he has never seen such egregious action



He commented
that in his thirty years as an attorney, he has never seen such egregious
action; an orgy at government expense, drugs and prostitutes. — ASSISTANT
U.S.
ATTORNEY JESSE FIGUEROA IN THE OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION



JULY 23, 2007 – THE
BORDER REPORT

Posted by michael under General News

http://borderreporter.com/blog/?p=245

 

DROPPED
INVESTIGATIONS, AN FBI-SPONOSRED ORGY, A COVER-UP

PART TWO

He commented
that in his thirty years as an attorney, he has never seen such egregious
action; an orgy at government expense, drugs and prostitutes. — ASSISTANT
U.S.
ATTORNEY JESSE FIGUEROA IN THE OFFICIAL INVESTIGATION

Yeah, okay, so it’s mañana plus four. Sorry, lots going on; but
let’s get right back to Operation Lively Green.

Last week, I detailed the possible sexual assault of a woman by
confidential informants involved in the largest corruption sting in FBI
history. This week, we’ll take a look at why I have to use the conditional
“possible.”

The FBI used three confidential witnesses in the sting: Frank
Arvizu, his brother Armando Arvizu and Hal Turner. In October 2002, the FBI had
11 targeted officials run cocaine from
Arizona
to
Las Vegas.
Frank, Armando and Hal were in on the sting.

Each of the targets received a partial payment for their services
from the undercover FBI agents on October 16, 2002. The rest of the money would
be paid the next day.

As part of the scam, the FBI had arranged for a stay in the
Presidential Suite at the MGM Grand Hotel in Vegas. Frank, Hal, Armando and six
of the targets were in the suite at different times.

Three federal prosecutors got wind of the sexual assault of a
prostitute in the room. They sat down with Frank on
March 18, 2004,
asking him if there was anything they should know about what happened in the
suite.

U.S.
Attorney Paul Charlton took one look at the case, the “possible” sexual assault
of a passed-out woman, and slammed the case down. He contended that there was
no way his office would take the case because the confidential informants were
damaged and the FBI tried to cover up the case.

The corruption sting had turned into a fiasco. The Office of Inspector
General was called in, the FBI opened their own investigation – and
subsequently closed the case.

According to the investigation, released to The Border Report under
the Freedom of Information Act, this is what happened to case:

First, a brief explainer. The FOIA is a redacted copy; the names of
the confidential witnesses and the FBI agents were blocked out. Typical.

However, Charlton’s letter to the FBI names two of the agents as Tim
Jacobson and Robert Zelina. Because I don’t know if they were specifically
involved, I have to refer to the agents in the FOIA as (The FBI agent).

Two agents documented the FBI-sponsored orgy but declined to tell
the federal prosecutors that the targets and the informants had pulled a train
on a woman who may have been unconscious.

According to the OIG investigation, two FBI agents were noticed for
failing to report that the snitches had engaged in criminal activity. I presume
it’s the same two agents.

On Aug.
31, 2004
, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s
Phoenix Field Office, Charlene Thornton, recommended that no action be taken
against the FBI agents.

Here’s the kicker, the issue at stake wasn’t the “possible” sexual
assault of the woman; her case was never investigated. To this day, nobody knows
what her name is. According to the Las Vegas Police Department, no assault
charges were filed for Oct. 16 or 17, 2002, the day the orgy took place.

Instead, what was being argued between FBI and Charlton was a slice
of law embedded in the Justice Department’s Guidelines Regarding the Use of
Confidential Informants.

The law states: Whenever a Justice Department Law Enforcement Agency
has reasonable grounds to believe that a Confidential Informant … has engaged
in any unauthorized criminal activity, a Special Agent in Charge of the JLEA
shall immediately notify the following Chief Federal Prosecutors of the CI’s
criminal activity … ”

A separate section of the law requires that local prosecutors in
which the crime took place also be notified.

Instead, Thornton
pushed for the allegations of misconduct against the two FBI agents be buried.

