Seventeen Charged in Alleged Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy

July 2, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on July 2, 2012 released the following:

“PITTSBURGH— Thirteen residents of Pennsylvania and four residents of Ohio have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of violating federal drug laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The 18-count indictment, returned on June 12 and unsealed today, named the following individuals:

Kashma Jordan a/k/a Gold, 32, of 3349 Lodwick Drive, Warren, Ohio, 44485;
Robert Harvey a/k/a Bob, 38, of 2692 Brier Street SE, Warren, Ohio, 44484;
Juan Worthey, Jr. a/k/a Bones, 37, of 163 Church Street, Washington, Pennsylvania, 15301;
Mario Rodgers a/k/a Rio, 39, of 527 Washington Street NE, Warren, Ohio, 44483;
Brandon Wise a/k/a B-Wise, 28, of 133 Maple Avenue, Washington, Pennsylvania, 15301;
Allan Williams, 37, of 4475 Berkshire Drive SE, Warren, Ohio, 44485;
Will Levy a/k/a Q, 37, of 28 Central Avenue, Washington, Pennsylvania, 15301;
Keith Malone a/k/a K-Rizz, 36, of 940 Bruce Street, Washington, Pennsylvania, 15301;
Alex Hockett, 25, 311 W. Maiden Street, Washington, Pennsylvania, 15301;
Brent Anderson, 30, of 2920 Taft Street, Washington, Pennsylvania, 15301;
Eric Everett a/k/a Fifty, 27, of 207 S. 20th Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 17104;
Brandon Boone, 29, of 750 Cleveland Road, Washington, Pennsylvania, 15301;
Joshua Williams, 32, 305 Donnan Avenue, Apartment 2, Washington, Pennsylvania, 15301;
Christina Wright, 34, 735 Regent Drive, Washington, Pennsylvania, 15301;
Terrell Percy Williams a/k/a Rel, 33, of 1413 Soles Street, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, 15132;
Michael Porter, 30, of 501 Pirl Street, McKeesport, Pennsylvania, 15132;
and Derrick Knox, 31, of 804 Josephine Street, E. McKeesport, Pennsylvania, 15035.

According to the indictment, from in and around January 2011 and continuing thereafter to in and around June 2012, the 17 defendants and others conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine. Additionally, Knox, Levy, Terrell Percy Williams, Wise, Malone, and Wright are charged in separate instances of distributing less than 500 grams of cocaine; Worthey is charged with distributing more than 500 grams of cocaine; and Wise also is charged with distributing less than 28 grams of cocaine base in and around Washington, Pennsylvania.

The law provides for a maximum sentence of not less than 10 years and up to life in prison, a fine of $10,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Barbara K. Swartz is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is 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 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.


Cocaine Trafficking Charges Filed Against 72 People for Alleged Conspiracy Focused on East Side of Cleveland

June 12, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on June 12, 2012 released the following:

“CLEVELAND— Seventy-two people were indicted in federal court in the Northern District of Ohio for their roles in a conspiracy to bring powder and crack cocaine in from Georgia and Kentucky and sell it throughout Greater Cleveland, law enforcement officials announced today.

Four of those indicted are also accused of taking part in the shooting and robbery of a Euclid, Ohio man in January 2012. That shooting led to a manhunt throughout Euclid and Cleveland.

An additional 14 people were indicted in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Common Pleas Court on state drug charges.

The indictment is believed to be the largest ever filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, in terms of number of defendants.

“The criminal activity laid out in this indictment shows the lengths people will go to sell drugs, but it should also underscore our commitment to fighting back,” said Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

“This investigation and 97-count indictment represent a top-to-bottom dismantlement of a violent criminal organization intent on polluting our neighborhoods with drugs,” said Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Field Office. “As evidenced by the results of this investigation, the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force and its community partners will work tirelessly to target and eliminate the most significant threats to our communities.”

Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath said, “With these 86 indictments, a major blow has been dealt to drug trafficking in this area. This is another example of what can be accomplished when our law enforcement partners work together to identify and arrest those individuals responsible for selling drugs in our communities. Along with our law enforcement partners and the community, we will continue to work together to stop the sale of illegal drugs in our neighborhoods.”

The drug conspiracy took place between 2011 and May 2012, according to the 97-count federal indictment.

