31 October 2011

Welcome to Oculto Café – Cordoba’s infamous Satanic saloon.

 

GLASSES shoot across tabletops, busty vamps serve blood-red cocktails, and twisted locals raise a toast to an image of Aleister Crowley. Welcome to Oculto Café – Cordoba’s infamous Satanic saloon. The bar is situated in a maze of narrow, winding streets in the ancient ‘Old Town’ district. Stepping outside for a Marlboro, I scan my surroundings. It’s a chilly, moonlit night and the streets are deserted. Strain your ears, however, and you’ll hear muffled voices coming from dark balconies. It’s like a scene from Interview with the Vampire. As I re-enter, the room falls silent. A cross-eyed chap stares at me… well, I think it’s me… it’s hard to tell. Had my gothic guy-liner run, or had he caught a whiff of fresh meat? In this insular atmosphere, I feel as welcome as Gary Glitter at Tivoli World! Forget fruit machines and pool tables, it’s ouija boards and tarot cards that keep these punters amused. A little weakened, I seize a newspaper and hide in the corner. Alongside ads for ‘Black Angels’ and ‘Colombian Swallowers’, the classifieds are swarming with clairvoyants. I’m shocked! Isn’t Spain supposed to be a God-fearing country? But the truth is, up until the Inquisition (1478), Iberia was a hotbed of magic and sorcery. With the coming of Catholicism, however, mystics – including ‘witches’ and ‘healers’ were round-up and executed. For survival’s sake, Spaniards severed their ties with the ‘other side.’ Today, however, there is growing evidence that Spain is returning to its supernatural roots. Church-going is down (just 14.4%), and stories of Satanism are everywhere. In March 2011, an Almerian church was littered with satanic scrawls. Investigators claimed that the site had been used for a “black mass.” Tenerife’s Arona Cemetery has also been targeted by sinister cults. In 2008, graves were desecrated and animals sacrificed during “bizarre nocturnal rituals”. For sceptics, it’s easy to blame rebellious youth or drug-addicts for these atrocities. However, as someone who’s experienced dark forces – first hand – I try to keep an open mind. It all started in 2001 when I was filming a documentary at Devon’s Berry Pomeroy. In the castle grounds, I indivertibly captured an inhuman figure on camera.  Whilst replaying the footage to BBC colleagues, the office computers went wild. In 2009, I moved my family to a 15th century cottage on the West Pennine Moors. Unbeknown to us, our ‘dream house’ was built on a Quaker burial site. During our six-month stay – we endured stamping noises, icy chills and orbs zipping round the lounge. At night, the constant thumping would deprive us of sleep, and we’d trudge into work like a couple of zombies. However, my most recent spooking occurred right here in Andalucia. One evening, I watched a can of Asturiana cider move sideways, hover and then drop off the table! Earlier that day, an old drinking buddy had been buried in Devon – was this his final ‘chin-chin’? Whatever it was, it scared the bejesus out of my missus and she hasn’t slept properly since. Two weeks on, and we’re sitting in Oculto, trying not to blush at orgy paintings. After some Dutch courage, I enquire about a séance at the bar. A black-toothed midget points towards a battered wooden door. Timidly, I wander down the corridor and knock on wood. It’s opened by a raven-haired gypsy. She’s both beautiful and grotesque: Penelope Cruz’s mum meets the Bride of Chucky. Without speaking – she beckons me in with a long, black talon. With low ceilings, purple walls and an absence of windows – the room is claustrophobic and unsettling. Under flickering candlelight, the Victorian death portraits seem to eyeball you from the walls. But it’s the cold air and fetid stench that’s really sending shivers down my spine. The woman glides over to a monolithic Ouija board and orders me to sit. She lays out a clutch of cards, including The Hanged Man, The Fool, The Stig, Jeremy Clarkson, Dog the Bounty Hunter, The Archbishop of Canterbury and Boy George. Okay… I lied about Boy George – but it’s all the scary ones! Suddenly, my stomach churns and I shout ‘Stop!’ I apologise for wasting her time – but I’ve got the heebie-jeebies. A floating cider is hardly The Ring – so why risk opening a fresh can of worms? I chat to Jose, a Pepe Reina lookalike in his late 20s. Around us, weirdoes chuck darts at an image of the Pope (only joking….it’s Desmond Tutu!) Jose is erudite and speaks fine English. Over Osbourne brandies, I pose the question: “So….Are you a Satanist?” “Of course”! Jose replies: Usually, I’d grab my coat, but by now, I’m immune to the madness. After dispelling myths of “priest-beating” and “baby-eating”, Jose insists that Satanists are “Perfectly normal.” Apparently, the only difference is they choose “indulgence over abstinence’, and prefer “vengeance” to forgiveness. Oh…..and they enjoy kinky sex and coke-snorting – but hey… so does the cast of Skins. By 1am I’m craving a Horlicks and a late night snack. I thank Jose and wish him a “hell-of-a-life.” We leave Occulto and hot-foot it to the Corredera for a greasy kebab. After filling our faces, we clamber into a taxi. We’re only 10-minutes from the hotel – but I’m bloated on beer and lamb offal. Back at the room, Jose’s words haunt me. Having spent the last five hours binge-drinking, ogling rude pictures and eating crap – could I be accused of “indulgence”? If Christianity equals modesty, chastity and turning the other cheek, what about all those times I’ve bought designer togs, belted a thug or lusted over lesbians? Perhaps I’m more Satanic than I thought? By bedtime, I’d seen no demons, virgin sacrifices or people snacking on goats’ head soup. This said, not everyone was as friendly as Jose, and the yokels at the bar seemed quite menacing. I’ve yet to decide whether Satanists are ordinary folk – daring to be different, or psychopaths to be avoided at all costs. I DO know, however, that pentangles are not for me. For one – I like animals too much to put their heads on sticks – and secondly, I root for the “goodies” when it kicks off on Buffy. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my time at Occulto and found the experience enlightening. Whatever they are (or aren’t), there’s a pub full of them in Cordoba, and if you ever feel like taking a walk on the wild side, you know where to head.

