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Subject: Airport Security:
I have been in law enforcement for about 25 years until recently when I
left U.S. Customs in 1998. I also have a martial arts background of 33 years. I was also in the United States Secret Service and was stationed in Washington,D.C. protecting Presidents and their families at The White House as well as protecting embassies and dignitaries.
I am considered an expert at screening people, luggage, vehicles, commercial trucks, containers, commercial and private airplanes, ships and small
boats, military, dignitaries, etc....I was also cross trained as an INS official and can process foreigners with passports.
I can say with confidence that there is not enough "proper" security or
security personnel who are trained well enough to conduct proper screening
of persons who are boarding aircraft as well as their luggage.
I for one have been very critical of the way our government operates at the
nation's borders with regards to U.S.Customs and U.S. Immigration screening
procedures for at least 7 years.
I am also in touch with other "former" and "current" law enforcement
personnel who confide in me on a daily basis about the horrible conditions
in which our government is allowed to operate.
One former Vietnam Vet and law
enforcement official who recently traveled
out of Lindbergh Field told me that a national guardsmen checked his
luggage by merely pushing on the luggage. Unless this young man was clairvoyant or had X-Ray eyes, he did not do his job correctly. The luggage should have
been visually inspected after opening the luggage.
On another occasion another former law enforcement officer traveled from
Chicago and was NOT checked properly when the "metal wand" was used for
detecting metal objects after setting off the "walk through" device. The
female guard was challenged by the former law enforcement official and
asked why she did not check further if there was a possible metal object in the
crotch area and the female guard stated, "Oh, we're not allowed to touch
people there. It's an invasion of privacy laws". This women security guard
was over the age of 50.
Let me explain further that hiring national guard personnel is not a good
thing unless they have been properly trained and know how to deal with the
public. I have worked with national guard units at the border since 1989
and a very small percentage last very long. Only national guard units with
assignments as M.P.'s or Military Police or who have a law enforcement
background should be allowed to conduct special security at check points.
I have seen other occasions where national guard are very helpful, but did
not really have the proper training and experience to be allowed to have
contact with the general public.
Now we are having these weekend warriors thrown at us with fully automatic
rifles. Not all of these national guardsmen are fully trained with law
enforcement backgrounds and some are females over the age of 40. I just
hope they can retain their weapons if they are challenged? If I was a terrorist,
I wouldn't need to bring any weapons if I can take one away from an older
female or male guardsman with little difficulty. Weapons retention is one of
the more serious things you learn in law enforcement academies and martial
I have also been told that people weren't being checked properly at an airport in Massachusetts and Vermont recently as well.
It is time we put people in charge of security at the airports who have a
specialized background and training. We can not rely on minimum wage
security guards who have no real expertise. I think we should "Federalize"
all International Airports and deputize the security U.S. Marshal's.
I can also tell you about specific security problems at Lindbergh Field
with regards to my apprehending at least a "dozen" baggage handler employees who
were caught violating the Federal Inspection areas while a "foreign"
commercial aircraft was being processed. They tried to enter the restricted
areas without a proper Customs security seal. (This is how they smuggle at
the airports as well as intercept undeclared merchandise on the plane that
never arrives in the Customs inspection areas)
I was not well liked by Customs management for doing my job.
I have recently communicated my
concerns to the White House and the Office
of Homeland Security without any real responses as of yet.
John Carman-Former U.S. Customs
Editor of www.customscorruption.com
Airport Security Too Lax
By Jeff McDonald
November 5, 2001
While federal lawmakers continue to argue over how best to safeguard airports across the United States, passengers flying into and out of Lindbergh Field since Sept. 11 are finding huge lapses in security.
According to an informal survey of airline passengers conducted by The Union-Tribune, striking inconsistencies exist between the way identification, tickets and luggage are checked in San Diego and elsewhere.
Air terminals in many American cities have yet to implement uniform standards for even the most cursory safety inspections.
Travelers may be passed through checkpoints in 10 minutes at one airport and delayed for hours at another. Pocket knives or other potential weapons are confiscated before some flights but are missed altogether before others.
Airline workers told to compare photo IDs with boarding passes often fail to make eye contact with ticket holders. Empty cars sometimes idle unchecked in front of passenger loading zones.
One flier said a guard at an airport metal detector could not speak enough English to ask a passenger to remove a laptop computer from its carrying case.
"If there is increased security at U.S. airports, the FAA is keeping it well hidden," said Shiela Rabell, an apartment manager from Alpine who traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, last month through San Diego and Phoenix.
Last week, The Union-Tribune asked readers to submit their recent travel experiences in letter form to an e-mail account set up by the paper. Sixty-eight people responded with stories of lax oversight, inattentive guards or airline employees and potential gaps in safety protocols.
In interviews and in the letters, many expressed worry that most checked luggage is not X-rayed or that suitcases are not routinely checked for matching to passengers once their flights arrive and they prepare to leave the airport.
Ed and Karyl Brabants of Tierrasanta traveled to Providence, R.I., two weeks after the terrorist attacks. They anticipated heavy security along the way, but were unpleasantly surprised.
"It was business as usual," said Ed Brabants, a retired postal worker. "We were stunned that there appeared to be no tightening of security at all."
During a journey last month to Central America, Tim and Amy Concannon twice made it through airports in Dallas and San Diego with a 2-inch Swiss Army knife dangling from a key chain.
"The knife was brought to our attention by the Costa Rican security," said Amy Concannon, an Escondido veterinarian who was surprised when inspectors returned the knife to her husband. "It was then missed again by American security on our return flight from Dallas to San Diego."
The hijackers accused in the Sept. 11 attacks are suspected of using box cutters to overwhelm flight crews and crash planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Jane Dale wrote that when she traveled from San Diego to Alaska on Sept. 21, security crews confiscated a quarter-inch nail clipper but failed to inspect the contents of a lead bag designed to protect film from X-rays.
"It would seem that if they can't see it, it can't be dangerous," she said. "I could have carried a weapon on board undetected."
"It is time we put people in charge of security at the airports who have a specialized background and training," he said. "We cannot rely on minimum-wage security guards who have no real expertise."
Most other responses to the survey recounted stories of guards who failed to inspect identification or paperwork, metal objects slipping through detectors or agents who did not require proof from people claiming to be airline or airport employees.
Not all respondents were skeptical of the tightened security that has been publicized by government officials, however. A handful of fliers, like Dianne Lohner of Mira Mesa, praised the strict new enforcement policies.
"We were glad to see the extra security processes in place and definitely felt safe about flying," said Lohner, who returned Oct. 29 from a 10-day trip to Portland, Ore.
Federal legislation intended to plug holes in airport and airline security stalled last week in Congress, where dueling bills failed to muster majority support from both houses.
At issue is whether baggage checkers should become federal employees, a prospect most Republicans oppose. Democrats say private-security policies now in place do not adequately protect passengers.
Argenbright Security, for example, the nation's largest airport security firm, was accused by the Justice Department of hiring screeners with criminal records at Los Angeles International and other airports.
In San Diego, one of the companies that inspects Lindbergh Field filed for bankruptcy protection days after the terrorist attacks on New York City and the Pentagon, although the company said the filing was not linked to the attacks. Officials say local passengers remain safe.
Resolving the impasse on whether to turn airport security crews into federal workers is likely to take negotiators from the House and Senate weeks.
In the meantime, Jerry Snyder of the Federal Aviation Administration office in Los Angeles maintains that consistent standards for airline security at the nation's airports make air travel safe.
Yet, he added, "how those standards are achieved is given latitude for the various air carriers and their security forces."
Government investigators years ago identified major security breaches at American airports. In reports issued in 1993 and 1999, the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Transportation recommended sweeping reforms.
"Airport access control has been, and continues to be, an area of great concern," the 1999 report states.
According to inspectors, that analysis was all but ignored.
Even though federal regulations spell out specific responsibilities for airlines and airport managers, the extent of inspections can vary greatly from gate to gate and airport to airport.
"Everyone is doing a good job, but is it consistent? No," said Rita Vandergaw, spokeswoman for the San Diego Unified Port District, which oversees Lindbergh Field. "This is a challenge for us, as it is at many airports."
Rather than dividing responsibility for passenger safety inside the terminals between airports and carriers, Vandergaw said the port district would prefer that airports be given complete authority over security.
"If airports had the responsibility for which they're held accountable, anyway, you would get a more consistent (enforcement) standard," she said.
|October 18, 2001
OPM to investigate suspicious appointments at Customs
By Tanya N. Ballard The Office of Personnel Management plans to review
the circumstances surrounding several political appointments made at the
Customs Service over the last two years, according to a new General
Accounting Office report.
In 1998, the Treasury Department asked the Office
of Personnel Management for the authority to add 10 law enforcement
positions at Customs under the Schedule A excepted hiring authority,
without regard to competitive civil service rules. In asking for the
additional hiring authority, Treasury officials told OPM that because of
the „sensitive natureš of the needed positions, publicly advertising
them was not desirable. OPM approved the positions and Customs went on
to fill nine of the positions between September 1998 and January 2001.
But in a new report, „Personnel
Practices: Circumstances Surrounding U.S. Customs Service‚s Use of
Schedule A Appointment Authority,š GAO said five of those
appointments raised eyebrows.
Many politically appointed federal employees
attempt to convert their work status from political appointee to career
civil servant shortly before a presidential election in an attempt to
remain in the executive branchųa practice known as „burrowing in.š
Two of the Customs appointments, for a law
enforcement specialist and a public affairs specialist, were
inconsistent with Treasury‚s assertion that the needed positions were
„sensitive in nature,š GAO found. Later, Customs created identical
positions, advertised them and then hired the two appointees to fill
Customs claimed they decided after appointing the
two employees that the positions were needed permanently at the agency.
Circumstances suggested that the two appointees might have had an unfair
competitive advantage in getting the jobs, GAO said. Still, GAO could
not determine that the two appointees would not have been hired based on
their education and work experience prior to joining Customs.
Two other appointments raised a red flag among
Treasury officials. Just before the Bush administration, two noncareer
Senior Executive Service employees were appointed--one as a law
enforcement appropriations officer and one as a strategic trade advisor.
Although OPM determined that both of the appointments were made with the
legitimate use of Schedule A authority, the agency, in its written
response to GAO‚s report, said it was concerned about the appearance
of political favoritism surrounding these cases.
OPM is now planning its own review of all the
appointments, as well as a review of the original justification for
allowing the additional appointments.
The Office of Personnel Management plans to review the circumstances surrounding several political appointments made at the Customs Service over the last two years, according to a new General Accounting Office report.
In 1998, the Treasury Department asked the Office of Personnel Management for the authority to add 10 law enforcement positions at Customs under the Schedule A excepted hiring authority, without regard to competitive civil service rules. In asking for the additional hiring authority, Treasury officials told OPM that because of the „sensitive natureš of the needed positions, publicly advertising them was not desirable. OPM approved the positions and Customs went on to fill nine of the positions between September 1998 and January 2001.
But in a new report, „Personnel Practices: Circumstances Surrounding U.S. Customs Service‚s Use of Schedule A Appointment Authority,š GAO said five of those appointments raised eyebrows.
Many politically appointed federal employees attempt to convert their work status from political appointee to career civil servant shortly before a presidential election in an attempt to remain in the executive branchųa practice known as „burrowing in.š
Two of the Customs appointments, for a law enforcement specialist and a public affairs specialist, were inconsistent with Treasury‚s assertion that the needed positions were „sensitive in nature,š GAO found. Later, Customs created identical positions, advertised them and then hired the two appointees to fill them.
Customs claimed they decided after appointing the two employees that the positions were needed permanently at the agency. Circumstances suggested that the two appointees might have had an unfair competitive advantage in getting the jobs, GAO said. Still, GAO could not determine that the two appointees would not have been hired based on their education and work experience prior to joining Customs.
Two other appointments raised a red flag among Treasury officials. Just before the Bush administration, two noncareer Senior Executive Service employees were appointed--one as a law enforcement appropriations officer and one as a strategic trade advisor. Although OPM determined that both of the appointments were made with the legitimate use of Schedule A authority, the agency, in its written response to GAO‚s report, said it was concerned about the appearance of political favoritism surrounding these cases.
