NEWS of the Day - November 11, 2010
on some NAACC / LACP issues of interest


NEWS of the Day - November 11, 2010
on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...

We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...


From the Los Angeles Times


At Arlington, 'we all share in the same loss'

Section 60, where more than a tenth of the casualties from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan rest, is home to service members who died recently, and young. The mourners have become like family.

By Faye Fiore, Los Angeles Times

November 11, 2010

Reporting from Arlington, Va.

It's a perfect autumn Sunday and Chad Weikel is sitting outdoors, having a beer with his big brother, Ian. Chad's beer is resting in the cup holder of his folding chair. Ian's is propped up against his headstone.

Army Capt. Ian Weikel, 31, was killed in action in Iraq on April 18, 2006, so this is how they visit now.

Three rows back, Nicki Bunting's 3-year-old, Connor, is building a campfire for his dad. Or maybe it's an ant farm. He hasn't decided. He was 1 when his father, Army Capt. Brian "Bubba" Bunting, was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on Feb. 24, 2009. They drive from Maryland to "visit Daddy" every Sunday — Connor, his mom and his little brother, Cooper, an R-and-R baby conceived a month before his father died.

You don't see scenes like this at very many gravesites in America; in fact, you don't see them anywhere else but here at Arlington National Cemetery, the hallowed burial ground for two U.S. presidents, 12 Supreme Court justices and veterans of every war since the Revolution.

This is Section 60, where more than a tenth of the casualties from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan rest: 648 at last count, more than in any other single place. These service members died recently, and they died young. The grief here is raw — parents who outlived their children, spouses still raising their babies, friends who thought death was an older generation's burden.

Their sorrow has a tragically youthful spin that defies the rigid orderliness of a military burial ground better known for riderless horses and gun salutes. Section 60 is strewn with bits of unfinished life: carved pumpkins, cigars, a birthday cake, an "It's a Boy" balloon, Mardi Gras beads, a note — "We love you son. Always will." — a Darth Vader doll, a can of Bud Lite.

"We all share in the same loss," Nicki Bunting says. "In any other section or cemetery, I don't know each person's story. It could have been cancer or a car accident. But in Section 60, we've all had the same knock at the door."

On Thursday, the nation pauses to honor all who served and remember the fallen. Visitors will flock to Washington's monuments erected for nearly every American war. But there is no memorial for the two wars still raging. Section 60, on 18 acres of grass across the Potomac River from the nation's capital, has come to serve that purpose.

Individually wrapped roses appeared one day on 100 graves. A man in a kilt with bagpipes showed up and played Taps. Busloads of schoolchildren come to visit the graves of service members whose stories they've looked up. Day hikers walk the rows and do the math: He was 19; she was 22; he was 31.

Sometimes private grief and public curiosity collide. Tourists snap pictures without permission; they say the wrong thing. Mostly, though, it works out. On weekends and holidays like this one, Section 60 has the feel of a big backyard, where families gather to heal and condolatory neighbors pass by.

"It's not really a sad place; it's a peaceful place," Nicki says, putting the colored rocks that decorate her husband's headstone in her jacket pocket before the baby swallows one. "Of course you see people crying. We cry sometimes. But then you see somebody you know, and you start talking. Or you meet someone new. That's what's great about Section 60."

Through nine years of war, a community took root here; people with something terrible in common forged a kind of fellowship.

Nicki arrived at Bubba's grave Sunday afternoon to find purple gerbera daisies. Must have been Paula Davis. She likes to leave artificial flowers when it's too cold for real ones. Her son, Pfc. Justin Davis, a few rows up, was killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire on June 25, 2006.

Two headstones away from Bubba's grave is Army Spc. Jessica Sarandrea, killed March 3, 2009, in Mosul, Iraq. She was 22. Her parents came from Florida to visit on Memorial Day. They got to talking and Nicki offered to watch over Jessica's grave.

She places a colored stone on the marker, a popular tradition in Section 60. It stems from the Jewish custom of putting pebbles on a headstone to show a visitor came to honor the dead. But like everything else here, the traditional makes way for the extraordinary and the markers are dotted with red hearts, white ghosts and hand-painted rocks. Purple stones are the Bunting family's calling card; Bubba was a Ravens fan.

Section 60 opened 30 years ago. There were already close to 8,000 graves of veterans and their families when the bodies started coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq. The funerals average five a month now, "depending on the operational tempo over there," Arlington spokeswoman Kaitlin Horst said.

Bubba's grave is No. 8,758. The day he was buried, his was third from the end of the last row. Since then, six more rows have gone in.

That misty day, when Nicki stood at the freshly dug hole in the designer black dress she bought — thinking if anything would jolt Bubba back to life it would be her spending $300 on a dress — she could not imagine feeling anything but grief.

In time, though, Section 60 felt like home. This is where she met her friend Sheryl, whose husband, Marine Sgt. James R. McIlvaine, 26, father of two, was killed in Iraq about two months after Bubba. He's in the next row, with a Darth Vader doll and a can of Bud Lite.

Here, Nicki can talk all she wants about her husband and no one gets uncomfortable. Last December for his 30th birthday, she brought a sheet cake and threw him a party with 30 people.

"I don't get to be Bubba's wife anymore, not in the way I planned it," Nicki says of her husband of 21/2 years, a West Point graduate and all-star athlete. "I do what I can now to honor his name and take care of him. I didn't want this role but I will do the best I can."

Anyone killed in the line of duty is eligible for burial at Arlington, but not all military families choose it. Some want their loved ones closer to home, like the family of Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, 26. He was buried in his hometown of Doylestown, Pa., after a sniper shot him in Iraq in 2007.

But when his best friend, Navy Seal Lt. Brendan Looney, 29, was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan two months ago, the Manions moved their son's remains to Arlington. Now Travis Manion and Brendan Looney, Naval Academy roommates, lie side by side, beneath two gleaming piles of Marine Corps marathon medals won by their buddies the week before.

It's getting cold. Chad Weikel, 33, and his girlfriend, Kate Thompson, 31, finish their beers. He lives nearby and figures he's done this at least 75 times since his brother died. He doesn't feel like talking much. "When I first came here, it was really hard. But it's a community and a family. Days like Memorial Day, there are 200 people having picnics. And then there are days like today, quiet and beautiful."

