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Russian mafia boss still at large after FBI wiretap at Trump Tower

There, indeed, was an FBI wiretap involving Russians at Trump Tower.

But it was not placed at the behest of Barack Obama and the target was not the Trump campaign of 2016. For two years ending in 2013, the FBI had a court-approved warrant to eavesdrop on a sophisticated Russian organized crime money laundering network that operated out of unit 63A in Trump Tower.

The FBI investigation led to a federal grand jury indictment of more than 30 people, including one of the world’s most notorious Russian mafia bosses, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov. Known as the “Little Taiwanese,” Tokhtakhounov was the only target to slip away, and he remains a fugitive from American justice.

Five months after the April 2013 indictment and after Interpol issued a “red notice” for Tokhtakhounov, the fugitive appeared near Donald Trump in the VIP section of the Moscow Miss Universe pageant. Trump had sold the Russian rights for Miss Universe to a billionaire Russian shopping mall developer.

“He is a major player,” said Mike Gaeta, the FBI agent who led the 2013 FBI investigation of Tokhtakhounov and his alleged mafia money laundering and gambling ring, in a 2014 interview with ABC News. “He is prominent, he has extremely good connections in the business world as well as the criminal world, overseas, in Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, other countries.”

Gaeta, who ran the FBI’s Eurasian Organized Crime unit of the FBI’s New York office told ABC News at the time that federal agents were closely tracking Tokhtakhounov, whose Russian ring was suspected of moving more than $50 million in illegal money into the United States.

“Because of his status, we have kept tabs on is activities, and particularly as his activities truly enter New York city,” Gaeta said. “Their money was ultimately laundered from Russia, Ukraine and other locations through Cyprus banks and shell companies based in Cyprus, and then ultimately here to the United States.”

The FBI investigation did not implicate Trump. But Trump Tower was under close watch. Some of the Russian mafia figures worked out of the 63rd floor unit in the iconic skyscraper –- just three floors below Trump’s penthouse residence — running what prosecutors called an “international money laundering, sports gambling and extortion ring.”

The Trump building was home to one of the top men in the alleged ring, Vadim Trincher who pleaded guilty to racketeering and received a five-year prison term. He is due to be released in July.

“Everything was moving in and out of there,” said former FBI official Rich Frankel, now an ABC News consultant.

Read Full – http://abcnews.go.com/US/story-fbi-wiretap-russians-trump-tower/story?id=46266198

How a Federal Crackdown on Marijuana Could Affect Mexican Cartels

President Donald Trump campaigned on making the United States “great again,” but if his administration follows through on a threat to crack down on legal marijuana, it’s Mexican drug cartels that could be restored to their former glory.

TOM ANGELL – MARIJUANA.COM

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that states with legal recreational marijuana will likely “see greater enforcement” of federal laws, which prohibit all use of cannabis. Spicer’s statements echo what Attorney General Jeff Sessions said during his confirmation hearings: “It is not so much the attorney general’s job to decide what laws to enforce. We should do our job and enforce laws effectively as we are able.”

The Department of Justice declined to comment.

Eight states and the District of Columbia currently allow the retail sale of marijuana for recreational use, all thanks to voter referendums.

In Colorado, where in 2012 voters were the first in the nation to back retail sales, the marijuana industry generated over $1.3 billion in revenue last year, adding about $200 million in taxes to the state’s coffers. In California, the first state to legalize the medical use of cannabis, marijuana has become the state’s leading agricultural commodity, according to the Orange County Register, which estimated its value at $23.3 billion — even before voters legalized recreational sales last November.

Most people think that’s a good thing. A poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University found a majority of the U.S. public now supports marijuana legalization, and 71 percent oppose a federal crack down on states that have legalized it already.

The rise of the homegrown weed industry has come at a cost, though: In 2016, U.S. Border Patrol reported that “marijuana seizures along the southwest border tumbled to their lowest level in at least a decade,” The Washington Post reported. Between 2011 and 2015, seizures dropped 39 percent, according to Fortune.

Read Full – http://www.attn.com/stories/15170/how-president-trump-could-affect-mexican-drug-cartel

Chinese Triads And Italian Mafia Running The Irish PPL Smuggling

Two Aer Lingus staff among three arrested at Dublin Airport over alleged people smuggling

THREE PEOPLE arrested in connection with alleged smuggling of illegal immigrants through Dublin Airport are to appear in court tomorrow morning.

Two of the men arrested are Aer Lingus employees. The third was a suspected illegal immigrant. Gardaí suspect the two Aer Lingus workers were facilitating this man’s illegal entry into the state.

The arrests of the three men (aged 61, 56 and 28) took place at the airport last night in an operation carried out by the Garda Immigration Bureau (GNIB) assisted by the Garda Special Detective Unit (SDU).

The three men are currently detained at Ballymun and Coolock garda stations.

Speaking to reporters on Monday afternoon, Assistant Commissioner John O’Driscoll said gardaí have searched a number of premises and vehicles as part of the investigation.

