Category Archives: Don’t be THAT guy

They Paroled a Serial Killer — And Then Let Him Slide

Yep, it really happened. In Pennsylvania. They paroled a violent felon — a guy who drew down on cops with a sawn-off shotgun — who immediately began violating the conditions of his parole. And they didn’t finally bring him in until after he’d blazed a trail of bloodshed.

Byron Allen was on parole. He’d been out a year, and nothing – not the troubling sexual behavior he first displayed in prison, which had caused officials to treat him as a sexual predator, nor the porn obsession and erratic behavior witnessed by parole staff shortly after his release, nor the consecutive positive results for cocaine around May and June, nor the skipped required treatments – made parole supervisors deem this man a threat.

Then he came up hot on a piss test for the same drug he was on when he attacked cops in 2002, PCP, “angel dust.”

[But] agency supervisors did what they had done for months in the face of Allen’s increasingly troubling behavior: They let him walk free. …police now say he was also on a one-man spree of murder and sexual assault.

When they turned him loose after that, he almost killed a Kensington, PA, woman. It wasn’t for lack of effort.

Philadelphia police have charged him with four sexual assaults between April and October – the last one, the 23-year-old Kensington woman, only two days after he was found with PCP in his system at the parole office in Northwest Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia, police say, he’d lure woman who worked as prostitutes, then slit their throats, beat them with bricks or choke them unconscious. In most cases, he’d sexually assault them.

Three suspected murders, four assaults.

Why didn’t his parole officer revoke him? He wanted to, but couldn’t get approval from supervisors.

…the officer could not spur his supervisors to action.

This fits with what parole agents have been telling me for a few years: In the state’s effort to decrease swelled prison populations – and reduce recidivism rates – it’s harder to lock up some people who really should be off the streets.

 The unstirrable supervisors

Leo Dunn, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole… couldn’t comment. Neither could the supervisors who kept Allen on the street. Dunn called the case a “tragic situation” and said that board has launched an internal investigation to “ensure no policies were violated.”

Sure, at least three women are murdered and four more raped, but it’s all okay if all the policy tick-boxes had ticks in ’em.

Some of the same people were involved in this that paroled Rafael Jones,  a name that still makes Philly blue shirts see red.

Like back in 2012, when Police Officer Moses Walker Jr. was killed by Rafael Jones, a parolee who’d been released ten days earlier. I wrote how parole officials had failed to fit Jones with an electronic monitoring device or lock him up after failing a drug test. Hearings were held, three officials were fired (one of whom now has her job back). Reforms were put in place.

One of the people that turned Jones loose to kill Walker was back on the job to let Allen loose to kill at least three.

But naturally, there’s a bleeding-heart judge at the center of it all, whose very being thrums with sympathy for murderers like Allen and Jones, and who cares about their victims … something less than any measurable amount

Former Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner, who now serves as the city’s Deputy Managing Director for Criminal Justice, says that move toward treatment and rehab nationwide reflects recognition that for too long we have been locking up people for longer than necessary. Excessive incarceration is not only expensive, he notes. It destroys families and communities.

Yeah, unlike, say, the murders that he prefers, as a matter of public policy.

Couldn’t Happen to a Nicer Guy Dep’t

Meet Ronald A. Gray. He’s the one in the Jacob Marley rig in this quaint old photo. He’s in his fifties now; his crimes not only predated the Internet (not entirely, as we had Lexis/Nexis and Arpanet at the unit a few years earlier, but to a first approximation), but he’s been on death row longer than the any of the people he killed lived. (There were at least four, for which he was convicted). Those of his rape victims that he did not murder (at least five for which he was convicted) have lived with the consequences. In the worst case this has been death, living, for longer than her carefree if dimly-recalled period of life before she met this brute.

Another measure of how long ago all this happened is this: the only uniform items in the picture that are still worn by the US Army are the paratroopers’ maroon berets, the black necktie,  and some of the shiny doodads. If we didn’t know the picture was shot on 6 Apr 88 (by Marcus Castro of the Fayetteville, NC, Observer; nice job, the way the moving subject’s in focus and the foreground and background distractions aren’t), we’d be able to date it to the 80s by the Class A green uniform, the light-green shirt, and the MP’s Hitler mustache and lightweight summer BDU. (Or is it a late square-pocket ERDL? Too lazy to pull examples out of the Old War Wardrobe).

