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Monthly Archives: May 2014

10th Annual Church Security Conference

Check out this interesting article from our sister blog Faith That Inspires Action !

Faith That Inspires Action

FRISCO, Texas, May 27, 2014 /Christian Newswire/ — The National Organization of Church Security & Safety Management (NOCSSM™) will present its Tenth Annual Church Security Conference to be held at New Life Church in Colorado Springs on August 8-9, 2014.

Session highlights:
“Initial Responder™” Tactics (What to do until SWAT gets there?), Pastoral Protection, Close Quarters Combat, Active Shooters, Armed Security Teams, Control and restraint techniques, Childcare Security, Mission Trip Security — these are all buzzwords that every church is dealing with. Church leaders are asking, “What are the liabilities? What are other churches doing to address these issues?” and “What is legal in my state?”

“Each year we try to have new speakers and new subject matter to add to our attendee’s security skill set.” says Chuck Chadwick (President of NOCSSM),”This year is no different. It is hard for me to believe that we have been helping to protect our church…

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Agents Foil Human Smuggling Event near Catalina Island

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. — U.S. Border Patrol agents took custody of 17 Mexican nationals last Friday west of Santa Catalina Island.  The group was in a small panga boat and was attempting to enter the U.S. illegally.

At approximately 5:30 p.m., U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Air and Marine (OAM) observed a heavily laden panga boat during a routine ocean patrol.  The boat was observed off the coast of Long Beach and CBP’s Office of Air and Marine responded by air and could not detect any identifying marks on the vessel.approximately seven miles west of Santa Catalina Island.  OAM agents noticed the vessel had no visible hull identification numbers so they contacted the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) in Los Angeles for assistance.

At approximately 6:15 p.m., a USCG vessel intercepted the panga, which was 27-feet in length, and confirmed the presence of 17 migrants on board.  Border Patrol agents arrived shortly after on an Orange County Sheriff’s boat and determined that all 17 individuals were Mexican nationals illegally present in the U.S.  Agents assigned to the Border Patrol’s Smuggling Interdiction Group and Coastal Border Enforcement Team took custody of the subjects and transported them to a nearby Border Patrol station for processing.

This event is part of an ongoing investigation by a Los Angeles-based task force, the Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST-LA), headed by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations.  Two of the subjects have been charged with alien smuggling and will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

The U.S. Coast Guard and Border Patrol agents intercepted the vessel and agents took custody of all 17 Mexican national passengers, who were illegally present in the U.S.During the course of this event, the USCG received a conflicting anonymous report of a second suspected panga.  Further investigation determined that this was a diversionary ploy by the smuggling organization, intended to hamper law enforcement efforts.  Actions such as these potentially endanger the boating public by diverting USCG assets to investigate false reports.

The U.S. Border Patrol collaborates with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies through the Regional Coordinating Mechanism (ReCoM) to address the transnational maritime threat along the Southern California coast.  The ReCoM mission is to increase homeland security by eliminating transnational crime along the coast.

If you have information about maritime smuggling or suspicious activity along the coast of California, please contact the Joint Harbor Operations Center at 1-800-854-9834.

Nearly 180 Sex Offenders Arrested by RGV Sector Agents so far in FY14

EDINBURG, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector have arrested nearly 180 illegal immigrants with prior convictions for sex offenses so far for fiscal year 2014, which began Oct. 1, 2013, and goes through Sept. 31, 2014.

The majority of the sex offenders have convictions for sexual assault crimes involving children. Some of the more heinous offenses include: sexual assault of a child; sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14; aggravated sexual assault of a child; and aggravated indecent assault and corruption of a minor. The sex offenders have convictions for crimes that occurred in states from coast to coast as well as in the Rio Grande Valley.

In addition to the arrests of convicted sex offenders, agents apprehended three illegal immigrants over the weekend who have arrest warrants for sex-related crimes. They include a Mexican national wanted in Fort Worth on a continuous child sex abuse charge; a Salvadoran wanted by the Loudan County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia on a charge of adultery/fornication: incest with a child between 13-17 years of age; and another Mexican national wanted by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office on a charge of indecency with a child/sexual contact. The three men were turned over to the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office pending extradition.

Additionally, agents have arrested more than 50 members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang, or MS-13, a notorious transnational criminal gang that started in Los Angeles, and about 14 members of the 18th Street gang.

The Rio Grande Valley Sector is part of the South Texas Campaign, which leverages federal, state and local resources to combat transnational criminal organizations. To report suspicious activity, call the sector’s toll-free telephone number at 800-863-9382.