Body found in boot of crashed car on Alicante motorway

 

Firemen called out to an accident on the A-31 Alicante-Madrid motorway early on Monday found an unidentified body in the boot of a car which had crashed into the central reservation at Sax and then burst into flames. The body was partially burnt but appears to be that of a man. Reports indicate that the deceased had been tied up and gagged. No other occupants were found at the site and the Civil Guard are now trying to identify the victim and the cause of death.

Hells Angels have had a rough year in California.

 

The Hells Angels have had a rough year in California. Three Northern California members have died violently in the last month amid a turf battle with a rival biker gang. And law enforcement officials on both ends of the motorcycle club's home state are pursuing and jailing members, with 26 Angels and their associates arrested recently in San Diego. The violence spilled into public view in the unlikeliest of places two weeks ago when thousands of Harley-Davidsons rolled up to a San Jose cemetery on a sunny Saturday afternoon to bury a Hells Angels leader who was gunned down weeks earlier in a Nevada casino. A Hells Angel allegedly shot and killed a fellow member at the cemetery and fled — the latest sign of the in-fighting and violence that has plagued the gang in recent months. And if the deadly gunfire were not enough, a member was plowed down by a van a week later near Oakland, the alleged the victim of road rage. While no one is predicting the demise of the notorious outlaw motorcycle club, law enforcement officials and gang experts said the Hells Angels' recent woes still stand out for an organization they describe as violent, sophisticated and disciplined with loyal-to-the-death members. "They are the heavyweight champions of the biker gang culture," said Jay Dobyns, an agent with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who infiltrated the Hells Angels in Arizona for two years beginning in 2001. "And every other biker gang wants the belt." The organization has a long history in California, dating to its founding in 1948 by returning World War II veterans in the dusty town of Fontana and including a notorious incident during a Rolling Stones show in Altamont in 1969 in which a spectator was stabbed by a Hells Angel working security. A jury later acquitted the killer, finding he acted in self defense. The U.S. Department of Justice says the Hells Angels now have as many as 2,500 members in 230 chapters in 26 countries, and are a major source of drug-trafficking. Federal, state and local police have pursued the club for decades, infiltrating it with undercover agents, prosecuting suspects with harsh charges once reserved for the Mafia and indicting members on charges ranging from drug trafficking to mortgage fraud. Yet the club flourished. They opened chapters worldwide, aggressively enforced their trademarks in court like a responsible Wall Street corporation and won high-profile acquittals and other legal battles with law enforcement. The ATF, which handles many federal biker cases, said it arrested more outlaw motorcycle gang members last year than any other since 2003. Police in Germany, Canada and elsewhere also report a surge in motorcycle gang violence, with much of it connected to the Hells Angels. The California Hells Angels' current problems are partly rooted in a battle with the Vagos, a California-based motorcycle club founded in the 1960s. The clubs have been bitter enemies dating at least back a decade to a violent 2001 confrontation at a Costa Mesa swap meet. "These groups are trying to expand their membership and dominance," said Kent Shaw, the California Attorney General's acting head of law enforcement. "There's going to be a number of clashes and it seems to have gotten worse over the last couple years. It seems to be coming to a flash point." After dozens of Vagos took over a bar in Lakeport, Calif., and rode their motorcycles up and down the main drag, officials went so far as to close the downtown to traffic on May 14. Lake County Sheriff Frank Rivero said the Vagos were making a statement about controlling the region after one of its members was allegedly beaten by Hells Angels earlier in the year. So Rivero put up a road block that day after the California Highway Patrol and FBI warned that Hells Angels were traveling toward town. The Angels turned back before reaching the road block. But now the district attorney is investigating whether the sheriff violated the club members' civil rights with his plans to stop them. The sheriff is unapologetic. "It's a basic response," Rivero said. "I'm not going to tolerate gang violence in Lake County." A month later, a Vagos member and a friend were severely beaten in a casino. Four Hells Angels have been charged with assault. Three were arrested and the sheriff said they were bailed out by fellow Angel Steve Tausan, who owned a bail bonds company. A fourth is being sought. In September, the two gangs fought again. San Jose Angels leader Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew was slain during a wild shootout with rival Vagos in a Reno-area casino on Sept. 23. It was at Pettigrew's burial where more violence occurred. Two shots were fired, and Tausan, Pettigrew's good friend and high-ranking Angel, lay bleeding with a mortal wound. Police suspect fellow Angel Steve Ruiz of firing on Tausan after they argued over the casino shooting and whether enough was done to protect Pettigrew, the president of the San Jose chapter. Police are now searching for Ruiz, who reportedly was hustled into a waiting car, leaving behind his motorcycle. Investigators initially feared Ruiz was killed and went so far as to dig up Pettigrew's grave in search of a body. But now police believe he is on the run with his girlfriend. San Jose police were out in force Saturday as Tausan was laid to rest at the same cemetery where he was killed during the Oct. 15 funeral. A police spokesman said there were no reports of any disturbances or violence. The Hells Angels didn't respond to numerous phone calls and email messages sent to their clubhouses in San Jose and Santa Cruz, where Tausan served as the chapter's sergeant at arms. The Angels have always maintained they are a club of motorcycle enthusiasts who are unfairly regarded as an organized crime syndicate because of the crimes of a few members acting independently. The club participates in charity events, such as "Toys for Tots" motorcycle runs and blood drives. "When we do right, nobody remembers," the club's Web site states. "When we do wrong, nobody forgets." Karen Snell, a lawyer who won a $1.8 million settlement in 2005 after the San Jose chapter filed a lawsuit claiming illegal police searches during a murder investigation, said Pettigrew, Tausan and the others involved with the case were serious businessmen with families. "They were really responsible clients," Snell said. "In my all my interactions with them, they were always gentlemen." Now Pettigrew and Tausan are dead. "We lost our brother, our father, our son and our friend," said Karen Tausan, Steve's sister. "He left a big hole in our family and we can only hope this will come to an end now."