In the picture, Gray is wearing the uniform of a cook in the 82nd Airborne Division, a Specialist, 4th Grade, none of which he was at the moment the picture was snapped, for he had just been sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, forfeitures and reduction to E-1, as well as life sentences (for the rapes that happened under military jurisdiction) and death (for the murders). Civilian courts also sentenced him to eight life terms, five concurrent and three consecutive, for seven other crimes, including two more murders. (“Who gets jurisdiction” when a soldier commits crimes on and off post, and against civilian and military victims, can get complicated, but they work it out).

Although he contested the court-martial, Gray admitted his guilt in civil court with that same self-satisfied smirk you see in the picture. And then he sat back and let lawyers champion him. Which some lawyers, true to their species’s belly-sliding, sidewinding, no-shoulders, smooth-but-cool-to-the-touch nature, did do.

His current lawyers are the hybristophiles — which is a person with a dysfunctional and antisocial love of criminals, if the word is new to you — of the Death Penalty Information Center. Despite its focus-grouped euphemistic name, it is really a Death Penalty Opposition Center. (Any penalty, really; its activists tend also to oppose life sentences, and often, any sentences, for serial killers and other predators and pathogens). It is a nest of very strange humans who walk erect on their hind legs, and ride high on the benefits of a civilized lifestyle, but believe that criminal enemies of that civilization have the absolute right to walk free. And victims have the right to die, or get raped and assaulted, and shut up about it.

Some of them (perhaps, all of them) take a ghoulish and voyeuristic delight in the suffering of the direct and indirect victims of murderers and rapists, like Our Boy here. Let us pause for a moment and insert something that is missing from most of the articles about Gray: his victims and their sufferings. From an appeal to the Court of Military Appeals (.pdf):

In January 1987, appellant was identified and arrested for the rape of a woman in the vicinity of Fairlane Acres, a trailer park near Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The next day the body of Ms. Kimberly Ann Ruggles was found near that area on Fort Bragg. “She had received multiple stab wounds” and had “suffered bruises on her eyebrow, bruises on her nose, and a laceration on her lip.” She had been raped and anally sodomized. Evidence in her vehicle and in his possession implicated appellant.

OK, but that’s just one case (well, two cases, but only one murder).

Later the same month, the body of Private (PVT) Laura Lee Vickery-Clay was found. “She had been shot four times (while she was alive), in the neck, forehead, chest, and back of the head. Also, she had suffered blunt force trauma to the right cheek, the left side of her face, around her left eye, her left breast, abdomen, and both legs and arms.” PVT Vickery-Clay “had been raped and anally sodomized.” Evidence on her car and the murder weapon implicated appellant.

OK, two brutal murders, one violent rape…. and counting…

Subsequent media coverage of appellant’s arrest for these crimes produced another victim (PVT Nameth), who recognized his face from photographs of appellant on television and in the newspaper. She reported that appellant had “raped her, and stabbed her repeatedly in the neck and side”; she “suffered a laceration of the trachea and a collapsed or punctured lung.” 37 MJ at 736.

Here’s a little more on Ruggles, whose grieving father, and three children who are older now than she was at her death, still wait for justice.

She was working as a taxi-cab driver near Fort Bragg, N.C., where Gray was stationed, and her last fare was a passenger named “Ron.” The cab was found abandoned nearby.

A medical examiner said she had been raped and stabbed, and bled to death.

Gray left her, naked and bleeding and full of his DNA. She was moonlighting to help support her kids.

Gray was convicted of all these murders and rapes, and a number of lesser included crimes. In addition, there were his state rapes (convicted) and murders (he pled guilty to those).

Against this, we have anti-death-penalty, and pro-Gray pshrink David Armitage testifying (.pdf) that Gray’s crimes should be excused because he had it tough as a child:

Well, he had early in life a fair–fairly substantial socioeconomic depravation [sic], multiple male figures in the home, multiple physical moves, living in substandard–proverty [sic] conditions, circumstances where the electric lights were turned out by the company because bills were not paid, projectal[sic] living, things of this nature – multiple school changes.

Sure, that turns everybody into serial killers.

He had a stepparent at one time who was extremely abusive to his mother and abusive to himself, using belts on him to the point of inflicting injury, drawing blood.

OK, that’s a little less common than just being poor, but what other slings and arrows of outrageous fortune drove Gray to this?

He felt the need to protect his mother from–from this abuse. Lived in a–in a part of Miami that certainly was–was not where you and I would want to live by any means.

