Crimes and Their Punishments – Through the Ages

Punishments for Crimes through the ages – from the bizarre to outrageous, from the sublime to the ridiculous. We don’t know how lucky we are!

Many of us are apt to complain about sentences handed out by our Courts for crimes these days – too harsh, too lenient. But a quick look at some punishments for crimes through the ages, including in some countries today, we should really consider how much we really have to complain about.

Not only have punishments been truly shocking (and in some instances still are), but even some of the crimes are truly unbelievable.

Many Sydney criminal lawyers would have had their work cut out for them if some of these historical crimes were still on the statute books! Lucky for us that our complaints about the justice systems these days are limited to whether an offender should be given a jail sentence or community service, or whether a 2 year sentence is sufficient or whether 5 would have been better, and so on.

Thank goodness we don’t have to contend with crimes for which the penalty is being tortured to death by some truly unimaginable means. Criminal lawyers in Australia, as in Europe, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and others, these days don’t have to plead for the type of mercy that offenders of times gone by had to. And of course, some of these barbaric practices do still exist today in other parts of the globe, as you can see below.

Some Crimes and Some Punishments You Won’t Believe

Take a look …

Crimes and Their Punishments

'Everyone thought we could ride this out': Inside the final months of Cambridge Analytica

Cambridge Analytica

  • Cambridge Analytica staffers did not believe the allegations about the company until almost the very end.
  • Two Cambridge Analytica insiders that Business Insider spoke to describe the final months at the firm before it filed for bankruptcy.
  • The company’s management held a constant stream of “town hall” meetings with staffers to wave off the news reports and allegations, and staffers took the  leaders at their word.

When Cambridge Analytica’s London offices were first raided by government authorities, the mood among employees was surprisingly cheerful.

Cambridge Analytica had become publicly embroiled in a media firestorm days earlier as news reports revealed how it sought to manipulate American and British voters by using the personal data of more than 87 million Facebook users.

But there was a sense of relief among Cambridge Analytica staffers when they realized the official visitors who’d swarmed their workplace belonged to the Information Commissioner’s Office — the agency tasked with protecting data privacy in the UK — rather than being “real” investigators. Staffers made jokes about the seemingly unthreatening and bumbling nature of their visitors, taking great pleasure in pointing out various “ICO fails.”

“It was quite fun because we went through the office and saw all the fails the ICO had,” one former Cambridge Analytica employee recalls. “Like, they took our servers but couldn’t get into them, because we used full disk encryption.”

The attitude was not so much temerity, as simple naiveté.

Business Insider spoke to two Cambridge Analytica employees who were at the company during the final days before it declared bankruptcy and shut down. Both employees, who wished to remain anonymous, described a culture in which rank-and-file staffers remained surprisingly loyal through the end, accepting the word of their managers as gospel and dismissing unwelcome media reports.

“Everyone thought we could ride this out,” the other employee said

Internal ‘town hall’ meetings dismissing the news reports became an almost daily occurrence

Facebook Zuckerberg Privacy Hearing Day 2 GettyThe week before the initial story broke, executives gathered employees for an “emergency town hall meeting.” In the meeting, Cambridge Analytica’s leadership warned that a “disgruntled former employee” had talked to the media. But they told everyone not to worry; the story wasn’t going to be a big deal, according to an employee at the meeting.

As the controversy around Cambridge Analytica grew, internal town hall meetings became the norm, both employees said. After each new story about the company was published — which at some points was daily — executives would gather everyone to explain what the latest accusations were and how Cambridge Analytica was going to defend itself. 

The narrative executives told employees was a version of the company’s public defense: the media was out to get them, Cambridge Analytica did nothing wrong.

The company’s ties to the Trump campaign and to high profile conservatives like Steve Bannon provided plenty of reason for a political motive. Many employees even identified as left-wing or progressive, one employee said, and rationalized the political work they were doing as part of the job. Especially those who didn’t work with political clients, the firm’s links to Bannon, Republican mega-donors Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the Trump and Cruz campaigns, and the Leave EU campaign seemed distant to them.

Indeed, even as a series of emails, witnesses, and other documents surfaced that seemed to corroborate the initial news reports, most rank and file employees believed what their superiors were telling them. There were some rumblings about quitting, but most of the insiders, in words and actions, remained faithful. 

Employees felt especially confident following Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before the US Congress and British Parliament. Employees clung to the fact that several politicians seemed to have a limited understanding of the technology behind Facebook and Cambridge Analytica.

