Police Beat: Sept. 30, 2010
Al Qaeda Is Plotting Episodes on European Cities, Officials Say
By STEVEN ERLANGER
PARIS — Al Qaeda and related teams are plotting new episodes on Western European capitals, European officers reported on Wednesday, but they had no actionable intelligence suggesting both the timing or precise locations.
French and German officers on Wednesday played down stories of a significant new risk from the most important Qaeda group hiding in Pakistan, saying that any plot appeared to become inside planning stages. A single Western official familiar with the intelligence mentioned that this plot concerned modest teams of gunmen equipped with little arms who hoped to mount commando-style raids in Western European capitals, which are deemed softer targets than america.
In Britain, safety officers noted that the terrorist threat inform remained “severe,” as it continues to be for months, indicating that an strike is regarded as “highly likely.”
But a senior French official reported that France was on excessive inform mainly because of an additional menace: from Al Qaeda within the Islamic Maghreb, which is linked to, but operates separately from, Al Qaeda itself.
The French official, who is also familiar with the intelligence from Washington and allies, mentioned, “We have acquired intelligence exchanges with our United states partners over the past couple of weeks regarding possible threats, but there was nothing along the lines of significant plots in all these capitals, not with any specificity or substance behind them.”
The official reported, “Our problem is North Africa; it’s AQIM, and it is unrelated to Pakistan.”
The German government stated inside a statement from the Interior Ministry that it was aware of Al Qaeda’s “long term” aim to attack Western targets, but “at present you’ll find no concrete pointers to imminent assaults on Germany stemming from this.”
Alarm bells went off in Western Europe overnight, especially in Britain, soon after experiences that American intelligence was warning its allies of simultaneous plots against European capitals, with armed males shooting civilians and taking hostages.
In Washington, a senior American official stated that various plots have been “in varying levels of maturity” and had been “at a worrisome level,” involving either Westerners trained by Al Qaeda in Pakistan or pre-existing Qaeda cells in Europe that rely on guidance or cash from Pakistan.
France is previously on its second-highest state of notify. There has become a string of nine bomb alerts in September, which have twice meant the evacuation in the Eiffel Tower and two nearby subway stations.
However the menace from Al Qaeda within the Islamic Maghreb stems from a separate stream of intelligence, the senior French officials explained. Tensions happen to be substantial normally given that the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, and on Sept. 15, 5 French citizens, together with two African colleagues, had been kidnapped through the Qaeda-linked group inside a uranium-mining region of Niger, in central Africa, wherever they ended up being working for French businesses. The French imagine the hostages are alive and being held in northwestern Mali.
The French Foreign Ministry spokesman, Bernard Valero, mentioned Wednesday that “information transmitted by American authorities, especially around the terror menace in Europe, are actually analyzed, cross-checked and, if the need arises, they are taken into account in our countrywide evaluation with the danger.”
A German official told the Reuters news company that the stories might happen to be set off in part from the interrogation of a German of Afghan origin captured in Afghanistan in July. The German, explained from the German media to be named Ahmed Sidiqi, 36, from Hamburg, obtained traveled to Waziristan and received firearms and explosives training. He instructed American interrogators in Afghanistan about plans for attacks by little armed groups in European cities, a senior European official mentioned.
Some of the likely attackers may possibly currently be in Europe, Mr. Sidiqi mentioned, according to the official, and Mr. Sidiqi mentioned the Haqqani network in Pakistan as involved from the plot. The network is allied using the Taliban and may be a target of some recent drone episodes in Pakistan.
Yet another French official speculated that the leak of Washington’s concerns about attacks in Europe from Pakistani Al Qaeda plus the Taliban was also meant to justify the increasing drone attacks on targets inside of Pakistan, to press Pakistan to make use of floor troops far more aggressively from the tribal areas and even to prepare the ground for making use of United states ground forces, covert or otherwise, inside of Pakistan. Many in Washington imagine that the answer to stability in Afghanistan lies in the much more aggressive offensive towards Al Qaeda and Taliban militants sheltering in Pakistan.
Inside the last two weeks, French officials have gone about the record in regards to the threat from Al Qaeda inside Islamic Maghreb. Bernard Squarcini, director of the Central Directorate of Domestic Intelligence warned that “all the blinkers are on red” since the risk to France was higher.
The director general of your National Police, Frédéric Péchenard, reported inside a newspaper interview on Sept. 23 that France experienced been warned by one more intelligence service that a female suicide bomber supposed to attack in Paris that day. As well as the inside minister, Brice Hortefeux, spoke openly concerning the risk on Sept. 20.
