Friday, February 23, 2007

Illegal searches are all too common in East Texas

From Bad Cop News feeder:

Steve Banyai
Lyford, TX on Nov. 27, 2006
Subject:
BIGGS, LD#509,#3212, ROGUE COP ON VIDEO To:"steve bonzai" ON 11/21/06, 1PM, I WAS SOUTHBOUND ON HWY 59 IN RUSKCOUNTY, TEXAS. I WAS CRUISING ON CRUSE CONTROL AT THESPEED LIMIT. I SAW THE SHERIFF ON THE SIDE OF THE ROADPULL OFF AFTER I PASSED. HE CAUGHT UP TO ME AND PUT ONHIS LIGHTS. I PULLED OVER TO SEE WHAT HE WANTED. HE SAID THE TAIL LIGHT WAS OUT ON MY TRAILER, BUT I HADNOT USED MY BRAKES UNTIL AFTER HE STOPPED ME. IQUESTIONED HIS STATEMENT THAT THE LIGHTS WERE OUT. [IBELIEVE THAT BRAKE LIGHTS ARE NOT NEEDED IN DAYLIGHT,BUT HAD TESTED MY LIGHTS THE DAY BEFORE IN MICHIGAN.]

I MADE HIM STATE AGAIN THAT HE WAS STOPPING ME BECAUSEOF BRAKE LIGHTS ON MY TRAILER.[#1- ILLEGAL STOP.]THENHE WANT TO KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY I HAD. HE ASKED TOSEARCH MY CAR AND I TOLD HIM HE HAD NO RIGHT TO SEARCHMY CAR. HE FURTHER DETAINED ME SO HIS DOG COULD SNIFFMY CAR. THE DOG GAVE THE CAR A PASS UNTIL HE THREWSOMETHING [HIS GUM?] UNDER THE FRONT OF THE CAR.[#2MANUFACTURING EVIDENCE][HIS WIND-UP SHOULD BE CLEAR ONTHE VIDEO EVEN THOUGH HE WAS HIDING BEHIND MY CAR.]THE DOG WENT FOR IT UNDER THE PASSENGER SIDE FRONTTIRE. HE PUT THE DOG AWAY AND SAID THE DOG ALERTED ONMY TRUNK. HE CLAIMED THAT GAVE HIM THE RIGHT TO SEARCHMY CAR WITHOUT MY CONSENT. HE SEARCHED MY CAR AND BOATVERY CLOSELY, AS SEEN ON THE TAPE. [#3 ILLEGALLYSEARCH.]

HE ASKED ABOUT DRUGS BUT I POINTED OUT DRUGSGO FROM SOUTH TO NORTH. LATER I REALIZED HE WASLOOKING FOR MONEY. HE SHAKES ALL THE DOORS, LOOKS INALL THE NOOKS AND CRANNIES. GOES THROUGH ANTIQUES FROMMY GREAT-GRAND MOTHER, MY CLOTHES, KNAPSACK AND FRUITAND VEGETABLES. I STILL DO NOT KNOW IF HE STOLEANYTHING AS I AM NOT HOME TO UNPACK YET. HE WAS KINDENOUGH TO GIVE ME A WARNING THAT HAS ALL THEINFORMATION ON IT, [#4 FILING A FALSE POLICE REPORT.]AND TOLD ME HAVE A NICE THANKSGIVING. I STOPPED IN THENEXT TOWN AT- LUNDSFORD AUTO SUPPLY AND GARAGE- TOHAVE MY LIGHTS CHECKED. THE MAN BEHIND THE COUNTERCHECKED MY LIGHTS, THEN STEPPED ON THE BRAKES SO ICOULD SEE FOR MYSELF THAT THERE WAS NO PROBLEM WITH MYLIGHTS. THEY JOKED ABOUT MY HAVING MET BARNEY, SO THISMUST HAPPEN ALL THE TIME. I WILL BE IN TOUCH WITHEVERY ATTORNEY IN THE AREA TO SEE HOW MANY PEOPLESLIVES HE HAS MESSED UP WITH HIS ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES.THERE WAS ANOTHER MALE IN THE CAR WITH HIM. HE HAD A SHERIFF'S SHIRT ON.

