Photo by Paul Keleher
Have a spooky and safe Halloween! Just make sure not to wear one of these illegal alien costumes:
EL PASO, Texas – One immigration agent was accused of running an Internet pornography business and enjoying an improper relationship with an informant. Another let an informant smuggle in a group of illegal immigrants. And in a third case, an agent was investigated for soliciting sex from a witness in a marriage fraud case.
These troubling misdeeds are a sampling of misconduct by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel as the agency seeks to carve out a bigger role in the deadly border war against Mexican drug gangs.
According to documents obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act, ICE agents have blundered badly in their dealings with informants and other sources, covering up crimes and even interfering in a police investigation into whether one informant killed another.
At least eight agents have been investigated for improper dealings with informants since ICE was created in 2003, and more than three dozen others have been investigated for other wrongdoing, the records show.
The heavily redacted documents detail how one agent failed "to report murders ... to her supervisor" and how another failed "to properly document information received from a confidential source in violation of ICE policy and procedure."
In the case involving one informant charged with murdering another, Jose Daniel Gonzalez Galeana, a smuggling manager for the Juarez cartel, was gunned down this spring in his upscale El Paso neighborhood. El Paso police say ICE delayed its investigation, steering detectives away from the man now charged with arranging the contract hit.
ICE was spun off from the Immigration and Naturalization Service to become the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security when DHS was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. ICE also handles the processing and detention of illegal immigrants and miscellaneous tasks like oversight of security at federal buildings.
The agency has long been interested in joining the border drug war, and has been stepping up its efforts as drug-related violence has killed more than 13,500 people in Mexico and threatens to spill into the United States.
Some local and federal authorities in El Paso are hesitant to work closely with ICE because of the way it operates, said law enforcement officers who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the issue.
In the 2004 DEA letter, inaction by ICE officials was blamed for "allowing at least 13 other murders to take place in Ciudad Juarez" and for endangering the lives of DEA agents and their families.
EKET, Nigeria – The nine-year-old boy lay on a bloodstained hospital sheet crawling with ants, staring blindly at the wall.
His family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism. It spilled as he struggled, burning away his face and eyes. The emaciated boy barely had strength left to whisper the name of the church that had denounced him — Mount Zion Lighthouse.
A month later, he died.
Nwanaokwo Edet was one of an increasing number of children in Africa accused of witchcraft by pastors and then tortured or killed, often by family members. Pastors were involved in half of 200 cases of "witch children" reviewed by the AP, and 13 churches were named in the case files.
Some of the churches involved are renegade local branches of international franchises. Their parishioners take literally the Biblical exhortation, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live."
At first glance, there's nothing unusual about the laughing, grubby kids playing hopscotch or reading from a tattered Dick and Jane book by the graffiti-scrawled cinderblock house. But this is where children like Abigail end up after being labeled witches by churches and abandoned or tortured by their families.
There's a scar above Jane's shy smile: her mother tried to saw off the top of her skull after a pastor denounced her and repeated exorcisms costing a total of $60 didn't cure her of witchcraft. Mary, 15, is just beginning to think about boys and how they will look at the scar tissue on her face caused when her mother doused her in caustic soda. Twelve-year-old Rachel dreamed of being a banker but instead was chained up by her pastor, starved and beaten with sticks repeatedly; her uncle paid him $60 for the exorcism.
Israel's cousin tried to bury him alive, Nwaekwa's father drove a nail through her head, and sweet-tempered Jerry — all knees, elbows and toothy grin — was beaten by his pastor, starved, made to eat cement and then set on fire by his father as his pastor's wife cheered it on.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Ensign's former mistress and her husband sought an $8.5 million settlement from the Nevada Republican before the affair became public, The New York Times reported Thursday.
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, a friend of Ensign, acted as an intermediary in negotiations last spring with the lawyer for Cynthia and Doug Hampton before Ensign publicly admitted the relationship with Mrs. Hampton, the Times said.