The OIG determined that the two FBI agents did not have “first-hand
knowledge of the events.” To break down their line of reasoning, the FBI agents
were told that a rape may have occurred, they neglected to tell the prosecutors
about it, but, because they didn’t witness the orgy, they weren’t at fault.

Federal prosecutor Jesse Figueroa was brought in.

“Figueroa advised he believed a prostitute was assaulted and
sodomized in the suite by the confidential witnesses and the subjects. He does
not believe the case can proceed. He commented that in his thirty years as an
attorney, he has never seen such egregious action; an orgy at government
expense, drugs and prostitutes. He decided not to prosecute the case based on
the credibility of the confidential witnesses.”

OIG then brought in federal prosecutor James T. Lacey. He’s even
more blunt, accusing the FBI of doing nothing about the rape.

“Lacey said that based on interviews, a girl that (one of the
targets) brought to the room was “passed out” during these acts. Lacey believed
that the subject’s defense team would have received all the information about
the events in Las Vegas and feared that the DOJ and FBI could be viewed as engaging
in misconduct as the defense might argue that the DOJ and FBI knew or should
have known a rape of the stripper took place and the FBI and DOJ did nothing
about it.”

One of the snitches told the OIG that the FBI agents knew about the
incident since the entire group was being monitored. Two FBI agents showed up
at his house two weeks later. He showed them the pictures of the orgy. The FBI
agent admonished him. After they left, the snitch destroyed the photographs. He
told the OIG the FBI agents never told him to dispose of the photos.

“COULD NOT
SPECIFICALLY RECALL”

Another of the snitches was brought in. The FBI agent asked him if
he had ever been cited or arrested by a cop during a party on
Oct. 17, 2002.
“(He) said he was not specifically asked by (the FBI agent) whether he paid for
acts of prostitution for himself or others.”

The FBI agent was questioned.

(The FBI agent) stated that after the debriefing, he began to hear
jokes and banter from other FBI agents in reference to the confidential
witnesses and subjects’ behavior in the early morning hours of
Oct. 17, 2002.
He heard that there was an orgy, that prostitutes were present, that both
confidential witnesses and subjects were naked and a fight broke out and
someone’s nose was broken and that a police officer came but took no action.

“Although the confidential witnesses were present, no clear
allegation arose which linked the confidential witnesses involvement in the
crime of prostitution or any other felony crime. Since I had no direct
corroboration based on my monitoring, … I thought these general conversations,
banter, and jokes, were just unsubstantiated talk.”

Here’s where the FBI started playing with the information.

During a de-briefing, the FBI agent saw the photos. “He could not
tell if she was unconscious. He asked them what they were and was told that
they were taken at the party. (The FBI agent) did not take possession of the
photographs because he did not believe they had any evidentiary value and
considered them private property. (The FBI agent) never communicated to the
confidential witnesses to destroy the photographs. He could not specifically
recall but it was possible that the confidential witnesses may have discussed a
woman being passed out and a number of guys lined up behind her.”

It wasn’t until Charlton went after the FBI that the agent realized
he was being lied to by the confidential witnesses. He stated that he would
have reported any criminal misconduct had he known. He also told OIG he was not
derelict in the execution of the investigation.

A little pontification? Sure, why not.

One FBI agent hears banter and jokes about the passed out woman.

Here’s an example of one of these jokes from the FBI video of the
aftermath:

Voices are heard on the video: “I checked to see if the bitch was
breathing.”

“All of you are going to jail.”
“Bitch half dead.”
“She should get an Oscar.”
“Two men in line by the woman.”
Darius Perry says: “Fuck all the whores you want.”
Another male voice: “Even if they are passed out.”
Another: “(Armando) gets up and bitch looks dead.”

Funny stuff but nothing interesting. Nothing concrete here, of
course.

OIG brought in the second FBI agent. His story was even better.

“To the best of (his) recollection, he ‘did not hear or learn, at
the time, that the confidential witnesses or subjects paid these women to
engage in sexual activities.’

“It is evident to me now that these women were prostitutes hired by
the subjects, but not the confidential witnesses, according to information I’ve
learned indirectly.’”

