Tag Archive: Federal Bureau of Investigation


Pimps feed California dreams

“Hello? Hey, what are you doing, girl? You just woke up? You going to be free to hang out in a little bit?” Shane, a vice unit undercover investigator, is on the phone with a woman who placed an online ad offering adult services.

“Okay I’m going to head down to the Disneyland area and get a hotel.” He’s making a date, and choosing his words carefully.

“I just want to make sure I get what I need. Are you bringing condoms or do I need to bring condoms? You’ve got some? And it’s 200 for an hour right?” Shane has become an expert at scoring that important criminal admission over the phone – making sure there is no confusion that sex is expected on this date.

“From what I found, sometimes you can use too much jargon,” Shane explained. “If you use too many street terms you can come off like a cop so I almost talk to them like, “Hey this is what I’m looking for” – just common terms and maybe throw in just a little bit of street jargon.

“If you call them rude or real vulgar they’ll just hang up on you. So, to them it’s a business and they run it like it’s a business, so there’s that fine dance you have to do with them in negotiation you have to play to get the deal to work.”

This is the first step in a human trafficking operation by the vice unit. Next, the team will wait for Shane’s date at a local hotel, hoping to eventually grab the date’s pimp.

Shane works for Anaheim Police Department – one of a raft of agencies that make up the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force or OCHTTF.

The task force covers an area south of Los Angeles known for ritzy neighborhoods, tourist destinations and beaches.

In recent months, the fight against prostitution has been refocused and now the prostitutes are treated as victims.

“It’s not knocking what we did before,” explained Sergeant Craig Friesen, head of Anaheim‘s vice unit. “You’d go out, arrest the girls, you do John stings, you arrest the Johns, but with those arrests they’re often low-grade misdemeanor arrests where the people either receive a very minimal sentence or they’re released, oftentimes working in the street 24 hours later.

“With us changing our focus to trying to arrest the pimps, pimping carries a three year mandatory sentence here in California, so to us we have more of an impact because if we can arrest one pimp we can in theory shut down three or four girls because if their pimp’s out, it gives them the opportunity to escape the life that they’re in.”

The Orange County task force is one of 42 federally funded human trafficking task forces across the United States.

Many agencies are part of the task force – from local police departments like Anaheim and Westminster, to federal agencies like ICE and the IRS, which help with immigration and translation issues.

The FBI lends agents to the task force, and one agent frequently works with Anaheim’s vice unit via the FBI’s domestic child sex trafficking task force known as Innocence Lost.

By treating accused prostitutes as victims, services such as the county’s Community Service Programs and the Salvation Army can be used. These non-enforcement services often play key roles in the task force as they try to help the victims start new lives.

“I think what I’m struck most by is the similarity between the stories,” said Heidi Thi, the supervisor of the human trafficking program at CSP.

“I could have somebody who was sold as a child in China and brought here to Orange County to work as a slave in somebody’s house, or I could be talking to a domestic minor who’s been trafficked for sex who was from Northern California and was down here in Orange County – and it’s striking how similar those stories can be, that there was an abusive or neglectful home, or that there was a dream they had that life could be better. And somebody told them, “Yes, life can be better, come with me and I will show you how I can make life better for you.” And trusting that person, they went and found themselves in a horrible situation.”

Anaheim’s operation that started with Shane’s phone call was successful.

It led to the arrest of a man for pimping and pandering – and two women victims taken from the streets and into the arms of CSP.

One of the dates was a 17-year-old girl. Her age means she is automatically considered a victim of human trafficking. CSP hopes to convince the women to leave the life of prostitution.

“I think with a trafficking survivor, one of the most important things we can do is to give them choices,” said Thi.

“The situation that they come from, they’ve been told where to go, what to do when they get there and when to do it, down to minor daily things like eating, using the restroom, going to sleep and waking up. So the more choices that we can give them helps them practice that self-determination.”

Fighting forced prostitution, while a big part of the task force’s mission, is only one facet of human trafficking in Orange County.

