Archive for August, 2009

A Long Road….
August 31, 2009

I spent some time last week on the Bolivar Peninsula for an upcoming story. The quiet, easy way of life the Peninsula has long offered to those looking for an escape has somehow been replaced with a sense of lingering sadness. For many who call the Peninsula home, the effort to rebuild is stalled. One of the clearest memories I have comes from driving onto the Penninsula shortly after Ike made landfall. My photographer, Byron Nichols, and I were exhausted and probably too tired to be behind the wheel of a car, but both of us sat bolt upright when we saw the destruction. I remember driving over Rollover Pass and looking at Byron and saying, “Wait a minute was that Rollover Pass? If that was Rollover Pass what happened to the town of Gilchrist?” Gilchrist was gone and still is. Ike is the third costliest storm in United State’s history and it is a storm that forever altered the trajectory of many peoples’ lives. The point I’m trying to make with this rambling post is that September is not just the anniversary of Hurricane Ike, it marks twelve hard months of struggling to get back to normal.  Unfortunately for many people normal will never come again. For most of us, myself included, anniversaries are easy. We watch TV specials and say things like, ‘how sad’, or ‘what a tragedy’. These are easy responses that require almost no emotional exertion. What is hard to understand is that Ike is still very much a part of daily life for many people. Here are a few pictures I snapped on the Peninsula. Fortunately my photographer John Barone has a much more sophisticated eye than I ever will and his video truly captures the struggle of those ‘trying to get back to normal’.


The Kindness of Strangers
August 26, 2009

Got an e-mail today from a viewer who has been inundated with a typical e-mail scam. Unfortunately our viewer, Mary Ann, has a job that makes her cell phone and e-mail address easily accessible. Mary Ann says she has received multiple phone calls from the scam artists. Mary Ann asked the we pass along the e-mails she has received along with the crooks’ phone number so you can be on the look out for it.  The sentences in blue are from Mary Ann to me, the ones in red belong to the scam artists….

i get approximately 1-2 emails a week from a middle easterner soliciting money, the investment scheme. today they even called on my cell phone..




I am Mr Andrew James. I am 45 years old and happily married with two children. I am contacting you for you to assist me in my prospective investment in your country. I have decided to invest outside the shores of my country for the future of my two children (a boy and a girl). This is the reason why I anticipate for your assistance in the proposed investment over there in your country. I intend to go into the real estate and hotel investment depending on what your professional advice will be.




Mr Andrew James.


Telephone Contact: +229 97077 538

I have many more asking me to send $$$

If you see this in your in-box or get a call from this number please report it immediately. For e-mail scams go to To report the phone fraud go to or call 877-FTC-HELP. If the phone calls persist, as they have in Mary Ann’s case, then I suggest calling your carrier and having the number blocked. Also, if you want to keep up with the latest e-mails scams you can register to have the FBI send you notices. Here’s the web address…

I’ll ask again…
August 25, 2009

Governor Rick Perry is not backing down on his request for the federal government to send 1,000 troops to our southern border. Perry believes this is the best way to secure our border against the rising threat, and level of violence, posed by the Mexican drug cartels. Perry’s never been officially turned down, but he’s never gotten an answer either. Assuming the Guv is getting frustrated, he addressed this request directly to President Barack Obama. A source in Austin sent me a copy of the letter. Read the letter for yourself.

Dear Mr. President,

That’s gotta hurt.
August 13, 2009

Came across this little diddy during my regular search of Federal Court cases. This again proves some people will do anything for money. Here’s the story….

A Nigerian national was arrested at Bush Intercontinental Airport after federal agents say he was caught carrying more than 500 grams of cocaine in his stomach. Records filed in Houston federal court read Sunday Nnamani arrived at the airport from Costa Rica on his way to London. Agents with Customs and Immigration Enforcement write Nnamani appeared “nervous, had trembling hands, would not make eye contact and had a dry mouth” during questioning.

    Costa Rican authorities tipped off Houston DEA agents that Nnamani may be an “internal courier”. Nnamani was then taken to Northwest Medical Center where agents requested an X-ray of his stomach. Agents write the X-ray revealed “multiple pellets” filled Nnamani’s stomach and intestines. Investigators say Nnamani eventually expelled 76 two inch long pellets, which all tested positive for cocaine.

    Federal agents say Nnamani confessed he agreed to carry the cocaine for a friend named “Chaz” from Costa Rica to the United Kingdom. Court records indicate Nnamani was paid $5,000 British pounds to smuggle the cocaine. The investigation is continuing.

    If you want to read the entire criminal complaint, here you go….

Criminal Complaint

Cartels and Oil
August 10, 2009

Last month we broke the story that Mexican drug cartels were branching into petroleum theft. Now I’ve learned the president of a Houston based company has plead guilty to helping the cartels resale stolen petroleum in the U.S.  Documents filed in Houston Federal Court show Donald Schroeder, president of Trammo Petroleum, will be sentenced in December. Court records lay out how Schroeder helped resell petroleum stolen from Mexico’s nationally owned oil company, Pemex, to U.S. refineries. Investigators write the stolen product was shipped in by barge through the Port of Brownsville and brought over the border in semi trucks. I’m still gathering information on this one and will update soon…