Thirteen Individuals Indicted for Alleged Drug Trafficking in Jackson and Shannon County

August 9, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 9, 2012 released the following:

Part of Operation Eagle Eye

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that 13 individuals have been indicted by a federal grand jury for drug conspiracy and distribution offenses alleged to have occurred in Jackson County and Shannon County at various times October 2008 through July 2012.

The charges are a result of Operation Eagle Eye, a controlled substances investigation conducted by the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force, whose member agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the South Dakota Highway Patrol, the Pierre Police Department, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe-Department of Public Safety. In addition to task force members, other agencies assisting in the arrests were the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Martin Police Department; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.

The individuals charged include the following:

  • Anita Lucine Brown, 58, of Wanblee—charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. If convicted, Brown could face a maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment, a $5,000,000 fine, or both.
  • Reed Thomas Brown, Jr., a/k/a “Baby Reed,” 37, of Wanblee—charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana. If convicted, Brown could face a maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment, a $5,000,000 fine, or both.
  • Clifford Wayne Richards, Jr., a/k/a “Beaver,” 56, of Wanblee—charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and three counts of distribution of marijuana. If convicted of conspiracy to distribute marijuana, Richards could face a maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment, a $5,000,000 fine, or both. If convicted of marijuana distribution, Richards could face a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, or both.
  • Gerald Baker, Sr., 27, of Interior—charged with one count of distributing marijuana in a school zone. In convicted, Baker could face a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both.
  • Casey Bettelyoun, 31, of Wanblee—charged with one count of distributing a substance or mixture containing methamphetamine in a school zone. If convicted, Bettelyoun could face a maximum sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment, a $2,000,000 fine, or both.
  • Roger Bettelyoun, 56, of Wanblee—charged with four counts of distributing marijuana. If convicted, Bettelyoun could face a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both.
  • Royce Gone, 32, of Wanblee—charged with one count of distributing marijuana in a school zone. If convicted, Gone could face a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, or both.
  • Jordan Long Soldier, 40, of Wanblee—charged with two counts of distributing marijuana. If convicted, Long Solider could face a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, or both.
  • Angel Provincial, 22, of Wanblee—charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine. If convicted, Provincial could face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, or both.
  • Robert Provincial, 32, of Wanblee—charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute a mixture and substance containing methamphetamine. If convicted, Provincial could face a maximum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment, a $1,000,000 fine, or both.
  • Howard Red Elk, 45, of Wanblee—charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana in public housing. If convicted, Red Elk could face a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $500,000 fine, or both.
  • Tyson Red Elk, 22, of Wanblee—charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute marijuana in public housing. If convicted, Red Elk could face a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $500,000 fine, or both.
  • Virgil Red Elk, 30, of Wanblee—charged with one count of distributing marijuana. If convicted, Red Elk could face a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both.

No further details regarding the cases will be available until the individuals have appeared in federal court. The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and all the individuals named in the indictment are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ted McBride.”

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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.


Former security firm Blackwater settles with criminal prosecutors

August 9, 2012
Blackwater
“A special police SWAT team from Blackwater. Credits: Blackwater/Police Times”

Examiner.com on August 8, 2012 released the following:

“BY: JIM KOURI

The liberal-left’s least favorite company, security contractor Blackwater, through it’s new corporate name Acadmi LLC, agreed on Tuesday to pay more than $7 million in fines in order to settle federal charges regarding alleged arms smuggling and other crimes.

The documents. which were unsealed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Raleigh, North Carolina, stated that the company’s executives agreed to pay the fine as part of a deferred prosecution agreement to settle all 17 violations of law.

The agreement also acknowledges and references a $42 million settlement between the company and the Department of State as part of a settlement of violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations, according to officials at Justice Department.

According to Justice Department documents, list of violations includes the possession automatic weapons in the United States without registration, deceptive statements made to government firearms officials about weapons tranferred to the Kingdom of Jordan, and passing secret plans for armored personnel carriers to Sweden and Denmark without U.S. government approval.

A separate violation entailed illegally shipping body armor to nations overseas.

“Compliance with the firearms laws of the United States in both domestic and international commerce is essential to maintaining order and accountability,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Wayne L. Dixie. “Whether it is an individual or a corporation, we will enforce the provisions of the federal gun laws equally. If violations are discovered, we will move to hold those responsible for the violations accountable for their actions.”

Federal prosecutors and law enforcement officials said Blackwater, which has held billions in U.S. security contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, repeatedly flouted U.S. laws.

Blackwater was founded in North Carolina in 1997 by a former Navy SEAL officer, Erik Prince, and the company became well-known working for the U.S. government during the Iraq War. Prince is said to be worth over one billion dollars.

IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett stated, “High-ranking corporate officials hold positions of trust not only in their companies but also in the eyes of the public. That trust is broken when such officials abuse their power and commit crimes to line their own pockets. An international fraud of this magnitude requires a coordinated effort among law enforcement agencies to stop those involved from profiting from their wrongdoing.”

A provision in Academi-United States settlement prohibits the company executives from making any public statements “contradicting any aspect” of the agreement. Any such statement opens the door to nullification of the settlement by the U.S. Justice Department.

“Blackwater profited substantially from Department of Defense (DoD) contracts in support of overseas contingency operations over the past decade,” commented Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, Southeast Field Office, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS). “This investigation showed that no contractor is above the law and that all who do business with the DoD will be held accountable. With this agreement, Blackwater acknowledged their wrongdoing and took steps to remedy and mitigate the damage they caused to the United States and the public trust.”

“For an extended period of time, Academi/Blackwater operated in a manner which demonstrated systemic disregard for U.S. government laws and regulations. Today’s announcement should serve as a warning to others that allegations of wrongdoing will be aggressively investigated,” said Chris Briese, Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI.

The agreement also acknowledges and references a $42 million settlement between the company and the Department of State as part of a civil administrative settlement of violations of the Arms Export Control Act and the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations, according to the Justice Department.

“The left-wing media and political activists hate the military and police but fear being fingered as anti-Americans, so all their hatred for soldiers and cops is transferred to private firms that offer military and law enforcement services,” said Sid Franes, a former Marine, police detective and security firm owner.

“Now that we have an administration that shares the views of the radical left, you will see more and more cases against private security, military and intelligence firms,” Franes predicted.”

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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.


Twenty-Three Arrested by the FBI on Federal Charges as a Result of San Antonio Eastside Gang Violence Initiative

May 14, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 11, 2012 released the following:

Six-Month-Long Operation Triple Beam Results in Approximately 700 Additional Arrests Based on State Charges

Twenty-three San Antonio gang members face federal charges in connection with a federal, state, and local law enforcement operation targeting Eastside gang violence.

That announcement was made jointly today by United States Attorney Robert Pitman, Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus, Bexar County Sheriff Amadeo Ortiz, United States Marshal Robert Almonte, ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Crisanto Perez, DEA Assistant Special Agent in Charge Manuel Fernandez, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Armando Fernandez.

The operation, initiated in response to community outcry, focused on narcotics trafficking and violent acts committed by members of rival gangs including the East Terrace Gangster Crips, Crockett Blocc Crips, Wheatly Courts Bloods, Blood Stixx, Denver Heights Bloods, as well as other San Antonio area gangs operating on the city’s Eastside. During this operation, authorities have seized more than 70 firearms, approximately 38 kilograms of narcotics, and an estimated $85,500 in U.S. currency.

The 23 defendants, all listed below, are charged by either a federal grand jury indictment or criminal complaint filed since March 7, 2012. Federal charges include felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime, possession with intent to distribute “crack” cocaine, and maintaining a residence for the distribution of a controlled substance. State charges filed in connection with this investigation include: narcotics-related offenses, unlawful carrying of a firearm, and gang injunction violations.

This investigation was conducted by the San Antonio Police Department Gang Unit; Bexar County District Attorney’s Office; Bexar County Sheriff’s Office; Bexar County Adult Probation Office; United States Marshals Service; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; together with the Drug Enforcement Administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Texas Department of Public Safety-Narcotics Division; and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Operation Triple Beam arrests release:

Defendant—Age

Bal, Raja—27
Brock, Demetrius—35
Butler, Alvin—33
Farris, Robert—25
Fields, Tyronn—30
Fisher, Devonshae—18
Foster, Brian—27
Girela, Joshua—24
Hemphill, Emmanuel—26
Hemphill, Katherine—58
Johnson, Rodney—23
Johnson, Samuel—27
Losoya, Juan—28
Mackey, Antoine—29
Martinez, Michael—19
McHenry, Dominick—21
Miller, Glen—32
Minor, Milton—34
Molden, Travis—22
Phillips, Marcus—24
Robinson, Chris—34
Robinson-McClellan, Devon—22
Robinson-Tynes, Marcus—24″

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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 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.


Thirty-Two Individuals Indicted in Puerto Rico for Allegedly Violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act

March 28, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on March 28, 2012 released the following:

“SAN JUAN—A federal grand jury has indicted 32 individuals as a result of an investigation by the FBI and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD), with the collaboration of the San Juan Puerto Rico, Municipal Police; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); and the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez announced today. The 36-count indictment, unsealed today, was brought on March 20, 2012. The defendants are charged with, among other things, violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering Activity (VICAR), use of firearms in furtherance of crimes of violence, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and possession of firearms by prohibited persons.

The defendants were members and associates of a criminal organization that engaged in narcotics distribution and committed acts of violence, including murder, in San Juan. Since 2004, the defendants conducted the affairs of the enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity involving narcotics trafficking, murder, and attempted murder.