So he protects his mama by raping and killing a bunch of other women. If that makes sense to you, You Just Might be a Shrink. (And you probably need to be locked in a room with no doorkob on your side of the door and a nice neoprene wall treatment).

Shorter Armitage (all these quotes are from his testimony in this appeal .pdf), he’s depraved on account of he’s deprived. How does Armitage explain all those people who grew up poor and got a whuppin’ for childhood discipline, like, we dunno, maybe two-thirds of the Greatest Generation of World War II? How does he explain everybody who grew up in a bad neighborhood and goes on to work himself out of poverty and do his best to raise a family? He doesn’t, not until they murder somebody. In fact, Armitage admired the kid:

Curiously enough, in all of this, however, he didn’t succumb to some behaviors that many people in those environments succumb to. He didn’t become a drug abuser; he didn’t become an alcoholic. As far as we know, didn’t become a petty thief…

Sure, he became a serial rapist, sodomizer, and murderer, but he did it sober, and didn’t shoplift between homicides! What a guy! (Except the appeal makes clear that Gray was also a burglar and a thief, other charges on which he was convicted). All in all he was convicted of some forty to fifty felonies, 22 in state court.

It’s easy to have contempt for psychiatrists, as the profession is irresistible to something-wrongniks whose real motive is self-diagnosis. Likewise, the practice of law attracts some unattractive people, Hollywood’s version of law firms notwithstanding. Some are avaricious, some are lustful for power, and some… well, some are attracted to criminals. Others just want to see the world burn, just as much as a Ronald Gray does. One reason Gray still has a positive carbon footprint at Death Sentence Plus ≈29 Years is that some of these particular unattractive people from time to time get elevated to the bench. And they’re always a soft touch for a sob story about a poor misunnerstood serial rapist and killer who has helped the nation by providing lifetime employment for therapists for raped women, and who took a direct hand in reducing overpopulation — by butchering the young and fertile.

Gray, today, in a Leavenworth mugshot.

But Gray’s case got in front of, from his point of view, the wrong judge this week. And the stay, long ago imposed by one of those judges who believes that nothing should hurt the hair on the (probably definitely bald now) head of an aging serial killer, has been lifted.

Gray is now on track to an execution date for the first time in a long time. The Fayetteville Observer:

Earlier this week, Judge J. Thomas Marten ruled the stay was no longer in effect and denied Gray’s request to further block the military from moving forward with the death sentence.

His crimes were committed in 1986 and 1987 on Fort Bragg and near Fairlane Acres Mobile Home Park off Santa Fe Drive.

Gray killed cab driver Kimberly Ann Ruggles, Army Pvt. Laura Lee Vickery-Clay, Campbell University student Linda Jean Coats and Fairlane Acres resident and soldier’s wife Tammy Wilson and raped several other women.

According to a notice filed by an assistant U.S. attorney on behalf of Col. Dawn Hilton, commandant of the disciplinary barracks, officials intend to set a new date and time for Gray’s execution no earlier than 30 days from the date of their notice, which was filed on Nov. 21.

And the Observer article was accompanied by the Leavenworth mugshot you see here, showing that our speculation was correct… Gray now is bald.

Just Doing the Victims Americans Won’t Do

What the hell is the point of deporting people if they just come back and commit more violent crimes?

Nicodemo Coria-Gonzales faces six charges including aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping.

In one case, a victim told police he poured gasoline on her and tried to set her on fire.

Oh yeah, that is totally your huddled masses, burning to breathe free. Just doing the human arsons that Americans won’t do.

Police said Coria-Gonzalez admitted he had picked up prostitutes and beat them out of anger. He is currently being held without bond on an immigration detainer.

“There’s bad, really bad people, who want to do us real harm who are coming at us from all different directions north, south, east and west,” said Immigration specialist Thomas Esparza, Jr.

If the allegations against him are true, Nicodemo Coria-Gonzalez illegally immigrated to the United States six times and then sexually abused several women.

“If that guy came back, he came back to do us ill, but there’s not that many people who are able to come back that often and that successfully. That’s the kind of person that even immigration lawyers are going to say, ‘You know, he should be prosecuted,’” said Esparza.

Tom Esparza has way too much faith in immigration lawyers.

In August, Coria-Gonzalez was arrested after a woman told police he tried to set her on fire. While investigating, officers realized he had sexually assaulted several women in a secluded area off Ferguson Lane.