THEY CHECKED ME THROUGH THE SYSTEM SO IT WILL NOT BE HARD TO VERIFY MY STORY. IF THEYDESTROY THE EVIDENCE ON THE TAPE THAT IS A SIGN OFRICO ACTIVITY. THE CAR, BOAT AND TRAILER BELONG TO MY DAD AND HAVE NEVER HAD SO MUCH AS A CIGARETTE INSIDE.THE DOG TOLD HIM THAT. HE STILL WANTED TO SEARCH FORMONEY SO HE MANUFACTURED AN EXCUSE. BEING OUT-OF-STATE HE THINKS JUST NOT BEING FINED IS ENOUGH TO HAVE MEFORGET ABOUT MY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. CHECK OUT THEFILM AND SEE HOW MANY LAWS HE BROKE. I WILL BE MORETHAT WILLING TO TESTIFY AT HIS TRIAL. TARGETINGOUT-OF-STATERS, I BET THE MEXICAN CONSUL WILL HAVEREPORTS OF HIS CRIMINAL ACTS. THIS REPORT WILL BE SENTTO EVERY EMAIL I CAN FIND IN RUSK COUNTY, THE DPS,RANGERS, FBI, EVERY ATTORNEY IN EVERY COUNTYSURROUNDING RUSK AND EVERY MEXICAN CONSUL IN THESTATES AND MEXICO AS WELL AS EVERY COUNTRY IN CENTRALAMERICA. I AM WILLING TO TAKE A POLYGRAPH, ANYTIMEANYWHERE. STEVE BANYAI TDL# 02454464.

Open response to Steve on Bad Cop News:

Steve, I can relate to your story you posted. I lived in East TX for 25 years and had to leave because of the systemic corruption coming out of the area. I have had friends go through the same ordeal. Sheriff Biggs, or whoever this guy is, does exactly what most of these small town cops do. There are a handful of decent folks up there, but often wonder how many truly honest ones are left. I would post your dealings with the Rusk Co. boys in other places.

The problem is there is very little initiative for the US attorney's office, TX Rangers or FBI to reign in the redneck mafia that wear badges. They work together, in co-hoots with each other. The later provided meaningless drug busts, and the former getting Federal grant money to do as they wish.

This only skims the surface of the corruption of East Texas law enforcement. Just last year in 2006, down in Cherokee County, TX a 60 year old veteran chief of police officer was busted by out of county law enforcement for selling meth and drugs off the steps of the Troup, TX city hall.
Read at :
http://www.news8austin.com/content/top_stories/default.asp?ArID=156663

Editor’s footnote: Chief Chester Kennedy was arrested and convicted of evidence tampering. Sgt. Mark Turner was arrested and convicted for taking drugs from the police locker. Other links verify the trafficking of crystal meth in Cherokee County by others. As of March 2009, Kennedy was appealing the theft conviction.

Why does this take place, in broad daylight and under the noses of Federal prosecutors? Some conspiracists say the feds have signed off on them and given them accomodations, so it would make those districts look bad in the eyes of Congress (follow the money). That's one theory. Here is mine--- this stuff happens because these “men” enjoy violating the law everyday and every fashion they see fit.They pull people over going “southbound” even though the city limits of the rat hole town is only on the Northbound and they have no jurisdiction on the southbound lanes. So they catch you going out of town so you are outside the city limits and away from help. They tape record the calls coming from the phone booths at the local Shop-A-Lot, pretending to put a dent in the out of state drug trade; but these lowlifes are actually just getting their jollies illegally eavesdropping on the town’s populace. And they get paid to do it.

They also have no compunction about lying under oath, fabricating evidence and will even murder people for insurance money. In neighboring Cherokee County, just south down the road from Henderson, the former District Attorney named Charles Holcomb is now a sitting Justice in the highest criminal court in TX, in Austin, on the TX Court of Criminal Appeals. He convicted an innocent man back in the 1990s on a murder for hire scheme in Alto, TX. No investigation by the authorities needed after the man Holcomb convicted was freed.

