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Richard Wershe Jr. ("White Boy Rick") received a life sentence because he was caught as a 16-year-old with eight kilos of cocaine in Detroit in the 1980s.
Michigan Department of Corrections

After almost 30 years in prison, Rick Wershe, better known as White Boy Rick, has been paroled. Wershe claims he is is the nation's longest-serving non-violent juvenile drug offender. He was serving a life sentence because he was caught as a 16-year-old with eight kilos of cocaine in Detroit in the 1980s.

Kevin Dietz, a reporter with WDIV Local 4 who talked to Wershe after the decision was announced, joined Stateside to talk about the case and what's next for Wershe.

Steve Carmody / MICHIGAN RADIO

With so much happening around Michigan and in Washington D.C., Stateside invited U.S. Sen. Gary Peters to stop by to explain what's important to him and to Michigan right now. The Senator has a number of legislative items he's working on for the state and for the Great Lakes, but he also took the time to talk about former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony and President Trump’s tweets.

Federal Bureau of Investigation badge
Public Domain

Former Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers is reportedly on President Trump's list of candidates to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Trump abruptly fired James Comey from the position earlier this week. On this Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why Trump might be considering Rogers.

They also discuss Gov. Rick Snyder's latest addition to the state Supreme Court, a resolution that would bring Michigan's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures in line with modern technology, and the grand opening of Detroit's QLINE streetcar.

Rich Girard / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

A former federal prosecutor is calling for an independent special counsel to investigate any ties between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, now the President Trump has fired the director of the FBI.

James Comey, former director of the FBI
Brookings Institution / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters joined Stateside today to react to President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Richard Wershe Jr. ("White Boy Rick") received a life sentence because he was caught as a 16-year-old with eight kilos of cocaine in Detroit in the 1980s. The documentary about him entitled "White Boy" is premiering at the Freep Film Festival.
Screen grab from Transition Studios

Richard Wershe Jr., otherwise known as "White Boy Rick", has been in prison for nearly 30 years. He's serving a life sentence because he was caught as a 16-year-old with eight kilos of cocaine in Detroit in the 1980s.

A new documentary exploring how the FBI got him involved in the drug game and the people who are working to keep him in prison, made its world premiere in Detroit as part of the Freep Film Festival Friday night.

The title of the film is "White Boy” and its director, Shawn Rech, joined Stateside to talk about how this project came to be.

Federal prosecutors are recommending an eight-year prison sentence for a Detroit-area man accused of endorsing Islamic State and making threats against a church.

Khalil Abu Rayyan of Dearborn Heights is returning to federal court Monday, six months after pleading guilty to gun charges. He was not charged with terrorism-related crimes. But investigators say he made threats against a church and others in support of Islamic State.

Dave Newman / Flickr

The federal investigation into corruption in Macomb county continues as a New Haven village trustee and a former village trustee are charged with bribery.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Trustee Christopher Craigmiles and former Trustee Brett Harris are accused of accepting $16,000 in bribes.

There are now a total of five county officials facing corruption charges in the federal probe.

User Gini / Flickr

FBI agents have made another arrest in an ongoing investigation into widespread corruption in Macomb County.

Chesterfield Township Supervisor Michael Lovelock was arrested Thursday morning. Lovelock is accused of accepting more than $30,000 in cash bribes over the course of several years in exchange for helping a company secure a services contract with the township.

Dean Reynolds is a Clinton Township trustee who allegedly took thousands of dollars – and a free divorce attorney – as bribes.
Macomb County

A grand jury has indicted a metro Detroit official for allegedly taking thousands of dollars in bribes from two companies, and from an undercover FBI agent.

It’s the latest in what the U.S. Attorney’s office describes as a “ongoing and long-running investigation into the systemic corruption in multiple municipalities in southeast Michigan, primarily Macomb County.”

Dean Reynolds
via Facebook

An elected official from suburban Detroit faces a federal bribery charge, in what is apparently the first prosecution to emerge from a “long-running” investigation into alleged corruption in Macomb County.

Dean Reynolds is a Clinton Township Trustee. He’s accused of taking between $50,000-70,000 in bribes from a businessman who had a contract with the township.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint police department is expanding its K9 division.

The specially trained dogs are used to track suspects and find illegal drugs.

Flint police chief Tim Johnson credits his department’s four-legged officers with helping reduce crime in the city. Johnson says the dogs do things two-legged officers can’t.

“Let’s face it, even when it comes to tracking a suspect that has committed a crime, and gotten away before we had a chance to get in pursuit of him, a dog it enables us to track him,” says Johnson.

Jeremy Sternberg/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

It was August 1998 when FBI agent Greg Stejskal got a phone call about a meteorite stolen from the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History.