They are working to identify how many occasions in the past this may have taken place. He said gardaí investigating this incident were analysing a “considerable amount of data”.

Illegal immigrants were disguised as Aer Lingus workers so they could be smuggled through Dublin Airport in a global people smuggling scam that netted gangsters up to €12m.

Two male Aer Lingus employees, aged 61 and 56, and a Chinese national (28) were being quizzed by gardai last night following a major sting operation on Sunday, when an Aer Lingus flight landed in Dublin from Madrid.

More arrests are expected in the investigation, which is said to involve a number of dangerous international gangs.

A massive garda investigation has found that up to 600 people may have been smuggled into the country at an estimated cost of around €20,000 per person as part of the scam.

The Herald has learned the extent of the smuggling operation recently came to light after a man who entered Ireland illegally attempted to leave on a flight to another EU country.

Authorities noticed there was no official record of the individual entering the country, and a criminal probe was launched into the smuggling of people taking place at Ireland’s main airport.

“This raised a red flag and the Garda National Immigration Bureau launched a major surveillance operation at the airport,” a senior source said.

Diverted

Gardai have discovered the illegal immigrants arrived on Aer Lingus flights from European destinations and then left the plane with other passengers.

While walking with other passengers in the airport, they would be diverted away by criminals involved in the scam before they reached immigration and customs checks at the airport.

The operation would see them taken to a secure area of the airport and they would be given uniforms and high-visibility jackets to disguise them as Aer Lingus employees.

The non-nationals were then driven from airside to landside in Aer Lingus vehicles such as catering vans and trucks.

Gardai have established that the immigrants were then dropped at a location north of the airport, where they were picked up by associates.

Sources say gardai believe that about 100 illegal immigrants a year came into the country this way and that the scam had been in operation for around six years.

It is understood that most of the people smuggled into the country came from Asian countries, particularly China, and many left here for other EU countries shortly after arriving.

Gardai believe a network of international crime gangs are involved in the scam and these include Italian gangs, Eastern European mobs and even Chinese crime groupings.

iItelligence

“While there are two gentlemen arrested after Sunday night’s sting operation, gardai are in no doubt that there were many other people involved in this criminal operation both in Ireland and abroad,” a senior source said.

“Expect more arrests to follow,” the source added.

Sunday’s arrests stemmed from an intelligence-led operation, which a senior garda said is possible as a result of civilian staff being placed at passport control.

Assistant Garda Commissioner John O’Driscoll said yesterday: “In recent times there has been a reconfiguration of personnel working the immigration control at Dublin Airport, which has involved an input of civilian staff attached to Irish Naturalisation and Immigration control booths.

“We have arrested three people, two of whom are employees of a carrier of passengers. One person is a potential illegal immigrant, who illegally entered the state, who was facilitated by our two suspects.”

How combating the mafia helped Italy fight ISIS:

How combating the mafia helped Italy fight ISIS:  Surveillance techniques and the help of organised crime are keeping extremists at bay, claim experts

  • Marco Lombardi believes Italian authorities are applying same methods to tackling terrorism as organised crime
  • He also told The Times that the mafia does not want ISIS operating in Italy
  • Berlin truck terrrorist Anis Amri was yesterday gunned down in Milan
  • It is not yet clear why he had travelled to Italy after Monday’s atrocity 

 

Italy’s battle against the mafia could be helping authorities tackle extremists – and organised criminals could be keeping ISIS at bay, it is claimed.

Yesterday Berlin truck killer Anis Amri was shot dead after opening fire on two police officers at around 3am in Milan.

When he was approached in the Sesto San Giovanni suburb, the officers had no idea they were dealing with Europe’s most wanted man.

Yesterday Marco Lombardi, a terrorism expert at the Catholic University in Milan, told The Times: ‘It’s no surprise that a new police unit has recently been formed in Italy which fights both the mafia and terrorism, bringing together officers who share surveillance techniques.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4063764/How-combating-mafia-helped-Italy-fight-ISIS-Surveillance-techniques-help-organised-crime-keeping-extremists-bay-claim-experts.html#ixzz4UI1vndo6
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Venezuela closes border with Colombia ‘to destroy mafia’

Venezuela has closed its border with Colombia for 72 hours in the latest measure to combat smuggling gangs.

President Nicolas Maduro says the “mafia” operating in border areas is causing huge damage to the economy.

Many items subsidised by Venezuela’s socialist government, including diesel and petrol, are sold at a huge profit over the border in Colombia.

On Sunday, he announced that the country’s highest denomination bank note would be taken out of circulation.

‘Destroy the mafia’

President Maduro said the move would stop gangs hoarding the currency.

“Let’s destroy the mafia before the mafias destroy our country and our economy,” he said on national television.

“This measure was inevitable, it was necessary,” he added. “The mafias will go bust.”

Venezuela last closed most border crossings with Colombia in August 2015. The border was partially reopened a year later.

In 2015, the Colombian government complained that it had not been consulted or informed.

Full Read – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-38297927