The undercover videos were the turning point

(L R) Turnbull and Nix Cambridge AnalyticaThe mood changed quickly after British broadcaster Channel 4 released a series of undercover videos featuring CEO Alexander Nix. The video appeared to show Nix describing controversial tactics for landing potential clients and manipulating elections, including entrapping political opponents with sex workers.  

While the Facebook user data scandal was seen as smoke and mirrors by Cambridge staffers, the Channel 4 videos gave employees physical evidence of the data firm’s alleged improprieties. The day the videos were released, some employees were watching them in the office and discussions of leaving ramped up. 

“No one wanted to work for him anymore,” one employee said, referring to Nix.

The fallout from the videos toppled Nix, who told employees himself during a town hall meeting that he had been removed by the company’s board of directors. Since the meeting took place at the end of the day in London, dejected employees went straight home.

Still, employees hoped that the media storm would eventually die down with Nix out of the picture, even as the firm’s business was evaporating quickly. 

Trying to save the business

Almost immediately after the scandal became public, nearly all of the firm’s commercial clients — which included New York University’s Langone hospital, The Economist, and The Financial Times, according to NBC News — left immediately.

About a dozen clients stayed with Cambridge Analytica and employees continued working for them as best they could. But their ability was hampered because Facebook had cut off the company’s access to its platform, so no one was able to place targeted Facebook ads. The company tried to contact Facebook about the issue, but no one at the social media giant was returning any phone calls.

“Facebook and Google practically have a duopoly on digital advertising right now. If one of them won’t let you advertise for your clients, you got both arms tied behind you back. There’s no way you can function,” an employee said.

Cambridge Analytica office

Engineers couldn’t perform basic tasks because data management tools like Liveramp and Lotame also cut off the company’s access to their services.

The firm briefly considered spinning off its commercial business and ditching political work altogether, but the idea never took.

Ultimately, though, “very few” people left Cambridge Analytica before it shut down and declared bankruptcy in May. But the exit that had the most impact was Alexander Tayler, Cambridge Analytica’s chief data officer. After Nix was forced to resign, Tayler stepped in as acting CEO. But to everyone’s shock, he stepped down weeks later and eventually left Cambridge Analytica altogether. Employees trusted Tayler, and they thought if anyone could save Cambridge Analytica, it would be him.

Tayler, who is now seeking work as a consultant about issues related to data privacy, has not responded to requests for comment from Business Insider.

The end of Cambridge Analytica was announced to employees in a town hall meeting, which had been rescheduled and pushed back several times. By that point, employees were either unmotivated to work or found that working was nearly impossible with all the distractions. Some were already looking for new jobs.

One of the former employees at the meeting recalled that Julian Wheatland, the company’s latest acting CEO, began the meeting by talking about the history of the company.  At that point, the employee said, it was obvious what was coming next.

SEE ALSO: Net neutrality rules are now dead. Here’s what that means for you, and what happens next

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10,000 Australians held a vigil for a young woman killed while walking home, and it's bringing attention to a much bigger issue

Eurydice Dixon 4

  • More than 10,000 people piled into a park in Melbourne, Australia, on Monday evening to honor a woman who was recently murdered.
  • Less than a week ago, Eurydice Dixon, a 22-year-old comedian, was sexually assaulted and killed while walking home at night.
  • A police chief then said people need to “take responsibility for their own safety” which many saw as victim-blaming.
  • Dixon’s death has spurred a wider conversation about changing the social and cultural factors that enable sexual assault.
  • Business Insider attended the Melbourne vigil as hundreds more gathered around the country, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

More than 10,000 people piled into a park in Melbourne, Australia, on Monday evening to honor a young woman who was recently murdered, a crime which revived a nation-wide discussion on women’s safety.

Eurydice Dixon, a 22-year-old comedian, was sexually assaulted and murdered in Melbourne as she walked home from a gig some time after 10:30 p.m. last Tuesday.

Dixon walked through Princes Park — a large, well-lit park in Melbourne’s affluent Carlton North suburb — and messaged a friend around midnight: “I’m almost home safe, HBU [how about you].” 

Dixon’s body was found in the park’s soccer field around 3 a.m. the following morning. A man was charged with her murder the next day.

Following her death, Victoria Police Superintendent David Clayton said the park would receive an increased police presence, but warned that people still needed to “take responsibility for their own safety.” 

“So just make sure you have situational awareness, that you’re aware of your surroundings,” Clayton told reporters Thursday. “If you’ve got a mobile phone, carry it, and if you’ve got any concerns, call police.”

