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Archive for February, 2013

MASSIVE CHINESE DRUG HAUL IN AUSTRALIA WORTH CLOSE TO $1B

A single phone call to police from an anonymous source sparked a year long investigation that netted Australia’s largest recorded ice seizure – 585 kilograms worth an estimated $438 million.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione told a press conference on Thursday the Joint Organised Crime Group, consisting of leading law enforcement agencies, would not have arrested the Asian drug syndicate’s three men without that simple tip off.
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“That one phone call was the one thread that allowed us to pull and unravel a syndicate that will be stopped forever.

“A member of the public had seen that things weren’t right at a particular location at a commercial premises and contacted the police,” he said.

The Asian Crime Squad began investigating the matter in September last year and  provided the vital ground work for other agencies to work up to the record haul, he said.

“As the sheer scale and complexity of this operation became apparent, we quickly involved our partner agencies,” he said

Mr Scipione said police are talking to Chinese authorities and investigations are continuing overseas with more arrests likely.

Three men face Central Local Court on Thursday after their arrests on Wednesday night when police searched six properties in Regents Park, Bexley North, Wakeley, Canley Heights, Beverly Hills and Ryde.

A 21-year-old Australian national, born in New Zealand, a 32-year-old Singaporean national and a 51-year-old Hong Kong man were arrested when attempting to pick up the drugs at a storage facility in West Ryde.

Police will allege the two foreign men arrived in Australia this year and a clandestine methamphetamine lab was also discovered.

AFP Commissioner Tony Negus said it was unclear how long the syndicate had been operating in Australia.

“There was suspicious activity and then there was good work by the police to go and talk to this individual and then take it to the next level of identifying much more suspicious activity,” he said

Mr Negus said the Sydney-end of the syndicate received the drugs disguised as cleaning chemicals shipped in containers from south China.

“We will allege there were a number of dry runs, the syndicate was testing the procedures of Customs and police and again it all started back with that one phone call,” he said.

Police intercepted the drugs, replaced them with a fake consignment and then monitored the men who collected the drugs from a Sydney wharf.

“These people were arrested when they left the warehouse with what they thought were the drugs and it was without incident,” he said.

Customs and Border CEO Michael Pezzullo said 85 per cent of detections come from ‘intelligence leads’.

“If you are really just screening materials you really are just looking for a needle not just in a hay stack but in millions of hay stacks, as there are millions of containers in Australia,” he said.

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LATEST TECH SOFTWARE TO AID POLICE WORK IN PREVENTING CRIME

Such a hypothetical scenario may seem like something out of a futuristic crime drama, but the technology is real, developed in a partnership between the US’s largest police department and Microsoft, and the latest version has been quietly in use for about a year.

The project could pay off in more ways than one: the NYPD could make tens of millions of dollars under an unprecedented marketing deal that allows Microsoft to sell the system to other law enforcement agencies and civilian companies around the world. The city will get a 30 per cent cut.

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The Domain Awareness System, known as the dashboard, gives easy access to the police department’s voluminous arrest records, 911 calls, more than 3000 security cameras citywide, number plate readers and portable radiation detectors. This is all public data – not additional surveillance.

Right now, it is used only in NYPD offices, mostly in the counterterrorism unit. Eventually, the system could supply crime-fighting information in real time to officers on laptops in their squad cars and on mobile devices while they walk the beat.

A video wall shows New York police officers an interactive map of an area in the city.A video wall shows New York police officers an interactive map of an area in the city. Photo: AP

“It works incredibly well,” said Jessica Tisch, director of planning and policy for the counterterrorism unit.

For example, officers used the system during a deadly shooting outside the Empire State Building in August. Dozens of 911 calls were coming in, and it initially looked like an attack staged by several gunmen. But officers mapped the information and pulled up cameras within 500 feet of the reported shots to determine there was only one shooter.

Analysts are cautious about the potential profits, saying that largely depends on Microsoft’s sales efforts and whether any major competition arises. While there are other data-drilling products made by other companies, they say the NYPD’s involvement could set the dashboard apart.


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“This is the kind of stuff you used to only see in movies,” said analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle, a technology analysis firm. “Getting it to work in a way that police departments can use in real time is huge.”

The venture began in 2009 when the NYPD approached Microsoft about building software to help mine data for the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, a network of private and public cameras and other tools monitored by the department’s counterterrorism bureau. Development cost the department between $US30 million and $US40 million, officials said.

