Unsealed Federal Criminal Indictment Alleges that 13 Alleged Members of the Hankton Organization Committed Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering and Other Serious Federal Crimes

October 20, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation on October 19, 2012 released the following:

“NEW ORLEANS, LA— Walter Porter, 37, a/k/a “Urkel” a/k/a “Moonie”; Nakia Hankton, 34; Shirley Hankton, 58, ; Telly Hankton, 36, a/k/a “Third” a/k/a “Wild”; Thomas Hankton, 36, a/k/a “Squirt”; Troy Hankton, 28; George Jackson, 38, a/k/a “Black”; Derrick Smothers, 34, a/k/a “Dump”; Andre Hankton, 35; Kevin Jackson, 39; Netthany Schexnayder, 33; Sana Johnson, 37; and Terrell Smothers, 36, all of New Orleans, Louisiana, were charged in a 22-count superseding indictment by a federal [g]rand jury on Thursday October 18, 2012, announced Jim Letten, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana; Michael Anderson, FBI Special Agent in Charge for the New Orleans Division; and Phil Durham, ATF Special Agent in Charge; along with Jimmy Fox III, DEA Special Agent in Charge; Genny May, United States Marshal, Eastern District of Louisiana; Leon Cannizzaro, Orleans Parish District Attorney; and Ronal Serpas, NOPD Superintendent.

The superseding indictment was unsealed today as most of the defendants were taken into custody by federal agents or were already in custody on related matters. Presently there are no defendants who are considered to be fugitives.

According to the superseding indictment, members of this organization and their associates ran a violent drug ring in and around the city of New Orleans dating back to 1996. During the course of this organization’s existence, its members and associates murdered rival drug dealers, intimidated witnesses, attempted to obstruct the state criminal justice system by having associates provide false alibi testimony in state court, and murdered a witness’ family member in an effort to obstruct justice.

Specifically, Andre Hankton, Telly Hankton, Kevin Jackson, Walter Porter, and Thomas Hankton are all charged in specific murders and could potentially face the death penalty for the murders of Darnell Stewart, Jesse Reed, Hasan Williams, and Curtis Matthews (counts five, six, eight, nine, 10, 11, 15, and 16). No decision concerning this issue has been made at this time. As in all possible capital cases, this case must be reviewed according to a strict protocol to determine whether the Department of Justice will seek the death penalty.

Speaking to today’s unsealed indictment, U.S. Attorney Letten stated:

“Today, as the result of the outstanding work of the men and women of federal enforcement and our partners in the New Orleans Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office, yet another powerful blow has been made against an organization whose members are alleged to have committed murder and violence against our community. My deepest gratitude goes to the dedicated members of our own office, together with special agents of the FBI and ATF, along with DEA and the Marshals Service.”

“Our very special thanks go out to Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas, and their tremendous team for their commitment, hardwork, professionalism, and partnership. Without NOPD’s investigative work, and the District Attorney’s indispensable charging groundwork, partnership, and seamless cooperation, the full extent of this indictment would not have been achieved.”

Mike Anderson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s New Orleans Field Office, added:

“This investigation is a clear reflection of the FBI’s enhanced commitment to address localized violent street gangs, in partnership with our federal, state, and local law enforcement counterparts. Accordingly, such criminal activity will remain a top investigative priority.”

Phil Durham, Special Agent in Charge of ATF, stated:

“ATF’s primary goal is to work along side our other law enforcement partners to reduce the number of homicides and other violent crimes committed with firearms. This joint effort clearly illustrate our commitment of the federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to making our communities safer.”

U.S. Attorney Letten reiterated that the indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

No further information is available at this time.

This indictment is the culmination of a long federal grand jury investigation that was conducted with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the United States Marshals Service; the New Orleans Police Department; the New Orleans District Attorney’s Office; and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.”

————————————————————–

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.


Fafane Daniel Arrested for Allegedly Interfering with a Flight Crew and Assault

August 27, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 23, 2012 released the following:

“Today the FBI arrested Fafane Daniel, age 32, for interfering with a flight crew and assault. Daniel boarded Southwest Airlines flight 2509 this morning, which departed from Fort Lauderdale and was bound for Las Vegas. The flight was diverted to New Orleans Armstrong International Airport due to an in-flight altercation between Daniel and another passenger. The plane landed in New Orleans at approximately 7:30 a.m., and Daniel was arrested shortly thereafter.

