Twenty-Five Alleged Members and Associates of Texas Mexican Mafia Prison Gang Indicted

October 12, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on October 11, 2012 released the following:

Charges Include Drugs, Guns, and Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering

HOUSTON— Alleged members or associates of the notorious Texas Mexican Mafia (TMM) prison gang have been indicted for trafficking in heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine; firearms violations; and for distributing explosive materials, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw.

Those arrested today are alleged members or associates of the TMM gang who allegedly make money by trafficking heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine and by selling firearms.

Among those charged included Michael Mares, 50, an Onalaska Police officer who knowingly provided firearms to a convicted felon on two occasions, according to the indictment.

Also taken into custody in the Houston area were Robert Arechiga, 34; Alexander Garcia, 39; Adam Guzman, 43; George Maldonado, 45; Jorge Montemayor, 36; Juan Sarmientos, 45; Tony Valdez, 37; and Michael Villarreal, 32. They are expected to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy tomorrow. Ruben Esparza, 34, was arrested today in the Corpus Christi area, where he will make his initial appearance before being transferred to Houston, while Jose Cerda, 26, and Michael A. Villarreal, 22, were taken into custody in the San Antonio area. Francisco Galvan, 46, was taken into custody just moments ago at the Texas-Mexico border.

Three others—Carlos Romero, 30; Gilbert Gonzalez, 41; and Enrique Bravo, 38—are considered fugitives and a warrant remains outstanding for their arrests. Photos are below. Anyone with information as to their whereabouts is asked to contact the FBI at 713-693-5000. Anonymous tips can also be provided through the website http://www.stophoustongangs.org.

Also charged in this case are Juan Deluna, 40; Johnny Reyes, 51; Ricardo Sanchez, 33; Valentin Ayala-Guiterrez, 51; Ernesto Villarreal, 35; Eric Gomez, 36; Armando Villarreal, III, 23; Rene Gonzalez, 44; and Alvin Valadaz, 42. These nine defendants are currently in custody and are expected to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge on these charges in the near future.

According to the 22-count indictment, the TMM formed in the early 1980s in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

The indictment alleges the defendants conspired with one another and others from 2008 through October 2012 to procure illegal drugs and distribute the drugs to numerous associates involved in drug trafficking in order to carry out the business of the gang. Alleged gang members also illegally sold numerous assault rifles, other guns, and even detonation cord during the course of the investigation, according to the indictment.

The four-year investigation resulted in the return of a sealed indictment October 4, 2012, which was unsealed following the execution of arrest warrants early this morning.

If convicted of the conspiracy charge, the defendants face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment and a $10 million fine. All substantive counts carry an equal or lesser possible sentence depending upon the amount of drugs involved.

The charges are the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation, which included agents and officers with the FBI; DPS; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; police departments in Baytown, Houston, Pasadena, and Katy; Bureau of Prisons; Harris County Sheriff’s Office; TDCJ-Office of Inspector General; and the U.S. Marshals Service.

The cases will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tim S. Braley and Mark Donnelly.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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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.


Policeman among 25 charged in Mexican Mafia indictment | Narco Confidential | a Chron.com blog

October 11, 2012

 

Policeman among 25 charged in Mexican Mafia indictment | Narco Confidential | a Chron.com blog.


Houston Man Charged with Sex Trafficking

October 7, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on October 6, 2011 released the following:

“HOUSTON— A federal grand jury has charged 30-year-old Jerald Bland, aka “Moe Betta,” with sex trafficking of two minors and one adult, as well as transporting one adult and one minor for the purposes of prostitution, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

The five-count indictment returned by the grand jury today, alleges that beginning in March 2010 through June 2010, Bland used force, fraud, or coercion to cause two minors and one adult female to engage in commercial sex acts. Bland is also accused of transporting one minor and one adult female from Texas to Louisiana to engage in prostitution in violation of federal statutes.