France may be a prominent supporter from the war in Afghanistan, has passed a bill outlawing the full facial veil and has had an awkward debate about national identity that a lot of Muslims saw as aimed at them. However the French have also utilized military forces to strike Qaeda cells in northern Africa, which have taken other French hostages and killed a minimum of a single of them in retaliation in July.
In Washington, the director of nationwide intelligence, James Clapper, said within a statement: “We aren’t going to comment on certain intelligence,” but “as we have repeatedly said, we know Al Qaeda wants to assault Europe and the us.”
Data is routinely shared with allies, he explained, “in order to disrupt terrorist plotting, identify and take action towards probable operatives, and strengthen our defenses in opposition to prospective threats.”
This month, the Central Intelligence Agency has escalated its bombing campaign in Pakistan utilizing armed drones. American officials said the intense bombardment inside tribal areas was intended to keep militant groups from sending operatives across the border into Afghanistan to replenish Taliban ranks, too as to disrupt any communications in between Pakistani militants and operatives who might be placed in Europe. United states officers mentioned it was unclear what impact, if any, the drone attacks would have on a terrorism plot that is perhaps carried out within Europe.
On Wednesday, following the Eiffel Tower received been evacuated the night before, the atmosphere was calm, with many tourists unaware that there could be a hazard. Chellene Tamby, 21, a company student, read to the grass in the nearby Champ de Mars. She received heard concerning the bomb alert but reported, “’France is really a fantastic energy, and consequently the country is inevitably threatened.”
Too a lot public discussion just spreads panic, she said.
André Dunstetter, 71, sat on a close by bench. “We never know when and where a bomb assault will take location, but that doesn’t mean we’ll must cease living,” he reported. “I imagine that Al Qaeda’s hazard is usually a psychological one, and it is meant to destabilize safety services as well as the population.”
Reporting was contributed by John F. Burns in London, Souad Mekhennet in Islamabad, Pakistan, and Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt in Washington.
To report a crime or suspicious activity in your neighborhood, call the Naples Police and Fire Department at 213-4844, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office at 774-4434, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office 239-477-1000 or the Marco Island Police Department at 389-5050.
Domestic Violence Arrests
? ?Manuel Cintoravillefuerte, 32, of the 2300 block of 51st Terrace Southwest, in Golden Gate, was arrested on Tuesday by Collier County Sheriff deputies at the above location, for grabbing and choking his recently separated wife, who lost consciousness and later awoke laying on the driveway, according to the report. Two days prior, the wife of Cintoravillefuerte claimed he was attempting to illicit sex with her against her will, and was abusive, the report says.
? Atiba Walden, 32, of the 1700 block of 49th Street Southwest, in Golden Gate, was arrested on Tuesday by Collier County sheriff deputies at the above location, for hitting his wife in the face with his hand. She fought back in defense and caused a bloody nose on Walden, which caused him to pull her hair and attempted to throw her out of their home, the report says. According to the report, this is not the first domestic violence incident for Walden.
? ?Bryan Matthew Sprinkle, 36, of the 1200 block of Lopez Lane, in Chokoloskee, was arrested on Monday by Collier County sheriff deputies at the above location. Deputies said he was intoxicated and refusing to leave the location. Sprinkle had also been threatening to kill himself and had been binge drinking and beating his wife for nearly five days, the report said.
? ?Jorge Luis Rivera, 31, of the 2300 block of Bear Creek Drive, in Hialeah, was arrested on Tuesday by Collier County sheriff deputies at the 700 block of 110th Avenue North in North Naples. This is not the first domestic violence arrest for Rivera, according to the report, Rivera moved out of his home he shared with his wife of 13 years, four days ago for domestic disturbances.
? Salome Guerreroherrera, 28, whose address has been redacted from the record, was arrested on Tuesday by Collier County sheriff deputies at an address that has also been redacted. According to the report, Guerreroherrera had assaulted by his live-in girlfriend of six years and aggressively kicked her out of their home.
? Jabiel Montes, 24, whose address has been redacted from the record, was arrested on Tuesday by Collier County Sheriff deputies at an address that has also been redacted. According to the report, one of Montes’ children had witnessed him grab his wife by the hair and drag her out of their truck. He was placed under arrest for battery and was transported to the Immokalee Jail Center for processing, the report said.
? ?Kimberly Valerio, 28, of the 7000 block of Emerald Circle in North Naples, was arrested on Tuesday by Collier County sheriff deputies at the Collier County government center, located at the 2300 block of Orange Blossom in Naples. According to the report, Valerio was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. Her husband of a year and half reported the incident later on that day, fearing that if he reported it earlier the couples’ five children (two each from previous relationships, one common child) would be removed from the residence. During the incident, Valerio became upset with the contents of CDs found in the couple’s closet, believing they contained photographs of the victim’s ex-girlfriends. She threw the CDs at the victim and threatening him with a kitchen knife, according to the report.