They carry their chairs to the black Chevy truck that used to belong to Ian. An unopened bottle of Texas-brewed Shiner Bock stays behind, a nod to his unit at Ft. Hood.

Once a week, groundskeepers collect what isn't perishable for storage in a warehouse. It isn't clear what will become of it all.

Connor is finished building and the verdict is in: It's an ant farm, for "good ants." Nicki laughs and squeezes him tight. "I love you, buddy." Not a day goes by when she doesn't wish she could undo what can't be undone. She's trying hard to keep Bubba in their lives, giving him his say on what preschool Connor should attend or what to name the baby. Discussions they might have had in their bedroom play out in her head now.

Bubba gave her express permission to move on with her life, when they had their "just in case" talk.

"But we're not there yet," she says, smiling. She is 29.

"OK guys, family hug." The three of them encircle Bubba's headstone and hold tight.

Their blue minivan is parked a few feet away, a privilege afforded family members. She straps the boys in their car seats and trots back to the grave. She replaces the colored rocks that were in her jacket and straightens the purple daisies the baby rearranged.

Then, when everything is as orderly as Nicki Bunting has the power to make it, she kneels down, closes her eyes and gives the headstone one more kiss.,0,5295809.story


EGYPT: Activists plan online map to track sexual harassment

November 10, 2010

Egypt has earned notoriety for being one of the worst countries in the Middle East when it comes to sexual harassment, and women's rights groups have previously described the harassment on the street as Egypt's "cancer."

What to do? A group of activists has decided to fight the leering and groping with a new private venture that, beginning in the near future, will use open-source mapping technology to identify harassment hot spots in Cairo and allow women to instantly report incidents of sexual abuse through text messaging and on social media sites.

It's called HarassMap and will reportedly run off the open-source software platform Ushahidi, which was first used to report violence in Kenya in 2008. 

HarassMap co-founder Engy Ghozlan told Babylon & Beyond that the venture is being launched to tackle sexual harassment and raise more awareness about the problem.

"The idea came from a group of volunteers," she said. "There is not much going on the sexual-harassment issue. We want to bring back the momentum ... so that they don't forget that sexual harassment is still an issue." 

In 2008, a report by the Cairo-based Egyptian Center for Women's Rights offered some shocking statistics on sexual harassment in the country. It said that no less than 83% of the women responding to a survey claimed that they had been subject to harassment in the streets, including slurs and groping. The study also found that observing an Islamic dress code or avoiding revealing clothing were not a deterrent for harassers.

Activist groups started to push for a law banning sexual harassment, and some members of the Egyptian parliament have reportedly backed bills that would prohibit it, leading some to believe that Egypt is moving closer to pass legislation to clamp down on harassers.

When in operation, HarassMap will allow women -- and men -- who have been subject to harassment to anonymously send a text message describing the incident and when and where it took place to a hot-line number through mobile phones. Reports can also be filed via e-mail or on Twitter, according to Ghozlan.

The information will then be published on HarassMap's public website, displaying the harassment location and details about the incident provided by the victim on a user-generated digital map of Cairo. The data will be shared with the media and the police. Reports will be compiled into a comprehensive map that will show the most common harassment spots in Cairo and places in the city where it might be dangerous for women to walk alone.

Those filing the sexual-harassment reports will receive a reply with contact information from support groups, general safety tips and advice on how to deal with street harassment and file police reports, among other things.

Ghozlan says that HarassMap is currently run on a volunteer basis while seeking funds and that it has the potential to reach about 55 million mobile phone users in Egypt -- a number that could increase by about 10% each year, according to HarassMap's statistics.


Parolee booked in slaying of Riverside police officer

Earl Ellis Green was seized in the parking lot of a Riverside store after his fingerprint reportedly was found in a stolen semi-truck that Officer Ryan Bonaminio was chasing before he was shot.

By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times

November 11, 2010

A violent felon on parole from state prison was booked Wednesday on suspicion of fatally shooting a Riverside police officer — possibly with the officer's handgun — following a high-speed pursuit, authorities said.

Earl Ellis Green, 44, was arrested after police identified a fingerprint inside the stolen semi-truck that Officer Ryan P. Bonaminio was chasing before he was killed. If convicted of the charges, Green could face the death penalty, authorities said.

A team of police officers and FBI agents swarmed Green as he checked under the hood of his car in the parking lot of a Riverside Target store Tuesday night, startling customers. He was taken into custody, along with his girlfriend, who was questioned and released, police said.

Detectives later recovered Bonaminio's .40-caliber handgun during a search of Green's residence. Three rounds had been fired.

"It possibly could have been the gun used against our officer," said Det. Ron Sanfilippo.

Green's criminal record spans two decades, and includes at least 13 arrests in Riverside County and multiple convictions for spousal abuse as well as car theft, drug dealing, receiving stolen property and battery of a police officer.

"We have an awful lot of conversations about how much it costs to keep people in prison, and very little discussion about what it costs to let them out,'' Police Chief Sergio Diaz told reporters at an afternoon news conference. "This is what it costs to let people out with the blind hope that people will cure themselves, rehabilitate themselves. They don't.''

According to his state parole record, which was obtained by The Times, Green sported a number of gang tattoos, including one on his hand that says, "BK=Blood Killer." One of the conditions of his parole was to not associate with Crip gang members.

Joseph Bonaminio, the slain officer's father who appeared with Diaz at the news conference, said he wasn't surprised to learn that a violent convicted felon was walking the streets.

"I don't care who he is. I just want justice for my son,'' he said. "He shouldn't have been out on the street. But it's not surprising."

Bonaminio said his son, an Iraq war veteran who would have turned 28 on Thanksgiving Day, would have been proud of the job his fellow officers had done to catch his alleged killer. Ryan Bonaminio began his career with the department in 2006.

"He was a man of honor," his father said, "and I'm sorry that he's gone."

Green was paroled from state prison in February 2009 after serving over half of a three-year sentence for vandalizing a former girlfriend's property, according to court records. The girlfriend, reached in Moreno Valley on Wednesday morning, said she was too terrified of Green to comment about his arrest.

Green was living in a trailer in back of an isolated home owned by his uncle, Moses Green, in the working-class community of Rubidoux.

