Louis R. Mickell Jr., Segsie Magee, and Walter Daniel Price Charged With Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine; and Reginald O. Posey, Charged With Possession With Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine

August 15, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 12, 2011 released the following:

“Drug Raids in Covington and Forrest Counties Yield Four Arrests and $37,000 in Meth

HATTIESBURG, MS— Louis R. Mickell Jr., 48, of Mt. Olive; Segsie Magee, 36, of Mt. Olive; and Walter Daniel Price, 39, of Taylorsville, have been charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine; and Reginald O. Posey, 36, of Collins, is charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, U.S. Attorney John Dowdy announced today.

The defendants were arrested on Thursday, August 11, and the multi-agency team executed search warrants of their residences where agents seized approximately 373 grams of methamphetamine as well as a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun and a 2003 Cadillac Escalade. The methamphetamine has an estimated street value of $37,000.

The investigation was conducted by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the DEA, and the Covington County Sheriff’s Department. The arrests and search warrant executions were conducted by the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics, the DEA, the FBI, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Covington County Sheriff’s Department. During the joint investigation, assistance was also provided by the Forrest/Perry County District Attorney’s Office.

All four defendants were arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael T. Parker and were detained without bond pending a detention hearing next week. The case has been set for trial on October 17, 2011 before U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett. If convicted, Posey faces a maximum penalty of 80 years in prison. Mickell, Magee, and Price each face a maximum penalty of life in prison.

“This is another example of how law enforcement at all levels of government are working together in these lean budget times to try to make our streets safer,” said U.S. Attorney Dowdy.

Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.”

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 extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN List Removal.

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

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Neal Indravadan Desai and Patrick Fernand Brupbacher Sentenced In Beaumont Federal Court to Federal Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

August 11, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Texas on August 10, 2011 released the following:

“Houston Men Sentenced In Federal Drug Trafficking Conspiracy

BEAUMONT, Texas – U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced that two Houston men have been sentenced to federal prison for their roles in a major drug trafficking conspiracy. The sentencing hearings were held today before U.S. District Judge Ron Clark in the Eastern District of Texas.

Neal Indravadan Desai, 37, of Houston, pleaded guilty on Feb. 1, 2011, to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison today.

Patrick Fernand Brupbacher, 34, of Houston, pleaded guilty on Jan. 18, 2011, to using a telephone to further the conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison today.

According to information presented in court, in August 2008, an investigation began into a Houston-based drug trafficking organization that was distributing large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine throughout Houston and the Beaumont, Texas area. In June 2009, agents began utilizing court-ordered telephone intercepts in an effort to determine those involved in the conspiracy, the amount of drugs being distributed and the source of the drugs. Law enforcement officers and agents also participated in undercover purchases of methamphetamine and revealed at least 40 persons were involved in the conspiracy and that no less that 113 pounds of methamphetamine and 31 kilograms of cocaine were distributed. At least 20 kilograms of cocaine was seized through undercover buys and during the execution of search warrants and arrests. A federal grand jury returned an indictment on June 3, 2010, charging 35 defendants with various drug trafficking charges. An additional five defendants were named in a superseding indictment on Nov. 3, 2010. All defendants have since been convicted.

This case is being investigated by the DEA, ICE, ATF, Texas Department of Public Safety, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office, the Beaumont Police Department, U.S. Marshal’s Service, Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office, Galveston County Sheriff’s Office, Galveston Police Department, Houston Police Department and the Texas Rangers. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Englade.”

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

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

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

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Pedro Martinez III, Former Laredo Police Officer, Sentenced to Prison for Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine

August 5, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on August 4, 2011 released the following:

“Former Laredo Police Officer Sentenced to Prison for Drug Trafficking

LAREDO, Texas – Former Laredo Police Department (LPD) officer Pedro Martinez III was sentenced to prison today by Senior U.S. District Judge George P. Kazen for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Charged along with co-conspirator Guillermo Villarreal of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, Martinez, 34, of Laredo, pleaded guilty on Feb. 17, 2010, to that offense and also to conspiring with former LPD officer, Orlando Jesus Hale, to accept bribes to escort cocaine-loaded vehicles through Laredo. Today, Judge Kazen sentenced Martinez to 78 months in federal prison to be followed by a five-year-term of supervised release.

