5 people charged with allegedly manufacturing and distributing fake marijuana in Colorado

July 23, 2013

Fox 31 Denver on July 22, 2013 released the following:

by Greg Ellison

“DENVER – Five residents of Larimer County were arrested on Friday for conspiracy to manufacture and distribute synthetic marijuana.

The group appeared in U.S. District Court in Denver on Monday, where they were advised of their rights and the charges pending against them. They are due back in court on July 25, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. for arraignment and a detention hearing.

On Friday, HSI agents and Northern Colorado Task Force officers executed search warrants at seven locations, including residences and businesses in Fort Collins. Confiscated in the search warrants were: money from several bank accounts used by the defendants (amounts to be determined), $26,000 in cash, 75 pounds of Spice and the chemicals and dry products to make Spice, thousands of packaging units of Spice for later sale, and several firearms.

The bust was a joint effort by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Northern Colorado Task Force.

Known by the street name Spice, the primary drug involved is JWH-018. According to charging documents, the defendants, Dien Le, Ponlue Pim, Pirun Pim, Ricky Pim, and Kenneth Barnes, knowingly and intentionally conspired to manufacture, possess with the intent to distribute, and to distribute mixtures or substances containing detectable amounts of JWH-018.

Investigators say the group operated the manufacturing and distribution ring from October 11, 2012 through April 30, 2013.

Defendant Barnes is accused of ordering JWH-018 from China, having it shipped to New York and then routed to Fort Collins. Barnes is also being charged with having a leafy green substance sent from San Antonio, Texas to Fort Collins.

The drug JWH-018 is manufactured in China without Food and Drug Administration oversight, and may contain substances with negative health effects.

“Spice is a very dangerous substance that is being used by people as young as teenagers,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “When a person uses Spice they have no actual idea what they are putting into their body – as a key part of the product is made in China without regulatory controls.”

Investigators claim that the group would mix the substances together, add moisture, and after it dried had produced Spice. After packaging the product they would distribute it to head shops, gas stations and other local retain stores. Consumers would typically pay $10 for 1.5 grams or $20 for 3 grams of the drug.

Synthetic marijuana is illegal in the state of Colorado.

“Illicit smuggling schemes involving synthetic marijuana pose a growing threat to public health and safety,” said Kumar Kibble, special agent in charge of HSI Denver. “Because these drugs are unregulated and untested, it is impossible to know what chemicals are being ingested, making them incredibly dangerous. With these latest arrests, HSI and our law enforcement partners have struck a huge blow to the synthetic drug industry.”

Charges could result in penalties including up to 20 years in federal prison and fines up to $1,000 per count.

“This is another excellent example of federal and local law enforcement personnel working well together,” said Lt. Greg Yeager, Commander of the Northern Colorado Drug Task Force. “The dismantling of this drug trafficking organization will have a lasting impact on the presence of illegal drugs not only in the City of Fort Collins, but across the nation.”

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Sibert.”

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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 charge Cherryville cops with allegedly aiding ‘crooks’

October 19, 2012
FBI
“Ray Gora / Lincoln Times-News
FBI agents seize computers and other materials from the Cherryville Police Department on Wednesday.”

Lincoln Times-News on October 19, 2012 released the following:

“JENNA-LEY HARRISON

Staff Writer

An undercover federal investigation is shaking up the Cherryville Police Department this week, amid claims that some police officers were operating on the wrong side of the law.

Four law enforcement officers and two other men who are accused of conspiring earlier this year to safeguard stolen property and proceeds from their sale, are set to make their second appearance in a Charlotte courtroom today, following an FBI raid on Wednesday.

The officers have also been accused of securing monetary bribes for their legal authority in the operation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the state’s Western District said.

According to federal authorities, the men made a serious blunder – their partners in the conspiracy, whom they believed to be criminals, were actually undercover FBI agents.

As a result of the arrests, the city of Cherryville has also suspended its police chief and captain.

Federal officials are not saying who else might be a target of the ongoing investigation.

Two federal indictments were unsealed earlier Wednesday in the case.

One indictment from Tuesday charged Cherryville Police officer Frankie Dellinger, 40, Gaston County Sheriff’s reserve officer Wesley Clayton Golden, 39, and Cherryville resident Mark Ray Hoyle, 39.