There aren't many articles dating back to the heyday of the Hwy 59 posse that got their revenue from “drug busts” and basically holding up out of state drivers. They don't have to prove anything during a trial, the accusation is simple enough for a conviction.

Of course, officials such as Justice Charles Holcomb portray themselves now as a privacy advocate, in Holcomb's case even ruling against his Republican Chief Justice when it comes to drug seizures. And the remainder East Texas state prosecutors like Cherokee County's Elmer C. Beckworth, Jr. salivate over the next small town homicide to brand themselves as "victim rights advocates." Then they top it off by misleading their colleagues in the Texas State Bar and TCDAA about their own personal involvement. Rusk County may be heavy handed in their "war on drugs," but at least they aren't selling drugs to undercover federal agents, like Cherokee County's Constable Precinct 3 Randy Thompson or raping women during traffic stops like Larry Pugh of the Jacksonville, TX police department.

As for Sheriff Biggs of Rusk County, how bad can he be? Don’t get me wrong though, these men are extremely dangerous. As a former East Texan, I am embarrassed to see the beautiful place turn into such a cesspool of drug dealing and corruption. If traveling south, I would take I45 to Huntsville and down to Houston, and totally avoid the backwoods cretins. And make sure you bring a cell phone and log in with a loved one when traveling through the area so they know where you are periodically. And lastly, of course never use a pay phone in these small towns, unless you want Constable Billy Bob Dipshit to intercept it.

Good luck, sir.
name and address withheld on private blog.

Steve Banyai return email:

withheld, THANKS FOR THE INTERESTING READING. I WILL PASS IT ALONG TO ALL MY FRIENDS UP NORTH. I LIVE IN SOUTHTEXAS NOW, PORT MANSFIELD. THE RANGERS SAID THEY DONTHELP IN SUCH CASES [BIGGS]. WE ARE IN THE BOONIES, BUT THE BORDER IS JUST A DRY EAST TEXAS. COPS THERE CAN'T RESIST THE DRUGS. STEVE BANYAI

Editor's comment:
Even the Texas Rangers turned their backs on Banyai's request for an investigation.
Rusk County, county seat Henderson, has had its racially motivated lawsuits and firings a'la Cherokee County in recent years. 2004 news article titled "OUTGOING RUSK COUNTY SHERIFF SUED OVER INVESTIGATOR'S FIRING" illustrates the redneck and racist mentality of East Texas law enforcement. A black District Attorney was called racial epithets by former Rusk County Sheriff after refusing to violate a citizen's civil rights.

In the posting, Steve Banyai is describing Henderson County Narcotics/K9 officer Kenneth Biggs, who in 2005 actually pulled over a Harris County Sheriff's Deputy and charged him possession of cocaine. Deputy Biggs gets his name in the police misconduct blogs for busting a Harris County deputy for crack and cocaine, then gets his name in the illegal search and seizure records.

As of late, Rusk County has seen its jailers busted with child porn, a deputy comitt suicide and the FBI do internal investigations stemming from charges of corruption. Rusk County and the current Sheriff's Department is attempting to clean house. Hopefully, Cherokee County will be next on the FBI's and US Attorney's office for house cleaning.

Footnote: Shelby County, TX constables and prosecutors working the Tenaha area and US 59 are facing federal lawsuits for illegal search and seizure practices. In the Eastern Texas Federal District Court, several class action and civil rights suits, such as Morrow v. City of Tenaha are being heard for the "money shakedown operation" of over 200 motorists. As KTRE reports on July 30, 2008, detained motorists were forced to sign waivers of forfeiture of their property and wallets to avoid being charged with "money laundering." Shelby County has seized over 3 million dollars from traveling motorists over the last 2 years.

Refer to case: Morrow v. City of Tenaha Deputy City Marshal Barry Washington, et al

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have lived in Tyler (Smith Co.) for about 7 years now. Moved here from out of state.