CSP has also helped victims of forced labor, domestic servitude and servile marriage.

The county task force is seven years old, and in that time the team says it has conducted dozens of operations – more than 60 in Westminster alone.

Anaheim is the task force’s newest member, and only nine months after receiving federal human trafficking grant money, the team has seen great success.

Sergeant Friesen said the original goal was one pimping arrest in the first year. The arrest from Shane’s date was the 13th in the first nine months.

He added: “Once we started looking for it – and almost stopped ignoring it – we started finding it everywhere.”

Lieutenant Derek Marsh, who heads up Westminster Police’s human trafficking unit, sums up what drives the task force.

“Human trafficking goes against why you become a police officer, why you’re a human being. It’s really an ethical imperative. There’s really nobody who can stand seeing a child or a woman or a man exploited. It’s who you are when you go to serve the public as a police officer.

“You’re trying to make it easy so that everyone has an equal opportunity to have their shot at making something of themselves. And human trafficking takes that dream and twists it.”

The suspects, from left: Lee Grace Dougherty, Ryan Edward Dougherty, Dylan Dougherty Stanley.

Authorities are using digital billboards across the Southeast in their manhunt for three siblings, all in their 20s, who are wanted for an alleged armed bank robbery in Georgia and are suspects in the attempted murder of a Florida police officer, the FBI said Saturday. The crimes occurred Tuesday.

“I’m not going to compare them to Bonnie and Clyde — I’ll let you do that if you like — but they are certainly very clear in demonstrating their threat to both law enforcement and the public,” FBI special agent Stephen Emmett told CNN Saturday.

“It’s not very often that we have advance warning like this of potential problems with law enforcement encountering individuals. They made it very clear that they are going to be a problem,” added Emmett, a spokesman for the FBI’s Atlanta office.

Hundreds of digital billboards from Florida to Kentucky to Texas are posting the photographs of the three siblings and their white, four-door, 2006 Subaru Impreza with the New York license tag “FBE 5900,” Emmett said.

The three being sought in the dragnet are Ryan Edward Dougherty, 21, sister Lee Grace E. Dougherty, 29, and half-brother Dylan Dougherty Stanley, 26, authorities said.

Authorities are calling them “the Dougherty family.”

The siblings are considered armed and dangerous because an AK-47 type assault rifle and an apparent machine pistol were used in a Valdosta, Georgia, bank robbery Tuesday, the FBI said. A U.S. magistrate issued warrants for the arrest of the three siblings in connection to the robbery, the FBI said.

Also, the three siblings are suspects in the attempted murder Tuesday of a Zephyrhills, Florida, police officer that allegedly occurred 200 miles from and five hours before the Georgia bank robbery, the FBI said.

The officer wasn’t injured, though occupants in a vehicle fired numerous rounds during a chase reaching up to 100 miles per hour, according to the Pasco County, Florida, Sheriff’s office. One round went into the police vehicle’s tire, disabling the automobile, the sheriff’s office said.

The last public sighting of the three siblings was Tuesday, the day of the crimes, said Doug Tobin, spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff’s office.

“We’re concentrating on the Southeast and East corridor because that’s where they have family right now, but they could be anywhere,” Tobin said Saturday.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco has urged the siblings to turn themselves in. Among the states that will carry the police messages on digital billboards are Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and New York, the sheriff’s office said.

“Although we continue to seek a peaceful resolution, the actions of the Dougherty family prove this will end otherwise,” Nocco said in a statement. “I ask that everyone pray for the law enforcement officers who will eventually engage these suspects, for they will have to do everything possible to ensure that the Doughertys’ violent rampage comes to an end.”

The two brothers have been living in the same rented residence the past three years in Lacoochee, Florida, which is located in Pasco County, the sheriff’s office said. Their sister, who had been living with her boyfriend in Orlando, just began staying with her brothers, the sheriff’s office said.

The three siblings have criminal records, the sheriff’s office said.

With the most extensive record of the three, Ryan Edward Dougherty has had 14 felony arrests since 2007, including for alleged burglary, destroying evidence and probation violation, according to the sheriff’s office.