“Usually, you purchase software that you try to work with, but we wanted this to be something that really worked well for us, so we set about creating it with them,” said Richard Daddario, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for counterterrorism.

Officers were involved throughout the process with the programmers, offering advice on what they need during an emergency.

“It was created by cops for cops,” Tisch said. “We thought a lot about what information we want up close and personal, and what needs to be a click away. It’s all baked in there.”

The system uses hundreds of thousands of pieces of information. Security camera footage can be rewound five minutes so that officers can see suspects who may have fled. Sensors pick up whether a bag has been left sitting for a while. When an emergency call comes in, officers can check prior 911 calls from that address to see what they might be up against.

Prospective clients can customise it to fit their organisation.

Dave Mosher, a Microsoft vice president in charge of program management, said the company started to market the system in August and is looking at smaller municipalities, law enforcement agencies and companies that handle major sporting events.

He would not say whether any clients have been lined up and would not give details on the price except to say that it would depend on how much customisation must be done.

Shawn McCarthy, an analyst with research firm IDC, described the partnership – and outcome – as unusual in the tech world. “I see huge potential, but so much depends on the price and competition,” he said.

No firm timetable has been set on when the dashboard will be rolled out to the entire 34,000-officer department.

AP

DIANNA GAY WRIGHT GETS HEAVY PRISON SENTENCE FOR CRIME

A WOMAN jailed for hacking off a man’s penis after he was killed has launched an appeal against her nine-year prison sentence.

Dianna Gay Wright admitted to cutting off Noel Clark’s genitals after two male associates allegedly bashed the Maryborough man to death in 2009.

In September 2012, Wright pleaded guilty to manslaughter and interfering with a corpse, and received a jail sentence of nine years.

Yesterday, the Department of Justice and Attorney-General confirmed Wright had filed an appeal against this sentence.A spokesperson for the department said the appeal was heard in Brisbane earlier this month, and the judgment has been reserved.

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When she was originally sentenced last year, the court heard Wright met Mr Clark at Maryborough’s Centrelink office in 2009 and drove him to her house with the knowledge two men were waiting to attack him.

Once inside Wright’s home, the men allegedly bashed Mr Clark, sprayed his face with a substance, tied him up and left him to die on the bathroom floor.

When one of the men checked his pulse and said “he’s dead”, they allegedly wrapped Mr Clark in a doona, placed him in the boot of their car and waited until after dark to drive the body out of Maryborough.

Wright followed in her car until the men allegedly pulled over on a section of road where she was “ordered” to cut off Mr Clark’s penis with a Stanley knife

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Brussels airport heist gets armed

gang $50 million- uncut diamonds

Michael Allan McCrae | February 19, 2013

On Monday night two cars with armed robbers penetrated the Brussels Airport, drove up to a Swiss plane being loaded with cargo and made off with $50 million in uncut diamonds.

Police said the heist was conducted with clockwork precision. The robbery took less than three minutes to complete.

The eight robbers were armed and hooded. The target was Helvetic Airways aircraft, which was completing a diamond consignment. There were passengers aboard the plane, but they were not able to see the incident that unfolded below them.

No shots were fired.

The robbers gained access to the airport by cutting a hole in the security fence. The robbery also included some precious metals.

NIGERIAN BLING KING & SCAMMER EXTRADICTED FROM AUSTRALIA TO USA

The thief that is Nigerian-born Tobechi Onwuhara scammer image www.crimefiles.net

He owned a hip hop record label and he lived the high life of luxury hotels, gambling, strippers and bling. But behind the glitz and the glamour Tobechi Enyinna Onwuhara was one of the FBI’s most wanted men, allegedly a fraudster who scammed at least $44 million through cyber crimes.

But the sophisticated con artist, who fled Florida in August 2008 amid an intense FBI investigation, has been caught in Sydney and sent back to the US to face a string of fraud charges.

Nigerian-born Tobechi Onwuhara, 33, was “provisionally arrested in response to a request from the United States Government” in December last year, according to a spokeswoman for the Australian Attorney-General’s department.

A spokeswoman for the AG’s department said Mr Onwuhara is to face prosecution in the US for fraud related offences, including identity fraud and computer fraud.

“On January 29, the Minister for Justice [Jason Clare] made a determination to surrender Mr Onwuhara to the US.

“As a matter of long standing practice, the Australian government does not comment on operational matters,” she said.

Fairfax Media understands Mr Onwuhara had been living it up in Sydney after disappearing in August 2008.

