Federal corruption cases increase in Atlanta area

October 22, 2012

Jacksonville.com on October 22, 2012 released the following:

“By Associated Press

ATLANTA | The number of federal corruption prosecutions has increased in metro Atlanta in recent years, an increase that law enforcement officials attribute in part to an increased focus on targeting corrupt officials.

An analysis by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found the number of corruption convictions in the federal Northern District of Georgia rose from just six in 2006 to 32 in both 2010 and 2011. The region ranked 51st in the country in corruption convictions in 2006. Four years later, it ranked sixth out of 93 federal districts.

During the 10-year period starting in 2002, the northern district saw 181 public corruption convictions, ranking it 22nd among the 93 districts. Metro Atlanta ranked behind New Jersey, Chicago and South Florida.

These statistics do not prove which regions are the most corrupt. They are not adjusted to include differences in population and the number of state-level corruption cases. They can be influenced by the differing priorities of prosecutors.

Still, University of Illinois-Chicago professor Dick Simpson, who has analyzed corruption conviction rates, said the statistics are the best available measure of corruption levels in different parts of the country. He described the increased number of cases in metro Atlanta as “worrisome.”

The head of Atlanta’s FBI office, Mark Giuliano, said public corruption prosecutions are the top priority. The bureau earlier worked with state and local law enforcement agencies to establish a corruption taskforce.

“The damage caused by such activity can be immense due to large monetary losses to the taxpayer, the disruption of normal operations of government, as well as the loss of public trust,” Giuliano said.”

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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.


4 Georgia Men Arrested in Alleged Terror Plot

November 2, 2011

The New York Times on November 1, 2011 released the following:

“By SCOTT SHANE

Four Georgia men who were part of a fringe militia group were arrested on Tuesday in what the Justice Department described as a plot to use guns, bombs and the toxin ricin to kill federal and state officials and spread terror.

The men, all aged 65 and over, were recorded telling an F.B.I. informant that they wanted to kill federal judges, Internal Revenue Service employees and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to court documents.

“There is no way for us, as militiamen, to save this country, to save Georgia, without doing something that’s highly, highly illegal: murder,” one of those charged, Frederick Thomas, 73, of Cleveland, Ga., was recorded telling the informant.

“When it comes time to saving the Constitution, that means some people have got to die,” he said.

Another of the men, Samuel J. Crump, 68, of Toccoa, Ga., is accused of saying he wanted to make 10 pounds of ricin and disperse it in Atlanta and other cities, as well as loosing it from a car traveling on Interstate highways. Ricin, made from the castor bean, is a potent toxin, though it is not generally believed to be effective for killing large numbers of people.

The others arrested were Dan Roberts, 67, and Ray H. Adams, 65, both of Toccoa, the Justice Department said.

The United States attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, Sally Quillian Yates, said, “While many are focused on the threat posed by international violent extremists, this case demonstrates that we must also remain vigilant in protecting our country from citizens within our own borders who threaten our safety and security.””

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

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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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.


49 Indicted, 373 Illegal Firearms Taken off Streets in Undercover Storefront Operation

June 30, 2011

U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Georgia on June 29, 2011 released the following press release:

“Operation ATL Blaze,” an ATF and APD Operation, Nets Convicted Felons, Parole Violators, and Burglars Who Trafficked Firearms, And Sold Drugs and Stolen Merchandise to Undercover Agents

ATLANTA, GA – Federal and state grand juries have indicted 49 people on firearms, drug trafficking, and theft charges relating to a storefront sting operation operated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Atlanta Police Department. The storefront sting targeted convicted felons and other dangerous criminals who traffic guns in high-crime areas of Atlanta. Federal and state officials announced the arrests at a news conference this afternoon at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in Atlanta, while the federal defendants appeared today before United States Magistrate Judge Janet F. King. The defendants indicted in Fulton County will make appearances in state court later this week.

Sally Quillian Yates, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia; Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard; Gregory K. Gant, Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Chief George Turner of the Atlanta Police Department; and Beverly Harvard, United States Marshal for the Northern District of Georgia, disclosed the sting operation and the indictments, which were handed down after a seven-month undercover storefront operation initiated by ATF in late 2010.

