Criminal Justice News

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Thinking Beyond Life



The October 26, 2013, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with Chief Michael T. Force and Assistant Chief Chris Digiuseppi, the authors of The Fallen: The Light Bringer: Book Two.

Program Date:  October 26, 2013
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: Thinking Beyond Life

About the Guests
Chief Michael T. Force, Lake Saint Louis Police Department, “is originally from Philadelphia but moved to Lake Saint Louis after retirement from the Marine Corps in 1992 after 22 years of service to our country. His career in the Marine Corps included 12 years as an enlisted Infantryman where he achieved the rank of Gunnery Sergeant followed by 10 years of service as a Military Policeman with retirement as a Captain. In 1992, Mike moved to Missouri to accept a position as Chief of Police of Lake Saint Louis, Missouri where he continues to serve his community in that capacity.

Mike is a graduate of the 152nd session of the FBI National Academy with over 30 years in Law Enforcement with numerous certifications in various areas of law, forensics, investigations and criminology. He is a life member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police where he chairs the Ethics Subcommittee of the Professional Standards, Image and Ethics Committee. He is a member of a number of professional boards and very active in veterans affairs and programs to help our Wounded Warriors and their families. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Oklahoma and a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Lindenwood University”

Assistant Chief Chris Digiuseppi, began his law enforcement career with the Lake Saint Louis Police Department in 1992.  “Throughout his career he’s held numerous position including the Department’s DARE officer, public relations officer, first line supervisor and shift commander, operations commander and currently Assistant Chief of Police. He is a graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command, 152nd session and a graduate of the FBI National Academy 215th session where he trained with their legal staff, communications division and behavioral science unit in various aspects of law enforcement including leadership, forensics and criminal investigations.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in human resource management and a Masters of Business Administration from Lindenwood University.” Chief Michael T. Force and Assistant Chief Chris Digiuseppi are the authors of The Fallen: The Light Bringer: Book Two.

According to the book description, “Police Lieutenant Alan Crane is back for the second installment in The Light Bringer trilogy. In The Fallen, our main character continues on his epic, supernatural journey chasing an answer to the question that has plagued him for too many years—Why do people die? Readers will follow Crane into another fantastic adventure beyond this world while delving deeper into the mystery of death. Good and evil collide once again as Alan Crane and his supernatural companion, Michael Simmons, discover that the darkness is now entering the world of the living. This story will take readers on an incredible quest that leads our heroes to seek the true motives of The Fallen. The question now lingering is just how it will all end.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life.  Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.
           
About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years.  He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University.  He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership.  Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One.  He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen from the Archive:

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
909.599.7530

God, the Gunman and Me



The October 19, 2013, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with law enforcement professional Jeanne Assam the author of God, the Gunman and Me.

Program Date:  October 19, 2013
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: God, the Gunman and Me

About the Guest
Jeanne Assam “is the police officer who shot and killed gunman Matthew Murray who entered new life church on Dec. 9, 2007 after he had shot 4 people in Arvada, killing 2, and wounding 2 others. Later that same day, Murray drove to new life church in Colorado Springs where he and Jeanne engaged in a shootout inside the church after Murray shot 4 more people, killing 2 sisters in the parking lot. Her background includes several years as a patrol officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, Criminal Investigator for the State of Colorado, and as a Parole Officer for the Colorado Department of Corrections.” Jeanne Assam is the author of God, the Gunman & Me.

According to the book description of God, the Gunman & Me, “In God, the Gunman and Me, Jeanne Assam recounts the actual events that occurred on that ill-fated day in early December, 2007, when a gunman came into a 10,000 member church in Colorado Springs, CO, firing a high-powered rifle. Interwoven throughout her account are glimpses of two pasts that echo the same depression, longing, and brokenness. Two people with remarkably different stories met for the first time in church. At that holy intersection, they pointed their guns at each other. Similar stories.  Different endings.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life.  Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.
           
About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years.  He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University.  He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership.  Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One.  He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

Listen from the Archive:

Program Contact Information
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA
909.599.7530

Friday, September 27, 2013

DEA Arrests Two Former US Soldiers and One Former German Soldier for Conspiracy to Murder DEA Agent



 Two Other Defendants, Former Members of the Armed Forces of Germany and Poland, Are Also Charged with Conspiracy to Import Cocaine