At the time of his guilty plea, Martinez admitted that he introduced Villarreal, who he knew was engaged in trafficking cocaine, to another person for Villarreal to work out arrangements to store cocaine at the person’s residence. The residence was located near Villarreal’s residence and facilitated his cocaine trafficking activities. Villarreal made several sales of cocaine to undercover officers. Each time, Villarreal retrieved the cocaine from the storage facility owned by the person to whom Martinez had introduced him. On Sept. 29, 2009, investigating agents executed a warrant at the person’s residence located near Villarreal’s residence and seized approximately three kilograms of cocaine, a metal press used to press cocaine into kilogram-size bricks plus other narcotics trafficking paraphernalia such as scales, a blender and plastic wrap. Villarreal, who has also pleaded guilty to the drug conspiracy charge, is pending sentencing.

Martinez also admitted conspiring with former LPD officer Hale to escort cocaine-loaded vehicles through Laredo. The officers used their police-issued radios to monitor LPD dispatch traffic during the escort. In 2008, Martinez met with an FBI undercover employee (UCE) and agreed to and did escort two vehicle – on Oct. 15, 2008, and again on Nov. 13, 2008, – that he believed contained approximately 20 kilograms of actual cocaine. Hale was involved in escorting the loaded vehicle in November. During each escort, Martinez actually escorted a “sham” load of cocaine from south Zapata Highway to north Laredo. For each escort, Martinez was paid $1,000 by an FBI UCE. Hale was charged separately for his role in this conspiracy and convicted in September 2010 by a jury’s verdict following a six-day trial of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking offense. He was sentenced on April 19, 2011, to a total of 295 months in federal prison without parole and fined $1000.

Martinez has been permitted to remain on bond pending the issuance of a court order to surrender to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be designated in the near future where he will serve his sentence.

The investigation leading to the charges and ultimately the conviction of Martinez and the others was conducted by the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Homeland Security Investigations with the cooperation of the Laredo Police Department. Former Assistant United States Attorney Samuel Sheldon and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Roberto F. Ramirez and James McAlister prosecuted the case.”

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

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

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

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Jury Convicts Kingpin and Members of his Family of Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering

July 23, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on July 22, 2011 released the following:

“LAREDO, Texas -Late yesterday afternoon, a federal jury returned guilty verdicts on 14 of 16 counts charged against the five remaining defendants charged as a result of Operation Reload, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. Twenty-nine defendants were arrested as a result of Operation Reload and, with these convictions, all 29 have now been convicted.

The jury found Leandro Salas Galaviz, 35, and Norberto Alaniz, 37, of Laredo, guilty of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine. Galaviz was also found guilty of six additional counts of possession with intent to distribute either cocaine or marijuana, while Alaniz was found guilty of an additional count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Leandro Salas Galaviz, Mayra Lopez, 31, Josefina Galaviz, 55, and Yesica Magana, 31, were all found guilty of conspiracy to launder drug proceeds in addition to at least one other money laundering count. United States District Judge Micaela Alavarez, who presided over the more than weeklong trial, has scheduled sentencing for all five defendants for Oct. 13, 2011.

Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation Reload was an investigation spearheaded by the Laredo offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI) which culminated in several indictments being returned in December 2009 and unsealed in January 2010. Following the unsealing of the indictments, law enforcement authorities arrested 29 defendants charged for their part in drug and money laundering organizations based out of Laredo.

Leandro Salas Galaviz is an illegal resident living in Laredo under the false identity of Daniel Obregon. Galaviz and co-conspirator, Norberto Alaniz, stand convicted of shipping multi-ton quantities of marijuana and cocaine from the Laredo area to destinations in Dallas, Fort Worth, Chicago and other areas. During the course of trial, the jury heard testimony which identified Galaviz as having been placed in Laredo by the Gulf Carel/Zetas and responsible for finding transportation for marijuana and cocaine shipments. Alaniz was identified as one of many other co-conspirators who assisted Galaviz in transporting or arranging for the transportation of marijuana and cocaine loads from Laredo to Dallas and other destinations.

