FBI agents plan a third day of digging Wednesday in suburban Detroit for the remains of former Teamsters union leader Jimmy Hoffa, who disappeared 38 years ago.
Authorities have pursued multiple leads into Hoffa’s whereabouts since his disappearance in 1975. He was last seen outside an Oakland County restaurant where he was to meet with a New Jersey Teamsters boss and a Detroit Mafia captain.
The latest tip about Hoffa’s remains came from reputed Mafia captain Tony Zerilli, who, through his lawyer, said Hoffa was buried beneath a concrete slab in a barn in Oakland Township, north of Detroit.
The barn is gone, but FBI agents have starting poring over the field where it was on Monday. The search was expected to resume after dawn Wednesday.
On Tuesday, authorities used a backhoe to dig and move dirt around in the section of land. Authorities also called in forensic anthropologists from Michigan State University and cadaver dogs from the Michigan State Police.
Hoffa’s rise in the Teamsters, his 1964 conviction for jury tampering and his presumed murder are Detroit’s link to a time when organized crime, public corruption and mob hits held the nation’s attention. Over the years, authorities have received various tips, leading the FBI to possible burial sites near and far.
In 2003, a backyard swimming pool was dug up 90 miles northwest of Detroit. Seven years ago, a tip from an ailing federal inmate led to a two-week search and excavation at a horse farm in the same region. Last year, soil samples were taken from under the concrete floor of a backyard shed north of the city. And detectives even pulled up floorboards at a Detroit house in 2004.
No evidence of Hoffa was found.
Other theories have suggested he was entombed in concrete at Giants Stadium in New Jersey, ground up and thrown in a Florida swamp or obliterated in a mob-owned fat-rendering plant.
Zerilli, now 85, was in prison for organized crime when Hoffa disappeared. But he told New York TV station WNBC in January that he was informed about Hoffa’s whereabouts after his release. His attorney, David Chasnick, said Zerilli is “intimately involved” with people who know where the body is buried.
Details are in a manuscript Zerilli is selling online.
Everyone has been wondering where has the LEGENDARY Anthony Santiago been? Well, I can tell you this, I am dating one new hunk of man since my husband, Georgie Girl – Santiago AKA Georgie “Justin” Bieber AKA Joystick Georgie has gone flaccid.
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Officials say one person was taken into custody following a “possible security threat” on a Denver-bound flight.
Denver International Airport spokeswoman Laura Coale says Frontier Airlines flight 601 from Knoxville, Tenn., landed safely at 7:30 p.m. MDT Friday and was moved to a remote location.
She says in a recorded statement that the FBI and police responded due to “a possible security threat on board,” and one person was taken into custody.
Coale says a police bomb squad also responded, but did not provide any more information on the nature of the possible threat.
Other passengers were interviewed by authorities.
Media reports say there were 136 passengers and five crew members aboard.
James “Whitey” Bulger’s racketeering trial took a new turn Thursday when jurors were shown machines guns and other weapons from what investigators said was his gang’s massive stockpile of weaponry.
Retired state police Col. Thomas Foley identified weapons hidden in several locations during a 2000 investigation, including in a shed behind a South Boston home owned by the mother of Bulger’s partner, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi.
Foley slowly and methodically identified dozens of guns through photographs. But there was a dramatic moment when prosecutor Fred Wyshak pulled out seven machine guns — one at a time — and asked Foley to identify them.
According to MyFoxBoston.com, Foley went on to explain the items that had been seized, including automatic machine guns, and illegal double-edged knives. The prosecution also had Foley review several weapons and masks found buried in Somerville, Mass. They included M-1 shotguns, rifles, and at least one machine gun.
Foley said Bulger’s gang collected fees known as “rent” or “tribute” from bookmakers, drug dealers and others to allow them to operate within their territory. Foley said investigators took aim at the bookmakers, hoping that they would lead them to the higher ups.
“What were the consequences of not paying a fee?” Wyshak asked.
“Well, it could range from being put out of business to taking a beating, or actually at times, some people were killed,” Foley said.
Bulger, the former leader of the Winter Hill Gang, is charged with a long list of crimes in a 32-count racketeering indictment, including participating in 19 killings in the 1970s and `80s. He was one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives after he fled Boston in 1994.
Bulger, now 83, was captured in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2011.
Foley’s testimony came after another retired state police officer, Lt. Robert Long, identified Bulger on several surveillance videos from 1980. The videos showed Bulger meeting with members of his gang, as well as members of the Italian Mafia.
Testimony from both men appeared to be part of an attempt by prosecutors to depict Bulger and his gang as violent, feared gangsters.
In opening statements to the jury Wednesday, prosecutor Brian Kelly said Bulger made millions through drugs, extortion and loan-sharking by instilling fear in drug dealers, bookies and others.
During cross-examination by Bulger’s attorney, Foley acknowledged that none of the weapons were found in Bulger’s house and neither his fingerprints nor DNA were found on any of them.