Police raided the home about 3 a.m. Wednesday, after Earl Green was in custody, setting off flash grenades and breaking the doors down, according to Green's cousin, who was inside with his son and girlfriend at the time.

The cousin, who declined to provide his name because he feared police retribution, said Earl Green had been living on the property for only a few months, and most of the family had little to do with him because of his shady past. Their uncle has been hospitalized for the last few weeks and was not home, he said.

The cousin said that on Saturday, Earl Green allegedly tried to attack a second uncle, Percy Green, at a family business in town, threatening to kill him.

"He came down and chased him around with a spear, and then chased him around with his vehicle, trying to kill my uncle," he said.

He said a report was filed with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. But a department spokesman could not confirm that the incident had been reported.

Police believe Green shot and killed Bonaminio on Sunday night after the officer pursued a stolen semi-truck believed to have been involved in a hit-and-run collision near the 60 Freeway.

The suspect jumped out of the big rig in front of Riverside's Fairmount Park. Investigators believe that Bonaminio chased the suspect on foot and was jumped, and possibly had his gun wrestled away, before he was shot. It's unclear if the officer fired his weapon before he was shot and mortally wounded.

"I do believe that this was an ambush,'' Diaz said. "That this individual led the officer down a path to hurt him and disarm him. That's not something a criminal with no experience does.''

Green's arrest came less than five hours after the chief announced at a Tuesday afternoon news conference that $390,000 in reward money had been raised for information leading to an arrest and conviction of Bonaminio's killer. That reward grew to $490,000 by Tuesday night.

The department also released a seven-second video of the suspect jumping into the big rig after the shooting and fleeing the scene.

But Sanfilippo said it was the physical evidence — not a tip from the public — that led to Green's arrest. Investigators were alerted Tuesday afternoon that one of Green's fingerprints was inside the cab of the stolen big-rig, and a citywide scramble to find Green quickly followed.

Once in custody, Green spoke at length with Sanfilippo and other detectives, but details of his statement were not released. Green is being held at the county's Robert Presley Detention Center in downtown Riverside without bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Monday.,0,6309946,print.story



Overwrought in Oklahoma

The passage in Oklahoma of a ballot measure that bans judges from considering Islamic law is an offense to the Constitution.

November 11, 2010

Oklahoma is not OK. The passage of a state ballot measure last week that bans judges from considering international or Islamic law in their decisions is a symptom of a grave sickness in the heartland. It was an initiative inspired by paranoia, xenophobia and ignorance that should offend not only Muslims but anyone who believes in the principles enshrined by the U.S. Constitution.

Perhaps most mystifying is why Oklahomans felt a need to draft such a law to begin with. Muslims make up less than 1% of the state's population, and no state judge has ever cited Sharia — a code of behavior passed down in the Koran by the prophet Muhammad — in a ruling. To the extent that the more than 70% of voters who approved the measure thought about their decision, they probably believed they were striking a blow for American values against the incursion of a foreign and hostile ideology. But what they were really attacking were American values.

There seems to be a lot of confusion, especially among the Christian right, about the meaning of the 1st Amendment's provision that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." To put it simply: Judges are already forbidden by the 1st Amendment from applying Sharia to their decisions, yet by passing a law that sets aside Sharia for special treatment, voters probably violated the 1st Amendment.

One would be hard-pressed to find a legal scholar who thinks the Oklahoma measure will stand up to constitutional scrutiny. It was quickly blocked by a U.S. district court judge, who issued a temporary injunction preventing the state election board from certifying the initiative.

Oklahoma lawmakers, who put State Question 755 on the ballot, found a cheap way to appeal to voters' worst instincts by fanning deep-seated antipathy toward a tiny religious minority — one that poses no real threat to the state's laws or way of life. And this kind of demagoguery isn't confined to Oklahoma. It has helped fuel hysteria in response to mosque construction plans from New York to Temecula . For now, this is making life in this country tough for Muslims; who will the bigots go after next?,0,1306308,print.story



The fragile family effect

It's instability, not poverty, that does the greater damage to children.

By Kay S. Hymowitz

November 11, 2010

Poverty is on the rise, according to census data, and now affects 14.3% of the population, up from 13.2% in 2008. A stumbling economy obviously explains the recent uptick. But those who think that poor urban families' problems have an economic fix would do well to pick up the fall issue of the Future of Children, a journal jointly published by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Brookings Institution (I sit on its advisory board). The articles in the issue are based on findings from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, which has followed 5,000 children and their urban, primarily minority parents since the kids were born in the late 1990s. The study constitutes the most extensive, long-term database on the family lives of the urban poor we've ever had, and the dismal picture that it paints of low-income, unmarried couples and their children has nothing to do with the Great Recession.

One of the study's most surprising initial findings was that the large majority — 80% — of poor, unmarried couples were romantically involved at the time of their child's birth. In fact, 50% of the couples were living together. Fathers almost always visited the mothers and children in the hospital and usually provided financial support. Even better, most of these new parents said that there was a 50-50 chance that they would eventually marry each other. They spoke highly of their partners' commitment to their children and of their supportiveness.

But within five years, a tiny 15% of the unmarried couples had taken wedding vows, while a whopping 60% had split up. At the five-year mark, only 36% of the children lived with their fathers, and half of the other 64% hadn't seen their dads in the last month. One-half to two-thirds of the absent fathers provided little or no financial support.

A parental breakup is hard enough on kids, but the prevalence of what experts call "multipartner fertility" is salt in their wounds. By the time the children were 5, 20% of their mothers had a child by a different man; 27% of the kids were living with their mother's new live-in partner. These relationships tended to reduce father involvement: Dads are less likely to come around when a new man is in the house. In the long run, it's not even clear that the new boyfriends are good for the women involved, because mothers with children by more than one man "reported significantly less available [financial] support than those with children by one man."

Adding to the child-unfriendly atmosphere are the many fathers who go on to have children with other women. The journal reports that men with children in a new relationship spend less time and money on their previous children. One study also found — no surprise — that the quality of "co-parenting" declines when a new girlfriend or boyfriend enters the picture. Breakups turn out to be hard on men too; men living with their children worked longer hours and earned more, while those who moved out were more likely to become unemployed.