The indictment alleges that in or around 2004, the leaders of nearly all the drug gangs operating in the San Juan area formed an alliance. This alliance would help them resolve conflicts between the previously rival drug gangs in a way that would not bring about the attention of local and federal authorities, thus ensuring increased profits from drug sales for all and reducing the risk of federal charges. The leaders agreed that if conflicts arose between members of the alliance, the leaders from the different housing projects would discuss the issues with each other in order to resolve the same without violence. The leaders named the alliance “La ONU,” which stands for La Organización de Narcotraficantes Unidos (United Drug Traffickers Organization).

It is further alleged that the alliance initially worked but weakened over time. Several housing project gangs became disgruntled with La ONU and sought to break away from the organization. After several conflicts, La ONU broke into two separate rival factions, La ONU and La Rompe ONU. The housing project gangs were essentially split evenly between those belonging to La ONU and La Rompe.

From the time of the split, the goal of La ONU was to maintain control through the use of force over the drug points in their members’ housing projects and to kill La Rompe members and leaders in order to expand. Members of La ONU who committed murders and other violent acts were given benefits, including weapons, money, and the ability to advance within the criminal enterprise. Though unwritten, the general rules followed by members of La ONU included, but were not limited to: no associating with La Rompe members; kill La Rompe members on sight; no killing of other members of La ONU without leadership authorization; no overtaking housing projects/drug points owned by other members of La ONU; and no cooperating with law enforcement. Any violation of these rules was punishable by death of the violator and/or his/her family members.

The indictment details eight murders, three attempted murders, and one shooting directed toward Puerto Rico police officers, all committed by members of La ONU. These acts are as follows:

  • On or about November 12, 2007, in Puerto Rico, defendants Jean Carlos Ramos-Piñeiro, aka “Jincho,” “Jeanji,” “Jan,” or “Casper”; Ramón Lanza-Vázquez, aka “Ramoncito”; and Antonio Pérez-Medina, aka “Choco,” shot and killed Orlando Medina-Serrano.
  • On or about February 19, 2009, in Puerto Rico, defendants Jean Carlos Ramos-Piñeiro; Luis D. Rivera-Carrasquillo, aka “Danny KX” or “Danny Vorki”; and José Abel Ramos-Cruz, aka “Paleta” or “Tito Paleta,” killed Ángel González-Villanueva, aka “Chaple.”
  • On or about January 5, 2010, in Puerto Rico, defendants Jean Carlos Ramos-Piñeiro; Luis D. Rivera-Carrasquillo; Wesley Figueroa-Cancel, aka “Hueso”; José Abel Ramos-Cruz; Luis Joel Rosario-Santiago, aka “Triple-H” or “Luis Jo”; Carlos H. O’neill-Santiago, aka “Ken-Y”; Christian Figueroa-Viera, aka “Coqueto”; and others killed Luis Antonio De-Jesús-Pérez.
  • On or about April 2, 2010, in Puerto Rico, defendants Jean Carlos Ramos-Piñeiro, Wesley Figueroa-Cancel, and others shot at and fled from Puerto Rico police officers.
  • On or about April 8, 2010, in Puerto Rico, defendants Jean Carlos Ramos-Piñeiro; Jorge E. Asencio-Viera, aka “Macar”; Victor Santana-González, aka “Run Run” or “Pequeño”; Pedro Juan Ramírez-Medina, aka “Peter John” or “Johnson”; Carlos Meléndez-Serrano; and others shot and killed Victor Vega-Ortega, aka “Victor El Nazi.”
  • On or about May 4, 2010, in Puerto Rico, defendant Edwin Bernard Astacio-Espino, aka “Bernard,” shot into a patrolling police helicopter and killed Jesús Quiñones-Santiago and attempted to kill José Rivera-Quinoñes, Eduardo Alvelo-Meléndez and Shakira Vázquez-Nieves.
  • On or about July 7, 2010, in Puerto Rico, defendants Jean Carlos Ramos-Piñeiro; Edwin Bernard Astacio-Espino; Wesley Figueroa-Cancel; Pedro Juan Ramírez-Medina, aka “Peter John” or “Johnson”; Luis Joel Rosario-Santiago; Carlos H. O’Neill-Santiago; Ángel L. García-Velásquez, aka “Wiwo”; and Mike Graciany-Febu, aka “Mikey”; and others shot and killed Puerto Rico Police Officer Blanca De Los Santos-Barbosa and Manuel Medina-Rivera.
  • On or about August 8, 2010, in Puerto Rico, defendants Jean Carlos Ramos-Piñeiro; Edwin Bernard Astacio-Espino; Luis D. Rivera-Carrasquillo; Victor Santana-González; Ismael E. Cruz-Ramos, aka “Chapu”; Pedro L. Ramirez-Rivera, aka “Peter Pai”; José Laureano-Salgado, aka “Geo”; Emanuel Rodríguez Isaac, aka “Manuelito”; and others killed Christian Toledo-Sánchez, aka “Pekeke.” During the course of the murder, Luis Gallardo-Rivera, aka “El Tuerto,” was shot and killed by the rival drug gang.