30 October 2011

Funeral held for Hells Angel killed at fellow biker's burial begins

 

The only gunfire at the funeral of Hells Angel Steve Tausan on Saturday came as a salute from the U.S. Marine honor guard. The former Marine, professional boxer and legendary biker was memorialized Saturday morning at Jubilee Christian Church before being buried at Oak Hill Memorial cemetery in San Jose -- exactly two weeks after he was shot and killed at the funeral of another member of the motorcycle club. Although about 1,000 bikers rumbled in from all quarters, there was no trouble, dissension or arrests. There were only bear hugs, tears and memories of the Santa Cruz "enforcer" who called himself Mr. 187, after the penal code for murder. On top of Sunrise Hill they buried his red-and-white casket in the Hells Angels tradition -- by shovel. Sonny Barger, a founding member of the Oakland chapter of the Hells Angel and an iconic figure in the club, tossed one of the last shovels of earth on the grave, as a police helicopter circled overhead. "They said they would have a quiet, respectful funeral and then they were going to leave town," said acting Capt. Jeff Marozick, the commander of the San Jose Police Department's special operations who had negotiated details of the funeral with the notorious biker club. "Everything they said is what they did." Amid the heavy police presence, Saturday's somber service was relatively smaller and peaceful, in sharp contrast to the huge and chaotic funeral of Jeff "Jethro" Pettigrew. That Advertisement service drew more than 3,000 bikers. Before Pettigrew could be buried, Tausan, a Santa Cruz resident, was fatally wounded during a bloody biker battle with another Hells Angel. Aside from the odd arrest of an individual member, the notorious outlaw motorcycle club has been out of the headlines in the South Bay for years. But in recent weeks, the shooting deaths of Pettigrew and Tausan, the continued search for suspect Steven Ruiz and the bizarre traffic homicide of an East Bay member have put a hot spotlight on the Hells Angel, which law enforcement views as a criminal gang. The Hells Angels have long denied this, and many members have reacted to the recent events with dismay. But the violent way Tausan died was not mentioned at his sentimental service. It was his colorful life they talked about, as an eclectic soundtrack from Tausan's favorite performers -- James Brown, Stevie Ray Vaughn and gospel singers -- reverberated through the big hall. "He was an imposing man," said the Rev. Dick Bernal during the service at Jubilee. "But underneath the muscles and the tattoos beat the heart of a man, the heart of a brother." Bikers from Tausan's home club, along with Henchmen, Devils Dolls and many others from as far away as New England and abroad, made up a long line of mourners. They paid their last respects as he lay in the casket, draped with an American flag and custom painted with the Angels' death's head with wings and the Marine Corps insignia. Tausan was clad in his leather Hells Angels vest, with a pack of Marlboros and an extended combat knife in his folded hands. Next to the casket, there was a blown-up photo of him as a young Marine, his military haircut in stark contrast to the long, silvery mane he sported when he died. Also arrayed around the casket were pictures of Tausan on his Victory motorcycle and with his friends and family. Tausan was better known than most Angels because of the charges he faced in the 1997 beating death of a man at the Pink Poodle strip club in San Jose. He was acquitted. But to the Hells Angels and others, the gregarious and intense man was bigger than life. "His love for his family and his friends in the club was undeniable," Bernal said. "If Steve loved you, you never had to guess. If he didn't love you, you never had to guess." Bernal recalled that Tausan once summoned him to his bail bondsman's office so the two of them could view a 90-minute DVD of James Brown and opera great Luciano Pavarotti performing together. Tausan turned to Bernal and said, "Wasn't that the greatest thing you've ever seen?" Bernal said he agreed, then paused for effect. "You don't disagree with Steve." That drew an appreciative laugh from the crowd.

29 October 2011

Hells Angels feud leaves trail of death and destruction

 

The bloody turf war between the Hells Angels and a rival motorcycle club called the Vagos, has also led to shoot outs in the neighbouring states of Nevada and Arizona. According to the US Justice Department both the Hells Angels and the Vagos are "outlaw" gangs involved in drug and weapons trafficking, extortion and money laundering. The current spate of bloodshed between them can be traced to a disagreement at a Stabucks in the beach town of Santa Cruz last year. A brawl in which some participants wielded ball-peen hammers erupted outside the coffee shop before police arrived and bikers scattered. That led to a gunfight in the northern Arizona town of Chino Valley which left five people wounded and 27 under arrest.

Two killed in biker gang war started over Starbucks

 

TWO men have been killed and a number wounded in a turf war between two California biker gangs that began over who got to hang out at Starbucks. The San Jose Hells Angels has clashed with the rival Vagos gang in a series of violent incidents in the state. In the latest, senior Hells Angel Steven Tausan, 52, was shot and killed by a fellow member in an apparent quarrel, the Telegraph reports. That shooting occurred at the funeral of the chapter’s captain Jeffrey Pettigrew, 51, who was killed at a casino last month.  Security is tight for Tausan’s funeral tomorrow, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The row began in January 2010 when Hells Angels and Vagos members fought with hammers outside a Starbucks in Santa Cruz. Local deputy police chief Steve Clark told Reuters: “It was all about who would be allowed to hang out at the Starbucks downtown,” adding that the Vagos had made an attempt to gain control of the area. “Only in Santa Cruz would you have biker wars over who’s going to control pumpkin spice lattes,” Clark added. The conflict escalated in August last year, when the two gangs exchanged gunfire near a house in Prescott, Arizona, where CBS reports the Hells Angels were having a party. At least five people were wounded and 27 arrested after the incident.