But many women in Australia felt the comments amounted to victim-blaming and lacked an acknowledgement of the broader issue of violence against women perpetrated by men. The sense was especially acute since a woman from Sydney, Qi Yu, was also killed in the same week. 

eurydice dixon

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that sexual violence is a “global health problem of epidemic proportions.”

According to the WHO, one out of every three women has experienced sexual violence in their lifetime.

It recommends taking major steps to address the social and cultural factors which lead to women being disproportionately affected by sexual violence. 

The statistics are especially startling in the US. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 90% of sexual assault victims are women, and an American citizen is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. 

The issue of sexual assault is has been highlighted by the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. More women than ever are speaking out and demanding social change to prevent sexual assault.  

Mourning and frustration inspired many to attend vigils around the country on Monday night.

Organizers of the Melbourne vigil said the purpose of the event was to show support for Dixon’s family, and also reclaim a public space that had been deemed unsafe.

Attendees held a 20 minute silence to remember women who have lost their lives to violence.

Across the country, hundreds came together at similar events.

At a solidarity event in Sydney, attendees read aloud the names of 30 women killed in Australia in the past year, with 30 seconds of silence for each of them. Similar vigils were held in dozens of major cities across the country.  

In 2015, more than 1,600 US women were murdered by men.

In the capital of Canberra, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten stood with candles at a memorial event at Parliament House.

“My own boys played soccer on the very oval where some of these scenes have taken place,” Shorten said. “This vigil to me is a commitment to every other Australian woman, that you ought to be safe, and nothing less than that is acceptable.”

Earlier in the day Turnbull said, “This is a heartbreaking tragedy but what we must do as we grieve is ensure that we change the hearts of men to respect women.”

 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Rapper XXXTentacion reportedly shot dead in Florida

XXXTentacion

  • The rapper XXXTentacion was shot in South Florida on Monday, multiple outlets reported.
  • The Broward County Sheriff’s Department later told TMZ he had been pronounced dead.
  • TMZ first reported that the rapper, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, was shot in his car after leaving a motorcycle dealer. 

The rapper XXXTentacion was shot in Florida on Monday, multiple outlets reported. The Broward County Sheriff’s Department later told TMZ he had been pronounced dead.

Citing witnesses, TMZ reported that the 20-year-old rapper, whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy, was shot in his car after leaving a motorcycle dealer in South Florida.

Videos of what appeared to be Onfroy unresponsive in the driver’s seat of a car circulated on social media on Monday. A Broward County official told Variety there was “a developing incident regarding a shooting” in Deerfield Beach, about 43 miles north of Miami, in which an “adult male victim was transported to an area hospital.”

TMZ described witnesses as saying the rapper had “no pulse” following the incident.

Onfroy was awaiting trial for a 2016 domestic-abuse case. He faced charges of aggravated battery of his pregnant girlfriend, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment, and witness tampering.

Onfroy’s second studio album, “?,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart in March.

Onfroy’s representatives did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s requests for further information.

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A young girl separated from her aunt at a Border Patrol facility had to get her diapers changed by other children

Texas Border Patrol Child

  • A teenager at a US Border Patrol facility in South Texas took care of a young girl for three days after she’d been separated from her aunt.
  • The 16-year-old taught other children in her cage to change the girl’s diaper. 
  • After attorneys asked questions about the girl’s situation, she was reunited with her aunt.
  • Nearly 2,000 children have been separated from parents since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy toward border crossings in April.

A teenager at a US Border Patrol facility had to teach other children how to help change the diaper of a young girl who had been separated from family members.

According to the Associated Press, a 16-year-old girl in a South Texas facility took care of a four-year-old girl she didn’t know for at least three days when they were kept in the same chain-link cage together.

The teenager told the story to Michelle Brane, director of migrant rights at the Women’s Refugee Commission, who spent time at the facility on Friday.

“She had to teach other kids in the cell to change her diaper,” Brane said.

Agents initially thought the four-year-old was younger, in part because she wasn’t talking or communicating with anyone. As it turned out, the girl only spoke K’iche, a language indigenous to Guatemala, and not Spanish.

“She was so traumatized that she wasn’t talking,” Brane told the Associated Press. “She was just curled up in a little ball.”

After an attorney began asking questions about the girl’s situation, agents found the girl’s aunt, who had been kept in a different part of the facility, and reunited the two. The facility houses 1,100 adults and children, but hundreds of children are reportedly kept apart from their parents or other family members.