United States Attorney Yates said, “This undercover operation was strategically aimed at felons and violent criminals who are flooding our streets with illegal guns. ATF, working together with APD, operated an authentic-looking fencing operation that succeeded in taking almost 400 firearms from the hands of criminals. This was a proactive, not reactive, approach to law enforcement to get guns out of the hands of criminals. The Atlanta Police Department, the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, and the United States Marshals Service have been critical partners in this endeavor and we believe that our citizens are safer now that these guns and criminals are no longer on our streets.”

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said, “Law enforcement officials in Fulton County have devoted considerable time and resources attempting to reduce burglaries in our County. Through our cooperation, communication and the Burglary Task Force, we have in the last two years reduced burglaries by over 15%. We applaud our federal partners for their innovative and outstanding efforts. The District Attorney’s Office believes this federal and local partnership is a key measure in our fight to rid our communities of illegal weapons and drugs.”

In a statement, ATF Special Agent in Charge Gregory Gant said, “Operation ‘ATL Blaze’ was a bold joint operation designed to protect our communities by removing violent criminals involved in armed drug trafficking and the unlawful use and possession of firearms in the city of Atlanta. The types of crimes these defendants were involved with directly threatens the stability of our communities and dreams of our youth. The city of Atlanta cannot afford to be without the hopes of any of its citizens; therefore we must do all we can to keep every one of them safe and protected. Every neighborhood deserves to be a safe neighborhood. This aggressive law enforcement collaboration sends a clear message that those individuals who threaten the very fabric of our communities will be dealt with.” ATF was also represented at today’s news conference at the federal building by ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Pearce.

“This operation is a direct result of the collaborative efforts with our federal law enforcement partners that I strongly support and encourage,” said Atlanta Police Chief George N. Turner. “Crime knows no borders, and recognizes no uniforms or agency insignia; neither should our efforts to combat those who seek to traffic in criminal activity such as the kind we have witnessed over the past several months in Operation ATL Blaze.”

United States Marshal Beverly Harvard said, “Law enforcement must employ varying tactics to make our cities safer and remove criminal elements from our communities. The United States Marshals Service is committed to partnering with other federal, state and local criminal justice agencies and removing from our streets those who play a role in wreaking havoc in our communities through illegally peddling firearms.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the indictment, and evidence in court: The storefront operation, called “ATL Blaze,” was located on Campbellton Road in Southwest Atlanta, and operated as a smoke shop, selling clothing, tobacco and tobacco-related products. Undercover agents, posing as store managers and employees, put out the word on the street that they were interested in buying firearms and drugs. Weapons traffickers, drug traffickers, and convicted felons began approaching the undercover agents about buying guns, drugs, and stolen property.

In some instances, the defendants told the undercover agents information that helped solve and prevent other crimes. For example, a defendant told the agents that he and others burglarized a store while wearing masks in order to defeat the store’s video surveillance system. ATF relayed this information to Peachtree City Police officers, who were able to arrest the individuals responsible for the burglary. On another occasion, some of the defendants approached the undercover agents about committing a home invasion robbery of a drug dealer, and, in order to prevent a violent crime from occurring, six defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury and arrested two months ago for conspiring to rob the drug dealer and carrying and possessing firearms in furtherance of a crime of violence. Among those indicted, 10 defendants sold contraband to the undercover agents while they were either on bond for a pending charge, on probation, or on parole.

The weapons taken in off the streets during the operation include 257 handguns, 60 rifles, 46 shotguns, and 10 sawed-off shotguns.

The 49 defendants were indicted on charges ranging from conspiring to commit a home invasion robbery, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of an unregistered sawed-off rifle, possession of a stolen firearm, unlawful dealing in firearms without a license, possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute and aggravated identity theft.

Those indicted by federal grand juries and arrested today, or already in custody, and their charges include (most from Atlanta except where indicated):