“Nobody really expected anybody to walk off with a 60-pound meteorite,” remembers Stejskal.

Eventually, the FBI and U of M police tracked down a guy named Steven Collins, who denied knowing how the meteorite was stolen.

In this interview with Stateside, retired agent Stejskal tells the story of the missing meteorite and how it was eventually found.

DETROIT (AP) - The family of a Detroit mosque leader shot 20 times by FBI agents has failed to persuade a federal court to reinstate a lawsuit against the government.

An appeals court this week upheld a decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the estate of Luqman Abdullah. The decision centers on a technical point: The court says a three-year deadline to sue was missed.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Flint is no longer the most violent city in America – barely.

Flint has topped the FBI’s list of cities of 100,000 or more for per capita violent crime for three years.

But FBI statistics for the first six months of 2013 show Oakland, California has passed Flint, though by a very small margin.

Flint Police Chief James Tolbert credits a 26% drop in murders, robberies, and aggravated assault on the public stepping forward to provide much-needed information on crimes in the city.

cncphotos / flickr

This week in Michigan politics, Christina Shockley and Jack Lessenberry discuss possible changes to the Michigan Merit Curriculum, finances and teacher layoffs at Buena Vista schools, the possibility of Michigan Representative Mike Rogers being the next FBI director, and Governor Rick Snyder's declaring that nearly a quarter of Michigan is in a state of disaster from flooding.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers candidate for FBI director

A group representing FBI agents and retirees says it wants Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Brighton) to be the next FBI director. Rogers worked as an FBI agent before being elected to the Michigan Senate. He was later elected to Congress.

Seventy-nine gallons of radioactive water in Lake Michigan

The Palisades Nuclear Plant shut down yesterday after a release of slightly radioactive water into Lake Michigan.  Seventy-nine gallons drained into Lake Michigan near South Haven on Saturday.

"The agency does not know exactly how radioactive the water was, but based on general knowledge of where the water came from there is no risk to public safety," reports Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith.

U.S. Education Secretary finds promise in Detroit

Yesterday U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Governor Rick Snyder visited public schools in Detroit and a school in the state’s Education Achievement Authority. The EAA is a controversial entity meant to turn around some of the state’s worst public schools.

"US Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he’s “very encouraged” by improvements he’s seen in Detroit schools."  reports Michigan Radio's Jake Neher.

Official portrait

WASHINGTON (AP) - A group representing FBI agents and retirees says it wants President Barack Obama to make Michigan Rep. Mike Rogers the next FBI director.

The Brighton Republican worked as an FBI agent before being elected to the Michigan Senate and later to Congress. Rogers is considering whether to run for the U.S. Senate seat opening with Democrat Carl Levin's retirement.

The FBI Agents Association on Monday endorsed Rogers to replace FBI Director Robert Mueller, whose 10-year term was extended by Congress for 2 years and ends in September.

Library officials won't say why, but Chief Administrative Officer Tim Cromer was fired yesterday. Cromer had been on paid leave since the FBI's mid-November raid. Check out the story in the Detroit News... - Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Fans of the band Insane Clown Posse, known as Juggalos and identified by their grease facepaint, have been accused by the F.B.I. of gang activity.
Jen Sadler / flickr

Oakland County hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse is taking the Federal Bureau of Investigation to court.

A lawsuit filed in Flint federal district court on Tuesday contends the F.B.I. violated the Freedom of Information Act by failing to turn over information that led the agency to classify fans of the group as a gang.

Relief for former Wayne County executive Robert Ficano as the FBI's investigation into county government ends.
Wayne County / YouTube

Wayne County Commissioners voted today to censure County Executive Robert Ficano, but the vote also exposed divisions within the Commission.

The resolution to “censure the Wayne County Chief Executive Officer” has no real teeth, and it doesn’t mention Ficano by name.

That last fact angered County Commissioner Laura Cox, who sponsored the initial censure resolution. She ended up voting against what she called the “watered down” measure.

Cox called that “pathetic.”

“The Commission has no power to censure, by state law. But I guess we also have no power to ask for somebody to resign, which is exactly what my resolution did. So they feel that that was too strong, obviously,” said Cox.

Cox wants the Commission to put a county charter revision on the ballot. It would ask voters to give Commissioners or other elected officials the authority to remove county officials under certain circumstances.

Commissioner Joseph Palamara said the resolution was appropriate, given the Commission’s limited powers.

“To say that, "you should leave right now," that would have no more authority than Donald Trump walking in here under public comment and saying, ‘Bob Ficano, you’re fired,’” said Palamara.

Ficano’s administration has been under an FBI investigation for months. Several former top aides have been indicted on corruption charges, but Ficano has always denied any personal wrongdoing, and waved off suggestions that he resign.

Update 1:55 p.m.

