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

March 20, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Viktor Bout Opinion and Order February 24, 2012

February 24, 2012

U.S. v. Viktor Bout, Case No. 1:08-cr-00365-SAS

Order Granting Viktor Bout’s Request for a Transfer to General Population

As stated in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York’s Docket Sheet:

“OPINION AND ORDER as to Viktor Bout. After fifteen months in solitary confinement with extremely minimal human contact and mobility, Viktor Bout requests that he be transferred to general population. The Supreme Court has noted that “[p]rison walls do not form a barrier separating prison inmates from the protections of the Constitution” and that “‘[w]hen a prison… practice offends a fundamental constitutional guarantee, federal courts will discharge their duty to protect constitutional rights. Because I “cannot simply defer to the Warden and abandon my duty to uphold the constitution,” I must grant Bout’s request…. CONCLUSION: For the aforementioned reasons, Bout’s request for a transfer to general population is granted. The BOP is directed to transfer Bout forthwith. SO ORDERED. (Signed by Judge Shira A. Scheindlin on 2/24/2012)(ja) (Entered: 02/24/2012)”

Viktor Bout Opinion and Order February 24, 2012

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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.


Viktor Bout Wants Better Prison Conditions

February 9, 2012

The Wall Street Journal on February 9, 2012 released the following:

“By Chad Bray

A suspected Russian arms dealer convicted last year of conspiring to sell surface-to-air missiles and other weapons after getting caught in a sting operation in Thailand wants to be held under less restrictive conditions while he’s awaiting sentencing.

Viktor Bout, a former Soviet air force officer who inspired the character played by Nicolas Cage in the movie “Lord of War,” no longer wants to be held in the special housing unit, or SHU, at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan. He has been held there since he was extradited from Thailand in 2010 after two years of legal wrangling.

His lawyer, Albert Dayan, said in a letter to the court that Mr. Bout, 45 years old, is essentially held in solitary confinement with no human contact, no fresh air and no access to the prison commissary to supplement his diet. Mr. Dayan said the prison diet is inadequate for Mr. Bout’s needs as a vegetarian.

Mr. Bout was arrested by Thai authorities and U.S. narcotics agents in a sting in March 2008. A Thai court initially freed Mr. Bout in August 2009, but the U.S. appealed the ruling and he remained in custody. After diplomatic pressure, an appeals court in the Southeast Asian nation ruled to extradite the suspect to face his charges in the U.S., overturning an earlier ruling.

Mr. Dayan asked that Mr. Bout be moved to the prison’s general population, noting that Monzer al-Kassar, an alleged Syrian arms trafficker, was allowed to be in general population while at the MCC.

Kassar, 66, was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2009 after he was convicted of conspiring to sell weapons and murder U.S. citizens following a similar sting operation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

“[Bout] doesn’t know when the sun rise or sets,” Mr. Dayan said in the letter, which was read during a court hearing on Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin seemed to agree with Mr. Dayan’s arguments.

“It seems harsh. It seems brutal,” she said. “It seems unnecessary. It seems like something should be done about it.”

Still, the judge upheld the November verdict finding him guilty of four conspiracy charges that he sold weapons to South American terrorists with the understanding that they would be used to shoot down U.S. helicopter pilots, the Associated Press reported. The judge said the reasons submitted by the defense were the same ones offered before the trial and the verdict, AP said.

The judge set a hearing for Friday to discuss the issue of his confinement further. Prosecutors on Wednesday said they need time to consult with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons before responding.

Mr. Dayan said that he wants to resolve the issue before Mr. Bout is sentenced, otherwise the special designation may follow him to the prison where he ultimately serves his time.

Mr. Bout faces up to life in prison on the charges. Sentencing is set for March 12.”

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

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.


119 Individuals Charged in Three Countywide Law Enforcement Operations

January 26, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on January 25, 2012 released the following:

“Two Mexican Mafia Members and 117 San Diego County, California Street Gang Members and Associates with Ties to the Mexican Mafia Charged with Racketeering Conspiracy, Drug Trafficking Violations, and Firearms Offenses

119 Individuals Charged in Three Countywide Law Enforcement Operations

SAN DIEGO—A federal grand jury in San Diego has handed up 17 indictments and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California has filed eight criminal complaints charging a total of 119 defendants with federal racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking violations, and federal firearm offenses, announced U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Laura E. Duffy.