SEPT 27, 2013 New York – Michele M. Leonhart, the Administrator of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) and Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, today announced the arrests of three defendants – JOSEPH MANUEL HUNTER and TIMOTHY VAMVAKIAS, both citizens of the United States, and DENNIS GOGEL, a citizen of Germany. HUNTER is expected to arrive in the Southern District of New York this evening and will be presented before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Manhattan federal court tomorrow. VAMVAKIAS and GOGEL arrived in the Southern District of New York yesterday and were presented in U.S. Magistrate Court yesterday afternoon. As part of the same case, SLAWOMIR SOBORSKI and MICHAEL FILTER, citizens of Poland and Germany, respectively, were arrested in Estonia at the request of the United States on September 25, 2013.
HUNTER, VAMVAKIAS, and GOGEL are charged in five separate counts with conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States; conspiracy to murder a law enforcement agent and a person assisting a law enforcement agent; conspiracy to kill a person to prevent communications to law enforcement agents; conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence; and conspiracy to distribute cocaine on board an aircraft. SOBORSKI and FILTER are charged with conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States and conspiracy to distribute cocaine on board an aircraft. On September 25, 2013, the DEA’s Special Operations Division (SOD), Bilateral Investigative Unit (BIU) Narco-Terrorism Group (NTG), concluded a long-standing undercover operation conducted in Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and elsewhere.

HUNTER was arrested in Thailand; VAMVAKIAS and GOGEL were arrested in Liberia and all three subsequently were expelled to the United States. SOBORSKI and FILTER were arrested in Estonia, where they remain, pending extradition to the United States.

DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said: “The targets of this investigation were hardened global criminals involved in everything from drug and arms trafficking to contract assassinations. Besides being international cocaine traffickers, members of this criminal organization conspired in an elaborate scheme to murder a DEA Special Agent and an informant for a six figure payday. Their intent was to commit the most serious and ruthless crime that can be directed against any law enforcement officer, and one that has our highest investigative priority. I wish to thank our foreign law enforcement partners for their outstanding efforts and partnership in completely dismantling this sophisticated and dangerous international criminal enterprise.”

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “The bone-chilling allegations in today's Indictment read like they were ripped from the pages of a Tom Clancy novel. The charges tell a tale of an international band of mercenary marksmen who enlisted their elite military training to serve as hired guns for evil ends. Three of the defendants were ready, willing and eager to take cold hard cash to commit the cold-blooded murders of a DEA agent and an informant. Thanks to the determined, skillful and intrepid efforts of the DEA's Special Operations Division, an international hit team has been neutralized by agents working on four continents.”

According to the Indictment against HUNTER, VAMVAKIAS, GOGEL, SOBORSKI, and FILTER unsealed today:

All five defendants have previously served in the armed forces of their respective nations. HUNTER and VAMVAKIAS served in the U.S. Army until 2004; GOGEL and FILTER served in the German armed forces until 2010 and 2009, respectively, and SOBORSKI served in the Polish armed forces until 2011. HUNTER served as a sniper instructor and a senior drill sergeant, training other soldiers in marksmanship and tactics; VAMVAKIAS attained the rank of sergeant and served both as an infantryman and a military police officer; GOGEL, SOBORSKI and FILTER were trained as snipers.

Since leaving the U.S. Army in 2004, HUNTER has acted as a “contract killer” and successfully arranged for the murder of a number of people.

During meetings in Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, beginning in January 2013 and continuing through late September 2013, HUNTER communicated with two confidential sources (the “CSs”) working with the DEA, who purported to be Colombian narcotics traffickers. HUNTER agreed to serve as the head of security for the CSs’ purported narcotics trafficking organization, and assembled a “security team” consisting of VAMVAKIAS, GOGEL, FILTER, and SOBORSKI. HUNTER also told the CSs that he had previously been involved in contract killings – referred to as “bonus jobs” – and that some team members wanted to do as much “bonus work” as possible.

HUNTER and his co-defendants thereafter agreed, in meetings and communications with the CSs, to provide security and surveillance services to the narcotics trafficking organization. Furthermore, HUNTER, VAMVAKIS, and GOGEL agreed to commit murder-for-hire in Liberia by assassinating both a Special Agent of the DEA and a person who purportedly was providing information to the DEA about the CSs’ narcotics trafficking organization. In exchange for themurders, HUNTER, VAMVAKIAS, and GOGEL were together to be paid approximately $700,000, and HUNTER was to receive an additional $100,000 for his leadership role. Communications between the defendants and the CSs occurred by telephone, over e-mail, and in a series of surreptitiously audio-recorded and videotaped meetings over an approximately nine-month period.

HUNTER and his four co-defendants provided a variety of services to the CSs’ purported narcotics organization. In late March 2013, in Thailand, at HUNTER’s direction, GOGEL, FILTER, and SOBORSKI surveilled a vessel on behalf of the CSs’ purported narcotics trafficking organization. In April 2013, in Mauritius, at the direction of the CSs, GOGEL, FILTER, and SOBORSKI provided security for a meeting at which the participants discussed the distribution of illegal narcotics to the United States. In late June 2013, in the Bahamas, VAMVAKIAS, GOGEL, FILTER, and SOBORSKI conducted surveillance of a purported U.S.-registered aircraft at the direction of a third CS (“CS-3”) working with the DEA, who posed as a member of the CSs’ narcotics trafficking organization. CS-3 informed the defendants that the aircraft was to be loaded with 300 kilograms of cocaine to be shipped to New York.

