“Belmokhtar Indictment Unsealed by U.S. Prosecutor”

July 22, 2013

The Wall Street Journal on July 21, 2013 released the following:

By Margaret Coker

“U.S. prosecutors have unsealed an indictment charging Mokhtar Belmokhtar with masterminding the deadly terrorist attack earlier this year at a southern Algerian gas plant that killed dozens of workers, including three Americans.

Mr. Belmokhtar, an Algerian national who leads an al-Qaeda-inspired Islamist militia in anti-Western attacks across North Africa, is described in the indictment which was announced Friday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara as a “fanatical jihadist” who “unleashed a reign of terror … in furtherance of his self-proclaimed goal of waging bloody jihad against the West.”

Mr. Belmokhtar, who was not known to be present during the gas plant attack, is currently at large. The U.S. government has put a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture or death.

The legal charges, described in an eight-count complaint, are related to this year’s attack on the gas plant operated by British Petroleum, Norway’s Statoil, Japan’s JGC Corp. and Algeria’s Sonatrach, as well as other terrorist attacks allegedly committed by al Qaeda-linked organizations and Mr. Belmokhtar over several years. The charges include conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaeda, kidnapping of internationally protected persons and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.

U.S. authorities have been pursuing charges against Mr. Belmokhtar primarly because of the loss of American lives in the Jan. 16 incident whereby a militia under Mr. Belmokhtar’s control invaded the Tiguentourine gas plant in southern Algeria. After a four-day siege, the Algerian military sent anti-terrorist troops to free the hostages, sparking heated battles with Mr. Belmokhtar’s men. A total of 37 hostages were killed, including three U.S. citizens.

On the day after the siege ended, Mr. Belmokhtar appeared in an online video claiming responsibility for the attack on behalf of al-Qaeda.

U.S. officials said that this claim was confirmed by three of the hostage-takers involved in the siege who were arrested and detained by Algerian authorities and later separately interviewed by U.S. law enforcement officers. The hostage-takers each acknowledged their membership in an al Qaeda group, of which Mr. Belmokhtar was the “emir,” and further stated that they had received military training in another country prior to traveling to Algeria to conduct the attack in the name of al Qaeda, according to a press release issued by the FBI on Friday.

“Belmokhtar brought terror and blood to these innocent people and now we intend to bring Belmokhtar to justice,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Mr. Belmokhtar was designated as a foreign terrorist by the U.S. Department of Treasury in 2003 for his participation in al Qaeda-linked organizations across North Africa, but until the January attack he was not known to have killed any Americans. According to the indictment, Mr. Belmokhtar orchestrated terror attacks including the kidnapping of U.N. diplomats and other Western hostages.”

Mr. Belmokhtar is also on Interpol’s Red Notice List here.

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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.


Accused Member of Foreign Terrorist Organization Extradited to United States on Hostage Taking Charges

March 12, 2012

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

“WASHINGTON— Alexander Beltran Herrera, 35, aka Jhon Alexander Beltrain Herrera, aka Rodrigo Pirinolo, an accused member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), has been extradited from Colombia to face hostage taking and terrorism charges in the United States.

The extradition was announced by Lisa Monaco, assistant attorney general for national security; Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia; and Dena Choucair, acting special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami Division.

Beltran Herrera was extradited from Colombia to the United States over the weekend to face charges in an indictment returned in the District of Columbia on February 22, 2011. The indictment, which names as defendants 18 members of the FARC, charges Herrera specifically with one count of conspiracy to commit hostage taking; three counts of hostage taking; one count of using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence; one count of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists; and one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Beltran Herrera is scheduled to be arraigned today at 11:15 a.m. before Judge Royce C. Lamberth in federal court in the District of Columbia. If convicted of all the charges against him, he faces a maximum potential sentence of life in prison.

According to the indictment, the FARC is an armed, violent organization in Colombia, which, since its inception in 1964, has engaged in an armed conflict to overthrow the Republic of Colombia, South America’s longest-standing democracy. The FARC has consistently used hostage taking as a primary technique in extorting demands from the Republic of Colombia. Hostage taking has been endorsed and commanded by FARC senior leadership. The FARC has characterized American citizens as “military targets” and has engaged in violent acts against Americans in Colombia, including murders and hostage taking. The FARC was designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. Secretary of State in 1997 and remains so designated.

The indictment alleges that Beltran Herrera was a member of the 27th Front in the FARC’s Southern Block. Beltran Herrera was allegedly involved in the hostage taking of three U.S. citizens, Marc D. Gosalves, Thomas R. Howes, and Keith Stansell. These three individuals, along with Thomas Janis, a U.S. citizen, and Sergeant Luis Alcides Cruz, a Colombian citizen, were seized on February 13, 2003 by the FARC after their single engine aircraft made a crash landing near Florencia, Colombia. Janis and Cruz were murdered at the crash site by members of the FARC.

According to the indictment, Gonsalves, Howes, and Stansell were held by the FARC at gunpoint and were advised by FARC leadership that they would be used as hostages to increase international pressure on the government of the Republic of Colombia to agree to the FARC’s demands.

The FARC at various times marched the hostages from one site to another, placing them in the actual custody of various FARC fronts. At the conclusion of one 40-day march, in or about November 2004, the hostages were delivered to members of the FARC’s 27th Front, commanded by Daniel Tamayo Sanchez, who was responsible for the hostages for nearly two years, after which they were delivered to the FARC’s 1st Front. During part of this two-year period with the 27th Front, Beltran Herrera was responsible for moving the hostages and keeping them imprisoned.

Throughout the captivity of these three hostages, FARC jailors and guards, including Beltran Herrera, used choke harnesses, chains, padlocks, and wires to restrain the hostages, and used force and threats to continue their detention and prevent their escape. The indictment also accuses Beltran Herrera of using and carrying a military-type machine gun during the hostage taking and providing material support and resources to aid in the hostage taking and to aid the FARC.

“Today’s extradition underscores our resolve to hold accountable all those responsible for this crime and we will not rest until every one of them is brought to justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Monaco.

“This extradition is another step toward justice on behalf of Americans taken hostage and held in chains by a Colombian terrorist organization,” said U.S. Attorney Machen. “We will not hesitate to bring to justice anyone who targets Americans around the world with violence to advance their political agendas.”

“This extradition further disrupts and dismantles the FARC, a foreign terrorist organization that has engaged in violent acts against American and Colombian citizens,” said FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Choucair. “The outstanding, long-term cooperation between the Colombian National Police and U.S. law enforcement has struck another blow to international terrorism.”

This investigation is being led by the FBI’s Miami Field Division. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anthony Asuncion and Fernando Campoamar-Sanchez from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and Trial Attorney David Cora from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Substantial assistance in the case was provided by the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs, the Department’s Judicial Attachés in Colombia, and the FBI’s Legal Attaché in Colombia. The Directorate of Intelligence (DIPOL) and the Anti-Kidnapping Unit (GAULA) of the Colombian National Police also provided substantial assistance.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains mere allegations and that defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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

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

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