27 October 2011

A LARGE crowd of Rebels Motorcycle Club members turned out at St Peter's Cathedral yesterday for the funeral of a member.

Rebels

Rebels comfort each other outside St Peter's Cathedral. Picture: Dean Martin


Dozens of motorbikes lined Pennington Tce, North Adelaide, as more than 100 people gathered for the 1.30pm service for James Sean "Pappa" Petterson.

Members of rival motorcycle clubs, including the Finks, also attended the service.

A convoy of Rebels members on motorcycles were given a police escort to the service and flanked the hearse as it left the cathedral.

Uniformed and plainclothes police kept a watchful eye over proceedings from outside

26 October 2011

Real IRA terrorist has been jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of buying weapons and explosives which he wanted to use to “kill Brits.

Michael Campbell (Pic: PA)

Michael Campbell (Pic: PA)

A Real IRA terrorist has been jailed for 12 years after being found guilty of buying weapons and explosives which he wanted to use to “kill Brits.”

Irishman Michael Campbell - brother of Omagh bomber Liam - was snared in a six year MI5 sting across three countries with agents pretending to be arms dealers.

Yesterday he was finally jailed by a Lithuania court after spending three years awaiting trial and having been snared by an amazing MI5 undercover operation.

Campbell, 39, was secretly filmed in a field in Lithuania pointing a high-power Barret sniper rifle which he later bragged he would use to kill British people.

Michael Campbell testing weapons in the Lithuanian countryside (Pic: PA)

Michael Campbell testing weapons in the Lithuanian countryside (Pic: PA)

Michael Campbell testing weapons in the Lithuanian countryside (Pic: PA)
A still of Michael Campbell being secretly filmed (Pic: PA)

Using secret filming Campbell was caught on camera inspecting the weapons stash in a lock-up garage (Pic: PA)

Michael Campbell's shopping list for weapons (Pic:PA)

Campbell's shopping list for weapons (Pic:PA) 

He was also recorded on video in a garage buying weapons and explosives from an undercover Lithiuanian agent he nicknamed “Rambo.”

But the hero of the MI5 plot was a cigarette smuggler - turned MI5 agent who went deep undercover using the cover name Robert Jardine.

Using his connections Robert Jardine coolly penetrated deep into the Real IRA network knowing he could have been killed if his cover was blown.

At one stage in his dealings with dark-haired Campbell and other terror suspects - who cannot be named for legal reasons - he was bundled into a padded van containing a shovel.

Sources have told The Daily Mirror he feared he had been rumbled and was being driven to his death - but it was just a Real IRA tactic to unnerve him.

Judge Arunas Kisielus of the Vilnius Regional Court sentenced Michael Campbell to 12 years in prison for weapons offenses and supporting a terrorist group.

Covert footage showed Campbell paid £5,200 for explosives, grenade launchers, detonators, AK-47s and an assassin’s rifle to Lithuanian agents posing as arms dealers.

He says on tape: “You imagine, with a six-hour timer, we could be over to London and back,” Campbell says in an audio clip after mulling over a price list for explosives and detonators. “Just tick, tick, tick, tick ... gone.

In court Campbell had pleaded not guilty.

The Real IRA’s worst crime to date was the 1998 Omagh bombing which killed 29 and for which Liam Campbell -Michael’s brother - was found liable in a civil trial.

MI5’s Operation Uncritical ruined a bid by the Real IRA to get guns and explosives to mount a deadly terror campaign on the British mainland.

Yesterday a senior security official said: “The conviction of Michael Campbell is the result of a successful joint operation between the Security Service and the Lithuanian authorities.

“Working closely together, along with a selfless and brave agent, they have put behind bars a senior member of the Real IRA whose intention was to kill innocent members of the public in Northern Ireland and in Britain.”

Courageously Jardine - who now lives in a secret location - for years risked his life to provide his MI5 handlers with intelligence about the Real IRA.

The agent, who was referred to in court as “Robert Jardine”, was a legitimate businessman based in southern England dealing in “imports and exports.”

But he also had an illicit sideline in smuggling cigarettes from Eastern Europe - and it was that which caught the eye of the security service and led him into a world of terrorist intrigue.

The Real IRA (RIRA) was using the contraband cigarettes to fund its terrorist activities and in late 2002 Jardine was recruited as an agent by MI5.

Two years later RIRA asked Jardine whether his contacts in Eastern Europe could help them get weapons. And - carefully directed by MI5 - he laid a trail of deception which drew in the terrorists.

The court heard that in January 2005 he handed over a price list to a contact.

The following July Jardine and the contact crossed the border into Lithuania where Jardine introduced her to “Tomas”.

In fact Tomas was working for the Lithuanian security service, the VSD - the first in a cast of “role-players” deployed to convince the RIRA that the offer of weapons was real.

The RIRA gave Jardine the first of two hand-written shopping lists of weapons they wanted to buy - including sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers, hand grenades, detonators and Semtex plastic explosives.

Then, in late 2006, another RIRA man, moved to revive the arrangement. Jardine responded by saying he would provide the introductions but the republicans would have to cut their own deal. The “sting” was back on.

Then Michael Campbell entered the story.

On August 29 2007, Michael Campbell and another associate travelled to a lodge in the Lithuanian countryside belonging to the supposed arms dealer.

There they were given their first chance to test guns and explosives.