OPM is now planning its own review of all the appointments, as well as a review of the original justification for allowing the additional appointments.
SEEN THESE MEN?
If you have...email: firstname.lastname@example.org
call the numbers on this poster
Mexico Police Probe Mystery Corpse
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, February 23, 2002; 7:00 AM
MAZATLAN, MEXICO ŲŲ The first parade of Carnaval was still hours away, but local families were already setting up folding chairs along Mazatlan's beachfront boulevard to be sure of a clear view.
In the tourist-heavy Zona Dorada, state police agents called in to give extra security for the local version of Mardi Gras said they saw guns through the windows of a Volkswagen Bug cruising past bars, hotels and souvenir shops. They began to follow the vehicle around 10:30 a.m.
The resulting chase on Feb. 10 left three men dead on the sidewalks. Nearly two weeks later, Mexican and U.S. officials are trying to figure out if one of them was Ramon Arellano Felix, allegedly one of the world's most violent drug traffickers and a fixture on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.
"We are investigating, looking for evidence," Mexican Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha said Friday as he accompanied President Vicente Fox on a tour of the Guatemalan border region.
He said his agency is "exchanging information" with U.S. officials.
"We have to exhaust all the tools that exist so that we can establish whether this hypothesis is a reality," he said.
In Washington, DEA spokesman Michael Chapman said Friday that U.S. officials were investigating reports of the killing.
The death of Arellano Felix would be a major blow to the Tijuana-based cartel allegedly run by he and his brothers, officials say. Ramon Arellano Felix is the security chief for a group accused of killing about 300 police, prosecutors, judges, rivals and a Roman Catholic cardinal over the past 15 years while shipping tons of cocaine, marijuana, heroin and amphetamines across the border.
According to police accounts, the men in the Volkswagen drove into a parking garage near the Plaza Gaviota Hotel and fled on foot Ų one briefly seeking shelter in the room of two Mexican college students who had come to play in a Carnaval band.
Finally the suspects emerged and began exchanging shots with the police. One of the policemen and two of the suspects were killed. Two others were captured and another man Ų who turned out to be a federal police officer Ų was also arrested. All three have denied involvement.
The bodies of the two suspects were sent to a local funeral home. A day later they were gone, turned over to people claiming to be relatives, according to workers at the funeral home who nervously refused to give further details and asked that even the name of their company be withheld for their safety.
Federal police identity cards, found on both of the dead suspects, turned out to be false, state prosecutors said.
Sinaloa state Deputy Attorney General Felipe Renault told a news conference Friday that one of the men was identified as Efrain Quintero Carrizoza, who was wanted for involvement in the Feb. 14, 2001, massacre of 12 people in Limoncito, a village not far from the state capital of Culiacan. That killing was believed to be drug related.
The other man's card identified him as Jorge Perez Lopez. It carried the photo of a crop-haired man whose features otherwise looked remarkably like those of the shaggy-haired image of Arellano Felix that appears in FBI wanted posters alongside that of Osama bin Laden. The U.S. government has offered $2 million for Arellano Felix's capture.
Funeral home workers told reporters only that state prosecutors had ordered them to release the bodies. State officials have refused to comment on the case, saying the matter is now being investigated by Macedo's federal Justice Department.
Macedo said officials were "establishing what happened to the body" of the man they say could be Arellano Felix.
"It's not in our possession," he said.
Mexican police have arrested several alleged key operatives of the gang in recent years, but have failed to reach the Arellano Felix brothers, who are accused of offering millions of dollars in bribes to officials, and of butchering those who refuse them.
Mexican prosecutors say the gang's victims include the late Roman Catholic Cardinal Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo, who was shot to death in a fusillade of bullets at the Guadalajara airport in 1993. They say the Arellano Felix gang confused the cardinal's car with that of their target, rival drug gang leader Joaquin Guzman Loera.
Last week I wrote about how vulnerable virtually every American citizen is to terrorism due to vast corruption in the U.S. Customs Service, whose job is to protect us from abuse of the expansive network of railways snaking across our great land.
In recent years, this life-giving national arterial system has gradually been poisoned by drug cartels and terrorist networks who use the myriad railroad veins and spurs to transport their addictive and destructive goods. This threat first came to my attention by former Customs Agent-turned-whistleblower Darlene Catalan's chilling first-hand account of government efforts to silence her when she began to expose corruption within the department.
Since last week I have been deluged with new information from train engineers, railway workers and brave government "whistleblowers" who have long known about this internal threat to national security.
It seems many "in the know" have been concerned for quite some time about how vulnerable the system is to terrorist attacks.
First, please understand what they report:
So here are the logical questions: Just when are bin Laden et al. going to use the railway system to transport biological, chemical or other warfare into the heartland of America? Are tanker cars already stationed throughout the U.S. just waiting to be exploded? Are "sleeper" terrorists lurking around our nation's train yards awaiting the word to attack?
As Catalan explained to me last week, the routing of the tanker cars is directed via remote control. The leaser of the tankers need only to place their orders via the Internet or telephone. There is no system in place to verify the identity of those directing the shipments. And, as I have learned through additional information and research, there is every likelihood that whatever "on the ground" terrorist support is needed to achieve massive destruction through tanker cars could easily already be in place.
This "clear and present danger" to American security must be addressed now.
Gary Aldrich, a former 26-year veteran of the FBI, agrees: "As former agent Catalan has exposed, there is tremendous corruption along our borders which has allowed our country to be infiltrated by those who wish us harm. Honest agents on the ground are routinely thwarted in their attempts to protect our nation, leaving us and our railways extremely vulnerable to terrorist attacks."
Aldrich should know, he's made it his mission to expose corruption in high places through supporting brave, credible "whistleblowers" from within government agencies. Aldrich is founder of the Patrick Henry Center, which seeks, in part, to "assist in the uncovering of serious wrongdoing in the federal government, will promote and protect every citizen's right to know, to speak out, and to correct corruptions no matter where they occur."
It is crucial to understand just how porous our borders are to illegal aliens gaining access to our country by the thousands each week.
We traditionally think of these illegal aliens as poor Mexicans attempting to gain access to a better life in America. But increasingly, the illegal aliens crossing into our country from both Canada and Mexico are identified by agents as "OTMs" Ų border lingo for "other than Mexicans." An estimated one in 10 illegal aliens "caught" are from countries like Egypt, Iran or Yemen.
How many get by undetected? Several of the scum involved in the brutal attacks of Sept. 11 entered the nation through Canada. Experts believe that there are many more currently among us who gained entry the same way, and many more attempting to enter even as you read this column.
Former Secret Service agent, law enforcement official and U.S. Customs agent John Carman worked the Southwest Border for 15 years and still monitors the activity through official contacts and civilian sources. He recently told me, "At the present time, corruption along the borders is so bad and morale among the agents so low that it doesn't shock me in the least that Middle Eastern terrorists are making their way into our country undetected. I have gathered information that indicates certain INS officials have, just in the last year, been allowing the illegal entry of Middle Eastern nationals through the world's largest land border port at San Ysidro. Some of this information was stated to me by Iraqi nationals living in San Diego, who are relatives of other Iraqis waiting to be allowed entry into our country through political asylum or visas."
The methods America uses to issue visas has long allowed individuals from countries that sponsor terrorism easy access to our communities. Some 3,700 U.S. consular offices around the world issue millions of visas every year. Eighty percent of the 8 million visa applications are approved by our State Department annually.
As Phyllis Schlafly, a long-time advocate of halting the flow of illegal aliens into the country recently exposed, "The State Department manual used by consular officials states that 'mere membership' in a recognized terrorist group, or even 'advocacy of terrorism,' does not automatically disqualify a person from entering the United States."
Indeed, On Oct. 16 WorldNetDaily's Washington Bureau Chief Paul Sperry broke the disturbing news that 14 Syrian pilots gained access to the U.S. on Oct. 14 and 15 through visas allowing them to attend flight school in Fort Worth, Texas. Syria, as anyone who has been following world events of late knows, is one of the key nations known to harbor and support terrorists.
This single act is a disgrace to American security. The fact that it happened within a few weeks of thousands of innocent civilians losing their lives to terrorist thugs on our own soil, some even in the Pentagon, is unconscionable.
It's time to demand answers and immediate responses by our government. The terrorists know of our vulnerability, and now you do too. Please do your part in alerting your elected officials.
An Actual Email Correspondence
From: "John Carman" <email@example.com> To: "George W. Bush" <President@whitehouse.gov> Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001 11:30 AM Subject: Fw: The Postal Connection Continued **************************************************************************** ***************************************** Dear Sir: If they can smuggle small amounts of Heroin, they can mail contaminated Anthrax as well. I hope you can use this information as I get it. It comes from people I trust who are still in Customs and Management isn't listening. God Bless! John Carman Editor- www.customscorruption.com **************************************************************************** ****************************************** ----- Original Message ----- From: Deleted For safety Reasons To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2001 9:30 AM Subject: Re: The Postal Connection If you know the USPS they are getting all of the press that they need with the anthrax scare. What they don't say is that they prevent us from doing two legal things that would greatly facilitate the stopping of terrorist activities and money laundering.
1) They are the only carrier that actively prevents that Customs Service from "re-examining "freight that has initially cleared and is still in their possession. Imagine having a dog alert on a parcel at an airfreight facility that has been cleared on a "general" exam through selectivity processing and having the airline say, with the force of federal law enforcement officers, that we could not open the package. Well the Postal Service says that even though the parcel is still in their possession and no matter what the reason (dog alert, ticking bomb, parcel going to a known drug house, or just because it looks like it should be examined again [or for that matter for the first time] ) that even though the Customs Regulations and court decisions to the contrary and the fact that the imported parcel has not been legally "permitted" because it is still in the possession of the importing carrier, the Customs Service needs a Federal Search warrant to open the parcel.
2) The Postal Service still has not capitulated to the changes in laws regarding export examinations by Customs that were passed several years ago. The plain language of the law says that the merchandise is subject to examination by Customs when it is taken possession by the exporting carrier with "intent to export". If someone addresses a parcel to a foreign country, puts some stamps on it and puts in the hands of the Postal Service then aren't they intending to export the parcel and isn't the exporting carrier the Postal Service? The dopers and others love Express Mail. Check out the amounts of Express Mail going to Colombia and coming from Colombia. The dopers know that the Postal Service prevents us from examining export mail but not import mail. IF we are going to get involved with this new agency shouldn't we also be "law enforcement " as the agents and marshals are? When we were detailed to be domestic security at O'Hare after 9/11 we were sworn in as Special Deputy Marshals. We are armed, with vests, with the authority but not with the retirement or pay. What is wrong with this picture?
Special Feature: Drug Warriors
SUBJECT: Discrimination complaint of Robert C. Kammer V Robert Rubin
Secretary of the Treasury, TD Case Number 95-2074 (Leonard Freedman is
the former IA Regional Director of the Customs Dept.)
Un-sworn Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury
In accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C.-1746, I the undersigned, Leonard D. Freedman, do hereby make the following unsworn declaration, under penalty of perjury, pertinent to the above stated subject: PAGE#1 PAGE#2 PAGE#3 PAGE#4 PAGE#5
The following affidavit is a sworn statement of Darlene Fitzgerald-Catalan given on September 18, 2001, in the State of Kentucky. This statement is on behalf of The Government Accountability Project (GAP), Washington, D.C. in support of Senate Hearings for the Whistleblower Protection Act (Senate Bill # S. 995). Click Here to Read her testimony
Here's the response from one of the illiterate sycophants still employed by the customs dept.
are you happy now your a tattletale were all so proud
First off , I would comment on
how the sender of this message is illiterate! "Your" is supposed
to be you're and "were" is supposed to be we're
and they failed to capitalize "are" at the
beginning of the sentence and failed to end the interrogatory sentence
with a question mark. Second off I would state the following:
You folks may wish to email a response to Lyle's Cave...I mean Lyle Cave at email@example.com and ask him what he has against the truth?