Each man faces one count each of conspiracy to extort under color of official right, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to transport and/or receive stolen property, four counts each of transportation of stolen property, money laundering and aiding and abetting and three counts of possession of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, according to a press release.

Federal authorities also charged Dellinger with with an extra count of extortion.

The three men are accused of protecting the men they believed were co-conspirators by allowing them to safely transport tractor trailers filled with stolen property through the area, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Hoyle, Dellinger and Golden also protected the transportation of more than $400,000, proceeds from the merchandises’ sale, the release said.

Goods included televisions and generators worth nearly $160,000.

A second indictment from Aug. 21 charged Cherryville patrol officers Casey Justin Crawford, 32, and David Paul Mauney III, 23, along with Cherryville resident John Ashley Hendricks, 47, with one count each of conspiracy to transport and/or receive stolen property and conspiracy to extort under color of official right.

Crawford additionally faces one count of program fraud bribery.

Since May, Crawford, Mauney and Hendricks similarly worked with undercover agents they thought were criminals in protecting the transport of more than $300,000 in stolen merchandise along with more than $300,000 in proceeds from the items’ sale, the release said.

Hoyle’s role in the conspiracy included “representing himself as a law enforcement officer,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. On the other hand, Hendricks, Crawford and Mauney used counter-surveillance to ensure other officers wouldn’t discover the illegal operation, the release said.

FBI officials launched the investigation following allegations last year that Dellinger had been involved in illegal activity, an indictment said.

The phony criminals requested assistance from law enforcement officers who would be willing to provide protection for stolen items in exchange for cash bribes.

Dellinger accepted the offer and soon “recruited” Hoyle and Golden, according to the indictment.

The three men received $17,000 in the scheme in exchange for keeping the stolen goods away from thieves and the detection of other law enforcement agencies and even agreed to use violence, if necessary, to carry out such duties, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

All six men appeared in a Charlotte courtroom today on the charges.

They each face up to 20 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, if convicted, the release said.

Interim City Manager and Cherryville Fire Chief Jeff Cash released a separate statement late Wednesday announcing that Police Chief Woody Burgess and Capt. Mike Allred, a Lincoln County resident, have been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation, though neither has been charged to this point.

“As interim city manager, I will be naming myself interim police chief with the day-to-day operational activities to be supervised by Sgt. Cam Jenks,” Cash wrote.

Cash said safety of the citizens would not be compromised by the investigation into the police department and other law enforcement agencies were assisting as needed.

Individuals with emergencies can call 911 or police dispatch at (704) 435-1717.

The Gaston County District Attorney’s Office was quoted by other area news media saying they may drop pending criminal cases relying on any of charged officers’ testimonies, though the Times-News was unable to independently confirm this. Just how many cases that would include is also unclear.

Five of the six suspects remain without bond behind Mecklenburg County bars. The location of John Hendricks is currently unknown. He was not listed as a current Mecklenburg County inmate and does not even have a record in the county, an employee with CharMeck Citizen Services told the Times-News Thursday afternoon.

The State Bureau of Investigation has also been looking into the city of Cherryville since last year for misuse of town funds.”

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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.


Ex-EPISD Superintendent Lorenzo García’s victims can tell court of harm

August 29, 2012

El Paso Times on August 29, 2012 released the following:

“By Hayley Kappes \ El Paso Times

Victims of a scheme to fraudulently inflate standardized test scores at the El Paso Independent School District have until Sept. 21 to inform a federal court of the harm they suffered.

Students or employees of the school district between 2006 and 2011 who suffered damages from a plan devised by former Superintendent Lorenzo García can fill out a “declaration of victim losses” through the U.S. Probation Office.

Those who were directly harmed include students classified as “limited English proficient” or special education students whom the district targeted to prevent from taking the 10th-grade Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exams, according to a letter dated Aug. 17 from the probation office to district students, parents and employees.

District faculty and staff members were indirectly harmed by the scheme, according to the letter.

Former state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, who in 2010 alleged the district was removing students improperly, and members of Kids First! Reform EPISD!, a general-purpose political action committee, are urging victims of García’s crimes to detail their losses to the U.S. Probation Office.

Shapleigh argued that García’s restitution should include the cost of educating each student who was denied an education and the bonuses he earned by fraudulent means.