With respect to the murder-for-hire scheme, in mid-May 2013, at a meeting with the three CSs in Thailand, HUNTER, VAMVAKIAS, GOGEL, and SOBORSKI were told that a “bonus job” – that is, a contract killing – was in the offing, due to a leak within the CSs’ narcotics trafficking organization. In late May 2013, in e-mail communications, HUNTER confirmed that his team would be willing to murder both a U.S. law enforcement agent and a source (a boat captain) who was providing information to U.S. law enforcement authorities. HUNTER confirmed by e-mail that his team would kill both the DEA agent and the informant who was providing information to law enforcement about the CSs’ narcotics trafficking organization. At a meeting in late June 2013, in the Bahamas, CS-3 explained to VAMVAKIAS and GOGEL that “the job is to kill a U.S. DEA agent and a source with the DEA,” who would be located in Liberia. VAMVAKIAS and GOGEL discussed the weapons that could be used and masks to be worn for the murders, and VAMVAKIAS stated that it would be better to “hit the agent first” and then “the snitch.” In early July 2013, HUNTER sent via e-mail a list of the items needed for the murders, including “[t]wo Submachine Guns with silencers . . .[t]wo .22 pistols with Silencers.”

In mid-August 2013, at a meeting in Thailand, HUNTER told CS-3 that VAMVAKIAS and GOGEL would commit the murders. HUNTER, VAMVAKIS, and GOGEL discussed in detail the weapons that would be used and the possibility of entering Liberia without having their passports stamped. They suggested that CS-3 fly them out of the country via private plane following the murders. VAMVAKIAS stated that among other weapons, a sub-machine gun and two .22 caliber pistols would be needed for the murders, and CS-3 agreed to deliver the weapons to Liberia. The next day, at a meeting with GOGEL, CS-3 confirmed that an order for the requested weapons had been made. Later that same day, GOGEL met again with CS-3 and provided CS-3 with two highly sophisticated latex facemasks, which can make the wearer appear to be of another race, for CS-3 to transport to Liberia.

In late September 2013, GOGEL and VAMVAKIAS arrived in Liberia to commit the planned murders-for-hire.

HUNTER, 48, VAMVAKIAS, 42, GOGEL, 27, FILTER, 29, and SOBORSKI, 40, have each been charged with conspiracy to import cocaine into the United States (Count One). HUNTER, VAMVAKIAS, and GOGEL are also charged with conspiracy to murder a law enforcement agent and a person assisting a law enforcement agent (Count Two); conspiracy to kill a person to prevent communications to law enforcement agents (Count Three); and conspiracy to possess a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence (Count Four). VAMVAKIAS, GOGEL, FILTER, and SOBORSKI are also charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine on board an aircraft (Count Five). Each count carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain.

The arrests and transfers of the defendants were the result of the close cooperative efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York; DEA’s SOD; DEA’s Bangkok, Ghana, Pretoria, Bucharest, Manila, Nassau and Copenhagen Offices; the Royal Thai Police Narcotics Suppression Bureau and Crime Suppression Division; Royal Thai Immigration; the Royal Thai Attorney General's Office; Republic of Liberia’s National Security Agency; the Republic of Liberia’s Attorney General's Office; the Estonian Police and Border Guard; the Estonian National Criminal Police, Investigative Bureau; the Estonian State Prosecutor’s Office; the Royal Bahamas Police Force and Drug Enforcement Unit; the Romanian National Police; Interpol; and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs.

This prosecution is being handled by the Office's Terrorism and International Narcotics Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Lockard, Aimee Hector and Anna Skotko are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty

Going Back to College



Going back to college to get a degree is something that many people in the work force have dreamed about. But for many people, it just wasn't plausible. Maybe it was because of money, or distance or time. Thankfully, now with programs being available online to distance learners to be completed at their own pace, more and more people are going back for that degree that they always wanted.

Distance education programs and online learning are helping those in the work force to get the training that they need to turn their job into a career. Even now, more and more universities are beginning to offer online programs and scholarships for distance learners. Grants are also available to those who are looking to further their career outside of a traditional brick and mortar college.

Choosing the right career is all about choosing the right degree. It is important to research the career path you are interested in, so that you know exactly what sort of academic credentials that you will need to get ahead in your field. These will differ slightly based on your location, and what exactly that you want to do. For instance, to become a private investigator in some counties you will need to find criminal justice graduate programs. In others, you may only need an Associates degree to get the exact same position.

A good online degree program should be transparent and easy to understand. Before ever signing up, you should know exactly what courses you will be required to take, and approximately how long it will take you to finish the program. Of course, with many programs offering students the chance to work at their own pace, these numbers may be relative. But an average completion time can give you an idea of about how long you will be going to school before you get your degree.