Check Out This Vital Website
This Customs Memo, which was provided from a confidential Customs source, is from Raymond W. Kelly, dated September 13, 2000.
A Customs Special Agent said it best after he
retired. He said what he left was „a leaderless, lethargic, morally
bankrupt, ineffective agency that had been infected by the Peter Principle
for many yearsš before he arrived. He then went on to say that „the
Customs Service has now reached such an advanced stage of internal decay
that it functions only in theoryš. I think the following memo in large
part explains this and how the reign of such inept and disgraceful
managers such as Bonni Tischler and Chuck Winwood is allowed to continue.
It is further proof of discrimination, unfair labor practices and possible violations of Federal laws dealing with the Privacy Act and FOIA laws within the U.S. Customs Service. This Memo was allegedly sent out to ALL Customs employees regarding the "Selection Review Process". It outlines the illegal use of an applicant's "entire past record" which may be "old" or "unverified" information. It is also a violation of the Union Contracts and Memorandum of understanding and possible Civil Rights violations with regards to releasing negative information about an Employee which causes unfair considerations for a new position or a promotion. It is also against the law to keep such "secret files" on anyone without divulging the existence of such a file. This information is clearly being denied and kept "secret". In doing so, it prevents anyone from being able to defend themselves in a legal process in which our Democratic form of government was founded. ~Editor~
Agent Ricardo Sandoval
Update: Still Fighting to Get Awarded Damages! Jan. 8th hearing: Results in original ruling being upheld in 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. U.S. Customs ordered to pay, but still no relief for Mr. Sandoval as of April 20th, 2001.
Special Agent Ricardo Sandoval is still
fighting to get his awarded damages from the May 1998 court decision
by a San Diego federal jury under federal District Judge Judith Keep. A
settlement hearing is scheduled for January 8, 2001. ( Almost two full years
since he was awarded $200,000 for doing his job in the face of opposition from
his superiors at U.S. Customs Internal Affairs.) Special agent Sandoval has
experienced retaliation for doing his job and is still being harassed by Customs
managers and co-workers.
Lawsuit Puts Customs Service on Trial Part 1
Lawsuit Puts Customs Service on Trial Part 2
Customs agent is awarded $200,000 | Jury says he faced bias and retaliation
It has just been learned that Customs Special Agent Ricardo Sandoval has finally received his final check for the $200,000 damages regarding his 1st lawsuit against U.S. Customs which was decided back on or about May 14, 1998. The U.S. Treasury check was hand delivered by a special courier and signed for on or about May 11, 2001 and cleared on May 21, 2001. READ FULL STORY
UPDATE: Though Mr. Sandoval has received his settlement, he has reported that he is continuing to experience harassment.
Update to this Case: As a result of John Carman giving agents a heads-up, a surprise inspection was performed in early morning hours resulting in this story: Surprise check uncovers 1,018 pounds of marijuana hidden beneath five railway cars.
To this day, investigations are still being covered up...
It has come to my attention over the last several months that one of several major "NARCOTICS" investigations has been "killed" by very high Customs Office of Enforcement (O.E.) SAIC's and RAC's in the Southern California area.
I have also been told by very reliable sources in Customs, as well as former Customs agents and state and local law enforcement officials on various narcotics tasks forces, that one of the most major investigations into smuggling by the U.S. railroad has become a major corridor through which tons of "marijuana" and "cocaine" are entering into this country "unchecked" everyday without inspection. (I am told that this information is well documented through official reports within the Customs agency and well placed in case of any further death threats and harassment by rogue Customs Internal Affairs units or corrupt officials within Customs itself) I have also been told that maybe these "other" suspected "government agents" that have been involved in intercepting drug shipments may be from another government agency out of Langley, Virginia. That remains to be seen.
Just two years ago a railroad car was checked on a tip from reliable informants and over 8 tons of marijuana was discovered with an additional amount of cocaine. (Each railroad car, tanker, bin, or hopper can carry upwards of over 50,000 pounds of contraband each load. In some instances the various rail cars can carry a maximum load of approximately 88,000 kilos or 193,600 lbs. of contraband.
Since I worked in U.S. Customs at the San Ysidro Border Inspection Station for over 15 years, I had occasion to inspect the "northbound" trains entering into the U.S. via Tijuana at San Ysidro just east of the main Port of Entry. (This is located just east and up the hill where over 6,000 vehicles and pedestrians enter daily from Tijuana, Mexico. San Ysidro is the world's largest land border port serving approximately 24 entry lanes with a potential maximum load of over 14,400 vehicles and pedestrians per 24 hour shift, if ALL the entry lanes were fully staffed and maintained.)
On occasion I was sent to accompany another Customs inspector and verify the serial numbers of the rail cars as they entered the country from Tijuana, Mexico. I also did this in Calexico, California at the Port of Entry, now called Border Inspection Stations. We would then receive the appropriate manifests from the rail road crew listing the various rail cars and their cargo contents. Most ALL of the rail cars that contained cargo were sealed and required special equipment or assistance in order to check or verify the cargo.
(What's interesting to note is that there is only ONE rail car weigh station in Colton, California that can be used to verify the weights of the manifested weights of the cargo. The only other weigh station is allegedly in Texas). All other empty rail cars had to be checked "visually" as they entered. NONE ARE WEIGHED. According to Customs laws, anything that entered the United States was subject to inspection. (ref: 19 USC 482, 1581, just to name a few laws)
The rail cars are supposed to be in such an order that the paperwork is easily checked off for verification of serial numbers and is properly manifested. After one of us unlocked the high security gate lock we would position ourselves on either side of the rail cars along with Border patrol to control the entry of the rail cars and prevent any further illegal entry of illegals. Once the rail cars were all accounted for and secured on the north side of the border, the gate is secured and locked once again. (It should be noted that the gate is NOT manned 24 hours a day and is only checked a maximum of 1 hour each day for northbound traffic. All other times it is NOT maintained.
Special Note: On several occasions these rail cars were NOT in proper order and there were discrepancies noted. On other rare occasions, the "railroad" personnel took the liberty of letting the railcars in at their convenience and NOT the convenience of the U.S. Customs Service. On several other instances the northbound gate lock had been totally broken into and the gate left open by smugglers. You could have driven a couple of trucks through that gate, not to mention a whole railroad full of rail cars.
U.S. Border Patrol Agents are usually stationed near by to watch and prevent any possible entry of "illegals" coming from Mexico while the rail cars enter from Tijuana. I occasion I have spotted and intercepted Mexican illegals trying to hitch a ride on board the railcars. This is very dangerous and hazardous as some illegals have lost their lives due to train accidents from trying to board a moving train or from exiting before the train stops. They usually hide in the "empty" cargo bins or open rail cars that contain no cargo.
Not only is there the threat of illegal "human cargo" but the threat of narcotics coming in by the tons.
According to very "reliable" sources in the government and other law enforcement agencies, there was information that tons of narcotics was entering into the United States by way of special rail cars. This is NOT a new scenario.
According to a 1998 seizure which occurred at the railroad near one of the border stations, over 8,000 pounds of marijuana and cocaine was discovered and seized by Customs agents. Two years later the same railroad yard was still experiencing problems with theft and pilfering of merchandise totaling over $11,000,000 million dollars worth of cargo each year. Think about it. That's a lot of expensive cargo without the threat of illegal contraband.
While conducting a special investigation regarding these reliable "sources" Customs Agents and other law enforcement officials came across a situation where there were two "independent" and "different" sources of information that confirmed that there were "U.S. Government" or "law enforcement" looking types that were committing thefts on some of these "special" rail cars after they were being held for further processing and maintained before the final the destination was completed. Some of these "U.S. Agent" look-a-likes had short haircuts and carried AK-47's for protection while unloading contraband. Which agency issues AK-47's to it's agents? (According to other government agents I have spoken to, no legitimate U.S. agency issues AK-47's at this time)
When word of this reached Customs agents working this investigation heard of this, they passed this on to their superiors for further investigation and permission to pursue search warrants and arrest warrants dealing with the narcotics that was entering through the use of these rail cars.
What happens next is very puzzling. According to the "government" sources, the SAIC's and RAC's "ordered" the investigation stopped immediately. There was a very aggressive tone to this order and NO reason was given. The agents working this case were not only "ordered off" the investigation, but they were further "threatened" with various types of retaliatory "administrative" actions and reprimands that were totally uncalled for. It was obvious to these good Customs agents that they were being told to "back off" and "stand down". When one or two of the agents asked about the status of the investigation when he/she was told they were possibly going to be removed, the SAIC told them "the investigation is dead". That is was going no where. They were further told that any pursuit of this investigation would be cause for removal.
WOW! There you have it! A high ranking Customs official ordering his own Customs agents off of an investigation for no apparent reason or justification. (Information has it that one of these high ranking Customs officials retired within the year to the private sector) The harassment still exists against the remaining loyal and hard working Customs agents and several others who resigned in order to avoid the fallout of the corrupt agency.
Please see the attached "sample" photos and you will see various types of rail cars that enter the United States everyday. These particular photos were taken at the San Ysidro Port of Entry just last month September 2000. To my knowledge, none of these pictured rail cars are under any current investigation for smuggling.
This information was passed on to Customs Internal Affairs and the Treasury OIG without any positive results. The FBI and the Department of Justice was also notified by myself as well as several others from within the Customs Service without any response. (The FBI contact was special agent Robert W. Meza in the San Diego office (619)514-5860 or (619)565-1255 ) This was done around April or May of 1999. Here it is October 2000 and still NO response.
Failure to take action on direct evidence of corruption or smuggling activity by members of the U.S. Treasury Department, U.S. Customs Service, or the FBI of the Department of Justice is a felony and dereliction of duty and obstruction of Justice. There are only a few instances where such an important investigation is NOT pursued. Neither of those situations have been cited as the reasons for killing the investigation regarding the railroad smuggling cases and the failure of the Customs Supervisory officials from taking appropriate action.
| Over the past several weeks,
we as a nation have been on high alert, open to unprecedented incursions
into our privacy in the effort to stem the threat of terrorism. We have
been willing to endure luggage searches and long waits at our airports,
metal detectors at our borders, and pat downs at our sporting events.
All this is being done as part of the united effort to prevent the
terrorists from coming to us. But what if our enemies aren't coming?
Instead, what if they are plotting to bring the horror of terror into
our communities from remote locations? That is precisely what former
U.S. Customs Service special agent Darlene Fitzgerald-Catalan asserts
that we must guard against. Catalan claims further that she has evidence
to back up her warnings. That evidence points to our nation's railroad
system. Catalan, as well as other government whistleblowers, claim that
the nation's railcars -- and the system that is used to transport them
to every nook and cranny of the country -- can be used by terrorists as
weapons to inflict devastating harm on Americans. Catalan adds that the
government must take action now to deal with the threat. The issue first
came to light, according to Catalan, during a major investigation she
helped spearhead in the late 1990s. The investigation, she adds,
uncovered a narcotics smuggling operation in Southern California that
was making use of railcars to move illegal drugs across the Mexican
border into the United States. Catalan claims that higher-up Customs
managers mysteriously "torpedoed" her investigation, which she
contends linked the smuggling operation to the Arellano-Felix drug
cartel in Mexico. Catalan alleges that in the wake of trying to blow the
whistle on the "torpedoed" investigation, she was subjected to
retaliation and severe emotional abuse, which included a death threat,
that eventually led her to resign from her job in 1999. "I had
seized eight thousand pounds of marijuana and 32 kilos of cocaine in a
pressurized rail tanker car," Catalan recounts in a recent
statement prepared for the Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on
International Security, Proliferation and Federal Services. She adds in
the statement that the drugs were shipped into the United States from a
rail yard in Guadalajara, Mexico, that "was under the direct
control of the infamous Arellano-Felix (drug) cartel. Catalan's
statement was originally submitted to the Senate subcommittee in July in
support of proposed amendments to the Whistleblowers Protection Act.