Walter Williams obtained kilogram amounts of cocaine in Georgia and elsewhere and transported the drugs to Cleveland, where he sold the cocaine to Edward Martin and others. Martin, in turn, sold large amounts of cocaine to Deante Rogers, Thomas McDonald, Aaron Strange, Andy Gray, Jamar Pennyman, T’Andre Buchanan, Irin Green, David Paige, Demtrius Duvall, Dennis Edwards, Shaughn Hubbard, Richard Wilson, and others in the Greater Cleveland area, according to the indictment.

Chase Downey, John Campbell, Javier Garza, and Francisco Rodriguez, all of Kentucky, traveled to the Cleveland area and sold kilograms of cocaine to Charles Smith, Randy Jackson, Deante Rogers, Thomas McDonald, and others, according to the indictment.

Deante Rogers used his Cleveland residence to sell, process, and store cocaine and crack cocaine, according to the indictment.

Charles Smith used a Euclid residence to sell, process, and store cocaine and crack cocaine, according to the indictment.

Rogers and Smith would then sell cocaine and crack cocaine to dozens of other people, according to the indictment.

On January 6, 2012, John Campbell, Chase Downey, Francisco Rodriguez, and R.D. (a person known to the grand jury but not charged herein) met Charles Smith at the residence in Euclid and offered to sell him a kilogram of cocaine for $30,000, according to the indictment.

During the meeting, Rodriguez shot Smith twice and Campbell, Downey, and Rodriguez and took nearly 900 grams of cocaine, 300 grams of crack cocaine, and $30,000, according to the indictment.

Cuyahoga County prosecutors have charged Rodriguez, Downey, Campbell, and R.D. for those acts, as well as for the shootout with police that followed.

Federal prosecutors are also seeking to forfeit assets obtained directly or indirectly as a result of the violations or used to commit or facilitate the commission of the violations, including but not limited to, more than $93,000 in cash; nine firearms; a watch; jewelry; a Ford F150; and three homes.

“By following the money trail, special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation help to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations that attempt to conceal the true source of their money from the government,” said Darryl Williams, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-Criminal Investigation.

If convicted, the defendants’ sentences will be determined by the court after review of factors unique to this case, including the defendants’ prior criminal record, if any; the defendants’ role in the offense; and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases, the sentences will not exceed the statutory maximum, and in most cases, they will be less than the minimum.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph M. Pinjuh and Adam Hollingsworth following an investigation by the Northern Ohio Law Enforcement Task Force (NOLETF).

The NOLETF is a long standing multi-agency task force comprised of investigators from the FBI; Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority; Drug Enforcement Administration; IRS; Immigration and Customs Enforcement; U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service; Cleveland Division of Police; Cleveland Heights, Ohio Police Department; Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office; Euclid Police Department; Regional Transit Authority Police Department; Strongsville, Ohio Police Department; Westlake, Ohio Police Department; and Shaker Heights, Ohio Police Department. The NOLETF is also one of the initial Ohio High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiatives. The HIDTA Program supports and helps coordinate numerous Ohio drug task forces in their efforts to eliminate or reduce drug-trafficking in Ohio.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A 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 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.


HSI, Caribbean Corridor Strike Force seize 330 kilograms of cocaine, arrest 6

June 8, 2012

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on June 8, 2012 released the following:

“SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), officers and special agents assigned to the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force arrested six Dominican Republic nationals on drug trafficking charges earlier this week. The individuals tried to introduce 330 kilograms and one kilogram of heroin with an estimated street value of $8 million into the United States.

“Through these arrests and seizures we are sending a clear message Puerto Rico will not be a safe haven for criminals looking to ship drugs into Puerto Rico and the United States,” said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “ICE and its federal and local partners are committed to working together to stop the flow of illegal narcotics into Puerto Rico.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers onboard a marine surveillance vessel detected the six men aboard a suspicious 25-foot unmarked fiberglass boat transiting illegally towards Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received notification from a CBP officer of the ongoing situation and proceeded to divert the Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus to interdict the suspect vessel.

The Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus arrived on scene, interdicted the suspect vessel and detained Jairo Torres-Balbuena, 29; José Manuel Rodríguez, 30; Anheli Regalado, 25; Berner Balbuena-Perreaux, 38; Jorge King, 52; and Juan Polanco-Rodríguez, 35; following the discovery of 15 bales of suspected contraband which later tested positive for cocaine and heroin during a field test.

Coast Guard personnel transferred custody of the six Dominicans, the suspect vessel, and the seized contraband to awaiting HSI special agents in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

Those arrested were transferred to the Guaynabo, Puerto Rico Metropolitan Detention Center awaiting the outcome of their case. They had their initial hearing before US Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin June 6 and remain detained.