The FBI’s website now lists Mr Onwuhara as captured, but with scant detail of the arrest. They were offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

The source who tipped off Fairfax said Mr Onwuhara had been making regular trips to The Star casino as well as splashing cash at numerous popular nightclubs.

“He would bet at the Star under a different name, he was a regular, then one day he just disappeared and someone told us he wanted by the FBI,” a source said.

A spokeswoman for Echo entertainment, owner of The Star, did not return calls and emails. The US Consulate in Sydney also did not return calls.

An Australian Federal Police spokesman confirmed the AFP arrested Mr Onwuhara.

According to the FBI’s most wanted list. Mr Onwuhara is wanted for his alleged involvement in an elaborate scheme that defrauded the financial industry out of tens of millions of dollars.

“Onwuhara is a key member of a group of Nigerians who allegedly have been conducting fraudulent banking activities from Florida and Texas, since 2005,” the FBI’s most wanted website states.

“It is alleged that the group has been using online internet databases to steal victims’ identities.

“Once acquired, they allegedly use the victims’ information to gain access to the victims’ ‘Home Equity Line of Credit’ accounts and wire transfer the money to accounts mainly located overseas, some in the United States.”

Some of Onwuhara’s alleged co-conspirators have been arrested, inside and outside of the United States, the FBI’s website states.

Onwuhara was charged federally with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, and a federal warrant was issued for his arrest by the US District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, on August 1, 2008.
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MENTAL RETARD ANTHONY WATERLOW KILLS HIS FATHER & SISTER

A mentally ill man who stabbed his father and sister to death in their Sydney home was never deemed sick enough to be detained despite years of bizarre and threatening behaviour, an inquest has heard.

Anthony Waterlow killed his 68-year-old father, well-known art curator Nick Waterlow, and his sister Chloe Heuston, 36, at their Randwick home in Sydney 2009.

In 2011, he was found not guilty in the NSW Supreme Court of their murders by reason of mental illness.
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An inquest at Sydney’s Glebe Coroner’s Court heard on Monday that health professionals never detained Anthony under the Mental Health Act (MHA) despite years of “bizarre and often threatening” behaviour.

“At no time … was he judged to come within the test requiring him to be scheduled under the MHA,” counsel assisting the Coroner, Peggy Dwyer, said in her opening address.

She said a major issue at the inquest would be whether Anthony should have been sectioned under the act.

The inquest heard that Anthony, who sometimes spells his name Antony, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and believed his family was part of a plan targeting him.

It was also told that Anthony had for years suffered delusions and thought neighbours were “tormenting him”.

At one time in 2004, the inquest heard Anthony had claimed to hear neighbours talking about him and blowing smoke in his room and had thought he was being filmed and recorded.
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On another occasion, he was observed making a stabbing motion towards a neighbour’s property.

Ms Dwyer said the deaths of Nick and Chloe had “left a terrible hole” in the Waterlow family.

“They remain devastated and grief stricken by their deaths,” she said.

“They are also confounded as to how this would happen to a loving, gifted family, who had tried so hard to get Anthony help for may years.”

The inquest continues before deputy state coroner Paul Macmahon
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SYRIAN SNIPER ‘SALLY’ SEES & SHOOTS SEVEN SOLDIERS

ALEPPO, Syria: Her fame has spread throughout Aleppo. Her comrades have nicknamed her ”Guevara”, but to many of the city’s residents she is known simply as ”the female sniper”.

Standing stock still, her finger suspended over the trigger, she stares through the sight of her Dragunov rifle. Her view framed by the jagged concrete edges of the fist-sized hole cut into the wall of her hideout on one of the most dangerous front lines in Aleppo, Guevara, named after the Marxist revolutionary, watches the enemy – government soldiers – moving along the other side of the street.
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”I like fighting,” she says. ”When I see that one of my friends in my katiba [rebel brigade] has been killed, I feel that I have to hold a weapon and take my revenge.”

Dressed in green khaki trousers, a grey jumper dress, tight-fitting hijab and a camouflage combat jacket, Guevara, 36, cleans and loads her gun, sitting in a half-demolished building

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Despite the war, her eyebrows are perfectly plucked, and she wears blusher and a little eyeliner, small leather boots with heels, and a gold bracelet. A female fighter in Syria’s conservative Muslim society is rare, often considered improper. But Guevara commands the respect of her fellow fighters – some 30 men and boys, some as young as 16.

It is not easy to be a sniper, she explains. ”You have to be quick, careful and smart not to let them shoot you. And you need to be patient. I wait for hours at a time.”
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Through her peephole, she sees soldiers less than 200 metres away, mingling among the civilians trying to continue their livelihoods despite the war.

