DEA, Tempe Police Turn Up Heat on Sinaloa Cartel in Operation Crank Call
On December 20 DEA announced the culmination of Operation Crank Call, a 15-month long investigation of an extensive drug trafficking cell associated with the Mexico-based Sinaloa Cartel. Crank Call began when Tempe, Arizona police detectives arrested two individuals for engaging in an illegal drug transaction. It was determined that one of the suspects was a delivery driver for a drug trafficking organization who delivered methamphetamine to several customers in Tempe, as well as other customers across Maricopa County. When deconflicting the investigation, it was discovered that DEA in Phoenix was also conducting an investigation into the same organization, and the Operation Crank Call is the result. This led to local drug dealers in Tempe, Mesa, Phoenix, Chandler and Avondale, Arizona with more than 200 arrests and the seizure of nearly $8 million, 435 pounds of methamphetamine, and 123 pounds of cocaine among other drugs to date.
On December 16 Stanley Needleman, a criminal defense attorney for more than 40 years who resided in Pikesville, Maryland was sentenced to prison and disbarred for tax evasion and for structuring financial transactions to avoid reporting large cash receipts and deposits. In addition, Needleman has been ordered to pay restitution of $543,695 for tax losses incurred by the IRS, $117,319 for tax losses incurred by the State of Maryland, and forfeited $492,464 to the DEA as illegal proceeds.
According to his plea agreement and statements at the sentencing hearing, Needleman had clients, many of whom were drug traffickers, mail or deliver payments, often in cash, to the Law Office of Stanley Needleman in Baltimore. During the covert phase of the investigation, federal investigators reviewed Needleman’s tax returns and bank records for the years 2005 to 2009, and concluded that the amount of legal fees Needleman collected for those cases was substantially more than what he had deposited into his bank account and reported as gross income on his tax returns. On April 14, 2011, DEA agents executed search warrants at Needleman’s law office and home where $1,153,660 in cash were found along with ledgers that chronicled the legal fees paid by hundreds of his clients.
Six Indicted in Fresno and Madera County California Meth Ring
On December 22 it was announced that a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging six individuals with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine. An affidavit filed in the case asserts that the methamphetamine was obtained from Mexico and that the drugs and drug proceeds were then delivered and sold in Fresno and Madera Counties. As a result of the investigation, agents seized more than $182,000, more than 40 pounds of methamphetamine, and two pounds of cocaine. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $10 million fine.
AP REPORTS — Hackers who say they are members of Anonymous claimed responsibility Saturday for crashing the website of Stratfor Global Intelligence Service, a U.S. research group that publishes a daily newsletter on security issues and whose listed clients include the Department of Defense and the United Nations.
The hackers said they pilfered Stratfor’s client list, emails and credit card information in an operation they say intends to steal $1 million for charity donations.
The attack was likely intended to embarrass Stratfor, which specializes in intelligence and security. The hackers said they were able to obtain the credit card details because, they said, Stratfor failed to encrypt them.
New Year to See Rise in Cyber-Espionage and Malware, Experts Say
LOS ANGELES (STAFF & WIRE REPORTS) — The security industry expects the number of cyber-espionage attacks to increase in 2012 and the malware used for this purpose to become increasingly sophisticated.
In the past two years there has been a surge in the number of malware-based attacks that resulted in sensitive data being stolen from government agencies, defense contractors, Fortune 500 companies, human rights organizations and other institutions.
"I absolutely expect this trend to continue through 2012 and beyond," said Rik Ferguson, director of security research and communication at security firm Trend Micro. "Espionage activities have, for hundreds of years, taken advantage of cutting-edge technologies to carry out covert operations; 2011 was not the beginning of Internet-facilitated espionage, nor will it be the end," he added.
Threats like Stuxnet, which is credited with setting back Iran’s nuclear program by several years, or its successor, Duqu, have shocked the security industry with their level of sophistication. Experts believe that they are only the beginning and that more highly advanced malware will be launched in 2012.
Kayla Cohen, a cyber security expert at private intelligence communications agency GCIS said her firm is already preparing for their defenses.
"Our agency has been the target of several cyber attacks over the last couple of years’, Cohen said this morning, "Our online infrastructure has engaged a variety of new defenses against what we expect will be a rise in attacks in 2012".