Investigators also learned Coria-Gonzalez had previous charges that convinced U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to deport him five times.

“Five times deported and he’s still here? What did he do the first time to get himself deported? And why didn’t he learn after the second or the third or the fourth time? But already five times?! And he’s still back?! He’s a determined son of a gun, but at some point the dance is over and so, unfortunately, the dance is going to be over for him and he’s going to be in jail,” Esparza said.

via Austin sex assault suspect previously deported five times – Story | KTBC.

Isn’t Austin a “Sanctuary City?” This is what Sanctuary Cities are sanctuaries for.

Mabus Strikes his Colors on Ratings

Mabus joins the ranks of those, like HMS Java in the foreground here, who tangled with the US Navy and lost.

It was a stinging defeat for the cruelest, most bitter enemy the American Navy has ever faced.

Ray Mabus’s decision to eliminate Navy enlisted ratings, which was approved by a slew of yes-man admirals including current CNO Adm. John Richardson and Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke, and a slew of yes-man master chiefs including current MCPON Steven Giordano and his predecessor MCPON Mike Stevens, has been quietly reversed in a Christmas Week memo. Mabus’s signature was absent, with the loss of face for the Secretary’s defeat accruing to his camp follower, Richardson.

The Navy Times noted that it was all Mabus’s initiative, originally, to eliminate what he saw as an obstacle to social engineering. Imagine what greater heights the social imbroglio might have reached in the anticipated Clinton administration, where Mabus imagined himself SecDef; but, alas for the prospect of mandatory gender transitions, it was not to be.

[T]he decision was made by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, whom multiple sources described as eager to announce the new policy before his impending departure after more than seven years atop the the sea service. Mabus, the first to broadcast this new policy Sept. 29, was motivated by a fervent desire to promote gender neutrality across the Navy and the Marine Corps, which he also oversees. He was presented with four options for removing the word “man” from nearly two dozen job titles — what the Navy calls ratings — and opted for the most extreme option.

Mabus, sources said, was determined to put ratings reform in motion — and on the record — before he leaves office. Gender integration, while Obama’s directive, has become a hallmark of Mabus’ tenure as Navy secretary. And he’s upset plenty of people along the way, notably within the Marine Corps, which has reluctantly opened its ground combat units to women and modified many of its job titles as well, though not to the extent that the Navy has.

The idea was always top-down, and never popular in the ranks:

When the order came down to provide feedback about possible gender-neutral ratings changes, most sailors were cynical, the [unnamed to prevent retaliation by Stevens, Giordano, et. al.] command master chief said. Many, wondered why the Navy was prioritizing the issue. “No one,” he added, “not a single sailor — across paygrade and gender lines — I spoke with saw the need to change the names of ratings based on gender neutrality.”

It was really unpopular in the ranks, and Mabus, a career politician who never has been popular in the ranks himself, did his politico’s Brave Sir Robin emulation and bugged out, leaving career naval politician Adm. Richardson holding the bag:

“I underestimated how fiercely loyal people were to their rating, I’ve gotten a fair amount of feedback on that,” Richardson said … Dec. 6 at Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada.

” … So we kind of [underestimated] the loyalty with which people affiliated themselves with that rating tribe. So as we go forward, we’ll learn.”

The rapid cancellation of the centuries-old tradition generated an overwhelmingly negative response from sailors.

With the Trump defense team including actual, not political, leadership in DOD and the Service Secretary positions, Richardson put his name on a backpedal; Mabus realizes that saving Richardson’s career is one way to save some of his social justice warrior legacy in the Pentagon — apart from gutless, gunless ships named for his fellow politicians.

But, as we said in the lede to this post, Richardson has backpedaled on Mabus’s behalf. Sure, he’s doing it to avoid being relieved in January, but a good decision made for a bad reason can still be a good decision. As a wise old man once told us, “The most important thing a bad decision means is that you now need to make a new decision.”

Effective immediately, enlisted sailors will officially regain their ratings, the traditional job titles that have inspired a deep cultural loyalty and that have defined enlisted career tracks for generations, Navy officials said.

The extraordinarily rare move comes after a fierce backlash from the fleet….

Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, called it a “course correction” and acknowledged the overwhelmingly negative reaction from the fleet was a key factor in the decision.

Well, that and the likelihood that the incoming SecNav would want the ass-kissing Richardson’s resignation on his desk, along with that of the even-more-ass-kissing Giordano (Stevens has already retired, although they could recall him for keelhauling or something). Never underestimate the power of career fear on those who rise high via suckuppery.

