The Department of Homeland Security is gathering intelligence from paid undercover informants inside the migrant caravan that is now reaching the California-Mexico border as well as monitoring the text messages of migrants, according to two DHS officials.
The 4,000 migrants, mainly from Honduras, have used WhatsApp text message groups as a way to organize and communicate along their journey to the California border, and DHS personnel have joined those groups to gather that information.
The intelligence gathering techniques are combined with reports from DHS personnel working in Mexico with the government there in an effort to keep tabs on the caravan’s size, movements and any potential security threats.
A forged signature swapped for $1 — or sometimes a cigarette.
The crude exchange played out hundreds of times on L.A.’s skid row during the 2016 election cycle and again this year, prosecutors said Tuesday as they announced criminal charges against nine people accused in a fraud scheme.
Using cash and cigarettes as lures, the defendants approached homeless people on skid row and asked them to forge signatures on state ballot measure petitions and voter registration forms, the district attorney’s office said. The defendants — some of whom were scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday — face several criminal charges, including circulating a petition with fake names, voter fraud and registering a fictitious person.
The charges, which were filed three weeks ago but made public Tuesday, followed a Los Angeles Police Department crackdown on suspected election fraud on skid row earlier in the year.
“They paid individuals to sign the names,” Officer Deon Joseph, the senior lead officer on skid row,told The Times in September. “That’s an assault on our democracy.”
State officials said petition signature scams aren’t widespread in California, but Joseph said they do pop up from time to time on skid row. People hired to help qualify initiatives for the ballot are often paid per signature collected, typically $1 to $2, but officials said a recent slew of proposed ballot initiatives had pushed the rate as high as $6 a signature. It is illegal for the collectors, however, to pay people for signatures.
The bust saw 17 people arrested across Henan, Hebei, and Zhejiang.
Cangnan police chief Zheng Xidan said: “We found the workshops where the suspects made those condoms in rural areas in Henan and Hebei. They were very simple and crude.
“The hygienic conditions in those villages were very bad. We saw the condoms they were making – they blended the condoms with silicone oil in a bucket.
“It was totally below official manufacturing standards.”
The fakes were sold wholesale to retailers for 11p per pack – a fraction of the £16 sticker price for real ones.
They were found to contain fungi, thin patches, and even holes.
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Cangnan police swooped after a tip-off that a local businesman was flogging condoms for far below the market value.
In February, cops in Yuncheng, a city in Shanxi province, seized 2million fake Durex and Okamoto condoms.
More than 10 similar cases had been heard by courts in Henan alone since 2014, according to mainland media reports, and those found guilty have been sentenced to up to four years in jail.
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Just in time for the holidays, our inner solar system is about to receive a visitor that may add a green glow to December’s night sky.
46P/Wirtanen, a three-quarter-mile-wide periodic comet that comes our way roughly every 5.4 years, will make its closest approach to Earth on Dec. 16. Categorized as a “hyperactive” comet, it belongs to a small family of comets that appear to emit more water than they should for the size of their nucleus.
Despite a distance of 7.2 million miles, or 30 times the distance from the Earth to the moon, Comet Wirtanen will be the 10th closest comet to graze Earth since 1950. It could also, just maybe, become the brightest of the lot.
There was an underage driver at the wheel, driving on a Florida highway. Police say he was speeding.
When he crashed, one of the passengers in his car died. At the hospital, a blood test showed that the minor had a .086 blood-alcohol content: slightly over the legal limit of .08% for non-commercial drivers.
According to court documents, police found two iPhones in the car: one that belonged to a surviving passenger and one that allegedly belonged to the driver. The passenger told police that the friends had been drinking vodka earlier in the day and that she’d been talking with the driver on her iPhone.
The police wanted the driver’s phone, so they got a warrant to search it for data, photos, text messages, and more. They also sought an order compelling the minor to hand over the passcode for the iPhone and for an iTunes account associated with it.
And this is where we get into the evolving world of the Fifth Amendment and compelled passcode disclosure. Last Wednesday, 24 October, the Florida Court of Appeal quashed a juvenile court’s order for the defendant – identified only by his initials, G.A.Q.L., since he’s a minor – to disclose his passcodes.