Leandro Salas Galaviz, along with his wife, Lopez, his mother, Josefina Galaviz, and his sister, Yesica Magana, all of Laredo, were convicted for their part in the money laundering conspiracy which involved the use of multiple bank accounts used to conduct financial transactions designed to conceal and disguise the true nature and ownership of the thousands of dollars of cash proceeds deposited and withdrawn from those accounts. These defendants also conducted numerous financial transactions through the use of bank accounts and in relation to the purchase and sale of vehicles and real property. Lopez and Josefina Galaviz invested drug proceeds in a local Laredo business incorporated under the name of Via Italia Devine also in an attempt to conceal the true illicit source of the money.

Between 2004 through 2009, evidence showed that almost $2 million in cash drug proceeds were deposited into those accounts. In April 2008, Leandro Salas Galaviz and his mother, who was employed as a temporary worker at the time, paid $148,000 towards the purchase of a lot on the golf course of the Plantation Subdivision. Between June 2008 and December 2009, Leandro Salas Galaviz used cash proceeds in excess of $400,000 towards the construction of a luxury home on the lot.

Through testimony, the jury learned that in 2003, when Leandro Salas Galaviz and his wife first came to the United States, he was working at a doughnut shop making doughnuts in the Dallas area. After moving to Laredo, he worked as a car salesman in various car dealerships, but made little income. The jury heard recorded conversations in which Leandro Salas Galaviz was recorded saying that the drug trafficking job was all about making money. “One gets to work well and you get paid well.” In recorded conversations, he is heard discussing having shipped millions of dollars in drug proceeds back to Mexico and the Cartel/Zetas. The government’s evidence also proved that large money transfers were being sent from Mexico to the various bank accounts used by Leandro Salas Galaviz, Lopez and Josefina Galaviz. Money laundering carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in federal prison and a fine of $500,000 or twice the amount of the financial transaction, whichever is greater.

Numerous recorded conversations of Leandro Salas Galaviz were also presented during the trial and played for the jury proving his leadership role of the Laredo based drug trafficking organization. Many of the conversations were recorded in 2007 when the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas were still aligned. During many of the recordings, Leandro Salas Galaviz admits he worked directly under Jaime Gonzalez Duran aka Hummer, a known high ranking Zeta, who is now in the custody of Mexican authorities. Leandro Salas Galaviz also admitted he had direct ties to Heriberto Lazcano, aka Zeta 14, Ivan Velasquez Caballero, aka Talivan or 50, and Velasquez’s brother, Danny Velasquez, aka 52, Sergio Pena Mendoza, aka El Concord – now in Mexican custody, and Miguel Angel Trevino, aka 40. Leandro Salas Galaviz is also overheard discussing the recent promotion of Miguel Angel Trevino within the cartel and noting his disapproval because Trevino whom he calls a “Javalin” was difficult to work with, was a cheat, had a bad temper and would kill his people. He noted that it was going to be hard to continue to making money with Trevino in charge.

During recorded conversations, Leandro Salas Galaviz refers to the Gulf Cartel/Zetas as “La Compania” and notes that La Compania has given him power. In a 2007 conversation, Leandro Salas Galaviz is recorded saying he had been trafficking drugs for the Company for five years. He tells others to think of him as if he were part of “la letra,” a reference to being a Zeta. He is also recorded boasting that if it weren’t for his work in Laredo, they (a reference to the Carel/Zetas) would not eat. In yet other recorded conversations, Leandro Salas Galaviz discusses having sent millions of dollars to Mexico in tractors for loads of drugs delivered in the United States. Ironically, in yet other conversations, he is heard saying that half the people he started with (in drug trafficking) are dead and the other half are in jail. Leandro Salas Galaviz stated in recordings that , “if they ever arrest me here, I never get out.” Galaviz faces a maximum of life imprisonment without parole for the drug conspiracy conviction as well as millions in fines.

Numerous other recorded conversations involved Norberto Alaniz admitting he was working for Leandro Salas Galaviz when he was arrested in 2006 at the Highway 59 Checkpoint driving a tractor which contained 62 kilograms of cocaine and his having continued to work for Leandro Salas Galaviz after the arrest by finding drivers who could transport loads of drugs. Alaniz admits to having arranged for the transportation of a ton of marijuana for Leandro Salas Galaviz which was later seized by law enforcement. Alaniz also faces a maximum of life imprisonment without parole for his drug conspiracy convction.