Under the plea agreement, García faces a prison sentence of just less than four years and is ordered to pay $180,000 in restitution to the school district for his role in the cheating scheme and for steering a $450,000 contract to his mistress.

The restitution money should go toward creating a fund at the district to help students who were improperly pushed out as a result of the scheme, Shapleigh said.

“We’re asking that the return of the money be made to the students for their education, that the students have a fund at EPISD, to go find them, to restore them and get them a high-school degree,” Shapleigh said. “They are the real victims.”

District officials have not identified all the students whose education was impeded because of the scheme, district spokeswoman Renee de Santos wrote in an email.

“The district is continuing its efforts, on its own and as part of its cooperation with federal investigators to identify students who may have been affected by the criminal conduct described in the information filed against Dr. Lorenzo García,” de Santos wrote.

Douglas McNabb, adjunct professor of international criminal law at South Texas College of Law in Houston, said that because there are so many direct and indirect victims, it would have been difficult to assign a restitution amount.

García’s attorneys worked with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to determine the restitution amount, said Jim Darnell, one of the former superintendent’s attorneys.

Darnell disagreed that the restitution should reflect the district’s per student expenditures for students who were pushed out of school and said Shapleigh is not a criminal lawyer.

Daryl Fields, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said he couldn’t comment on how the restitution amount was reached.

The judge has the authority not to accept the plea agreement and can factor the victims’ statements to determine García’s punishment, said Douglas McNabb, adjunct professor of international criminal law at South Texas College of Law. McNabb has been a federal criminal defense lawyer for 30 years.

For each charge García pleaded guilty to, the punishment range is a maximum of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Senior U.S. District Judge David Briones in June said he would review the sentencing guidelines to determine whether the punishment should be more or less than the recommended sentence.

García is free on bond and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 5.

“The court could say based upon the stated harm from the victims, ‘I’m going to give the defendant the high end of the guideline range,'” McNabb said. “By allowing the victim to set out a dollar amount in the statement would help perhaps the probation officer in terms of apportioning the amount of the plea-agreed-upon restitution, assuming that the defendant can pay it. Most of them can’t.””

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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.


Federal grand jury subpoenas Finance Committee

August 16, 2012

Chicago Tribune on August 15, 2012 released the following:

“Seeks 6 years of records on disability payments

By John Byrne and Hal Dardick, Chicago Tribune reporters

A federal grand jury has demanded that a City Council committee led by a powerful alderman turn over records related to a program that last year alone paid out $115 million to disabled city workers, according to documents obtained by the Tribune.

Prosecutors sent subpoenas to the Finance Committee long led by Ald. Edward Burke, 14th. The Aug. 3 request asks for access to a host of records related to the “duty disability” program.

The subpoenas were issued about one week after city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, a former federal prosecutor, announced that Burke’s committee had rebuffed his attempts to obtain many of the same records.

The U.S. attorney’s office and the city inspector general’s office previously conducted joint investigations, most notably Operation Crooked Code, which led to the convictions of more than a dozen city workers and private contractors involved in a bribery scandal in the city’s Zoning and Building departments.

The Finance Committee runs the workers’ compensation program for the city’s workforce, excluding sworn police and fire personnel injured in the line of duty, committee spokesman Donal Quinlan said. The committee provided a copy of the subpoenas to the Tribune on Tuesday in response to a request made under the state’s open records law.

“The Committee on Finance acknowledges receiving the subpoenas and … we are cooperating 100 percent with the U.S. attorney’s office,” Quinlan said in a written statement. “We will have no further comment.”

The subpoenas demand access to the duty disability program’s database and a host of other records, including injury records, medical assessments and claim investigation records dating to January 2006. They also call on the committee to turn over records showing the duties of staff members who run the program.

Six years ago, the U.S. attorney’s office subpoenaed similar records, but that probe has not resulted in any charges.

Ferguson had spent months trying to get access to the database, but committee staff turned down the request, saying the records fell outside Ferguson’s jurisdiction. Instead, Quinlan said Tuesday that Burke had agreed to give the information to the council’s newly hired watchdog, Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan.

But Khan runs a fledgling one-man office that has funding of $260,000 this year, compared with Ferguson, who has an authorized staff of 67 and a budget of $5.8 million. The powers of Khan’s office also are more limited.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel previously had declined to weigh in on the tussle between Burke and Ferguson over the records. On Tuesday, before the subpoenas were released, Emanuel said he supports strong oversight of the payments because cracking down on disability fraud could save the city millions of dollars each year.

