“Ex-agent testifies to good FBI reviews while taking Bulger bribes”

June 28, 2013

Reuters on June 28, 2013 released the following:

By Richard Valdmanis

“(Reuters) – Now retired FBI agent John Morris testified that he received excellent performance reviews from the bureau in the 1970s and 1980s while he and a colleague accepted cash bribes from members of Boston’s violent Winter Hill Gang and protected them from arrest.

In a Boston court on Friday, a lawyer for accused gang boss James “Whitey” Bulger showed Morris three of his reviews describing him as “excellent” and “exemplary” – part of his questioning aimed at undermining the credibility of FBI evidence at the murder trial of Bulger, the reputed head of Winter Hill.

Once one of the most feared men in Boston, Bulger, 83, is on trial for killing or ordering the murders of 19 people while running extortion and gambling rackets for decades. Bulger, who has pleaded not guilty to all charges, evaded capture for 16 years and now faces life imprisonment if convicted by a Boston federal jury.

“I received good reviews,” Morris said on the witness stand, as defense lawyer Henry Brennan showed him a series of documents, including one which said other FBI supervisors looked to Morris for guidance.

The trial, which began June 12, has given the jury a glimpse of an era when machine-gun toting mobsters shot associates who talked too much and buried bodies under bridges in a bloody struggle for control of the criminal underworld.

But it also has shown a dark side of the FBI during that period, when some former agents are suspected of having traded information with Bulger and his gang to help them elude arrest and murder “rats” who spoke to police.

Morris testified on Thursday that he and another ex-FBI agent John Connolly – who cultivated Bulger as an FBI informant – would sometimes invite Bulger and his associate Steven “The Rifleman” Flemmi to dinner, where they would trade information and gifts.

Connolly apparently became so rich on kickbacks that he began wearing jewelry and bought a boat and a second home on Cape Cod, Morris said, adding that he too had accepted at least $5,000 in cash directly from Bulger and provided tips.

“I felt helpless. I didn’t know what to do. I felt awful about everything,” he said.

Morris, who now works as a part-time wine consultant, was offered immunity from prosecution in late 1997 in exchange for his testimony in hearings about FBI misconduct.

“I didn’t want to carry that burden anymore,” Morris said.

Bulger cursed at Morris in court on Thursday and called him a liar as the prosecution witness described how Bulger received special treatment for being a government informant.

Bulger denies providing any information to law enforcement officials, contending that he paid them for tips, but offered none of his own.

The gangster’s story has fascinated Boston for decades and inspired the 2006 Academy Award-winning Martin Scorsese film, “The Departed,” in which Jack Nicholson played a character loosely based on Bulger.

Called “Whitey” because he once had white-blond hair, fled Boston after a 1994 tip from Connolly that authorities were preparing to arrest him.

Connolly is serving a 40-year prison term for murder and racketeering.

Bulger’s attorneys have spent much of the past few days attacking the reliability of the FBI’s 700-page informant file on him, which they contend was fabricated by Connolly to provide a cover for his frequent meetings with the gang boss.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


U.S. Accuses Colombian in Drug Bribes

June 19, 2012

The New York Times on June 18, 2012 released the following:

“By WILLIAM NEUMAN

CARACAS, Venezuela — Mauricio Santoyo led an elite antiterrorism squad in Colombia’s National Police force and then became chief of presidential security when Álvaro Uribe took office as the country’s tough-on-crime president. Once there, he worked closely with United States officials to beef up Mr. Uribe’s safety arrangements.

Now federal prosecutors in the United States say that at the same time, Mr. Santoyo was in the pocket of drug dealers, taking at least $5 million in bribes from major narcotics traffickers from about 2000 to 2008 to help them evade law enforcement.

He even handed over intelligence information collected by law enforcement officials that led the traffickers to target people for murder, according to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday in United States District Court in Virginia.

The document does not give details, but it appears that the murders may have been in retaliation for cooperating with authorities.

Mr. Santoyo, who was eventually promoted to the rank of general in the National Police, is now retired.

The Web site of the Bogotá newspaper El Tiempo reported Monday that Mr. Santoyo said he had not seen the indictment and could not comment on the charges.

A spokesman for the federal prosecutor’s office in the Eastern District of Virginia said that Mr. Santoyo was not currently in custody. He would not say whether officials had asked Colombia to arrest and extradite Mr. Santoyo.

The indictment was an embarrassment to Mr. Uribe, who has remained a high-profile figure since leaving office in 2010. He has been highly critical of his successor, Juan Manuel Santos, including his approach to the war on drugs.

