Forged Andrew Wyeth Painting Seized
The FBI Wilmington Resident Agency and the FBI Art Crime Team seized a forgery of Andrew Wyeth’s “Snow Birds.” The fraudulent painting had been placed for sale at a major auction house in New York. Initial estimates placed its value at between $300,000 and $500,000. The actual “Snow Birds” painting was painted by Andrew Wyeth in 1970.
The seizure was announced yesterday by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Delaware, who also discussed the seizure of Mesopotamian antiquities from a California antiquities dealer.
Director Addresses Chiefs of Police
In comments at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Orlando, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller gave a brief overview of the current terrorist threat: "Nine years ago, al Qaeda was our primary concern. Today, we still confront the prospect of a large-scale attack by al Qaeda central. But we also face a growing threat from al Qaeda affiliates, from the attempted Christmas Day bombing by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, to the failed Times Square bombing by TTP, a militant group in Pakistan.
Al Qaeda and its affiliates may also attempt smaller attacks that require less planning and fewer operational steps—attacks that may be more difficult to detect and to prevent. Threats from homegrown terrorists are also of great concern. These individuals are harder to detect, easily able to connect with other extremists on the Internet, and—in some instances—highly capable operationally. For these reasons, terrorism is and must remain the FBI’s top priority. But it is by no means our only priority."
Latent Hit of the Year
Each year we highlight a cold case that was solved through analysis of latent fingerprints. The 2010 Hit of the Year recognizes a 1972 case in San Diego. A man was stabbed more than 50 times in his home. His house had been ransacked, and his car was stolen. the San Diego Police Department reopened the case in 2008. Latent prints helped lead them to a suspect in Texas, who ultimately pleaded guilty to the crime.
Prison Sentence for Supporting Taliban
A Pakistani national who entered the U.S. on a student visa has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for unlawfully possessing firearms and conspiring to provide material support to the Taliban. An FBI undercover investigation revealed that Adan Mirza, 33, and others intended to send funds to the Taliban and had engaged in weekend training and practice sessions in Houston in 2006 to prepare for “jihad.”
Postal Worker Guilty for Gambling Ring
James Washington was found guilty in federal court in New York of conspiring to operate an illegal gambling business throughout U.S. Postal Service facilities and other government workplaces. Records show Washington, along with several co-conspirators, operated a "Lotto"-type gambling business that tracked New York State Lotto drawings and paid out on a monthly basis prizes in the range of $100,000 and more.
Guilty Plea in Virginia Terror Case
Zachary Adam Chesser, 20, of Virginia, pleaded guilty charges that included communicating threats against the writers of the South Park television show, soliciting violent jihadists, and attempting to provide material support to Al-Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organization. Chesser admitted that in May he posted to a jihadist website the personal contact information of individuals who had joined the “Everybody Draw Muhammad Day” group on Facebook. He also admitted that he twice attempted to travel to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab and engage in violent jihad as a foreign fighter.
Prison Sentence for Bomb Attempt in Dallas
Hosam Maher Husein Smadi was sentenced to 24 years in prison for his attempted bombing of a downtown Dallas skyscraper in 2009. According to court documents, Smadi took possession of a truck that contained a weapon of mass destruction, specifically a bomb, and parked it in a garage at Fountain Place, a 60-story public office building in Dallas. After parking the truck, Smadi activated a timer connected to the device, locked the truck and walked away.
Singapore Man Convicted of Terror Charges
Balraj Naidu, 48, a citizen of the Republic of Singapore, was convicted in a federal court in Maryland of conspiracy to provide material support to the Tamil Tigers, a foreign terrorist organization. Naidu and co-conspirators attempted to purchase weaponry from China, Thailand, North Korea, the Philippines,, and Indonesia for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (Tamil Tigers) in Sri Lanka to be used to fight against Sri Lankan government forces.