According to MyFoxBoston.com. the defense also referred to the book Foley wrote about his time investigating organized crime. They brought up a passage in the book where Foley describes taking one of Bulger’s associates, John Martorano, to his own dentist while in custody. Foley says he took him so the interrogation could continue.
In the book, Foley is quoted as joking about Martorano with the dentist, saying that the former hitman was up from Florida and probably killed 30 to 40 people. He then is quoted as saying, “But you filled that cavity, right?”
Foley said the quote was from his ghostwriter and that he did not say that to the dentist.
Foley also acknowledged that state police investigations were thwarted by Boston FBI agents who were protecting Bulger.
Prosecutors say Bulger was a longtime FBI informant who provided information on the Italian Mafia, a prime target of the Department of Justice at the time.
Bulger’s attorneys, however, say Bulger never worked as an FBI informant, but instead corrupted FBI agents by paying them to tip him off to search warrants, bugs and indictments.
The Associated Press also contributed to this report.
The Kentucky police department still mourning the ambush slaying of one of its officers has received a threat warning that more officers will be killed.
Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin said Tuesday his department received a recent letter threatening that “there are more to come.”
McCubbin says that was a reference to the ambush of Bardstown Officer Jason Ellis last month.
The chief says the threat was turned over to Kentucky State Police and the FBI.
Ellis — a K-9 officer — was hit with shotgun blasts after he got out of his cruiser to pick up tree limbs strewn on a highway exit ramp in Nelson County.
McCubbin has said he thinks Ellis was targeted in the slaying.
McCubbin says Bardstown police officers won’t retreat from doing their job.
As the highly anticipated trial of reputed mobster James “Whitey” Bulger gets under way, jurors will hear prosecutors and defense attorneys describe a man who has been a legendary figure in Boston for decades.
The two portraits will have nothing in common.
Prosecutors have said they will present evidence that Bulger, the leader of the violent Winter Hill Gang, participated in 19 killings in the 1970s and ’80s. They also plan to show the jury a 700-page file they say shows that Bulger, while committing a long list of crimes, was also working as an FBI informant, providing information on the New England Mob — his gang’s main rivals — and corrupting FBI agents who ignored his crimes.
Defense attorneys have made it clear that they plan to attack the credibility of three once-loyal Bulger cohorts who will be star prosecution witnesses: Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, Bulger’s former partner; John Martorano, a former hitman who admitted killing 20 people; and Kevin Weeks, a former Bulger lieutenant who led authorities to six bodies.
Opening statements are scheduled for Wednesday morning in federal court.
Bulger, now 83, was one of the nation’s most wanted fugitives when he fled Boston in 1994 after receiving a tip from his former FBI handler, John Connolly, that he was about to be indicted. He was finally captured in 2011 in Santa Monica, Calif., where he had been living with his longtime girlfriend in a rent-controlled apartment.
Connolly was convicted of racketeering for warning Bulger and later of second-degree murder for giving information to Bulger that led to the slaying of a Boston businessman in Miami.
Bulger’s lawyers have denied that he was ever an FBI informant and have indicated they will argue that Connolly fabricated informant reports in Bulger’s lengthy FBI file.
The defense may also present another side of Bulger seen by some residents of South Boston, where he was known for years as a kind of harmless tough guy who gave Thanksgiving dinners to his working-class neighbors.
Prosecutors, however, plan to call one family member of each of the 19 people prosecutors allege were killed by Bulger and his gang. Among the victims were two 26-year-old women who Bulger is accused of strangling.
The trial is expected to last three to four months.
Prosecutors have filed a federal criminal complaint against a man suspected of shooting his common-law wife on Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.
Alvin Roundtree is in custody Tuesday. His wife is in stable condition at a military hospital.
The complaint alleges that the 51-year-old carried a .45 caliber pistol onto Fort Sam Houston on Monday and got into an argument with his common-law wife. He then allegedly shot her multiple times. Federal prosecutors have charged him with domestic violence and Roundtree is scheduled to appear before a federal magistrate on Thursday.
If convicted, he could face 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Roundtree is in federal custody because the shooting took place on a military base, and the FBI is investigating.
Former District of Columbia Councilmember Michael Brown has pleaded guilty in federal court to a bribery charge.
Brown, who was charged with bribery on Friday, entered the plea Monday afternoon.
Prosecutors accused Brown of accepting $55,000 in cash payments from undercover FBI agents posing as businessmen seeking preferential treatment from the city government.
He lost his bid for a second term in November. He ran again for an open at-large seat but abruptly dropped out in April, citing personal and family matters.
Brown is the third current or former member of the council to be criminally charged since January 2012.
The 48-year-old Brown is the son of Ron Brown, who was U.S. commerce secretary under President Bill Clinton. Ron Brown died in a 1996 plane crash in Croatia while leading a trade mission.