”The civilians go home in the late afternoon. When the streets clear it is a very good chance to shoot the soldiers. I think I have killed soldiers.

”You can never be 100 per cent sure that they are dead, but I have hit them at least four or five times.”

Her tone is dogmatic, almost fanatical: ”It makes you feel good. Whenever I hit one I shout, ‘Yes!”’

A former English teacher, she had children, a boy aged seven and a girl aged 10, but they were killed in an air strike that demolished their home months ago.

”My boy used to be frightened of the bombs, and ask me what was happening. I said, ‘I promise that I am going to defend your future’. Now, I will not forget my children’s blood and I promise to take revenge.”

A Syrian of Palestinian origin, Guevara learned how to fire a gun in Lebanon, in a military training camp run by the Palestinian militant faction Hamas.

In Syria, she has long fought for her cause: ”When I was a student in Aleppo University – years before the uprising began – we created an underground opposition newspaper.
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”We formed a political party for Palestinians and held secret, underground meetings to discuss how to overthrow Bashar al-Assad’s regime.”

They took part in the protests that began in March 2011, bought video cameras and filmed the suppression.

She left her first husband for not being sufficiently ”revolutionary”. When her second, the commander of her brigade, refused to let her fight with him on the front line, she threatened to leave him too.

”I said, ‘I have the strength to hold a gun, so why can’t I fight?”’

He trained her in the art of sniping. The uprising has not been without its nightmares.
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At night sometimes, she admitted, she wakes up crying, at her personal loss and the horrors she has witnessed.

”I have seen more than 100 bodies in the last few months.

”So many people were killed in shelling and air strikes. And I have had many near misses. Once a bomb exploded nearby, wounding people who I was with in a car and I thought, ‘Oh my God, death is near’.”

Telegraph, London
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THE SNIPER HERO WHO WAS CHRIS KYLE

Since retiring from the Navy SEALs, Chris Kyle, who was known as America’s deadliest sniper, would occasionally take fellow veterans shooting as a kind of therapy to salve battlefield scars.

Kyle, author of the best-selling book American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History, was with a struggling former soldier on just such an outing on Saturday, hoping a day at a shooting range would bring some relief, said a friend, Travis Cox.

But Texas authorities said Sunday that for unknown reasons, the man turned on Kyle and a second man, Chad Littlefield, shooting and killing both before fleeing.

“Chad and Chris had taken a veteran out to shoot to try to help him,” Cox said. “And they were killed.”

On Sunday, the police identified the shooter as Eddie Ray Routh, a 25-year-old veteran with a history of mental illness who had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The police offered no information about a possible motive.

A spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety’s Highway Patrol Division, Sgt. Lonny Haschel, said in a statement that Routh shot the men at about 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, at the Rough Creek Lodge, an exclusive shooting range near Glen Rose, about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth. Routh then fled in a pickup truck and was arrested on Saturday night at his home in Lancaster, a southern Dallas suburb. He has been charged with two counts of capital murder, Haschel said.

Cox, the director of a foundation that Kyle created, said he was not acquainted with Routh, but said that Kyle had devoted his life since his military retirement to helping fellow soldiers overcome post-traumatic stress.

In 2011, Kyle created the FITCO Cares Foundation, to provide veterans with exercise equipment and counseling. He believed that exercise coupled with the camaraderie of fellow veterans could help former soldiers ease back into civilian life.

The audiobook of Chris Kyle's autobiography.
The audiobook of Chris Kyle’s autobiography.

“He served this country with extreme honor, but came home and was a servant leader in helping his brothers and sisters dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder,” Cox, also a former military sniper, said by telephone.

Kyle, who lived outside of Dallas, had his own difficulties adjusting after retiring from the SEALs in 2009. He was deployed in Iraq during the worst years of the insurgency, perched in or on top of bombed out apartment buildings with his .300 Winchester Magnum.

He became proficient at his job, racking up more than 150 kills and becoming the scourge of Iraqi insurgents, who put a price on his head and reportedly nicknamed him the “Devil of Ramadi.”

He preferred to think of his job not as killing bad guys, but saving the good.

“I feel pretty good because I am not just killing someone, I am also saving people,” he said in a Jan. 2012 interview with The Dallas Morning News. “What keeps me up at night is not the people that I have killed. It is the people I wasn’t able to save.”

Manny Fernandez contributed reporting.

The New York Times

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