And what do we know about the effect of all this on children? The Fragile Families kids growing up with single mothers have more behavior problems than those with two parents; those problems worsen with every "transition" — that is, every new relationship and breakup. There's even evidence that instability affects children's cognitive performance. Worst of all, children growing up with a boyfriend or stepdad in the house are at greater risk of abuse, a fact horribly demonstrated in Brooklyn recently when 2-year-old Aiyden Davis died as a result of beatings by his mother's boyfriend.

Eventually, the economy will improve. That's not likely to change much for the children in fragile families.

Kay S. Hymowitz is a contributing editor of City Journal and a fellow at the Manhattan Institute. This piece is adapted from the 20th anniversary issue of City Journal.,0,178346,print.story


From the New York Times


Free-Trade Zones Attract Criminals

by Angela Shah

RAS AL KHAIMAH, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES — As free economic zones grow in size and number across the globe, they are increasingly popular spots for illicit trade.

Counterfeiting and money laundering can flourish in these zones, typically manufacturing and warehousing sites near ports and airports, where governments relax tax and regulatory requirements to attract foreign investment and ease the rapid movement of goods.

Conditions that attract honest businesses attract criminals, too.

“Organized crime and counterfeiters are very resourceful and creative,” said Stuart Jones, a U.S. Treasury financial attaché based in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh. “They are also interested in free-trade zones to exploit the very ecosystem governments created to contribute to economic development.”

Globally, there are about 3,000 free-trade zones in about 135 countries, through which billions of dollars' worth of goods are transferred every year. Most of the United Arab Emirates' 36 free-trade zones are in Dubai, but other emirates are also creating them as investment vehicles, including Masdar, a green-energy zone in Abu Dhabi. The oldest free-trade zone in the Emirates, the Jebel Ali Free Trade Zone, is one of the largest in the world, and handles 11 million containers each month.

That volume is reflected in the crime statistics. According to data from European Union customs, the Emirates were the No.2 source of counterfeit goods, after only China, in 2008 and 2009, said Omar Shteiwi, chairman of the Brand Owners Protection Group, an anti-counterfeiting group based in the region.

The zones' susceptibility to illegal activities was also cited earlier this year by the Financial Action Task Force, an international watchdog organization based in Paris that co-ordinates and monitors government efforts to block money laundering and terrorist financing. Free-trade zones do improve economic opportunity, but the characteristics that make these enclaves attractive to business also create chances for illicit programs that can finance terrorism, the task force warned.

Screening of cargo is “often carried out by random selection more than on risk assessment or indicators,” the task force found. “No clear procedure, authority, or documentation is identified to organize and execute the examinations.”

Security in free-trade zones was a topic recently at the 10th World Free Zone Convention and Exhibition held in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

“You now have to factor in the globalization of illicit trade: How to balance trade efficiencies and low cost with the need to supervise what's going on?” Pat Heneghan, who heads global operations against illicit trade at British American Tobacco in London, said as part of a panel discussion.

Mr. Jones of the U.S. Treasury said he believed that there should be a way for zones to share trade data and best practices with one another, essentially policing activities and creating a blacklist of zones that do not comply.

But Oussama el-Omari, chief executive and director general of the Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone, said he did not support what he considered a punitive approach.

“The U.A.E. already has a system in place; there is world-class security, checking and screening standards,” he said, noting that Dubai customs regularly tracked and seized items ranging from toothpaste to medicine suspected of being counterfeit goods.

Instead, Mr. Omari said, he would like to see an umbrella organization formed that could create international standards for best practice and peer policing.

No such agency now exists. The World Free Zone Convention, which is based in London and is the organizer of the annual conference, “is a meeting point for zones rather than a membership body,” said its chairman, Graham Mather.

Highlighting the scale of the regulatory void that free zones represent, total foreign direct investment through zones in the United Arab Emirates reached $73 billion this year, making them the second-largest recipient of foreign direct investment in the Arab world, behind Saudi Arabia, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. The Emirates were ranked 14th in the world in the number of new foreign direct investment projects last year, with 230 projects, accounting for 1.7 percent of the global total, said Shaikha Lubna al-Qasimi, minister of foreign trade.

Businesses find the semiautonomous free-trade zones especially attractive because, unlike in the country proper, where a local partner must own at least 51 percent of any company, foreigners may own their operations outright.

The U.A.E. has specifically felt some pressure to tighten oversight on trade with Iran, with which it has had a long history of commercial links.

Ras Al Khaimah is just across the Straits of Hormuz from Iran, but this summer, to comply with sanctions, its free-trade zone essentially stopped issuing new licenses to Iranian companies, as stepped-up disclosure and other requirements caused applications to dry up, Mr. Omari said.

Last month, the U.A.E. Central Bank signed an agreement with the Dubai Multi Commodities Center requiring that free zone to share information on any financial transaction suspected of having links to money laundering for the possible purpose of terrorist financing. The agreement requires that a compliance officer will operate within the free zone and monitor financial transactions.

In September, the Dubai Financial Services Authority, which regulates activity in the Dubai International Financial Center free zone, announced that it had frozen the accounts of the Dubai branch of the Persian International Bank.

Still, increased oversight or no, the commercial ties that bind the Emirates and Iran are strong. Between panel discussions at the trade zone convention, Abadollah Kamkar, a managing director of the Salafchegan Special Economic Zone, quietly approached attendees, distributing pamphlets outlining the features of his zone, which is based in Qom, Iran. “Come to Iran,” he said.


One Gunman Accused of Killing 40 in Philippine Massacre


MANILA — A police officer who witnessed the massacre of 57 people in the southern Philippines last year testified on Wednesday that 40 of the victims were gunned down by a local official as they pleaded for their lives.

The official, Andal Ampatuan Jr., was the local mayor and, more important, the scion of a political clan that was embroiled in a dispute with Esmael Mangudadatu, whose wife and supporters were among the victims. In previous testimony, witnesses described members of the Ampatuan clan, led by Andal Ampatuan Sr., plotting the killings as they sat around a dinner table some days earlier.

The victims were intercepted at a roadblock, driven to a grassy hilltop nearby, shot and hacked to death, and buried using a government-owned backhoe.

The police officer, Rainier Ebus, said that the younger Mr. Ampatuan ordered 10 of the victims to form a line and shot them. He then turned his gun on 30 of the others, who included journalists and media workers, and killed them in the vehicles that had taken them to the hilltop, Mr. Ebus said.

