that she never handled classified information on her server.
“I did not send nor receive anything that was classified at the time,” she has claimed. By instructing her aide to send her material marked classified, it is clear that she not only may have received classified information, but that it was indeed “classified at the time.”
“This means that when she said, ‘I never received anything marked classified,’ she in fact did,” diGenova said.
David Bossie, president of the watchdog group Citizens United, said the email could become the emblem of Hillary’s email scandal.
“It proves that Hillary Clinton affirmatively instructed senior staff to send classified data to an unsecured server,” he said. “With that, it cements into history, much like the famous Bill Clinton finger wag.”
Five-year Philadelphia Police Department veteran Jesse Harnett is made of stronger stuff than most people.
Harnett was flagged down by Edward Archer last night, and as he stopped his car, Archer opened fire with what appears to be a Glock 19, a 9mm pistol, from just 3-4 yards away. A security camera caught Archer advancing as he fired, with his final shots being fired at point blank range through the squad car window in an obvious assassination attempt.
Instead of putting up his hands and turning his head away from the fight as many people would have instinctively done, Harnett instead drew his own weapon and fought for his life.
A police officer in a patrol car was wounded overnight in a blazing ambush in West Philadelphia during which a gunman unloaded a semiautomatic pistol into the cruiser, authorities said.
Officer Jesse Hartnett, 33, was hit three times in the arm and taken to Penn Presbyterian Hospital, where he was reported in stable condition but faces a long recovery, authorities said.
The suspect gunman, identified by sources as Edward Archer, 30, of Yeadon, also was wounded by return fire from Harnett and taken into custody after attempting to flee, police said. Officers also recovered a black, 9mm semiautomatic pistol.
The shooter in the attack is seen wearing Muslim garb – a long white robe over dark pants – on surveillance video, according to police sources, but officials have not said if they believe religion was a factor.
Mayor Kenney and Police Commissioner Richard Ross, both only in their first week in their jobs, rushed to the hospital after the shooting around 11:30 p.m. at 60th and Spruce Streets.
Ross said the officer was driving north on 60th Street when he was flagged down by a man in the street who was wearing multiple layers of clothing.
The man opened fire 13 times, pocking the cruiser with bullets before firing into the driver’s side window, hitting the officer’s arm three times, Ross said.
Although wounded, the surveillance video shows Hartnett getting out of the car and chasing his assailant, according to sources. The officer squeezed off three rounds, hitting the suspect, and radioed for help.
Officers caught Archer on the 6000 block of Delancey Street.
Harnett has a long road of recovery ahead of him, but is expected to survive.
Like so many thugs, Archer has a criminal record of violence with weapons, and was due to be sentenced Monday on other charges.
Archer’s mother says that she’s holding out hope that they arrested the wrong man, and I’m sure we’ll be hearing from her soon that he was a “good boy” who was “starting to turn his life around.”
Update: Philadelphia police commissioner Richard Ross said that Harnett’s “will to live” is the reason he is alive today. Archer has confessed to the crime and said that his allegiance to the “Islam State” is the reason for his attack.
The Glock 19 pistol used in the crime was stolen from the Philadelphia Police three years ago.
According to police in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, a group of about 20 people attacked six Pakistanis on Sunday evening, near Cologne’s central train station. Two of the victims were reportedly taken to hospital.
Shortly after the first attack, a similar incident unfolded when a 39-year-old Syrian national was assaulted by a group of five people. Police said they were investigating grievous bodily harm, but could not confirm whether either of the attacks was racially motivated. It was also not initially clear whether the two were linked.
Cologne tabloid “Express” reported on Monday that a group of “bikers, hooligans and bouncers” had used Facebook to plan a “human hunt” to “clean up” Cologne’s city center. Early on Monday, a police spokesperson was unable to confirm the reports.
On Sunday afternoon, police had received tipoffs about “groups,” which were “specifically looking for provocation,” police said. Officers were deployed in the city center and Cologne’s “Altstadt” quarter in large numbers. As the result of several identity checks, four people were briefly detained, reported a police spokesman. Whether they were among the attackers is yet to be determined. Two people also faced criminal charges.
On Saturday police used water cannon and pepper spray against 1,000 far-right marchers who hurled bottles, stones and fireworks at them.
It was claimed today that the Syrian man shot dead by French police last week may have taken part in the sexual assaults in Cologne.
It was revealed in police files that Walid Salihi was arrested in 2014 in Cologne for sexually abusing women in a disco. He was reported to have groped and assaulted women.
Bild newspaper said that a former friend of his was arrested after the Cologne New Year’s Eve attacks, leading to suspicion that he may have been with him before travelling to France.
Salihi was shot dead as he approached a Paris police station last week wearing a fake suicide vest, on the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.
He had been living in an asylum home in Recklinghausen, Germany, where police found he used seven aliases.