HSI, Caribbean Corridor Strike Force seize 330 kilograms of cocaine, arrest 6

June 8, 2012

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on June 8, 2012 released the following:

“SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), officers and special agents assigned to the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force arrested six Dominican Republic nationals on drug trafficking charges earlier this week. The individuals tried to introduce 330 kilograms and one kilogram of heroin with an estimated street value of $8 million into the United States.

“Through these arrests and seizures we are sending a clear message Puerto Rico will not be a safe haven for criminals looking to ship drugs into Puerto Rico and the United States,” said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “ICE and its federal and local partners are committed to working together to stop the flow of illegal narcotics into Puerto Rico.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers onboard a marine surveillance vessel detected the six men aboard a suspicious 25-foot unmarked fiberglass boat transiting illegally towards Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received notification from a CBP officer of the ongoing situation and proceeded to divert the Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus to interdict the suspect vessel.

The Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus arrived on scene, interdicted the suspect vessel and detained Jairo Torres-Balbuena, 29; José Manuel Rodríguez, 30; Anheli Regalado, 25; Berner Balbuena-Perreaux, 38; Jorge King, 52; and Juan Polanco-Rodríguez, 35; following the discovery of 15 bales of suspected contraband which later tested positive for cocaine and heroin during a field test.

Coast Guard personnel transferred custody of the six Dominicans, the suspect vessel, and the seized contraband to awaiting HSI special agents in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

Those arrested were transferred to the Guaynabo, Puerto Rico Metropolitan Detention Center awaiting the outcome of their case. They had their initial hearing before US Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin June 6 and remain detained.

The strike force is an initiative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean. It is part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force that investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics using the Caribbean as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States. The initiative is composed of HSI, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, Coast Guard, CBP and Puerto Rico Police Department’s Joint Forces for Rapid Action.”

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

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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.


Visitor Arrested for Allegedly Attempting to Smuggle Contraband into Metropolitan Detention Center

March 20, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on March 19, 2012 released the following:

“SAN JUAN—On March 17, 2012, CARMEN GONZALEZ-ORTIZ, age 70, was arrested for allegedly attempting to smuggle contraband into the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) located in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. GONZALEZ-ORTIZ is charged with possession of prohibited items within a federal prison facility.

The criminal complaint alleges GONZALEZ-ORTIZ entered the federal detention facility in order to visit her son, MIGUEL GONZALEZ-GONZALEZ, an inmate at MDC. It is further alleged GONZALEZ-ORTIZ entered the facility carrying inside her front waistband and inside her front pants pocket approximately 30 pills of what is believed to be the controlled substance known as Suboxone, 100 pieces of orange film also believed to be Suboxone, and two cellular telephone SIM cards, all wrapped in a balloon. In addition, it is also believed she was carrying approximately 13 grams of marijuana, which was wrapped in black electrical tape.

While visiting her son, GONZALEZ-ORTIZ was seen by a Bureau of Prisons (BOP) officer who was monitoring the MDC visitation room surveillance cameras covertly removing the contraband from her pants pocket, and also, from inside her waistband, and handing them to her son. MIGUEL GONZALEZ-GONZALEZ then took the contraband and appeared to place it in his rectum.

GONZALEZ-ORTIZ and her son were subsequently escorted out of the visitation room and placed in separate holding areas within MDC. During the examination of MIGUEL GONZALEZ-GONZALEZ, the contraband items as seen on the MDC surveillance cameras were found.

Suboxone is a Schedule III Controlled Substance used to treat opiate addiction. Suboxone is a combination of the prescription medications Buprenorphine and Naloxone.

If convicted, GONZALEZ-ORTIZ faces up to a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment.

This case is initially being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Charles Walsh and was investigated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP)-MDC Special Investigations Office and the FBI.

The public is reminded a criminal complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty. The U.S. government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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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 C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Thirteen Facing Federal Criminal Charges by Criminal Complaint and Indictments for Trafficking Heroin in Albuquerque

July 22, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office District of New Mexico on July 21, 2011 released the following:

“THIRTEEN FACING FEDERAL CHARGES FOR TRAFFICKING HEROIN IN NORTHEAST HEIGHTS OF ALBUQUERQUE

ALBUQUERQUE – United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that thirteen defendants have been charged with federal heroin trafficking offenses based on an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the New Mexico State Police (NMSP), the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) that targeted heroin traffickers operating in Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights.

The defendants, who are charged in individual criminal complaints and indictments, were arrested following an investigation led by the DEA and pursued under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, a Department of Justice nationwide initiative that combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated attack against major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The investigation was initiated in March 2011 in response to reports that young adults in Albuquerque, including students enrolled in high schools in Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights, are becoming addicted to expensive prescription painkillers like “OxyContin,” and then transitioning to heroin, a drug that provides a similar high for less money, sometimes with tragic consequences. In 2010 and earlier this year, Haley Paternoster, Michael Duran, Jr., and other Albuquerque teens reportedly died from overdoses after they transitioned from OxyContin to heroin, and statistics from the New Mexico Department of Health reflect that heroin overdose deaths among New Mexicans between 17 and 24 have increased steadily over the past few years. The investigation specifically targeted local heroin dealers who allegedly supplied heroin to young adults, teenagers and other high school aged children in Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights neighborhoods.

