FBI arrests 13 on federal drug charges in Fallsburg, Liberty and Monticello

December 13, 2011

Times Herald-Record on December 13, 2011 released the following:

“An FBI-led task force arrested 13 people on federal narcotics charges during coordinated raids at homes in Fallsburg, Liberty and Monticello late Monday night and early Tuesday morning.

Around 100 members of the Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force, whose members include FBI agents and local and state police, took part in the raids. Task force members were still looking for a 14th suspect as of 7 a.m.

“These folks are not nickel-and-dime dealers,” said Monticello Police Chief Doug Solomon. “They’re a little bit higher up the food chain.”

The suspects were driven to the FBI’s regional office in Goshen. They are expected to be arraigned later Tuesday in federal court in White Plains.

The suspects are believed to be members or associates of the Bloods gang. Their arrests cap a two-year investigation into narcotics trafficking and gang activity by the task force

“The likely prison sentences that these defendants are going to be facing is going to make everyone think twice,” said Solomon. “I’ll be on Social Security when some of these guys get out.””

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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.


Eric Brown Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison For Conspiracy to Conduct and Participate in the Activities of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), a Racketeering Enterprise

August 22, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on August 19, 2011 released the following:

“BGF Leader Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Participating in a Racketeering Conspiracy

BALTIMORE—U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced, Eric Brown, a/k/a E and EB, age 42, of Baltimore, late yesterday to 12 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for a conspiracy to conduct and participate in the activities of the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), a racketeering enterprise. Brown pleaded guilty on April 27.

Another co-defendant, James Harried, a/k/a Smiley, age 48, of Essex, Maryland, pleaded guilty on August 17, 2011, to his participation in the BGF racketeering conspiracy.

The sentence and guilty plea were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Ava Cooper-Davis of the Drug Enforcement Administration – Washington Field Division; Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; and Secretary Gary D. Maynard of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

“The sentence Mr. Brown received today should send a strong message to all individuals who may think about becoming a gang member like Mr. Brown,” stated Ava Cooper-Davis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “Mr. Brown’s prior leadership role with the BGF gang will mean nothing as he spends 12 years in federal prison. Mr. Brown will now be reduced in rank as the result of many law enforcement agencies and prosecutors who worked tirelessly in this investigation,” stated Cooper-Davis.

According to their plea agreements, BGF is a nationwide gang operating in prison facilities and major cities throughout the United States. Founded in California in the 1960s and introduced into the Maryland correctional system in the mid 1990s, BGF in Maryland is increasingly active on the streets of Baltimore City, as well as in various prison facilities in Maryland.

BGF conducts its affairs through a pattern of criminal activity, including: narcotics trafficking, robbery; extortion; bribery; retaliation against a witness or informant; money laundering; and commercial robbery. BGF members arrange to have drugs, tobacco, cell phones, food and other contraband smuggled into Maryland prison facilities, sometimes recruiting and paying employees of prison facilities, including corrections officers, to assist BGF and its members in the smuggling of contraband, the collection of intelligence and in the concealment of BGF’s criminal activities. BGF members use violence and threats of violence to coerce incarcerated persons to pay protection money to BGF, to enforce the BGF code of conduct, and to increase their control of the Baltimore City drug trade and the underground “prison economy” in Maryland correctional facilities.

According to his plea agreement, from 2006 through June 2010, Brown, was a leader of BGF, enforcing discipline in the gang and directing and participating in the drug trafficking activities of the gang. Harried sold heroin for his own benefit and for the enrichment of BGF. It was forseeable that as members of the conspiracy, Brown and Harried possessed with intent to distribute between 700 grams and one kilogram of heroin.

Specifically, while Brown was incarcerated, he extorted a fellow inmate for protection from violence at the hands of BGF members and assaulted another inmate who failed to make timely extortion payments to BGF. Brown and co-defendant Ray Olivis transferred some of the proceeds of BGF’s illegal activities, including drug trafficking and extortion, into prepaid debit card accounts. In addition, Brown arranged for contraband to be smuggled into correctional facilities through the use of couriers and corrections employees. Co-defendant Rainbow Williams delivered contraband, including narcotics, to corrections officers to be smuggled into correctional facilities, sometimes paying the officer for smuggling the contraband into prison. Williams even attempted to smuggle contraband into a Maryland correctional facility via a pair of tennis shoes, but he was discovered by corrections officials.