The remainder of the defendants who are part of the organization and participated in its criminal acts include: FNU LNU, aka “Rosco” or “Diablo”; Luis Cordero-Cruz, aka “Chapi”; Roberto L. Aponte-Cordero, aka “Pichu”; Andrés Guerra-Santana, aka “El Negro” or “Pingy”; Teddy León-Ayala; Ángel D. Ramos-Cruz, aka “Api”; Luis Llanos-Skerett, aka “Jomo”; Miguel Feliciano-Boria, aka “Chupito”; Carlos Andino Matienzo, aka “Hoffman”; José Ismael Costoso-Ramos, aka “Magnolia”; FNU LNU, aka “Luigi”; and FNU LNU, aka “José Armero,” “José Niple,” or “El Mecánico.”

“Violent drug organizations whose members hold our community hostage through violence, intimidation, and fear should think twice about the consequences of their criminal activities,” said U.S. Attorney Rodríguez-Vélez. “The investigation which led to today’s arrests is the first ever RICO Act prosecution of its nature in the District of Puerto Rico. We will use all the tools at our disposal to take dangerous criminals off the streets of Puerto Rico until we break their grip on our communities and bring them to justice.”

“The FBI is committed to dismantling street gangs and criminal organizations, such as La ONU, who terrorize and put at risk the good people of our community with indiscriminate acts of violence. These combined and proactive law enforcement efforts are intended to aggressively target these threats and take back our streets,” said Joseph Campbell, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI San Juan Field Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian Kidd and Sean Torriente from the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. This unit operates under the Narcotics Unit and will exclusively handle drive-by shootings and other significant RICO and organized crime prosecutions. This unit will be initially staffed with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sean Torriente, Brian Kidd, and Justin Martin and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Alberto López Rocafort, from the Puerto Rico Department of Justice, and will be supervised by the Chief of the Narcotics Unit, Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Henwood. This unit is yet another component of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico’s initiative against violent crime and illegal firearms.

Twenty of the defendants are charged with capital eligible offenses. The other 12 defendants face up to life in prison. The defendants are facing a forfeiture allegation of $10,000,000. Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless 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 C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Alleged Drug lords targeted by Fast and Furious were FBI informants

March 23, 2012

Los Angeles Times on March 21, 2012 released the following:

“Federal agents released alleged gun trafficker Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta to help them find two Mexican drug lords. But the two were secret FBI informants, emails show.

By Richard A. Serrano, Washington Bureau

Reporting from Washington— When the ATF made alleged gun trafficker Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta its primary target in the ill-fated Fast and Furious investigation, it hoped he would lead the agency to two associates who were Mexican drug cartel members. The ATF even questioned and released him knowing that he was wanted by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

But those two drug lords were secretly serving as informants for the FBI along the Southwest border, newly obtained internal emails show. Had Celis-Acosta simply been held when he was arrested by theBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in May 2010, the investigation that led to the loss of hundreds of illegal guns and may have contributed to the death of a Border Patrol agent could have been closed early.

Documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington Bureau show that as far back as December 2009 — five months before Celis-Acosta was detained and released at the border in a car carrying 74 live rounds of ammunition — ATF and DEA agents learned by chance that they were separately investigating the same man in the Arizona and Mexico border region.

ATF agents had placed a secret pole camera outside his Phoenix home to track his movements, and separately the DEA was operating a “wire room” to monitor live wiretap intercepts to follow him.

In May 2010, Celis-Acosta was briefly detained at the border in Lukeville, Ariz., and then released by Hope MacAllister, the chief ATF investigator on Fast and Furious, after he promised to cooperate with her.

The ATF had hoped he would lead them to two Mexican cartel members. But records show that after Celis-Acosta finally was arrested in February 2011, the ATF learned to its surprise that the two cartel members were secret FBI informants.

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) are investigating Fast and Furious, which allowed illegal gun purchases in Arizona in hopes of tracking the weapons to Mexican drug cartel leaders. In a confidential memo to Republican committee members, Issa and Grassley said the ATF should have known the cartel members were informants and immediately shut down Fast and Furious.

“This means the entire goal of Fast and Furious — to target these two individuals and bring them to justice — was a failure,” they wrote. The “lack of follow-through” by the various agencies, they said, typified “the serious management failures that occurred throughout all levels during Fast and Furious.”

James Needles, a top ATF official in Arizona, told congressional investigators last year that it was very frustrating and a “major disappointment” to learn too late about the informants.

ATF officials declined to comment about the investigations because they are continuing.