The Associated Press reported seeing one cage with 20 children inside.

In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy toward migrants crossing the US border illegally. Adults can now be tried as criminals for entering into the US illegally, causing them to lose custody of their children.

Nearly 2,000 children have been taken from their parents since Sessions announced the new policy.

Most children are sent to live with family members, but until then, they are largely housed in about 100 government-run centers, one of which limits kids to two hours of outdoor time a day.

SEE ALSO: ‘Disgraceful’: Separating immigrant children from their parents is so unpopular even Trump’s base is not supporting it

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Joe Mantegna and Kirsten Vangness liken their long-running "Criminal Minds" to the Rolling Stones – kwbe

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Joe Mantegna and Kirsten Vangness liken their long-running "Criminal Minds" to the Rolling Stones
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(NEW YORK) — Like a certain rock band, the cast of CBS' police procedural Criminal Minds has been at it a long time, and show no signs of slowing down. “I equate it to, you know, like the Rolling Stones,” star Joe Mantegna tells ABC Radio. “Like when

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A Google translation isn't enough evidence to send someone to jail, finds the judge in a narcotics case (GOOG, GOOGL)

justice, blind, Newark federal court, trial, law enforcement

 

  • A man from Mexico was pulled over on the highway in Kansas and was suspected of carrying drugs.
  • With the help of Google Translate, the Kansas Highway trooper asked the man in Spanish if he can search his car. The suspect says he didn’t understand the request when he responded yes.
  • The question the court was trying to answer is whether Google Translate is a reliable enough interpreter to justify sending a man to prison — and the answer was no.

As anyone who has traveled overseas can tell you, Google Translate is an important tool that can bridge many language barriers.

But while the software’s reliability at offering accurate translations has greatly improved over time, the technology remains far from perfect. US District Judge Carlos Murguia found on June 4 that the software’s ability to interpret accurately isn’t dependable enough to be the deciding factor in sending someone to prison. Quartz first reported on this story.

According to court documents, Ryan Wolting, a Kansas Highway Patrol trooper stopped Omar Cruz-Zamora last October for driving with a suspended registration. Prosecutors say Wolting began to use Google Translate to communicate after realizing that Cruz-Zamora spoke little English. The trooper asked Cruz-Zamora to search his car and he responded yes. The officer then found 14 pounds of meth and cocaine, the documents say. 

Later, Cruz-Zamora’s attorneys filed a motion to suppress the evidence, arguing that the defendant didn’t understand Wolting’s request to search his car or that he had the right to decline the search.

Wolting testified that he keyed into Google Translate the question “Can I search your car?” or “Can I search the car?” The problem was that the translation offered was “¿Puedo buscar el auto?” In Spanish this can be interpreted as “Can I find the car?”

According to a recording made by the police car’s camera, there were multiple times when Wolting’s questions produced “nonsensical translations.” Two professional interpreters testified that Google Translate can be used for literal translations but should never be used to “translate full conversations.”

The judge wrote in his decision that “the court does not believe it is reasonable to rely on the service to obtain consent” and granted the defendant’s request to suppress the evidence. 

Translation software is an essential tool for travelers, hotel workers, waiters and waitresses who work in cities that see a lot of tourists. But they should realize that sometimes the technology is sometimes dramatically incorrect. In October, Israeli police arrested a Palestinian man for posting a photo of himself to his Facebook page standing next to a tractor and writing the words “good morning.”

The social network’s translation tools goofed and translated the words in English as “hurt them”and in Hebrew as “attack them.” Authorities believed the man may have planned to use the tractor in a attack. The man was eventually released and Facebook apologized but there’s no mistaking that AI-generated translations still have a long ways to go.

 

SEE ALSO: We put Google’s new language-translation headphones to the test with 10 different languages — here’s how they did

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FBI Director Christopher Wray knocks down the bureau's biggest partisan critics after blistering watchdog report

christopher wray

  • FBI Director Christopher Wray said he “appreciates” and took “very seriously” a report from the Justice Department’s watchdog that examines the conduct of several officials including James Comey, the former director.
  • The report comes amid a trying time for the agency, which has endured withering attacks from President Donald Trump and others who believe the FBI is biased against Trump.

FBI Director Christopher Wray on Thursday said he “appreciates” and took “very seriously” a new report from the Justice Department’s watchdog that examines the conduct of several officials including James Comey, the former director.

The report found that Comey deviated from FBI and Justice Department norms while he was leading the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. The Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, released the 568-page report on Thursday.