Nearly 200 people are on trial in connection with the murders, including the Ampatuans, who have denied responsibility.

While Mr. Ebus was describing the horrors of the massacre, which took place on Nov. 23, 2009, in Maguindanao Province, the Committee to Protect Journalists released a report saying that the prosecution had been hampered by a “faltering judicial system” under which forensic evidence has been mishandled, the trial unreasonably delayed and witnesses threatened, bribed or killed.

The report called on President Benigno S. Aquino III to “follow through on commitments to ensure justice” in the killings.

“We are very concerned about this case and that is why we demand demonstrable reforms from President Aquino while he still has the mandate to do so,” Shawn W. Crispin, the New York-based committee's senior Southeast Asia representative and the author of the report, said in an interview on Wednesday.

The trial began in September and, with at least 196 suspects and more than 200 witnesses, is expected to take years to complete. Of the 196 suspects, only 66 are in custody while the remaining 130, most of them police officers and members of a militia maintained by the Ampatuans, are at large.

Of the 66 in custody, only 19 are currently on trial, although 28 more were arraigned on Wednesday.

Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima acknowledged on Wednesday that “given the number of victims as well as the magnitude of the crime, there are still gaps and deficiencies in case management.” She said, however, that her department was “currently taking serious steps toward speedier and focused proceedings.”

Mr. Crispin said he was encouraged by the arrests of Mr. Ampatuan, his father and four other members of the clan that had ruled Maguindanao Province, on the island of Mindanao, for years. Additionally, he credited the Aquino government for having improved the witness protection program. But more safeguards need to be introduced to ensure that the judicial process in the country is not compromised, Mr. Crispin said.

The committee said it found that at least two relatives of the victims had been offered bribes, which they refused, by men who claimed to represent the Ampatuans. It also said that witnesses and their relatives had been harassed and attacked. In one instance, a witness, Suwaib Upham, a member of the militia, was killed as he was preparing to testify against the Ampatuans.


Communities Embrace Veterans of Vietnam War


MANASSAS, Va. — Charles Howell, a Vietnam War veteran, wore his camouflage Army jacket and jungle hat in public for the first time in more than 40 years recently, when he attended the Veterans Day parade in this Civil War battleground city. He said he no longer cared about possible negative reactions to his military service.

A fellow veteran extended his hand and said, “Welcome home.”

“It feels good,” Mr. Howell said. “It is time to get a little recognition.”

Recognition for Vietnam veterans, many of whom feel scarred by experiences during that contentious period in American history, has been growing.

Communities in California, Delaware, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin, among others, have held parades and special events in the past year. More than 20,000 people attended a May ceremony at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis.

Several states have established a day to honor or “welcome home” Vietnam veterans. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Minnesota and Wisconsin have passed laws since 2008. Other state legislatures are considering similar bills, while governors and local municipalities have issued proclamations.

The recent outpouring of support, veterans and others said, stems in part from the public embrace of troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many of today's troops return to heroes' welcomes, often captured by local news media.

“They're shown coming off the plane to family and friends,” said Karen Lazar of Harrington, Del. “You see it all the time. They see this, too. These Vietnam vets had no one.” Ms. Lazar spent a year organizing a parade and reaching out to veterans in Delaware, who in turn reached out to others. The parade was held in May in Harrington.

The experience left an impression on Paul Davis, who served two tours in Vietnam with the Army. Mr. Davis was among 150 veterans who participated.

“The crowd was saying, ‘Thank you,' and I get choked up even right now saying that,” said Mr. Davis, president of the Delaware chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America. “There was not one Vietnam veteran who didn't have tears running down their face, including myself. It was our greatest day.”

More than 1,500 Vietnam veterans showed up at Fort Campbell, Ky., for an event in August 2009. They hold similar events for current troops. “Our Vietnam vets did not receive this kind of welcome home,” Maj. Patrick Seiber of the Army, who helped organize the event, wrote in an e-mail from Afghanistan where he is deployed.

So many veterans showed up that they held three ceremonies, in a hangar, just as they do for current troops.

Connecticut's law mandates “welcome home” ceremonies at the Capitol each March 30, a date representing the day in 1973 that the last American combat troops left Vietnam. The federal holiday for all veterans is Thursday.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell of Connecticut signed the bill in May and lamented at the time that some veterans were “insulted or abused” when they came home. Ms. Rell said there was now more respect: “I see it in the send-off ceremonies, homecomings and everyday interactions between our military and civilians.”

But disagreement persists. The American Legion of Ohio opposed legislation to create a special day for Vietnam veterans, saying Veterans Day and Memorial Day are sufficient. Prof. Peter Karsten, who teaches history at the University of Pittsburgh and edited the Encyclopedia of War and American Society, said he rejected the notion that the veterans were mistreated. It was “a myth,” he said, traced to the Nixon White House as a way to discredit war opponents.

“It's a slander on the American public to believe that soldiers were disrespected,” he said.

Mr. Karsten, a Navy veteran of the early 1960s, said part of the surge in support for Vietnam veterans was mortality. They are older now, he said, and have more political power today.

Back in Manassas, which held its Veterans Day parade on Saturday, Mr. Howell, 64, said he was envious of today's homecomings.

“I'm jealous, but they deserve it,” said Mr. Howell, who retired from a local telephone company. “I'm beginning to let some of it go, but it's hard.”


‘Barefoot Bandit' Is Indicted


Colton Harris-Moore , the teenager who became known as the Barefoot Bandit, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Seattle on Wednesday for crimes the authorities said he committed long before his capture in the Bahamas in July.

Mr. Harris-Moore, 19, was charged with interstate transportation of a stolen aircraft, interstate and foreign transportation of a stolen firearm, being a fugitive in possession of a firearm, piloting an aircraft without a valid airman's certificate and interstate transportation of a stolen vessel, according to the United States attorney's office.

Mr. Harris-Moore, who grew up poor on Camano Island in Washington State, became an Internet sensation after he escaped from a halfway house in the Seattle suburbs in 2008.

He became a suspect in several boat and plane thefts, having learned to fly without any apparent formal training. At some crime scenes he drew outlines of bare feet, and he repeatedly eluded manhunts in the heavily wooded areas near his home. By the time he was captured in the Bahamas, Mr. Harris-Moore had become a suspect in scores of other crimes, including credit card thefts.

