Retired agent Phil Sena served 25 years in federal law enforcement, seven as a Deputy U. S. Marshal and 18 years as a Special Agent with the FBI. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Phil Sena is interviewed about the fugitive investigation of Top Ten Fugitive Ted Otsuki. In October 1987, Otsuki killed Boston police officer Roy Sergei and wounded officer Jorge Torres when they responded to a domestic disturbance call. A national manhunt to locate and capture Otsuki ensued. After he developed a crucial cooperating witness, Phil Sena, working closely with Boston and San Francisco detectives, took up the fugitive hunt in San Francisco, Texas and Guadalajara, Mexico, where Otsuki was eventually captured by Mexican Federal Judicial Police and the FBI. In addition to working fugitive cases, during his Bureau career, Phil Sena gained extensive experience in the investigation of violent crime and terrorism and served as a Supervisory Special Agent of the Bank Robbery/Kidnap Squad, the Fugitive Task Force and the Violent Gang Task Force, as well as Crisis Management Coordinator and SWAT Coordinator in the FBI Tactical Operations Center for the San Francisco Division. Phil Sena is certified as a Police Instructor, Firearms Instructor, Defensive Tactics Instructor, SWAT Instructor, Police Fitness Instructor and Tactical Instructor.
Retired agent John Chesson served with the FBI for 25 years. During most of his Bureau career, John primarily worked cyber crime as an investigator and supervisor investigating computer intrusion cases and coordinating the Philadelphia and San Francisco Bay Area InfraGard Programs. However, in this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, he is interviewed about a hate crime/civil rights matter from his early days in the FBI. The case involved the investigation of six South Philadelphia men suspected of violating the civil rights of an African American woman by vandalizing the home she had just rented on their block. The case was assigned to John and his co-case agent, Christina Kibbey. Mike Kates (also spelled Cates), a wheelchair-bound man who lived on the street, agreed to become their cooperating witness and to help them gather the evidence needed to prove that damaging the house was a racially motivated scheme to make the house uninhabitable and to intimidate and discourage the woman from moving into the neighborhood. Kates courageously recorded consensually monitored conversations with the subjects of the investigation and testified as the star witness in the subsequent trial. All defendants were found guilty. On October 21, 1999, FBI Director Louis Freeh awarded Mike Kates the 18th Annual “Louis E. Peters Memorial Service Award” for his selfless commitment to protect victims of crime. This citizens ward was sponsored by the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI (read citation below). The case review includes two surprising happily-ever-after conclusions and an unexpected tragedy.
Retired agent Jim Huggins served in the FBI for 28 years. During his Bureau career, Huggins was assigned to the Minneapolis, Denver and Louisville Divisions, in addition to special assignments on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during the Wounded Knee takeovers in 1973 and again in 1975 and during the RESMURS investigation of the murder of two FBI agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Jim Huggins is interviewed about his investigation of FBI agent Mark Putnam, a new agent assigned to a two-man resident agency in Pikeville, Kentucky, high in Appalachian coal country. Based primarily on Huggins ability to elicit a confession, Putnam pled guilty and was convicted of strangling is his pregnant informant, Susan Daniels Smith, in a fit of rage. This case was probably Huggins most infamous, however, while assigned to the Louisville Division, he also conducted or supervised many of Kentucky’s biggest corruption investigations. He served as the supervisor of the Lexington Resident Agency from 1986 until his retirement. After retiring from the FBI, Jim Huggins was appointed by the Kentucky Attorney General as Director of Investigations for the Public Corruption Unit, where he worked for seven years. Recently, Huggins was hired as a technical consultant for Above Suspicion, the feature film based on the non-fiction book of the same name that depicts the tragic saga of Mark Putnam and Susan Smith.