Next day they were introduced to a second dealer - whom the two Irishmen quickly nicknamed “Rambo” - who was to provide them with the actual weapons they wanted.

Like Tomas, however, Rambo was in reality working for the VSD.

Campbell and his colleague agreed to pay a deposit on explosives, detonators and timers.

Afterwards an excited Campbell was secretly recorded telling his associate: “Look at it this way, for one of them and one of them you have a bomb - for f****** a hundred quid.

“F*** me. You imagine us getting over to England if you’d ten of them and ten clocks in a holdall. You imagine, with a six-hour timer we could be over to London and back.

“Just tick, tick, tick - gone. Leave it anywhere.”

That October, Campbell met Rambo again in Marbella in southern Spain.

This time the RIRA man said he wanted a first instalment of weapons - including two rocket propelled grenades as well as the explosives - against the deposit.

On January 21 2008, Campbell went to Lithuania to inspect his purchase and finalise the arrangements.

That evening the couple dined with Rambo who the following day took Campbell to a lock-up garage where the weapons were stashed.

A hidden camera secretly filmed as Campbell examines one of the detonators and asks whether they would be “good for booby traps”.

“They would be good for under a car, wouldn’t they?” he says. “Anchored to the wheel and then the car goes round - bang.”

Campbell was also filmed paying a further deposit for a powerful Barrett sniper rifle - the type of weapon used to kill Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick, the last British soldier to die at the hands of the IRA in 1997.

When Rambo demands what it would be used for - saying he was not prepared to sell it just “to shoot roe deer or wild boar” - Campbell tells him: “No, no, we will be shooting from across borders. The border. You know, from one side to the other.”

Asked who the target would be, Campbell replies simply “Brits”.




“El Gallito” or “The Little Rooster”. Heavily tattooed, El Gallito appears more mature than his age, prosecutors said. State Attorney General Gaspar Garcia Torres said the boy claimed to have been in charge of the lucrative Isla Mujeres drug market

 

Mexican police arrest 15-year-old alleged drug-gang operator in murders of 2 women  Prosecutors said Saturday that a 15-year-old boy has confessed to running a drug trafficking gang on the Mexican resort island of Isla Mujeres and murdering two women who reportedly worked as drug dealers. It was the second time in less than a year that an extremely young male has been detained as a purported drug gang killer in Mexico. Last November, soldiers arrested a 14-year-old U.S. citizen who confessed to killing four people whose beheaded bodies were found hanging from a bridge. Comments Weigh InCorrections? Mexican officials say the involvement of youths in such crimes reflects the difficulty drug cartels are having in recruiting adults, but it also raise fears that Mexico’s drug violence may have accustomed young people to extreme levels of violence. The Isla Mujeres cases involve a youth who prosecutors in the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo identified only by his nickname, “El Gallito” or “The Little Rooster”. Heavily tattooed, El Gallito appears more mature than his age, prosecutors said. State Attorney General Gaspar Garcia Torres said the boy claimed to have been in charge of the lucrative Isla Mujeres drug market for a local gang known as “Los Pelones,” equivalent to the Bald or Shaved Heads. The gang is reputedly fighting the Zetas cartel for control of the area around the coastal resort of Cancun. A spokesman for the prosecutors office said the boy told investigators that he and two older associates slashed the throats of the two women at a hotel on Isla Mujeres. Their women’s bodies were found before dawn Thursday, and El Gallito was detained Friday. “He confessed to having full participation in carrying out these deeds, and from the start he claimed to have been in charge of drug sales in the area, in this case for the Pelones, and that his duties were to receive the drugs,” said the spokesman, who was not allowed to be quoted by name. The women were purportedly killed after they betrayed the Pelones gang by selling drugs they obtained from other sources. The boy was turned over to a youthful offender facility to face homicide charges. Because of his age, he cannot be identified or tried as an adult. In most parts of Mexico, youths are tried and sentenced in juvenile courts, but cannot be held after they turn 18. Last year’s case involved a 14-year-old U.S. citizen, who was identified by his family as Edgar Jimenez Lugo, known as “El Ponchis.” He was sentenced in July to three years in prison for homicide, kidnapping and drug and weapons possession. It was the maximum sentenced allowed for a minor. Authorities say the teenager confessed to working for the South Pacific cartel, which is allegedly led by Hector Beltran Leyva.

Man dead after N. Portland gang shooting

 

A man who suffered life-threatening injuries in a gang-related shooting in North Portland Friday night died early Monday morning. An autopsy was planned for Monday for Deandre Clark, 25, according to Lt. Robert King. Police responded just after 10 p.m. to a shots fired call near N Haight Avenue and N Emerson Street, according to King. Officers arrived to find a group gathered in the street around a man who had been shot. Medical crews arrived and took Clark to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries. Police set up a perimeter around the scene and called in a K-9 unit to assist with the search, but did not find any suspects.

Brooklyn Woman's Death Result Of Feud Between Gangs

 

2011_10_rooftopnb.jpg
Police officers on rooftops (NBC New York)
As police try to find the suspect whoseFriday afternoon shooting from a Brooklyn rooftop left a woman dead and another woman and an 11-year-old girl injured, the slain woman's family remains bereft. Zurana Horton, 34, was killed when picking up a child from P.S. 298 in Brownsville, at Pitkin Avenue and Watkins Street, and apparently died trying to shield other youngsters. One of Horton's children told the Post that she actually walked by the crime scene, not realizing her mother was the victim, "I was wondering where my mother was. I found out later [the body] was my mother. My little sister [Alexis] said, ‘Mommy died. She got shot.’"

