Car of missing US Marine in Arizona found, Veteran still missing

Law Enforcement in Arizona has found a car belonging to U.S. combat veteran Jesse Conger who has been missing for more than five months.

Law Enforcement in Arizona has found a car belonging to U.S. combat veteran Jesse Conger who has been missing for more than five months.

Conger, 37, was last seen with his girlfriend, Natasha Harwell, the morning of August 14 at his apartment in Scottsdale. Harwell reported him missing the next day, and his family said he’d been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

The Scottsdale Police Department told FOX10 on Saturday that Conger’s car was discovered in San Carlos on Thursday, about 100 miles east of Phoenix.

His sister, Patricia Conger stated on Facebook that three men working in eastern Arizona found Jesse’s car on Thursday morning and that they called police and texted her at 10 am. When talking to locals the police were told the car had been there more than a month. The rail crew had been there the day before but didn’t notice it because of the terrains and color of the car.

“Apparently the morning sun happened to reflect off of a break light that shined in one of their eyes that made them notice it when they did. All the rain has washed away all tracks of any kind, “Conger said. “The car had the keys in the ignition, and Jesse’s maps, and fishing/hunting gear is still there. Jesse’s pistol is not there. I haven’t been able to confirm if the Xanax or Tramadol was there.”

Anyone with information of the whereabouts of Jesse Conger is asked to contact the Scottsdale Police Department.

Report: Sunni and Shi’a Extremism Plague Germany

German police conducted counterterrorism raids across the country during the week of January 13, 2020, arresting multiple alleged Islamists suspected of “planning a serious violent act endangering the state.”

IPT News has reported that German police conducted counter-terrorism raids across the country during the week of January 13, 2020, arresting multiple alleged Islamists suspected of “planning a serious violent act endangering the state.”

According to German prosecutors, the suspected terrorists were of “Chechen origin from the Islamist scene.” Raids targeted cells in Berlin and three other states including North Rhine-Westphalia – a state with a significant Hizballah and Muslim Brotherhood presence as well.

The suspects reportedly conducted surveillance of multiple locations to target in terrorist attacks, possibly including a Berlin synagogue, after video footage of the building was discovered on a suspect’s cellphone.

Germany has been increasingly vigilant against Islamist terrorism after 12 people were killed in a 2016 truck ramming attack on a Berlin Christmas market. The terrorist, Tunisian national Anis Amri, had been denied asylum.

German security authorities have foiled nine Islamist terror plots since. In November, the country’s security authorities thwarted an Islamic State bomb plot.

Most terrorism analysts and observers continue to focus only on the attacks that succeeded. Exploring major attacks that could have transpired – but were foiled by security authorities – provides a more accurate understanding of overall terrorist threats. Reporting foiled, significant plots, and including these incidents in data-sets, can also help security authorities signal the virtues of specific counter-terrorism measures to a concerned public.

Last year, for example, jihadist terrorist attacks declined by roughly 50 percent in Europe following significant spikes in attacks the previous two years. Based on this data, some observers started to believe that the Islamic State threat was declining in Europe. But by including foiled jihadist plots, overall terrorist activity in 2018 was actually higher than any year before 2015, including the 2000s when al-Qaeda struck Europe in several high-profile attacks.

Read more at IPT.

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US Border Patrol Arrests Two Dangerous Felons

U.S. Border Patrol agents in Arizona arrested a previously deported sex offender and a convicted felon in separate incidents earlier this week.

U.S. Border Patrol agents in Arizona arrested a previously deported sex offender and a convicted felon in separate incidents earlier this week.

On January 19, Tucson Sector agents patrolling near Sasabe apprehended 41-year-old Marcelino Cruz-Corona after he illegally entered the United States around 9:30 p.m.

Records checks revealed Cruz-Corona, a citizen of Mexico, was convicted of criminal sexual conduct with minor by Greenville County, South Carolina, in 2009. He was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.

At approximately 2 a.m. January 21, agents patrolling near Cowlic apprehended a second individual with a significant criminal history. Jorge Ruiz-Gonzalez, a 50-year-old Mexican national, who was convicted of possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute and conspiracy to distribute cocaine by Harris County, Texas, in 1996. He was fined $10,000 and sentenced to 46 months’ imprisonment with 50 months of probation.

Cruz-Corona and Ruiz-Gonzalez are facing federal prosecution for immigration violations.

In fiscal year 2019, Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents arrested 195 illegal aliens with significant criminal histories.

The Border Patrol is often the first line of defense against previously deported criminals attempting to reenter the United States.

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DHS Blue Campaign Announces Partnership with American Airlines

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a new industry partnership between the DHS Blue Campaign – the unified voice for DHS’s efforts to combat human trafficking

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced a new industry partnership between the DHS Blue Campaign – the unified voice for DHS’s efforts to combat human trafficking – and American Airlines.