His live-in girlfriend owned the vehicle that he and his two siblings are believed to be driving, the sheriff’s office said. After the girlfriend filed a complaint about her missing car, an arrest warrant for grand theft auto was issued Friday for Ryan Dougherty, the sheriff’s office said.

Authorities provided a timeline for events surrounding the three siblings: On Monday, Ryan Dougherty was sentenced in Volusia County, Florida, to 10 years’ probation and two years of community control monitoring for convictions on two counts of sending harmful information to a minor, the sheriff’s office said.

After the Monday sentencing, he sent his mother a text message: “There’s a time for all of us to die,” according to the sheriff’s office.

On Tuesday, at 6:30 a.m., a witness saw all three siblings leave in the white four-door vehicle from their Lacoochee home. At 6:59 a.m., Ryan Dougherty cut off his GPS monitoring ankle bracelet near Zephyrhills, the sheriff’s office said.

At 7:12 a.m. Tuesday, the shooting with the Florida police officer occurred, in which 20 high-caliber casings were found at the scene, the sheriff’s office said. The five-mile pursuit began after the officer tried to pull the vehicle over for speeding on State Road 54 in Zephyrhills, located 30 miles northeast of Tampa, Tobin said.

Then came the armed bank robbery at a CertusBank in Valdosta, Georgia, at 12:24 p.m. the same day, the FBI said.

During that robbery, three individuals dressed in black with masks entered the bank’s front entrance, the FBI said. Shots were fired at the ceiling, and everyone was told to get down, the bureau said. At least two of the robbers were armed, and the third obtained an undisclosed amount of cash, the FBI said.

Lee Grace E. Dougherty’s criminal background includes five felony charges. Three of them are pending, all of them hit-and-run offenses in Cocoa Beach, Florida, the Pasco County Sheriff’s office said. Her record also contains six misdemeanor charges, the sheriff’s office said.

Dylan Dougherty Stanley’s criminal record shows a possession of marijuana charge, the sheriff’s office said.

The sheriff’s office didn’t have information on the disposition of the past charges against the brothers and sister.

The Pasco County Sheriff’s office will seek a warrant Monday against Ryan Dougherty for failing to register as a sex offender in the county, the sheriff said in a statement. That registration was required after his sentencing this week for sending harmful information to a minor, Tobin said.

 

The FBI is investigating a “credible” lead in the “D.B. Cooper” skyjacking case in which a man hijacked a plane for $200,000 in ransom in 1971 and parachuted into the night with the bag full of cash, the Seattle Times reports.

One of the $20 bills that skyjacker D.B. Cooper had when he parachuted from a plane with his ransom in 1971.
By LM Otero, AP

Ayn Sadalo Dietrich, spokeswoman for the FBI’s Seattle office, cautions that the agency is not on the verge of a big break but is carrying out “due diligence” on new information, the paper says.

Dietrich was responding to a lengthy article on the case by the British newspaper The Telegraph.

She says the FBI, responding to a tip, is trying to extract a fingerprint from an item linked to a potential suspect and compare it with one taken from the Boeing 727 after the Thanksgiving Eve skyjacking.

READ:  The Telegraph’s article

Dietrich tells the newspaper that FBI agents have sent an item belonging to the potential suspect for testing at its forensics lab at Quantico, Va.

“We’re hoping there are fingerprints they can take off of it,” she says. “It would be a significant lead. And this is looking like our most promising one to date.”

Fox News reports that FBI is trying to match DNA sample from the person with a sample taken from Cooper’s tie, which he left behind on the plane.

In the hijacking, “Cooper” claimed to have a bomb and forced the plane to land, where he obtained parachutes and the ransom money. He bailed out somewhere northwest of Portland.

Some of the money was found by a child digging in a sandbar along the Columbia River in 1980, but the whereabouts of “Cooper” remains a mystery, assuming that he survived the jump from 10,000 feet.