 

According to the Post, the violence is due to a feud "stemmed from an ongoing beef between two warring factions, the Hoodstars and the Waves. Members of both gangs told The Post that they consider themselves the modern-day Bloods and Crips -- and sources say their violent feud has been raging for several years." Apparently residents are too afraid to call 911 and say the violence is worse at night, when the gangster "do not hesitate" to shoot.

While neighbors said that Horton, who had 13 living children (a 14th died of pneumonia a few years ago), was pregnant, but the ME's office said that she was not. Still, the tragedy is huge, as her children  will be split up between Horton's mother and her ex-boyfriend, Oniel Vaughn, the father of eight of the children,who told the Daily News, "She gave her life for those kids, and she would have done it all again because that's just the kind of person she was. She was worried about the violence. She said she wanted to move and buy a house for her kids. Those kids were her life." He added, "I didn't tell the younger kids yet. The older ones know. They're devastated."

Police smash gun supply ring operating out of tiny suburban tobacco shop

 

POLICE have smashed an alleged black market gun supply ring operating out of a tiny suburban tobacco shop. Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad detectives arrested the alleged leaders of the syndicate last week after a covert buy-up of the weapons and ammunition. The men allegedly used a Lakemba tobacconist shop, King of the Pack, as a front. Detectives are testing three firearms that the police bought to see if they had been used in any crimes, documents tendered in court reveal. George Boulos, 27, and Said Rawdah, 36, charged with numerous offences relating to possessing and supplying illegal firearms, were refused bail in court on Friday. Tobacconist Ayman Said, 50, charged with similar offences, was also refused bail. Instead of an undercover detective, police from Strike Force Snaidero enlisted a "registered source" who was given pre-counted "buy money" to purchase weapons. The court heard that on July 18 the registered police source, known only by a code name, went to the tobacconist and asked the owner, Ayman Said, if he could buy a gun. They negotiated a price of $5000, with Said allegedly telling the buyer the next step would be introducing him to a dealer. The following Monday, police say their source was introduced to Rawdah - the alleged dealer - who handed over a Smith and Wesson .38 revolver for $5000. Police later found it had been in circulation for more than 13 years. It was reported stolen from a break and enter on January 31, 1998.   On August 20, the informant went back to the tobacco shop and, after asking for more guns, was introduced to Boulos, of Padstow, who told the informant he had access to plenty more weapons, including military-grade firearms, the court heard. "Those firearms were a 9mm pistol, a .22 calibre pistol, an AK-47 machinegun and numerous SKS assault rifles," police facts state. "Twelve days later, the pair met at Lakemba railway carpark, where for $13,000 the police source allegedly received a .22mm Jennings pistol, a 7.62mm pistol and ammunition. The buyer viewed the guns in a white van which was driven by an unknown man who was summoned with a phone call from Boulos, Burwood Local Court heard. Last Thursday, police arrested the trio at various locations.   All three will reappear in court in December.

Florida a top source of guns linked to crimes in other states

 

2,000 Florida guns last year were linked to crimes committed around the country, and experts say they likely came from the cars and homes of law-abiding Floridians. In 2010, law-enforcement officers around the country traced 2,251 crime guns to Florida, one of the states with the most guns traced in out-of-state crimes. It follows Georgia's 2,568 guns and Texas' 2,301, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Related Top states for crime guns Broward crime rises in first half of 2011 Video: Crimes caught on camera Photos Close calls: Crime artist's sketches Topics Personal Weapon Control Gun Control Interior Policy See more topics » That's because Florida has a huge number of gun owners, and burglars find the weapons when breaking into their homes and cars, authorities said. Video: Mother of pit bull attack victim discusses son's condition "In almost any burglary to a residence, a gun will turn up," Boynton Beach Police Sgt. Sedrick Aiken said. "There's a lot of stolen guns out there." In fact, South Florida last year had the most reported stolen guns in the state. That's 2,310 guns reported stolen in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, according to state records. The number does not include guns reported stolen and then recovered. Typical was the recent arrest of two suspects in Boca Raton, accused of taking $3,750 worth of hunting guns in the burglary of a home in Jupiter. The owner of the guns told police he kept them in a gun safe that was broken into. Richard Sasso, 23, and a 17-year-old boy were arrested in connection with the September burglary. The Sun Sentinel is not naming the juvenile because of his age. He told police they traded the guns for marijuana. It's unclear where the guns ended up. Stolen guns often are sold to criminals, who may end up crossing state lines, experts said. Florida guns also end up in the wrong hands in other states when people come to Florida because gun laws here are more relaxed, Aiken said. Unlike New York, for example, Florida does not require gun buyers to get a permit and allows people convicted of violent misdemeanors to own a gun. Florida also prohibits municipalities from enacting their own gun-control measures. New York is where most of Florida's crime guns — 358 — ended up last year. Not all guns used in crimes are traced through ATF, and not all guns traced are directly used in crimes. They could be guns found at a crime scene or in the possession of a suspected criminal. Marion Hammer, spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association in Florida, said Florida's laws have nothing to do with guns turning up in out-of-state crimes. Many state laws regulate who can sell a gun and to whom a gun can be sold, she said. "If anything, it's lax law enforcement," Hammer said. "I don't know if it's ATF or [the Florida Department of Law Enforcement] or who isn't enforcing it." In December 2009, Washington, D.C., police and FBI agents arrested dozens of alleged gun traffickers and seized 123 guns in an undercover sting, according to The Washington Post. Authorities posed as gun traffickers interested in buying illegal guns to sell to Mexican cartels. In the end, 44 people were arrested in the sting, and the trafficked weapons were traced to Florida, Tennessee, North Carolina and Kentucky. Federal authorities blamed the out-of-state guns for much of the violent crime in the capital. Gary Kleck, professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University, said large-scale, interstate gun trafficking is rare, and often overblown by politicians who want to blame crime on outside factors. Rarely do criminals travel to Florida because they think it's easier to buy guns down South, he said. "This is not about gun trafficking. It's interstate migration," said Kleck, who has interviewed convicted felons and studied the movement of crime guns across state lines. The most common scenario is when someone buys a gun legally in Florida, moves out of state and has his or her weapon stolen in a home burglary. Or a burglar in Florida steals a homeowner's guns and sells it to a someone in another state. "The chances of a burglar coming across a gun here is that much greater than in other states," he said.