Since shortly after President Donald Trump took office, he has railed against the FBI, Comey, and Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director, with the accusation that the bureau at large was enveloped in a conspiracy to undermine his presidency.

Many of Trump’s most vocal supporters have latched on to that narrative as the president has publicly decried the FBI’s leadership and made unsubstantiated claims that morale at the agency was low.

On Thursday, Wray offered a low-key rebuttal to those claims, without mentioning Trump’s name. “The opinions to me that matter are the opinions of the people that are relevant to our work, day in and day out, all across this country,” Wray said during a press conference.

“Those people are having to make important decisions that protect lives,” Wray said. “The opinions of the people that they have to engage with on that work, those are the opinions that matter to me.”

Wray also offered several examples of the work the FBI had done recently:

  • In the past several months, the FBI disrupted terrorist attacks from places including Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco and a crowded shopping mall in Miami.
  • In March, the FBI charged what it said was an Iranian state-sponsored hacker ring with stealing terabytes of data from US companies, universities, and government agencies.
  • In Austin, Texas, the FBI deployed more than 600 people to assist in the package bombings that killed two people and terrorized locals.
  • So far, 1,305 children were rescued from child predators, some of them as young as 7 months old.
  • More than 4,600 suspected gang members were arrested in the past several months.
  • The FBI’s hostage-rescue team deployed about 27 times for missions.

“I see extraordinary people doing extraordinary work,” Wray said. “Again, and again, I hear remarkable stories, frankly, inspiring stories about the work the men and women of the FBI are doing to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution.”

Wray conceded that while the report highlighted some shortcomings at the FBI, changes in policy and practice were already underway.

Watch FBI Director Christopher Wray’s comments here:

SEE ALSO: Brutal 568-page watchdog report blasts Comey, finds FBI officials may have wanted to hurt Trump’s chances of winning the election

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Bill Cosby fires 7 lawyers, hires 1 lawyer – ABC News

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Bill Cosby fires 7 lawyers, hires 1 lawyer
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"If [Cosby] has decided that his only shot on appeal is to attack the performance of his attorneys, it is rarely successful, but so are virtually all other appeal issues in criminal cases," Duke said. "It seems to me that he's only got one issue, and
Bill Cosby parts ways with lawyers as sentencing loomsPhilly.com
Bill Cosby & Wife Camille Headed For Blockbuster Divorce After Rape ConvictionRadar Online

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'La Barbie,' a US-born cartel leader and one-time partner of 'El Chapo' Guzman, sentenced to nearly 50 years in prison and a $192 million fine

la barbie

  • Edgar Valdez Villarreal, aka “La Barbie,” has been sentenced on drug and money-laundering charges.
  • Valdez was born in Texas but later moved to Mexico and eventually rose through the ranks of the Beltran Leyva Organization, working with the Sinaloa cartel.
  • After the BLO and Sinaloa cartel split, Valdez became a main player in a bloody fight for control of the BLO.

Edgar Valdez Villarreal, a Texas-born high school football player who survived a bloody power struggle to become a cartel leader in Mexico, has been sentenced to 49 years and one month in federal prison and ordered to forfeit $192 million on charges of conspiring to traffic drugs and launder money.

A judge in Atlanta issued the sentence on Monday.

“Valdez-Villareal imported tons of cocaine into the US while ruthlessly working his way up the ranks of one of Mexico’s most powerful cartels, leaving in his wake countless lives destroyed by drugs and violence,” US Attorney Byung J. Pak said. “He will now go to federal prison for nearly the rest of his life.”

Valdez, 44, was born in Laredo, Texas, and grew up in a middle-class subdivision. He was nicknamed “La Barbie” because of his light complexion, blond hair, and green eyes.

He started dealing drugs on the street as a teenager in the early 1990s, while he was still a linebacker on the football team at Laredo’s United High School. He never faced drug charges while in high school, but after graduation he joined up with smugglers moving marijuana through Laredo to the northeast US.

US authorities say he moved to Mexico after being indicted in the US on marijuana charges in the late 1990s. After clashing with Zetas in Nuevo Laredo, prosecutors say he joined the Beltran Leyva Organization during a period when the BLO was aligned with Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s Sinaloa cartel, rising quickly through the ranks.

By 2003, US officials say, he had been put in charge of the BLO’s squad of hit men, and the following year he took control of operations in Acapulco. He was believed to control one of the main smuggling routes out of Acapulco, a major Pacific coast port, moving as much as two tons of cocaine into the US every month.