On Sunday, Mr. Uribe called, in a Twitter post, for Mr. Santoyo and the National Police to respond to the charges.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


U.S. prosecutors to seek death penalty in Rhode Island shooting

June 19, 2012

Chicago Tribune on June 18, 2012 released the following:

“June 18, 2012 | Zach Howard | Reuters

(Reuters) – The U.S. federal government will seek the death penalty against a man accused of robbing and killing a gas station manager in Rhode Island if the suspect is convicted of murder at trial, federal prosecutors said on Monday.

The move follows a rare face-off between the state and federal authorities over capital punishment, which was ended in Rhode Island in 1984. The state’s governor has resisted handing the suspect, Jason Pleau, over to federal custody.

Pleau, 34, is accused in the 2010 shooting death of David Main in the small city of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, according to the FBI, as Main attempted to make a bank deposit from the gas station he managed.

Pleau was indicted that same year by a federal grand jury for murder, while he was already serving an 18-year sentence in state prison for parole violations. The federal government asked for custody of Pleau under a federal law that governs the transfer of prisoners between states and the U.S. government.

Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, a political independent, initially resisted, asserting the state’s policy of opposing the death penalty. But a federal appeals court in Boston last month ordered him to hand Pleau over to federal authorities.

Prosecutors filed Monday’s notice of intent to seek the death sentence at U.S. District Court in Providence, specifically on a count charging Pleau with possessing, carrying and discharging a firearm during a crime that caused Main’s death.

Responding to the decision to seek the death penalty, Robert Mann, an attorney for Pleau, told Reuters: “Obviously, we are very disappointed.”

Prosecutors, in the filing, said Pleau had a history of other acts of serious violence, had demonstrated a low rehabilitative potential, and displayed a lack of remorse.

Richard Dieter, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, said it was “unusual” for the federal government to pursue a death penalty case in a state opposed to it, especially since the crime does not involve terrorism or another matter of national concern.

“It’s surprising as the state has said it could handle the case and the defendant said he’d plead guilty and get life without parole – it could have been done differently,” said Dieter.

The Boston-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit ruled in May that keeping Pleau in state custody shielded him from capital punishment, and would undermine the federal government’s ability to prosecute federal crimes.

A conference on the case’s status was scheduled for Friday at U.S. District Court.

(Additional reporting by Joseph O’Leary; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Cynthia Johnston; Desking by G Crosse, Andrew Hay)”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


19 indicted in alleged racketeering case targeting South San Francisco street gang Long-term probe links suspects to multiple murders, robberies, drug trafficking

May 6, 2012

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on May 3, 2012 released the following:

“SAN FRANCISCO — Federal and local authorities announced the indictment Thursday of 19 members of a South San Francisco street gang on racketeering and other federal charges, alleging they engaged in a host of crimes, including murder, robbery and narcotics trafficking as part of a broader conspiracy to preserve the organization’s power and protect its territory from rival gangs.

Thirteen of the defendants, members and associates of the “500 Block/C Street” gang, were arrested Thursday during a multi-agency law enforcement operation. Three special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) were injured during the enforcement action. They were transported to a Bay area hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries.

The 13 individuals arrested Thursday, and two other defendants who were already in federal custody, are expected to make their initial appearance in federal court Friday morning. The remaining four defendants, who are currently in state custody, will be turned over to federal authorities next week to face the charges.

During a news conference Thursday afternoon, federal and local officials provided an overview of the 17-month probe and the resulting 29-count superseding indictment. The prosecution is being overseen by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California.

“The charges that were unsealed today are the result of the tireless efforts of several law enforcement agencies who are working together to keep the community safe,” said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag. “For the victims and their families, there is nothing we can do to erase their pain and sorrow. I hope, however, that these charges begin to provide some closure for them. Our thoughts and prayers are with the three Homeland Security Investigation (special) agents who were injured during this morning’s operation. My office is proud to be associated with professionals who put their lives on the line to protect others and are serious about keeping the community safe. We will continue to work with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to help bring to justice those who terrorize their communities with violence and fear.”

The indictment, handed down April 24 and unsealed Friday, accuses the members and associates of the “500 Block/C Street” gang with conspiring to commit murder and assault in the aid of racketeering; using firearms in connection with violent crime; and obstruction of justice. Four of the defendants who are specifically charged with using a firearm in the commission of a murder could face the death penalty. Additionally, 12 of the other defendants in the case could receive up to life in prison if convicted of all of the charges lodged against them.