Butt Slasher

 

Police in Virginia are trying to track down a man believed to have slashed at least five women on the butt.

A few days ago, an 18-year-old woman was shopping at Forever 21 in Fairfax, Virginia when she felt a sharp pain on her rear end, report from NBC Washington. She told police she thought at first that she had been struck with a clothes hanger. Only after further inspection did she realize she had been cut through her shorts with a box cutter or razor.

According to the victims, the attack usually occurs after a distraction, such as clothes falling off a rack. Afterward, the attacker calmly walks away without drawing attention to himself.

Lucy Caldwell of the Fairfax County Police told the station that one reason for the perpetrator’s success could be because of the rarity of the crime.

“Because it’s such an unusual thing, no one would ever expect something like that to occur,” she said. “They may be walking along and put their hand to their backside and feel it.”

Gregg McCrary, a former FBI profiler, told the News & Messenger that although the women are not seriously harmed, the violence could escalate if he is not caught.

“The dangerous thing here is he’s actually hurting women,” he told the publication. “He’s already crossed that threshold into physical contact. But this is a good news-bad news situation. He’ll just keep doing this until he’s caught and by keeping on doing this, he’ll caught.”

NBC Washington gave a detailed description of the suspect:

“According to Fairfax police, the suspect is desribed as Hispanic, in his late 20’s, approximately 5’6” in height, and heavy-set.”

WATCH the video from NBC Washington:

http://media.nbcwashington.com/designvideo/embeddedPlayer.swfView more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.

LEHIGH ACRES — The New Testament instructs Christians to love their enemies.

Now a Lehigh Acres man says he is attracting the attention of the FBI after he followed those instructions, attempting to send a dozen yellow roses to the suspected gunman in last week’s Fort Hood massacre.

“It is the Christian commandment to love your enemies and to do good to them. I did that,” said Dan M. Ross, 61. “Whereas the ministers out there in Fort Hood are praying for him … I went one step further.”

But Phil Enderle, the owner of the Texas flower shop that received Ross’ order in an e-mail, said it appeared Ross was doing more than being a good Christian and praying for U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people on the base on Thursday and wounding 29 more.

“This guy is praising him,” Enderle said. “He’s patting him on the back.”

E-mail records indicate that the ordeal involving Ross began on Friday afternoon, when he sent an e-mail to Marvel’s Florist in Killeen, Texas, ordering a $59.95 yellow rose bouquet for Hasan to be sent to any hospital in Fort Hood, with the intent that it would eventually be delivered to him. He ordered a note be included with the flowers reading: “Major Nidal Hasan. Koran 2: 190 – 3. In God’s eye, and those who submit, you are a hero!”

Ross finished the e-mail by instructing the flower shop employees to “play stupid” if anyone were to question them.

“My money is green like everyone else’s,” Ross wrote.

Enderle, himself a retired Army sergeant, said the e-mail was disturbing. Instead of filling the order, he said he called the base and “hand delivered” the messages to the FBI.

“The day prior to that, this major shot and killed 13 people … and now I get somebody who is quoting the Koran, insulting me by telling me to play dumb, and wanting me to provide comfort to the soldier who did this,” Enderle said.

Ross, who claims to be “the reincarnated Apostle Peter” and “the coming son of man,” said he doesn’t condone the Fort Hood shootings. Everyone has limited knowledge of the world, he said, and he believes Hasan has a limited understanding of the Scriptures of God.

“God would take that into consideration and say ‘You did the best you can with what you knew,’” Ross said.

Regardless, FBI agents were at his door step on Saturday morning, Ross said. He wouldn’t let them into his home, he said, and berated them for about five minutes until they left.

He said the agents tried to intimidate him, asked neighbors if he was crazy, and asked him if he was on drugs.

“If they’re coming at me at that angle, and I have to prove to them for 20 minutes that I’m not on drugs, then it’s hopeless,” said Ross, a retired computer technician who claims to have served in the Army for two years during the Vietnam era.

When asked about Ross’ e-mail and the FBI’s response, FBI spokesman Erik Vasys declined comment.

