LOUISVILLE, KY- According to a media release from US Customs and Border Patrol, officers in the Louisville, Kentucky division thwarted the delivery of thousands of fraudulent ID’s. The false documents had been shipped from China and were intended for recipients in the New York area.
One such recipient is particularly alarming.
Six shipments were discovered at a shared hub center known as an Express Consignment Carrier Facility in which various logistics or courier companies such as FedEx, DHL and UPS may operate. The shipments contain 2,909 phony drivers licenses and materials to make 3,123 additional.
Upon discovery, Customs and Border Protection officials alerted colleagues in Memphis who were able to locate and seize 527 drivers licenses in their area bringing the total confiscation to more than 5,000.
According to Customs and Border Patrol, they have confirmed that one of the destined recipients is a convicted child rapist.
The official press release claims that it is suspected that this individual may be luring underage participants in illicit activities with promises of the fake id’s and alcohol.
While only one recipient was specifically mentioned by US Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigation confirms that all intended recipients were interconnected.
While fake ID’s have historically been associated with underage drinking and minor infractions, the documents are increasingly used in far more serious crimes. Thomas Mahn, Louisville Port Director says:
“Some of the major concerns as it relates to fraudulent identity documents is identity theft, worksite enforcement, critical infrastructure protection, fraud linked to immigration-related crimes such as human smuggling and human trafficking, and these documents can be used by those individuals associated with terrorism to minimize scrutiny from travel screening measures.”
Customs and Border Protection, which regularly intercepts weapons, counterfeit products, narcotics, currency, and other prohibited items through international exchanges, alludes that acquisition of fake ID’s such as these may have been arranged through the “dark web”, a secretive section of the internet that is viewable only with specialized software.
According to the Independent’s Anthony Cuthbertson, criminals regularly utilize the dark web to market items such as stolen credit cards, drugs and hacking tools.
Cuthbertson further reports that these cyber criminals have become particularly brazen in advertising these items including featuring significant discounts timed for the holiday shopping season.
It is reported that online sales, including discounts and volume specials on illegal items, has become commonplace on the dark web. The Independent further states that more than 1,600 such posts referencing “Black Friday” specials have been found in criminal forums in recent weeks.
Sky News reports that in the United Kingdom, significant amounts of money is being made by selling of drugs online- no doubt a trend that is also occurring in the United States. Additionally, mainstream sites such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook are being used to initially advertise and entice buyers who are redirected to dark websites to complete the transaction.
Digital Shadows research analyst Alex Guirakhoo commented:
“On dark web marketplaces, Black Friday is an excellent opportunity for site operators to increase sales and attract new buyers. Attracting new customers is particularly important, as consistent law enforcement action and repeated exit scams on popular marketplaces have thrown the ecosystem into disarray.”
Of course the next day, 10 people were shot, with 3 being killed. Back to business as usual.
The Chicago Tribune, which actually has a team that tracks shootings in Chicago, reports that through Nov. 23, there have been 2,482 people shot year to date in the city. Believe it or not, that number is DOWN 212 shootings from 2018.
Fox News reported that the Chicago PD has seized over 10,000 guns this year. This comes out to one gun seized every 48 minutes—an increase from one gun per hour last year, according to the Chicago PD.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was beaming about the news.
“I’m immensely proud of CPD for taking 10,000 guns off the streets this year. We really need systematic change to prevent these guns from ever finding their way into the city,” Johnson said.
The 10,000 guns seized number is a huge uptick from the average, which usually is around 7,000 guns per year. Last year and this year saw a substantial increase in that number.
Johnson said that the Chicago PD typically recovers more weapons than say, New York or Los Angeles because, according to him, the states surrounding those cities have stricter gun laws in comparison to Illinois’ bordering states.
“We sit in between Wisconsin and Indiana, who have lax gun laws and it’s easy for the criminal element in Chicago to go across the borders, fill up a duffle bag with guns, and distribute them throughout our city,” Johnson said. “So until we stop those kinds of flows we’re going to continue to see this problem and it just befuddles me that we can’t pass universal background checks.”