U.S. Attorney Duffy said, “The cases unsealed today make communities stronger and safer. The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to an anti-gang, anti-violence strategy built on close coordination between federal, state and local officials. This coordination provides better intelligence about street gangs and violent crime within our communities. And better intelligence means better law enforcement and prosecutions.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Keith Slotter commented, “Today’s arrests mark one of the largest single takedowns in San Diego FBI history. The FBI and our law enforcement partners stand unified in our efforts to protect this county from the violence, drug trafficking and extortion schemes employed by the Mexican Mafia and its affiliates. San Diego is inherently safer today because of the cooperation between our agencies working together to disrupt and dismantle the criminal activities of these dangerous individuals.”

“This is a traditional case of dishonor amongst thieves,” commented San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore. “Gangs were made to pay ‘taxes’ in order to facilitate their trafficking and violent behavior. We answered with a one-two punch: a strong and experienced multi-agency investigation, armed with the RICO statute. The results speak for themselves.”

The charges stem from three investigations entitled, “Operation Notorious County,” “Operation Carnalismo,” and “Operation 12-Step.”

“Operation Notorious County”

The indictments are the result of an 18-month-long investigation entitled, “Operation Notorious County,” led by the North County Regional Gang Task force. Eight indictments charging 51 individuals, including one charging 40 defendants with participating in a federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) conspiracy were unsealed today. All five indictments were handed up by a federal grand jury sitting in San Diego on Jan. 19, 2012. The RICO conspiracy alleged in the indictment involves the commission of both state and federal crimes, including attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery, extortion, money laundering, and drug trafficking violations. As set forth in the indictment, the defendants are members, associates and facilitators of violent street gangs operating primarily in north San Diego County under the auspices of the Mexican Mafia or “La Eme.” The gangs named in the indictment include the Diablos and West Side gangs, based in Escondido, Calif., as well as the Varrio San Marcos and the Varrio Fallbrook Locos. The individuals named in the indictment were involved in a long-standing criminal enterprise used to extort money by threat or violence. The money was then sent on to high-ranking members of the Mexican Mafia, including defendant Rudy Espudo. The indictment alleges that Espudo is a validated member of the Mexican Mafia who oversees their activities throughout much of northern San Diego County.

“Operation Carnalismo”

In “Operation Carnalismo,” led by the Violent Crime Task Force-Gang Group, a group of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents led by the FBI, five indictments charging 36 individuals were unsealed today. Eight defendants are charged in one indictment with a conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity (RICO), violent crime in aid of racketeering (VCAR), distribution and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and heroin and criminal forfeiture. Four additional indictments, charging 28 defendants were also unsealed. These related indictments charge distribution and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and criminal forfeiture. All five indictments were handed up by a federal grand jury sitting in San Diego on Jan. 24, 2012, and unsealed today. The RICO indictment charges the criminal enterprise was run by Mexican Mafia member Salvador Colabella. Colabella and his associates conspired to distribute methamphetamine and heroin, extorted and robbed others, and laundered drug-trafficking proceeds. Colabella and his associates collected the extortion payments through the threat of violence and the commission of violence. According to the indictment, the Mexican Mafia has about 200 members, but its reach extends to thousands of Hispanic street-gang members in Southern California. A Mexican Mafia member is the highest level one can attain in the Mexican Mafia. A member, also called “Brother” or “Carnal” or “Tio,” controls, exploits and profits from the criminal activity conducted by street-gang members and others. This control over the criminal activity is enforced through acts of violence or the threat of violence.

“Operation 12-Step”

This year-long investigation, known as “Operation 12-Step,” was led by the East County Regional Gang Task Force, a group of federal and state law enforcement led by the FBI and the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. Operation 12-Step focused on gang-related methamphetamine distribution activities in San Diego County. Today four indictments and eight complaints were unsealed charging 32 individuals with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. According to court records, individuals charged in this investigation belong to nine different criminal street gangs including Varrio Chula Vista, East Side Piru, Old Town National City, Shelltown, National City Locos, Imperial Beach Imperials, Paradise Hills, Varrio Encanto Locos and National City Block Boys. Between Feb. 22, 2011, and Dec. 13, 2011, law enforcement made more than 20 methamphetamine and heroin seizures in connection with this investigation. In addition, search warrants were executed at eight residences in San Diego; Spring Valley, Calif.; National City, Calif.; Imperial Beach, Calif.; and Chula Vista, Calif..

U.S. Attorney Duffy praised the coordinated effort of the law enforcement agencies of the Violent Crimes Task Force-Gang Group, the East County and North County Regional Gang Task Forces under the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) for the coordinated team effort culminating in the charges filed in these cases. The OCDETF program was created to consolidate and utilize all law enforcement resources in this country’s battle against major drug trafficking.

The cases are being investigated by the FBI, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the National City, Calif., Police Department; the San Diego Police Department; the Escondido, Calif., Police Department; the Carlsbad, Calif., Police Department; the U.S. Marshals Service; the La Mesa, Calif., Police Department; the El Cajon, Calif., Police Department; the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office; the U.S. Bureau of Prisons; the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation; the San Diego County Probation Department; Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations; and Customs and Border Protection-United States Border Patrol.

