Feds charge Cherryville cops with allegedly aiding ‘crooks’

October 19, 2012
FBI
“Ray Gora / Lincoln Times-News
FBI agents seize computers and other materials from the Cherryville Police Department on Wednesday.”

Lincoln Times-News on October 19, 2012 released the following:

“JENNA-LEY HARRISON

Staff Writer

An undercover federal investigation is shaking up the Cherryville Police Department this week, amid claims that some police officers were operating on the wrong side of the law.

Four law enforcement officers and two other men who are accused of conspiring earlier this year to safeguard stolen property and proceeds from their sale, are set to make their second appearance in a Charlotte courtroom today, following an FBI raid on Wednesday.

The officers have also been accused of securing monetary bribes for their legal authority in the operation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the state’s Western District said.

According to federal authorities, the men made a serious blunder – their partners in the conspiracy, whom they believed to be criminals, were actually undercover FBI agents.

As a result of the arrests, the city of Cherryville has also suspended its police chief and captain.

Federal officials are not saying who else might be a target of the ongoing investigation.

Two federal indictments were unsealed earlier Wednesday in the case.

One indictment from Tuesday charged Cherryville Police officer Frankie Dellinger, 40, Gaston County Sheriff’s reserve officer Wesley Clayton Golden, 39, and Cherryville resident Mark Ray Hoyle, 39.

Each man faces one count each of conspiracy to extort under color of official right, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to transport and/or receive stolen property, four counts each of transportation of stolen property, money laundering and aiding and abetting and three counts of possession of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, according to a press release.

Federal authorities also charged Dellinger with with an extra count of extortion.

The three men are accused of protecting the men they believed were co-conspirators by allowing them to safely transport tractor trailers filled with stolen property through the area, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Hoyle, Dellinger and Golden also protected the transportation of more than $400,000, proceeds from the merchandises’ sale, the release said.

Goods included televisions and generators worth nearly $160,000.

A second indictment from Aug. 21 charged Cherryville patrol officers Casey Justin Crawford, 32, and David Paul Mauney III, 23, along with Cherryville resident John Ashley Hendricks, 47, with one count each of conspiracy to transport and/or receive stolen property and conspiracy to extort under color of official right.

Crawford additionally faces one count of program fraud bribery.

Since May, Crawford, Mauney and Hendricks similarly worked with undercover agents they thought were criminals in protecting the transport of more than $300,000 in stolen merchandise along with more than $300,000 in proceeds from the items’ sale, the release said.

Hoyle’s role in the conspiracy included “representing himself as a law enforcement officer,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. On the other hand, Hendricks, Crawford and Mauney used counter-surveillance to ensure other officers wouldn’t discover the illegal operation, the release said.

FBI officials launched the investigation following allegations last year that Dellinger had been involved in illegal activity, an indictment said.

The phony criminals requested assistance from law enforcement officers who would be willing to provide protection for stolen items in exchange for cash bribes.

Dellinger accepted the offer and soon “recruited” Hoyle and Golden, according to the indictment.

The three men received $17,000 in the scheme in exchange for keeping the stolen goods away from thieves and the detection of other law enforcement agencies and even agreed to use violence, if necessary, to carry out such duties, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

All six men appeared in a Charlotte courtroom today on the charges.

They each face up to 20 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, if convicted, the release said.

Interim City Manager and Cherryville Fire Chief Jeff Cash released a separate statement late Wednesday announcing that Police Chief Woody Burgess and Capt. Mike Allred, a Lincoln County resident, have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation, though neither has been charged to this point.

“As interim city manager, I will be naming myself interim police chief with the day-to-day operational activities to be supervised by Sgt. Cam Jenks,” Cash wrote.

Cash said safety of the citizens would not be compromised by the investigation into the police department and other law enforcement agencies were assisting as needed.

Individuals with emergencies can call 911 or police dispatch at (704) 435-1717.

The Gaston County District Attorney’s Office was quoted by other area news media saying they may drop pending criminal cases relying on any of charged officers’ testimonies, though the Times-News was unable to independently confirm this. Just how many cases that would include is also unclear.

Five of the six suspects remain without bond behind Mecklenburg County bars. The location of John Hendricks is currently unknown. He was not listed as a current Mecklenburg County inmate and does not even have a record in the county, an employee with CharMeck Citizen Services told the Times-News Thursday afternoon.

The State Bureau of Investigation has also been looking into the city of Cherryville since last year for misuse of town funds.”

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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.


Seven People Indicted for Alleged Possession of Cocaine with Intent to Distribute

August 9, 2012

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

“MINNEAPOLIS—A federal indictment unsealed yesterday charged seven individuals with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine. Heriberto Sanchez, age 24; Musaaleh Waheed Muhammad, age 35; William Elijah Carter, age 27; Rossco Antonio Ross, age 34; Charles Eric Jackson, Jr., age 44; Gregory Leroy Carter, age 25; and Travis Sentell Peeler, age 32, were charged with possessing five kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute them. Carter was also charged with one count of carrying a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. The indictment, which was filed on July 23, 2012, was unsealed following the defendants’ initial appearance in federal court.