Analysis by the investigators:

There is no disputing the fact that there were prostitutes … But the
evidence does not support a finding that (the FBI agent) failed to report a
possible rape or that confidential witnesses engaged in criminal activity.”

LEGALESE

The report makes that decision off two conclusions:

The charge that the first agent failed to report criminal activity
is unsubstantiated.

The second agent says he heard about the women coming up to the room
but did not know they were being paid.

With no knowledge, no reasonable grounds can be established. With no
reasonable grounds, no cause to ask more questions. No more questions, no
investigation. No investigation, no case.

End of story.

In summary:

On Oct.
16, 2002
, three snitches, the Arvizu brothers and
Hal Turner, and eleven targeted officials ran a load of cocaine up to
Las
Vegas
.

To celebrate, the group ran a load of women up to the room. One of
the women was draped over a chair. A group of the men formed a line behind her.
They took turns sodomizing her. Others came in, they pressed their cocks
against her face and against her mouth, snapping pictures.

Someone touched her arm to make sure she was still alive because
“bitch half dead.”

The group makes jokes about her. Weeks later, FBI agents in the Tucson
field office are still laughing and joking about it.

Nothing is done about the “possible” rape. Nobody bothers to
investigate the case.

The U.S.
Attorney’s Office turned down the largest corruption sting in FBI history
because Charlton refuses to take testimony from snitches who may have
participated in a gang-rape and sodomy of an unconscious woman.

He called for a full investigation.

The “full investigation” consisted of questioning five people, most
who can’t seem to recall who said what. The top FBI boss in
Arizona
shut down the case.

Case closed.

Except, and there’s always more, for one more thing.

But that’ll have to wait until tomorrow. A U.S.
tomorrow, I promise.

– Michael Marizco

 

 

JULY 24, 2007 – THE
BORDER REPORT

Posted by michael under General News

http://borderreporter.com/blog/?p=247

 

 

OPERATION
LIVELY GREEN

PART THREE
A FLASH OF CASH, HOT SEX AND COLD BEER: HOW THE FBI BOOSTED THE
CORRUPTION OF THE WEAK TO
JACK
ABRAMOFF HEIGHTS

The lawyer for an Operation Lively Green defendant argued in court today
that the FBI plied his client with cash, beer and sex to get him to run a load
of cocaine.

The case of the latest defendant gives some pause to thought about the FBI’s
motives behind the cocaine sting operation.

It’s the largest corruption sting in the history of the FBI; the agency told
Congress that they were up to 99 cases now.

But rather than an investigation, the sting case operated more like a
peer-to-peer computer virus, spreading from one person to the next, flashing
cash, setting up a drug run, then “flipping” the guilty into a snitch to co-opt
yet more colleagues.

The entire sting has the air of a numbers-pump, beefing up the stats for
Justice Department, or maybe a Milgram experiment, to see how far a person
will go when presented with the depraved.

The formula was simple: take a group of young people, not too bright, ply
them with booze and sex, then flash some cash around and see who takes the
bait.

Consider the case of Phillip Varona, sentenced this morning to 30 months in
prison.

A silvery chain manacled his ankles, his hands clasped behind him, his body
shrouded in a bright orange prison jumpsuit, Varona apologized to U.S. District
Court Judge Cindy Jorgenson for a growing string of crimes.

“You’re out of control,” Jorgenson said.

Varona, 24, is the meter-maid of the Nogales,
Ariz. Police Department, convicted on
conspiracy to commit bribery of a public official.

He’s a mess and, on a side note, perhaps Justice Department should be
looking at the hiring standards of municipal police departments instead of
busting low-end suckers.

According to his sentencing:

On June 12, 2002, Varona
ran ten keys of cocaine from Tucson
to Phoenix, in uniform, for which
he was paid $7,000.

A month later, he did it again, running another ten keys from Nogales
to Tucson for $8,000.

Then he recruited another cop, Eddie Rosas, to run more loads.

Then in June 2004, he was sentenced to probation on a domestic assault
charge.