Catalan redrafted the statement in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist
attacks and has sent copies to every U.S. senator, numerous U.S.
representatives as well as the Government Accountability Project (GAP)
in Washington, D.C. -- which is lobbying in support of reforms to the
Whistleblowers Protection Act. Doug Hartnett, a spokesman for GAP, says
Catalan's redrafted statement was submitted to the Senate subcommittee
this week. "This information (concerning the possible use of
railcars by terrorists) isn't something that dedicated terrorists
committed to blowing something up couldn't figure out on their
own," Hartnett says. By making this information public, the goal is
not "to put Xs on our vulnerabilities," but rather to get our
government agencies to adjust to the threat, Hartnett explains. "To
not do anything for fear of evildoers getting ideas is kind of what put
us in the situation we are in. There were people pointing out the lax
security at our airports long before the Sept. 11 attacks." Former
Customs special agent Sandy Nunn submitted a similar statement to the
Senate subcommittee in July as well. Nunn, who also resigned from her
job at Customs in 1999, has joined Catalan in blowing the whistle on the
aborted railcar investigation. "After further investigation,
Darlene determined that ... well over 100 of these tanker cars with
similar weight characteristics and so forth had passed into the commerce
of the United States undetected by inspection and investigators,"
Nunn says in her statement to the subcommittee. "What was in those
tanker cars remains a mystery." Who's listening? Over the past two
years, Catalan says she and several other current and former Customs
employees, including Nunn, have attempted to spur investigations into
why the railcar smuggling investigation was shut down. Among the
agencies they have contacted are the FBI and the U.S. Office of Special
Counsel. "Seven of us laid this rail operation out to the
FBI," Catalan explains. "We made this problem crystal clear in
terms of how these railcars can be controlled." She says, to date,
no one in the government has done anything. After consulting with her
attorneys, Catalan says she was convinced that it was time to come
forward with additional information on the railcar investigation,
particularly in light of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. "They (the
attorneys) said I have an obligation to go public," Catalan says,
"that I can't wait until after something gets blown up, only to
say, `I told you so.'" And so, Catalan is making available to the
media the same statement she sent to congressional members and GAP.
According to that statement, the same railroad tanker cars being used to
smuggle drugs could easily be converted for use in an even more sinister
smuggling operation: "... These (rail) tanker cars are the perfect
instruments for a terrorist attack against the U.S. As previously
stated, anyone with cash and phony identification can lease or sublease
these cars using a front company as the importer/exporter of record. ...
The terrorist would simply lease/sublease a tanker car -- even more
easily accomplished south of the U.S. border -- and pay cash to set up
an account with any of the major railroads. "... These tanker cars
can be remotely sent to any railroad spur that is put up for lease by
any private industry/citizen willing to lease their spur. ... Then the
terrorist can remotely move them and, if need be, abruptly change the
routing of these cars via a simple phone call to their customer service
rep or via the Internet, from anywhere in the world." Catalan, who
is trained in counter-terrorism tactics, goes on to state that these
"metal, cylindrical-shaped" rail tanker cars could easily be
converted into giant "pipebombs" that could be detonated
remotely. Who's watching? Catalan, in her statement, asserts that
pressurized rail tankers are not being systematically checked by Customs
as they cross the border. That claim is backed up by sources within
Customs who explain that there are thousands of railcars crossing the
Mexican and Canadian borders daily and inadequate resources to
thoroughly check each one. Further, in the case of pressurized tanker
cars, special hazardous materials teams need to be called in to complete
inspections, an expensive and time-consuming process. John Carman, a
former uniformed officer with the U.S. Secret Service as well as a
former U.S. Customs Inspector, agrees with that analysis as well. Carman
says he was among the first people within Customs to identify the
railcar smuggling problem, and, along with Nunn, Catalan and others, has
been instrumental in blowing the whistle on the lack of attention to the
issue. "If I can smuggle drugs on these railcars, I can smuggle
anything," Carman explains. "Customs simply does not have
enough time or people to inspect all of these railcars. If one or more
of these railcars (loaded with explosives or biological agents) got
through, it could do a lot of damage." That fact is underscored,
Catalan adds, by the vastness of this nation's rail system. "Now
consider the fact that one can simply remotely send these giant
instruments of death, simultaneously, to any one of thousands of rails
spurs, virtually undetected," Catalan says in the statement
prepared for the Senate subcommittee. "... Now add to this the fact
that once this is done, the perpetrators will be extremely difficult to
trace and no suicide bombers are needed." Catalan says rail spurs
are located near major buildings throughout the country. She adds that
an even more frightening scenario would be if one or more
explosive-laden rail tanker cars were to be detonated in a major urban
rail yard -- where hundreds of other railcars loaded with hazardous
materials are located. "These tanker cars in general carry a
plethora of hazardous material," Catalan told the Business Journal.
"If one or more is blown up in a rail yard, it could start a
devastating chain reaction." Catalan contends that a task force
needs to be organized immediately that is well-trained to address the
rail threat. Officials with U.S. Customs headquarters in Washington,
D.C., did not provide comment on Catalan's claims and the potential
railcar threat by the Business Journal's deadline. John Bromley,
spokesman for the Omaha, Neb.-based Union Pacific Railroad Co., says the
railroad does track information on railcars such as weight, destination
and the type of commodities being transported. "But we don't
inspect the cars to ensure the commodity that is supposed to be in them
is actually in there," he adds. "We do not open the cars. If
someone in the government is doing that, I can't say." Bromley did
say, though, that the railroad is on high alert in the wake of the
recent terror attacks and is taking steps to address security concerns.
"We have increased security on the railroad due to the Sept. 11
attacks," he explains. "But we can't discuss scenarios or what
might happen. ... "However, we are concerned with hazardous
materials and our infrastructure and other issues, and we are taking a
hard look at it with our security teams and have been meeting with
To see other Business Journal coverage of U.S. Customs, go to http://sanantonio.bcentral.com/sanantonio/stories/2001/10/01/story2.html .
John Carman also operates a Web site at: ( http://www.customscorruption.com
Family denies illegal acts on either side of border
By Tracey Eaton / The Dallas Morning News
MEXICO CITY - Mexican billionaire Carlos Hank Gonzalez, his two sons and their associates oversee a sprawling criminal and business empire that stretches into the United States, says a new report by a U.S. Department of Justice agency.
"Several years of investigative information strongly support the conclusion that the Hank family has laundered money on a massive scale, assisted drug trafficking organizations in transporting drug shipments and engaged in large-scale public corruption," reads the report's executive summary, which was obtained by The Dallas Morning News. "Through its financial strength, political influence and criminal associations the Carlos Hank Gonzalez family remains a central, dynamic force in Mexico."
Members of the family, which has wielded immense political and economic power in Mexico for decades, could not be reached for comment.
They have vehemently and repeatedly denied any criminal ties. Carlos Arguelles, a spokesman for Mr. Hank Gonzalez, has called such accusations "a pack of lies."
"It seems to be the same information regurgitated over and over. From our standpoint, it's not true," said Richard Stern, a lawyer with Marketing by MIR, a California firm associated with the Hank family's sports-betting outlets in Mexico.
The report was prepared by the National Drug Intelligence Center, a federal agency under the Department of Justice. Run mostly by former agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the agency reviewed more than 70,000 U.S. law enforcement documents before concluding that the Hank family has links to Mexico's criminal syndicates, including the violent Arellano-Felix drug gang in Tijuana and the Juarez smuggling cartel.
The agency, based in Johnstown, Pa., was established in 1993, has a $30 million annual budget and produces coinfidential reports for counternarcotics agencies and key policy-makers.
It specializes in developing intelligence on worldwide criminal organizations that threaten U.S. security interests. And its report on the "Grupo Hank" alleges that the family and its associates "pose a significant threat to the United States."
"The Hank family has purchased, or exercises control over, several U.S. banks, investment firms, transportation companies, and real estate properties," the report says.
"Carlos Hank Gonzalez's family associates closely with the leaders of the largest organized crime groups in Mexico through business partnerships, cooperative criminal activity, and personal relationships," the report says.
The suggestion that there may be links between one of Mexico's most powerful families and organized crime is especially relevant now as contenders for the Mexican presidency jockey for position.
The ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, of which Mr. Hank Gonzalez has been a prominent leader for decades, has dominated the country for 70 years. Foes of the party say that it has remained in power so long, in part, because it has accepted money from criminals.
Said the report, "Unquestionably, the Carlos Hank Gonzalez family's greatest strength has been its political influence. As a PRI loyalist since the 1940s, Carlos Hank Gonzalez held some of the highest political offices and built a network of political allies. The current government is replete with individuals who owe their careers to Carlos Hank Gonzalez."
Mexico City's El Financiero first disclosed on Sunday the National Drug Intelligence Center report on the Hank family.
Mr. Hank Gonzalez, 71, nicknamed "The Professor," began his career as a rural schoolteacher, rose through the ranks of the PRI and held several posts in government, including Mexico City mayor, Mexico state governor and federal secretary of tourism.
He retired from politics after Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo took office in 1994 but continues to attract attention - and controversy - in Mexico.
"Carlos Hank Reappears," read a headline in Sunday's Reforma newspaper, reporting that Mr. Hank Gonzalez attended his granddaughter's wedding on Saturday after a short hospital stay earlier in the week. Some Mexicans have speculated that his health was failing; his aides said he merely had a checkup.
In any case, his granddaughter's wedding in Mexico state showed he still has considerable clout. The guest list of more than 1,500 included former President Jose Lopez Portillo, several Cabinet members, governors and assorted other VIPs.
Inroads in U.S.
The family has tried to extend its reach into the U.S. gambling industry, the report said. Mr. Hank Gonzalez's youngest son, Jorge Hank Rhon, operates a string of sports-betting outlets and the Caliente dog track in Tijuana and wants to expand into the United States, according to the agency.
The older son, Carlos Hank Rhon, has controlling interest in Laredo National Bank and other business enterprises.
Robert Tortoriello, a lawyer for Laredo National Bank, said U.S. bank regulators have examined Carlos Hank Rhon's background very carefully and have not prevented him from operating the bank and adding branches.
He said that if any of the allegations against Mr. Hank Rhon were true, he has no doubt that U.S. authorities would have taken action against the family.
"Money laundering is a very serious thing," he said.
Members of Mexico's political opposition complain that the Mexican government has done little to prevent money launderers and other criminals from contributing to the PRI.
Link to politicians
Carlos Cabal Peniche, a suspected Mexican money launderer now in prison in Australia, said in a recent letter to the Miami Herald that he raised $25 million for three PRI candidates in 1994. Fifteen million dollars allegedly went to Luis Donaldo Colosio, the PRI presidential candidate who was assassinated during the 1994 campaign.
An additional $5 million was raised for Mr. Colosio, and after the candidate's murder, the funds were sent to the campaign of his successor, Ernesto Zedillo, the current president. Mr. Cabal Peniche said he raised another $5 million for Roberto Madrazo, who won the governor's race in Tabasco state and is now vying for the PRI's presidential nomination.
A spokesman for Mr. Zedillo said the presidential campaign contributions were legal and properly documented with electoral authorities.
This plaque was dedicated to the San Diego
Zoo by then Customs Commissioner Carol Hawlett. This was regarding the rare
White Tiger, which is endangered and was previously seized by Customs Inspectors
at the Southbound lanes to Tijuana from San Diego. This Endangered White Tiger
which was owned by Caliente Race track owner Jorge Hank-Rhon was being smuggled
without proper permits into Tijuana for his personal zoo. Jorge Hank-Rhon is a
"known" Customs violator and is very close personal friends with
Customs managers here in San Diego. (Alan J. Rappoport, Jerry Martin, John
Maryon was the Branch Chief at Otay Mesa that "ordered" me not to put Jorge Hank-Rhon's name into the TECS lookout system. Hank-Rhon is a known violator and has smuggled hundreds of thousands of U.S. Currency into or out of the United States on various occasions. He has also been caught smuggling into his own country of Mexico at Mexico City and has never been incarcerated yet. He merely pays people off and gets his way. He is very rich and operates on the golden rule. He who has the most gold, makes the rules!
By the way, the plaque which was attached to this rather large rock, no longer exists at the zoo. Both the rock and the plaque have disappeared and I do not know of their whereabouts. Mr. Jorge Hank-Rhon probably got someone to have it "removed" or he bought it for a small "donation" to the San Diego Zoo. That's a pretty big stone it was attached to by the way. It must have weighed about 200 lbs or more.
