Sunday, June 22, 2008


As investigators, you should know that a “Gunshot Residue Test” – or “GSR” – is not a surefire exam to determine whether or not someone has fired a gun! In fact, it should be stressed that, according to Marc S. Taylor, a gunshot-residue expert from California who has testified nationally for both prosecutors and defense attorneys, a gunshot residue test “should never be referred to as showing that someone fired a gun”. The reason for this is the ability to contaminate – in both a contamination to show a “positive”, as well as to show a “negative” – that should cast all doubt on any validity of this exam. Why, then, is the test conducted? Perhaps because it looks good when people watch it being done on TV, on shows like CSI!
It has been noted that across the country defense experts are fighting the validity of “positive” results, as tests have proven a “false-positive” could occur from contaminants from items that already have gunshot residue on them – such as handcuffs, car seats, or even the police officers clothing. This is combined with the known “negative” results which could easily be obtained from having cleaned ones hands before a swab being taken. It has long been considered an unreliable test any time the subject was out of view of the tester or police officer for any amount of time, as one could easily wipe and clean hands, thus removing particles before being swabbed.

The tiny particles that are released when a handgun is fired, consisting of lead, barium and antimony particles. In theory, when firing a gun, these particles are displaced into the air and onto the hands of the person firing the gun – thus, testing “positive” for these elements, one would – TRY – to conclude that you fired the gun. However, as noted above, there are variables which cannot be controlled that could easily cause a “false positive” – as well as a “false negative” – that should leave any investigator with the very big question that needs to be answered any time such a test is recommended – “Why Should A Gunshot Residue Test be Conducted?”


One investigation where it could be considered more valuable than others may be in the investigation of apparent self-inflicted gunshot wounds.
Provided there was no opportunity for contamination.
The examination of gunshot residue can disprove an assumption made falsely or mistakenly. For example, in the case of an apparent suicide involving a handgun, a gunshot residue collection should be done on the hands of the deceased. If no residue is found, the case could actually be a murder made to look like a suicide.
Certainly a consideration for the investigator.

Investigators world-wide can attest to the importance of a proper canvass as a critical component to an effective investigation.
Unfortunately, all too often the canvass is looked on as a tedious task – one that gets delegated to detectives being “flown-in” from other agencies to provide necessary manpower at the early stages of the investigation.
An effective canvass though, can mean the difference between success and stagnation. What are you looking for in a canvass?
An actual eyewitness to the crime.
Information about the circumstances of the crime.
An approximate time of occurrence and/or estimate of time of death.
Information about the victim – background, habits, intelligence that could provide a motive.

Handling a canvass properly, and following up on information provided, can turnaround an otherwise slow progressing case.

What are the five key commodities which organized crime groups around the world make their largest profits?

Energy products

A recent text chronicling international organized crime, MCMAFIA by Misha Glenny, has provided some interesting and educational reading for this true crime buff.

“With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the deregulation of international financial markets in 1989, governments and entrepreneurs alike became intoxicated by forecasts of limitless expansion into newly open markets”.
Did you realize that roughly one-fifth of global GDP is by illegal trade?
While providing a very authoritative look at Russian organized crime, it also presents a compelling narrative on organized – and not so organized – illegal trade throughout other parts of the world, and its impact on our everyday life.
I had not realized the high level of trade in illegal, untaxed cigarettes throughout the world. Having some first hand experience with untaxed cigarettes and the violence that can ensue among dealers, it is no wonder that, on an even higher scale, this is being conducted throughout the world.

What about Israeli organized crime?

I did not know that the Israeli crime syndicates more closely resemble the Sicilian Mafia than its Russian counterparts. The Israeli crime groups are gathered around families, much the same way the Sicilians are.
“When you have crime based on families, then issues such as honor and vendettas come into play,” states Professor Amir, a leading Israeli criminologist.
Gambling had been the traditional industry around which the Israeli crime syndicates gathered and thrived. But in the 1990’s, they branched out and moved into an even more lucrative area. According to the U.S. DEA, the Israeli families continue to be a major element in the transfer of large shipments of Ecstasy from Belgium to the US. Europe is the top manufacturing base for this synthetic narcotic, Ecstasy. The main West European center being Amsterdam, although recently industrial-scale arrests and seizures have been made in Serbia and Bulgaria as well.
A 2003 State Department report indicated that Israel is the hub of global ecstasy trafficking, having branched out from Europe to the United States.
“Israel drug-trafficking organizations are the main source of distribution of the drug to groups in the U.S., using express mail services, commercial airlines, and recently using air cargo services,” the report states. For a country as dependent on American financial, political, and military support, this would seem to be an embarrassment to Israel.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