The reversal did not surprise many sailors, though many believed it would come after a new Navy secretary takes over early in 2017.

Now if they could just stop paying a half a billion for the million dollars’ worth of scrap aluminum that is a Littoral Combat Ship, we’d be getting somewhere. 

Thieves Will Steal Anything. But a Whole City Street?

Yes, a couple of Philadelphia cons did indeed make off with one block of a city street in 1984. The Philadelphia Inquirer tells the tale of the miscreants who made off with Mifflin Street

Truckers and policemen drove by and nodded, assuming that the guys digging up grey-stoned Mifflin Street with a front-end loader were municipal workers.

A nearby shop owner thought the same. But as he watched them work, he developed an uneasy feeling, and then couldn’t shake a troubling thought: Why were these men being so cautious with the stones, yet so reckless with the earth below them?

So he walked over and asked.

Joseph Monkiewicz, an excavator from Montgomery County, told the shop owner that he and his employees were tearing up the old surface so they could lay down a new one.

The shop owner surveyed the damage and returned to his office, suspicious and puzzled.

Seriously, who steals a street?

Monkiewicz, who was no stranger to handcuffs, did. With the help of an associate named Propper, who had even more, and more serious, priors, but who beat this rap in court. Read the Whole Thing™. If you get paywalled out, the attached .pdf is from the paper’s story from 1984.

Dec-10-1984-frontand3.pdf

The current story is part of a series of entertaining dives into the paper’s morgue that run from time to time.

Clint Lorance: The Wrong Color to go Free

In the “Mad Duck” phase of the lame-duck Obama Administration, we expect even more pardons and commutations than the 1,300+ already issued in 2016, and we expect to see them go to the same kind of characters who have received them in the last eight years: gun-toting gangbangers and poison-peddling dope dealers. We can also expect more murderers airlifted out of Guantanamo and whisked back to resume the jihad. But we can tell you who won’t be getting out of jail for Christmas: First Lieutenant Clint Lorance.

Lorance is a former platoon leader in the 82nd who was hung out to dry for ordering his platoon to fire on three men, two of whom were shot dead (sounds like his guys needed to tighten up their marksmanship). The Afghans were unarmed when gunned down, all parties agree on that. The prosecution represented them as innocent farmers who were victims of cold-blooded murder. (To see the prosecution side of the story, which does indeed make Lorance look like a monster, read this article by the usually anti-military reporter. Michelle Tan; the prosecutors placed the story with her and gave her access to their witnesses).

But whatever the victims were, they weren’t just innocent farmers. Both of the men whose deaths sent Lorance to jail were already in the biometric database used to keep track of insurgents and terrorists. And prosecuting attorney CPT Kirk Otto knew that, and kept the information not only from Lorance’s defense, but from the command, the members of the Court, the Court Martial Convening Authority, and the public as well.

Now, there’s a reason lawyers have a reputation that’s somewhere around Dante’s Ninth Circle with Judas, Brutus, pedophiles (okay, they were probably in the Eighth) and Congressmen. In a way it’s inherent in an adversarial system that rewards, to steal book titles from Peter Grant, war to the knife, knife to the hilt tactics. The adversarial system is a bit like a representative republic: it’s a crummy way of doing things that happens to be better than all the other ways we’ve tried, so far. So barring some unlikely breakthrough in judicial philosophy, we’re stuck with it.

That said, the legal system with all its pettifogging has an extremely poor applicability to the events of combat. Lorance is in jail, why not the F-16 pilots that bombed the Canadians? If you’re going to make a decision based on appearances and international politics, that would have been a better case in which to do it. Our Canadian friends and allies are still justifiably bent out of shape over that, and unlike the Afghans, they’re really our friends and allies.

Then there are basic questions of equity to consider. The monsters of Guantanamo, many of whom had rivers of blood on their hands are out and about. Our team contributed one Malim Ahmad Abdul, then 48, along with documentation of approximately 350 homicides (often of whole families) and numerous other crimes; he confessed to most of the murders; and he’s long since been let go with a pat on the head. One wonders how he’s been running up the score since. And Lorance sits in Leavenworth.

You may make the statement that the release of Malim Ahmad served a political end and served US policy if not justice, with US policy at the time being to pretend Islamic terrorism didn’t exist, and see if closing our eyes made it disappear.