  • MICHAEL ALLEN, 22, Conspiracy to Unlawfully Deal in Firearms and Unlawful Dealing in Firearms
  • RONALD ALLEN, 29, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (6 counts)
  • TIMOTHY ANDERSON, 22, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (16 counts), Possessing Cocaine with the Intent to Distribute (2 counts), and Possessing Firearm During a Drug Trafficking Crime
  • CALVIN BARBER, 26, Conspiracy to Unlawfully Deal in Firearms, Unlawful Dealing in Firearms, and Possessing a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number
  • KELVIN CANTY, 23, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (5 counts)
  • DENELLION DAUGHTERY, 27, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (8 counts) and Possessing Heroin with the Intent to Distribute (2 counts)
  • ANTONIO JAMAL DAVIS, 26, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • JEVON FLEETWOOD, 19, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence
  • TRAYONTEY FRANKLIN, 20, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence
  • MAYA GATES, 31, Conspiracy to Unlawfully Deal in Firearms, Unlawful Dealing in Firearms, and Possession of an Unregistered Sawed-off Shotgun
  • COURTNEY HALL, 26, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (2 counts)
  • RICKY HILL, 23, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (8 counts)
  • SIGMUND JACKSON, 31, College Park, GA, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon
  • NAPOLEAN LAMAR, 22, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence
  • BRIAN MOSELEY, 20, Decatur, GA, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence
  • EMANUEL POWELL, 41, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (6 counts) and Possessing a Firearm with an Obliterated Serial Number
  • TREIVAUGHN AKEEM PURDUE, 22, Jonesboro, GA, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (8 counts)
  • JAMES SELLERS, 28, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (2 counts)
  • MACEO THOMAS, 42, Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon (2 counts)
  • DARRIUS TOWNS, 25, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence
  • DARIUS WEBB, 25, Conspiracy to Unlawfully Deal in Firearms and Unlawful Dealing in Firearms
  • BRANDON WILLIAMS, 24, Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery Affecting Interstate Commerce and Possessing a Firearm During a Crime of Violence

Those indicted by state grand juries and arrested today, or already in custody, and their charges, include:

JARVIS JONES, 34, Atlanta, GA, Trafficking in Cocaine (2 counts), Sale of Cocaine (2 counts)

KALIPH G. JONES, 22, Villa Rica, GA, Theft by Receiving Stolen Property (2 counts)

RODNEY DEMETRIUS MARION, 29, Forest Park, GA, Trafficking in Cocaine (9 counts), Sale of Cocaine (9 counts), and Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Felony (2 counts)

JOSHUA SMITH, 22, East Point, GA, Theft By Receiving Stolen Property

PEYTON DESHUN WELDON, 18, Atlanta, GA, Theft by Receiving Stolen Property (2 counts)

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case is being investigated by Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Atlanta Police Department. Assistance in this case has been provided by U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Social Security Administration.

Assistant United States Attorneys Jeffrey Brown, Phyllis Clerk, Brent Grey, Nekia Hackworth, Teresa Hoyt, Joseph Plummer, Greg Radics, Stephanie Gabay-Smith and Jill Steinberg are prosecuting the cases.”

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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Multiple Defendants Arrested for Allegedly Operating a Prescribtion Drug “Pill Mill”

June 30, 2011

U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Georgia on June 29, 2011 released the following press release:

Owners, Managers, and Doctors at “Atlanta Medical Group” Accused of Illegal Distribution of Hundreds of Thousands of Oxycodone Pills

ATLANTA, GA – JASON COLE VOTROBEK, 27, of Vero Beach Florida; JESSE VIOLANTE, 32, of Vero Beach, Florida; ROLAND RAFAEL CASTELLANOS, 32, of Cartersville, Georgia; TARA ATKINS, 33, of Cartersville, Georgia; and Dr. JAMES CHAPMAN, 61, of Macon, Georgia, were indicted and arrested on federal drug and money laundering charges for their respective roles in operating a so-called “pill mill” pain clinic which served as a front for the illegal distribution of addictive pain killers.

United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said of today’s arrests, “The abuse of pain medication has become epidemic and now accounts for more deaths in Georgia than all of the traditional illegal drugs combined. As the problems caused by prescription drug abuse become a focus for many of the communities in our district, our drug prosecutors also are focusing on the primary sources of these dangerous drugs in our state.”

John S. Comer, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s Atlanta Field Division said, “The dispensing of addictive prescription pain medication under the guise of a doctor’s care, as occurred in this investigation, is not about the good of the community or an individual’s specific health needs; it is about greed and those involved in “pill mill” activity are in fact drug dealers.”

Atlanta IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Reginael McDaniel said, “The indictment of these individuals puts a spotlight on organizations that illegally distribute drugs as well as the exemplary coordination among law enforcement, which leads to breaking up these organizations. Our goal is to stop criminal enterprises that profit from the illegal trade of dangerous narcotics and take away any financial benefit they receive from their criminal activity.”

