Prosecutors in ND, SD warn about human trafficking

July 18, 2012

San Francisco Chronicle on July 17, 2012 released the following:

“DAVE KOLPACK, Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Top federal prosecutors from North and South Dakota have added human trafficking to their list of crimes affecting Native Americans at an increased rate in the two states.

U.S. attorneys Brendan Johnson of South Dakota and Timothy Purdon of North Dakota said during a conference on family violence Tuesday that both states are seeing more cases of girls and young women being recruited for prostitution and drug rings.

Three new indictments for human trafficking have been handed down in South Dakota in the last three months, Johnson said.

“You have people who treat their victims like they’re not humans,” Johnson said after talking to a group that included police, social workers, prosecutors, counselors and community leaders.

The operations are formed mainly in populated areas, but American Indian girls are particularly at risk, the prosecutors said. Some of them were recruited by a Sioux Falls-area man who was convicted last year of sex trafficking of a child.

“These young girls were brutalized. They were humiliated,” Johnson said.

Brandon Thompson, 28, of Tea, S.D., was sentenced to life in prison on the sex trafficking charge.

“This is one area where the federal government has gotten it right,” Johnson said of the penalty.

A recent sex trafficking case in North Dakota involved several victims from the Fort Berthold Reservation. Dustin Morsette, 22, of New Town, was convicted of sex trafficking, sexual abuse, drug trafficking and witness tampering. He is awaiting sentencing.

Authorities said Morsette recruited minors and young adults to be part of a gang he described as the Black Disciples. He allegedly forced gang members to distribute marijuana for him and engage in sex acts with him.

One of the investigators in that case, Bureau of Indian Affairs agent Mike White, said the increase in oil workers has added to worries about sex trafficking. But he said recent convictions on human trafficking and other violent crime has made victims and others more willing to help law enforcement.

“I have hope. I’ve seen it already,” White said in an interview Tuesday. “Once they know people are being prosecuted, they are coming forward.”

Purdon, the U.S. attorney from North Dakota, said the campaign against violent crime on the reservation is a long process. He noted that an American Indian woman born in the United States has a 1-in-3 chance of being sexually assaulted in her lifetime.

“Improving public safety in Indian country is not something you are going to knock out in two years,” he said. “If we can sustain this for a period of years, I am hopeful, I am confident, we can impact some of these statistics we find to be unacceptable.””

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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.


3 convicted, 6 acquitted in sex trafficking case

May 4, 2012

Fox News on May 4, 2012 released the following:

“Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A Tennessee federal jury split its verdict Friday against nine people accused of operating a sex trafficking ring across three states run mostly by Somali refugee gang members, convicting three men and acquitting six.

The defendants are among 30 who were indicted in the case that spans from Minnesota to Ohio and Tennessee. The jury of six men and six women deliberated over five days this week before returning the verdict. The other defendants were severed from the trial and could face trial at a later date.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Van Vincent said the verdict shows that the jury found that sex trafficking did occur and the government won’t cease prosecuting these cases.

“It’s very important for victims to understand that you can come forward, people will listen and that people can believe what you have to say about the crime,” Vincent said.

A Somali witness identified only as Jane Doe No. 2 testified that she was used as a prostitute by gang members starting at the age of 12. She cried in court as she described being taken to several apartments in around suburban Minneapolis to have sex with other Somali men for money, sometimes as little as $40.

Idris Ibrahim Fahra, Andrew Kayachith and Yassin Abdirahman Yusuf were found guilty of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children by force, fraud or coercion. The three men were also charged with child sex trafficking and attempted child sex trafficking, but only Fahra was convicted on one additional count of child sex trafficking.

Fahra faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for the child sex trafficking conviction up to life in prison, and Kayachitch and Yusuf face possible maximum sentences of up to life. No sentencing date has been set.

According to the prosecutors, Idris Fahra, who went by the nickname “Chi Town,” had an apartment in St. Paul in 2006 that was used for trafficking of Jane Doe No. 2, who was in the 7th grade at the time, and he would also get to have sex with her for free because he was a member of the gang.

Jane Doe No. 2 also described being taken to Nashville in April 2009 for the purpose of sexual trafficking. Andrew Kayachitch, who went by the nickname “AK,” and Yassin Abdirahman Yusuf, who went by the nickname “Junior,” were detained in Nashville by police along with Jane Doe No. 2.

Defense attorneys repeatedly questioned whether Jane Doe No. 2 was a juvenile at the time the sex acts occurred because prosecutors revealed on the eve of trial that her birth certificate was falsified. But Vincent said the jury determined she was under the age of 18.

Attorney David Komisar, attorney for Yusuf, said his client was disappointed by the verdict and he plans to fight the conviction.

“He maintains his innocence and we don’t think that there was proof that Jane Doe No. 2 was underage in April of 2009,” he said following the verdict.

Carol Owen, the attorney who represented Jane Doe No. 2 and her family, said the three individuals who were convicted were directly involved with the trafficking that Jane Doe No. 2 described on the stand.

Owen called her client courageous for taking the stand for five days to testify about very intimate details of the sexual acts in front of a courtroom full of Somalis and said Jane Doe No. 2’s parents remain supportive of her. Defense attorneys had claimed she willingly had sex with multiple defendants and lied about it so her conservative Somali family could save face.