The charges filed against him on Wednesday were for crimes he is accused of committing closer to home, including stealing a plane in Idaho and flying it to Washington State in 2009.


A Special Court for Veterans



EVERY month Americans come home from military duty in Iraq and Afghanistan having seen intense combat. Nearly 20 percent of the 1.6 million veterans of those wars, researchers say, suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

While trying to recover, these service members sometimes fall into drug and alcohol abuse and crime; too often, they end up in prison. Fortunately for them, an alternative to the regular criminal justice system is being tested in several states: veterans courts.

Post-traumatic stress disorder among returning service members is a particularly difficult malady to deal with. Men and women trained for combat often deny having a problem; their psychological strength becomes their weakness. Many try to handle their pain with alcohol or drugs, and divorce is increasingly likely. The rate of suicide among combat veterans is remarkably high , and homelessness is all too common.

Services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs and veterans' organizations can help some solve their problems. But too many proud veterans resist such assistance and, as a result, find themselves on the wrong side of the law, for reasons related more to their experiences in service to their country than to criminal intent.

Three years ago, the growing number of young veterans facing criminal charges caught the eye of Robert T. Russell Jr., a judge in Buffalo. Often these defendants had serious drug or mental health problems, he noticed. In response, Judge Russell began the Erie County Veterans Treatment Court. The program, the country's first “veterans court,” is intended to give former service members with post-traumatic stress disorder a path toward recovery without forcing them to also navigate the penal system.

Here's how it works. Veterans typically charged with nonviolent crimes and suffering from substance dependency, mental health problems or both are placed in a special docket. After an initial screening and assessment by the court, they are offered a place in a treatment program geared to veterans instead of standing trial.

Compliance is monitored through regularly scheduled court hearings, during which participants can be sanctioned for noncompliance or rewarded for their success.

Because the courts are reserved for veterans, they serve as a recognition of past service and an effective way to reawaken the service members' pride, discipline and courage — critical elements in helping many resolve their problems. It helps, too, that the veterans are in the program with one another, fostering a sense of camaraderie.

Moreover, the courts assign volunteer mentors to support the participants, and both the Department of Veterans Affairs and community-based organizations are available to provide treatment after the assessments.

As a result, 90 percent of participants complete the program, without a single case of recidivism. Judge Russell's initiative has been copied by courts across the country, including in California, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Wisconsin.

In Pennsylvania, in fact, we have gone a step further and, in collaboration with the Department of Veterans Affairs, established a statewide task force of department and criminal justice system leaders, service providers and veterans' groups. The group resolves issues between the department and the courts, two complex systems whose practices differ widely.

Repaying America's debt to its veterans means giving them the opportunity to succeed in civilian life. Veterans courts are a pragmatic way we can repay that debt and save veterans from additional suffering.

Ronald D. Castille, a Marine lieutenant in Vietnam, is the chief justice on the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.


From the Chicago Sun Times


Threat puts Florida county schools on lockdown

November 10, 2010


PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (AP) — Schools in Florida's second-largest county were on lockdown Wednesday after police said an unidentified woman called a radio station and said her husband might go to a school and start shooting.

Pembroke Pines Police Capt. Daniel Rakofsky said an earlier e-mail to the radio station, maybe from the man in question, said "something big was going to happen," possibly at a post office or a school.

Schools in Pembroke Pines, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, were initially placed on lockdown as a precaution. The lockdown was then extended to all 300 Broward County schools. The county has nearly 257,000 students.

Neither the man nor the woman have been identified, though police said they were following several leads.

Rakofsky said the threat was not credible and that all schools are safe. He would not identify the radio station.

Nervous parents flooded telephone lines and showed up at schools as word of the lockdown spread.

Irma Hernandez had tears in her eyes as she and her husband waited outside Charles W. Flanagan High School, where her 15-year-old son is a student.

"We're just nervous, scared," she said. "We don't know what's going to happen.",florida-school-lockdown-111010.article


From the White House


Giving Thanks Through Service

(Video on site)

Posted by Dr. Jill Biden on November 10, 2010 at 06:00 PM EST

On the eve of Veteran's Day, I wanted to write today with a simple message to our nation's veterans: thank you.

Over the past two years, I have joined with our First Lady to explore the issues faced by our service members and their families – while they are deployed and once they return home. In my work and travels, I am always inspired by the commitment of our military service members and truly grateful for al they do for our country.

This Administration is working hard to care for our service members and veterans – making historic investments in health, family support, education, and economic opportunity for our veterans – but there is a role for every one of us in showing support.

On Veteran's Day and every day, it's our sacred duty to honor the service of those who sacrifice for our country – and we all can play a role.

Through groups like MissionServe and opportunities at, Americans can find a way to help in their own communities. Please join me in this effort.



The Beginning of the End of the Tobacco Epidemic

by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius - Secretary of Health and Human Services

November 10, 2010

Today is the beginning of the end of the tobacco epidemic.  You may have already heard about the new dramatic graphic labels that are being proposed for every pack of cigarettes, which are the biggest step forward in 25 years to warn people about the dangers of smoking and help people stop before they start -- but that's only part of it.

Today, this administration, through the work being done at HHS, is unveiling its first ever comprehensive tobacco control plan – laying out strategic actions that will serve as a roadmap to reduce smoking rates, help tobacco users quit, and prevent children from starting to smoke in the first place.

Every day, nearly 4,000 kids under 18 try their first cigarette, and some 1,000 kids under 18 become daily smokers.  And 443,000 Americans die prematurely each year from smoking and second hand smoke exposure, making it our country's leading cause of preventable death.  It also costs our health care system almost $100 billion a year.

When this Administration took office, we decided that if these numbers weren't changing, our actions had to – which is why today marks an important milestone in protecting our children and the health of the American public.

The strategic action plan unveiled today includes a proposed rule issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) titled Required Warnings for Cigarette Packages and Advertisements.  Specifically, the proposed rule will drastically change the look and message of each pack of cigarettes by adding new graphic warning labels with pictures showing the negative health consequences of smoking, including some images of the damage that cigarettes do to our bodies to every pack.

When this rule becomes effective in 2012 , people who pick up packs of cigarettes are going to know exactly what risks they are taking. Ultimately, companies will be prohibited from manufacturing cigarettes without new graphic health warnings on their packages.

