Thursday, June 19, 2008


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, which we have seen a large growth here in Brooklyn in recent years, 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 right here in Brooklyn, 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.


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


Arms (guns, not body parts!)


Energy products



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 commands, 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 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.


Thanks to the “unofficial” NYPD Historian, Ret. Sgt. Mike Bosak, the following is presented regarding the department’s first recipient of the Medal of Honor.

The department did not award its first Medal of Honor until May 18, 1912 and it was awarded to Acting Detective Sergeant (today's rank of detective) Charles S. Carrao, Italian Squad for police action performed on the morning of September 15, 1911.

The 'Italian Squad' worked out of Police Headquarters, 240 Centre Street and worked primarily on the 'Black Hand', an organized crime entity that preyed mostly on recently arrived Italian immigrants. (This was the squad that was commanded by Lt. Joseph Petrosino, noted as the only member of this department to be killed in the line of duty on foreign soil.)

Detective Carrao confronted a "Black Hand" extortionist, who had just lit the fuse on an explosive device in the hallway of a tenement house located at 356 East 13th Street . Carrao then extinguished the fuse; gave chase, where shots were exchanged with the perp, and personally affected the arrest. This Black Hand extortionist had just four hours earlier ignited another bomb at 314 East 12th Street , causing extensive damage.

According to former Detective 1st Grade John Reilly (Now Deceased), this first NYPD "Medal of Honor" was designed by Tiffany & Co. and it was originally referred to as the "Department Medal." NYPD General Order # 19, dated April 22, 1915, authority of Police Commissioner Arthur Woods changed the name of this medal from the "Department Medal" to the "Department Medal of Honor."

New York City had it first police "Medal Day" on Saturday, May 26, 1855 in City Hall Park , when the "NYC Municipal Police Department" gave out seven (7) silver medals. "Chief of Police" George Matsell and Mayor Fernando Wood awarded six (6) of the solid silver medals for heroism and good arrests and one (1) silver medal for "meritorious service."

The first medal given out by the NYPD was awarded on August 17, 1871 and was for given for quote, unquote “meritorious conduct.” It was awarded to Patrolman Bernard Tully of the 19 Precinct (today's 17th Precinct) for the arrest of a burglar with one shot fired. And that was the only medal that the NYPD awarded in 1871.

Thanks once again to Mike Bosak for all he continues to do in maintaining the history of this department!

“It is not how they died that makes them a hero, but how they lived their lives”.

June 17, 1912 Ptl Thomas O’Connell, 29 Pct (17Pct), Water rescue
June 17, 1923 Ptl Cornelius Platt, Mcy2, Motorcycle accident
June 17, 1973 PO Ralph Stanchi, 32 Pct, Shot-investigation
June 18, 1932 Ptl Joseph Burke, 32 Pct, Shot- Robbery in progress
June 19, 1917 Ptl Samuel Cunningham, 42 Pct, Shot- GLA arrest
June 19, 1980 PO Joseph Keegan, TD1, Shot- investigation

June 26, 1918 Ptl Joseph Nolan, 22 Pct, Assaulted with brick
June 26, 1930 Ptl Wilson Fields, 62 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
June 26, 1937 Ptl George Mahnken, Mcy Unit, Motorcycle accident
June 26, 1977 Det Henry McDevitt, 48 Pct, Assaulted
June 28, 1927 Ptl Andrew Grennan, 46 Pct, Drowned during rescue
June 28, 1931 Det William DeGive, MODD, Shot during GLA Arrest
June 28, 1963 Ptl. William Baumfield, 4 Div, Shot-Robbery
June 28, 1972 PO John Skagen, TD2, Shot chasing felon
June 28, 1986 PO Scott Gadell, 101 Pct, Shot during investigation
July 1, 1911 Ptl Michael Lynch, 22 Pct, Shot by perp
July 2, 1922 Det John Moriarty, Det Div, Shot:Robbery in progress
July 2, 1970 Ptl Paul Donadio, 75 Pct, Patrolwagon accident on patrol
July 3, 1857 Ptl Thomas Sparks, No info available
July 3, 1917 Ptl John Flood, 31 Pct, Assaulted
July 3, 1966 Ptl Willie Stephenson, HAPD, Drowned during rescue
July 4, 1940 Det Joseph Lynch, Bomb Squad, Explosion during investigation
July 4, 1940 Det Ferdinand Socha, Bomb Squad, Explosion during investigation
July 4, 1993 PO Rudolph Thomas, PSA3, Shot:Off duty

Monday, June 16, 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: 060 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: 069 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 Police Officer’s comes up for parole in August 2008.


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 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 me at the below listed e-mail address.

I will make sure this information gets turned over appropriately.

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


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?”


As noted in a Baltimore Sun article from January 2005, the following excerpt regarding gunshot residue should be of interest to investigators:

“Look through a microscope at the hands of someone who has just fired a gun, and there will probably be hundreds of lead, barium and antimony particles. This is gunshot residue.