Mexico's powerful Hank family goes after U.S. prof over leak. San Diego Union Tribune 08/17/2000
TO: Editor of Customs Corruption.com
It‚s been about 5 weeks since someone displayed a copy of the „Sweet home Chicagoš article from your website in the lobby of the Customs House in Chicago. (I urge all visitors to your web site to read this article and your recent feature article titled, „The Boxš.) The Customs Service‚s response to the mere display of the truth has been reminiscent of Hitler‚s Gestapo squads, or the former Soviet Union‚s KGB.
Bonni Tischer has ordered in her own personal „Gestapo squadš to root out this mystery messenger of truth, the „eliteš Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of the Office of Internal Affairs. And the recent actions of Custom‚s „eliteš border on the unbelievable. They have so far flown in both a polygraph team and a computer forensic team. In their interviews of dozens of employees they have employed the disgusting tactic of fabricating lies, which pitted one employee against another in an effort to get people to admit to writing or posting the article. In one case they even made up lies that pitted a husband against his wife. They intimidated at least one employee to allow them to copy the contents of his home PC hard drive. Instead of investigating the obvious indiscretions of Dick Roster, Bonni Tischer, Chuck Winwood, and Robyn Dessaure, Ms. Tischler‚s „Gestapo squadš is intent on discovering and punishing whoever wrote and/or displayed the article in Chicago. As of this writing teams of at least six to eight SIU agents have been airlifted in from Washington on three or more occasions. Already tens of thousands of the taxpayer‚s dollars have been spent on this insane witch-hunt! In my opinion the only logical explanation for this behavior beyond destroying this honorable but lowly messenger of truth must be to gather information for Ms. Tischler‚s personal attorney for her threatened lawsuit against you and your web site.
The blatant misuse of the resources of the United States Customs Service to satisfy one‚s ego and for personal gain is unconscionable and has to stop. I implore all readers to bring this situation to the attention of their Representatives and Senators. And if you are a Customs employee I urge you to also report this to the Treasury Inspector General(OIG). The Customs Service is totally out of control under its present leadership, but there are too many dedicated and honest Customs employees out there to allow this to continue. Please, let‚s do something to stop this.
Signed, "REDACTED" for safety reasons.
And Another one...
Correction to the Tischler article.
Subject: Bonnie Tischler
John, was just advised of your website by a present RAC/OI, who is a great guy and has always done what is best for the country, service, and his subordinates.
Needless to say he is not well liked by management, even though he can run rings around all the "kiss asses" that made it to the top.
Now, just to fill you in on Ms. Tischler. You report that she had an affair with an informant. I believe you may not be getting the full picture. Ms. Tischler was having an affair with a "subordinate", who at the time was a CPO on the East Coast, when she was the SAC in Tampa, Florida.
Tischler was informed by Internal affairs that this particular CPO, named Keith Puig, was under investigation for drug smuggling. Tischler was told this, by internal affairs agents in Miami, so she would stop seeing PUIG. She didn't. In fact there are tape recordings of Tischler and Puig, because there was a court ordered title III on Puig's phone. These recordings revealing Ms Tischler telling Puig of all the things she loves to do to him, to include oral sex. I know this because at the time of this investigation I was with internal affairs Miami.
Puig was later convicted and served time in federal prison for drug smuggling. It is my understanding that since Puig was released from federal prison for drug smuggling she continued to have a sexual relationship with him.
Just so you know that I am not making this up. I was a Customs "DELETED" who knew PUIG well and like I said I was with I.A. when this was all happening. This all came about during the Charlie Jordan case.
It's amazing what one can get away with. I knew of Tischler's affair with Puig when it was going on but didn't care until I learned of Puig's illegal activities. Which BONNI stated she didn't care!
Ms.Tischler, in my opinion, is a discrace to the U.S. Customs Service, which I love having been an Inspector, CPO & Special Agent for almost 28 years.
I have waited long enough and thought very carefully about what I am about to reveal to you about the "alleged" Hidro Tanker Memo that was "allegedly" signed by CMC Director Rudy M. Camacho.
I have "first hand" knowledge of this incident only because of my association with former Customs employee Mike Horner. I also knew what I had to do when I discovered that he may be lying for "personal reasons" to "control" the newsmedia. This is why certain Customs Stories were "killed" in order to protect the newsmedia liabilities. When I started to find these things out, then I realized that someone was lying about something. It wasn't me. I wanted to get the truth, one way or another.
I have already brought this information to the attention of Customs Internal Affairs Agents in San Diego and Customs Headquarters through the former and current Commissioner without any action. I have been told by Customs Internal Affairs Agents Russel Hixon and Dave Wales that: "We are moving forward with a criminal case regarding Mr. Horner................with your assistance Mr. Carman." I was also told by these "agents" that I was doing a very "Honorable" and "Correct" thing, but I was cautious and I also knew that all they wanted to do was go after Mike Horner and others who made serious protected disclosures. I was taking another chance at doing my job at the cost of losing my career.
Let me point out, that my "evidence" has never been "refuted", nor will it be "refuted" because I have told Customs Internal affairs and other government agencies the truth. They know this, and they will not challenge me except at great risk to themselves and damage the "trust" which has been broken to the People Of The United States by the U.S. Customs Service. They also will not challenge me unless they want to damage themselves on many corruption allegations I have made against Customs managers. They would rather do "damage control" and attack the "messenger".
I question the abilities and the true intentions of the Customs Service and it's Internal Affairs Units. It is apparent that they only want to know the truth if it benefits them or the agency. Otherwise, they do not know how to handle the real truth and to "correct" the problems that others have suggested over many years of service to the Customs Service like I have, as well as others.
I have been told numerous times that I would receive some sort of protection and that what I did to assist the Customs Service was "above and beyond what was expected of anyone". It was at great risk to myself and my family that I assisted Customs Internal Affairs, no matter what. I have been retaliated against and received "death threats" by others who may carry badges. It is time that everyone know the real truth about Mike Horner and Rudy M. Camacho.
I have been treated "unprofessionally" by Senior Customs Internal Affairs Agents by the names of Russell Hixon and Dave Wales as well as the I.A. SAIC out of the San Diego office. I was also receiving "Death Threats" without any protection from the Customs Service during this time of my "assisting" Customs in this very sensitive issue. I figure it was my duty to tell Customs Internal Affairs as soon as I knew something about what I knew because I had just found out that Mike Horner was not truthful to me or others in the Media.
I didn't want this to damage my "whistle-blower" case against Customs in any way what-so-ever. I also "collected" valuable information that I felt was necessary to assist Customs I.A. or "others" in the event Customs employees that I knew or talked with were not telling the truth. I was not going to "blindly" follow anyone no matter what. I was also very careful to ask questions and to double check information regarding sensitive "leaks" that occurred.
As soon as I started to discover "inconsistencies" in Mike Horner's stories, I started keeping notes and waiting until I was absolutely sure that I must take corrective action to report these things. You have to remember that I was also under constant attack by Customs management and Immigration employees that didn't really know what was going on. I was even told by a Customs Supervisor that she didn't believe that I talked to Customs Internal Affairs. or why haven't they (Customs Internal Affairs) arrested anyone yet? This type of comment was very stupid and could only try to illicit some sort of response from me. I refrained anyway.
One thing that I want to make clear, is that throughout this ordeal, I was lied to by Mike Horner and others who are still employed by the Customs Service. I still do not trust very many people now because of it. I was "manipulated" up to a certain degree but I have taken measures to protect myself.
It was apparent later on, that certain Customs employees and Mike Horner were only interested in their own personal gain and not the real cause of exposing corruption within the Customs Service. On the other hand, I want to commend the other Customs employees who did have good intentions and the needs of the Customs Service. No matter what, you must still report illegal activity and evidence of corruption. If you don't, then you are just as bad as the corrupt officials we are trying to weed out.
Anyway, to the last days regarding the 60 Minute interviews and the "alleged" "forged" document signed by Rudy M. Camacho.
There were many discrepancies with the "Hidro Tanker Memo". Unfortunately, Mr. Horner did not want to tell me a lot of things, so I had to "dig" at the right moment. Customs Internal Affairs couldn't do it. No body could! Only me.
I was in a perfect position to monitor and evaluate "limited" information. I figured I was going to get to disclose my allegations against corrupt Customs managers, but that was not the case. Mr. Horner "controlled" the media and he wasn't interested in any other Customs allegations accept his own. He even tried to take "ownership" or "plagiarize" my allegations as well as others. The only people I can blame is Customs because of how the employees are treated if they report illegal activity like I did.
There is specific evidence that Horner even "tape recorded' a lot of his conversations with U.S. government agents without their knowledge. I have provided this to Internal Affairs and they have done nothing!
I was "promised" many times by Russel Hixon and Dave Wales, that after my last disclosures in April 1997, they only wanted to know the truth. However once they had the truth, they still did "nothing". It is "possible" that either I was "set up" on a small incident, which I reported to the Customs Commissioner or the other Customs Inspectors just lied to save their own "butt". I was even willing to take a polygraph or chemical drug to show my sincerity in telling the truth. Nothing has happened to the others who lied. (Yet)
Around the time of the "memo" that Mike Horner had, I also had some questions about the discrepancies in the Customs emblem of the official Customs Stationary. I found this out too late because whatever Mike Horner was doing was already done. I tried to "understand" why there were some discrepancies and I looked through a lot of my own personal documents, reports and various awards that I had received from Customs.
When I found a few original Customs documents that I proved to be correct "originals", I then discovered that the original signature signed by Rudy M. Camacho was in perfect order, but that the Customs emblem was slightly obliterated in the center where the stars appeared in the "arch" of the center emblem. The stars were removed or gone because of a computer glitch or because of numerous photocopying.This document is still a good document, unless the Customs Attorney or employee "forged" his signature.
This puzzled me extremely since Mike Horner acted surprised when I pointed this out to him after he had already done something with "his" Hidro tanker memo.
My memos were from cash awards or evaluations that had been changed through the grievance procedure to "excellent" and was signed by Rudy M. Camacho. I even had some signed by Rex Applegate the assistant Customs Director in San Diego.
The real kicker is this. These memos all "appeared" to come from the same office at the Customs CMC Director's office laser jet computer printer. You could not have duplicated that "special" discrepancy unless you copied from someone else's personal memo or obtained another copy from the Customs CMC Director's office. Mr. Horner did not know this discrepancy to the best of my knowledge. I believe that someone else gave him the memo. It is because of my background in the Treasury Department and my expertise in recognizing "counterfeit" documents that I am making this known to you, as well as Internal Affairs.(Internal Affairs was told first!) All the information I have told Customs Internal Affairs still hasn't benefited me in the least. Otherwise, I would not be writing these reports and making further disclosures.
I also want you to know that there were several others in Customs who were asked to "sign" an affidavit to confirm the existence of this "memo" and it's authenticity in which Mr. Horner had possession. Afterwards, Customs Internal Affairs asked several other persons to sign an affidavit to the contrary. I was not one of those persons.
Prior to the "60 Minutes" story regarding the "memo", I was asked to find this alleged memo in another Customs office which Horner had specific knowledge about. I did not do anything because of the danger to myself and the sensitivity of what he was asking. Instead, Mr. Horner faxed me a copy of the "alleged" memo so I could look at it myself. Unfortunately, it was "sanitized" and the signature was "blacked" out as well as the "alleged" originators of the memo. This was later explained to me by Mr. Horner to protect certain Customs employees in case the "promised" protection was not fulfilled by the Customs Service, U.S. Attorney's office, or Senator Feinstein's office and the "60 Minute" producers and Mike Wallace. If the protection was not afforded, then some of the other Customs Employees were to "disavow" any knowledge of signing any affidavits for Mike Horner. Mr. Horner even made the same promises to me and said, "If it looks good sign it". It was very general and only claimed to be familiar with the memo and it's procedures of allowing "special treatment" of certain importers and there special cargo or perishable merchandise. I am very familiar with this and other similar types of Customs memos.