But Adrian P. Fontes, a Phoenix attorney representing Celis-Acosta, who has pleaded not guilty, said he was concerned the federal agencies purposely did not share information.

“When one hand is not talking to the other, perhaps somebody is hiding something,” he said. “Was this intentional?”

Emails and other records show that once the ATF and DEA realized they were both investigating Celis-Acosta, officials from both agencies met in December 2009 at the DEA field office in Phoenix.

It is unclear, however, whether MacAllister later told the DEA that she released Celis-Acosta in May 2010 and that he was headed into Mexico.

Her boss, David J. Voth, the ATF’s group supervisor for Fast and Furious, told committee investigators that the ATF realized the Sinaloa cartel members were “national security assets,” or FBI informants, only after Celis-Acosta was rearrested. He identified the informants as two brothers, and said, “We first learned when we went back and sorted out the facts.””

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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 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 C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


22-Count Indictment Returned for Alleged RICO Violations, the Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering Act, the Federal Gun Control Act, Controlled Substances Act, and Obstruction of Justice

January 30, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 27, 2012 released the following:

“NEW ORLEANS— MELVIN HUDSON, age 26; JERMAINE HUDSON, age 25; TRAVIS HUDSON age 29; MOSES LAWSON, age 27; MONTERIO WIGGINS, age 27; RODERICK WIGGINS, age 22; DANTE CARSON, age 21; DWIGHT CARSON, age 22; TOREY RICHARDSON, age 21; TEDRICK REYNARD, age 24; SHAYNE LEBLANC, age 40; and AKAI SULLIVAN, age 27, were charged today in a 22-count superseding indictment for violations of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, the Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering Act, the Federal Gun Control Act, Controlled Substances Act, and obstruction of justice, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten. MELVIN HUDSON was already under indictment but the other 11 defendants are newly charged.

This case arises out of a joint investigation by ATF, FBI, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. This investigation targeted an area which exhibited a disproportionate amount of violent crimes and narcotics trafficking. During the course of the investigation, specific individuals were identified as the main perpetrators of many of the violent acts and much of the narcotics distribution. Based on this initial information, federal and local law enforcement officers interviewed witnesses, confidential informants, as well as state defendants, relative to the targeted individuals. It was revealed that a group of individuals operated in areas of Harvey Louisiana, specifically the neighborhoods known as Scottsdale and Haydel. This group controlled these areas for their narcotics distribution activities through violence and through threats of violence, to include murder, attempted murder, and assaults. They were referred to as the Harvey Hustlers and/or Murder Squad.

The third superseding indictment charges MELVIN HUDSON, in count one with RICO conspiracy; counts two, three, and four with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base, cocaine hydrochloride, and marijuana; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; count six with obstruction of justice; count 15 with distribution of heroin; count 16 with prohibited person in possession of a firearm; Count 17 with possession with intent to distribute cocaine; and Count 18 with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

JERMAINE HUDSON, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; counts two and three with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base and cocaine hydrochloride; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses.

TRAVIS HUDSON, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; counts two and three with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base and cocaine hydrochloride; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; and count 21 with distribution of cocaine base.

MOSES LAWSON, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; count seven with prohibited person in possession of a firearm; count eight with possession of a stolen firearm; count 12 with murder in aid of racketeering; count 13 with causing death through use of a firearm; and count 14 with use and carrying of a firearm and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking offense.

MONTERIO WIGGINS, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; count 12 with murder in aid of racketeering; count 13 with causing death through use of a firearm; count 14 with use and carrying of a firearm and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking offense; and count 19 with person under indictment in possession of a firearm.

RODERICK WIGGINS, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses.

DANTE CARSON, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; counts nine, 10, and 11 with aiding and abetting in the unlawful acquisition of a firearm; count 12 with murder in aid of racketeering; count 13 with causing death through use of a firearm; count 14 with use and carrying of a firearm and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking offense.

DWIGHT CARSON, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; counts nine, 10, and 11 with aiding and abetting in the unlawful acquisition of a firearm; count 12 with murder in aid of racketeering; count 13 with causing death through use of a firearm; count 14 with use and carrying of a firearm and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking offense.

TOREY RICHARDSON, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses.

TEDRICK REYNARD, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; and counts 20 and 22 with distribution of cocaine base.

SHAYNE LEBLANC, is charged in count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base.

AKAI SULLIVAN, is charged in count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; and count six with obstruction of justice.

MONTERIO WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, DWIGHT CARSON, and MOSES LAWSON are charged with murdering Reginald Francois on April 1, 2010. The third superseding indictment also alleges special findings against the defendants MONTERIO WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, DWIGHT CARSON, and MOSES LAWSON. As a result, the death penalty could be imposed if convicted of either counts 12 or 13.