The strike force is an initiative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean. It is part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force that investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics using the Caribbean as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States. The initiative is composed of HSI, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, Coast Guard, CBP and Puerto Rico Police Department’s Joint Forces for Rapid Action.”

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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.


Twenty-Eight Arrested in Alleged Honduran-Based Cocaine Trafficking Ring

May 10, 2012

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

“ALEXANDRIA, VA— Twenty-eight individuals have been arrested for their alleged roles in a cocaine trafficking ring based in Northern Virginia that uses couriers to regularly import large amounts of cocaine from Honduras hidden in shoes and decorative wooden frames. Members of the trafficking ring have allegedly wired more than $1 million from the United States back to cocaine suppliers in Honduras.

Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the charges became public.

“Through creativity and coordination, this tight network of Honduran immigrants allegedly distributed vast amounts of cocaine throughout Northern Virginia and across the mid-Atlantic,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Thanks to close partnerships among law enforcement, we were able to put together the case that led to today’s charges.”

“These individuals face charges for their alleged involvement in a drug trafficking ring that brought large amounts of cocaine into our communities,” said Assistant Director in Charge McJunkin. “Together with our law enforcement partners, the FBI will continue to target international drug conspiracies as we diligently work to keep our neighborhoods and citizens safe.”

According to a criminal complaint affidavit, since between 2006 and May 2012, a contingent of Honduran immigrants living in and around Fairfax County has coordinated with sources of supply in Honduras to pay couriers to fly cocaine from Honduras to the United States on a regular basis. Much of the couriers’ baggage would contain items that were not contraband, such as clothing, food, and Honduras-related trinkets, so the conspirators would hide cocaine in innocuous items, typically wooden frames and shoes, that would blend in with the couriers’ other cargo.

The affidavit alleges that once the couriers arrived in the United States, members of the conspiracy would pick up the items containing cocaine from the couriers and then distribute it to dealers in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and Massachusetts, who, in turn, would send sale proceeds back to Honduras through wire transfers.

Leaders of the conspiracy allegedly supply wholesale quantities of the imported cocaine to co-conspirators, who are themselves street-level dealers or who supply other street-level dealers. It is alleged that the leaders know each other, use the same network of Honduran suppliers, and often retrieve cocaine from couriers intended for another leader to pick up at a later time.

According to the affidavit, the trafficking ring was discovered in autumn 2011 by law enforcement after the investigation and arrest of Lindor Delis Martinez-Guevara, aka Lindo or Genero, 38, of Falls Church, Virginia; and Melcy Yalexsy Guevara-Barrera, aka Pedro or Primo, 35, of Vienna, Virginia, by the Fairfax County Police Department. The affidavit states that Lindor moved from Honduras to Virginia to deal cocaine and that he was the person who came up with the idea to hide cocaine in frames.

Lindor; Melcy; Samuel Benitez-Pineda, aka Wilfredo Benitez or Roque or Chiripa, 34, of Arlington, Virginia; and Jose Fredy Delcid, aka Oscar Salgado or Oscar or Franklin or Chami or Matador, 34, of Falls Church, Virginia, are some of the members of the conspiracy who allegedly worked directly with sources of supply in Honduras to import cocaine into the United States. They, in turn, allegedly worked with a large group of people with and through whom they distributed the cocaine, including the following individuals who were arrested by law enforcement:

  • Hector Mauricio Amaya, aka Conejo or Kaubil, 36, of Falls Church, Virginia
  • Genis Jhesson Amaya-Pena, aka Jenis Yexon Amaya-Pena or Flaco or Juanchope, 25, of Vienna, Virginia
  • Marvin Eduardo Escobar Barrios, aka Catracho or Garrobo, 37, of West Falls Church, Virginia
  • Wilson Reniery Guevara, aka Wilsson R. Guevara, 34, of Manassas, Virginia
  • Joel Lopez, 41, of Springfield, Virginia
  • Annelo Argueta Reyes, aka Nelo, 35, of Falls Church, Virginia
  • Mario Noel Medina-Aguilar, aka Noel, 28, of Falls Church, Virginia
  • Julio Giovanni Nolasco, aka Puma, 18, of Falls Church Virginia
  • Concepcion Benitez-Pineda, aka Conchi or Concha, 38, of Arlington, Virginia
  • Mario Benitez-Pineda, aka Chaparro or Cuzuco, 42, of Falls Church, Virginia
  • Santos Efrain Carbajal Benites, 24, of Arlington, Virginia
  • Angel Zelaya Lizama, aka El Diablo, 29, of Falls Church, Virginia
  • Jose Delores Vanegas, aka Chivito, 40, of Arlington, Virginia
  • Isaias Abrego-Mancia, 28, of Herndon, Virginia
  • Rudy Humberto Tabaro, aka Rudy Humberto Tabara or Colocho, 30, of Lutherville, Maryland
  • Edwin Espana Morales, 38, of Riverdale, Maryland
  • Jose Lorenzo Saravia, aka Jose Saravia-Lozano, 40, of Manassas, Virginia
  • FNU LNU, aka Alex or Gordito, of Falls Church, Virginia
  • Maria Florinda Benitez-Pineda, aka Flor or Loli, 26, of Baltimore, Maryland
  • Jose Maria Benites-Pineda, 32, of Arlington, Virginia
  • Jose Enrique Funez, aka Jose Enrique Funz-Garay or Jose Enrique Funes-Garay or Rick, 40, of Norfolk, Virginia
  • Martin Juarez-Lopez, 19, of Falls Church, Virginia
  • Gloria Elena Olivia Castro, 25, of Springfield, Virginia
  • Joaquin Avila-Rodriguez, aka Pollo, 40, of Herndon, Virginia

Those named in the criminal complaint were charged with conspiracy to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine, which carries a minimum mandatory of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.

In addition, the complaint affidavit contains allegations that members of the conspiracy engaged in the distribution of crack cocaine, money laundering, and various firearm offenses.

This ongoing investigation was led by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, in partnership with the Fairfax County, Arlington County, City of Falls Church, and Prince William County Police Departments; Virginia State Police; Northern Virginia Gang Task Force; Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Marshals Service; U.S. Postal Inspection Service; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean P. Tonolli and Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Scott B. Nussbum and Emily M. Loeb.

Criminal complaints 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

————————————————————–

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.


Vallejo-Based Rappers Arrested as Part of Major Investigation of Alleged Drug Trafficking Throughout the United States

April 25, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on April 24, 2012 released the following:

“SACRAMENTO, CA—A number of arrests have occurred in a major federal investigation into drug trafficking throughout the country, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, agents arrested a total of 25 individuals in Vallejo, Stockton, Fairfield, Oakland, Los Angeles, New York, and Oklahoma City. Some of those arrested are Vallejo-based rappers and associates of an entertainment label known as Thizz Entertainment.

Vallejo Police Chief Robert Nichelini stated, “This is another example of partnership that exists between the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Vallejo Police Department to improve the safety of our community and reduce the level of violence associated with drug dealing. We appreciate the efforts of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California in coordinating the investigation and prosecuting the persons involved in such a complex and dangerous criminal enterprise.”

During the investigation, agents seized approximately 45,000 MDMA pills, approximately four pounds of crack cocaine, a half-pound of heroin, and $200,000 in suspected drug proceeds. Agents also forfeited 230 acres of property valued at approximately $1 million as part of the investigation. As part of last Thursday’s takedown, agents executed three federal search warrants and seized approximately five pounds of marijuana, a loaded firearm, a 2010 Audi A6 with an estimated value of $60,000, and an Audi S5 with an estimated value of $50,000. Agents seized $67,238 in Vallejo and $6,831 in Sacramento for a total of $74,069 during the service of the federal search warrants.

According to the criminal complaints, the DEA-led investigation uncovered a network of drug distributors working in the Crest neighborhood of Vallejo, along with individuals transporting large quantities of drugs outside of California to realize a larger profit. A number of the subjects of the investigation performed as rappers under the entertainment label known as Thizz Entertainment. The origins of Thizz Entertainment can be traced back to the notorious Vallejo-based robbery crews known as the Romper Room Gang. The primary activities of the Romper Room Gang included armed bank robberies, drug trafficking, and murder. The Romper Room Gang was active throughout the late 1980s and 1990s. However, as a result of Vallejo police investigations with the assistance from federal law enforcement, many Romper Room Gang members were convicted of federal crimes and incarcerated for several years in the state and federal prison systems.

Some of the individuals charged in the criminal complaint are alleged to be former members of the Romper Room Gang. According to the complaint, Thizz Entertainment started in 1999 as a record label promoting and producing rap artists from the San Francisco Bay Area, primarily from the Crest neighborhood of their hometown of Vallejo. The name Thizz Entertainment originates from the term “thizz,” which is slang for the drug MDMA (also known as ecstasy). In many songs by artists on the Thizz Entertainment label, the lyrics glorify and promote the use and distribution of MDMA pills.