Retired agent Bob Hamer served in the FBI for 26 years. While in the Bureau, Hamer, a Marine Corps veteran, worked organized crime, gangs, terrorism, and child exploitation cases. Much of his career was spent undercover in assignments lasting anywhere from several days to more than three years. Bob successfully posed as a drug dealer, contract killer, international weapons dealer, white-collar criminal, and pedophile. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, he is interviewed about infiltrating the security-obsessed North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). Disguised as an aging pedophile, he was able to crack the group’s extensive international network and to identify and gather evidence on sex tourists traveling overseas to sexually exploit children. Bob Hamer received numerous awards throughout his career including the coveted FBI Director’s Award for Distinguished Service and five United States Attorney Awards for Distinguished Service. He has written and consulted for television and is the author of three award-winning books and three novellas. His non-fiction book, THE LAST UNDERCOVER, details his FBI undercover career, with special emphasis on his courageous assignment to penetrate NAMBLA.
Retired agent James Gagliano served in the FBI for nearly 25 years. A graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, he was a commissioned officer in the Army before joining the Bureau. During his FBI career, “Jimmy” Gagliano worked organized crime, was a member of the Hostage Rescue Team (HRT – the FBI’s elite counter-terror unit), participated in numerous overseas deployments, and lead the FBI New York Office SWAT Team. He was awarded the FBI’s Medal for Bravery for actions while serving on the SWAT Team. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review, Gagliano is interviewed about his role as the Supervisory Senior Resident Agent (SSRA) of the New York Division’s Hudson Valley Resident Agency and establishing the Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force. He also talks about the importance of community policing and how he used his role as basketball coach to encourage, motivate and mentor “at risk” kids. His multi-agency unit received the “Top Gang Unit” award by the New York Gang Investigator’s Association, and the “True American Hero” award from the Federal Drug Agents Foundation for their multiple high profile prosecutions of violent street gangs. Gagliano’s last two assignments, were as the acting Legal Attaché in Mexico City and as the Chief of Staff/Special Assistant to the Assistant-Director-in-Charge of the FBI’s New York Division. Since retiring, he has become a sought-after speaker on the topics of “Leadership” and “Combating the Gang Culture” and frequently appears as a guest law enforcement analyst on CNN and other television news programs.
Retired agent Angelo Lano served in the FBI for 29 years. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review with Jerri Williams, he is interviewed about being the case agent of the FBI Watergate investigation, starting from the morning of June 17, 1972, when he received a phone call from his Bureau supervisor instructing him to report to the Watergate Complex to investigate a break-in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters. His initial assignment was to identify the five men caught in the act and arrested by local police. However, subsequent investigation by Lano and members of his squad, quickly determined that this was more than just another interstate theft of stolen property case. They learned that the intruders were connected to the committee to re-elect President Richard Nixon and the property crime case morphed into the biggest political scandal in U.S. history. Lano’s investigation produced evidence of a cover-up and led to articles of impeachment being drawn up against Nixon, who resigned from office in 1974. Angelo Lano was one of several FBI agents falsely accused of being Deep Throat, a source of leaks consisting of inside investigatory information for the Washington Post.
Retired agent Jon Hersley served in the FBI for 30 years and retired agent Larry Tongate served for 29 years. They were case agents assigned to the nation-wide investigation of the April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. In this episode of FBI Retired Case File Review with Jerri Williams we learn more about the 168 victims—including 19 children—and the more than 500 people injured from the bombing. The warped ideology that motivated Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols to blow up the Murrah building is also reviewed. Jon Hersley was assigned to the Oklahoma City Division. Larry Tongate was in the Bureau’s Kansas City Office. The bomb blast also destroyed the entire north side of the nine-story concrete and granite Murrah building, incinerated nearby cars, and damaged more than 300 buildings. The OKBOMB investigation, as it became known, is the United States’ deadliest act of homegrown terrorism. After being tried and convicted of the crime, McVeigh was executed on June 11, 2001 and Nichols was sentenced to life in prison. A third individual, Michael Fortier was sentenced to 12 years in prison for failing to report the planned attack and for lying to the FBI. In their book—Simple Truths: The Real Story of the Oklahoma City Bombing Investigation—Hersley and Tongate and their co-author Bob Burke, assembled a chronological review of the initial events and of the evidence gathered in the case against McVeigh, Nichols and Fortier.