1996-12-31 - No Subject

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From: Bovine Remailer <haystack@cow.net>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 3f9a1e2f36492c1c3737a55ffec3820091a74078fbc7436e6a40d5cf473c135a
Message ID: <9612311536.AA11070@cow.net>
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UTC Datetime: 1996-12-31 15:53:09 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 31 Dec 1996 07:53:09 -0800 (PST)

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From: Bovine Remailer <haystack@cow.net>
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 1996 07:53:09 -0800 (PST)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: No Subject
Message-ID: <9612311536.AA11070@cow.net>
MIME-Version: 1.0
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Criminal, criminal, who's the criminal...

WSJ, December 30, 1996:  Obscure Treasury Unit Helps DEA Uncover Scheme

>From the beginning, it was The Case That Didn't Add Up. It started with a
woman in St. Louis who wanted to pay Federal Express $38 to ship a package
supposedly containing a $2 paperback book to Los Angeles. The company called 
the local Drug Enforcement Administration office.
   [Thanks, FedEx assholes!]

Ralph Moore, a DEA agent, got a search warrant, 

   [Seems like pretty flimsy grounds for a warrant to me.]

opened the package and found $10,000 in cash. 


He checked his records: The woman was on welfare. He searched her house and 
found a new car, $25,000 stuffed into a coat pocket and papers showing the 
woman owned seven buildings.
"Follow the money" is supposedly an axiom for federal investigators, but in
November 1994 Mr. Moore was discovering how tough that is to do in drug cases
where suspects are rich and financially savvy. So who was Mr. Moore going to
call? He noticed a DEA memo about an obscure unit of the Treasury Department,
the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.


The St. Louis case became a prime example of how Fincen, the nation's 
smallest intelligence agency, brings the latest in high-tech firepower to 
the never-ending battle against money-laundering schemes. The agency, 
created in April 1990, uses a staff of 200 analysts and agents to offer state-
of-the-art computer tracking and analysis to state and federal agents and 
prosecutors, giving them more time to work the cases from the street.
The DEA's Mr. Moore desperately needed the help. The woman who had mailed 
the package had a boyfriend who made $20,000 a year working for an electric 
company. The agent found he had more than 30 different accounts in one bank. 
Bank records showed hundreds of thousands of dollars flowing through them
in patterns that never repeated themselves.
Enter James Petrakis, a graying, 47-year-old Fincen investigator, who flew 
out from Washington. Mr. Petrakis designed a computer program for the case 
that could follow the money as it flowed through companies -- some phony, 
some real -- and through people who transferred ownership of some 30 pieces 
of local real estate that seemed to be involved.
There were gaps in the digital portrait that emerged, but the general 
outlines were stunning: Mr. Moore had uncovered a family-run drug-
distribution business that appeared to have stashed between $5 million and 
$7 million in various investments and purchases in St. Louis banks.
Because the business also trafficked in guns, the Treasury Department's 
Bureau of Alcohol, Tax and Firearms was working on the case, too. Robert 
Nosbisch, the top bureau agent, agreed that tracking the money was going to 
be key. "The objective in a case like this is to get anyone who has a 
significant role into jail and take all of their assets," he says.

   [What do you do when the highwaymen wear badges?]

Mr. Moore's chief suspect, a short, hot-tempered man named William Y. 
Jones, "was too good," he recalls. Mr. Jones had a way of anticipating the 
federal agent's moves. "It was almost like a chess game. As I would move a 
piece, he would move a piece," the agent adds.
There were other odd things. Although Mr. Jones was 43 (in 1995), his 
credit records and other personal history only went back to 1985. Before that, 
he had no records. Mr. Jones's biggest drug moves usually happened on 
government holidays, when the DEA and ATF staffs were slim. Mr. Moore had a 
theory: Mr. Jones was probably a federal informant, a man who had worked with 
federal agents in drug cases before.

   [More like a graduate of the Federal Witness Protection Program, I'd say.
    Seems odd that they want to ID us down to the last gnat's eyebrow while
    making up IDs for their buddies.]

  "We needed to become unorthodox," Mr. Moore recalls. When wiretaps led them 
to a $1 million stash of Mr. Jones's cocaine in a car, they seized the drugs 
and the car, too. Later they heard Mr. Jones say on his tapped cellular phone 
that federal agents didn't steal cars. One of his drug partners, Mr. Jones 
concluded, must have double-crossed him.

   [So now they'll just steal stuff from you and not even notify you that
    it has been confiscated.  Amazing!]