Count One
MELVIN HUDSON, JERMAINE HUDSON, TRAVIS HUDSON, MOSES LAWSON, MONTERIO WIGGINS, RODERICK WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, DWIGHT CARSON, TOREY RICHARDSON, and TEDRICK REYNARD face up to a maximum term of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000.00 and up to five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count Two
MELVIN HUDSON, JERMAINE HUDSON, TRAVIS HUDSON, MOSES LAWSON, MONTERIO WIGGINS, RODERICK WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, DWIGHT CARSON, TOREY RICHARDSON, TEDRICK REYNARD, SHAYNE LEBLANC, and AKAI SULLIVAN face a minimum of 20 years’ imprisonment up to a maximum term of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000,000.00, and at least five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count Three
MELVIN HUDSON, JERMAINE HUDSON, and TRAVIS HUDSON face a minimum of 20 years’ imprisonment up to a maximum term of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000,000.00, and at least five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count Four
MELVIN HUDSON faces up to five years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000.00, and at least two years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

County Five
MELVIN HUDSON, JERMAINE HUDSON, TRAVIS HUDSON, MOSES LAWSON, MONTERIO WIGGINS, RODERICK WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, DWIGHT CARSON, TOREY RICHARDSON, TEDRICK REYNARD, and AKAI SULLIVAN face up to 20 years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count Six
MELVIN HUDSON and AKAI SULLIVAN face up to 20 years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count Seven
MOSES LAWSON faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count Eight
MOSES LAWSON faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Counts Nine-11
DANTE CARSON and DWIGHT CARSON face up to 10 years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 12
MOSES LAWSON, MONTERIO WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, and DWIGHT CARSON face a maximum term of imprisonment of life or the death penalty.

Count 13
MOSES LAWSON, MONTERIO WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, and DWIGHT CARSON face imprisonment for any term of years, life imprisonment or the death penalty, a fine of $250,000.00, and five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 14
MOSES LAWSON, MONTERIO WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, and DWIGHT CARSON face a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years’ imprisonment up to a maximum term of life imprisonment, up to $250,000.00, and up to five years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment. Any term of imprisonment shall be serve consecutive to any other term of imprisonment.

Count 15
MELVIN HUDSON faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,00,00.00, and at least three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 16
MELVIN HUDSON faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 17
MELVIN HUDSON faces up to a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000,000.00, and at least three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 18
MELVIN HUDSON faces a minimum term of imprisonment of five years’ imprisonment up to a maximum term of life imprisonment, up to $250,000.00, and up to five years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment. Any term of imprisonment shall be serve consecutive to any other term of imprisonment.

Count 19
MONTERIO WIGGINS faces up to five years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 20
TEDRICK REYNARD faces up to a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000,000.00, and at least three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 21
TRAVIS HUDSON faces up to a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000,000.00, and at least three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 22
TEDRICK REYNARD faces up to a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000,000.00, and at least three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

U.S. Attorney Letten reiterated that the indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Duane A. Evans.”

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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.


Eleven People Indicted for Alleged Drug Trafficking

January 26, 2012

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

“POCATELLO— A federal grand jury in Pocatello on Tuesday returned an indictment charging 11 people with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, announced U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson. Four defendants were arrested earlier today; six others currently in state custody will be transferred into federal custody tomorrow.

The defendants named in the indictment are Samuel Nevarez-Ayon, 25, and Fabiola Esmerelda Marin-Castro, 24, of Rexburg, Idaho; Guadalupe Meraz, 40, of Medara, California; Ana Rosa Valdez-Ceja, 25, Juan Ortiz, Jr., 27, and Antonio Javier Mendoza, 27, of Shelly, Idaho; Isidoro David Herrera, 30, Daniel Quiroz, 24, Everado Tapia Torres, Jr., 29, Ricardo Garcia Lopez, 34, and Nicolas Levi Olsen, 28, of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Nevarez-Ayon, Torres, Olsen, Valdez-Ceja, Mendoza, Quiroz, Herrera, Ortiz, Marin-Castro, and Meraz are scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald E. Bush. An arrest warrant has been issued for Lopez, who is considered a fugitive.

Federal drug trafficking charges are punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a fine up to $8 million, and a minimum term of five years of supervised release.

The charges are the result of a nine-month investigation by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), including the Idaho State Police, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Falls Police Department, Madison County Sheriff’s Office, Rexburg Police Department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations.

An indictment is a means of charging a person with criminal activity. It is not evidence. The person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”

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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.


119 Individuals Charged in Three Countywide Law Enforcement Operations

January 26, 2012

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

“Two Mexican Mafia Members and 117 San Diego County, California Street Gang Members and Associates with Ties to the Mexican Mafia Charged with Racketeering Conspiracy, Drug Trafficking Violations, and Firearms Offenses

119 Individuals Charged in Three Countywide Law Enforcement Operations

SAN DIEGO—A federal grand jury in San Diego has handed up 17 indictments and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California has filed eight criminal complaints charging a total of 119 defendants with federal racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking violations, and federal firearm offenses, announced U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Laura E. Duffy.