Ross sent a follow-up e-mail to the flower shop on Sunday, saying they did not respect his “US Constitutional rights.” He directed them to his Web site, http://www.donutnous.com, and wrote that after reading it, if they look in the mirror, they will know who the enemy is: “It is yourself.”

Enderle said Ross is lucky that FBI agents aren’t still camped in his front yard, adding “I will not waste my time on this guy.” For his part, Ross, who said he’s not a terrorist, doesn’t believe he is wasting his time.

“I may sound like a nut case now,” he said, “but I have a number of miracles that many people know about, and even the U.S. government knows about.”

The large sweep, which nets two arrests in Southern California, follows a hacker attack on PayPal last year, officials say.

Merrick, N.Y

FBI agents raided three locations on Long Island and one in Brooklyn Tuesday morning during a probe into Anonymous, an amorphous, loosely organized group of hackers sympathetic to WikiLeaks. (Jim Staubitser / AP Photo / Newsday / July 19, 2011)

By Salvador Rodriguez, Los Angeles TimesJuly 20, 2011

In what it said was the largest sweep of Internet “hactivists” in the U.S., the FBI arrested 14 alleged members of hacker group Anonymous, which last fall took responsibility for knocking out the websites of several large companies.

The 14 people arrested, including two from Southern California, may be the first alleged members of Anonymous to be arrested by the FBI, said a law enforcement official not authorized to speak on the matter. The raids may also mark the first time that federal agents arrested individuals for cyber crimes that may have been committed as a form of political protest.

The arrests came as a result of a distributed denial of service attack — when attackers try to jam a company’s website by getting large numbers of computers to contact it at the same time — on PayPal Inc. late last year, federal officials said. Anonymous claimed to have attacked PayPal and other companies including Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. in December as part of “Operation Avenge Assange.” The attacks were launched after the companies suspended the accounts of whistleblower organization WikiLeaks, run by Julian Assange, after it began releasing classified information to the public.

The recent arrests are unusual because cyber protesting, a niche segment of cyber crime, is a relatively new phenomenon, said Stan Stahl, president of the Los Angeles chapter of trade group Information Systems Security Assn..

“I don’t recall cyber protesting as something that has come up before Anonymous came up with their denial of service attacks against PayPal and Visa,” he said.

Law enforcement agencies tend to target hackers based on the amount of financial havoc wreaked or their potential risk to national security, Stahl said. When Anonymous hacked huge corporations such as Visa or government entities such as the Spanish police, they pretty much guaranteed law enforcement scrutiny and action, Stahl said.

Not since 32 people were arrested in Turkey last month had so many alleged members of Anonymous been arrested. The arrests came a day after the group was involved in several attacks on websites belonging to media company News Corp.

Early Tuesday, however, at least one Anonymous member said the arrests would not stop hacker attacks.

“It doesn’t matter how many people the FBI arrest,” a tweet from the account @ThaiAnonymous said. “#anonymous have (sic) started something unstoppable.”

The FBI said agents arrested alleged Anonymous members in Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico and Ohio.

The FBI released the names and online aliases of all but one of the arrested individuals. The alleged members of Anonymous range in age from 20 to 42, though most are in their 20s.

The arrests were part of a broader ongoing investigation of cyber attacks in recent months.

Separately, the FBI said it arrested 21-year-old Lance Moore of Las Cruces, N.M., who it said may have either worked for or aided the hacker group LulzSec last month. The individual is believed to have stolen information belonging to AT&T Inc. valued at more than $5,000, according to a court document released by the FBI. The stolen information was later published by the hacker group, the FBI said in a release.

The FBI also said Scott Matthew Arciszewski, 21, was arrested and will appear in federal court in Orlando, Fla. Arciszewski is suspected of hacking the Tampa Bay Infragard website, which is affiliated with the FBI.

Five alleged hackers were arrested in Europe but the FBI, which worked with authorities in Britain and the Netherlands, did not say if they were involved with Anonymous.

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