24 October 2011

Hells Angel biker rammed intentionally, dragged a mile by East Bay Paratransit bus in San Leandro

 

A paratransit bus driver intentionally rammed a Hells Angels biker on Interstate 580, and then dragged him about a mile, killing him, a CHP spokesman said. The biker, who has not been identified, was traveling eastbound on I-580 in San Leandro near Grand Avenue with a small group of Hells Angels members before 4 p.m. when an altercation began, said CHP Sgt. Trent Cross. After being hit, the motorcyclist and his bike were dragged for about a mile, said San Leandro police Lt. Greg Lemmon. Eventually, the biker was released from under the East Bay Paratransit bus, but the driver kept dragging the motorcycle, which was wedged underneath the front grill, until the vehicle stopped on the shoulder just east of the 150th Avenue onramp. The Hells Angels biker was flown to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, where he was pronounced dead, Lemmon said. The bus driver has been arrested, Lemmon said. Police are interviewing four witnesses who saw the incident. "The preliminary information they are providing was that it wasn't an accident, it was an intentional ramming," Lemmon said. All eastbound lanes were closed from Grand Avenue to 150th Avenue so police could conduct a homicide investigation over a large swath of freeway, Cross said. The lanes were expected to remain closed until 10 or 11 p.m., he said, and there were significant traffic delays in the area. An East Bay Paratransit manager referred calls to First Transit, a Advertisement contract agency that operates the bus. The First Transit representative did not return calls. No passengers were on board the bus during the collision, said San Leandro police Sgt. Doug Calcagno. The paratransit bus provides door-to-door service for people unable to ride regular public transit because of disabilities. It has been a tragic autumn for the Hells Angels motorcycle club. San Jose chapter President Jeffrey "Jethro" Pettigrew was killed outside a Nevada casino last month. At his packed funeral Oct. 15, Steve Tausan, a 52-year-old Hells Angels enforcer and friend of Pettigrew's, was shot dead.

Stockton search for Hells Angels slaying suspect comes up empty

 

A man suspected of fatally shooting a member of the Hells Angels at a recent funeral in San Jose was not holed up in a Stockton home Saturday as police had believed. Steve Ruiz, 38, of San Jose is being sought for allegedly shooting and killing fellow Hells Angels member Steve Tausan, 52, after the two fought Oct. 15 at a funeral for a slain motorcycle club member, according to police. Police had received information that Ruiz had been hiding out at the three-bedroom home on the 3700 block of McDougald Boulevard in Stockton, said San Jose police Sgt Jason Dwyer. Investigators asked Stockton police and the San Joaquin County sheriff's office to serve a search warrant for the home, but both agencies were unavailable, Dwyer said. As a result, San Jose police drove tactical vehicles to the scene. Neighbors said they had seen San Jose police at the scene, calling out to someone in the home to surrender. But after storming the home and firing tear gas at about 8 p.m. Saturday, police came up empty-handed and left. The occupants of the home "are new to the area or they're new to the house" after moving in several months ago, said Noelia Trelles, whose sister-in-law lives next door. "I think we live in a pretty crazy world, but it's still crazy that it's happening in the neighborhood," Trelles said. Ruiz and Tausan were among thousands of Hells Angels members who attended a funeral for Jeffrey Pettigrew, president of the San Jose chapter of the motorcycle club, at the Oak Hill Funeral Home and Memorial Park on Curtner Avenue. After the shooting, Ruiz, 38, of San Jose disappeared and one or more people tampered with the crime scene, washing away bloodstains and removing evidence of the shooting, police said. Police found Ruiz's motorcycle at the funeral, Lt. Alan Cavallo said. Ruiz has not come to claim it. Authorities initially speculated that it was possible Ruiz had been killed and possibly buried along with Pettigrew. Investigators obtained a search warrant to dig up Pettigrew's grave, but Ruiz's remains were not found, Cavallo said. But now investigators say they have proof that Ruiz is alive and "actively evading law enforcement," Dwyer said. Ruiz is believed to have two black eyes "and other facial injuries consistent with being in a fight," Dwyer said. Police said Ruiz is in the company of Christel Renee Trujillo, 42, also known as Christel Renee Ferguson, and that her life "is now in danger." The two are possibly traveling in a gold or pewter Chevrolet Suburban. No year of the vehicle or license plate number was available. Ruiz has family and associates in Arizona and New York and may try to contact them, Dwyer said. Police said Pettigrew was shot and killed Sept. 23 by Ernesto Manuel Gonzalez, an alleged member of the rival Vagos motorcycle gang, at John Ascuaga's Nugget casino in Sparks, Nev. Gonzalez, 53, of San Jose was arrested by a UCSF police officer in San Francisco six days later. Tausan and the manager of the Pink Poodle, a strip club west of San Jose, were tried for murder in 1999 in the beating death of a club customer two years earlier. They were acquitted on grounds of self-defense.