At first, I really liked this community. But after getting hauled into Smith County jail for four days in 2006 for a chickenshit warrant, my opinion has definitely changed for the worst!

I was out of work at the time* and couldn't afford to pay a ticket for driving without insurance ($400), so I ended up in the "low-risk" facility north of town.

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*Although this is somewhat off-topic, I just want to state unequivocably that the East Texas job market is the worst I've ever seen. The wage scale for non-professional jobs is what I was making 25 years ago in California, and it's extremely difficult to get hired if you don't know the "right people".

This area is blatantly anti-labor -- the smug elite pricks who control Tyler won't do anything to attract decent-paying jobs to our area. They're more interested in bringing in well-heeled retirees to boost the local tax base and make the medical/pharmaceutical cartel richer.

In many ways, East Texas is like a third-world country, with the rich professionals and elite Southern Baptist insiders living a glorious life, while the "peons" can barely survive and have been largely stripped of their dignity.
--------------------

O.k., rant over. Back to the so-called criminal justice system...

It's not much of a surprise that everybody in jail tells a "somebody-done-me-wrong" story about how they don't deserve to be there.

The reality is that SOME people are criminal punks who deserve to be in the can. In many cases, until they rot!

But MANY others have been railroaded by a patently corrupt system hellbent on extracting the maximum amount of revenue, at any cost.

Police and court officials have no compunction about violating the law, if it serves to bring them more arrests and revenue. (Smith County receives $115 for each day somebody spends in jail!)

Of course, common sense would dictate that East Texas doesn't hold a monopoly on corruption. The statutory legal system under which all of us in the U.S. now live is an abomination. But what goes on in E. Texas is especially nasty and mean-spirited. In fact, many members of law enforcement here are criminally insane. No doubt about it!

J.B. Smith, the sick joke of a sheriff, is involved in illegal gambling, prostitution, drug distribution and bootlegging. Aside from that, he's probably an all-around great guy. (Just kidding.) Unfortunately, good old J.B. sets the tone level for this county, lowering the bar for everybody else in a position of power.

Let's back up a bit -- Many decades ago, before we had the statutory legal system, the U.S. operated under the common law. Basically, the common law defined a criminal as somebody who damages other persons or property. That's it.

In other words, if somebody breaks into a house, robs a bank, murders somebody, gets drunk and knocks down a telephone pole, they're considered criminals -- as well they SHOULD be!

Under the statutory legal system, these people are also considered criminals. BUT, the statutory legal system adds to the mix an absolute deluge of "make believe" laws and "make believe" crimes.

THESE types of crimes don't involve any damage to other persons or property. For example, somebody who doesn't wear a seat beat isn't really a criminal. The legal fiction known as "SMITH COUNTY", "STATE OF TEXAS", etc. cannot produce an aggrieved party who was DAMAGED as a consequence of a driver not wearing a seat belt. That's a relatively minor example, but illustrative of the built-in injustice of the statutory legal system.

The main thing to understand is that drugs, "money laundering", etc. are big business. Corrupt members of the police department, highway patrol, Texas Rangers, etc. are heavily involved in the distribution chain of illegal drugs. (Keep in mind, these are the people who travel up and down the I-20 and I-30 corridors arresting people for possession of drugs which THEY themselves supplied!!!)

What is "money laundering"? Money laundering IS an actual crime. For example, if somebody operates a legitimate business (e.g., a restaurant), and uses the business to launder proceeds of illicit activities such as drugs or illegal gambling activities, that can correctly be labeled as money laundering.

BUT, here's the rub........

The term "money laundering" has a colorable definition. It's now used to mean ANYTHING the criminal justice [!] system WANTS it to mean. The name of the game is to maximize asset confiscation!

So if you get caught by the police with a large sum of money on your person or in your vehicle, they automatically call it "money laundering".

This police-state tactic is a complete farce, because, in practice, the police and courts aren't really obligated to prove that the funds are illicit. Simply the PRESENCE of the money in your possession is enough for you to get arrested for this "make believe" crime!