“She testified in order to tell the truth and bring justice to people who should be prosecuted,” she said. “The justice system gave her her day.”

Owen said Jane Doe No. 2 hopes to be an advocate for other sex trafficking victims and hopes that by taking the stand, other victims will come forward.

Six of the nine defendants are of Somali descent. Two others were natives of Ethiopia. Kayachith was born in the U.S. and is of Laotian descent.

Jennifer Thompson, defense attorney for defendant Fahra, said in closing statements last week that Jane Doe No. 2 was a runaway who manipulated people around her and was fed information from a St. Paul, Minn., police investigator.

Thompson did not immediately return a call seeking comment about her client.

Another witness, who was identified in court as Jane Doe No. 5, testified that she saw young women and girls being used as prostitutes in a Nashville apartment. She testified that she was being used to have sex with men in Minnesota when she was around 15 or 16 years old. But the jury did not convict anyone on counts related to her testimony.

Luke Evans, an attorney for the acquitted defendant Fadumo Mohamed Farah, said Jane Doe No. 5 was mentally ill and not taking her medication when she testified. He argued that she suffers from paranoid delusions and can’t tell fiction from fact.

The original indictment that was unsealed in 2010 claims the ring involved three Minneapolis-based gangs — the Somali Outlaws, the Somali Mafia and the Lady Outlaws — and that all three gangs are connected. The men and women charged were either gang members or associates of the gangs that operated in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Columbus, Ohio; and Nashville.

The other men acquitted Friday are Ahmad Abnulnasir Ahmad, Musse Ahmed Ali, Fatah Haji Hashi, Dahir Nor Ibrahim and Mohamed Ahmed Amalle.”

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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

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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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.


Feds Get 17 Days to Decide Whether to Charge Sex Defendant With Trying to Kill a Prosecutor

December 2, 2011

Courthouse News Service on December 2, 2011 released the following:

“By JOE HARRIS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) – Federal prosecutors have until Dec. 19 to decide whether to proceed with murder-for-hire charges against a man accused of sex trafficking by force. U.S. District Judge Robert E. Larsen ruled that if prosecutors want to present evidence at trial against Bradley Cook for a murder-for-hire plot against federal prosecutor Cynthia Cordes, then Cordes must be disqualified from the case.

“The danger is simply too great that the jury in this case would sympathize with the government to the detriment of the defendant because government counsel was the victim of a murder-for-hire plot engineered by the defendant,” Larsen wrote.

Cook, 33, of Kirkwood, a suburb of St. Louis, is one of a group of men accused of brutally abusing a woman kept as a sex slave near Lebanon, Mo.

Prosecutors claim Cook tried to hire a hit man to kill Cordes, an assistant U.S. attorney who was prosecuting the case. Prosecutors used the claim in a motion to keep Cook in prison and be moved to a different jail, which Larsen approved.

Cook’s attorney argued that there’s no proof to support the murder-for-hire allegations. Cook’s attorney has accused prosecutors of using deceptive jailhouse informants, playing up the accusations against Cook and hiding exculpatory information.

Judge Larsen “ORDERED that by December 19, 2011, the government file a written election indicating whether it intends to proceed with AUSA Cordes at the helm or whether she will withdraw in favor of the government’s offering evidence of the alleged attempt to hire someone to murder her.””

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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

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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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.


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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Cooper Kweme Indicted by an Alexandria Federal Grand Jury for Sex Trafficking, Transportation of a Minor for Prostitution, and Production of Child Pornography

July 25, 2011

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Virginia on July 22, 2011 released the following:

“ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Cooper Kweme, 31, of Silver Spring, Md., has been indicted by a federal grand jury of sex trafficking, transportation of a minor for prostitution, and production of child pornography.

Neil MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; James McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; and M. Douglas Scott, Arlington County Chief of Police made the announcement.

“It’s anguishing to think that contact through a teen social site could lead a vulnerable girl into the world of sex slavery,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Mr. Kweme is accused of recruiting girls online and other locations to work for his prostitution business. Our youth must be vigilant against predators trolling on social networking sites, like Tagged, and bring any suspicious activity to the attention of law enforcement so we can catch sex traffickers before they can enslave more victims.”

According to the indictment and court records, Kweme allegedly operated a prostitution business in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, and used the Internet to advertise women as prostitutes. In February 2011, Kweme is accused of recruiting a juvenile female to work as a prostitute after meeting her on an online social network targeted at teens. Kweme subsequently posted photographs of the juvenile on the Internet, including a sexually explicit photograph. Kweme was arrested by the Arlington County Police Department on June 1, 2011, and later charged in federal court. Kweme is scheduled to be arraigned on July 29, 2011, in the United States District Court in Alexandria, Virginia.

If convicted, Kweme faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison for the sex trafficking and transportation of a minor for prostitution charges. He faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison for the production of child pornography charge.

This case was investigated by the Arlington County Police Department and FBI’s Northern Virginia Resident Agency. Assistant United States Attorneys Morris Parker and Mary Daly are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.”

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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