- A sexually explicit image of Republican Rep. Joe Barton of Texas surfaced on the internet on Tuesday.
- Barton says the Capitol Hill police are investigating.
- Barton reportedly once warned a woman that he would contact the police if she didn’t stop communicating with other women he was previously romantically involved with.
A Texas woman died Friday afternoon after being hit by a non-impaired driver who was taking a breathalyzer test while operating his vehicle.
Alexis Butler, 18, was backing her car out of a driveway on Nov. 10 when the passenger side of her car was hit by a pickup truck, KXAS reported.
An investigation by the Arlington Police Department didn’t find any track marks from the 31-year-old unidentified driver on the road that would indicate he tried to stop the car.
A gunman opened fire on the small town of Rancho Tehama Reserve, which is about 130 miles from Sacramento, and fired off shots at four separate locations including an elementary school. At least four people were killed and 10 were injured in the attack, where the shooter appeared to target people at random, according to local authorities. The gunman was later shot dead by law enforcement.
A Mexican federal judge who presided over appeals from high-profile drug kingpins in recent years was fatally shot in the head outside his home on Monday, authorities said.
Judge Vicente Bermudez handled several legal challenges lodged by lawyers for Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the jailed leader of the Sinaloa Cartel, as well Miguel Trevino, ex-leader of the Zetas cartel.
NEW YORK (AP) — A Texas man admitted Wednesday in federal court in New York that he acted as a secret agent for the Russian government and headed an operation over about 10 years to export military technology to that country.
Alexander Fishenko, a naturalized U.S. citizen and owner of Houston-based Arc Electronics Inc., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn to numerous crimes, including money laundering, obstruction of justice and acting as an agent of the Russian government in the United States. A sentencing date hasn’t been set.
Prosecutors say he headed a scheme to purposely evade strict export controls for cutting-edge microelectronics commonly used in missile guidance systems, detonation triggers and radar systems. The 49-year-old Fishenko, among 11 people charged in the case, “lined his pockets at the expense of our national security,” Acting U.S. Attorney Kelly Currie said in a statement.
Defense attorney Richard Levitt did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Fishenko was arrested in October 2012 amid a modernization campaign by Russian military officials hungry for the restricted American-made components, investigators say.
During the probe, prosecutors say, investigators learned that Fishenko’s company had shipped about $50 million worth of microelectronics and other technologies to Russia between 2002 and 2012. They also uncovered a letter that was sent by a lab for Russia’s Federal Security Service that said it obtained the microchips from Fishenko’s company, prosecutors say.
Four others have pleaded guilty to charges in the case; the remaining six have pleaded not guilty and three of them are expected to go on trial in September, authorities say.
A shooting incident last month that forced a U.S. border patrol helicopter to make an emergency landing near Laredo, Texas, was the work of Mexican drug traffickers, and analysts say the attack highlights growing narcotics trafficking across porous U.S. borders.
According to U.S. officials familiar with an investigation of the June 5 incident, members of the Los Zetas drug cartel were crossing back into Mexico from the United States when they were spotted by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) helicopter along the Rio Grande River near Laredo.
The traffickers had finished delivering a shipment of drugs and were returning to Mexico when they were spotted by U.S. agents and opened fired with automatic weapons.
The helicopter, part of USCBP’s Office of Air and Marine, was struck by gunfire on its side and on the rotor blade. The pilot was forced to make an emergency landing.
The law enforcement officers on the helicopter spotted the traffickers along the river during a routine flight around 5:00 P.M. local time June 5.
“The pilot was able to make a safe landing; there were no injuries,” said USCBP spokesman Daniel Hetlage, adding that U.S. and Mexican authorities are continuing to investigate. He declined to elaborate.
“I understand that they were chasing some people with bundles of marijuana,” Webb County Sheriff Martin Cuellar told the Laredo Morning Times. “People are getting desperate and crossing narcotics across the border.”
The helicopter that took fire was an EC-120, a medium-range turbine engine-powered aircraft.
A U.S. official said the helicopter attack was unusual but not unprecedented. The incident was not widely reported at the time and highlights the increasing danger of porous U.S. borders and widespread drug trafficking that takes place across them, the official said.
U.S. border security problems are expected to be a major topic of debate during the presidential election campaign.
The area near Laredo is a major transit route for Zetas drug runners.
Joel Vargas, head of intelligence for the international association InterPort Police, said the recent escape of Mexican drug kingpin El Chapo Guzman will re-energize drug cartel cells in Mexico that are battling the major Sinaloa drug cartel.
“The partnership between the Gulf Cartel and Los Zetas, even with their own internal fighting going on, makes the border town of Laredo, Texas, a powder keg,” Vargas said. “El Chapo will re-attempt to take back not only Laredo, Texas, but also consolidate control of El Paso, Texas.”
A month after the U.S. helicopter was forced down by gunfire, Mexican authorities killed six drug runners near Mexico’s Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Laredo, Texas.
The six suspects had fired on a Mexican Blackhawk helicopter, hitting it several times.
The Mexican helicopter incident July 6 involved an armed convoy of suspected Zetas drug cartel members.
According to U.S. officials, the Zetas are a well-armed organization. Authorities in Guatemala have captured M-16 and AK-47 rifles and grenades from Zetas operating in that country.