In addition to the guilty verdicts, the jury also returned special verdicts forfeiting to the United States a home in the Prestwick subdivision of Plantation which the government proved was built with drug proceeds, as well as $118,000 from a bank account used during the money laundering scheme.

With the exception of Magana, who has been permitted to remain on bond pending sentencing, all others are in and will remain in federal custody without bond pending sentencing.

One of the other key defendants arrested and charged as a result of Operation Reload, Omar Compean, was sentenced this week by Judge Alvarez. Compean, the head of a transportion cell that transported drug loads for Leandro Salas Galaviz, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana prior to this trial. Judge Alvarez sentenced Compean to 262 months in federal prison without parole and fined him $250,000.

Assistant United States Attorneys Mary Lou Castillo and Mary Ellen Smyth tried the case.”

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

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

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

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Hector Natal Charged by a Federal Criminal Complaint with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine Base (“Crack Cocaine”)

June 15, 2011

United States Attorney’s Office District of Connecticut on June 14, 2011 released the following press release:

“NEW HAVEN MAN CHARGED WITH CRACK DISTRIBUTION

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that HECTOR NATAL, also known as “Boom Boom,” 25, of New Haven, was arrested today on a federal criminal complaint charging him with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).

According to the allegations set forth in the criminal complaint and statements made in court, between December 2010 and April 2011, NATAL conspired with others to distribute crack cocaine. Specifically, on March 29, 2011, NATAL sold approximately 36 grams of crack cocaine to an individual working with law enforcement in exchange for $1800.

Following his arrest this morning at 76 Haven Street in New Haven, NATAL appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport and has been ordered detained.

If convicted of the charge, NATAL faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum term of imprisonment of 40 years.

U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This matter is being investigated by the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force, the Connecticut State Police, the New Haven Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Inspector General. This case is being prosecuted by Deputy United States Attorney Deirdre M. Daly and Assistant United States Attorney Stephen B. Reynolds, with assistance and support from the Connecticut State’s Attorney’s Office in New Haven.”

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

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

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

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131 Indicted in Puerto Rico for Alleged Drug Trafficking Crimes; Includes 89 Law Enforcement Officers

October 7, 2010

Eighty-nine law enforcement officers and 44 others in Puerto Rico have been charged in 26 indictments unsealed today and returned by a grand jury in San Juan, Puerto Rico, during the month of September 2010, Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez of the District of Puerto Rico announced today.

The individuals face charges ranging from conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, attempt to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and use of a firearm during the commission of a drug trafficking offense. The offenses charged cover a period from in or about July 26, 2008 until September 21, 2010.

The arrests today are the result of Operation Guard Shack, the largest police corruption investigation in the history of the FBI. Close to 750 FBI agents were flown in to Puerto Rico from across the country to assist in the arrests early this morning. Currently 129 individuals are in custody and four subjects remain at-large.

The indictments unsealed today are the result of 125 undercover drug transactions conducted by the FBI in several locations in Puerto Rico, from July 2008 until September 2010. The individuals’ participation in the drug transactions consisted of allegedly providing armed protection to a drug dealer during the sale of multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine. Allegedly, in exchange for their security services during the undercover drug transactions, the individuals, a majority of whom are law enforcement officers, received payments ranging from $500 to $4,500 per transaction.

In a sting operation like this, there is always the issue of whether the undercover transactions were manipulated by the agents to become a form of entrapment. Unfortunately, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies typically use tactics when investigating individuals that could be conceived as entrapment. Meaning, the undercover agents “entrap” an individual by luring him into an illegal situation. These type of situations are legal, and usually always result in an arrest of the individual that was tricked into such a situation.

The law enforcement officers indicted today are from the following agencies: 60 defendants from the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD); 16 defendants from various municipal police departments; and 12 officers from the Puerto Rico Corrections Department. The remaining defendants include: three Puerto Rico National Guard soldiers; two U.S. Army officers; eight former law enforcement officers; one administrative examiner in child support matters; one employee from the Social Security Administration; and 30 civilians.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

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

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