The complaint alleges that the targets of this investigation engaged in large-scale drug trafficking while also releasing rap albums under the Thizz Entertainment label. During the conspiracy, agents uncovered trafficking of MDMA, cocaine, cocaine base, heroin, Oxycodone, and marijuana, in violation of federal law. The complaint details drug shipments sent from the Vallejo area to Oklahoma City; Jamaica; Queens, New York; Atlanta; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The following individuals were charged with multiple counts of drug trafficking in the two federal criminal complaints:

Michael Lott, performs under the name “Miami the Most”

*Major Norton, performs under the name “Dubee”

*Lawrence Kennedy Nelson

Gaylord Franklin, performs under the name “Geezy”

Clifford Bullock

*Narco McFarland, Sr.

Latroy Cunningham

*Eric Robinson

Dante Barbarin

*Eileen Knight

Beshiba Cook

Bruce Thurmon, performs under the name “Little Bruce”

Damian Peterson

Mikel Brown

**Nicholas Ramirez

*Ung Duong

*Phat Nguyen

*Marcus Davis

**Tiffany Brown

Andre Cawthorne

*Michael Smiley

*Anthony Young

*Anthony Payton

*Arrested and detained in custody except where noted released.

**Arrested and released.

A preliminary hearing has been set for May 4, 2012.

This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the DEA Sacramento District Office, the Vallejo Police Department, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department, and the Sacramento FBI Safe Streets Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Jason Hitt is prosecuting the case.

This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). The OCDETF program was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt, and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.

When prosecuted in federal court, drug traffickers typically receive much harsher sentences. In addition to the longer sentences imposed, unlike state court prisoners who are released early on parole, there is no early release on parole in the federal system.

The charges are only allegations. Each of the defendants listed is 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

————————————————————–

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.


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

————————————————————–

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.


U.S. Agents Aided Mexican Drug Trafficker to Infiltrate His Criminal Ring

January 9, 2012
Harold Mauricio Poveda-Ortega, an accused Colombian drug trafficker - DEA
(Photo: Reuters) Harold Mauricio Poveda-Ortega, an accused Colombian drug trafficker, in custody in 2010.

The New York Times on January 9, 2012 released the following:

“By GINGER THOMPSON

WASHINGTON — American drug enforcement agents posing as money launderers secretly helped a powerful Mexican drug trafficker and his principal Colombian cocaine supplier move millions in drug proceeds around the world, as part of an effort to infiltrate and dismantle the criminal organizations wreaking havoc south of the border, according to newly obtained Mexican government documents.

The documents, part of an extradition order by the Mexican Foreign Ministry against the Colombian supplier, describe American counternarcotics agents, Mexican law enforcement officials and a Colombian informant working undercover together over several months in 2007. Together, they conducted numerous wire transfers of tens of thousands of dollars at a time, smuggled millions of dollars in bulk cash — and escorted at least one large shipment of cocaine from Ecuador to Dallas to Madrid.

The extradition order — obtained by the Mexican magazine emeequis and shared with The New York Times — includes testimony by a Drug Enforcement Administration special agent who oversaw a covert money laundering investigation against a Colombian trafficker named Harold Mauricio Poveda-Ortega, also known as “The Rabbit.” He is accused of having sent some 150 tons of cocaine to Mexico between 2000 and 2010. Much of that cocaine, the authorities said, was destined for the United States.

Last month, The Times reported that these kinds of operations had begun in Mexico as part of the drug agency’s expanding role in that country’s fight against organized crime. The newly obtained documents provide rare details of the extent of that cooperation and the ways that it blurs the lines between fighting and facilitating crime.

Morris Panner, a former assistant United States attorney who is an adviser at the Center for International Criminal Justice at Harvard, said there were inherent risks in international law enforcement operations. “The same rules required domestically do not apply when agencies are operating overseas,” he said, “so the agencies can be forced to make up the rules as they go along.” Speaking about the

Drug Enforcement Agency’s money laundering activities, he said: “It’s a slippery slope. If it’s not careful, the United States could end up helping the bad guys more than hurting them.”

Shown copies of the documents, a Justice Department spokesman did not dispute their authenticity, but declined to make an official available to speak about them. But in a written statement, the D.E.A. strongly defended its activities, saying that they had allowed the authorities in Mexico to kill or capture dozens of high-ranking and midlevel traffickers.