The Zetas also make extensive use of social media. The group has posted photos of beheadings it has carried out against members of rival drug gangs. It has also claimed responsibility for killing several bloggers who they say had exposed some of the group’s members.
The Zetas were implicated in an Iranian plot in 2011 to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, a paramilitary and covert action force, attempted to recruit Zetas members to conduct attacks against the United States.
The Quds force also has been seeking to collaborate with Zetas in setting up transit routes that will be used to smuggle Afghan heroin into the country.
As a result of the 2011 plot, the Obama administration placed Quds Force commander Gen. Qasem Soleimani, on the list of designated terrorists.
The Iran nuclear agreement reached in Vienna earlier this included Soleimani on a list of Iranians who would have sanctions against them lifted in the future.
- One gang ‘ambushed the other’ at recruitment event hosted by Twin Peaks Bar and Grill in Waco, Texas
- It started as a physical fight and escalated to involve chains, knives and guns
- Diners and employees scrambled for shelter in the freezer as more than 100 rounds were fired
- 8 bikers died at the scene and a 9th in hospital, another 18 bikers were hospitalized, no civilians were injured
- Police were monitoring the meeting outside but said owners refused to cooperate with them until shooting started
- Twin Peaks insists they had ‘positive communication with the police’. The police said that was nonsense
- Police surrounded the place and detained gunmen as fighting spilled out into the parking lot
- The gangs’ allies were flocking from across the state to continue confrontation after it ended, police warned
A shootout between three rival biker gangs at a bar in Waco, Texas, on Sunday afternoon left at least nine gang members dead. Eighteen others were taken to the hospital with gunshot and stab wounds, the Associated Press reports.
Texas is an emerging battleground for outlaw motorcycle gangs, said Steve Cook, executive director of the Midwest Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association. Next month, Cook, who works in law enforcement in Kansas City and worked undercover in a motorcycle gang in the early 2000s, was supposed to travel to Waco to hold a conference for local police.
Waco historically hasn’t been a hot spot for gang rivalries, Cook said. In a 2013 national survey of law enforcement, Texas didn’t show up as an area of intense gang activity. But in an interview Sunday night, Cook said he knew something was coming:
“We were pretty certain that some kind of incident was on the horizon.”
Outlaw motorcycle gangs are a small slice of gang activity in the US
Motorcycle clubs have been accused of lawlessness since at least 1947, when a Fourth of July motorcycle race in Hollister, California, got national attention for drunkenness and disorder and became the inspiration for the 1953 Marlon Brando movie The Wild One.
An enduring pattern was set: motorcycle gangs were both a perceived larger-than-life menace and an object of media fascination. The Hell’s Angels were excoriated by the California attorney general in 1965 and infiltrated by gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.
Violent motorcycle gangs call themselves the “1 percent” — a defiant reference to a (possibly apocryphal) statement from the American Motorcycle Association that 99 percent of motorcyclists are law-abiding.
There are hundreds of motorcycle gangs in the US, but the Department of Justice considers eight national groups to be a serious threat.
The gangs, which originated in the US but have spread abroad, are best known for trafficking in drugs and sometimes people.
But they’re a relatively small part of the American gang landscape. A 2013 survey from the National Gang Intelligence Center found that about 2.5 percent of gang members nationwide are in outlaw motorcycle gangs.
All the same, police consider them to be more threatening than their small numbers might suggest. About 10 percent of jurisdictions said they considered the motorcycle gangs a serious threat.
Cook thinks that law enforcement should be more concerned.
“I think a lot of people just don’t take these guys seriously,” he says. “They just look at them and say they’re bikers and they ride motorcycles and they’re tattooed and they’re dirty, and that’s the end of it.”
But he calls them domestic terrorists.
“They can pretend like they’re these fraternal organizations,” he said. “I can’t tell you the last time the Kiwanis and the Shriners had a shootout at a public venue.”
The Department of Justice portrays the gangs as the Mafia on motorcycles, saying they traffic in cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs: in Indianapolis in 2013, federal agents arrested 42 members of the Outlaws gang on charges that included drug trafficking, extortion, and money laundering.
Clashes occur when biker gangs fight over territory
A nine-year battle in Canada between rival gangs, known as the Quebec Biker Wars, left 160 people dead. In California in 2010, biker gangs fought over who would control a Starbucks in Santa Cruz, which led to gang members hitting each other with hammers in the parking lot.
Cook said Texas hasn’t historically been a hotspot for this kind of battle – at least, no more than anywhere else. But he said he’d seen signs that a confrontation was coming.
Texas, he said, has historically been controlled by the Bandidos, one of the largest outlaw motorcycle gangs in the US.
At least five motorcycle gangs comprising 150 members were meeting at the Twin Peaks bar and restaurant in Waco to discuss recruitment. Local officials haven’t yet said which gangs were involved in the shooting.
The Cossacks, a local Texas gang, had been challenging the Bandidos’ dominance, including discussing a possible alliance with the Hell’s Angels, a rival of the Bandidos, Cook said.
The biggest provocation came when the Cossacks began wearing a Texas patch on their clothing – “basically a slap in the face to the Bandidos,” said Cook, who says he was an undercover investigator of the Bandidos and some of their support groups.
“We knew the tensions with the Cossacks were as high as they’d ever been,” he said. “I don’t think anybody could have forecasted it to the degree that it happened.”