According to the indictment, the defendants conspired to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine between March 2009 and March 2012. On February 5, 2012, Carter allegedly possessed a Taurus 9mm pistol in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

If convicted, each defendant faces a potential penalty of life in prison. Carter also faces a potential penalty of five years in prison if convicted for carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the Safe Streets Task Force, with assistance from the Wisconsin State Patrol and the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Safe Streets is a FBI-sponsored task force that focuses on combating violent street crime as well as gang and drug trafficking offenses. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney LeeAnn K. Bell.

An indictment is a determination by a grand jury that there is probable cause to believe that offenses have been committed by a defendant. A defendant, of course, is presumed innocent until he or she pleads guilty or is proven guilty at trial.”

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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.


Federal Prosecutors, Defense Attorney Agree to Extend Deadline for Federal Indictment of Arlington Strip Club Owner

May 10, 2012

Star-Telgram on May 9, 2012 released the following:

“Prosecutors, defense attorney agree to extend deadline for indictment of Arlington strip club owner

BY PATRICK M. WALKER

FORT WORTH — Federal prosecutors and the attorney for the owner of an Arlington strip club who is accused of targeting Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck in a murder-for-hire plot have agreed to push back the deadline for an indictment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Wolfe and J. Warren St. John, who represents Flashdancer Cabaret owner Ryan Walker Grant, agreed to extend the deadline by 71 days to July 19, according to court filings. The filings say the two sides are conducting discovery as well as negotiations that could lead to a plea bargain.

Under the Speedy Trial Act, federal indictments must be filed within 30 days of the arrest. Federal agents detained Grant on April 9, meaning Wednesday would have been the deadline.

St. John declined to comment through his office. Wolfe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mark Daniel, a Fort Worth attorney not related to the case, said the deadline extension isn’t surprising, given that a public official was involved and federal agents moved quickly to make an arrest.

“Due to the complexity and the seriousness of the case, it’s not entirely unexpected,” he said, emphasizing that he doesn’t know the details behind the move.

Hit-man accusation

Grant is accused of trying to hire hit men from Mexico through an intermediary to kill Cluck and Dallas attorney Tom Brandt, who represents Arlington in cases involving sexually oriented businesses.

The intermediary was an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

FBI Special Agent Matthew Wilkins testified at a detention hearing April 20 that several days after Grant contacted the informant and expressed interest in having Cluck and Brandt killed, he gave a final green light April 9 to proceed with the slaying of Cluck.

“Let’s do the mayor. Let’s hit him tomorrow,” Wilkins testified that Grant told the informant.

After receiving Grant’s instructions, the informant left Grant’s home in Kennedale, and Grant never contacted him again, Wilkins said. FBI agents arrested Grant a few hours later.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cureton ruled that Grant poses a flight risk and a threat to the community and ordered him held without bail.

When agents arrested Grant, they seized 22 guns, two bulletproof vests and nearly $150,000 in cash, Wilkins testified.

Club closed a year

Flashdancer, at Randol Mill Road and Texas 360 in north Arlington, has closed for a year under a settlement with the Texas attorney general’s office and the city in a nuisance lawsuit. In labeling the club a nuisance, city and state authorities cited the prevalence of drugs, prostitution and assaults.

Police Chief Theron Bowman has revoked the club’s sexually oriented business license on the grounds that Flashdancer filed a misleading application with the city and allowed rampant sexual contact between employees and customers. Grant wanted Cluck and Brandt killed because he felt they stood in the way of the reopening, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.”

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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.


Two Taiwanese Nationals Charged in New Jersey with Allegedly Conspiring to Export Sensitive U.S. Military Technology to China

April 25, 2012

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

Alleged Conspiracy Uncovered Through Investigations into Large-Scale, International Schemes to Import Counterfeit Goods and Drugs Through Port Newark

NEWARK—Two Taiwanese nationals are charged for allegedly seeking to export sensitive U.S. military technology to China after federal agents investigating counterfeit goods smuggling uncovered plots to smuggle drugs into and sensitive defense articles out of the United States, Paul J. Fishman, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey; and Michael B. Ward, Special Agent in Charge for the FBI Newark Division, announced today.

Hui Sheng Shen, aka “Charlie,” 45; and Huan Ling Chang, aka “Alice,” 41, were previously charged in connection with an alleged scheme to import 50 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, or “meth,” from Taiwan into the United States. Those charges arose as a result of parallel international investigations that also disrupted conspiracies to import hundreds of millions of dollars in counterfeit goods from China.

Federal agents arrested Shen and Chang on February 25, 2012 in New York. The pair was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed March 2, 2012, with one count of conspiracy to import and one count of importation of meth. The amended complaint unsealed today also charges Shen and Chang with conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act.

According to the amended complaint, approximately one kilogram of nearly pure crystal meth was purchased from Shen and Chang as part of an undercover law enforcement operation, which stopped the importation of dozens of additional kilograms of the drug. Based on relationships undercover law enforcement agents built with Shen and Chang, the two defendants allegedly provided a list of sensitive defense articles they sought to buy and planned to return to connections in China. The articles included unmanned aerial vehicles (commonly known as drones), E-2C Hawkeye surveillance airplanes, and stealth technology relating to F-22 fighter planes.