Even if you can prove that the source of the funds is legit, the court system will NOT, in most cases, return your money. And regardless of the outcome, you will no doubt stew in jail for a long time.

The first loyalty of attorneys is to the "system" -- NOT their clients. So the attorney will only PRETEND to defend their clients, because he's engaged in a profitable racket. It's a "toll bridge" situation, where the attorney wins, regardless of the outcome of the case.

So where is the JUSTICE in any of this? For all intents and purposes, if you can't seek recourse under the law when you've been wronged by crooked police and courts, then you're already living under a TYRANNY!

While this kind of crap occurs all across America, it's reached an art form here in beautiful East Texas. Needless to say, I'm getting the hell out of here ASAP!

Oh, and the frosting on the cake... On the front page of today's Tyler newspaper, it states that the city wants to invest $90+ million to expand the jail. To say the least, that's quite an ambitious project for a medium-sized city!

Meanwhile, people can't find jobs, the roads are full of potholes, etc. But Tyler has millions to invest in the prison business. (Guess who pays for all this? Yup. The "taxpayer"!)

And don't even get me started on what I think of PRIVATE prisons such as the CCA facilities in Henderson. If you want the scoop on that, just do a Google search for CCA or Corrections Corporation of America. The private prisons are even worse than the government-operated facilities (if you can imagine THAT!)

They're filling up those prisons with marijuana offenders and those who have committed trivial crimes, often of the "make believe" variety. In fact, CCA lobbies Congress for stiffer sentencing for marijuana offenders. That way, these "hard-core" people will stay in jail longer, which equates to more revenue for the burgeoning prison industry! (No conflict of interest THERE... right???)

Reality check time: Take a look around you and see if you can discover what the fastest-growth sectors of the economy are in 2007: government jobs (bureaucrats), prison industry, attorneys, banks, etc. Don't for a moment think that any of these industries are your friend!

etdgfe said...

I lived in the Tyler area for 9 years during the eighties and the company I worked for had close dealings with the county and the county clerk's office.

[Law enforcement] ran an illegal gambling casino in a house off Hwy 155 South.

One of my customers who was a manager at a hardware store invited me there for an evening out.

I did not believe her at first and wanted to find out for myself. She made a couple of phone calls and we were invited that evening.

It WAS there. Gambling, alcohol (dry county) and a number of her old drug connections.

She claimed that she had worked there for several years as a prostitute and at the time was a recovering cocaine and alcohol addict.

As someone who worked closely with the county as a volunteer during elections, I am convinced that election tampering by [elected county official] and cohorts helped keep him in power.

Smith county was very corrupt and even the local DPS officers were complicit.

There was a pilot in those days (a relative of mine).

[He] owned [a Tyler-based air strip].

[He] smuggled tons of drugs over a 10-15 year period into [the airport]. A local eye doctor, ----, was the money man.

How do I know? I was a pilot at the time and due to family trust, I was invited to join the operation.

[The pilot] was my idol as a small child and he took me flying quite often during the late 50's and early 60's.

The money was tempting, but as a professional with a family, I wanted no part of it.

[The pilot] died suddenly and mysteriously a couple of years later. The death (murder) was never investigated.

[The pilot] claimed that he had "cover" from the "big guys" and there was no risk. Well, his luck ran out.

I was also introduced to two brothers, who were twins,…. They ran meth labs in Smith County and once again, they had "cover" from the "big guys." The labs were used for money and selective prosecution. If you had nice cars, good homes, and were not in the clique, then you were busted and everything seized.

If you were in the clique and you didn't make problems, everything was ok.

My ex-wife's best friend was [one’s] girlfriend who was hopelesslly hooked on the crap.

[He] claimed that the raw materials were provided by narcs in the sherrif's office and as long as he cooperated and paid his dues, he was safe.

[They are] the worst type of criminal. I know first hand that during the eighties corruption was rampant in Smith County. And [he] was at the heart of it.

East Texas has become a dangerous place for citizens to travel.