A pregnant Texas actress who first told the FBI that her husband sent ricin-tainted letters to President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, then allegedly said she sent them because her husband “made her” do it, was charged Friday with threatening the president.
Shannon Guess Richardson, 35, appeared in a Texarkana courtroom after being charged with mailing a threatening communication to the president. The federal charge carries up to 10 years in prison, U.S. attorney’s office spokeswoman Davilyn Walston said.
Richardson, a mother of five who has played bit roles on television and in movies, was arrested earlier Friday for allegedly mailing the ricin-laced letters last month to the White House, Bloomberg and the mayor’s Washington gun-control group. The letters — which authorities determined were mailed from Richardson’s hometown of New Boston or nearby Texarkana and postmarked in Shreveport, La. — threatened violence against gun-control advocates, authorities said.
Her court-appointed attorney didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.
According to an FBI affidavit, Richardson contacted authorities on May 30 to implicate her estranged husband, Nathaniel Richardson. She later failed a polygraph test, and investigators looking into her story found numerous inconsistencies, the document said.
Among the inconsistencies: Nathaniel Richardson would have been at work at a time when Internet searches tied to the letters were made on the couple’s laptop and at the time they were postmarked.
During an interview with authorities Thursday, Shannon Richardson admitted mailing the letters knowing they contained ricin, but she said her husband had typed them and made her print and send them, the affidavit said.
No charges have been filed against Nathaniel Richardson. His attorney, John Delk, told The Associated Press Friday that his client was pleased with his wife’s arrest and was working with authorities to prove his innocence.
Delk said he wasn’t anticipating that Nathanial Richardson would be arrested. “But until I’m sure they’re not looking at him being involved, I can’t say much more,” he said.
Delk previously told the AP that the couple is going through a divorce and that the 33-year-old Army veteran may have been “set up” by his wife.
FBI agents wearing hazardous material suits were seen going in and out of the Richardsons’ house on Wednesday in nearby New Boston, about 150 miles northeast of Dallas near the Arkansas and Oklahoma borders. Authorities conducted a similar search on May 31.
The house is now under quarantine for “environmental or toxic agents,” according to a posting at the residence. Multiple samples taken from the couples’ home tested positive for ricin, according to the affidavit. Federal agents also found castor beans — the key ingredient in ricin — along with syringes and other items that could be used to extract the lethal poison, the affidavit says.
Bloomberg issued a statement Friday thanking local and federal law enforcement agencies “for their outstanding work in apprehending a suspect,” saying they worked collaboratively from the outset “and will continue to do so as the investigation continues.”
Shannon Richardson appears in movies and on TV under the name Shannon Guess. Her resume on the Internet movie database IMDb said she has had small television roles in “The Vampire Diaries” and “The Walking Dead.” She had a minor role in the movie “The Blind Side” and appeared in an Avis commercial, according to the resume.
She was seen leaving a Texarkana hospital on Friday shortly before the court hearing, though it was unclear why she was there. A hospital spokeswoman didn’t return a phone message seeking comment.
Delk said the Richardsons were expecting their first child in October. Shannon Richardson also has five children ranging in age from 4 to 19 from other relationships, four of whom had been living with the couple in the New Boston home, the attorney said.
Nathaniel Richardson works as a mechanic at the Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas, a facility that repairs tanks, Humvees and other mobile military equipment. He and Shannon were married in October 2011.
According to court records, Shannon Richardson is in federal custody. The government is requesting that she be held without bond, and a detention hearing is scheduled for next Friday, the records show.
The FBI is investigating at least three cases over the past two months in which ricin was mailed to Obama and other public figures. Ricin has been sent to officials sporadically over the years, but experts say that there seems to be a recent uptick and that copycat attacks — made possible by the relative ease of extracting the poison — may be the reason.
If inhaled, ricin can cause respiratory failure, among other symptoms. If swallowed, it can shut down the liver and other organs, resulting in death. The amount of ricin that can fit on the head of a pin is said to be enough to kill an adult if properly prepared. No antidote is available, though researchers are trying to develop one.
An FBI agent came close to shooting a Detroit cop at a gas station Wednesday in a scenario fit for the movies.
The police officer’s bosses came up with the idea to simulate a purse snatching and then invite a local television crew to film the fictitious crime, MyFoxDetroit.com reported.
An off-duty FBI agent, pumping gas at the time, saw the commotion and quickly pulled out a weapon to shoot the officer before being alerted that the fake perpetrator was actually a cop, according to the station.
“The event takes place. The officer takes the purse, runs around the gas station. As he’s running, an off-duty FBI agent is pumping gas. He witnesses the whole thing. He gives chase. He pulls his weapon, and as he turns the corner around the gas station, he’s stopped by another officer, who identifies herself as a police officer and don’t shoot, don’t shoot, this is a scenario,” Inspector Shawn Gargalino of the Detroit Police Department told the station.