The trafficking operation Valdez oversaw was so vast that he and associates moved cash across the US-Mexico border in tractor trailers, US prosecutors said in a 2009 indictment. Valdez led a flashy lifestyle, buying homes in upscale Mexico City neighborhoods. His penchant for Polo shirts started a trend known as “narco polo” in Mexico, driving up demand for knock-off versions of the shirts.

la barbie bust

As a top lieutenant and chief enforcer for BLO chief Arturo Beltran Leyva, Valdez is believed to have led a group of gunmen and played an important role in disputes between the Sinaloa cartel and its rivals. His rise through the cartel has been attributed in part to his brutality, using beheadings and videos of killings to send messages to rivals.

The Sinaloa-BLO alliance soured in the late 2000s, after the arrest of one Beltran Leyva brother and the subsequent release of Guzman’s son from prison led the BLO to suspect a betrayal. The BLO partnered with the Zetas, but the war with the Sinaloa cartel wore the group down. All the Beltran Leyva brothers were eventually captured or killed.

After Arturo Beltran Leyva’s death in a shootout with Mexican marines in late 2009, Valdez became ensnared in a bloody battle for control of the cartel with Beltran Leyva’s brother, Hector. Dismembered or decapitated bodies were frequently found in and around Cuernavaca and Acapulco, often with signs from one side threatening the other.

By August 2010, however, Valdez had been caught, captured at a ranch home outside Mexico City. Then-President Felipe Calderon referred to him as “one of the most wanted criminals in Mexico and abroad.”

In statements to Mexican police, Valdez said he managed a smuggling route stretching from Panama to the US.

Valdez languished behind bars in Mexico until September 2015, when Mexican authorities extradited him and 12 other suspects to the US. That extradition came just a few months after “El Chapo” Guzman’s July escape from prison in Mexico, leading many to believe the extraditions were related to the escape.

He pleaded guilty in January 2016 to conspiring to import and distribute cocaine and conspiring to launder money.

SEE ALSO: A former Mexican governor has been accused of involvement in forced disappearances, and it points to a sinister problem with Mexico’s police

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A Customs and Border Protection agent is facing misconduct allegations for questioning a reporter about her sources

customs and border patrol

  • A Customs and Border Protection agent is being investigated by the agency on accusations that he questioned the New York Times reporter Ali Watkins about her confidential sources.
  • Agent Jeffrey Rambo reportedly approached Watkins by email and questioned her about her relationship with James Wolfe.
  • Wolfe, the longtime security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee, was arrested on charges of lying to the FBI about giving “nonpublic information” to reporters.
  • Rambo’s meeting with Watkins came as the White House, sought to rein in leaks that have embarrassed the Trump administration.

A Customs and Border Protection agent is reportedly being investigated by the agency on accusations that he questioned a New York Times reporter about her confidential sources, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Agent Jeffrey Rambo, who reportedly identified himself as a government agent but withheld his name, questioned  reporter Ali Watkins after contacting her by email. According to the report, Rambo and Watkins met at a restaurant where Rambo explained that the White House was trying to unmask the confidential leakers in various news reports.

Rambo’s sitdown with Watkins, who was working for Politico at the time, came as the White House sought to crack down on leaks.

His questions revolved around the alleged three-year relationship between Watkins and James Wolfe, the longtime security director for the Senate Intelligence Committee. Wolfe was arrested on charges of lying to the FBI about giving “nonpublic information” to reporters.

Rambo’s questioning, during which he cited dates and locations of Watkins’s and Wolfe’s overseas trips, reportedly unnerved Watkins, according to one person familiar with the situation who was cited by The Post.

The Post described Rambo’s line of questioning as “unorthodox,” given the subject matter, particularly because national security leaks do not fall under the Customs and Border Protection agency’s jurisdiction. Rambo was reportedly not involved in the FBI’s investigation into Wolfe, according to a law-enforcement official.

After The Post contacted the border patrol agency about Rambo’s involvement, a spokesman for the agency released a statement to The Post saying it “takes all allegations of employee misconduct seriously.”

“The allegation has been immediately referred to CBP’s Office of Professional Responsibility,” the spokesperson said. “We encourage all members of the public to report any potential misconduct immediately so that it may be investigated.”

Watkins reportedly told The Times that Wolfe was not a confidential source in her stories. Wolfe has denied leaking classified information to reporters.

SEE ALSO: WikiLeaks, which published leaked classified information, just called out a reporter at the center of a DOJ investigation into leaks of classified information

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