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  • (Polk County Sheriff's Office) Gerjuan Demarcus Jackson, 18, of Mobile, Ala., was arrested Jan. 9, 2018.(POLK CITY, Fla.) -- A FEMA contractor is accused of traveling from Alabama with two others to kill a man in Florida and steal his guns.Gerjuan Demarcus Jackson, for whom detectives found an official FEMA contractor identification, allegedly drove with Kenley Campbell and Darril Lamar Rankin Jr. from their hometown of Mobile, Alabama, on Jan. 3 all the way to Polk City, Florida, where Jackson shot and killed a man he had met last year while on the job, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.William Reiss was found dead inside his residence in Polk City. Reiss' roommate, Kenneth Maier, was hospitalized in critical but stable condition.When asked for comment on the alleged incident, FEMA spokesperson Jenny Burke told ABC News in a statement Thursday, “FEMA is aware of an alleged incident that occurred in Polk County, Florida, and are looking into additional details on this matter. Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones of the victims."Burke added, "FEMA works closely with law enforcement on a regular basis, and will provide appropriate coordination with law enforcement on this incident.”Investigators learned Jackson, 18, had allegedly met Reiss while conducting a hurricane damage estimate in 2017, and he purchased two handguns from the Polk City resident. Upon returning to Alabama, Jackson was arrested for possession of marijuana and carrying a firearm without a permit, according to the sheriff's office.Campbell, 22, allegedly drove Jackson and Rankin, also 22, to Polk City in his Chevrolet Sonic. Campbell and Rankin stayed inside the vehicle while Jackson went inside Reiss' residence. Jackson admitted to firing several shots at Reiss and Maier, the sheriff's office said.Campbell and Rankin allegedly helped Jackson load Reiss' firearm collection and flat-screen television into Campbell's vehicle and Reiss' Dodge pickup truck. When the three men arrived back in Alabama, Jackson allegedly took Reiss' truck to a wooded area and set it ablaze.Investigators later recovered six firearms, an extensive amount of ammunition, electronic devices and clothing believed to be worn by the suspects during the alleged killing. Three of the guns were from Reiss' looted collection, the sheriff's office said.Detectives also discovered a box of latex gloves and apparent trace amounts of blood in Campbell's vehicle.Jackson told authorities the stolen guns and television had been sold on "the streets," except for three firearms that were recovered from Campbell and Rankin’s home. Jackson estimated a total of 20 to 25 firearms were stolen from the Reiss' residence, according to the sheriff's office."Three killers traveled to Polk City all the way from Mobile, Alabama to steal firearms," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement Wednesday. "William Reiss was shot and murdered, and Kenneth Maier was shot and left for dead. Maier is currently in the hospital fighting for his life. I can’t begin to say how disgusted we are at the depravity displayed by these men."Campbell and Rankin were arrested Saturday, and Jackson was arrested Tuesday. They were booked into the Mobile County Metro Jail without incident and will be extradited to Polk County at a later date. The three suspects have been charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and armed burglary, among other charges, according to the sheriff's office.It's unclear whether the suspects have obtained attorneys or if they have entered any pleas.The investigation is ongoing and further charges may be filed, the sheriff's office said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the early morning hours Wednesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents served notices of employment verification inspection to 98 7-Eleven franchise stores across the country.This was the biggest worksite operation conducted since Trump took office, according to ICE."Today’s actions send a strong message to U.S. businesses that hire and employ an illegal workforce: ICE will enforce the law, and if you are found to be breaking the law, you will be held accountable,” said ICE Deputy Director Thomas Homan.Historically, these types of in inspections, known as I-9 audit notices, are down, but ICE leadership has said this is the beginning of more to come. (An I-9 is the form employers are required to fill out after inspecting work eligibility documents.) Over the past nine years, there was a peak in 2013 with 3,127 I-9 annual inspections. There were 1,360 inspections in fiscal year 2017."ICE will have no choice but to conduct at-large arrests in local neighborhoods and at worksites, which will inevitably result in additional collateral arrests, instead of focusing on arrests at jails and prisons where transfers are safer for ICE officers and the community," said Homan in October in response to California's sanctuary law.Homan is leading the agency while he awaits confirmation to his appointment as director."Businesses that hire illegal workers are a pull factor for illegal immigration and we are working hard to remove this magnet," he added in a statement Wednesday.Under the current administration, all workers encountered during these investigations who are unauthorized to remain in the U.S. are subject to administrative arrest and removal from the country, according to ICE.Twenty-one people who were suspected of being in the U.S. illegally were arrested and given notices to appear in immigration court as a result of Wednesday's actions.The notices at 7-Eleven franchises were served in Washington, D.C., California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.Sixteen of the stores were in the New York City area.7-Eleven corporate said it was aware that ICE had taken actions at certain franchise locations, but that franchisees are "independent business owners and are solely responsible for their employees including deciding who to hire and verifying their eligibility to work in the United States.""This means that all store associates in a franchised store are employees of the Franchisee and not 7-Eleven, Inc. As part of the 7-Eleven franchise agreement, 7-Eleven requires all franchise business owners to comply with all federal, state and local employment laws. This obligation requires 7-Eleven franchisees to verify work eligibility in the US for all of their prospective employees prior to hiring. 7-Eleven takes compliance with immigration laws seriously and has terminated the franchise agreements of franchisees convicted of violating these laws," added 7-Eleven, Inc. in a press statement.Wednesday’s notices were a follow-up to a 2013 investigation into various 7-Eleven franchises that resulted in the arrest of nine franchise owners and managers for conspiring to commit wire fraud, stealing identities and concealing and harboring illegal aliens employed at their stores.This comes at a time of record immigration arrests.In fiscal year 2017, ICE arrested 143,470 people on immigration violations -- the highest number of these type of arrests over the past three years. There were 30 percent more immigration-related arrests in 2017 compared to the previous year, according to ICE’s end-of-year report.Arrests for non-criminal immigration violations rose more than 50 percent compared to last year."Clearly the Trump Administration has made it a priority to target for enforcement action non-criminal aliens - and in the case of wor