Daniel will make her initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge this afternoon. The case will be prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

The public is reminded that all persons are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

————————————————————–

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.


Former BP Engineer Arrested for Alleged Obstruction of Justice in Connection with the Deepwater Horizon Criminal Investigation

April 24, 2012

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 24, 2012 released the following:

First Criminal Charges to Result from the Deepwater Horizon Task Force Investigation

WASHINGTON – Kurt Mix, a former engineer for BP plc, was arrested today on charges of intentionally destroying evidence requested by federal criminal authorities investigating the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon disaster, announced Attorney General Eric Holder, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Jim Letten of the Eastern District of Louisiana and Kevin Perkins, Acting Executive Assistant Director for the FBI’s Criminal Cyber Response and Services Branch.

Mix, 50, of Katy, Texas, was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice in a criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana and unsealed today.

“The department has filed initial charges in its investigation into the Deepwater Horizon disaster against an individual for allegedly deleting records relating to the amount of oil flowing from the Macondo well after the explosion that led to the devastating tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Attorney General Holder. “The Deepwater Horizon Task Force is continuing its investigation into the explosion and will hold accountable those who violated the law in connection with the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.”

According to the affidavit in support of a criminal complaint and arrest warrant, on April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon rig experienced an uncontrolled blowout and related explosions while finishing the Macondo well. The catastrophe killed 11 men on board and resulted in the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

According to court documents, Mix was a drilling and completions project engineer for BP. Following the blowout, Mix worked on internal BP efforts to estimate the amount of oil leaking from the well and was involved in various efforts to stop the leak. Those efforts included, among others, Top Kill, the failed BP effort to pump heavy mud into the blown out wellhead to try to stop the oil flow. BP sent numerous notices to Mix requiring him to retain all information concerning Macondo, including his text messages.

On or about Oct. 4, 2010, after Mix learned that his electronic files were to be collected by a vendor working for BP’s lawyers, Mix allegedly deleted on his iPhone a text string containing more than 200 text messages with a BP supervisor. The deleted texts, some of which were recovered forensically, included sensitive internal BP information collected in real-time as the Top Kill operation was occurring, which indicated that Top Kill was failing. Court documents allege that, among other things, Mix deleted a text he had sent on the evening of May 26, 2010, at the end of the first day of Top Kill. In the text, Mix stated, among other things, “Too much flowrate – over 15,000.” Before Top Kill commenced, Mix and other engineers had concluded internally that Top Kill was unlikely to succeed if the flow rate was greater than 15,000 barrels of oil per day (BOPD). At the time, BP’s public estimate of the flow rate was 5,000 BOPD – three times lower than the minimum flow rate indicated in Mix’s text.

In addition, on or about Aug. 19, 2011, after learning that his iPhone was about to be imaged by a vendor working for BP’s outside counsel, Mix allegedly deleted a text string containing more than 100 text messages with a BP contractor with whom Mix had worked on various issues concerning how much oil was flowing from the Macondo well after the blowout. By the time Mix deleted those texts, he had received numerous legal hold notices requiring him to preserve such data and had been communicating with a criminal defense lawyer in connection with the pending grand jury investigation of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

A complaint is merely a charge and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, Mix faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 as to each count.

The Deepwater Horizon Task Force, based in New Orleans, is supervised by Assistant Attorney General Breuer and led by Deputy Assistant Attorney General John D. Buretta, who serves as the Director of the task force. The task force includes prosecutors from the Criminal Division and the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana and other U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and investigating agents from the FBI, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other federal law enforcement agencies.

The task force’s investigation of this and other matters concerning the Deepwater Horizon disaster is ongoing.

The case is being prosecuted by task force Deputy Directors Derek Cohen and Avi Gesser of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and task force prosecutors Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Pickens II of the Eastern District of Louisiana and Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Cullen of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.”

18 U.S.C. § 1512

US v. Kurt E. Mix – Federal Criminal Complaint

US v. Kurt E. Mix – Affidavit supporting the Federal Criminal Complaint

————————————————————–

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.