“Today is a welcome day for residents of South San Francisco and a very bad day for an entrenched gang based here in the Bay Area,” said Clark Settles, special agent in charge for HSI San Francisco. “This indictment and the related arrests serve as a warning to local gangs about the consequences of using violence and fear to maintain control of their turf.”

The indictment is the culmination of investigations originally initiated by the Daly City Police Department and the South San Francisco Police Department following separate shootings in those communities. The Daly City shooting occurred Dec. 18, 2010, and left three people injured. Four days later, a shooting in South San Francisco killed three individuals and wounded three others. As the probe widened, the local police departments sought the assistance and expertise of ICE HSI. The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office also aided with the investigation. The U.S. Marshals Service provided significant assistance during Thursday’s enforcement action.

“The South San Francisco City Council extends its sincere congratulations to our Police Department, members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, the Daly City Police Department and to the members of the San Mateo County Gang Intelligence Unit for their diligent investigative efforts over the past 16 months,” said South San Francisco Mayor Richard Garbarino. “Knowing arrests have been made will hopefully start to bring a sense of closure for the families and the entire community. The City of South San Francisco will continue its commitment to strengthen our community and encourages everyone to stand together against community violence.”

The indictment alleges the “500 Block/C Street” gang constituted a racketeering enterprise and that the defendants conspired to engage in narcotics trafficking, extortion, robbery and murder to further the aims of the organization. The indictment further states that while the “500 Block/C Street” was a Norteño gang, the organization warred not only with Sureño gangs, but also with rival Norteño cliques. Below are the 16 defendants charged as part of the racketeering conspiracy and the maximum penalties they face:

  • Joseph “Little Vicious” Ortiz, 22, of South San Francisco, possible death penalty;
  • Victor “Little Creeper” Flores, 20, of Petaluma; possible death penalty;
  • Justin “Teddy” Whipple, 19, of San Bruno, possible death penalty;
  • Benjamin “BG” Campos-Gonzalez, 21, of San Mateo, possible death penalty;
  • Michael “Vicious” Ortiz, Jr., 25, of San Bruno, life in prison;
  • Michael “Blackie” Ortiz, Sr., 48, of San Bruno, life in prison;
  • Armando “Savage” Acosta, 27, of Pacifica, life in prison;
  • Giovanni “Gio” Rimando Ascencio, 22, of South San Francisco, life in prison;
  • Raymond “Tear Drop” Hembry, 33, of South San Francisco, life in prison;
  • James “Pimpy” Hembry, 31, of Daly City, life in prison;
  • Richard “Maniac” Martinez, 25, of Hayward, life in prison;
  • Rodrigo “Ayo” Aguayo, 23, of San Mateo, life in prison;
  • Gregorio “Rhino” Guzman, 38, of San Mateo, life in prison;
  • Mario “Fat Boy” Bergren, 23, of South San Francisco, life in prison;
  • Andrew “Andy” Bryant, 29, of Daly City, life in prison; and
  • Peter “P-Nasty” Davis, 26, of San Francisco, life in prison.

The indictment also charges four of the above defendants – Joseph Ortiz, Victor Flores, Justin Whipple and Benjamin Campos-Gonzalez – with three counts of murder in aid of racketeering; four counts of attempted murder in aid of racketeering; and related firearms offenses stemming from their alleged role in the fatal South San Francisco shooting. Additionally, Joseph Ortiz is charged with four other attempted murders in aid of racketeering and a related firearms offense arising from the Daly City shooting.

The indictment details the defendants’ involvement in the gang and the organization’s current leadership structure. It alleges that Joseph Ortiz, one of the ranking members of the 500 Block clique, initially joined the gang when he was approximately 11 years old. According to the indictment, in 2011 Raymond Hembry took over as the leader of the C Street clique of the merged gang and Giovanni Ascencio assumed control over the 500 Block side of the organization.

The three defendants in the case who are not facing racketeering charges are accused of being accessories after the fact to the South San Francisco murders and attempted murders. They are:

  • Louis Rodriguez, 30, of Milbrae, 60 years in prison;
  • Tanya “La China” Rodriguez, 45, of San Bruno, 40 years in prison; and
  • Betty Ortiz, 49, of San Bruno, 40 years in prison.