“Transnational organized groups can be defeated only by transnational law enforcement cooperation,” the agency wrote. “Such cooperation requires that law enforcement agencies — often from multiple countries — coordinate their activities, while at the same time always acting within their respective laws and authorities.”

The documents make clear that it can take years for these investigations to yield results. They show that in 2007 the authorities infiltrated Mr. Poveda-Ortega’s operations. Mr. Poveda-Ortega was considered the principal cocaine supplier to the Mexican drug cartel leader Arturo Beltran Leyva. Two years later, Mexican security forces caught up with and killed Mr. Beltran Leyva in a gunfight about an hour outside of Mexico City.

As for Mr. Poveda-Ortega, in 2008 he escaped a raid on his mansion outside Mexico City in which the authorities detained 15 of his associates and seized hundreds of thousands of dollars, along with two pet lions. But the authorities finally captured him in Mexico City in November 2010.

According to the newly obtained documents, Mexico agreed to extradite Mr. Poveda-Ortega to the United States last May. But the American authorities refused to say whether the extradition had occurred.

“That’s how long these investigations take,” said an American official in Mexico who would speak only on the condition that he not be identified discussing secret law enforcement operations. “They are an enormously complicated undertaking when it involves money laundering, wires, everything.”

The documents, which read in some parts like a dry legal affidavit and in others like a script for a B-movie, underscore that complexity. They mix mind-numbing lists of dates and amounts of illegal wire transfers that were conducted during the course of the investigation.

One scene described in the documents depicts the informant making deals to launder money during meetings with traffickers at a Mexico City shopping mall. Another describes undercover D.E.A. agents in Texas posing as pilots, offering to transport cocaine around the world for $1,000 per kilo.

Those accounts come from the testimony by a D.E.A. special agent who described himself as a 12-year veteran and a resident of Texas. There is also testimony by a Colombian informant who posed as a money launderer and began collaborating with the D.E.A. after he was arrested on drug charges in 2003. The Times is withholding the agent’s and the informant’s names for security reasons.

In January 2007, the informant reached out to associates of Mr. Poveda-Ortega and began talking his way into a series of money-laundering jobs — each one bigger than the last — that helped him win the confidence of low-level traffickers and ultimately gain access to the kingpins.

A handful of undercover D.E.A. agents, according to the documents, posed as associates to the informant, including the two who offered their services as pilots and another who told the traffickers that he had several businesses that gave him access to bank accounts that the traffickers could use to deposit and disperse their drug money.

In June 2007, the traffickers bit, asking the informant to give them an account number for their deposits. And over a four-day period in July, they transferred tens of thousands of dollars at a time from money exchange houses in Mexico into an account the D.E.A. had established at a Bank of America branch in Dallas.

According to the testimony, the traffickers’ deposits totaled $1 million. And on the traffickers’ instructions, the informant withdrew the money and the D.E.A. arranged for it to be delivered to someone in Panama.

Testimony by the informant suggests that the traffickers were pleased with the service.

“At the beginning of August 2007, Harry asked my help receiving $3 million to $4 million in American money to be laundered,” the informant testified, referring to one of the Colombian traffickers involved in the investigation. “During subsequent recorded telephone calls I told Harry I couldn’t handle that much money.” Still, the informant and the D.E.A. tried to keep up. On one occasion, they enlisted a Mexican undercover law enforcement agent to pick up $499,250 from their trafficking targets in Mexico City. And a month later, that same agent picked up another load valued at more than $1 million.

The more the money flowed, the stronger the relationship became between the informants and the traffickers. In one candid conversation, the traffickers boasted about who was able to move the biggest loads of money, the way fishermen brag about their catches. One said he could easily move $4 million to $5 million a month. Then the others spoke about the tricks of the trade, including how they had used various methods, including prepaid debit cards and an Herbalife account, to move the money.

The next day, the informant was summoned to his first meeting in Mexico City with Mr. Poveda-Ortega and Mr. Beltran Leyva, who asked him to help them ship a 330-kilogram load to Spain from Ecuador. The documents say the shipment was transported over two weeks in October, with undercover Ecuadorean agents retrieving the cocaine from a tour bus in Quito and American agents testing its purity in Dallas before sending it on to Madrid.

The testimony describes the informant reassuring the traffickers in code, using words like “girlfriend” or “chick” to refer to the cocaine, and saying that she had arrived just fine. But in reality, the testimony indicates, the Spanish authorities, tipped off in advance by the D.E.A., seized the load shortly after its arrival, rather than risk losing it.”

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