But there is another equitable comparison to be made: consider the worst atrocity case of the Vietnam War, the massacre at the hamlet of My Lai 4. The battalion commander was not prosecuted as he wore the protective ring of a West Pointer. The company commander was not prosecuted. The brigade commander, who was unpopular with his commander, was prosecuted but acquitted. One platoon leader was prosecuted. And this was an unquestioned atrocity, with civilians including women and children machine-gunned as they cowered in roadside ditches and village shelters. The prosecuted platoon leader had his sentence commuted, and later, reduced to house arrest and finally, he was granted a limited pardon by then-President Nixon.

Lorance is far from the only soldier to be targeted by the judge advocate general’s corps, the hand of the enemy in our own uniforms. Indeed, he’s one where the prosecution at least had an argument, unlike some of the other cases. But he’s an interesting example. And this Christmas, he’ll be setting that example in the US Disciplinary Barracks at Leavenworth, Kansas, while at least a thousand dope-dealing gangbangers will be back on the streets, as they like to say, “Keepin’ it real, you feel me?”

Good Thing The Guy Wasn’t Actually Dangerous

The FBI backed up Anchorage, Alaska police back in September when some jerk barricaded himself, allegedly with weapons, after his girlfriend’s mom called the cops on him. The cops were tied up in a standoff with some other jerkwad, so the Bureau sent its team to get the accused woman-beater. He didn’t come easily, and the news story makes it sound like it was a completely professional takedown.

It didn’t look quite that way. A neighbor shot video, and it’s ugly. Make that fugly.

It’s real life, but it looks more like an FBI buddy comedy with Jack Black and Seth Rogen as bozo Bureau SAs. It justifies the coining of a new word: “Stackass.” These guys are to CQB and warrant service what Bubba is to building heirloom firearms.

At the first viewing, you may have been focused on the stumblebum trying to get through a typical Alaskan (“up here, bears are brown”) home door. Without making sure of his footing. Causing a painful-looking faceplant in the frontal aspect of the Hummer. But the real Keystone aspect to it is watching all his buddies (who taught them to stack in random places?) muzzle him.

Now we understand why Anchorage PD only calls the FBI when their own guys are maxed out. Good policy.

Hat tip, Herschel Smith at Captain’s Quarters (ages ago). His comments, and some of the comments by his readers, are worth reading, also.

Join the Force

 

“Join the Force!” Says the Fort Worth, TX, PD.

Some of you may relate to the travails of the firearm instructor.

We’d say, “Use the Force,” but before you get to Jedi level you might be well-advised to begin with, “Use the sights.” Just sayin’.

Also, who has seen that look of blank shock and dismay, directed from the guy who just ND’d at his weapon, as if the machine done did it?

Update

We replaced the embed, which was working here, but apparently nowhere else, with one direct from FWPD’s you tube channel. Let us know.

They’ve used this theme before. Here, last year’s recruiting cycle: Darth Vader interviews for a patrolman job.

And this spring, an attempt to bring in a lateral hire didn’t quite work out. They sized up the guy on a ride-along and it went… well, just watch.

Guard Guys Go to Jail

handcuffs_1OK, only one of ’em is going to jail, the other walks with time served.

U.S. District Judge James Lorenz sentenced Andrew Reyes of La Mesa to one year and a day in custody, and Jaime Casillas was given credit for time served.

What’d they do?

Both pleaded guilty in January to one charge of dealing in firearms without a license. Reyes also pleaded guilty to three charges of unlicensed transportation of firearms.

Hmmm… not good. The guilty pleas suggest that they were up against some serious time, and they were.

Court records say Reyes sold an AK-47 rifle and three AR-15 rifles between September 2014 and March 2015 to an Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent working undercover and posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel.

Casillas sold a .40-caliber pistol and an AR-15 to the agent in August and October 2014, according to court records.

It looks like the agent or informant asked them to buy guns, and they did (the story’s vague about it, but the guns did not come from Guard stocks). If someone asks you to do something like that, just say no. If he’s a sudden new BFF who’s appeared in your life, he’s probably an informant or agent… and if he’s an old buddy, he probably got his thingie in the wringer with an agent or informant, and now “buddy” is only half a word, because he’s serving up you in an attempt to keep him out of prison.

That’s just standard police work, people. But if you don’t do any crimes, nobody can do “standard police work” on you. These guys were falling all over themselves to help a cartel brotha out.