Specifically, these defendants are charged with various obstruction-related offenses for their alleged efforts to hinder the investigation into “Eighth Lane” shootings. According to the court document, their actions included washing and concealing weapons used in the murders; questioning a perspective witnesses and transporting that person from northern California to Mexico; and wiring money to Mexico.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Acadia L. Senese and W.S. Wilson Leung, with support from paralegal Kevin Costello and legal technician Daniel Charlier-Smith.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Texas federal grand jury indicts Sinaloa cartel leaders

April 25, 2012

CNN on April 24, 2012 released the following:

“By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) — A U.S. federal grand jury in Texas has indicted the suspected top leaders of Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera and Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada Garcia face murder and conspiracy charges connected with drug trafficking, money laundering and organized crime.

The indictment, returned April 11 and unsealed Tuesday, also charges 22 other people who prosecutors allege are connected with the cartel.

It is one of several U.S. federal indictments charging Guzman, who is widely known as Mexico’s most wanted fugitive and has made Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s most powerful people.

“It’s a reminder we’re right behind him, that he can’t live out in the open. We need to get them apprehended,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Franco said Tuesday.

This month’s indictment in western Texas detailed two acts of violence prosecutors said were committed by members of the cartel, including the 2010 kidnapping of an American citizen and two members of his family during a wedding ceremony in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, because of their ties with the rival Juarez cartel.

The target was the groom and a resident of Columbus, New Mexico, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas said in a statement.

Police found the bodies of the groom, his brother and his uncle three days after the wedding in the bed of a pickup truck, according to the indictment.

The indictment also describes the 2009 kidnapping, killing and mutilation of a Texas resident “to answer for the loss of a 670-pound load of marijuana seized by the Border Patrol,” prosecutors said.

Investigators found the Texas resident’s body in Ciudad Juarez, according to the indictment.

“He had been beaten and strangled and his hands had been severed above the wrists and placed on his chest, to serve as a warning to those who might attempt to steal from the cartel,” the indictment says.

Guzman and Zambada have been indicted on drug trafficking and organized crime charges in a number of U.S. federal courts. U.S. officials have offered a $5 million reward for information leading to their capture.

Guzman was arrested in 1993 on homicide and drug charges but escaped in 2001, reportedly by bribing prison guards to smuggle him out in a laundry truck. A Mexican federal investigation led to the arrest of more than 70 prison officials.

Forbes magazine has placed him on its list of the world’s most powerful people, reporting his net worth of $1 billion as of March.

Rumors regularly surge about his whereabouts.

Franco declined to comment on whether there was new information regarding Guzman’s location.

He described Guzman as “a man who has unlimited means, more money than most people in Mexico.”

“It affords him the ability to hide,” Franco added.

The Sinaloa Cartel, named after the Mexican state where the gang was formed, is one of the most powerful drug-trafficking groups in the nation.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Seven Members, Associates, and Leaders of Folk Nation Gang Indicted for Alleged Racketeering and Murder

February 1, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 31, 2012 released the following:

Additional Charges Include Robbery, Assault, Illegal Use of Firearms, and Related Crimes

A superseding indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn this morning charging seven members, associates, and leaders of the violent Brooklyn street gang “Six Tre Outlaw Gangsta Disciples Folk Nation,” also known as the “Folk Nation.” The 16-count indictment charges the defendants with violent crimes including racketeering, murder in-aid-of racketeering, murder conspiracy, attempted murder, robbery, assault, and illegal use of firearms.[1] Two defendants will be arraigned later today before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. The defendants face sentences up to life imprisonment if convicted.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department. As detailed in the indictment and other court filings submitted by the government, a two-year joint investigation by the FBI and the NYPD revealed that since 2008, a violent set of the Folk Nation gang committed numerous crimes of violence including four murders, three attempted murders, two assaults, and six robberies. The gang was based in the Ebbets Field Houses, a New York City public housing community, although its criminal activities extended into the Tri-State area.

The gang is alleged to have used extreme and indiscriminate violence to further its objectives. The defendants’ victims include a 10-year-old girl, who was severely injured when she was shot in the neck by gang members while they were attempting to murder a rival. The gang is alleged to have committed four murders, in an effort to assert its power over the neighborhoods in which it operated. On at least two occasions, gang members missed their intended targets and hit innocent bystanders—after one murder at a teenager’s birthday party in an Ebbets Field apartment, gang members acknowledged that they had killed the wrong person.

In order to fund its illegal activities, members of the gang allegedly committed violent robberies of individuals and commercial establishments. Members of the gang are alleged to have robbed the Lee Perla jewelry store at the Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack, New Jersey, making off with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of luxury watches. According to the indictment, the gang also targeted individual robbery victims, whom they lured to secluded areas in Brooklyn, via Internet advertisements on Craigslist, and then robbed at gunpoint. According to a detention memorandum filed by the government, the charged murders and other acts of violence took place on public streets, in front of personal residences, and even on a playground, in Brooklyn neighborhoods.