? ?John Fitzpatrick, 48, of the 800 block of King Bird Court in Golden Gate Estates, was arrested on Tuesday by Collier County Sheriff deputies at the above location. According to the report, Fitzpatrick was arrested after a previous probable cause incident where he was reported stalking his ex-girlfriend. On Tuesday, his ex-girlfriend reported a man banging on her front door without any intent to stop, the report says, and began calling her incessantly about obtaining personal property left at her house. Fitzpatrick’s behavior shows a pattern of willfully, maliciously and repeatedly harassing, which is classified as misdemeanor stalking.
? ?Erik Kenneth Brauch, 21, of the 200 block of Channing Court in North Naples, was arrested on Tuesday by Collier County Sheriff deputies at Piper Boulevard and Airport Road.
? Debra Alexander Dudley, 54, of the 500 block of Neopolitan Lane in Naples, was arrested on Tuesday by Collier County Sheriff deputies at the 5100 block of U.S. 41. She was driving a white mini van that was spotted driving recklessly and was ultimately charged with a DUI and a second refusal to submit to a balance test, failure to drive in a single lane, and a second offense citation for DUI and a warning for improper right turn.
? Robin Denise Fox, 53, of the 7800 block of Berkshire Pines Drive, Naples, was arrested Tuesday by Lee deputies at Lee County Jail. She was charged with DUI/third offense within 10 years.
? Patricia Majkowski, 41, of the 11000 block of Calloway Greens Drive, Fort Myers, was arrested Tuesday by Fort Myers police in Lee County. She also was charged with property damage.
? ?George Channing Dascoulias, 27, of the 800 block of Augusta Blvd 2, in East Naples, was arrested on Tuesday by Marco Island Police at the Crazy Flamingo in Marco Island, where he retreated when he was spotted, after-hours, peering into the Marco Island Brewery by an officer. An officer followed Dascoulias into the Crazy Flamingo where restaurant guests gestured towards the bathroom. There, Dascoulias was seen kneeling on the floor with a Oxycodone pills and a syringe on the floor next to him. An orange pill container was thrown into the trash when he was asked to show his hands. As Dascoulias tried to escape the bathroom, he rammed his shoulder into the officer’s torso. Another officer was called in, and ultimately, a struggle ensued between the officers and Dascoulias, which ended with an arrest and a charge of battery of a law enforcement officer, according to the report.
? Julia Irene Sorensen, 52, of the 27000 block of Pelican Ridge Circle, Bonita Springs, was arrested Tuesday by Lee deputies at home. She was charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage. Deputies also arrested Timothy Otis Collins, 38, of Moultrie, Ga., for obstruction and failure to register as a felon.
? Milton Earl Thomas, 42, of the 10000 block of Robinson Street, Fort Myers, was arrested Tuesday by Lee deputies in North Fort Myers. He was charged with grand theft/auto.
? David Angel Cisneros, 25, of the 26000 block of Noble Lane, Bonita Springs, was arrested Tuesday by Lee deputies at home. He was charged with selling misbranded drugs in lieu of a controlled substance.
Police Beat is compiled and written by the Naples Daily News staff/ contributors from oral and written reports by Naples police, Collier Sheriff‘s Office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Marco police and other agencies. Arrests indicate suspicion of crime, not guilt.
5:12 P.M. —
Tropical Storm Nicole has dissipated over the Florida straits, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Aircraft and surface observations indicate that the storm’s circulation has degenerated into an elongated area of low pressure.
The remnants of the Nicole were moving toward the north-northeast at 12 mph.
Winds associated with the system should gradually subside but a strong non-tropical low pressure system with gale force winds is expected to develop near the southeast U.S. Coast tonight.
Forecasters say a the system could still drop heavy rains over South Florida and the Keys.
Forecasters say four to eight inches of rain were possible across South Florida and the Keys as the storm pushes into the Atlantic near the Bahamas.
11:57 a.m. update
National Weather Service meteorologist Daniel Noah said it?s looking more and more like areas of Southwest Florida will be spared heavy rains from Tropical Storm Nicole.
Noah said the area will likely see scattered thunderstorms in the afternoon, but nothing out of the ordinary for this time of year.
?It?s looking like nothing worse than an afternoon thunderstorm,? he said. ?It?s been a non-event for us.?
Noah added most rain associated with the storm will be east of Key West and Melbourne, and he said Nicole will likely begin to weaken in the coming hours.
He gave a 40 to 50 percent chance of precipitation in the Fort Myers area later this afternoon.