The United States has sought a court order to transfer Bland from state custody into federal custody to face the charges and appear for arraignment on a date to be set by the court.

Each of the three counts accusing Bland of sex trafficking carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 upon conviction. Depending on whether a jury were to find that the victims were minors or that he used force, fraud, or coercion, Bland would face minimum mandatory sentences of 10 to 15 years on the sex trafficking charges. The transportation charge relating to the adult victim carries a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison. The transportation of a minor charge carries a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison with a maximum of life in prison. Each of those charges also carries a $250,000 fine. If convicted, upon release from any prison sentence Bland would be subject to at least five years of supervised release in which the court would require the defendant conform to certain requirements based on the nature of the charges. The defendant could be on supervised release for life, and if convicted, the defendant would have to register as a sex offender.

This investigation leading to the federal charges was conducted by the Houston FBI Innocence Lost Task Force in conjunction with Houston Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sherri L. Zack is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty by due process of law.”

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.

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Two Houston-Area Residents Charged in Nationwide Medicare Fraud Strike Force Takedown

September 8, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on September 7, 2011 released the following:

Total of 91 Defendants Charged Nationally with Submitting $295 Million in Fraudulent Claims

HOUSTON— The owner of a Medicare referral business and the owner of a medical supply company have been charged for their participation in separate schemes to defraud the Medicare program of more than $62 million, announced the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

The Houston indictments are part of a nationwide takedown by Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations that led to charges against 91 defendants for their alleged participation in schemes to collectively submit more than $295 million in fraudulent claims to the Medicare program. This takedown involved the highest amount of false Medicare billings in a single takedown in Strike Force history.

“The defendants charged in this takedown are accused of stealing precious taxpayer resources and defrauding Medicare—jeopardizing the integrity of our health care system and our nation’s most critical health care program for personal gain,” said Attorney General Holder. “Our highly coordinated, nationwide Strike Force operations are working aggressively to combat Medicare fraud and our anti-health care fraud efforts have never been more innovative, collaborative, aggressive—or effective. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and partners across government to fight against health care fraud.”

“Defrauding our national health care programs affects those who depend on our health care system and cheats the taxpaying public,” said U.S. Attorney Moreno. “Those who defraud the system, no matter what their role, should expect to face federal prosecution.”

An indictment, returned under seal by a Houston grand jury on Aug. 31, 2011, was unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Houston following the arrest of Jodi Leonore Latson, 45, of Houston. Latson is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, two counts of health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to pay or receive kickbacks and four counts relating to the payment and receipt of kickbacks. According to the indictment, Latson owned and operated a Medicare referral business known as Health Pro Resources LLC. The indictment alleges that Latson used a data-mining service to compile lists of Medicare beneficiaries. The lists were provided to Health Pro Resources employees who worked in a “boiler room” call-center and recruited beneficiaries through telemarketing calls. According to the indictment, Latson then provided beneficiary information to 100 different home health care agencies in exchange for illegal payments. The indictment alleges that Latson caused the submission of false and fraudulent claims to the Medicare program for home health care services that were medically unnecessary and not prescribed by a patient’s physician. According to the indictment, the Medicare program paid the companies who purchased beneficiaries from Latson approximately $61.5 million. Latson is set to appear this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy Johnson.

In a separate and unrelated case, Akinsunbo Akinbile, 43, of Richmond, Texas, has been charged in a superseding indictment with eight counts of health care fraud in connection with an approximately $700,000 scheme to defraud the Medicare program through the submission of fraudulent claims for durable medical equipment (DME). Akinbile was also charged with two counts of aggravated identity theft. Akinbile was the owner of Hallco Medical Supply, a DME company in Houston. On bond since being charged in February 2011, Akinbile appeared today and has been permitted to remain on bond pending his trial.