Atlanta FBI Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin, said, “The FBI, through its Northwest Georgia Criminal Enterprise Safe Streets Task Force, in initiating this investigation in conjunction with the GBI and the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force, is pleased with its role in the successful outcome of this case. Through joint efforts such as this, the community in which we serve benefits while sending a clear message to those that would exploit the addictions of others.”

Bartow County Sheriff Clark Millsap said, “The Bartow/Cartersville Drug Task Force and all other agencies involved have been working diligently to stop this type of illegal drug activity. We want to send a message that we will not stand for any type of drug dealers in this county. Whether it be prescription drugs, marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, or any other illegal drug, we will exhaust all our law enforcement resources to stop you.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the indictment, and information presented in court: In May 2010, working from information from the FBI/ Northwest Georgia Criminal Enterprise Safe Streets Task Force, agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Bartow County Sheriff’s Office, as well as agents for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), expanded an investigation of “Atlanta Medical Group,” after learning that the clinic, located at 16 Collins Drive, Cartersville, Georgia, was prescribing pain pills outside the bounds of legitimate medical practice.

The investigation revealed that VOTROBEK, VIOLANTE, AND CASTELLANOS financed and operated the clinic. ATKINS served as the office manager. CHAPMAN served as the primary doctor. The indictment charges that in their respective capacities, they worked to procure and distribute Oxycodone pills to addicts and illegitimate distributors. The clinic’s doctor was directed by the owners and managers to see as many patients as possible, in order to generate substantial profits through the sale of pills, which were largely dispensed on site. CHAPMAN allegedly did so, however, without conducting sufficient medical examinations. The indictment alleges that at on least one occasion, ATKINS facilitated the filling of prescriptions when the doctor was unable to do so himself. In addition, the amounts of pills distributed to patients were excessive, and with unusual dosage patterns.

The indictment charges that the clinic was really a drug distribution operation with an extremely high volume of patients visiting from surrounding states. Many of those visiting had apparent signs of being addicts. The clinic allegedly engaged in unusual practices, including permitting non-medical staff to assist with medical procedures, including taking blood pressure, to maximize the number of patients to be seen. The defendants allegedly made millions of dollars during the clinic’s approximately one year of operation. The indictment charges that the defendants established multiple bank accounts, many in third-party names, to conceal the windfall profits.

Members of the public are reminded that the indictment contains only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Bartow County Sheriff’s Office, and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. This case was initiated by the FBI/ Northwest Georgia Criminal Enterprise Safe Streets Task Force.

Assistant United States Attorneys G. Scott Hulsey and Cassandra Schansman prosecuted the case.”

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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Fifth Member of CD and DVD Counterfeiting Ring in Atlanta Sentenced to 38 Months in Prison

June 19, 2011

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on June 17, 2011 released the following press release:

“WASHINGTON – Ibrahim Diallo, 27, of Atlanta, was sentenced to 38 months in prison today by U.S. District Judge William S. Duffey Jr., in Atlanta for his involvement in a counterfeit DVD and CD ring, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates for the Northern District of Georgia. Diallo was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,867 in restitution, jointly and severally with his co-defendants.

“Mr. Diallo and his co-conspirators trafficked in counterfeit CDs and DVDs that would have been worth millions of dollars on the open market, to the detriment of artists, retailers, producers and others,” said Assistant Attorney General Breuer. “The Justice Department has never been more committed than it is today to investigating and prosecuting these crimes, and this case exemplifies our determination to make sure that counterfeiters and other intellectual property criminals are appropriately punished.”

“The victims in this case are the thousands of Americans who earn their livelihoods from the legitimate creation and performance of popular music and movies,” said U.S. Attorney Quillian Yates. “This group of defendants stole from them by mass-producing counterfeit music CDs and DVD movies in a pirating operation that may have been the largest of its kind in the Southeastern United States.”

Diallo pleaded guilty on Sept. 1, 2009, to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, to traffic in counterfeit goods and to traffic in counterfeit labels. At the plea hearing, Diallo admitted that he sold pirated CDs and DVDs along with counterfeit labels and packaging. Diallo admitted to selling, and conspiring to sell, thousands of pirated CDs and DVDs per week.