11:11 a.m. update
Although the recently named Tropical Storm Nicole is still heading northeast, all tropical storm warnings and watches for Florida have been discontinued.
With maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, Nicole is traveling on a bearing of 40 degrees from its 11 a.m. position, 120 miles east southeast of Havana, Cuba.
Tropical storm warnings remain in effect for the Cayman Islands, the provinces of Cuba from Matanzas east to Ciego de Avila and the northwestern and central Bahamas.
11 a.m. update
Tropical Storm Nicole has formed this morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm’s center is about 120 miles east-southeast of Havana, Cuba, and moving northeast at 9 mph.
As of 11 a.m., Nicole’s winds are at 40 mph. No further strengthening in expected.
All watches and warnings for Florida have been discontinued, as the majority of heavy weather from the system is expected to stay offshore.
However, the east coast is experiencing some gusty winds and heavy rain this morning.
Nicole is expected to continue heading northeast with an increase in forward speed. The center of the system will move over the Florida Straits later this afternoon before moving over the Bahamas and on into the Atlantic, where it should be absorbed by an extratropical low Thursday.
8:18 a.m. update
Although Marco Island and Collier County had been expected to get hit by rain as the system moved through, most of southern Collier remained dry this morning.
Marco police reported no rain-related traffic problems at 8 a.m.
But winds were beginning to gust.
6:51 a.m. update
Tropical Depression 16 is tracking to sweep by the east coast of the state, but Southwest Florida is still expected to get its share of rain this afternoon and Thursday.
The National Hurricane Center?s 5 a.m. update had the storm south-southwest of Miami an moving north-northwest at about 14 mph with maximum sustained winds near 35 mph.
It is expected to reach the east coast of Florida in the early afternoon.
The storm is expected to stay east, but will bring rains to Southwest Florida throughout the day.
Rain bands are already beginning to impact southern parts of the state.
There will be a 70 percent chance of precipitation, cloudy skies and thunderstorms expected through the day.
Southwest Florida could get more than an inch of rain some areas.
Morning temperatures are in the mid 70s and are expected to reach the high 80s by the afternoon.
The storm is expected to reach the east coast of Central Florida by early Thursday morning.
There will a 30 percent chance of precipitation Thursday with cloudy skies and a chance of scattered showers.
Morning temperatures are expected to reach the low 70s before jumping to the high 80s in the afternoon.
Morning humidity could reach 97 percent before dropping to 55 percent in the afternoon.
Winds are expected to reach 7 mph in some areas.
Weather patterns should be getting back to normal by Friday morning with temperatures in the low 70s before jumping to the high 80s in the afternoon.
There will be a 10 percent chance of precipitation with partly cloudy skies expected through the day.
Morning humidity could reach 99 percent before dropping to 49 percent in the afternoon.
Winds could reach 6 mph in some areas.
From this morning on news-press.com
by Kevin Lollar
Southwest Florida should remain relatively dry as Tropical Depression 16 moves up the state’s southeast coast today.
South Florida Water Management District officials predict areas south and east of Lake Okeechobee will get an average of 4 1/2 inches of rain, with a maximum of 8 inches, while the west coast should get an average of 1 inch and a maximum of 2.
Because September has been slightly drier than normal and because South Florida has not experienced any tropical systems this hurricane season, groundwater levels are low, so there will be a lower chance of flooding, said Susan Sylvester, water district director of operations.
“We don’t know the speed of this storm,” Sylvester said. “Slow-moving storms provide the most challenge because they can dump a lot of rain and overwhelm the residual storage in the groundwater.
“We know there’s a lot of moisture south of us, and conditions are right to funnel that moisture over us.”
Florida’s east coast from Jupiter Inlet south and the Keys, including Florida Bay and the Dry Tortugas, are under a tropical storm warning.
The marine forecast for the east coast today is southeast winds of 35 to 45 mph with gusts to 63; the Keys are looking at southeast winds to 40 mph.
From Bonita Beach to Englewood, the marine forecast is north winds at 17 mph.
To protect Lake Okeechobee’s Herbert Hoover Dike, water managers want to keep lake levels between 12.5 and 15.5 feet. When lake levels rise, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers releases water down the Caloosahatchee River.
Lake levels Tuesday were 14.02 feet, and the Corps was not releasing water.
Releases might, however, become necessary if the storm produces more rain than is expected.
Although the east coast and Keys are expected to take the biggest hit from Tropical Depression 16, the Lee County Emergency Operations Center is at Level 3.
“That means we are watching it,” spokeswoman Diane Holm said. “‘Monitoring’ is the key word. Everybody should get their kits together. Everybody should be preparing, but there’s no need to start putting up shutters just yet.”