Capitol Hill Hearing to Address Weaknesses in Electrical Grid

Executive Director of the National and Homeland Security Task Force, a Congressional Committee, to Testify on Threat to Critical Infrastructure
Washington, DC The House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies will hold a hearing on Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) and its threat to the Critical Infrastructure on Thursday May 8, 2014 at 2:00 pm. 
“EMP [Electromagnetic Pulse] is a clear and present danger and a far greater threat than severe weather,” says Dr. Peter Pry, Executive Director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security.  “A solar flare narrowly missed the Earth in July 2012, and nuclear EMP attack from terrorists or rogue states, as practiced by North Korea during the nuclear crisis of 2013, are both existential threats that could kill 9 of 10 Americans through starvation, disease, and societal collapse.
“Passage of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act to protect the national electric grid is urgently necessary.”
Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP): Threat to Critical Infrastructure
Thursday May 8, 2014
                           2:00 – 4:00 pm EST
311 Cannon House Office Building
                           New Jersey and Independence Ave, SE
                           Washington, DC
Dr. Peter V. Pry, Executive Director of the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security
The Secure the Grid Coalition is an ad hoc group of policy, energy, and national security experts, legislators, and industry insiders who are dedicated to strengthening America’s electrical grid. The Coalition aims to raise awareness to the national and international threat of EMP as well as pass legislation to strengthen the grid.
For more information about the work of the Coalition and to sign a petition calling for our most indispensable critical infrastructure to be hardened, visit:  www.SecureTheGrid.com.
About the Center for Security Policy
The Center for Security Policy is a non-profit, non-partisan national security organization that specializes in identifying policies, actions, and resource needs that are vital to American security and then ensures that such issues are the subject of both focused, principled examination and effective action by recognized policy experts, appropriate officials, opinion leaders, and the general public. For more information visit www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org

HSI arrests 638 gang members during month-long operation

HSI arrests 638 gang members during month-long operation

WASHINGTON — More than 600 gang members and associates from 145 different gangs were arrested in 179 cities across the U.S. during Project Southbound, a month-long operation executed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which targeted gangs affiliated with the Sureños.

The Sureños, also known as Sur 13, is a transnational criminal street gang that originated in Southern California with hundreds of cliques around the United States. The Sureños and their affiliates pay tribute to the Mexican Mafia and the number “13” is their symbol signifying “M” in the alphabet for Mexican Mafia. Membership and cliques associated with the Sureños are expanding faster than any other national-level gang in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Gang Intelligence Center’s 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. Sureños gang members are involved in a myriad of criminal activity, including murder, extortion, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, prostitution and other crimes with a nexus to the border.

Through Project Southbound, which ran March 12 to April 13, HSI special agents worked with 150 federal, state and local law enforcement partners to apprehend individuals from various gangs affiliated with the Sureños. More than 73 percent of those arrested during this HSI National Gang Unit-led operation were members or associates of the Sureños.

In addition to the 638 gang members and associates, HSI agents also arrested – or assisted in the arrest of – 119 other individuals on federal and/or state criminal violations and administrative immigration violations, for a total of 757 arrests.

“Project Southbound is the largest-ever ICE operation targeting the Sureños gang,” said ICE Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas S. Winkowski. “This gang now has more than 30,000 members in the United States and its numbers are growing. Targeting transnational gangs like the Sureños is a top priority for ICE and we will continue to disrupt and dismantle the violence and criminal activities that they inflict upon our neighborhoods.”

Of the 638 gang members or associates arrested: 525 were charged with criminal offenses; 113 were arrested administratively for immigration violations; 414 had violent criminal histories, including seven individuals wanted for murder and five wanted for rape or sexual assault; and 256 were foreign nationals.

Among the Sureños gang members or associates arrested during Project Southbound were:

  • Cesar Lisandro Anaya, 27, an El Salvadoran national and an 18th Street gang member, arrested in Dallas, Texas, on immigration-related charges. He is wanted in El Salvador on felony warrants for aggravated homicide, extortion, and illicit groupings (gang activity).
  • Nine MS-13 gang members arrested on RICO charges filed in the District of Maryland stemming from their involvement in multiple criminal acts including murder, assault, extortion and prostitution, in furtherance of MS-13.
  • Richard Allen Cotinola, a U.S. citizen and Brewtown Locos gang member, arrested in New Mexico on an outstanding state warrant for violation of parole related to a previous conviction for aggravated burglary with a weapon. He has previous convictions for aggravated burglary with a weapon and armed robbery.
  • A father and son arrested in San Francisco on state narcotics and firearms charges following the execution of state search warrants on the father’s property. The father, a Sureños gang associate and previously deported aggravated felon, accused of supplying large quantities of high-quality, commercially-grown marijuana to Sureños and Latin Kings gang members. During these arrests, HSI agents seized 4,669 marijuana plants, 25 pounds of processed marijuana, an AR-15 rifle, a stolen Glock handgun, four diesel generators, four vehicles and $85,635 in cash.

Those arrested during Project Southbound came from 21 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Of the total 757 arrested, 678 were males and 79 were females.

HSI special agents also seized 54 firearms, 13.36 pounds of methamphetamine, 82.76 pounds of marijuana, 3.075 pounds of cocaine, 1.44 pounds of heroin, more than $166,000 in U.S currency and 10 vehicles during Project Southbound.

ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Baltimore and Los Angeles also assisted with this operation.

This enforcement operation is part of HSI’s Operation Community Shield a global initiative, in which HSI partners with existing federal, state and local anti-gang efforts to identify violent street gangs and develop intelligence on gang members and associates, gang criminal activities and international movements to arrest, prosecute, imprison and/or deport transnational gang members. HSI’s National Gang Unit deters, disrupts and dismantles gang operations by tracing and seizing cash, weapons and other assets derived from criminal activities.

Since the inception of Operation Community Shield in February 2005, HSI special agents working in conjunction with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies across the nation have arrested more than 33,000 street gang members and associates linked to more than 2,600 different gangs. At least 43 percent of those arrested had a violent criminal history. More than 438 of those arrested were gang leaders, and more than 4,500 were MS-13 gang members or associates. Through this initiative, HSI has seized more than 5,615 firearms nationally.

The National Gang Unit within HSI identifies violent street gangs and develops intelligence on their membership, associates, criminal activities and international movements to deter, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal gang operations by tracing and seizing cash, weapons and other assets derived from illicit activities.