During an intercepted telephone conversation on March 19, 2010, Harried was overheard by law enforcement discussing the collection of dues from fellow BGF members in order to post the bail for an incarcerated member. These dues were paid, at least in part, with the proceeds of BGF drug trafficking. At times during the conspiracy Harried also attended meetings of the high ranking members of BGF, where racketeering activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, commercial robberies and retaliation against rival gang members and BGF member who broke protocol, were discussed. Harried was often consulted during the trials of BGF member accused by other members of breaking BGF protocol.

James Harried faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Judge Quarles has scheduled his sentencing for November 22, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. Harried remains detained.

Ray Olivis, a/k/a Ronnie Hargrove, Uncle Ray, Unc and Ray Ray, age 57; and Rainbow Williams, age 32, both of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy and face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Judge Quarles has scheduled sentencing for Rainbow Williams on August 30, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. and Ray Olivis on December 8, 2011 at 9:30 a.m.

Mr. Rosenstein praised the DEA; Baltimore City Police Department; Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office; and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for their work in this investigation and prosecution; as well as the Baltimore County Police Department; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Washington D.C. Field Office, for their assistance.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Baltimore City Assistant State’s Attorneys Antonio Gioia, Miabeth Marosy and Rebecca Cox, for their work in the investigation and prosecution, and Assistant United States Attorneys James T. Wallner and Clinton J. Fuchs, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.”

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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International Cooperation & Collaboration on Asset Forfeiture

June 21, 2011

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on June 21, 2011 released the following:

“It is becoming increasingly common for criminals to commit their crimes in one country and launder illicit proceeds in another. Law enforcement partners from around the globe must work together to locate and forfeit the proceeds of these criminal activities, increasing the need for cooperation and collaboration.

To foster this cooperation and collaboration, forfeiture experts from the United States and Latin American countries are gathering in Lima, Peru, to discuss the use of asset forfeiture to fight international crime, including drug cartel operations in Latin America. The event is hosted by the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, in partnership with the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) of the U.S. Department of State and the Public Ministry-Fiscalia de la Nacion of Peru.

Many of the countries represented at the conference have successfully investigated and assisted in the restraint and forfeiture of criminal funds related to narcotics trafficking, fraud, smuggling and other serious crimes. Speakers from Colombia, Mexico and the United States, as well as panelists from Peru, Paraguay, Brazil and Guatemala, will describe their experiences in using asset forfeiture as a tool in combating these types of crimes, including sharing successful investigative techniques and discussing current challenges.

U.S. Ambassador to Peru Rose M. Likins and U.S. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco from the Justice Department’s Criminal Division stressed in their opening remarks the importance of international cooperation, the need to understand national confiscation procedures throughout the region, and the importance of fostering international collaboration to effectively fight organized crime. Peruvian Attorney General José Peláez Bardales also addressed the more than 60 attendees of the conference, which is scheduled to run from June 21 through June 23, 2011.”

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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41 Alleged Gang Members Charged in Five Judicial Districts

February 10, 2011

Forty-one members of various street gangs have been charged in indictments or criminal complaints unsealed today in five judicial districts, the Department of Justice announced yesterday.

The federal indictments and complaints unsealed today charge members and associates of a variety of street gangs, including: seven members of the Click Clack gang in Kansas City, Missouri; twelve Colonias Chiques gang members in Los Angeles; two members and associates of the Sureno 13 and San Chucos gangs in Las Vegas: seven MS-13 members in Washington; thirteen Tri-City Bomber members and associates in the McAllen, Texas, area.

The charges in these separate cases relate to a wide range of alleged illegal activity, including racketeering conspiracy, murder, murder conspiracy, narcotics trafficking, robbery, and gun trafficking. The individuals will make initial court appearances in the respective districts in which they are charged. Teams of federal, state, and local law enforcement officers have arrested 29 of these individuals, with additional arrests expected.

