Friday, March 16, 2018

Operation Box Car Willie Results in 11 Federal Drug Charges on Chicago's #SouthSide #Woodlawn

More than ten defendants are facing federal drug charges for allegedly trafficking fentanyl, heroin and cocaine on Chicago’s South Side.

The investigation, dubbed “Operation Box Car Willie,” centered on drug sales in the city’s Woodlawn neighborhood and resulted in the seizure of distribution quantities of fentanyl, heroin and crack cocaine. The probe was conducted under the umbrella of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a partnership between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.  The principal mission of OCDETF is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations.

A criminal complaint and affidavit filed Tuesday in federal court in Chicago charges ten defendants with conspiracy to possess controlled substances with intent to deliver. One other defendant is charged individually with possessing controlled substances with intent to deliver, bringing the total number of defendants to eleven.

Several of the defendants were arrested Wednesday. Detention hearings will be held next week before U.S. Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez.

The charges were announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; James M. Gibbons, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; Eddie Johnson, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department; Leo P. Schmitz, Director of the Illinois State Police; and Gabriel L. Grchan, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago. Substantial assistance was provided by the Illinois Secretary of State Police Department and the Illinois Department of Corrections.

According to the charges, JONATHAN MASON, 42, of Chicago, operated a drug trafficking organization in the 6400 block of South Champlain Avenue in Chicago. Mason conspired with DEON PUGH, 37, of Chicago, and KEVIN TWYMAN, 35, of Chicago, as well as others, to obtain wholesale quantities of cocaine, fentanyl, heroin and marijuana for distribution in the Chicago area, the complaint states. The other charged conspirators who allegedly distributed the narcotics include DERRICK WILTZ, 44; EDUARDO ANDERSON, 51; DENNIS MYERS, 59; RYAN PEARSON, 40; ALVIN WILLIAMS, 48; PARIS OBRYANT, 37; and MARTELL WHITE, 31; all of Chicago.

The conspirators allegedly sold drugs inside two stores in the Woodlawn neighborhood – one on East 63rd Street and the other on East 67th Street. On two occasions last month, undercover law enforcement officers purchased cocaine and heroin from Pearson and Obryant inside the 63rd Street store, the complaint states.

The defendant charged individually with possession is WILLIAM RUTLEDGE, 34, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Rutledge is identified in the complaint as a customer of Mason and Pugh who allegedly purchased more than 100 grams of crack cocaine from the pair last month.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of @realDonaldTrump

The incredible, harrowing account of how American democracy was hacked by Moscow as part of a covert operation to influence the U.S. election and help Donald Trump gain the presidency.

Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, is a story of political skullduggery unprecedented in American history. It weaves together tales of international intrigue, cyber espionage, and superpower rivalry. After U.S.-Russia relations soured, as Vladimir Putin moved to reassert Russian strength on the global stage, Moscow trained its best hackers and trolls on U.S. political targets and exploited WikiLeaks to disseminate information that could affect the 2016 election.

The Russians were wildly successful and the great break-in of 2016 was no "third-rate burglary." It was far more sophisticated and sinister -- a brazen act of political espionage designed to interfere with American democracy. At the end of the day, Trump, the candidate who pursued business deals in Russia, won. And millions of Americans were left wondering, what the hell happened? This story of high-tech spying and multiple political feuds is told against the backdrop of Trump's strange relationship with Putin and the curious ties between members of his inner circle -- including Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn -- and Russia.

Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin's War on America and the Election of Donald Trump, chronicles and explores this bizarre scandal, explains the stakes, and answers one of the biggest questions in American politics: How and why did a foreign government infiltrate the country's political process and gain influence in Washington?

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Prequel Movie to #TheSopranos is coming from David Chase called "The Many Saints of Newark"

David Chase is finally ready to return to the New Jersey turf of his iconic creation The SopranosSopranos Prequel Movie - The Many Saints of Newark. New Line has purchased the screenplay The Many Saints of Newark, the working title for a feature prequel of The Sopranos that is set in the era of the Newark riots in the 60s. That was a time when the African-Americans and the Italians of Newark were at each other’s throats, and amongst the gangsters of each group, those conflicts became especially lethal.

The script was written by Chase and Lawrence Konner, the prolific screen and television writer whose credits include The Sopranos.

Chase finally returning to expand The Sopranos lore will be welcome news to the legions who still feel that his HBO series is the greatest of all time. The groundbreaking show ran for six seasons from 1999 – 2007. It put HBO on the map, established the market for DVD sales of popular series, and won 21 Primetime Emmy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, and Peabody Awards for its first two seasons. It launched the stars of a slew of actors and revived others, most notably the late James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Steven Van Zandt, Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, Dominic Chianese, Steve Schirripa and on and on.

Some of the beloved characters from the series will appear in the film. I couldn’t get any more information about the plot, but the time period indicates there will be room for Tony Soprano’s father, Giovanni “Johnny Boy,” the former captain of the Soprano crew (played in flashbacks by Joseph Siravo), and a younger version of his wife Livia (played indelibly in the show’s first season by Nancy Marchand), and Tony’s uncle Junior, played by Chianese.

Chase will serve as producer as well as co-writer, and he will be involved in selecting a director.

This is a real coup for Warner Bros Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich.

“David is a masterful storyteller and we, along with our colleagues at HBO, are thrilled that he has decided to revisit, and enlarge, the Soprano universe in a feature film,” Emmerich said.

Chase’s last feature was the 2010 critically acclaimed Paramount film Not Fade Away. Chase Films’s Nicole Lambert will be executive producer.

Chase’s deal was made by his UTA agents Peter Benedek and Andrew Cannava, and attorney Michael Gendler of Gendler and Kelly. Konner is also repped by UTA.

Thanks to Mike Fleming Jr.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Sheriff's Posse Mob Beats Nonviolent Civil Rights Demonstrators at Edmund Pettus Bridge in #Selma #OnThisDay #BloodySunday

On March 7, 1965, a march by civil rights demonstrators was violently broken up at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, by state troopers and a sheriff’s posse mob in what came to be known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Sheriff's Mob Posse Beats Nonviolent Civil Rights Demonstrators at Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma

Dallas County Sheriff Jim Clark had issued an order for all white males over the age of 21 to report to be deputized. When the marchers crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they encountered a wall of state troopers and the posse. Rev. Hosea Williams tried to speak to the officer in charge, but was told there was nothing to discuss. Seconds later, the troopers began shoving the demonstrators, knocking many to the ground and beating them with nightsticks. Televised images of the brutal attack roused support for the Selma Voting Rights Campaign.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Does Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan Run a #Mafia Protection Racket? @GovRauner Says Yes.

Gov. Bruce Rauner went on Fox & Friends this morning and accused House Speaker Mike Madigan of running “a Mafia protection racket.”

Rauner took it up a notch against Madigan by trying to link the speaker’s property tax assessment appeal law firm to corruption this way.

“Basically in the political job he raises property taxes”, said Rauner, “We have the highest property taxes in America. And then on the side, he charges millions of dollars in fees to businesses that are afraid of their property taxes. He reduces them for a fee and then he holds the threat that if they ever cross him, he’ll raise their property taxes. It’s just like the Mafia. It’s a Mafia protection racket!”

Madigan denies this, says he has in place strict ethics rules separating his duties as speaker and lawyer. Also, the legislature doesn’t raise property taxes, local units of government do.

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