This rule is in addition to progress we've already made to encourage people to quit smoking, and to prevent them from ever starting, after historic legislation passed last June gave FDA the prohibiting marketing aimed at children.

And, for the first time, Medicare will cover tobacco cessation for all beneficiaries, allowing people to get help quitting tobacco before they get sick.

We are also funding comprehensive state and local programs around the country for reducing tobacco use – programs like the one in Ringgold County, Iowa, where they are using evidence-based tobacco control interventions to decrease tobacco use in low-income, rural populations.

These are just some of the strategic actions in our comprehensive tobacco control plan. 

Going forward, HHS has charted a clear path to ending tobacco use in our country.  We have a long way to go, but we won't rest until we've eliminated tobacco-related disease and suffering.  The prosperity and health of our country depends on it.

Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of Health and Human Services


Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps

Posted by Admiral Mike Mullen

November 10, 2010

Cross posted from the Department of Defense blog

For 235 years, United States Marines have earned a privileged place in our hearts.  For we know that when there is a tough job to do, we can “send in the Marines,” knowing that they will get the job done.

From Iwo Jima to Inchon, from Khe Sanh to Kandahar, Marines have always been ready to respond whenever and wherever the Nation calls...prepared to meet any challenge or foe...from sea to shore and beyond.

As long as the world is an unstable place, Marines will continue to fight and prevail with the high standards befitting their title...and with the spirit of the Corps that is in the DNA of every warrior privileged to wear the eagle, globe, and anchor.

To every Marine I say thank you. Thank you for your willingness to make the most profound commitment someone can make — to dedicate yourself completely to your service and your country.  I also want to extend a special thanks to your families as well.  The Marine Corps simply couldn't be what it is without the extraordinary love and support of our Marine Corps families.

This week, in gatherings large and small, you will come together to honor the rich heritage of the Corps and the proud legacy of the Marines who have gone before you.  On this occasion, a grateful Nation commends your service and joins you in celebration. ?On behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Happy Birthday and Semper Fidelis!

Admiral Mike Mullen is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff


From the Department of Homeland Security


Secretary Napolitano and USCIS Director Alejandro Mayorkas Announce Anti-Fraud Enhancements to E-Verify

WASHINGTON–Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Alejandro Mayorkas today announced the expansion of the E-Verify program's capabilities to include U.S. passport photo matching—further enhancing the integrity of the program by enabling E-Verify to automatically check the validity and authenticity of all U.S. passports and passport cards presented for employment verification checks.

"E-Verify is a smart, simple and effective tool that helps employers and businesses throughout the nation maintain a legal workforce," said Secretary Napolitano. "Including U.S. passport photo matching in E-Verify will enhance our ability to detect counterfeit documents and combat fraud."

"U.S. passport photo matching is another in the long line of enhancements we have made to improve the integrity of the E-Verify system," said Director Mayorkas. "Adding U.S. passport photos expands our current photo matching efforts and will play a significant role in preventing and detecting the use of fraudulent documents—all part of major anti-fraud initiatives undertaken by the Department."

Beginning today, E-Verify employers are now able to verify the identity of new employees who present a U.S passport or passport card by comparing that data with State Department records. Approximately 10 percent of all E-Verify queries currently provide a U.S. passport to establish both identity and employment authorization in order to prove employment eligibility.

Since September 2007, E-Verify has provided photo matching capabilities to employers throughout the nation to verify the identity of new employees when they presented employment authorization documents or permanent resident cards as proof of identity and work authorization for the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification.

E-Verify is a free, easy-to-use web-based system—operated by DHS in partnership with the Social Security Administration—that enables participating employers to electronically verify the employment eligibility of their employees. E-Verify is now used by more than 230,000 employers at more than 800,000 worksites.

For more information, visit


United States and Canada Meet for the 11th Cross-Border Crime Forum Ministerial

Officials Discussed Cross-Border Crime and Border Security

WASHINGTON—Attorney General Eric Holder, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General Rob Nicholson and Canada's Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews met today to enhance continued engagement between the two countries during the 11th United States-Canada Cross-Border Crime Forum (CBCF) Ministerial.

The annual CBCF focuses on enhancing cooperation on key cross-border crime and security issues, with a particular focus on cross-border investigations and the resulting prosecutions. The CBCF brings together senior public safety and law enforcement officials, and prosecutors to address a number of cross-border issues, including terrorism, mass-marketing fraud, interoperability, organized crime and others.

To better combat ever-evolving threats and transnational crime, the United States and Canadian officials highlighted the critical role of the CBCF in addressing the broadening scope of cross-border and homeland security concerns faced by both nations, and discussed streamlining information sharing and enforcement efforts, as well as enhancing the ability of both countries to identify and respond to a wide range of threats.

"The threats we face today are unprecedented, but they are not isolated. There's no question that our countries' security interests are intertwined," said Attorney General Holder. "By coming together, we are signaling our ongoing commitment to strengthen our important relationship and build on the progress that's been made in recent years."

"DHS remains committed to strengthening collaboration with our Canadian counterparts to combat terrorism and evolving threats in both nations," said Secretary Napolitano. "I look forward to continuing this historic partnership as we enhance our efforts to protect our citizens from terrorism and transnational crime while facilitating legitimate trade and travel along our shared border."

During the forum, officials underscored the importance of a shared vision for border security and highlighted progress made by the United States and Canada over the past year to safeguard the critical resources, infrastructure and citizens of both nations. They also discussed the report, Identity-Related Crime: A Threat Assessment, as well as joint cross-border operations, such as Shiprider, which stations joint law enforcement teams along the international maritime border.

"Close international co-operation plays an important role in protecting our two countries from the dangers of cross-border crime," said Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General Nicholson. "This meeting fostered that co-operation, and I am confident that we will continue to work together to ensure the safety and security of both the United States and Canada."

"This Forum is another demonstration of our Government's commitment to working with our longtime friend and ally to combat crime at our shared border. Our discussion focused on how we can build upon existing cooperation that addresses our mutual concerns, in a way that promotes competitiveness and economic prosperity. We face the same threats, and share the same concerns," said Canadian Minister of Public Safety Toews. "Joint partnerships, such as Shiprider, strengthen our joint ability to maximize law enforcement resources and make our communities safer. Meanwhile, initiatives such as the NEXUS program encourage free flows of legitimate trade and travel."