The charges announced today are the latest in a series of federal indictments in this district charging members of violent street gangs with racketeering crimes.

“Motivated by greed, the Folk Nation employed indiscriminate violence to destroy the lives of their perceived enemies. But their violence spread beyond the gang world into the streets and playgrounds of Brooklyn, and innocent bystanders, including a child, were caught in the crossfire. Terrorizing a community, this gang claimed its turf by force and robbed from businesses and individuals alike leaving a trail of victims in its wake,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We are steadfast in our commitment to dismantling street gangs that put at risk the members of our community, and the seriousness of today’s charges reflect that commitment.”

“The reason the FBI places such a high priority on gang investigations is the extreme violence gangs so often commit. Here, as charged in the indictment, the defendants’ ruthlessness was matched by their recklessness. They allegedly showed no apparent concern for bystanders, and bystanders were seriously hurt as a consequence,” said Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “Through a variety of partnerships, including clergy, the Brooklyn District Attorney, and in this case United States Attorney Loretta Lynch, the police department is suppressing crime in Brooklyn to the point where last year for the first time since 1963 murder in the Borough fell below 200. As charged in the indictment, members of the Folk Nation have been responsible for multiple murders and shootings, and their apprehension and prosecution should have a continued salutary effect for the residents in and around the Ebbets Field Houses.”

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Zainab Ahmad and Seth DuCharme.

The Defendants:

YASSA ASHBURN, also known as “Indio,” “Swirls,” and “Swerve”
Age: 28

HAILE CUMMINGS, also known as “Ruger” and “Rugah”
Age: 20

GERALDO ELAINOR, also known as “Gunny” and “Geraldo Casimir”
Age: 21

DANIEL HARRISON, also known as “Bones,”
Age: 24

RICKY HOLLENQUEST, also known as “Dancer”
Age: 20

JAMAL LAURENT, also known as “Tails” and “Gunner”
Age: 22

TREVELLE MERRITT, also known as “Tiger”
Age: 19

[1] The charges contained in the superseding indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Alleged Members of Native Mob Charged in Sweeping Racketeering Indictment

January 26, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 25, 2012 released the following:

“MINNEAPOLIS— A 47-count federal indictment unsealed in part late yesterday charges 24 alleged members of the Native Mob gang with conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity and other crimes. The Native Mob is a regional criminal gang that originated in Minneapolis in the early 1990s. Members routinely engage in drug trafficking, assault, robbery and murder. Membership is estimated at 200, with new members, including juveniles, regularly recruited from communities with large, young, male, Native American populations. Association with the gang is often signified by wearing red and black clothing or sporting gang-related tattoos.

Six defendants made their initial federal court appearances late yesterday afternoon. They were apprehended earlier Tuesday, during a take-down conducted by between 100 and 150 local, state, federal, and tribal law enforcement officials. Arrests were made on the White Earth, Mille Lacs, and Leech Lake Indian reservations as well as in the Twin Cities. Of the 18 remaining defendants, 12 are presently in jail or prison on other charges, while six continue to be sought by law enforcement. The six individuals arrested yesterday remain in custody pending their next hearings, scheduled for Jan. 26 and 27.

Earlier today, U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones said of the investigation, “This investigation exemplifies the law enforcement cooperation we are fortunate to experience here in Minnesota. Local, state, federal, and tribal investigators worked side by side to take down some of the most violent criminals in our state and, in the process, disrupt an extremely dangerous gang that diminishes the quality of life for those who live and work in Native American communities. We owe a debt of gratitude to everyone involved in the investigation. Their efforts have made our streets and communities much safer.”

The indictment alleges that since at least the mid-1990s, the defendants named in this case and others have conspired to conduct criminal activity through an “enterprise,” namely, the Native Mob, in violation of the federal Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The indictment alleges that the primary objective of this “enterprise” is to preserve, protect, promote and enhance the Native Mob’s power, territory, and financial gains.

To that end, gang members purportedly distribute illegal drugs, from crack cocaine to ecstasy. They also reportedly provide monetary support to other members, including those incarcerated; share with one another police reports, victim statements and other case discovery; hinder or obstruct officials from identifying or apprehending those wanted by the law; and intimidate witnesses to Native Mob crimes. Moreover, they purportedly maintain and circulate firearms for gang use and commit acts of violence, including murder, against individuals associated with rival gangs.