Shen and Chang are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cathy L. Waldor this afternoon in Newark federal court.

“Initial investigations into counterfeit goods importation led federal law enforcement to a meth trafficking operation and an alleged plot to export some of America’s most sensitive weapons and related technology to China,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman. “The charges against Shen and Chang illustrate starkly why we do this work, and what is at stake when the security of our ports is breached for any reason. National security isn’t an a la carte enterprise. The same conduits that bring knockoff sneakers flood our communities with illegal drugs and establish dangerous criminal relationships.”

According to documents filed in this and related cases and the amended criminal complaint unsealed today:

Soon Ah Kow, 72, of Hong Kong, was charged by indictment with drug importation, smuggling, and counterfeit goods trafficking offenses by a Newark federal grand jury on January 6, 2012 and arrested on February 25, 2012 in Manila, the Philippines. Ah Kow was in the business of brokering international transactions of illegal goods. Operating out of Southeast Asia, he met with and introduced his co-conspirators to undercover federal agents (FBI UCs) for the purpose of importing counterfeit goods and narcotics from Asia to the United States.

In late 2010, Ah Kow began discussions with FBI UCs about narcotics importation, meeting in February 2011 with FBI UCs in Manila where he introduced them to his associates, Shen and Chang. In Manila, Ah Kow told the FBI UCs that Shen and Chang represented the interests of Ah Kow’s associates, wealthy narcotics dealers who had been trafficking drugs for more than 25 years. Ah Kow and Shen arranged for the delivery of a sample of crystal meth to the FBI UCs’ hotel lobby, which arrived within hours of a call Ah Kow placed to an associate.

Following negotiations over recorded telephone calls and intercepted e-mails, the FBI UCs arranged payment to cover the price of one kilogram of crystal meth, shipping costs, and a broker’s fee for Ah Kow. In July 2011, the FBI UCs received a bill of lading for the container that included the meth, which arrived at the port on August 9, 2011. The drugs were discovered secreted within the container in the exact location described by Shen and Chang.

During negotiations for the one kilogram meth deal, Shen and Chang made clear they usually did larger transactions, but agreed to do a smaller transaction to establish trust among the parties. They discussed shipping more than 50 kilograms of meth to the United States.

In September 2011, Shen and Chang asked whether the FBI UCs could obtain and pass along highly sensitive military technology, specifically, a Hawkeye reconnaissance aircraft, which the defendants instructed should be referred to as the “big toy.”

During other recorded conversations, the defendants indicated their clients were interested in a range of American military technology. Shen, Chang, and an FBI UC met in October 2011 in Las Vegas, where they discussed narcotics and the export of the technology. Chang provided the FBI UC with a list of specific military technology items they sought.

At a Las Vegas meeting, FBI UCs asked what purposes Shen and Chang had for any military technology they were seeking to obtain. When an FBI UC stated, “I would prefer not to make money on something that would hurt the United States,” Shen replied, “I think that all items would hurt America.”

During a series of recorded phone conversations and in-person meetings, the defendants told FBI UCs that their associates were connected to the Chinese government, worked for a Chinese intelligence company like the CIA, and would be using government money to make the purchases.

Describing their associates in one call, Chang said, “Their status is a bit special, so in order to travel to U.K. or United States, all developed countries, for them it’s hard for them to…” Shen interrupted, “They are spies. They, they, they are very hard to get a visa. They cannot go to U.S. or U.K.”

Shen and Chang returned to the United States in February 2012 to finalize negotiations for a series of larger drug transactions and to look at and photograph certain military technology that the FBI UCs said they had acquired. Shen and Chang met with FBI UCs in New York to see a small drone, used by the U.S. military, as well as manuals associated with other drones. Shen and Chang had purchased cameras for the explicit purpose of taking photographs of the defense technology. The pair planned to avoid law enforcement detection by taking photographs, deleting those photographs, and bringing the memory cards back to China, where a contact had the ability to recover deleted items. The defendants took the photos, but FBI agents were there to arrest them before the photos could be deleted.

The conspiracy to violate the Arms Export Control Act charge carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The meth importation conspiracy and meth importation charges each carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison and a $4 million fine.

U.S. Attorney Fishman praised special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ward in Newark, for the investigation leading to the export violation conspiracy charge, as well as ICE Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees, for its work in the parallel investigation. He also thanked Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Robert E. Perez, Director, New York Field Operations, for its important role. U.S. Attorney Fishman also credited the U.S. Air Force Office of Investigations; FBI special agents in Manila, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Taiwan; the Philippine authorities; and the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Gangs Section, National Security Division, Office of Enforcement Operation, and Office of International Affairs for their contributions.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Zach Intrater and Chief Erez Liebermann of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Pak of the Office’s General Crimes Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the amended complaint charging Shen and Chang and the indictment charging Ah Kow 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 – 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.