In addition to the meeting, Stephen Rigby, Canada Border Services Agency President; David Aguilar, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner; and John Morton, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director, participated in the official signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Sharing of Currency Seizure Information—announced by Secretary Napolitano and Minister Toews in July 2010. The MOU will help identify potential threats and assist in money-laundering and terrorist-financing investigations by creating a notification protocol for both countries when Canadian and United States border officers intercept more than $10,000.

The next United States-Canada Cross Border Crime Forum will be held in Ottawa, Ontario, in 2011.


From the FBI


Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges More Than 30 Members of Hunts Point Criminal Organizations with Distributing "Crack" Cocaine, Powder Cocaine, and Heroin

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, JANICE K. FEDARCYK, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI") , and RAYMOND W. KELLY, the Police Commissioner of the City of New York ("NYPD"), today announced the unsealing of four Indictments and one Complaint charging 33 members of criminal organizations based in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx with conspiracy to distribute "crack" cocaine, powder cocaine, and heroin. In a coordinated operation last night and earlier today, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers arrested 24 defendants in the Bronx. Four of the charged defendants were previously arrested. Five defendants remain at large. Most of the defendants are expected to be presented in Manhattan federal court later today.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA stated: "With these arrests, we have shut off yet another distribution channel for the poison that threatens New Yorkers and their communities. It is another example of our commitment to working with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to prosecute and punish those responsible for bringing illegal narcotics onto our streets."

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge JANICE K. FEDARCYK stated: "Today's arrests demonstrate a significant crackdown on criminal organizations and individuals who harbor the desire to distribute illegal narcotics. The effects of this type of activity are not only dangerous for those involved, but poisonous to society as a whole. Along with our fellow law enforcement partners, the FBI will continue to seek out those responsible for contaminating our streets and threatening the safety of our communities."

NYPD Commissioner RAYMOND W. KELLY said: "I want to commend our undercover officers, in particular, for the often dangerous work they undertake to check the scourge of addictive, illegal drugs and their inevitable nexus to violence. I also want to thank our federal partners for their dedication in prosecuting these drugs dealers." According to the Indictments, the Complaint, and other documents filed in Manhattan federal court:

Between March 2010 and July 2010, undercover officers with the NYPD made over 100 purchases of "crack" cocaine, powder cocaine, and heroin from drug dealers in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx. During the buys, the officers were able to purchase significant street level quantities of "crack" cocaine, powder cocaine, and heroin seven days a week, 24-hours a day.

OMAR GONZALEZ, a/k/a "O," NELSON VELEZ, a/k/a "Nell," JUAN CAMACHO, a/k/a "Pito," a/k/a "Papito Camacho," GERALDO MARTINEZ, a/k/a "Macho," DENISE ALAMO, NIVIA ALAMO, a/k/a "Nena," JIMMY ALAMO, a/k/a/ "Skinny," RICKY BELL, RAYMOND LOPEZ, a/k/a "Ray," ALEX AMANTE, JOSE RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a "Joey," LAWRENCE SIMMONS, a/k/a "Black," and MANUEL ROSA, a/k/a "Manny," are charged in an indictment with conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute "crack" cocaine. GONZALEZ and his alleged co-conspirators primarily operated in and around 621 Manida Avenue, Bronx, New York.

DARNELL OUTRAM, a/k/a "D," LERAY LANIER, a/k/a "Shorts," GARY BYNUM, a/k/a "G," TREVON NEDD, a/k/a "Hat Boy," and WILLIAM PEREZ, a/k/a "Biscuit," are charged in an indictment with conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute "crack" cocaine and heroin. OUTRAM and his alleged co-conspirators primarily operated in and around 625 Manida Avenue, Bronx, New York.

JIMMY FRANCO, a/k/a "Nino," STEVEN GUZMAN, a/k/a "Pauly," CHARLIE WAXTER, a/k/a "Umce," JAVIER ROSA, a/k/a "Javi," and IAN MILLIN, a/k/a "Akeil," are charged in an indictment with conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute "crack" cocaine and heroin. FRANCO and his alleged coconspirators operated in and around 885 Irvine Street, Bronx, New York.

RAFAEL ROJAS, a/k/a "Ke-Kay," ALEXI ROJAS, a/k/a "Hermano," ALVIN VICIOSO, a/k/a "Noni," EDGAR FELICIANO, a/k/a "Eggie," ARISTEDES COLUMBIE, a/k/a "Tito," JOSE VARGAS SANTOS, a/k/a "Tio," a/k/a "Jose L. Colon," JOSHUA NUNEZ, a/k/a "Primo," FREDDY BRATCHER, and FNU LNU are charged in an indictment with conspiring to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute powder cocaine and heroin. Rojas and his alleged co-conspirators operated in and around 754 Manida Avenue, Bronx, New York.

JASMINE BOSCH is charged in a Complaint with possessing with intent to distribute and distributing cocaine.

Earlier today, law enforcement officers searched five locations in the Hunts Point area from which certain defendants stored and/or distributed illegal narcotics or stored the proceeds of their illegal activity.

Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the FBI and the NYPD.

This case is being handled by the Office's Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys TODD BLANCHE, KAN M. NAWADAY, TIMOTHY T. HOWARD, and HADASSA WAXMAN are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictments and Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Name Age City and State of Residence Maximum Penalty



Bronx, New York

Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
GARY BYNUM, a/k/a"G"
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
RAFAEL ROJAS, a/k/a"Ke-Kay"
Bronx, New York
40 Yrs. Imp.
ALEXI ROJAS, a/k/a"Hermano"
Bronx, New York
40 Yrs. Imp.
ALVIN VICIOSO, a/k/a"Noni"
Bronx, New York
40 Yrs. Imp.
Bronx, New York
40 Yrs. Imp.
Bronx, New York
40 Yrs. Imp.
Bronx, New York
40 Yrs. Imp.
JOSHUA NUNEZ, a/k/a"Primo"
Bronx, New York
40 Yrs. Imp.
Bronx, New York
40 Yrs. Imp.
Bronx, New York
40 Yrs. Imp.
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York
Bronx, New York