The same explosion that forces out the bullet also releases these particles in a fine, nearly invisible cloud. It is one of the few ways these three elements become fused.

But after a few moments, much of the residue won't be there any more. It is like talcum powder. One shake and particles scatter. One rub and they'll transfer from a gunman's hands to his pants or a car seat or even handcuffs.

That is why officers try to test a suspect for gunshot residue as soon as possible: It is easy for someone to get rid of it.”

“It's also why defense attorneys and many experts worry about contamination, and why some departments don't bother with the science. Gunshot residue, they say, can mean someone fired a gun, or was next to a gun, or touched a person who fired a gun, or touched a car seat where someone who fired a gun once sat.

"We feel that for the amount of effort you're putting into it, you're not getting a clear result back," said Elizabeth Ziolkowski, a senior criminalist with the Boston Police Department.

There are few comprehensive studies of how easily gunshot residue transfers. One internal test by the Los Angeles Police Department found that police cruisers were contaminated by gunshot residue and that the particles transferred onto people who hadn't fired anything.”


When the firing pin of a firearm strikes the primer of a cartridge the primer compound ignites sending a flame into the cartridge case.

Gunpowder in the cartridge case starts to burn, causing it to change from a solid material to a gas. This change creates pressure within the cartridge, which in turn forces the bullet down the barrel and down range. Pressure building behind the bullet is released when the bullet exits the muzzle of the firearm.

The bullet acts like the cork in a shook up Champagne bottle. When the bullet exits the muzzle, pressure behind it blows the gunshot residues out of the firearm's barrel under high velocity.

The residues are expelled from the barrel in a smoky cone shaped pattern.

Gunshot residue, or more technically, gunshot primer residue, is expelled as tiny particles from the barrel of a firearm when it is fired. Among other materials, gunshot residue contains the heavy metals barium, lead and antimony. Modern forensic methods require the presence of these metals to identify trace evidence as gunshot residue.

The further gunshot residues travel from the muzzle, the broader and less concentrated the pattern becomes. Because the various elements included in gunshot residues are very small and lack mass they lose their energy rapidly.

Gunshot residues emitted from the muzzle will travel out to distances of approximately 3 and 5 feet in most firearms but in some cases can travel even greater distances. At the 3-5 foot range the gunshot residues may only consist of a few trace particles and make determining the firing distance difficult if not impossible.


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.


It’s been some time since I last posted to this site.

I attribute it to a very busy springtime – nothing else.

Writing items to post on this blog site takes time, which is sometimes something I do not have enough of. Perhaps if I got myself a laptop computer and spent more time during my “free time” tapping away at a computer, I could post more frequently.

Motivation to do so, for sure, is a big part of it as well. Recent inquiries from people, who I never realized looked at this site, have driven me to get myself back in gear and get posting.

Thanks! And wishing all health and well being.


June 2, 1973 PO Robert Laurenson, 20 Pct, Shot- robbery
June 2, 1989 PO Jeff Herman, 71 Pct, Shot- investigation
June 2, 1853 Det George Trenchard, NYMunicPD, Fire rescue
June 3, 1938 Ptl James Fisher, 73 Pct, Shot- accidental discharge
June 4, 1927 Sgt Benjamin Cantor, DetDiv, Shot- robbery arrest
June 4, 1932 Ptl Thomas Burns, McyUnit, Injured on patrol
June 5, 1973 PO Sid Thompson, TD12, Shot- arrest
June 6, 1939 Ptl Emmitt Cassidy, 120 Pct, Shot- off duty incident
June 8, 1958 Ptl Herman Corn, 52 Pct, Auto accident on patrol
June 9, 1931 Sgt William O’Shaughnessy, 28 Pct, Shot- robbery in progress
June 9, 1939 Ptl Alexander Stutt, ESU, Asphyxiated during rescue
June 9, 1969 Sgt Edward Henninger, AIS, LOD Heart Attack
June 11, 1925 Ptl James Cullen, 37 Pct, Motorcycle accident on patrol
June 12, 1991 PO Kenneth Hansen, Harbor, Drowned
June 13, 1938 Ptl Warren Smith, NFI
June 14, 1960 Ptl William Ramos Jr, 80 Pct, Shot- robbery
June 15, 1944 Ptl Eliote Holmes, 13DetSq, Line of duty injury
June 15, 1967 Ptl Walter Ferguson, DetDiv, LOD heart attack
June 15, 1979 PO Ted Donald, PSA7, Shot- burglary arrest
June 15, 1980 PO John Patwell, 43 Pct, Assaulted
June 15, 1983 PO John Mandia, 25 Pct, Fell under train
June 15, 1984 PO Juan Andino, 40 Pct, Shot- robbery arrest