Cohen cited the recent Anonymous attack on Stratfor, another intelligence communications company.
"The responsibility will be to build a more solid relationship between government and the private sector to fight these attacks’, she added
The holidays are the perfect time to give thanks to our men and women in uniform and the families who support them. You can join the President and First Lady in thanking our troops, military families and veterans for their service and sacrifice by visiting JoiningForces.gov.
WISE, NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, has a new view of Barnard 3, or IRAS Ring G159.6-18.5, that is awash in bright green and red dust clouds. Interstellar clouds like these are stellar nurseries, where baby stars are being born. The green ring is made of tiny particles of warm dust whose composition is very similar to smog found here on Earth. The red cloud in the center is most likely made of dust that is more metallic and cooler than the surrounding regions. HD 278942, the bright star in the middle of the red cloud, is so luminous that it is the likely cause of the surrounding ring’s glow. The bright greenish-yellow region left of center is similar to the ring, though more dense. The bluish-white stars scattered throughout are stars located both in front of, and behind, the nebula. Regions similar to this nebula are found near the band of the Milky Way galaxy in the night sky. This nebulas is slightly off this band, near the boundary between the constellations of Perseus and Taurus, but at a relatively close distance of only about 1,000 light-years, the cloud is a still part of our Milky Way. The colors used in this image represent specific wavelengths of infrared light. Blue and cyan (blue-green) represent light emitted at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 microns, which is predominantly from stars. Green and red represent light from 12 and 22 microns, respectively, which is mostly emitted by dust. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA
NASA will host a media teleconference today, Thursday, Dec. 15, at 11:30 a.m. EST, to discuss a modified competitive procurement strategy for the Commercial Crew Program. The program will assist industry in developing a commercial system that will transport American astronauts into space.
An international team of astronomers has identified a candidate for the smallest-known black hole using data from NASA’s Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE).
Message: 3 From: NASA News Services <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2011 11:18:20 -0600 (CST) Subject: NASA TAKES NEXT STEP IN DEVELOPING COMMERCIAL CREW PROGRAM Competitive Agreements Will Keep U.S. Commercial Space Program on Track
NASA announced today a modified competitive procurement strategy to keep on track the agency’s plan to have U.S. companies transport American astronauts into space instead of outsourcing this work to foreign governments.
The bipolar star-forming region, called Sharpless 2-106, looks like a soaring, celestial snow angel. The outstretched “wings” of the nebula record the contrasting imprint of heat and motion against the backdrop of a colder medium. Twin lobes of super-hot gas, glowing blue in this image, stretch outward from the central star. This hot gas creates the “wings” of our angel. A ring of dust and gas orbiting the star acts like a belt, cinching the expanding nebula into an “hourglass” shape. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
39 years ago, today, scientist-astronaut Harrison H. Schmitt is photographed standing next to a huge, split lunar boulder during the third Apollo 17 extravehicular activity (EVA) at the Taurus-Littrow landing site. The Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), which transported Schmitt and Eugene A. Cernan to this extravehicular station from their Lunar Module (LM), is seen in the background. The mosaic is made from two frames from Apollo 17 Hasselblad magazine 140. The two frames were photographed by Cernan. Image Credit: NASA/Eugene Cernan
Director Mueller last week made his latest trip abroad to personally cultivate global relationships—this time, to the European nations of Romania and Bulgaria, both solid and growing partners of the FBI. His meetings involved talks with some the highest government officials of those countries—from Romanian President Traian Basescu to Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov—on vital security issues.
The alleged terrorists on this list have been indicted by sitting Federal Grand Juries in various jurisdictions in the United States for the crimes reflected on their wanted posters. Evidence was gathered and presented to the Grand Juries, which led to their being charged. The indictments currently listed on the posters allow them to be arrested and brought to justice. Future indictments may be handed down as various investigations proceed in connection to other terrorist incidents, for example, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
The Rewards for Justice program, administered by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, offers rewards for information leading to the arrest of many of these terrorists.
It is also important to note that these individuals will remain wanted in connection with their alleged crimes until such time as the charges are dropped or when credible physical evidence is obtained, which proves with 100% accuracy, that they are deceased.