I have personally seen similar types of memos signed and "rough drafted" by the head of U.S. Customs District Director Alan J. Rappoport, for *Aceves Trucking Company (*prior violators) and the head of Mexican Customs named: "Monje". This would prove to anyone that it was a common practice and occurrance to allow "favors" for certain trucking companies by the Customs Service to enter and be waved through without inspection because of the District Director's authorization. (Remember the yellow laminated "get out of jail free" Camacho Cards possessed by drug smugglers and violators?, Former District Director Alan J. Rappoport did the exact same thing too!) I know, because I have personally caught people with these cards that were guilty of lying or smuggling. This is what former Customs "D.D." Alan J. Rappoport did with the Hidro Tanker trucks. He even allowed them to come into the country through the "non-commercial" traffic at San Ysidro "without" proper inspection for drugs.(Remember the 8,500 pounds of Cocaine at Otay Mesa?)
Mike Horner did not know about these "other memos" that existed to the best of my knowledge. If he did, then it was through someone else. I found copies of the "related" memos in the Import Specialist Branch files that I was specifically "ordered" to "purge" as far back as 5 years or more. I got to see a lot of files but, I was only following orders from Supervisors Patrick Talese and Stephanie Castro and other GS-12's. It just so happened that the Team I was assigned to dealt specifically with pharmaceuticals, drugs, chemicals, food items, jewelry, medical devices, just to name a few.( Maybe I was meant to find those memos?)
I have provided all this and more information to Internal Affairs without real cooperation or assistance. I have been lied to and told that everything I did would help my case against Customs. I believe that I was sincere, and Customs Internal Affairs and Management was not. They only wanted to shut Mike Horner up!
I think that no matter what happens to me, you can see for yourself what is really going on. You just have to be "open minded" and decide whether you want to ignore something or do your job and risk suffering the consequences of telling the truth and being retaliated against. There is a very strong message in these reactions by Customs Management. It clearly shows that you might stand alone some day when you have to make the ultimate challenges of reporting illegal activity when it might not be in the best interests of your career. I do not remember any "qualified exceptions to the rules" when reporting illegal activity or corruption by Customs personnel.
I was not approached by Internal Affairs. I approached them! They seem to make a big issue with that fact.(Who called who?) I still report illegal activities, but not through the local offices. I don't trust them. Especially after I was "asked" by Customs Internal Affairs Agents and SAIC's of Customs Internal Affairs to record the conversations of "certain" Customs employees or "former" employees.
When I later questioned the legality of this activity without the aid of a Court order signed by a Federal Judge, the SAIC of Customs Internal Affairs screamed at me on the phone and said, "I can't talk to you, call Special Agent Dave Wales!"
Needless to say, they all decided not to continue with that idea. I have even heard stories about how Customs Internal Affairs Agents were committing burglaries on the homes or residences of other Customs employees while they are at work. (Do you know who visits your residence while you're out protecting the United States from the likes of narcotics smugglers and dangerous fugitives and narco-terrorists ? I do. )
Sometimes I think Internal Affairs was collecting data and information for CMC Director Rudy Camacho and his "private" lawsuit against "60 Minutes". Otherwise, how could Rudy M. Camacho's attorney's get my "new unlisted" telephone number? When I moved, I.A. had the new number and I didn't give permission for Rudy Camacho to have it either. (I now have another new number, pending that one gets compromised)
More to come!
Bounties Of $200,000 Said
Placed On Border Agents
BROWNSVILLE - Bounties of up to $200,000 were hanging over the heads of U.S. border enforcement officers Wednesday.
In an advisory circulated this week, U.S. Customs said it received bounty-like threats on federal agents after 9,000 pounds of marijuana was seized at a Brownsville home Dec. 13, the Brownsville Herald reported. "Every time there's an operation like this and drug traffickers take a hit, bounties and threats frequently surface against federal agents," said Art Moreno, a spokesman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service. INS and Customs officials said they would continue with their duties as usual.
Generally, organized drug cartels are behind the threats, Moreno said. In Mexico, an official at the federal attorney general's office in Ciudad Victoria said the threats were being taken seriously there. "We have an alert just to prevent something from happening related to these threats," Cmdr. Guillermo Narvaez told the Herald.
Narvaez said federal agents in Mexico also receive such threats, and they are usually made by drug cartels in an effort to scare officials. Border Patrol officials said in the past there have been similar threats against agents in El Paso and other border areas.
Look at Exports Urged
Customs Lists Items of Potential Use to Terrorists
Concerned that the nation's own products could be used by terrorists to
carry out a new round of attacks, U.S. Customs Service officials yesterday
asked American businesses to scrutinize more closely overseas orders for
technology, weapons and equipment. Customs Commissioner Robert C. Bonner said the agency has compiled a
"shopping list for terrorist organizations" of about 100 items that
could be used to develop weapons of mass destruction or to help terrorists
evade detection or capture. In addition to seeking assistance from businesses,
the Customs Service and other government agencies are bolstering enforcement
of export laws. "It will take a vigorous effort from everyone, including government
and the private sector, to shield America from being targeted by its own
technology," Bonner said. Describing concerns that al Qaeda or other terrorist organizations are
seeking to develop crude nuclear weapons, he said: "It would be the
ultimate irony if they were able to obtain equipment or technology from the
United States." Many items on the list have legitimate uses, Bonner said, but could
wreak havoc if they wound up in the wrong hands. Customs agents yesterday
began meeting with hundreds of manufacturers, businesses and distributors,
urging them to alert the government of suspicious activities. Bonner said
firms should be especially wary of first-time customers, clients offering
large sums of cash or prospective buyers willing to pay far above market price
to obtain sensitive materials or technology. Bonner said the targeted dual-use items include chemicals such as
thiodiglycol, which has a benign use in producing dyes and inks but also can
be used to make mustard gas, and krytrons, high-speed timing devices that can
be used in photocopiers and lasers but also to trigger nuclear warheads. Over
the years, Customs agents have prevented such products from reaching nations
such as Iran and Iraq, he said. The Customs Service is working with the State and Commerce departments
in the enforcement effort, Bonner said. The push comes at a time when resources at the Customs Service are
stretched thin. Roughly 8,000 inspectors and canine enforcement officers are
responsible for checking passengers, vehicles and cargo shipments at more than
300 entry points into the United States. Another 2,700 agents have
investigative duties such as export control. Bonner acknowledged that "there is a certain amount of robbing
Peter to pay Paul in terms of deploying services," and said that he was
concerned the new effort could cause delays in some fraud investigations. He
said the challenge was to maintain "the same level of intensity" in
fulfilling the Customs Service's other responsibilities. But heightened homeland security efforts, he noted, have had benefits
beyond combating terrorism. By popping open more car trunks and looking inside
more trucks, the Customs Service has slowed down the flow of drugs into the
United States along the southwest border, Bonner said. Drug seizures this
October were 30 percent higher than in October 2000, he said. U.S. Seeks Safe Border
MATAMOROS, Mexico ŲŲ Smuggling has always thrived along the U.S.-Mexico
border, where money can buy passage for almost anything.
Now, as the United States beefs up security after the Sept. 11 attacks,
Mexico's endemic lawlessness has raised concerns that terrorists could use the
country's organized crime networks to stage future attacks against America.
The United States and Mexico are discussing border security, and the two
countries are expected to reach an agreement next year, following a recent
U.S.-Canada accord to fight terrorism along the U.S. northern frontier.
"Mexico will not be a place of residency for terrorists nor a place
of transit," Mexican President Vicente Fox said during a recent trip to
But Fox has struggled to halt widespread corruption and bring down
deadly cartels. In December, five federal agents and two state police officers
in Reynosa were arrested for working for one of Mexico's most-wanted drug
lords, Osiel Cardenas.
Drug lords are "so embedded that they run things," said Louis
Sadler, a border specialist at New Mexico State University. "They know
where the creases are in the border. They know what the odds are of being able
to evade a sensory field, balloons, or whatever."
There is no evidence that terrorists have staged attacks against the
United States from Mexico. But even without corruption, government officials
on both sides of the border have expressed concerns about Mexico's lax
security and lawless culture.
Ruben Garza, a regional supervisor for Mexico's Comptroller's office,
said there were periods when luggage was moving through X-ray machines at
Tijuana's airport with no one watching. Months ago, Mexico took extra security
measures at the airport because of its proximity to San Diego.
"Anyone who has the intention of introducing arms or some kind of
device to cause harm, can do it with relative ease if they stop and observe
the security measures at the airport," he said.
In Ciudad Juarez, Republican congressional members said recently they
easily found people offering fake visas.
"We crossed over the border in Mexico, and when we got there we
asked the first person we found on the street whether it would be possible to
purchase a document in order to get into the United States," Rep. Tom
Tancredo of Colorado said. "Within about one minute, we were able to find
such a person. This makes the whole border process, to say the least,
Mexico's borderlands are home to some of Latin America's most powerful
smuggling rings. Over the years, they have infiltrated all levels of
government, hiring officials to give them safe passage.
In November, a former immigration agent in Ciudad Juarez was sentenced
to 30 months in jail for working for a million-dollar global network that had
smuggled hundreds of Iraqis and Palestinians into the United States since
In September, the former police chief in Mexicali across from Calexico,
Calif., was jailed for allegedly warning Mexico's deadly Arellano Felix gang
of police operations.
The problem is not just Mexico's. In early December, an El Paso
immigration inspector was arrested for allegedly coordinating drug shipments
across the Rio Grande.
Sadler said terrorists could use such networks.
"These drug types are just as bad if not worse than Osama bin
Laden," Sadler said. "They are cold-blooded killers who care for
nothing or nobody and for enough money they can be had."
Yet John Bailey, a Mexico expert at Georgetown University, believes even
corrupt officials will draw the line when it comes to terrorism, figuring the
risks outweigh the bribes.
"If the rules are spelled out about what it is that Americans are
really concerned about, then corruption can coexist with security along the
border," he said.
Sadler isn't so sure.
"They might be restrained in the sense of being aware of the fact
of what the retaliation factors will be," he said. "But they could
also say smuggling people across the border is not the same as destroying the
World Trade towers. They could say 'Hey, I didn't know these guys were
Even Hector Castro, the state police commander in Matamoros across from
Brownsville, Texas, believes terrorists could use the border's networks. In
early December, Matamoros authorities arrested a migrant smuggler accused of
sneaking Pakistanis, eastern Europeans and others into the United States.
"Don't believe all terrorists come through Canada," he said.
Associated Press Writer
Friday, December 28, 2001; 2:08 PM
Concerned that the nation's own products could be used by terrorists to carry out a new round of attacks, U.S. Customs Service officials yesterday asked American businesses to scrutinize more closely overseas orders for technology, weapons and equipment.
Customs Commissioner Robert C. Bonner said the agency has compiled a "shopping list for terrorist organizations" of about 100 items that could be used to develop weapons of mass destruction or to help terrorists evade detection or capture. In addition to seeking assistance from businesses, the Customs Service and other government agencies are bolstering enforcement of export laws.
"It will take a vigorous effort from everyone, including government and the private sector, to shield America from being targeted by its own technology," Bonner said.
Describing concerns that al Qaeda or other terrorist organizations are seeking to develop crude nuclear weapons, he said: "It would be the ultimate irony if they were able to obtain equipment or technology from the United States."
Many items on the list have legitimate uses, Bonner said, but could wreak havoc if they wound up in the wrong hands. Customs agents yesterday began meeting with hundreds of manufacturers, businesses and distributors, urging them to alert the government of suspicious activities. Bonner said firms should be especially wary of first-time customers, clients offering large sums of cash or prospective buyers willing to pay far above market price to obtain sensitive materials or technology.
Bonner said the targeted dual-use items include chemicals such as thiodiglycol, which has a benign use in producing dyes and inks but also can be used to make mustard gas, and krytrons, high-speed timing devices that can be used in photocopiers and lasers but also to trigger nuclear warheads. Over the years, Customs agents have prevented such products from reaching nations such as Iran and Iraq, he said.
The Customs Service is working with the State and Commerce departments in the enforcement effort, Bonner said.
