In the Eastern District of Arkansas Sixteen Defendants Have Been Charged in an Alleged Cocaine Conspiracy

May 15, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 14, 2013 released the following:

“Sixteen Defendants, Including Mexican Drug Cartel Members, Charged in Cocaine Conspiracy

Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and Randall C. Coleman, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Little Rock Field Office, announce that a 25-count indictment handed down by a federal grand jury on May 2, 2013, was unsealed today charging sixteen defendants in Arkansas, Texas, and Mexico with multiple drug offenses. The indictment alleges the lead defendant, Idalia Ramos Rangel, a/k/a La Tia or Big Momma, is a high-ranking member of the Gulf Cartel who directs a drug trafficking organization based in Matamoros, Mexico. That organization is responsible for the distribution of multiple hundreds of kilograms of cocaine in the United States.

The indictment is the result of a large-scale investigation into cocaine and narcotics trafficking from Mexico to Arkansas. Agents determined that Rangel’s drug trafficking organization is responsible for delivery of more than one hundred kilograms of cocaine in Arkansas. The charges in the indictment include conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, distribution of cocaine, and use of a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime. All 16 defendants are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine. If convicted of conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, each defendant will face a sentence of not less than 10 years to life imprisonment.

“The arrests made in this case have dismantled a primary supply of cocaine into the State of Arkansas,” stated Thyer. “From the Gulf Cartel to prison to the streets of Central Arkansas, this was not a typical case to investigate. I want to thank the FBI for their leadership in this investigation. I also want to acknowledge the significant investigative work the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Little Rock Police Department provided. Those who do business with drug cartels should be on notice that law enforcement is investigating and will commit the resources necessary to punish them for their illegal trafficking.”

“Today, a strong group of dedicated federal, state, and local law enforcement officials—from Arkansas to Texas—came together to disrupt a criminal drug enterprise directly linked to the Gulf Cartel,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Randall Coleman. “It was simply a case of outstanding teamwork. In Arkansas, we will continue to work together to disrupt and dismantle those groups who choose to conduct their criminal enterprise activities here.”

According to the indictment, Rangel’s family members are alleged to be involved in the drug distribution conspiracy. Her son, Mohammed Kazam Martinez, a/k/a Mo, a federal inmate in the Bureau of Prisons, recruited inmates in the Federal Correctional Complex at Forrest City, Arkansas, to distribute Rangel’s Gulf Cartel cocaine upon their release from prison. Those inmates included Emmanuel Ilo, a/k/a Chi Chi or Chi, and Mervin Johnson, a/k/a Slim, who the indictment alleges began distributing kilogram and multi-ounce quantities of the cocaine in Central Arkansas upon their release from federal prison. Mohammed Martinez communicated with members of this drug trafficking organization using the prison telephone and e-mail systems to coordinate the distribution of cocaine to, and the collection of drug proceeds from, former federal inmates and others. Another of Rangel’s sons, Homar Martinez, and one of her daughters, Nishme Martinez, are also charged as part of the conspiracy.

The indictment alleges that Ilo distributed Rangel’s Gulf Cartel cocaine to Dwatney Noid; Dwight McLittle, a/k/a D.A.; Lamont Williams, a/k/a Peter Rabbit; Gerard Trice, a/k/a Fly; Tarvars Honorable, a/k/a Pudgy; and others for redistribution to customers in the Eastern District of Arkansas. The FBI made multiple controlled purchases of cocaine in Central Arkansas totaling more than one kilogram during the investigation of this case.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, with substantial assistance from the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the Little Rock Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Gordon and Chris Givens.

An indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

U.S. Attorney’s Office News Release

Defendants/Charges
Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine:

  • Idalia Ramos Rangel, 57, Matamoros, Mexico
  • *Mohammed Kazam Martinez, 31, Beaumount, Texas
  • *Emanuel Ilo, 34, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Mervin Johnson, 37, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • *Homar Martinez, 31, Brownsville, Texas
  • Manuel Garza, 31, Brownsville, Texas
  • *Jaime Benevides, 27, Austin, Texas
  • *Nishme Martinez, 26, Austin, Texas
  • *Denice Duran Martinez, 34, Brownsville, Texas
  • *Yadira Anahy Martinez, 36, Brownsville, Texas
  • Dwatney Noid, 30, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • *Dwight McLittle, 27, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • *Shanieka Tatum, 35, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • *Lamont Williams, 34, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Gerard Trice, 29, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • *Tarvars Honorable, 33, Little Rock, Arkansas

* Denotes individual is in custody.

In addition to the conspiracy charges, the following defendants are also charged with the following crimes:

  • Emanuel Ilo: distribution of cocaine (six counts) and use of a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime (two counts)
  • Mervin Johnson: distribution of cocaine (one count)
  • Dwatney Noid: distribution of cocaine (two counts) and use of a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime (two counts)
  • Dwight McLittle: distribution of cocaine (six counts)
  • Shanieka Tatum: use of a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime (three counts)
  • Lamont Williams: use of a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime (two counts)
  • Gerard Trice: use of a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime (two counts)
  • Tarvars Honorable: distribution of cocaine base (one count) and use of a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime (one count).

Statutory Sentences

Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine is punishable by not less than 10 years, not more than life, incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons with a possible fine of up to $10,000,000, and not less than five years’ supervised release.

Possession with intent to distribute less than 500 grams of cocaine or less than 28 grams of cocaine base is punishable by not more than 20 years’ incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons with a possible fine of up to $1,000,000 and not less than three years’ supervised release.

Use of a communication facility to facilitate a drug trafficking crime are not more than four years’ incarceration in the Bureau of Prisons with a possible fine of up to $250,000 and not more than one year supervised release.”

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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.


Leeanna Brooke Morgan, Social Security Administration Employee, Arrested on a Federal Criminal Complaint

July 21, 2011

The U.S. Attorneys Office Eastern District of Arkansas on July 20, 2011 released the following:

“WEST MEMPHIS SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEE ARRESTED ON FEDERAL COMPLAINT

Little Rock – Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced that Leeanna Brooke Morgan, age 30, of West Memphis, was arrested today on a Complaint charging her with knowingly transferring, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit or to aid and abet or in connection with any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law and such transfer was in or affecting interstate commerce.

Morgan works as a service representative at the West Memphis Office of the Social Security Administration. The complaint alleges that Morgan accessed the Social Security database to obtain personal identifying information which she passed on to another person.

Morgan appeared before the Honorable J. Thomas Ray this afternoon for an initial appearance. She was released on her own recognizance. The case will be presented to the next grand jury for indictment.

“Government employees with access to personal identification information have a duty to the citizens of this Country to protect that information,” stated Thyer. “Identity theft is a serious crime. Along with our law enforcement partners, we will thoroughly investigate and prosecute those who engage in misuse of personal identifying information.”

A complaint contains only allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

This investigation was conducted by the Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jana Harris is prosecuting the case for the United States.”

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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“Operation Big Winner” Leads to a Federal Indictment of 20 Individuals with Various Federal Drug Related Charges

June 15, 2011

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

“Little Rock – Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas and William J. Bryant, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Little Rock District Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced today a sweep of arrests in Central Arkansas stemming from eighteen count indictment involving federal drug offenses. The federal indictment is the result of an investigation, “Operation Big Winner,” which charged 20 defendants with various federal drug related charges. As of today, seventeen defendants are in custody.

The DEA Little Rock District Office High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Group #62, which is composed of Special Agents from DEA and Task Force Officers from the Pulaski County Sheriffs Department, North Little Rock Police Departments, Benton Police Department, and Jefferson County Sheriffs Department opened an OCDETF Operation sponsored by DEA. As part of the OCDETF investigation, officers were deputized under the OCDETF Operation from the following agencies: Arkansas State Police, Pulaski County Sheriffs Department, Sherwood Police Department, and the Central Arkansas Drug Task Force.

This investigation targeted a large scale drug trafficking organization distributing multi-pound quantities of methamphetamine ice in the central Arkansas area. The methamphetamine ice was smuggled from Mexico to Central Arkansas for distribution.