The cases are being prosecuted in San Diego federal court by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter Mazza, Jaime Parks, Fred Sheppard and Tara McGrath.

An indictment or a complaint are not evidence that the defendants committed the crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

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

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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.


Judge recommends Colorado low-security prison for Blagojevich

December 13, 2011

Chicago Tribune on December 13, 2011 released the following:

“By Cynthia Dizikes
Tribune reporter

A federal judge today agreed to recommend that Rod Blagojevich serve his 14-year prison sentence at a low-security federal prison in Littleton, Colo.

U.S. District Judge James Zagel also agreed to extend Blagojevich’s surrender date to March 15 unless the former governor is able to sell his Ravenswood Manor residence before then. Last week, the judge had ordered Blagojevich to report to prison on Feb. 16.

Although Blagojevich would rather have been sent to a minimum-security prison camp, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons will not usually consider that option for defendants sentenced to 10 or more years in prison, said Blagojevich’s attorney, Sheldon Sorosky.

“It’s kind of like applying to school,” Sorosky said of deciding to request a low-security facility instead of a camp. “If the kid who’s got all C’s asks to go to Harvard, he’s probably not going to get in.”

Prison camps are the lowest security in the federal prison system and generally feature unsecured perimeters and dormitory-style living. The nearest prison camp to Chicago is in Oxford, Wis.

Low-security facilities, meanwhile, have secured perimeters, but instead of prison cells, they usually have dormitory living facilities, according to the Bureau of Prisons. The low-security facility in Littleton – officially known as the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood — is located 15 miles southwest of Denver, according to the Bureau of Prisons web site.

In sentencing Blagojevich last week, Zagel agreed to recommend that Blagojevich serve his time at a low-security prison and asked his attorneys to suggest a location.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons will make any final decision on where Blagojevich will be incarcerated.”

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

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.


U.S. Bureau of Prisons Employee Indicted in Florida for Sexual Abuse of a Ward and False Statements

September 11, 2011

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on September 9, 2011 released the following:

“WASHINGTON – U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) employee Jack Chris Jackson, 45, was indicted today on charges of sexual abuse of an inmate and false statements, the Justice Department announced.

The indictment alleges that on or about June 27, 2011, Jackson, while working in the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Miami, engaged in a sexual act with an inmate who was in the defendant’s custodial, supervisory and disciplinary authority. The indictment further alleges that, when questioned on July 1, 2011, the defendant falsely denied having sex with the inmate or any other inmate at FCI.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum statutory sentence of 15 years in prison for the sexual abuse charge and a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the false statements charge.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General. BOP wardens at FCI and Federal Detention Center provided full assistance and coordination throughout this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Rhee Osborne of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and Trial Attorney Henry Leventis of the Civil Rights Division.”

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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Paul Conrad Ward, Jr., a California Lawyer, Receives 21-Month Prison Sentence for Defrauding New Mexico Investor

July 6, 2011

The U.S. Attorneys Office District of New Mexico on July 5, 2011 released the following:

“ALBUQUERQUE—United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that, on July 1, 2011 in federal court in Albuquerque, Paul Conrad Ward, Jr., 63, was sentenced to a 21-month term of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release for his wire fraud conviction. Ward, a lawyer who resides in La Jolla, California, also was ordered to pay $530,000 in restitution to the victim of his fraud. At his sentencing hearing, Ward tendered a $200,000 check that will be applied to his restitution bill; he is required to pay the balance within a year of his release from prison. Ward was ordered to self-surrender to a federal correctional facility to be designated by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons within 60 days.

Ward was indicted on August 10, 2010 and charged with devising a scheme to defraud an investor in New Mexico (the Victim) under false pretenses. According to the indictment, which was superseded on February 24, 2011, Ward perpetrated his fraudulent activity between December 11, 2006 through August 20, 2008 by inducing the Victim to give $500,000 to a business entity controlled by Ward, purportedly to be invested in an overseas trading program. However, instead of investing the money as promised, Ward used the $500,000.00 for his own personal use and that of others.

Ward entered a guilty plea to Count 1 of the six-count superseding indictment on March 31, 2011. In his plea agreement, Ward admitted soliciting and accepting $500,000.00 from the Victim under false pretenses. He further admitted that he did not invest the money as promised, but instead spent almost all of the money for his own personal use and the use of others in less than three weeks. Under the terms of the plea agreement, the remaining five counts of the indictment were dismissed after Ward was sentenced.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney George C. Kraehe.”

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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