Those arrested yesterday, along with their last known residence, include:

  • Dale Wesley Ballinger, Jr., 20, Isle, Minn.;
  • Damien Lee Beaulieu, 20, Onamia, Minn.;
  • Aaron James Gilbert, Jr., 24, Minneapolis;
  • Cory Gene Oquist, 22, Bemidji, Minn.;
  • Dale John Pindegayosh, 29, Cass Lake, Minn.; and
  • Justen Lee Poitra, 26, Cass Lake.

In addition to the racketeering charge filed against all 24 defendants, other charges were levied against some of the defendants. Those charges include conspiracy to use and carry firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence; the use and carrying of firearms during and in relation to a crime of violence; assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering; attempted murder in aid of racketeering; felon in possession of ammunition; felon in possession of a firearm; armed career criminal in possession of a firearm; possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and a crime of violence; conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute controlled substances; possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance; distributing a controlled substance; and tampering with a witness. (See the attached chart for a breakdown of charges by defendant. Note, until such time as defendants make their initial appearances in federal court, their names and the specific charges levied against them will not be disclosed.)

If convicted, the defendants face a potential maximum sentence of between 20 years and life in federal prison. Since the federal justice system does not have parole, prison terms would be served virtually in entirety. All sentences will ultimately be determined by a federal district court judge.

This case is the result of a long-term, cross-jurisdictional investigation conducted by local, state, federal and tribal law enforcement officers dedicated to making our streets and communities safer. They include the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension; the Carlton County, Minn., Sheriff’s Office; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; the FBI-funded Headwaters Safe Trails Task Force; the Mille Lacs Tribal Police Department; the Minneapolis Police Department; the Minnesota Department of Corrections; and the Paul Bunyan Drug Task Force.

These agencies investigated this case with assistance from—in alphabetical order—the Becker County Sheriff’s Office, the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office, the Carlton County Attorney’s Office, the Cass County Attorney’s Office, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office, the Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office of Wisconsin, the Duluth Police Department, the Fon du Lac Tribal Police Department, the Fridley Police Department, the Itasca County Sheriff’s Department, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office, the Leech Lake Tribal Police Department, the LCO Reservation Police Department, the Lower Sioux Tribal Police Department, the Mahnomen County Sheriff’s Office, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Mille Lacs County Attorney’s Office, the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office, the New Brighton Police Department, the North Central Drug Task Force, the Prior Lake Police Department, the Red Lake Tribal Police Department, the Redwood County Sheriff’s Office, Richfield Police Department, the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Paul Police Department, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the Minneapolis Violent Offender Task Force, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the White Earth Tribal Police Department.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew R. Winter and Steven L. Schleicher.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Man charged in fatal ICE ambush

December 22, 2011

El Paso Times on December 22, 2011 released the following:

“By Diana Washington Valdez \ El Paso Times

A man accused of taking part in the Feb. 11 slaying of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent that also left a second ICE agent wounded was charged on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., after Mexico extradited him to the United States.

Julian “Piolin” Zapata Espinoza faces charges for his alleged role in the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata of Brownsville, and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila of El Paso.

“The extradition and charges filed against Zapata Espinoza is an important step in bringing Jaime and Victor’s alleged shooters to justice,” ICE Director John Morton said. “All of us at ICE are encouraged by today’s action and appreciate the unwavering work and support of all our law enforcement partners in this case.”

“The indictment unsealed today and the successful extradition of ‘Piolin’ to the United States reflect the Justice Department’s vigorous and determined efforts to seek justice for Agents Zapata and Avila,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer. “We will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners in Mexico to hold violent criminals accountable.”

On April 19, a federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a four-count indictment against Zapata Espinoza, charging him with one count of murder of an officer or employee of the United States, for the murder of Jaime Zapata; one count of attempted murder of an officer or employee of the United States; and one count of attempted murder of an internationally protected person, both for the attempted murder of Avila; and one count of using, carrying, brandishing and discharging a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence causing death.

Zapata Espinoza, who is being held without bond, appeared in U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth’s court and pleaded not guilty. His next appearance in court is scheduled for Jan. 25.

In a statement, the Mexican National Defense Secretariat said Mexican soldiers captured Zapata Espinoza on Feb. 23, along with other alleged members of the Zetas drug cartel.

Military officials said Zapata Espinoza “stated he was in charge of the group of gunmen that shot the U.S. agent, (and that) he said that this event was a mistake because they thought that the people in the (U.S. agents’) vehicle were members of an antagonistic (rival) group.”

U.S. officials said the two U.S. agents were traveling from a meeting in San Luis Potosi to Mexico City the day they were ambushed by a group of armed men.