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  • william87/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood will lead an investigation into the storm-related travel mess at New York's John F. Kennedy airport this weekend, including a burst pipe that halted operations at Terminal 4 on Sunday, the Port Authority announced Wednesday.LaHood, who served under Obama during his first term and now works as a policy adviser at a law firm in Washington, D.C., will investigate "all phases" of the incident, including winter weather preparation and incident recovery, the Port Authority said.According to Port Authority officials, a burst pipe -- apparently caused by the recent cold snap -- left the main international terminal at JFK and customs processing facility in 3 inches deep of water Sunday.It's not clear why the pipe was not weather-protected, Port Authority executive director Rick Cotton said Sunday, adding that the resulting four-hour terminal closure -- which left more several planes full of passengers stranded on the tarmac -- was "totally unacceptable."Even before the pipe burst, the bitter "bomb cyclone" that swept in on Thursday had crippled airport operations, forcing long runway closures on Friday. More than 150 flights to JFK were diverted, and many more were canceled or delayed.Combined with the winter weather, the flooding left hordes of bags stranded at the airport. As of Tuesday morning, 5,000 bags were still stowed at JFK, awaiting return to their owners.“The Port Authority is committed to providing the highest standard of service to all travelers, and the series of events following the winter storm this month were completely unacceptable,” Cotton said in a statement. “We are committed to understanding where and why failures occurred, and making whatever changes are necessary to assure these failures never happen again.”Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A federal grand jury returned a six-count indictment Wednesday against Akayed Ullah, who allegedly detonated a pipe bomb Dec. 11 beneath the Port Authority bus terminal.The charges include use of a weapon of mass destruction, providing material support to ISIS and bombing a place of public use. Together the charges carry a maximum of life in prison. Ullah is not death-sentence eligible because no one died in the attack."Ullah detonated and attempted to detonate an IED in the vicinity of the Port Authority Bus Terminal...then in use by subway cars and buses that were carrying passengers and employees at the time," the indictment said.Arraignment is scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Manhattan federal court.The pipe bomb went off in a passageway beneath 42nd Street and significantly injured only Ullah, who police said was found with components of the device on his body and taped inside his jacket.After his arrest and while detained at Bellevue Hospital, Ullah told the FBI, "I did it for the Islamic State," federal prosecutors said.Ullah also told investigators he built the device in his Brooklyn residence using a metal pipe, wires, Christmas tree lights and a nine volt battery, prosecutors said.Inside the residence, charging documents said, investigators found a passport with a handwritten notation: "O America, die in your rage."Metal screws were packed into the pipe but investigators said the device was improperly constructed and therefore did not do the damage Ullah allegedly intended."In selecting this time and place, Ullah's alleged purpose in the Port Authority bombing was painfully clear: to inflict as much damage as possible and to strike fear into the hearts of New Yorkers in the name of ISIS," U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • peterspiro/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments on whether the State of Ohio's process of removing individuals from voter rolls violates federal law.The case before the court, Husted v A. Philip Randolph Institute, questions the legality of an Ohio law that allows the removal of individuals from voting rolls if that individual has not voted in two federal elections and have not responded to a confirmation notice or update their registration.Paul Smith, lawyer for the respondent, argued that federal guidelines in both the National Voter Registration Act and the Help America Vote Act prohibit states from removing individuals from voter rolls for failure to vote."Just as you have a right to vote you have a right not to vote,” he told the justices.But Ohio State Solicitor Eric Murphy reminded the court that individuals who didn’t vote in two election cycles were also sent a notice that had to be signed and returned."So long as we send individuals a notice and so long as we wait two federal elections before we remove them, that that is acceptable," Murphy said.Justice Sonia Sotomayor voiced concern that Ohio’s purge process disenfranchises certain citizens, telling Murphy, “You're reading is that the failure to vote is enough evidence to suggest that someone has moved. That seems to be your position because it can be the only one. But is that a reasonable effort to draw that conclusion when you do results in disenfranchising disproportionately certain cities where large groups of minorities live, where large groups of homeless people live?”Sotomayor suggested that Ohio could use other ways of verifying a change of address, “like the post office or certified mail or motor vehicle change of address yet you're suggesting that using a failure to appear at an election or elections as evidence of moving when people have a right not to vote if they choose.”Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Judge John Roberts seemed to give some weight to Ohio’s argument that failure to vote is not the only criteria for removal, Roberts saying,” you don't just have the failure the vote. You have the failure to vote, plus the notification that you need to do something because you haven't voted.”Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court’s swing vote, seemed to understand why a process was needed, saying, “The reason they're purging them is they want to protect the voter roll from people that have not -- that -- that have moved and they're voting in the wrong district.” But wanted to know if the "best tools" were being used.The court is expected to issue an opinion by the end of June.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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