DEA agent admits role in drug trafficking

A federal narcotics agent scheduled to stand trial this month has pleaded guilty to participating in a decade-long drug conspiracy that involved the smuggling of thousands of kilograms of cocaine from Puerto Rico to New York.

Prosecutors said Fernando Gomez, a retired U.S. Marine, infiltrated the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2011 and remained a federal agent until his arrest last year, even as he assisted a drug-trafficking ring known for slaughtering its rivals.

Gomez, 42, faces up to 20 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 21 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. His guilty plea happened last month but had not previously been reported.

A newly released transcript shows Gomez, in pleading guilty, admitted selling firearms to a high-volume cocaine trafficker and drug dealer, Jose Martinez-Diaz, while Gomez was working as a police officer outside Chicago.

Martinez-Diaz, a member of La Organización de Narcotraficantes Unidos, pleaded guilty this summer to distributing more than 5,000 kilograms of cocaine, drugs he smuggled from the Dominican Republic by boat.

Prosecutors said Martinez-Diaz encouraged Gomez to apply to the DEA in 2010 to further his drug trafficking.

— Associated Press


New York City bomber faces trial in shootout

A man serving a life sentence for a bombing in New York City is going on trial in New Jersey, where he faces attempted-murder charges for allegedly firing at police officers during a gunfight preceding his arrest.

Jury selection began Tuesday in the trial of Ahmad Khan Rahimi. The Afghanistan-born naturalized U.S. citizen faces attempted-murder and other charges stemming from his arrest in New Jersey in September 2016.

Last year, a judge in New York sentenced Rahimi to multiple life terms after a jury convicted him of setting off a pressure-cooker device, injuring 30 people. A second pressure-cooker bomb was discovered a few blocks away, but it failed to go off and was removed by a robot.

Hours before the explosion in Chelsea on Sept. 17, 2016, a small pipe bomb exploded along a Marine Corps road race in Seaside Park, N.J. No one was injured, but the event spread fear and drew parallels to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured more than 260.

The bombings triggered a two-day manhunt that ended in a shootout with police in Linden, N.J., where Rahimi was found asleep in a tavern doorway. Several police officers were injured.

— Associated Press


Alleged plotter faces federal firearm charge

A former security guard accused of compiling bomb components and guns to kill people at a Las Vegas synagogue and of drawing up plans to attack a bar catering to LGBTQ customers or a fast-food restaurant has been indicted on a federal firearm charge, court records show.

Conor Climo’s court-appointed attorney, Paul Riddle, said Tuesday that Climo plans to plead not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday on the one-count indictment filed Sept. 11 in U.S. District Court in Nevada.

Climo, 23, was arrested Aug. 8 and remains in federal custody pending arraignment on a charge of possessing “firearms, specifically destructive devices” found at his home. He could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted.

Prosecutors and a U.S. magistrate judge who rejected Climo’s bid for release from custody ahead of trial said he identifies himself as a white supremacist and shared with an FBI informant detailed plans to attack a synagogue near his northwest Las Vegas home. He also compiled a journal with sketches of attacks on a downtown Las Vegas LGBTQ bar or a McDonald’s restaurant, the judge said.

Climo was interviewed by a KTNV-TV news crew in September 2016 as he patrolled his neighborhood wearing battle gear and carrying an assault rifle, survival knife and extended-capacity ammunition magazines. He was not arrested at that time because Nevada does not prohibit the open carrying of firearms.

The FBI reported finding hand-drawn schematics and component parts of a destructive device at Climo’s home in August, including flammable liquids, oxidizing agents and circuit boards, according to a criminal complaint.

Agents also confiscated an ­AR-15 assault-style weapon and a bolt-action rifle.

— Associated Press