The two were arrested in April 2015. Federal authorities said some of the items they sold were military-issue, and some were purchased in Texas then resold to the undercover agent.

Authorities said they were also accused of selling military equipment from the California National Guard, including gun magazines, ammunition, ballistic vests and the ceramic shields that go inside the vests.

These things were more charges that were made to go away with the remarkably good plea deal these guys got.

Casillas was accused of boasting to the undercover agent that he could procure such items, and the investigation began. The transactions totaled some $15,000, authorities said.

“All my success I owe to my boasting,” said nobody, nowhere, never. Let that be a lesson to you. Pride goeth before the jail.

Initially the two were charged with selling other equipment such as protective body armor and ammunition, but those charges were dropped as part of a plea agreement.

It’s surprising that two guys who willingly sold guns to someone they thought was a cartel lógistico got such a light pair of sentences: one year, and time served. Makes one wonder if they’re soon going to be calling on their former friends with tempting offers, whilst wearing wires.

If one of your friends, dealers, online buddies, or contacts, gets popped by the Feds, remember two things:

  1. You can never trust him again. Sorry, that’s just the way it is. Agents will not commit perjury or fraud to get you in the dock (although it’s perfectly okay for them to lie to you to further an investigation), and in theory confidential informants (especially paid, controlled ones) are supposed to follow similar ethics rules, but in the real world the CI is managed on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” basis.
  2. If you don’t offer or agree to commit a violation, they’ll move on to someone weaker. Because there’s always someone like that… unless it’s you.

The simplest way to avoid being in ATF crosshairs for selling to the cartels, of course, is don’t ever be willing or ready to sell to the cartels. The ATF is, after all, very jealous of its own prerogatives here, and only sworn agents are allowed to deliver firearms to Mexican drug trafficking organizations.

Leave the Lying to the Trained Professionals!

COPSLIE plate

You won’t believe who’s all bent out of shape because cops told a lie.

In Santa Maria, California, the police chief issued a false press release that two petty criminals had been arrested and handed over to ICE. And the press duly reported it. Why did the cops lie? So they had time to nab the two small-time hoods before another gang, MS-13, carried out a plan to murder them.

While the mild deception worked perfectly, and nobody got whacked, the media are outwaged. The news director of KSBY-TV, one Kendra Martinez, was “deeply troubled”:

[W]e are concerned this type of deception can erode the basic trust of our residents and viewers.

Heh, heh, the TV news gal says “basic trust.” Bwahahahahaaaa!

We’re sure that her outwage has nothing to do with the fact a double murder is much, much better for ratings, when you’re an “it bleeds, it leads” outfit like KSBY-TV.

She wasn’t alone. A professor at a journalism school executed a Grandmaster Level concern troll:

…it could raise questions about the department’s future credibility. However, he said the public is unlikely to appreciate the importance of that issue, particularly when the police said it was matter of life and death.

Anybody seen any credibility or trust survey numbers of police relative to journalists lately? Not that professor, apparently.

Let’s hear from the editor of Santa Maria’s one hanging-on-by-its-fingernails newspaper, Marga Cooley:

They used a public system paid for with public dollars to present false information to the public.

“‘What is NPR?’ Journalism for $2000, Alex!”

Of course, newspapers too sell more papers, increase their ABC circulation, and can charge their advertisers more money, when they have murders to report. Peace and harmony is great for society, but it blows for journalists.

It wasn’t just the lives of the two small time crooks, José Melendez and his other brother José Melendez (seriously. They do have different middle names), that the cops were trying to save, but the integrity of a long-running and complex gang operation, Operation Matador, which subsequently bagged 17 members of MS-13 and related gangs for 10 murders and conspiracies to whack 8 more people (including, presumably, los hermanos Melendez). After the operation was completed, and the accused murders and miscellaneous malefactors were safely dossing down in durance vile, the cops then admitted their ruse — and set off a media tantrum of purest distilled outwage. 

It really blew us away that, of all the people to get upset about the cops telling a little white lie, it would be the same media who celebrate Walter Duranty, Herbert Matthews, Janet Cooke Stephen Glass, Mike Barnicle, Jayson Blair… need we go on? You can tell they’re lyin’, ’cause their lips are moving.

Suddenly they’re very concerned that the police might bruise their credibility. Well, they would know what bruised credibility looks like, wouldn’t they? Strict neutrality between the police and MS-13 may be what a journalist calls righteous these days, but it’s unlikely to bring the trust back.