Zapata, who began his law enforcement career with the Border Patrol, was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.

Avila, the ICE agent who was shot twice in the leg, recovered from his wounds.

One of the charges is that Zapata Espinoza participated in the attempted murder of an “internationally protected person,” according to the indictment against him.

“He was apparently a U.S. federal agent that pursuant to international law had special protection,” said Douglas C. McNabb, a lawyer and senior principal with McNabb Associates PC, a global criminal defense firm with a website at www.mcnabbassociates.com.

Sheldon Snook, a deputy court clerk in the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C., said the U.S. Attorneys Manual defines “internationally protected persons” based on U.S. legislation and United Nations conventions, including the Vienna Convention.

Such persons can include heads of state, diplomats and others that in this case the U.S. State Department has determined holds the status.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Six Arrested in Connection with Alleged Kidnapping and Death of Atlantic City Woman

October 19, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on October 18, 2011 released the following:

“CAMDEN, NJ— Six South Jersey residents charged by complaint in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a 20-year-old Atlantic City woman last March were arrested today, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

A team of more than 50 federal, state, county, and local law enforcement officers executed a series of federal arrest warrants early this morning in connection with the kidnapping and murder of Nadirah Ruffin.

According to the complaints, the victim was with four other women in a private residence in Atlantic City on March 26, 2011, when a number of intruders wearing masks and dark hooded sweatshirts and armed with handguns entered the residence. The intruders bound and blindfolded the women, then searched the residence for drugs and money. At least two of the women were pistol-whipped by the intruders, who remained for 30 to 40 minutes before leaving, taking Nadirah Ruffin with them. Her body was found in the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia on April 19, 2011. An autopsy revealed she died from a gunshot wound.

Three Atlantic City residents—a woman and two men—were taken into custody this morning on federal warrants in connection with Nadirah Ruffin’s death. They were charged with kidnapping resulting in the victim’s death, robbery, and weapons offenses. Shamerria Smith, 24, Aziz Sanders, 18, and Deshawn Hicks, 19, will appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joel Schneider this afternoon.

Two other men were arrested and charged with tampering with a potential witness in connection with the investigation. Henry Ruffin, 40, of Williamstown, and Ronnie Ruffin, 42, of Lindenwold (neither of whom are related to Nadirah Ruffin), are accused of using physical force and threats of physical force to prevent a witness from providing information to the FBI and other investigating officers. Ronnie Ruffin is defendant Smith’s father. Henry Ruffin is an uncle to defendants Smith, Sanders, and Isiah Ruffin.

Isiah Ruffin (no relation to Nadirah Ruffin), 20, of Atlantic City, was arrested and charged with giving false information to FBI special agents who were investigating the disappearance and death of Nadirah Ruffin.

“The kidnapping and murder allegations in the complaint detail an indifference to human life that is shocking,” U.S. Attorney Fishman said. “The complaint describes how associates of those responsible attempted to use threats, violence, and lies to prevent us from finding and arresting the suspects. We are grateful for the tireless and cooperative investigative work of the Atlantic City Police Department, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office and the FBI, which ultimately led to the arrests of all of those involved.”

“This investigation is of utmost importance to the FBI Safe Street Task Force due to aspects of home invasion, robbery, kidnapping, and the senseless murder of a young woman and mother,” Michael B. Ward, Special Agent In Charge of the FBI’s Newark Division, said. “Such acts of violence will not be tolerated and will be met forcefully by the united efforts of law enforcement. Today’s arrests of six subjects believed to be responsible for this extreme violence are an example of that commitment, and would not have been possible without close coordination and partnership with the Atlantic City Police Department, Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, Philadelphia Police Department, New Jersey State Police, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey. We also would like to recognize the Philadelphia Division of the FBI for their assistance in today’s arrests.”

“I would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI for their supercession of this investigation at the federal level,” Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel said. “Our agency is pleased to have partnered with federal authorities in this interstate cooperative endeavor not only so as to pool resources in this complicated investigation, but additionally to be able to potentially seek more serious penalties, which a federal prosecution can result in under the appropriate circumstances.”

“This is a very significant arrest,” Deputy Chief Ernest Jubilee, Commander of the Atlantic City Police Department, said. “This is the most significant series of arrests made in one case this year. It was a tragic occurrence and I’m glad that the collaborative effort put forth by all agencies has resulted in these arrests.”