Diallo was one of 13 individuals charged in a May 19, 2009, indictment alleging various copyright, trademark and counterfeit goods offenses. In February 2011, four of Diallo’s co-conspirators were sentenced for their involvement in the piracy ring. Mamadou Sadio Barry, 40, was sentenced to 60 months in prison; Moussa Baradji, 29, was sentenced to 50 months in prison; Sedikey Sankano, 42, was sentenced to 24 months in prison; and Won Ahn, 69, was placed on probation for one year. Barry, Baradji and Sankano also were ordered to serve three years of supervised release following their prison terms. Barry and Baradji were ordered to pay $70,894 in restitution and Sankano was ordered to pay $3,867 in restitution. The court found that these defendants were responsible for distributing illegal copies of products that, if legitimate, would have been valued at more than $2 million.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Pearce in the Northern District of Georgia and Senior Counsel John H. Zacharia of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. The case was investigated by special agents of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, together with officers of the Atlanta Police Department Organized Crime Unit; the College Park, Ga., Police Department; and the East Point, Ga ., Police Department. Assistance was provided by the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America.

The sentence announced today is an example of efforts being undertaken by the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force). Attorney General Eric Holder created the IP Task Force to combat the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes, protect the health and safety of American consumers, and safeguard the nation’s economic security against those who seek to profit illegally from American creativity, innovation and hard work. The IP Task Force seeks to strengthen intellectual property rights protection through heightened criminal and civil enforcement, greater coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement partners, and increased focus on international enforcement efforts, including reinforcing relationships with key foreign partners and U.S. industry leaders.”

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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5 South Florida Men Charged with Large-scale Copper Theft Ring In Georgia

June 13, 2011

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on June 13, 2011 released the following press release:

“ATLANTA – Jacinto “Pachi” Diaz, 45, of Miami, was arraigned late Friday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Hagy on federal charges relating to a ring allegedly responsible for a large-scale theft of copper wire from the Southwire Company in Carrollton, Ga., in 2010.

The case involving the alleged theft of 129,000 pounds of copper wire is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Carrollton Police Department.

Diaz was ordered to be detained pending a trial. He was arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on May 26 as he attempted to cross the border from Hidalgo, Texas into Mexico. Diaz was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant since April 20, after a federal grand jury in the Northern District of Georgia returned a superseding indictment against him and co-defendants Henry Diaz, 26, of Miami, Mario Baras Gonzalez, 47, of Miami Beach, Fla., and Jesus Ramirez, 26, of Homestead, Fla., who were previously arraigned. Co-defendant Anthony Foubelo, 31, of Miami, has already pleaded guilty to the same charges.

“This extensive investigation involved not only HSI special agents in Atlanta and Miami, but also the Carrollton Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigations,” said Brock Nicholson, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Atlanta. “This case is an excellent example of how teamwork among state, local and federal agencies can disrupt these types of large-scale criminal activities and ensure that those involved are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Starting approximately April 29, 2010, Gonzalez, Ramirez and Foubelo, at the direction of co-defendants Henry Diaz and Jacinto Diaz, allegedly posed as truck drivers working on behalf of a legitimate shipping company to pick up approximately 129,000 pounds ($465,000 worth) of copper wire and deliver it to various destinations in Indiana.Gonzalez, Ramirez and Foubelo allegedly used false aliases to pick up the copper wire from Southwire and steal it across state lines into Florida. The conspiracy charge against the defendants in the indictment also includes alleged thefts involving copper and other items in Texas, New York, Florida, and South Carolina between March and September 2010.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Sally Quillian Yates said, “Copper is disappearing at an alarming rate as its value has increased. People in our communities have heard of many smaller thefts, but these charges allege that this scheme involved about a half million dollars worth of copper. The indictment also alleges that this was an organized ring with a specific criminal plan. Our federal and local agencies are well aware of this demand for copper and increased criminal activity.”

Each is charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of transporting stolen goods in interstate commerce. Foubelo pleaded guilty to both counts on April 21. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 8, before U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr.

They each face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy charge and 10 years for transporting stolen goods in interstate commerce. Each count also carries a maximum fine of $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven D. Grimberg and Special United States Attorney Laurel R. Boatright are prosecuting the case.”

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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