On its face, Johnson’s statement about bordering states’ “lax gun laws” is disingenuous, whereby it’s implied that criminals from Chicago cross the state borders, go to gun shops, and are able to legally purchase guns in those states. In fact, stolen firearms are the real issue.
According to TheTrace.org, they, along with NBC5 Chicago and other NBC affiliates reviewed gun theft records. For example in 2016, 4,745 guns were reported stolen in Illinois that year. Since 2005, gun theft nationally nearly doubled to over ¼ million firearm thefts in that period.
The #ChicagoPolice Department has seized more than 10,000 guns this year as we continue to remove illegal guns from city streets.
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) November 25, 2019
TheTrace cited an Urban Institute survey conducted in Chicago where high crime rates were prevalent. In the survey, four out of five at-risk youths cited gun theft as a common means through which their peers armed themselves, not by going to either a gun store or a gun show as some politicians and anti-gun zealots claim.
Johnson did cite the legal system in Chicago, stating that it needed to create a “culture of accountability” that punishes repeat gun offenders more strictly to deter them from reoffending.
“We pick up somebody that’s used an illegal gun. Actually used it. Fired it off. ON the books, it may say that’s a felony but at the end of the day when it’s all said and tone, the guy’s treated like a misdemeanor until about the third time we catch them, then it gets serious,” Johnson told Fox. “The first time you squeeze the trigger you can kill somebody. That’s when you should be treated like that.”
Johnson recently announced that he’s stepping down from his position as Chicago’s top cop.
Martin Prieb, spokesperson for Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 agreed with Johnson. “One of the things police focus on is getting the guns and getting them arrested with guns. That’s a good felony charge,” he said.
However both men said arresting a suspect with a gun doesn’t necessarily mean they will face a felony charge or a stiff sentence.
“That narrative that Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws, that’s just not true. If it was true, we wouldn’t be talking about this. We have gun laws on the books that to me are lacking in certain areas. We need to enforce them more,” Johnson said.
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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also weighed in on the seeming unwillingness of prosecutors and judges to levy stiff sentences on defendants arrested for gun crimes. In August, she demanded answers from judges whom she said let gun offenders walk on bonds as low as a few hundred dollars.
Prieb also weighed in, telling Fox that morale among Chicago PD officers is low because rank and file officers are risking their lives to seize guns from offenders that are not fully prosecuted.
Prieb told Fox, “I think this is happening in a lot of cities when you get these activist prosecutors who are sort of waging a battle with the police,” he said.
In response, the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx responded to the criticism from Lightfoot and others.
“Our office has approved 92 percent of the illegal gun cases brought to us, and has convicted over 7,800 offenders since State’s Attorney Foxx has taken office.”
Foxx of course has other problems, including her bungling of the Jussie Smollett case. Smollett famously made up a story about being beaten up by supporters of President Trump, and was subsequently arrested. Smollett, who was a member of the cast of the Fox Network’s “Empire” subsequently had the charges dropped, which caused outrage.
Foxx is up for reelection and is being opposed in a primary by Bill Conway. Last week, Lightfoot officially endorsed Foxx to remain in public office.
We can’t exactly say we’re surprised, considering the two “leaders” don’t really seem to care about law and order or the safety of their citizens. So why not band together?
WGNTV reported that on Friday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot endorsed Foxx for her 2020 campaign for State’s Attorney, saying she “stood up to the NRA and won. She took on Trump’s war on people of color and immigrants. And she’s working to undo decades of injustice in Cook County.”
She stood up to the NRA and won. She took on Trump’s war on people of color and immigrants. And she’s working to undo decades of injustice in Cook County. pic.twitter.com/a6YovsPbUd
— Lori Lightfoot (@LightfootForChi) November 22, 2019
Foxx’s seat as Cook County State’s Attorney is up for re-election next year. Her opposition will be tough, as former Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney and reserve U.S. Navy intelligence officer, Bill Conway, steps up to give her a run for her money.
Conway says that Foxx has been too lenient on criminal gun offenders, especially as Chicago boasts some of the strictest gun control measures but still sees skyrocketing homicide and violent crime rates.
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