P.O. Carragher, James
Date of Death: 1982-02-11
Command: Housing Authority Police Service Area 1
Cause of Death: Shot Off Duty Robbery

Officer Carragher was shot and killed as he attempted to arrest two suspects that tried to rob him. Officer Carragher had just returned home from his tour of duty and was about eight feet from his building when he was approached by two men with guns. The men attempted to rob Officer Carragher. Officer Carragher drew his weapon and was able to fire five shots before being shot and killed. Officer Carragher had been with the Housing Police Department for 16 years.

P.O. Ryman, Harry
Date of Death: 1980-08-14
Command: 60 Pct.
Cause of Death: Shot-Investigation

Officer Ryman was shot and killed when he attempted to stop three men from stealing his neighbor’s car. Officer Ryman exited his house to investigate a noise at approximately 0340 hours. He confronted three men who were attempting to steal his next door neighbor's car. Officer Ryman identified himself as a police officer and attempted to arrest the three suspects’. One suspect drew a handgun and opened fire, striking Officer Ryman three times in the chest. Before he fell Officer Ryman was able to return fire, striking one suspect in the head. Officer Ryman was removed to Kings County Hospital where he died from his wounds. Two alert Police Officers who were waiting in the emergency room for word on Officer Ryman's condition spotted three men entering the hospital. One man was bleeding from the head. As the officers approached, two of the suspect fled, and after a brief foot pursuit were arrested. The third man was arrested in the emergency room. All three were charged with First-Degree Murder. Officer Ryman, 43, had been with the NYPD for 17 years.

P.O. Sledge, Cecil
Date of Death: 1980-01-28
Command: 69 Pct.
Cause of Death: Shot-Auto Check

Officer Sledge was shot and killed while making a traffic stop in Brooklyn of a suspect wanted for shooting at his girlfriend. He was shot when he approached the vehicle. As he fell to the ground his gunbelt became caught on the car and he was dragged approximately one quarter mile before falling free from the vehicle. The suspect was apprehended after taking an elderly woman hostage in her own home. The suspect, Salvatore DeSarno was on parole at the time of the murder (while he resisted arrest for numerous armed robberies). As a result of Officer Sledge's murder, one man patrols were no longer authorized unless the officer was equipped with a shotgun. Officer Sledge had been with the agency for 12 years. He was 35 years old. He left behind a wife, Linda and 2 children - 3 1/2 year old Richard and 9 month old Corinne.

Each of the killers of these NYPD Police Officer’s comes up for parole in August 2008. YOUR ASSISTANCE IS NEEDED! If you can help provide any first-hand knowledge of these officers, their actions, or any information that can help in formulating a presentation to the N.Y. State Parole Board on behalf of the official Police Department response, please do so! I am asking you to forward any information, first-hand info of these officers, their actions, etc. to the NY State Parole Board. In the very near future all will be asked to help by sending letters to the Governor and others on the Parole Board urging the parole for these cop killers be denied. Your help and assistance is appreciated in advance.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Remember...They're Actors!!

These two "Detectives" were recently arrested in separate incidents.
Dennis Farina AKA Law and Order Detective Joe Fontana was arrested at Los Angeles Airport (LAX) for carrying a loaded firearm in his briefcase. His response, "I forgot it was in there". How do you forget you're carrying a loaded weapon? Then, it was later determined that the handgun was unregistered! More charges and a higher bail...This from a retired Police Officer.
Next up we have Gary Dourdan from every real detectives nemesis show CSI who was arrested for DUI and illegal possession of several different controlled substances. More proof of what all law enforcement officers everywhere already know..."it's just an acting role, it doesn't mean they live their lives with integrity and character, something almost all of us do every day".