The push comes at a time when resources at the Customs Service are stretched thin. Roughly 8,000 inspectors and canine enforcement officers are responsible for checking passengers, vehicles and cargo shipments at more than 300 entry points into the United States. Another 2,700 agents have investigative duties such as export control.
Bonner acknowledged that "there is a certain amount of robbing Peter to pay Paul in terms of deploying services," and said that he was concerned the new effort could cause delays in some fraud investigations. He said the challenge was to maintain "the same level of intensity" in fulfilling the Customs Service's other responsibilities.
But heightened homeland security efforts, he noted, have had benefits beyond combating terrorism. By popping open more car trunks and looking inside more trucks, the Customs Service has slowed down the flow of drugs into the United States along the southwest border, Bonner said. Drug seizures this October were 30 percent higher than in October 2000, he said.
U.S. Seeks Safe Border With Mexico
MATAMOROS, Mexico ŲŲ Smuggling has always thrived along the U.S.-Mexico border, where money can buy passage for almost anything.
Now, as the United States beefs up security after the Sept. 11 attacks, Mexico's endemic lawlessness has raised concerns that terrorists could use the country's organized crime networks to stage future attacks against America.
The United States and Mexico are discussing border security, and the two countries are expected to reach an agreement next year, following a recent U.S.-Canada accord to fight terrorism along the U.S. northern frontier.
"Mexico will not be a place of residency for terrorists nor a place of transit," Mexican President Vicente Fox said during a recent trip to Tijuana.
But Fox has struggled to halt widespread corruption and bring down deadly cartels. In December, five federal agents and two state police officers in Reynosa were arrested for working for one of Mexico's most-wanted drug lords, Osiel Cardenas.
Drug lords are "so embedded that they run things," said Louis Sadler, a border specialist at New Mexico State University. "They know where the creases are in the border. They know what the odds are of being able to evade a sensory field, balloons, or whatever."
There is no evidence that terrorists have staged attacks against the United States from Mexico. But even without corruption, government officials on both sides of the border have expressed concerns about Mexico's lax security and lawless culture.
Ruben Garza, a regional supervisor for Mexico's Comptroller's office, said there were periods when luggage was moving through X-ray machines at Tijuana's airport with no one watching. Months ago, Mexico took extra security measures at the airport because of its proximity to San Diego.
"Anyone who has the intention of introducing arms or some kind of device to cause harm, can do it with relative ease if they stop and observe the security measures at the airport," he said.
In Ciudad Juarez, Republican congressional members said recently they easily found people offering fake visas.
"We crossed over the border in Mexico, and when we got there we asked the first person we found on the street whether it would be possible to purchase a document in order to get into the United States," Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado said. "Within about one minute, we were able to find such a person. This makes the whole border process, to say the least, difficult."
Mexico's borderlands are home to some of Latin America's most powerful smuggling rings. Over the years, they have infiltrated all levels of government, hiring officials to give them safe passage.
In November, a former immigration agent in Ciudad Juarez was sentenced to 30 months in jail for working for a million-dollar global network that had smuggled hundreds of Iraqis and Palestinians into the United States since 1996.
In September, the former police chief in Mexicali across from Calexico, Calif., was jailed for allegedly warning Mexico's deadly Arellano Felix gang of police operations.
The problem is not just Mexico's. In early December, an El Paso immigration inspector was arrested for allegedly coordinating drug shipments across the Rio Grande.
Sadler said terrorists could use such networks.
"These drug types are just as bad if not worse than Osama bin Laden," Sadler said. "They are cold-blooded killers who care for nothing or nobody and for enough money they can be had."
Yet John Bailey, a Mexico expert at Georgetown University, believes even corrupt officials will draw the line when it comes to terrorism, figuring the risks outweigh the bribes.
"If the rules are spelled out about what it is that Americans are really concerned about, then corruption can coexist with security along the border," he said.
Sadler isn't so sure.
"They might be restrained in the sense of being aware of the fact of what the retaliation factors will be," he said. "But they could also say smuggling people across the border is not the same as destroying the World Trade towers. They could say 'Hey, I didn't know these guys were terrorists.'"
Even Hector Castro, the state police commander in Matamoros across from Brownsville, Texas, believes terrorists could use the border's networks. In early December, Matamoros authorities arrested a migrant smuggler accused of sneaking Pakistanis, eastern Europeans and others into the United States.
"Don't believe all terrorists come through Canada," he said.
|The Arizona Daily Star|
Accused drug lord arrested in MexicoBy Tim Steller , ARIZONA DAILY STAR
One of the biggest names in drug trafficking along the Arizona border walked into the hands of Mexican and American agents Thursday morning.
Miguel Angel Caro Quintero, facing drug-related indictments in Arizona and Colorado, was captured in the northern state of Sinaloa, Deputy Attorney General Eduardo Ibarrola told a news conference.
But his arrest had its roots in Tucson. It fulfilled an arrest warrant originally issued here 13 years ago - the first time Caro Quintero was indicted in the United States. Since then, he has been indicted twice more in Tucson and once in Denver.
If Mexican courts approve an American extradition request, Caro Quintero will be brought to Tucson for trial.
"Clearly it's a huge breakthrough in going after the organizations that run the Sonoran corridor," Molesa said.
Caro Quintero faces charges of running a marijuana and cocaine trafficking network that brought illegal drugs from central Mexico to the U.S. border and at times dominated the Nogales and Douglas smuggling routes.
Miguel Caro Quintero's name also recalls his even more notorious brother, Rafael.
Rafael Caro Quintero ran the same drug-trafficking organization until his conviction for the 1985 murder of Mexico-based DEA agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena Salazar, according to DEA accounts. Rafael, who remains imprisoned, was made famous through songs and movies about the Camarena murder, including a 1990 mini-series broadcast by NBC.
The 1988 indictment traces the Caro Quintero brothers' involvement in the drug trade back to 1982 meetings in Caborca, Sonora, which the family had made its home base. Through the mid-1980s, Rafael and Miguel Caro Quintero had their marijuana loads flown across the border, dropped off in Southern Arizona and stored in Tucson stash houses, the indictment says.
The family also branched into cocaine, according to a 1994 indictment. That year, according to a criminal complaint, undercover DEA agents negotiated with Miguel Caro Quintero's underlings to bring cocaine loads from airstrips in Mexico across the border to Tucson.
Caro Quintero had thumbed his nose at efforts to catch him. In 1992 he was arrested by Mexican officers near Altar, Sonora. He was able to bribe and threaten his way out of the charges and was freed, according to DEA accounts.
But the DEA continued hounding him. Responding to the DEA administrator's naming him as a top trafficker, Miguel Caro Quintero telephoned an Hermosillo, Sonora, radio station in 1996, said he was simply a rancher, gave his address and invited law enforcement officers to visit him.
But the arrest was not accomplished until a new administration took office in Mexico City. Under President Vicente Fox (news - web sites), the Mexican Attorney General's Office has established special, vetted units to pursue drug traffickers.
They've scored a series of successes, in particular targeting the so-called lieutenants of the Arellano-Felix and Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman organizations.
The Fox administration also initiated the extradition of high-ranking suspected drug traffickers by sending Arturo "Kitty" Paez to San Diego in May. The second such extradition was of Francisco Rafael Camarena Macias, the alleged builder of a Douglas drug tunnel, who was sent to Tucson in June.
In Camarena's case, it took two years between the American request for extradition and his arrival here, said Stephen Ralls, Camarena's attorney.
Thursday's operation was the culmination of years of searching for Caro Quintero, in which investigators often showed up weeks, days or even hours after he had left a given place, Molesa said. Agents of the DEA's Hermosillo office, working with the Mexican unit, got a tip that he was going to be at a house in Los Mochis Wednesday night, Molesa said.
"He didn't show up at night, so they waited, because it seemed like a promising lead. They waited till this morning, and he showed up in the morning," Molesa said.
After Caro Quintero got out of a vehicle, the agents approached, Molesa said, and stopped him before he could escape.
"They stopped him at the front of the house, before he got mobile."
* Contact Tim Steller 434-4086 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit Our Friends At www.Giraffe.org
We're training tomorrow's heroes.
Money For Nothing
John Ashcroft is spending 361 Billion Dollars on Homeland Security. After reading this article, ask yourself: Why Bother?
Security Compromised By Mechanical Train Inspections?
Yard Clerks Being Replaced By Machines
Railroad workers check the outside of the trains, but not for long.
When Canadian freight trains cross the border, it's up to U.S. Customs to make sure that everything on the trains is accounted for.
That means that often, yard clerks at the Rouses Point railroad station are the only ones examining southbound trains.
"Without us being there they don't know what's going across the border because they don't check the trains," yard clerk Paul McGuire said.
Starting June 1, the clerks won't be there. CP Rail plans to replace them with a machine.
"It's to improve customer service," Michel Spenard of CP Rail said. "It's part of a realization and rationalization that we want to improve service and information flow."
CP Rail isn't alone. Most rail companies are now replacing human inspectors with scanning machines.
Assemblyman Chris Ortloff said he believes the move will compromise national security.
"The system in place depends on human beings -- not just eyes and ears but a sixth sense to watch those trains go through," Ortloff said.
Ortloff said he's been in contact with Congressman John McHugh to see if there's anything the government can do in the name of national security.
Spenard agrees the company has a certain responsibility when it comes to border security.
"Security is not just a up to Customs, it's dependent on private companies like us as well as federal agencies," Spenard said.
Spenard said eliminating human inspectors doesn't threaten security, because yard workers only inspect the outside of the trains.
Yard clerks argued that sometimes inspections turn up the unexpected. McGuire remembers at least one time when a train trespasser was scared out of his hiding place.
"The car had to be set off for an extra inspection and a guy jumped off. If we hadn't seen him, the person would have rode to their destination," he said.
Mcguire said without clerks in the yard, it would be easier for stowaways to slip into the United States.
And while he's worried about his own future as CP Rail brings in a machine to replace him, McGuire is also convinced that the move opens up a hole in border security that could mean trouble is coming down the tracks.
But our Focus 5 investigation revealed an exception: freight trains.
The Rouses Point rail station, just south of the border is the first place the trains have to stop when they enter the United States.
Each night, three freight trains bound for cities throughout the United States, cross the Canadian border in Rouses Point.
Rail workers inspect the cars for mechanical problems and make sure the railcars match up with the paperwork provided by CP Rail.
The trains carry everything from household items to cars, but rail workers don't actually look inside the cars or the freight containers they carry.
That's where Customs comes in, sometimes.
"We don't go out there every day, nobody's out there every day," said chief inspector Mike Mullens. "There hasn't been for over 20 years."
Mcmullen said Customs checks just one train a week in Rouses Point because there aren't enough agents to staff the station 24 hours a day.
So it is possible there could be more than freight inside one of these cars, McMullen said.
"I can't say there's no chance a terrorist will ever get through, it's impossible," McMullen said.
How can you have an open hole in the border with nobody watching it?" assemblyman Chris Otloff, of Plattsburgh, asked.
Otloff said the Port of Excellence campaign planned for Champlain should help remedy the problem. It will add agents to the mix, sending some who would be performing truck inspections over Rouses Point to check the trains instead.
But that is still years down the road. And in the meantime, the convenience of shipping by rail is very appealing for local businesses.
Garry Douglas of the Chamber of Commerce said it's the safest, most predictable way to move products. After all, trains don't get lost.
"Unlike trucks, a train going from Montreal to Albany is not going to take a wrong turn and go to Loon Lake," Douglas said.
And railroad companies have to provide detailed paperwork on the contents of each train, making it easier for businesses to track their shipments.
CP Rail yard clerks check the trains as they come in, verifying the Information and notifying customs if there's a problem.
"We only go over there to physically inspect trains when we target something or something needs to be looked at within reason," McMullen said.
Customs acknowledged that the system has its flaws, and yard clerks said it's only going to get worse: By summer customs agents will be the only ones inspecting those trains.
We've all heard the cries: Tighten border security. Keep the terrorists out. Be vigilant. Our Focus Five reports last week show that message hasn't sunk in when it comes to the railroad.