The arrests were the culmination of an intensive investigation by the Atlantic City office of the FBI, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Atlantic City Police Department. Members of FBI SWAT – Newark and Philadelphia; FBI Evidence Response Team; N.J. State Police TEAMS;” Atlantic City Police Department SWAT Team and detectives; the Philadelphia office of the FBI; and the N.J. State Police participated in today’s arrest operation.

The defendants, charges, and potential maximum sentences are as follows:

Defendant Charges Maximum potential penalty
Shamerria Smith (1)  

Count 1—Hobbs Act Robbery

 

Count 2—Kidnapping

 

Count 3—Possession of Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence

 

 

20 years in prison; $250,000 fine

 

Death penalty eligible; $250,000 fine

 

Mandatory minimum five years in prison; Maximum, life in prison; $250,000 fine

 

Aziz Sanders (2)  

Count 1—Hobbs Act Robbery

 

Count 2—Kidnapping

 

Count 3—Possession of Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence

 

 

20 years in prison; $250,000 fine

 

Death penalty eligible; $250,000 fine

 

Mandatory minimum five years in prison; Maximum, life in prison; $250,000 fine

 

DeShawn Hicks (3)  

Count 1—Hobbs Act Robbery

 

Count 2—Kidnapping

 

Count 3—Possession of Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence

 

 

20 years in prison; $250,000 fine

 

Death penalty eligible; $250,000 fine

 

Mandatory minimum five years in prison; Maximum, life in prison; $250,000 fine

 

Isiah Ruffin (4) Count 4—False Statements Five years prison; $250,000 fine
Henry Ruffin (5) Count 5—Witness Tampering 20 years in prison; $250,000 fine
Ronnie Ruffin (6) Count 5—Witness Tampering 20 years in prison; $250,000 fine

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Camden.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

————————————————————–

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Hector Ovidio Molina Fuentes, Jose Gabriel Garcia Calderon, Ernesto Manuel Mejia, Samuel DeJesus Argueta, Ronald Alexander Gomez, Jaime Eduardo Lopez Torres, and Carlos Contreras Allegedly Linked to MS-13 Are Indicted by a Houston Federal Grand Jury

August 11, 2011

Houston Chronicle on August 11, 2011 released the following:

“By DANE SCHILLER
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Seven alleged members and associates of the MS-13 street gang are charged with three slayings and other mayhem as part of a racketeering operation that killed, robbed and dealt drugs in Houston, officials said Thursday.

The gang, also known as the Mara Salvatrucha, has roots in El Salvador and a record in numerous countries.

A newly unsealed federal indictment contends that those charged committed murder in order to move up in the gang, which was hungry to control territory and keep the community in fear.

Defendants are accused of dividing Houston into cliques, smaller groups that operated in regions of the city and held regular meetings to discuss gang rules and criminal activity as well as collect dues.

They also used cellphones, text messages and social networking to conduct business, according to authorities.

Code of silence detailed
Authorities believe two of the MS-13′s victims this year — identified as Saul Garduno, 15, and Jonathan Hernandez, 24 — were gang rivals.

It is not yet known why a third victim, 17-year-old Anayanci Roche, was killed.

The indictment describes the inner workings of the gang, saying there is no tolerance for members or associates suspected of cooperating with police.

“The sanction for violating the code of silence is termed a green light … the gang’s approval for the killing of someone suspect of cooperating with law enforcement,” notes the indictment.

Those charged were identified as Hector Ovidio Molina Fuentes, 33; Jose Gabriel Garcia Calderon, 19; Ernesto Manuel Mejia, 18; Samuel DeJesus Argueta, 21; Ronald Alexander Gomez, 19; Jaime Eduardo Lopez Torres, 29; and Carlos Contreras, 21.

Two arrested elsewhere
It is not clear which of the defendants, if any, grew up in Houston. Contreras is in custody in Panama and facing extradition to the United States. Another defendant was arrested in Arkansas.

Stephen Morris, head of the FBI’s Houston division, said the probe of the MS-13 continues.

“Our investigation into this violent gang is not over,” Morris said. “We will continue to pursue MS-13 and any other gang members who seek to poison our streets with drugs and violence.”

He encouraged the public to come forward with information on their dealings.

Jose Angel Moreno, the top federal prosecutor for a region that stretches from Houston to the Mexican border, stressed that the gang’s activities cast a wide net.

The MS-13 first reached into the United States in the 1980s, according to a statement released by federal authorities who announced the indictment.

Male members are first required to make it through an initiation process in which they are “jumped in” to the gang by being beaten by other members, the document states. Female members also can be beaten in such initiations or subjected to sexual activity with other members, it continues.”

To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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