Rusk, Shelby, Nacogdoches, Henderson, Panola are all out to fleece as many travelers as possible. (I travel through these counties several times a month).

I'm an older guy who does not drink, use drugs, or knowingly speed. However, I occasionally get stopped with the criminal behind the badge asking, "Where are you going? Where are you coming from? Do you have weapons, cash, or drugs? If not, then you shouldn't mind if I look through your van. The latest was, you guessed it, Tenaha.

We now call these stops "Badge related car jacking attempts."

They are looking for the same things a car jacker looks for, guns, drugs, cash, property, vehicles, and even to take you hostage for a ransom.

Please understand that you CAN BE KILLED or SETUP if you cause problems in these places.

As someone who routinely travels through Central and South America, I see the "third world" mentality most of these badge toting criminals display.

I've kept my mouth shut for over twenty something years in fear of retribution. I'm angry that such a wonderful place is no better than Honduras, Guatamala, Columbia, or Panama. It's the same mentality.

Anonymous said...

I lived in the Tyler area for 9 years during the eighties and the company I worked for had close dealings with the county and the county clerk's office. [Law enforcement] ran an illegal gambling casino in a house off Hwy 155 South. One of my customers who was a manager at a hardware store invited me there for an evening out. I did not believe her at first and wanted to find out for myself. She made a couple of phone calls and we were invited that evening. It WAS there. Gambling, alcohol (dry county) and a number of her old drug connections. She claimed that she had worked there for several years as a prostitute and at the time was a recovering cocaine and alcohol addict. As someone who worked closely with the county as a volunteer during elections, I am convinced that election tampering by [] (the county clerk at the time) and cohorts helped keep him in power. Smith county was very corrupt and even the local DPS officers were complicit. There was a pilot in those days named [CB]. (a relative of mine). [He] owned [air hangers] at Tyler Pounds field. Mr. [B] smuggled tons of drugs over a 10-15 year period into Tyler Pounds field. A local eye doctor, Dr. [D], was the money man. How do I know? I was a pilot at the time and due to family trust, I was invited to join the operation. [C] was my idol as a small child and he took me flying quite often during the late 50's and early 60's. The money was tempting, but as a professional with a family, I wanted no part of it. [C] died suddenly and mysteriously a couple of years later. The death (murder) was never investigated. [C] claimed that he had "cover" from the "big guys" and there was no risk. Well, his luck ran out. I was also introduced to two brothers, who were twins, [R] and [D] They ran meth labs in Smith County and once again, they had "cover" from the "big guys." The labs were used for money and selective prosecution. If you had nice cars, good homes, and were not in the clique, then you were busted and everything seized. If you were in the clique and you didn't make problems, everything was ok. My ex-wife's best friend was [R]'s girlfriend who was hopelesslly hooked on the crap. [R] claimed that the raw materials were provided by narcs in the sherrif's office and as long as he cooperated and paid his dues, he was safe. [Head of law enforcement] is the worst type of criminal. I know first hand that during the eighties corruption was rampant in Smith County. And Ol' [delteted] was at the heart of it. East Texas has become a dangerous place for citizens to travel. Rusk, Shelby, Nacogdoches, Henderson, Panola are all out to fleece as many travelers as possible. (I travel through these counties several times a month). I'm an older guy who does not drink, use drugs, or knowingly speed. However, I occasionally get stopped with the criminal behind the badge asking, "Where are you going? Where are you coming from? Do you have weapons, cash, or drugs? If not, then you shouldn't mind if I look through your van. The latest was, you guessed it, Tenaha. We now call these stops "Badge related car jacking attempts." They are looking for the same things a car jacker looks for, guns, drugs, cash, property, vehicles, and even to take you hostage for a ransom. Please understand that you CAN BE KILLED or SETUP if you cause problems in these places. As someone who routinely travels through Central and South America, I see the "third world" mentality most of these badge toting criminals display. I've kept my mouth shut for over twenty something years in fear of retribution. I'm angry that such a wonderful place is no better than Honduras, Guatamala, Columbia, or Panama. It's the same mentality.