In the Washington indictment of MS-13 members (U.S. v. Carlos Silva, et al) the seven individuals added in the superseding indictment are charged with RICO conspiracy and other offenses including two murders, armed robbery, sexual abuse while armed, kidnapping, and obstructing justice. The indictment alleges that between 2008 and 2010, MS-13 members sent money to gang leaders in El Salvador, as well as participated in the stabbing of rival gang members and kidnapping, among other crimes.

The Houston indictment (U.S. v. Jeffrey Juarez, et al) of the Tri-City Bombers charges 13 individuals with conspiring to sell cocaine and ecstasy and with firearm-related offenses.

The DOJ is making very clear their efforts to address gangs and gang-related violence as one of their top priorities. This month alone, a total of 112 individuals have been arrested, charged, pleaded guilty, or been sentenced.

To view the DOJ press release in its entirety, please click here.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Litigation.

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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Nearly 130 Alleged Mobsters Arrested in FBI Sweep

January 20, 2011

According to a press release issued by the Department of Justice, ninety-one alleged members and associates of seven organized crime families of La Cosa Nostra (LCN), including the New England LCN family, all five New York-based families and the New Jersey-based Decavalcante family have been charged with federal crimes in 16 indictments returned in four judicial districts. Another 36 individuals also have been charged for their roles in alleged associated criminal activity.

Individuals have been charged in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Newark, and Providence. Most were arrested before 8:00am this morning.

More than 110 of the 127 charged individuals have been arrested, and will appear in federal court in the districts in which they are charged. The charges relate to a wide range of alleged illegal activity, including murder, murder conspiracy, loansharking, arson, narcotics trafficking, extortion, robbery, illegal gambling and labor racketeering, in some cases occurring over decades. The indictments charge alleged leaders of these criminal enterprises, as well as mid-level managers, numerous soldiers and associates, and others alleged to be corrupt union officials.

Among those charged are Luigi Manocchio, 83, the alleged former boss of the New England LCN; Andrew Russo, 76, alleged street boss of the Colombo family; Benjamin Castellazzo, 73, alleged acting underboss of the Colombo family; Richard Fusco, 74, alleged consigliere of the Colombo family; Joseph Corozzo, 69, alleged consigliere of the Gambino family; and Bartolomeo Vernace, 61, an alleged member of the Gambino family administration. In total, more than 30 alleged official members of the LCN were charged in the indictments unsealed today.

The charges carry a variety of maximum penalties, up to life in prison on certain charges.

The indictments are available here.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

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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Nine Charged in New Haven with Alleged Narcotics Trafficking

January 3, 2011

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that a federal grand jury sitting in New Haven has returned a seven-count indictment charging nine individuals with narcotics trafficking offenses related to the distribution of cocaine in and around New Haven. The nine men charged in the indictment were previously arrested on federal criminal complaints, and the indictment was returned on December 28.

A criminal complaint bypasses the grand jury process. Meaning, the individual’s Fifth Amendment right to a grand jury indictment is violated. The government may use a criminal complaint in order to obtain an arrest warrant and subsequently proceed with the grand jury process after the arrest, thereby manipulating the system in the government’s favor.

According to court documents and statements made in court, the charges are the result of an FBI Safe Streets Task Force investigation that included the use of court-authorized wiretaps on four telephones. During the course of the investigation, the individuals were recorded on numerous occasions allegedly arranging the purchase and distribution of kilograms of cocaine.

Unfortunately, court-authorized wiretaps are entirely admissible in a court of law. Once the government has secured court-authorization, they are free to record every telephone conversation without ever notifying or issuing a warrant to the individual(s) being recorded.

The indictment charges each of the following eight individuals with conspiracy to distribute, and to possess with the intent to distribute, five or more kilograms of cocaine: Nelson Perez-Guzman, Ceferino Quinones, Manuel Vizcarrando, Nicolas Casanova-DeJesus, Miguel Pizarro, Luvier Calcano, Carlos Dias, Angelo Hernandez. If convicted of this charge, each faces a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a maximum term of imprisonment of life and a fine up to $4 million.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, Perez-Guzman, Quinones and Vizcarrando are each charged in separate counts of the indictment with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

In another count, Vizcarrando and Rufino Candelario, are charged with possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.

Casanova-DeJesus is also is charged with one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years.

Finally, the indictment charges Hernandez with conspiring to distribute cocaine while released on bond.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, Interpol Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC Litigation.

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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