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DEA Statement on Release of Rafael Caro-Quintero from Mexican Prison

English: The Seal of the Drug Enforcement Admi...

English: The Seal of the Drug Enforcement Administration (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Drug Enforcement Administration is deeply troubled to learn of the decision by a Mexican court to release infamous drug trafficker Rafael Caro-Quintero from a Mexican prison.  Caro-Quintero had been serving a 40 year prison sentence in connection with the kidnapping, torture and murder of DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in February 1985.  Caro-Quintero was the mastermind and organizer of this atrocious act.  We are reminded every day of the ultimate sacrifice paid by Special Agent Camarena and DEA will vigorously continue its efforts to ensure Caro-Quintero faces charges in the United States for the crimes he committed.  

ATF National Response Team Activated to Investigate Fire of Red Star Senior Apartments

OAKLAND, Calif. — The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been activated by request from the City of Oakland to investigate a fire at the

Seal of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, T...

Seal of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after it moved to the Department of Justice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

. On June 14, at approximately 1:30 a.m., a fire destroyed the Red Star Senior Apartments, a 119 unit apartment complex under construction located at Seventh Street and Mandela Parkway. Preliminary estimate of property damage is $25 million. Participating agencies include the Oakland Fire and Police Departments.

The fire occurred next to the West Oakland Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station and caused all BART lines between San Francisco and Oakland to be shut down. In addition, track insulators, communication cables, electrical cables and other trackside equipment were damaged. The damage estimates do not include damage caused to the BART station.

ATF is investigating this fire jointly with the Oakland Fire Department and Oakland Police Department. We will coordinate our efforts and provide our expertise and resources to determine the origin and cause of this fire, stated Jeffery E. Vind, ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco Field Division. This is the ninth activation of the NRT in Fiscal Year 2012 and number 730 since the inception of the team in 1978. The NRT will include 22 team members and is expected to be on scene today.

ATF’s activation of its National Response Team speaks to the seriousness of the fire that occurred in West Oakland, and the impact it had on thousands of Bay Area residents who were affected by the BART station closure, stated Teresa Deloach Reed, Oakland Fire Chief. It is our responsibility to do all we can to identify the cause of this fire, and bring the individuals who may be responsible to justice.

Other local activations of the NRT in the area include the Roseville Galleria Mall fire in 2010, a commercial building that housed Walgreens and Subway sandwich shop in Palo Alto in July 2007, a large commercial warehouse in Sacramento in September 2006, and Wine Central fire in Vallejo in October 2005.

In 1978, ATF developed the NRT to investigate in partnership with Federal, State and local investigators in meeting the challenges faced at the scenes of significant arson and explosives incidents. The NRT consists of four teams organized geographically to cover the United States. Each team can respond within 24 hours to work jointly with State and local law enforcement/fire service personnel in onsite investigations.

In addition to investigating hundreds of large fire scenes, the NRT has also been activated to scenes such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing and the 9/11 Pentagon crash site, as well as explosions at explosives and ammunition manufacturing plants, legal fireworks factories and illegal explosive device manufacturing operations.

The teams are each composed of veteran special agents who have post blast and fire origin–and–cause expertise; forensic chemists; explosives enforcement officers; fire protection engineers; accelerant detection canines; explosives detection canines; intelligence support; computer forensic support and forensic audit support. The teams work alongside State and local officers in reconstructing the scene, identifying the seat of the blast or origin of the fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to bombing/arson incidents.

Further complementing the team’s efforts are technical, legal and intelligence advisors. Moreover, a fleet of fully–equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States are available to provide logistical support.

ATF is the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson. More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov.

DEA NEWS: Congress Agrees to Add 26 Synthetic Drugs to Controlled Substances Act

English: The seal of the United States Drug En...

English: The seal of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today commended House and Senate negotiators for agreeing on legislation to control 26 synthetic drugs under the Controlled Substances Act.  These drugs include those commonly found in products marketed as “K2” and “Spice.”

The addition of these chemicals to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act will be included as part of S. 3187, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. Schedule I substances are those with a high potential for abuse; have no medical use in treatment in the United States; and lack an accepted safety for use of the drug.

In addition to scheduling the 26 drugs, the new law would double the length of time a substance may be temporarily placed in schedule I (from 18 to 36 months).  In addition to explicitly naming 26 substances, the legislation creates a new definition for “cannabamimetic agents,” creating criteria by which similar chemical compounds are controlled.

In recent years, a growing number of dangerous products have been introduced into the U.S. marketplace.  Products labeled as “herbal incense” have become especially popular, especially among teens and young adults.  These products consist of plant material laced with synthetic cannabinoids which, when smoked, mimic the delirious effects of THC, the psychoactive ingredient of marijuana.  According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, more than 100 such substances have been synthesized and identified to date.  DEA has used its emergency scheduling authority to place in schedule I several of these harmful chemicals.

Newly developed drugs, particularly from the “2C family” (dimethoxyphenethylamines), are generally referred to as synthetic psychedelic/hallucinogens. 2C-E caused the recent death of a 19 year-old in Minnesota.

The substances added to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act also include 9 different 2C chemicals, and 15 different synthetic cannabanoids.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that they received 6,959 calls related to synthetic marijuana in 2011, up from 2,906 in 2010. 

FBI Announces Cyber Security Leadership Appointments

( Washington D.C.) Director Robert S. Mueller, III yesterday announced executive appointments at FBI Headquarters in the Cyber and International Operations Divisions.

Joseph M. Demarest, assistant director for International Operations, will move to the Cyber Division as assistant director. Deputy Assistant Director Michael S. Welch of the Cyber Division will become assistant director of the International Operations Division.

Mr. Demarest entered on duty as a special agent in 1988 and served in the Anchorage and New York Field Offices. During that time, he gained a wide range of experience investigating white-collar crime, violent crime, counterintelligence, and drug cases. He was assigned to the Counterterrorism Division in 2002, where he was promoted to unit chief and later acting section chief in the International Terrorism Operations Section. Mr. Demarest returned to New York in 2005, where he held management roles in the International Terrorism Branch, ultimately becoming special agent in charge for counterterrorism. In 2008, he was appointed assistant director in charge of that office. During that time, he created the New York Field Office’s Cyber Branch. He was named assistant director of the International Operations Division in 2010.

“Joe brings a mix of management expertise, operational experience, and vision to the cyber program,” said Director Mueller. “I am confident that under his leadership, the Cyber Division will continue to sharpen its strategic focus and strengthen its operational impact at home and abroad.”

Before joining the Cyber Division, Mr. Welch served as special agent in charge of the Indianapolis Field Office and as section chief in the Office of International Operations. He also has been assigned to the Criminal Investigative Division, as well as the Kansas City, Miami, and Washington Field Offices. Mr. Welch entered on duty as a special agent in 1988.

“In his role as assistant director, Mike will be responsible for hundreds of employees at Headquarters and in 78 locations around the world. His experience in criminal matters and his prior leadership role in International Operations make him the right person for this job,” Director Mueller said.

Additionally, Cyber Division Section Chief James C. Burrell has been appointed deputy assistant director of the Cyber Division. Mr. Burrell entered on duty as a special agent in 1991. He was assigned to the National Infrastructure Protection Center—the precursor to the Cyber Division—in 1998 and later was promoted to unit chief of the Cyber Division’s International Investigative Support Unit. For more than five years, he was a delegate to the G-8 Senior Experts Subgroup on High-Technology Crime. Mr. Burrell also supervised the Computer Intrusion, Cyber Crime, and Computer Analysis Response Team programs in the Boston Field Office and later served as Boston’s assistant special agent in charge with responsibility for the cyber program.