“As it relates specifically to workers’ comp, I was very clear when we introduced our budget that we can take $15 million of cost out of that because of abuse that goes on, and waste,” Emanuel said.

But he did not directly address a question about whether Khan’s office has enough muscle to provide that. “There should be constant oversight of what happens in that system,” he said at an unrelated news conference. “And so I’m not particular about whether it’s that IG, meaning the legislative IG.”

Ferguson was unavailable Tuesday to comment on the Khan development, and his spokesman declined to comment on the federal subpoenas.

Aldermen created Khan’s office in 2010 as they sought to fend off a move by then-Mayor Richard Daley to give Ferguson the power to investigate the City Council. Several aldermen said then that the city inspector general, appointed by the mayor, could not be truly independent.

Critics contend that Khan’s office is a sham because he must clear considerable hurdles before he can open an official investigation. Among them is approval from the city Board of Ethics, which has not issued a finding of aldermanic wrongdoing in more than 24 years.

Khan does not have his own investigators, instead relying on those who work for the Board of Ethics. Asked Tuesday whether he can handle an audit of the disability program, Khan said he hopes to get funding from the City Council to hire more people next year.

“The discussion is always about whether I have enough resources or manpower to do it,” said Khan, who plans to begin his audit in September.”

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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.


Federal Indictment Alleges That Peregrine CEO, Russell Wasendorf Sr., Lied To Regulators Every Month Since Jan 2010

August 14, 2012
Russell Wasendorf Sr.
“Prosecutors say Wasendorf lied to regulators about the value of customer funds on a monthly basis in reports from January 2010 through May 2012.”

Forbes on August 14, 2012 released the following:

By: Halah Touryalai, Forbes Staff

“Russell Wasendorf Sr., the CEO of the now bankrupt Peregrine Financial Group, has been formally charged by a federal grand jury on 31 counts of misleading regulators.

Wasendorf lied to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission 31 times about the value of customer funds the firm held. Wasendorf, who’s been held in custody since being arrested in July, faces 155 years in prison and a fine of $7.75 million if convicted on all counts.

According to the indictment Wasendorf submitted false information for his U.S. futures and currency brokerage firm in its 2010 and 2011 financial statements.

Wasendorf “overstated the value of PFG’s customer segregated funds by at least tens of millions of dollars, well knowing and believing the actual value of PFG’s customer segregate funds was at least tens of millions of dollars less than stated in the financial documents,” the indictment says. []

The CEO’s false statements didn’t stop there, according to prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Iowa. Wasendorf lied to regulators about the value of customer funds on a monthly basis in reports from January 2010 through May 2012, prosecutors says.

Last month Wasendorf was arrested after regulators accused PFG of fraud, misusing of client money, violating customer fund segregation laws and making false statements about its finances. Peregrine file for bankruptcy and roughly $215 million in client assets are missing amid the mess.

Wasendorf’s arrest came just days after he attempted to take his own life outside his Iowa-based office building. According to police reports, the CEO attempted suicide and left a note stating that he had been stealing from the firm.

According to reports, the CEO attempted the suicide after a regulator pushed him to allow its auditors to electronically verify customer balances actually exist at its custodian bank–in this case, U.S. Bank.”

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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.


Indefinite Detention Ruling Appealed By Federal Prosecutors

August 7, 2012

The Huffington Post on August 6, 2012 released the following:

“Reuters

NEW YORK, Aug 6 (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors on Monday appealed a U.S. judge’s order barring enforcement of part of a law that permits indefinite military detention for those deemed to have “substantially supported” al Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces.”

Manhattan federal court Judge Katherine Forrest in May ruled in favor of activists and reporters who said they feared being detained under a section of the law, signed by President Barack Obama in December.

The government says indefinite military detention without trial is justified in some cases involving militants and their supporters.

The judge’s preliminary injunction prevents the U.S. government from enforcing section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act’s “Homeland Battlefield” provisions.

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office, which represents the government in this case, along with named defendants Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta filed its notice of appeal with the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The plaintiffs in the case have asked Judge Forrest to make her injunction permanent. Oral argument on the request is scheduled for Tuesday.

In court filings, prosecutors have argued that the law is neither too broad nor overly vague, and that in any event the plaintiffs do not have standing to bring the case.