U.S. Attorney Duffy said, “The cases unsealed today make communities stronger and safer. The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to an anti-gang, anti-violence strategy built on close coordination between federal, state and local officials. This coordination provides better intelligence about street gangs and violent crime within our communities. And better intelligence means better law enforcement and prosecutions.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter commented, “Today’s arrests mark one of the largest single takedowns in San Diego FBI history. The FBI and our law enforcement partners stand unified in our efforts to protect this county from the violence, drug trafficking and extortion schemes employed by the Mexican Mafia and its affiliates. San Diego is inherently safer today because of the cooperation between our agencies working together to disrupt and dismantle the criminal activities of these dangerous individuals.”

“This is a traditional case of dishonor amongst thieves,” commented San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore. “Gangs were made to pay ‘taxes’ in order to facilitate their trafficking and violent behavior. We answered with a one-two punch: a strong and experienced multi-agency investigation, armed with the RICO statute. The results speak for themselves.”

The charges stem from three investigations entitled, “Operation Notorious County,” “Operation Carnalismo,” and “Operation 12-Step.”

“Operation Notorious County”

The indictments are the result of an 18-month-long investigation entitled, “Operation Notorious County,” led by the North County Regional Gang Task force. Eight indictments charging 51 individuals, including one charging 40 defendants with participating in a federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) conspiracy were unsealed today. All five indictments were handed up by a federal grand jury sitting in San Diego on Jan. 19, 2012. The RICO conspiracy alleged in the indictment involves the commission of both state and federal crimes, including attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion, money laundering, and drug trafficking violations. As set forth in the indictment, the defendants are members, associates and facilitators of violent street gangs operating primarily in north San Diego County under the auspices of the Mexican Mafia or “La Eme.” The gangs named in the indictment include the Diablos and West Side gangs, based in Escondido, Calif., as well as the Varrio San Marcos and the Varrio Fallbrook Locos. The individuals named in the indictment were involved in a long-standing criminal enterprise used to extort money by threat or violence. The money was then sent on to high-ranking members of the Mexican Mafia, including defendant Rudy Espudo. The indictment alleges that Espudo is a validated member of the Mexican Mafia who oversees their activities throughout much of northern San Diego County.

“Operation Carnalismo”

In “Operation Carnalismo,” led by the Violent Crime Task Force-Gang Group, a group of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents led by the FBI, five indictments charging 36 individuals were unsealed today. Eight defendants are charged in one indictment with a conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity (RICO), violent crime in aid of racketeering (VCAR), distribution and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin and criminal forfeiture. Four additional indictments, charging 28 defendants were also unsealed. These related indictments charge distribution and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and criminal forfeiture. All five indictments were handed up by a federal grand jury sitting in San Diego on Jan. 24, 2012, and unsealed today. The RICO indictment charges the criminal enterprise was run by Mexican Mafia member Salvador Colabella. Colabella and his associates conspired to distribute methamphetamine and heroin, extorted and robbed others, and laundered drug-trafficking proceeds. Colabella and his associates collected the extortion payments through the threat of violence and the commission of violence. According to the indictment, the Mexican Mafia has about 200 members, but its reach extends to thousands of Hispanic street-gang members in Southern California. A Mexican Mafia member is the highest level one can attain in the Mexican Mafia. A member, also called “Brother” or “Carnal” or “Tio,” controls, exploits and profits from the criminal activity conducted by street-gang members and others. This control over the criminal activity is enforced through acts of violence or the threat of violence.

“Operation 12-Step”

This year-long investigation, known as “Operation 12-Step,” was led by the East County Regional Gang Task Force, a group of federal and state law enforcement led by the FBI and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Operation 12-Step focused on gang-related methamphetamine distribution activities in San Diego County. Today four indictments and eight complaints were unsealed charging 32 individuals with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. According to court records, individuals charged in this investigation belong to nine different criminal street gangs including Varrio Chula Vista, East Side Piru, Old Town National City, Shelltown, National City Locos, Imperial Beach Imperials, Paradise Hills, Varrio Encanto Locos and National City Block Boys. Between Feb. 22, 2011, and Dec. 13, 2011, law enforcement made more than 20 methamphetamine and heroin seizures in connection with this investigation. In addition, search warrants were executed at eight residences in San Diego; Spring Valley, Calif.; National City, Calif.; Imperial Beach, Calif.; and Chula Vista, Calif..

U.S. Attorney Duffy praised the coordinated effort of the law enforcement agencies of the Violent Crimes Task Force-Gang Group, the East County and North County Regional Gang Task Forces under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) for the coordinated team effort culminating in the charges filed in these cases. The OCDETF program was created to consolidate and utilize all law enforcement resources in this country’s battle against major drug trafficking.