Since their inception in March 2007, Strike Force operations in nine locations have charged more than 1,140 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $2.9 billion. In addition, the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with the HHS-Office of Inspector General (OIG), are taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers. The Houston Strike Force has obtained indictments of more than 71 individuals who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for more than $96.8 million since it began its operation in late July 2009.

The results of the nationwide takedown were announced today by Attorney General Holder, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, and Inspector General Daniel R. Levinson of the HHS – OIG. The Houston indictments were announced by U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno of the Southern District of Texas; Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris of the FBI’s Houston Field Office; Special Agent in Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Regional Office of HHS-OIG, Office of Investigations; and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI, HHS-OIG, the Texas Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, and the United States Railroad Retirement Board.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.

A defendant is presumed innocent until 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 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.

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Arthur David Morgart Indicted by a Houston Federal Grand Jury with Access Device Fraud, Fraud Related to Identification Documents and Aggravated Identity Theft

August 15, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on August 12, 2011 released the following:

“Possession of Counterfeit IDs and Credit Cards Leads to Identity Theft Charges

HOUSTON – A federal grand jury in Houston has returned a seven-count indictment charging Arthur David Morgart with access device fraud related to counterfeit and unauthorized credit card numbers, fraud related to identification documents and aggravated identity theft, United States Attorney Angel José Moreno announced today along with United States Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Cynthia L. Marble.

The indictment was returned by a Houston federal grand jury on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011. Morgart, 31, is accused of possessing more than 15 counterfeit and unauthorized access devices – namely debit and credit card numbers and cards – on April 2, 2011, the date of his arrest by officers from the Houston Police Department. Morgart is also accused of four counts of aggravated identity theft arising from his alleged possession without lawful authority of a Texas driver’s license and credit cards in the names of other persons between March 27, 2011, and April 2, 2011, as well as two additional counts of fraud related to identification documents involving his alleged possession of an altered Social Security card and an altered Texas driver’s license without lawful authority.

Morgart is presently in state custody in the Huntsville area on unrelated charges. The United States will seek a court order to transfer Morgart into federal custody to answer these new charges.

If convicted of the one charge of access device fraud, Morgart faces up to 10 years in federal prison without parole as well as a $250,000 fine. If convicted of any of the two fraud related to identification documents charges the punishment is up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A conviction for any of the four aggravated identity theft charges carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison which must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on other offenses charged resulting in conviction.

The United States Secret Service conducted the investigation that led to today’s federal charges. Assistant United States Attorney Julie Redlinger is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.”

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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Hector Ovidio Molina Fuentes, Jose Gabriel Garcia Calderon, Ernesto Manuel Mejia, Samuel DeJesus Argueta, Ronald Alexander Gomez, Jaime Eduardo Lopez Torres, and Carlos Contreras Allegedly Linked to MS-13 Are Indicted by a Houston Federal Grand Jury

August 11, 2011

Houston Chronicle on August 11, 2011 released the following:

“By DANE SCHILLER
HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Seven alleged members and associates of the MS-13 street gang are charged with three slayings and other mayhem as part of a racketeering operation that killed, robbed and dealt drugs in Houston, officials said Thursday.

The gang, also known as the Mara Salvatrucha, has roots in El Salvador and a record in numerous countries.

A newly unsealed federal indictment contends that those charged committed murder in order to move up in the gang, which was hungry to control territory and keep the community in fear.

Defendants are accused of dividing Houston into cliques, smaller groups that operated in regions of the city and held regular meetings to discuss gang rules and criminal activity as well as collect dues.

They also used cellphones, text messages and social networking to conduct business, according to authorities.

Code of silence detailed
Authorities believe two of the MS-13’s victims this year — identified as Saul Garduno, 15, and Jonathan Hernandez, 24 — were gang rivals.

It is not yet known why a third victim, 17-year-old Anayanci Roche, was killed.

The indictment describes the inner workings of the gang, saying there is no tolerance for members or associates suspected of cooperating with police.