Today’s “Operation Big Winner” was conducted by the DEA, United States Marshals Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Arkansas State Police, Pulaski County Sheriffs Department, Sherwood Police Department, North Little Rock Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriffs Department, Central Arkansas Drug Task Force, Benton Police Department, White County Sheriffs Department, Lonoke County Sheriffs Department, and the Arkansas National Guard.

On Friday, June 10, 2011, three federal search warrants were executed by the above agencies in White County and Lonoke County. A total of seven defendants were arrested and taken into custody. These defendants appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Jerome K. Kearney for plea and arraignment Friday.

Today additional federal arrest warrants were executed by the above agencies. A total of ten defendants were arrested. Those taken into custody will appear before United States Magistrate Judge Jerome K. Kearney for their initial appearance this afternoon.

Five defendants remain at large at this time and law enforcement is actively pursuing these defendants.

This case is the result of the investigative work of federal, state and local law enforcement members in the HIDTA program,” stated Thyer. “HIDTA provides federal resources to help reduce drug trafficking and its harmful consequences. With such a broad law enforcement reach, we are able to take drugs and those who seek to peddle them off our streets and out of our communities.”

ASAC Bryant stated, “Through the combine team effort of local, state, and federal law enforcement, this drug trafficking organization was dismantled. Methamphetamine continues to be the number one drug threat to the citizens in Arkansas. This organization was distributing multi-pounds of methamphetamine ice per week in Central Arkansas. This team effort of law enforcement led to the seizure of seven pounds of methamphetamine ice, which did not reach the citizens in our communities. Law enforcement agencies also seized the following items as a result of this investigation: thirteen weapons, seven vehicles, six motorcycles, two boats and one tractor.”

The investigation is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anne Gardner of the Eastern District of Arkansas United States Attorneys Office.

An indictment contains only allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and proven guilty.”

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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Kelly Harbert Indicted By A Federal Grand Jury In A 22 Count Federal Indictment For Bank Fraud, Money Laundering, and Aggravated Identity Theft

June 9, 2011

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas on June 8, 2011 released the following press release:

“Little Rock – Christopher R. Thyer, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, announced that Kelly Harbert, age 45, of Little Rock, Arkansas, was indicted today by a federal grand jury. The twenty-two count indictment, charges Harbert with seventeen counts of bank fraud, two counts of money laundering, and one count of aggravated identity theft.

According to the indictment, Harbert worked for One Bank and Trust, N.A. (One Bank) as a Vice President and Commercial Loan Officer and then later as a Senior Vice President. The indictment charges that Harbert devised a scheme to defraud various financial institutions by obtaining funds under false pretenses and then converted the proceeds from these fraudulent loans and lines of credit totaling over $550,000 to her own personal use.

As a loan officer Harbert had authority to approve unsecured loans in amounts up to $50,000. The indictment charges that Harbert, using her position at One Bank, approved various types of unsecured loans and lines of credit in the names of one parent or the other, without their knowledge or authorization.

The indictment also states that Harbert used her business relationships with other financial institutions in the Little Rock, Arkansas area to arrange for various types of unsecured loans and lines of credits at these banks in the names of one parent or the other and in the names of some of Harbert’s bank clients, using their personal identifiers all without their knowledge or authorization.

The money laundering counts stem from Harbert’s conversion of the bank proceeds by depositing and transferring amounts in excess of $10,000 from one account to another. Lastly, Harbert is charged with aggravated identity theft for knowingly using, without lawful authority, the identification of another person.

The maximum statutory penalty for bank fraud is not more than 30 years imprisonment and up to a $1,000,000 fine or both with five years supervised release. The maximum statutory penalty for money laundering is up to10 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 with three years supervised release. The aggravated identity theft charge adds a mandatory minimum prison sentence of two years to any sentence received, a fine of not more than $250,000 or both and one year of supervised release.

This investigation was conducted by agents from the Little Rock Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General, and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Angela S. Jegley.

An indictment contains only allegations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.”

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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