The following Albuquerque residents are charged in individual indictments: Michael Nafe, 21, Nathaniel Paul, 26, Jose Torres, 25, and David Witt, 25. Rebecca Corral, 27, Isaac Ortiz, 21, Jordan Padilla, 23, and Raelynn Sanchez, 26, all residents of Albuquerque, individually are charged in criminal complaints. Anthony Martinez, 20, and Fernando Trujillo, 19, both residents of Espanola, also are charged in criminal complaints. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of 20- years of imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine.

Corral, Ortiz, Padilla, Sanchez, and Witt were arrested on July 21, 2011, and made their initial appearances in Albuquerque federal court this morning. Martinez and Trujillo were arrested this morning and are scheduled to make their initial appearances on July 22, 2011. Nafe and Torres currently are detained in the Metropolitan Detention Center awaiting transfer to federal custody. Torres’s initial appearance is scheduled for July 28, 2011 while Nafe’s initial appearance has yet to be scheduled. Paul has yet to be apprehended and is considered a fugitive.

Three other defendants previously were arrested as part of this investigation. Mexican national Pedro Enrique Torres-Mier, 29, was arrested on March 9, 2011 on heroin trafficking charges in a criminal complaint, and was indicted on March 22, 2011. Torres-Mier, who has been in federal custody since his arrest, entered a guilty plea to count one of a three-count indictment earlier today. On May 19, 2011, Adam Anthony Vallejos, 20, and Eddie Travis Centeno, 21, both Albuquerque residents, were arrested on an indictment charging them with, heroin trafficking offenses. Centeno is detained pending trial while Vallejos was released under pretrial supervision. If convicted, each of these three defendants faces a maximum penalty of 20-years of imprisonment and a $1,000,000 fine.

In announcing the results of this investigation, United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said, “Teenage prescription drug abuse and the concomitanttransition to heroin is a scourge that is sneaking into far too many of our families. This scourge does not discriminate, but instead is impacting all families, including those with no history of prior abuse.

Investigation and prosecution of those who prey on our children is not enough to defeat this scourge. All of us need to get the word out on the perils of prescription drug abuse, especially those confronting our children. To prevent teenage drug abuse, we need to get the word out not only to our children, but also to their parents, teachers and coaches and we need to learn to recognize the warning signs of drug addiction. And we need to do this before yet another child dies as a result of an overdose.”

“In this investigation, DEA targeted drug dealers who were preying on the youth of New Mexico. The resulting indictments and arrests further our efforts to prevent heroin trafficking from taking hold in our community. Nothing is more important than the safety and security of our community, especially our young people.” said Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration-El Paso Division.

These cases were investigated by the DEA, NMSP, APD and the USMS, and are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Elaine Y. Ramirez.

Charges in complaints and indictments are only accusations. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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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ICE Arrests Ricardo Del Valle-Diaz for Producing Child Pornography and Sexually Enticing a Minor

June 17, 2011

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) on June 16, 2011 released the following press release:

“SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A local school bus driver was arrested on Wednesday by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for producing child pornography and sexually enticing a minor.

Ricardo Del Valle-Diaz, 33, of Caguas, Puerto Rico, is a school bus driver for special education students.

“The increase in the number of cases involving child pornography and sexual enticement in our jurisdiction is alarming,” said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in San Juan. “Those involved in this despicable crime should know that ICE HSI will pursue them, and we will not rest until they are brought to justice.”

On June 10, an ICE HSI special agent received a complaint from the Puerto Rico Police Department’s Sexual Crimes Division in Caguas stating that Del Valle-Díaz had video and audio recording of a special education student engaged in a sexually explicit conduct while on the school bus.

Del Valle-Díaz was charged in a criminal complaint for using, persuading, enticing, and coercing a girl to engage in sexually explicit conduct, specifically lascivious exhibition of the genital areas and performing sexual acts. Valle-Díaz allegedly promoted this behavior so he could produce a video image using the camera of his computer which had been mailed, shipped or transported in interstate commerce.

“Our children, who are the most vulnerable and innocent victims in our society, deserve every measure of protection we can give them,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “A child sexual predator will be held accountable for the unspeakable crimes he committed.” Project Safe Childhood is an initiative of the Department of Justice aimed at preventing the abuse and exploitation of children by use of the Internet and other mediums.

If convicted, Del Valle-Diaz faces a minimum 10 years and a maximum of life in prison. He had his initial hearing June 16 before Magistrate Judge Marcos Lopez. He was then transferred to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, awaiting the outcome of his case.

This investigation is part of Operation Predator, an ICE-led initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers.”

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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