The cases are being investigated by the FBI, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the National City, Calif., Police Department; the San Diego Police Department; the Escondido, Calif., Police Department; the Carlsbad, Calif., Police Department; the U.S. Marshals Service; the La Mesa, Calif., Police Department; the El Cajon, Calif., Police Department; the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office; the U.S. Bureau of Prisons; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; the San Diego County Probation Department; Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations; and Customs and Border Protection-United States Border Patrol.

The cases are being prosecuted in San Diego federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter Mazza, Jaime Parks, Fred Sheppard and Tara McGrath.

An indictment or a complaint are not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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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

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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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.


Michael Fijal Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for Alleged Arson

January 17, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 17, 2012 released the following:

“BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Michael Fijal, 58, of Buffalo, N.Y., with arson. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael L. McCabe, who is handling the case, in May 2011, Fijal, a local bank employee, conspired with others to burn down a duplex at 179 Mackinaw Street, which is located in Buffalo’s Old First Ward neighborhood. The defendant is specifically accused of withdrawing money from a local bank for the purpose of paying an accomplice to burn the building and paying the accomplice both before and after the fire on May 22, 2011.

The indictment is the result of investigation on the part of special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the driection of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota: the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, under the direction of Resident Agent in Charge Frank Christiano; and investigators from the Buffalo Fire Department, under the direction of Commissioner Garnell Whitfield.

Fijal was arraigned on this charge today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah McCarthy and released. The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless 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.


Fifteen Individuals Indicted in an Alleged Large-Scale Federal Drug Conspiracy Case

January 11, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 10, 2012 released the following:

“Fifteen individuals have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Detroit on federal charges, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced. Ms. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Special Agent in Charge Robert L. Corso, Drug Enforcement Administration; Special Agent in Charge David McCain, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena, Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.

Indicted were Orlando Ricardo Gordon, 32, of Franklin; Vince Jerome Shivers, 42, of Southfield; Derrick Arnold Terry, 51, of Detroit; Danta Shamu-Parker Johnson, 34, of Detroit; Darren Davon Terry, 35, of Detroit; Trenton Jordan Obamwonyi, 27, of Detroit; Tamiko Mel-Lang Hodo, 36, of Detroit; Anthony Wayne Hall, 46, of Detroit; Anton Jamaill Harris, 32, of Detroit; Ervin Kenneth Vincent, 24, of Inkster; Darnell Darryl Easterling, 48, of Detroit; Courtney Deon Shafi Strickland, 36, of Detroit; Benjamin Isaac Carter, 39, of Detroit; Erik Lee Ross, 34, of Sterling Heights; and Allen Corey Terry, 47, of Farmington Hills.

As alleged in the indictment, the conspiracy lasted for years, dating back to 2008, and involved in excess of 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, five kilograms of cocaine, and 280 grams of crack cocaine. Some of the defendants are also charged with being felons illegally possessing firearms. The narcotics trafficking conspiracy carries possible sentences of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine, and the felon in possession charges carry possible sentences of up to 10 years of prison.

The investigation involved multiple federal agencies, including DEA, ATF, FBI, and IRS. The investigation included seizures of large sums of U.S. currency, including a seizure of more than $500,000 from a residence in Franklin, Michigan, large quantities of drugs, including a seizure of over 1,000 kilograms/2,200 pounds of marijuana, and multiple firearms.

United States Attorney McQuade stated that, “Large-scale drug trafficking and accompanying gun crimes create danger and fear in our neighborhoods. The coordinated efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies helped to dismantle this conspiracy.”

ATF Special Agent in Charge David McCain said, “Narcotics trafficking along with violent firearm activity destroys the families and neighborhoods in our communities. ATF along with its state, local, and federal partners will continue to aggressively pursue those violent individuals and organizations that cripple our communities with crime.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge Robert L. Corso said, “Today’s arrests are significant. These individuals directed a major marijuana and cocaine trafficking ring that operated throughout southeast Michigan. The dismantling of this organization has halted the flow of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of illegal drugs into metropolitan Detroit. This investigation exemplifies the strong collaborative effort that exists between DEA and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, and is a positive step towards making our community safer for everyone.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew G. Arena said, “Narcotics trafficking continues to plague this region and directly contributes to violence on our streets. The FBI will continue to partner with federal, state, and local law enforcement to address these issues.”

IRS Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez said, “This indictment illustrates the seriousness behind prosecuting drug trafficking crimes. The role of IRS-CI is to take the profit out of these illegal organizations. Drug dealers pollute our neighborhoods with no regret as their actions are only fueled by greed. The seizure of their illegal proceeds, drugs, and weapons brings us one step closer to justice.”

The Detroit Police Department, the Franklin Police Department, the Troy Police Department, the Novi Police Department, the Warren Police Department, the Michigan State Police, and the U.S. Marshals Service also assisted in the investigation of the case.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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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.