“The sanction for violating the code of silence is termed a green light … the gang’s approval for the killing of someone suspect of cooperating with law enforcement,” notes the indictment.

Those charged were identified as Hector Ovidio Molina Fuentes, 33; Jose Gabriel Garcia Calderon, 19; Ernesto Manuel Mejia, 18; Samuel DeJesus Argueta, 21; Ronald Alexander Gomez, 19; Jaime Eduardo Lopez Torres, 29; and Carlos Contreras, 21.

Two arrested elsewhere
It is not clear which of the defendants, if any, grew up in Houston. Contreras is in custody in Panama and facing extradition to the United States. Another defendant was arrested in Arkansas.

Stephen Morris, head of the FBI’s Houston division, said the probe of the MS-13 continues.

“Our investigation into this violent gang is not over,” Morris said. “We will continue to pursue MS-13 and any other gang members who seek to poison our streets with drugs and violence.”

He encouraged the public to come forward with information on their dealings.

Jose Angel Moreno, the top federal prosecutor for a region that stretches from Houston to the Mexican border, stressed that the gang’s activities cast a wide net.

The MS-13 first reached into the United States in the 1980s, according to a statement released by federal authorities who announced the indictment.

Male members are first required to make it through an initiation process in which they are “jumped in” to the gang by being beaten by other members, the document states. Female members also can be beaten in such initiations or subjected to sexual activity with other members, it continues.”

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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Walter Ryan Macapaz, Tony David Maldonado, Buffy Marie Lawrence, and Lisa Carol Ross Indicted by a Houston Federal Grand Jury for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering

August 11, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 11, 2011 released the following:

“Businessmen, Loan Officer, and Title Company Attorney Indicted for Wire Fraud and Money Laundering in a Multi-Million-Dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme

HOUSTON— Two Houston businessmen, a mortgage company loan officer, and a title company attorney and escrow officer have been indicted for their alleged involvement in a scheme to defraud residential mortgage lenders of more than $22 million in loans, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today along with FBI Special Agent in Charge Stephen L. Morris and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge Rodney E. Clarke.

A Houston grand jury returned a six-count indictment yesterday charging Walter Ryan Macapaz, 34, Tony David Maldonado, 31, Buffy Marie Lawrence, 40, and Lisa Carol Ross, 49, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. Macapaz, Maldonado, and Lawrence are expected to surrender themselves to federal authorities next week. Ross is currently being held in the Harris County Jail on unrelated state charges and is expected to be transferred into federal custody to answer the charges in the near future. According to the indictment, from November 2005 through October 2008 Macapaz and Maldonado recruited persons called “straw borrowers” to obtain mortgage loans to purchase condominium units in the Commerce Towers building located on Main Street in downtown Houston as well as residential homes in the Houston area. A straw borrower is paid money to allow his name and credit history to be used to obtain a mortgage loan to purchase a home when the person has no intention of actually living in the home or having any responsibility for making the mortgage payments. Macapaz and Maldonado allegedly used fraudulent documents to help the borrowers qualify for the loans including documents with false and misleading information about the borrowers’ income, assets, liabilities, employment status, bank deposits, rental payments, intent to use properties as a primary residence and source of funds used to close the real estate transactions. Lawrence, a loan officer for mortgage broker Mortgages First Real Estate Services LLC, allegedly assisted the borrowers to obtain the loans. Ross, an attorney and escrow officer for Vision Title LLC, allegedly arranged for disbursements from the title company to be turned into cash and money orders and distributed to the involved parties. According to the indictment, the mortgage loans allegedly totaled more than $22 million.

The maximum penalty for each wire fraud and conspiracy count is 20 years in prison as well as substantial fines. A conviction for money laundering conspiracy carries the most significant fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of the criminally derived property, whichever is greater.

The investigation leading to the charges was conducted by the FBI, IRS-CI, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation – Office of Inspector General, and Houston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney John Lewis is prosecuting 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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