January is also recognized as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. While the fight to combat human trafficking exists year-round, January provides an opportunity to reaffirm shared commitment to end this heinous crime.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign is excited about its partnership with American Airlines. The airline provides human trafficking awareness training to nearly 60,000 team members, including flight attendants, pilots and customer service team members. This partnership is an invaluable opportunity to educate the public about the crime of human trafficking, how to recognize the indicators of trafficking when it happens, and what they can do to report it,” said Trent Frazier, Executive Director of the Office of Campaigns and Academic Engagement.

Through the partnership, American and the Blue Campaign will work together to raise awareness of human trafficking by sharing awareness materials, engaging in events and public awareness campaigns, and amplifying a shared anti-trafficking message

“We’re proud to fortify our company’s efforts to combat human trafficking by joining up with the Blue Campaign,” said Nate Gatten, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for American. “With the force of partnership, we know we can better raise awareness and more effectively prevent human trafficking ― an awful crime that happens all too often and affects far too many. American is eager to contribute to a solution in any way we can, and we’re looking forward to being involved with this unified, respected initiative.”

In addition to building vital partnerships which enhance public awareness efforts, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recently released its first-of-its-kind Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking, the Importation of Goods Produced with Forced Labor, and Child Sexual Exploitation. Importantly, this document articulates the Department’s priorities over the next five years to more effectively and efficiently combat the growing threat of these illicit activities to our Homeland.

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New York Attorney Sentenced for Fraud Scheme

Prominent Lawyer Stole Millions from Client Estates

Albany-area families had every reason to trust attorney Albert Hessberg III with their wills and estates. A partner at a major law firm for decades, Hessberg came from a prominent family and had deep ties to the community.

But when some families of Hessberg’s clients tried to access trust funds after their relatives’ deaths, Hessberg gave them the run-around. He encouraged them to be patient, saying he needed more time to handle complex estates. He accused them of being greedy and pitted family members against each other.

Eventually, one client’s family member grew suspicious enough to alert his law firm, which, in turn, brought in the FBI.

Investigators soon learned that Hessberg had stolen more than $2 million from his clients over a period of 12 years.

Financial documents backed up what the victim told investigators. 

After poring through Hessberg’s records, investigators discovered the fraud went back more than a decade. He had stolen from at least 15 trusts during that time. There were numerous victims, since many trusts had multiple beneficiaries.

FBI agents spoke to one victim who tried to access his deceased parents’ trust. He needed the funds to pay for medical care for his sister who had cancer. Hessberg used delay tactics, and the sister died before the family received any money. 

If Hessberg had disbursed the funds, the sister may have been able to pursue other cancer treatment options, the victim told the FBI.

“She had a medical necessity for this money. The parents set this money aside for their children years ago,” said Special Agent Vinesh Manglavil, who investigated this case out of the FBI’s Albany Field Office. “The victim passed away and never got the treatment she could have had. That’s when we knew there was a real emotional impact in this case, not just financial.”

Hessberg used the money to pay for his own high-end living expenses, like vacations, country club fees, and his children’s tuition and weddings.

He got away with it for years because of his reputation and personal relationships with the families who were his clients. He’d even inherited many of his clients from his father, who was a lawyer at the same firm.

“A lot of the victims did not know their rights to these funds that their parents and grandparents had set up for them,” Manglavil said. “They trusted this attorney to navigate the legal system for them, and he abused their trust and the personal relationships.”

In May, Hessberg pleaded guilty to mail fraud, wire fraud, and filing a false tax return. He was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison in November.

The victims were able to recoup some of their lost funds. Hessberg’s brother-in-law, singer James Taylor, and his sister, Caroline “Kim” Taylor, agreed to pay the $1.7 million court-ordered restitution that Hessberg owed his victims.

While much of the money was recouped, the emotional turmoil remains for Hessberg’s victims. In the victim impact statements given to the judge in this case, victims described shattered dreams and damaged family relationships stemming from Hessberg’s crimes.

“Hessberg intentionally misled us, over a period of many years, and intentionally planted seeds of distrust among our family members by varying the stories he told each of us,” one victim wrote in an impact statement. The victim went on to say that Hessberg was “portraying himself as a reliable authority figure and casting us as ‘greedy grandchildren.’

For the FBI investigators, bringing some closure to the victims was the key focus of this case.

“We wanted justice to be served for these victims,” said FBI Special Agent Christopher Murphy, who also worked on the case. “Anyone could find themselves in a similar situation, and we just wanted to make them whole as best we could. Hopefully, the justice system did that for them.”