To top it off, Varona is currently facing charges in superior court for
possession with intent to sell 120 pounds of dope; he was arrested in February
2005 on that charge.

It’s hard to be sympathetic.

Until you consider the Lively Green set-up.

Defense attorney Roberto Montiel argued that Varona was 19 at the time of
the set-up.

He was approached by Leslie Hidalgo, 26, a private first class in the
Arizona Air National Guard.

One thing led to another and soon, an informant named “Frank” and another
man who claimed to be Hidalgo’s uncle (he was also a snitch), joined Hidalgo
and Varona in Nogales, Sonora, drinking beer and setting up the deal. (Frank, I
presume, is Frank Arvizu, identified in investigative reports as the informant
who led a group of guys like Varona to Las Vegas
where a woman was “possibly” sexually assaulted.)
A few days later, Hidalgo called
Varona and – depending on whom you believe, the United
States or Varona’s lawyer – she either fell
for Hidalgo and started sleeping
with him, or, desperate perhaps to get out of her own hole, started sleeping
with him under the encouragement of the FBI, using her body to ply him when he
wavered.

“I’m not trying to excuse Philip, but the bait that was used, 19 years old,
young man, alcohol; Phillip took the bait and he swallowed it, hook, line and
sinker,” Montiel said.

“That makes Phillip guilty but I think the government should not be involved
in baiting,” Montiel said.

Jorgenson dismissed Montiel’s claim that Varona suffered a learning
disability, saying, “it was probably immaturity and impulisivity.”

But, she did call on prosecutor John W. Scott of the Public Integrity
Section of the Criminal Division, to answer the charges of the trip to Mexico.

Scott, who’s been working this case ever since former U.S. Attorney Paul
Charlton refused to take the case because of the dirty
snitches the government was using, gave an interesting interpretation.

“Mrs. Hidalgo is a private
citizen and Mr. Varona is a private citizen,” Scott said. “What they did
together was their business.”

The arguments are shaky all around in Operation Lively Green. The defense
argues that Varona was plied with liquor, cash and warm thighs. The prosecutor
argues that Varona chose for himself when he took the money.

The premises are even more shaky. The defense argues that his client suffers
from a learning disability and repeatedly referred to Varona as a child. The
prosecutor argues that Varona was in control of his own decisions and
demonstrated complicity by pointing out that Varona picked a spot in his own
police cruiser where the cocaine could be safely stashed.

But Jorgenson chose an interesting argument with which to sentence Varona.

Starting at level 32 of the sentencing guidelines, she could have subtracted
three because he accepted responsibility, then added one for his prior criminal
history (because he still hasn’t been sentenced for the weed offense, she
couldn’t take that sentencing into consideration).

Under normal guidelines, Varona faced 7.25 to 9 years in prison.

But the plea agreement called for a maximum 5 years while probation
recommended a little over three.

The low-end sentence was given, two-and-a-half years in prison, a $15,000
fine and three years probation.

Her premise was fascinating, and seemed to acknowledge heavy government
intervention in a fake coke sting.

“There was no risk of circulation of the cocaine … and it occurred in 2002
and here we are in 2007,” Jorgenson said.

In the end, Jorgenson fell beautifully between what Varona and the United
States wanted.

Her acceptance of the plea agreement suggests two realities were at issue in
the FBI sting:

1) Operation Lively Green was never a corruption issue, it was a set-up by
the FBI.

2) In his mind, Varona thought he was running loads of coke for a drug
cartel; his immaturity and foolishness makes him corrupt.

Operation Lively Green flashed a lot of cash around. The, ummm, less
brilliant, took the bait. But does it weed out corrupt public officials or
simply snatch the weak?

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales once compared Lively Green to the busting of Jack Abramoff and the prosecution of
former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio.

I disagree; Lively Green fell dangerously close to entrapment and suckered a
lot of people prone to stupid decisions. Varona is no Abramoff.

Stay tuned for Part Four, where we look at how desperate the FBI became to
build Operation Lively Green.

– Michael Marizco

 

 

… NIGHT shift.

 

 

 

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