22 October 2011

Rival gangsters pack Vancouver courts

 

Members of the Gang Task Force were used to boost security at the Vancouver Law Courts Thursday as four separate gang cases went ahead with rivals appearing on different floors. Eight members of the uniformed GTF arrived for a bail revocation hearing for accused drug trafficker Sukhveer Dhak. One floor below, a cocaine conspiracy trial continued for Dhak rival Jarrod Bacon. Supt. Doug Kiloh, of the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, said the GTF officers were on hand because "there is clearly unresolved conflict between gangs." "Do we have concern when we bring them together? Yes, and clearly that poses a public safety risk," Kiloh said. "Even at the Bacon trial, there is going to be conflict internally there." Kiloh said that when any case like that of Bacon and coaccused Wayne Scott has wiretaps being played, things can be tense because of what one party says about the other. Earlier this week, a tape was played in court of Scott saying Bacon's parents were aware of his criminal enterprise, and profited from it. "There are a number of security precautions we are taking," Kiloh said of the Bacon-Scott case. Not only were Dhak and Bacon in separate courtrooms Thursday, but the Greeks gang murder case continued in high-security Courtroom 20 a few floors below. And another case, involving men linked to the United Nations gang, was in pre-trial hearings next door to Dhak. Kiloh said CFSEU has several other big cases and that more charges are expected to be laid in coming weeks. "We know we have been pushing Crown hard. We know they have their hands full," he said. "We hope to have more charges in the coming weeks and months in high-profile cases involving gangs and organized crime." And Kiloh said law enforcement will continue to move forward with major gang prosecutions because "it reduces the threat of public safety issues." Just last month, GTF head officer Supt. Tom McCluskie issued an extraordinary public warning that anyone associating with Dhak or those in the affiliated Duhre group could be at risk because of escalating gang tensions. The Dhaks, Duhres and some members of the UN gang are aligned against an opposing group consisting of some Hells Angels, Red Scorpions and the Independent Soldiers. On Sept. 16, Dhak associate Jujhar Singh Khun-Khun was shot several times in a targeted Surrey shooting that police say may have been in retaliation for the Aug. 14 attack in Kelowna that left Red Scorpion Jonathan Bacon dead and Hells Angel Larry Amero and Independent Soldier James Riach wounded. Dhak was originally charged in October 2008 with production of a controlled substance, possession for the purpose of trafficking and conspiracy to commit indictable offence. He is due to go to trial in that case next April. But he was arrested Sept. 18 for allegedly driving while prohibited related to an incident on July 30, 2011. He is also before the courts on another breach allegation related to a Kelowna incident in March 2011 and was charged in December 2010 with one count of counselling to commit the indictable offence of aggravated assault. Justice Brenda Brown reserved her decision on Dhak's bail until next Wednesday. Dhak, dressed in red prison garb, whispered through Plexiglas to his girlfriend at the morning break Thursday. Police sat in the front row, several seats away from Dhak's mother, sister and girlfriend. Details of submissions and arguments at the two-hour hearing are covered by a publication ban. Kiloh said top police officers from around the Lower Mainland met Thursday to discuss the level of gang tensions. He said the situation is very fluid, with unresolved conflicts between some, and others making new associations that police are trying to assess.

Canada’s top organized crime groups are recruiting workers at Pearson and other major airports to help them smuggle drugs and contraband into the country,

aiportPolice and other agencies at Pearson are working to identify workers who are breaking the law.

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Canada’s top organized crime groups are recruiting workers at Pearson and other major airports to help them smuggle drugs and contraband into the country, says the former head of a national security committee.

Agents of notorious crime groups, including the Hells Angels and Vietnamese gangs, are flexing their muscles to get a bigger share of the lucrative drug-smuggling operation run by corrupt workers at Pearson, police and security officials said.

“Organized crime activity has gotten worst at Pearson,” said Sen. Colin Kenny, former head of a Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. “They are actively recruiting people to work for them.”

The RCMP in a 2008 study identified 60 gangs that have infiltrated airports in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Police said agents of the gangs work at “corrupting existing employees or by placing criminal associates or even spouses or relatives into the airport work force.”

A RCMP witness “said categorically that gangs such as Hells Angels have infiltrated Pearson,” the committee said in a report on Canadian airports.

“If the Hells Angels can get their people in place at airports, what’s to stop Al Fatah?,” Kenny asked. “Any holes that criminals open in security perimeters make them more vulnerable to all who wish to circumvent them.”

The committee toured Pearson following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to study safety procedures and found gaping holes in security.

“The security gaps may be wide open at Pearson,” Kenny said. “There is a lot of money to be made and crime groups are getting their own people hired to work there.”

RCMP Const. Michelle Paradis said police and other agencies at Pearson are working to identify workers who are breaking the law.

“We have been working diligently to identify smuggling groups and target them,” Paradis said on Thursday. “These investigations take a lot of manpower and resources.”

The Mounties have smashed several drug rings involving ramp handlers, airline groomers and catering staff who were removing drugs from aircraft and smuggling the bags out of the facility in their vehicles unchecked.

Five ramp handlers and a Jamaican police officer were among nine people arrested in Dec. 2010 by the RCMP after they squashed a ring allegedly smuggling kilos of cocaine and marijuana into Canada.

Police accuse the Jamaica Constabulary Force officer of planting drugs on aircraft that were allegedly removed here by handlers and smuggled from the airport.

Kenny said one way to curb the flow of illegal drugs is to examine all staff and their vehicles arriving and leaving the airport.

“They can check all travellers why can’t they check employees entering and leaving,” he said. “Their vehicles also have to be checked as well.”

Kenny said drugs are still flowing freely through the use of inter-Canada air courier service that promise 24-hour delivery to customers as reported in the Toronto Sun on Monday.

“Very little if anything is being done to examine domestic courier packages,” he said. “They are all virtually unchecked.”

Kenny said a third party, such as the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, which is responsible for passenger and baggage security, should screen packages.

There are about 90,000 people working at Canadian airports and police estimate about 1,000 of them are intent on “infiltrating the airports to facilitate criminal activity.”

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