The plaintiffs “cannot point to a single example of the military’s detaining anyone for engaging in conduct even remotely similar to the type of expressive activities they allege could lead to detention,” the United States said in court documents filed last month.

In issuing her ruling, the judge said she was worried by the government’s reluctance at a March hearing to say whether examples of the plaintiffs’ activities – such as aiding the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks in the case of Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of parliament in Iceland – would fall under the scope of the provision.

Plaintiffs also include former New York Times war correspondent and Pulitzer Prize-winner Chris Hedges.”

————————————————————–

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

————————————————————–

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 warn of crackdown on Seattle gun violence

June 19, 2012

SeattlePI on June 19, 2012 released the following:

“GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — The Justice Department’s top official in Seattle promised Monday to start sending more people to federal prison for gun crimes following several tragic and random shootings in the city, including the deaths of four people at an artsy cafe.

For more than a decade, federal prosecutors have reviewed state cases of felons caught with weapons under a nationwide program called Project Safe Neighborhoods, and they’ve gone after some of the worst offenders — sending them to federal prison for longer than they would face under state law.

Seattle U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said her office will now prosecute all felon-in-possession gun cases in Seattle in which there is federal jurisdiction and in which the defendants would face more time federally.

“We have seen way too many shootings in the city this year,” Durkan said at a news conference. “If you bring a gun to a crime, you will do time, and you likely will do federal time.”

The federal penalties for gun crimes include up to 10 years for being a felon caught with a firearm, an automatic five-year minimum for bringing a gun to a drug deal, and a 15-year minimum for those who are caught with a gun after having three prior violent or drug-related felony convictions.

By contrast, under state law, ex-cons who are caught with a gun could face a two-year sentence if their underlying felony is considered “serious.” If the underlying felony is not considered serious — burglary, drug cases, and child pornography among others — it takes four convictions for being a felon-in-possession before the offender is sent back to prison for one year, said King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, who hosted the news conference Monday.

Few people realize how lenient state law is about felons who get guns, Satterberg said, and Washington state is also permissive when it comes to armed children. Children under 18 have to be convicted of illegal gun possession five times before they are sent to a state Juvenile Rehabilitation Authority facility for 15 weeks, he said.

Seattle has already seen more homicides this year — 21 — than it saw all of last year, though it remains one of the nation’s safer big cities.

On May 30, a man with a history of undiagnosed mental problems walked into a cafe in the city’s University District and opened fire, killing four people and wounding another. He then killed a woman downtown while stealing her car, and took his own life on a city street that afternoon as police moved in to arrest him.

The spree followed two unrelated, random killings. In the first, a 21-year-old culinary student who had just moved to Seattle was killed by a bullet fired from a passing car as she was walking home. In the second, a man was driving in a van with his children and his parents in broad daylight when a bullet struck him in the head. The still-unidentified shooter, who had been in an argument on the street, was aiming for someone else.

Last year, a King County deputy prosecutor specially designated to review gun cases for federal prosecution, Stephen Hobbs, looked at 200 cases. The U.S. attorney’s office wound up prosecuting 40 of those cases, and in about 50 others, Hobbs sent a letter to the defendants warning them that they would probably face federal prosecution — and a longer sentence — unless they agreed to plead guilty in state court.

In about 25 to 50 of the cases, the U.S. attorney’s office might have had jurisdiction but declined to prosecute, said spokeswoman Emily Langlie. For now, the office’s new policy of taking all cases applies only to Seattle.

Durkan, Satterberg and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn acknowledged that solving gun violence takes more than tough prosecution. The state lacks the capacity in many cases to provide meaningful interventions in emergency mental health situations, Satterberg said, and budgetary cuts to social services have compounded that.

But there are things people can do to help, they said. They urged gun owners to keep their guns properly locked up. While Seattle police have recovered 361 guns from criminals this year, 81 others have been reported stolen in burglaries, Deputy Seattle Police Chief Nick Metz said.

They also said state laws should be changed to make penalties stiffer for felons and children who get guns illegally, and to stop gun purchases at gun shows without a background check.

Durkan urged people to call police or mental health hotlines if they’re concerned about relatives who have weapons and may be mentally ill.

“There’s more help out there than people understand,” she said.”

————————————————————–

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

————————————————————–

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.