The Detroit News reports that three police officers have been temporarily quarantined, including the officer who handled the letter and two who were in the immediate vicinity.

The News quotes Inspector Don Johnson of the Homeland Security Unit of the Detroit Police Department:

"The officer who was exposed doesn't appear to be in any pain or distress at this time. At this point, we are treating it more as a hazmat situation rather than a bomb situation."

1:15 p.m.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are responding to a situation at a Detroit Police Station.

The police station at the corner of Schaefer and Grand River was evacuated and a Hazmat team dispatched after a suspicious powder fell out of a mailed envelope.  The envelope had no return address.

Hazmat crews are still analyzing the substance.

(Courtesy of the US Marshal's Service)

DETROIT (AP) — An FBI agent who trained with a southern Michigan militia says he was concerned about the leader's knowledge of explosives.

Steve Haug testified Friday in the trial of seven people charged with conspiring to rebel against the government. He posed as a truck driver in 2009 to join the Hutaree and secretly record conversations.

The FBI is pulling together a multi-agency task force fight public corruption in the Detroit area.

The task force will include several federal agencies, federal prosecutors, the Michigan Attorney General, the Michigan State Police, and Detroit Police. 

It’s no secret that public corruption is a major problem in our community," said Detroit US Attorney Barbara McQuade.

(Robert Ficano/Wayne County)

Robert Ficano says he won’t let doubts about corruption in county government distract him from his job.

The Wayne County Executive delivered his tenth annual State of the County address Wednesday night.

DETROIT (AP) - The FBI says the strange name of a southern Michigan militia was made up and has no meaning.

Eight people accused of belonging to Hutaree (hoo-TAR'-ee) face trial in February. A defense lawyer wants to know the names of informants who infiltrated the group. A 2008 FBI report that requested an investigation was filed in court this week as part of the request.

The report says Hutaree was a name created as a joke by a son of leader David Stone. The government claims members were scheming to kill a police officer, then attack the funeral. One pleaded guilty Monday to a weapons charge.

The report first detailed by the Detroit Free Press quotes Stone as saying the government creates disasters so the public will thank it for restoring order.

DETROIT (AP) - The head of the FBI office in Detroit says agents are busy investigating corruption in Wayne County government. Andrew Arena says agents were looking at the county before an economic development official was given a $200,000 severance for resigning to take a more lucrative job at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. After much criticism, she lost the airport post and agreed to repay the severance.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Flint mayor Dayne Walling is not disputing new FBI data that shows his city had the highest violent crime rate in the nation in 2010.  Flint set a record for homicides last year.   The city’s arson rate also soared topping the FBI’s list in that category too.

User Gini / Flickr

A package containing a bomb was held for three weeks at the McNamara Federal Building in downtown Detroit. From the Detroit News:

A security officer at the McNamara Federal Building stored a suspicious package that turned out to contain a bomb for three weeks before alerting authorities, said a spokesman for a union that represents guards at the site, who called the incident "a total embarrassment."

"He apparently set it aside," said David Wright, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 918, which represents the Federal Protective Service (FPS) employees, who guard the McNamara and other federal buildings around the country.

"It should have been left in place and he should have called in a canine detection unit to see if they could make a determination about it," he said Tuesday.

The package was eventually placed behind two dumpsters behind the McNamara Building on Michigan Avenue downtown around 10 a.m. Friday. The Detroit Police Department's bomb squad collected the device from there and moved it to Belle Isle, where it was detonated.

An FBI official said yesterday that the device had gone to FBI headquarters in Virginia for additional testing.

Update: March 16th, 11:18 a.m.

Michigan State police officials have not provided details on why they searched  buildings associated with the Romulus Police Department. State Police Inspector Garth Burnside told the Detroit News that the search warrants were part of an ongoing investigation with the Wayne County prosecutor and the FBI.

The Detroit News reports that the following locations were searched:

  • the Romulus police headquarters
  • the home of Romulus Police Chief Michael St. Andre
  • St. Andre's wife's tanning salon
  • a building housing Police Department records
  • and a residence Burnside declined to identify.

The Detroit News spoke with a lawyer who sued the Police Chief and the City  of Romulus "over the disappearance of $300,000 worth of auto parts seized by Romulus police." The lawyer's client said the auto parts were in a trailer seized by police. According to the News, the Romulus police contended there were no auto parts in the trailer and the case was dismissed in January 2010.
 

March 15th, 11:36 a.m.

The Michigan State Police are saying little about a search warrant served today at the Romulus Police Department.  State Police Inspector Garth Burnside would only confirm that state troopers, along with FBI agents and the Wayne County Prosecutors Office served the warrant at 7 a.m. this morning.

Burnside says the search of the Romulus Police Department is part of an ongoing investigation.

He declined to say what is the focus of the investigation.

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