Wednesday October 29 ,2014 : F.B.I. TACTICS IN NEVADA GAMBLING BUST QUESTIONED
Interfering with internet access and masquerading as repair technicians cited by defence lawyer.
The much publicised arrest on illegal sports gambling charges of high stakes poker player Paul Phua, his son and several other associates in Nevada during the FIFA World Cup is back in the headlines this week following defence lawyer criticism of the enforcement tactics deployed.
It is alleged that, ignoring an opinion against such conduct by an assistant US Attorney, FBI agents had internet access for the three luxury villas at a Las Vegas hotel used by Phua and associates turned off in a ruse to secure entry to the premises by agents posing as repair technicians.
The agents who thus fraudulently gained entry without a warrant are then alleged to have obtained video evidence which should now be rendered inadmissible due to the illegal methods used to secure it.
In a prior and unsuccessful attempt to find out what was going on in the Phua accommodation, federal agents are alleged to have delivered a laptop computer, according to the court filing.
Defence lawyers filed a motion late Tuesday for the charges to be dismissed as a consquence of the FBI's questionable tactics.
Under U.S. law, a person whose property is inspected generally must waive his constitutional protections against unreasonable searches unless the authorities concerned obtain a warrant from a judicial authority.
The FBI has referred media questions on their conduct to the US Attorney's Office, which has so far declined to comment, citing the pending trial, during which this side issue will be argued as part of the proceedings.
Media reports in the US suggest that this is the third case to surface in recent weeks of federal enforcement officials deploying questionable tactics in criminal investigations.
Two recent cases have made waves. In the first agents from the The Drug Enforcement Administration set up a fake Facebook account using photographs and other personal information it took from the cellphone of a New York woman arrested in a cocaine case in hopes of tricking her friends and associates into revealing incriminating drug secrets.
In another case, the FBI sent a fake news story it attributed to The Associated Press to trick a suspect in a bomb-threat case into clicking on the website link and revealing his location. The AP on Tuesday objected that the FBI's practice was "unacceptable" and "undermined AP's credibility."