At the CP rail yard in Rouses
Point, the company plans to eliminate inspectors who check the trains
coming across the border. The company says a machine can do just as well.
But machines don't have a sixth sense ... or an extra pair of eyes ... or experience. A machine's going to tell if someone looks suspicious? Sorry. We don't buy that.
You'd think the U.S Customs Service might take up the slack. But Customs says it has no plans to step up inspections. And right now, they're only inspecting ONE TRAIN a week.
We're supposed to be on high alert. Ready. Some of us may be.
But we'd better hope that if the terrorists do decide to cross the border, they don't decide to do it by riding the rails.
That's our opinion. What's yours?
Aired by President/General Manager
Paul A. Sands
Editors Note: This is typical activity at the border. We also experienced many other illegal "incursions" by Mexican Military as well as special "escorts" for smugglers. The police are no different and they should have known about the Border restrictions no matter what. (Their weapons will probably be returned to Mexico and the incident covered up, no charges will be brought against the Mexican officers and the U.S. Citizen "may" have gotten away with something. It is common knowledge that U.S. Citizen fugitives from justice are living in Mexico. Especially near the border towns like Tijuana. .(We still do not have a strong extradition treaty with Mexico) I have personally apprehended many U.S. Citizen fugitives that lived in Mexico and were either on the run or escaped felons involved in narcotics, arson suspects, child molesters, murder suspects, NCIC warrants, etc. Customs Supervisors took a very dim view of my actions when I detained or arrested these violators, even though I was just doing my job. John Carman
Two Baja officers held after port chase
Pursuit of pickup ends on U.S. territory, near Tecate
By Marisa Taylor and
February 14, 2002
Two Baja California state police officers were detained by U.S. authorities yesterday after they sped through the Tecate border crossing without stopping in pursuit of a pickup driven by a U.S. citizen.
The police officers and the driver of the truck were held on the U.S. side of the border for hours, as U.S. and Mexican officials tried to figure out what happened. The U.S. citizen was eventually released, and no charges were filed against him. The two Mexican officers were expected to be turned over to U.S. immigration officers for deportation.
The high-speed chase occurred less than a month after another border incident, when a Mexican soldier fired into cars waiting to cross into the United States at the Otay Mesa crossing. That shooting hasn't been fully explained.
Yesterday's incident began in Mexico about 11 a.m., when the two plainclothes police officers, each driving an unmarked car, chased the pickup toward the Tecate border crossing.
The three vehicles drove the wrong way into the single southbound lane, bypassing cars arriving in Mexico.
U.S. Customs Service inspectors threw a spiked post in front of the pickup, puncturing the truck's tires and stopping the chase on U.S. territory, within feet of the border.
The customs inspectors initially thought all three men were port runners or smugglers who were trying to evade law enforcement by speeding across the border, said Vince Bond, a customs spokesman.
But one of the men held up a badge and identified himself as a police officer.
The U.S. citizen is said to have yelled to U.S. authorities for help.
Officers from customs, the Immigration and Naturalization Service and U.S. Border Patrol surrounded the vehicles and detained the three men for questioning. U.S. authorities haven't released their names.
During a search of the police vehicles, Bond said U.S. authorities found two semiautomatic guns. They also found one gram or less of methamphetamine. Bond said U.S. authorities are deciding how to handle the discovery of the drug.
Luís Jiménez Gómez, a Mexican state police agent temporarily in charge of the Tecate office, said Mexican authorities went to the Tecate port after the incident. The assistant state attorney general based in Tijuana was still there yesterday evening.
Jiménez said as far as he knew, the agents didn't do anything wrong.
He said a judge had issued a warrant about a month ago for the arrest of the U.S. citizen, allegedly for the rape of a 12-year-old girl.
When the agents confronted the man yesterday with the arrest warrant, Jiménez said he took off.
The man had been living in Mexico and was well known by residents, Jiménez said.
"The agents were totally in the right because they were trying to comply with a judge's order," Jiménez said.
Officials on both sides of the border were concerned about the incident at Tecate, a small port of entry with one lane going in each direction. Its gates are closed between midnight and 6 a.m.
"We are concerned, because we want to continue to have good relations with the United States," said Roberto Gonzalez, a spokesman for the Mexican Consulate in San Diego.
On Jan. 11, a Mexican soldier wounded three people, including a Hoover High School student and a Mexican doctor, at the Otay Mesa border crossing.
There were reports that the soldier may have accidentally discharged an assault rifle or a submachine gun. But other reports indicated the shots were fired while the military was chasing two men.
"With these trans-border incidents, it's often difficult to get all the facts," said Raleigh Leonard, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman in San Diego.
Clint Wright, spokesman for the U.S. consulate in Tijuana, said the shooting incident came up at a border security meeting of U.S. and Mexican officials earlier this month.
"When something like this happens, it has the potential of escalating into a very serious incident that would affect sentiments on both sides of the border," Wright said.
Bill would give
federal whistle-blowers right to sue employers if punished Dubbed the "Paul Revere Freedom to
Warn Act," the bill, introduced in the House on Wednesday by Rep. Steve
Israel, D-N.Y., beefs up existing federal laws that allow employees to speak up
if they know about potentially dangerous security shortcomings. The Lloyd-LaFollette Act of 1912 makes
it illegal for employers to interfere with whistle-blowers. But "while the law is clear, it
doesn‚t have any penalties if the act is violated," Israel said in a
Capitol Hill press event. "It has no teeth." Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who
attended Israel‚s event, said that he plans to introduce companion legislation
in the Senate. The existing law was passed in response
to gag orders from Presidents Taft and Roosevelt that made it necessary for
employees to get approval from their employers before communicating with any
member of Congress regarding any security lapses. The 1912 law lifted that restriction,
but failed to provide access to courts that could enforce those rights. The Paul Revere bill gives employees who
believe their employers have violated Lloyd-LaFollette the option of suing their
government employers in a federal court, with a jury trial to decide the
outcome. Whistle-blowers whose employers punish
them for their actions would have three years to sue for lost wages and
benefits, reinstatement if they lost their jobs, costs and attorney fees and any
other relief the jury might decide is appropriate. With the United States on high alert to
guard against terrorist acts, the new bill is absolutely essential, Israel said. Although the events of Sept. 11 have
created "a climate where we face new threats of life and death ∑ there
are still powerful interests that try to hide their mistakes and negligence,
rather than protect the public," Israel said. Frank Serpico, the New York detective
whose fight against corruption almost cost him his life and was made into a hit
1973 movie, also attended. Taking the podium before a standing-room
only crowd, Serpico gave an impassioned defense of whistle-blowers and described
the emotional, financial and mental drain that such employees often face. Serpico, who says he still receives a
steady flow of phone calls and e-mail from whistle-blowers and people
considering that route, told of one policeman who tried to expose corruption in
his department and "was shot in the chest by his fellow officers. "Only his bullet-proof vest saved
him," Serpico said. "And then they accused him of trying to commit
Help Sought for Those Who Blow Whistle Stronger
Safeguards Against Retaliation Urged By
By Lisa Burgess, Washington bureau
European edition, Thursday, February 28, 2002
WASHINGTON ų Government whistle-blowers have more freedom to warn against potential terrorist threats if a new House bill that "gives teeth" to an old law against employer retaliation is passed, advocates said.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 28, 2002; Page A21
Joined by government insiders who had gone public with concerns about lapses in security at airports, nuclear facilities and borders, three watchdog groups yesterday called for stronger federal laws to protect whistle-blowers from workplace retaliation.
"We can do a lot more to defend national security by listening to the messengers," said Tom Devine, legal director for the Government Accountability Project. "These people are the pros on the front lines, and they've been beating their heads against bureaucratic walls for years and warning that we're not prepared."
But, Devine said, those who come forward run the risk of being harassed, demoted or put out of work because of loopholes in the federal laws meant to protect them.
The 1989 Whistleblower Protection Act was supposed to protect federal employees who wanted to expose misconduct, waste or abuse. But it has been narrowly interpreted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to exclude employees who first take their allegations to supervisors or co-workers, Devine said. Judges also have demanded that employees present "irrefragable," or indisputable, proof of the credibility of their disclosures, a nearly impossible standard, Devine said.
Devine spoke at an event billed as the "Paul Revere Forum," in honor of the Revolutionary War hero who rode through Massachusetts in 1775 to warn that British troops were coming. Two other groups -- the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and the National Whistleblower Center -- joined the call for tougher legislation.
"Rather than admit their failings, large institutions always seek to destroy the messenger, no matter how high the stakes," said Danielle Brian, POGO's executive director.
The organizations presented first-person accounts from former New York City police detective Frank Serpico, who exposed police corruption in the 1970s, as well as from five people who have warned that the United States remains vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
They included Randy Robage, a former nuclear power plant supervisor, who said those facilities remain at risk; former security officer Mathew Zipoli and government consultant Ronald E. Timm, who alleged that security is lax at nuclear weapons research facilities; Darlene Catalan, a former U.S. Customs agent who said railroad tanker cars aren't being adequately checked for explosives at the borders; and Bogdan J. Dzakovic, the leader of a Federal Aviation Administration security team who went public this week with allegations that government officials ignored problems for years.
Dzakovic said he led a security team that was able to get weapons or explosives past airport checkpoints in 1998 but that the FAA failed to follow up.
The Office of Special Counsel, which investigates whistle-blower cases, asked the Transportation Department to review Dzakovic's complaints on Feb. 5; his allegations were first reported on Monday by USA Today. Yesterday, Dzakovic said he has continued to work for the new federal Transportation Security Administration. FAA officials have declined to discuss the matter but maintained that security problems have been addressed.
Advocates said that two measures pending in Congress would protect other whistle-blowers so they could raise similar concerns without fear of reprisals.
The first is a proposed amendment to the 1989 law, backed by Rep. Constance A. Morella (R-Md.), that would change the standards to make it easier to win cases. The other is a bill that would make it illegal for public or private employers to retaliate against whistle-blowers and would permit them to take their cases before federal juries. Its backers include Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).
The timing is urgent, Israel said, adding: "I think it's vital that Americans are fully aware of their level of security at our airports and that people working in the federal government aren't afraid of alerting the public to these conditions."
Dubbed the "Paul Revere Freedom to Warn Act," the bill, introduced in the House on Wednesday by Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., beefs up existing federal laws that allow employees to speak up if they know about potentially dangerous security shortcomings.
The Lloyd-LaFollette Act of 1912 makes it illegal for employers to interfere with whistle-blowers.
But "while the law is clear, it doesn‚t have any penalties if the act is violated," Israel said in a Capitol Hill press event. "It has no teeth."
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who attended Israel‚s event, said that he plans to introduce companion legislation in the Senate.
The existing law was passed in response to gag orders from Presidents Taft and Roosevelt that made it necessary for employees to get approval from their employers before communicating with any member of Congress regarding any security lapses.
The 1912 law lifted that restriction, but failed to provide access to courts that could enforce those rights.
The Paul Revere bill gives employees who believe their employers have violated Lloyd-LaFollette the option of suing their government employers in a federal court, with a jury trial to decide the outcome.
Whistle-blowers whose employers punish them for their actions would have three years to sue for lost wages and benefits, reinstatement if they lost their jobs, costs and attorney fees and any other relief the jury might decide is appropriate.
With the United States on high alert to guard against terrorist acts, the new bill is absolutely essential, Israel said.
Although the events of Sept. 11 have created "a climate where we face new threats of life and death ∑ there are still powerful interests that try to hide their mistakes and negligence, rather than protect the public," Israel said.
Frank Serpico, the New York detective whose fight against corruption almost cost him his life and was made into a hit 1973 movie, also attended.
Taking the podium before a standing-room only crowd, Serpico gave an impassioned defense of whistle-blowers and described the emotional, financial and mental drain that such employees often face.
Serpico, who says he still receives a steady flow of phone calls and e-mail from whistle-blowers and people considering that route, told of one policeman who tried to expose corruption in his department and "was shot in the chest by his fellow officers.
"Only his bullet-proof vest saved him," Serpico said. "And then they accused him of trying to commit suicide."
Help Sought for Those Who Blow Whistle
Safeguards Against Retaliation Urged By