“Dominican national arrested at Houston airport for allegedly importing cocaine by ingesting pellets”

May 15, 2013

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on May 14, 2013 released the following:

“HOUSTON — A citizen of the Dominican Republic was arrested at the airport Saturday for allegedly importing cocaine by ingesting 53 pellets of the drug, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

The investigation leading to these charges was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Mikkail Antonio Nolasco Jimenez, 27, was arrested at Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) after it was determined he had allegedly ingested 53 pellets containing cocaine.

The criminal complaint filed Tuesday alleges that on May 11 Jimenez arrived aboard a flight from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago bound for New York. HSI special agents became suspicious when Jimenez provided inconsistent statements. Upon further investigation, they discovered anomalies in his body resembling pellets believed to contain a controlled substance. Jimenez was then transported and admitted to an area hospital.

Jimenez allegedly expelled a total of 53 pellets, containing a substance that field tested positive for cocaine, according to the complaint.

Jimenez made his initial appearance May 14 before U.S Magistrate Judge Stephen William Smith, at which time he was ordered into custody pending a May 16 detention hearing.

Upon conviction, Jimenez faces a mandatory minimum of five and up to 40 years in prison each for importing cocaine, and conspiracy to import cocaine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart A. Burns, Southern District of Texas, is prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.”

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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 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.


Father and Son Allegedly Linked to Separate Federal Fraud Schemes Arrested at LAX as They Prepared to Leave U.S. with One-Way Plane Tickets to Russia

May 11, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on May 10, 2013 released the following:

“LOS ANGELES— A father and son were arrested yesterday afternoon as they were about to board a plane to Moscow on federal fraud charges that include allegations that the older man sent tens of thousands of bogus “invoices” to small business owners in California in a shakedown scheme that caused at least 5,000 victims to send $225 to a fake company that purported to be a state agency.

The men—Viktor Ryzhkin, 45, of the Little Armenia section of Los Angeles; and his son, Evgenii Ryzhkin, 22, who lived with his father—were arrested late yesterday afternoon at Los Angeles International Airport by federal agents as they prepared to board a Transaero Airlines flight to Russia. The Ryzhkins, both of whom are Russian nationals, and two other family members, all had one-way tickets to Moscow that had been purchased on Monday.

According to a criminal complaint filed Thursday afternoon in United States District Court, Viktor Ryzhkin targeted more than 170,000 California small business owners in a mail fraud scheme that would have brought in nearly $40 million had all of the potential victims complied with demands to send payments to “Corporate Business Filings,” a Beverly Hills company set up and controlled by Viktor Ryzhkin.

The small business owners targeted in this scheme received invoices that appeared to be from the state of California, notifying them that they each owed $225 to the state and directing them to fill out certain forms related to their businesses. The letters sent to the victims—all of which were sent over the course of several days at the end of March and beginning of April—each listed the correct, publicly available California Small Business Administration entity number assigned to the particular small business. The business owners were told in the letters that they would face $250 penalties if they did not remit payment by April 15, 2013, and did not fill out the forms as directed. The letters and invoices that appeared to be from the state of California were completely bogus.

Investigators believe that Viktor Ryzhkin became aware of the investigation into his scheme in late last month. Viktor and Evgenii Ryzhkin, accompanied by the two family members, were about to board a plane at 4:00 p.m. yesterday, when they were arrested by United States Postal Inspectors.

Evgenii Ryzhkin was charged in a separate criminal complaint filed yesterday in United States District Court. Evgenii Ryzhkin is charged with participating in a conspiracy to take over home equity lines of credit in a scheme that caused at least $1.2 million in losses. According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Eygenii Ryzhkin, he was caught on surveillance video depositing a stolen check linked to a hijacked HELOC account.

Both Ryzhkins are expected to make their initial court appearances this afternoon in United States District Court.

Viktor Ryzhkin is charged in a criminal complaint with mail fraud, which carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

Evgenii Ryzhkin is charged in a separate criminal complaint with bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, each of which carries a statutory maximum sentence of sentence of 30 years in federal prison.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in court.

This two cases against the Ryzhkins are being investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service. The Federal Bureau of Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection assisted during yesterday’s arrests.”

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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 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.


“FBI Arrests Suburban Chicago Man on Charge of Supporting Terrorism Overseas”

April 22, 2013

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on April 20, 2013 released the following:

“An alleged attempt by an Aurora, Illinois man to travel to Syria in order to join a jihadist militant group operating inside Syria led to his arrest Friday evening. The arrest was announced today by Cory B. Nelson, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Gary S. Shapiro, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

Abdella Ahmad Tounisi, 18, a U.S. citizen, was taken into custody without incident late yesterday at O’Hare International Airport by members of the Chicago FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force as he attempted to board a flight destined for Istanbul, Turkey. He was charged in a criminal complaint filed today in U.S. District Court with one count of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, a felony offense. Tounisi appeared earlier today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel G. Martin and was ordered held until his next court appearance, which is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on April 23, 2013.

In making today’s announcement, Mr. Nelson stated that the investigation that culminated in Tounisi’s arrest began in 2012 and that there is no connection between this case and the events that occurred over the last several days in Boston.

The complaint states that Tounisi is a close friend of Adel Daoud, an individual arrested in September 2012 for attempting to detonate a bomb outside a Chicago bar and that Tounisi and Daoud appeared to share an interest in violent jihad. While Tounisi allegedly discussed attack techniques and targets prior to Daoud’s arrest, Tounisi did not participate in Daoud’s attempted attack.

According to the complaint, from January to April 2013, Tounisi conducted online research related to overseas travel and violent jihad, focusing specifically on Syria and the Jabhat al Nusrah terrorist group. Jabhat al Nusrah is listed by the U.S. Department of State as an alias for al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a designated foreign terrorist organization. The complaint alleges that Tounisi searched online for information about travel from Chicago to Syria, obtained a new passport, and, beginning in late March 2013, made online contact with an individual Tounisi believed to be a recruiter for Jabhat al Nusrah. That individual was in fact an FBI employee acting in an online undercover capacity. The complaint further alleges that Tounisi and the undercover employee exchanged a series of e-mails in which Tounisi shared his plan to get to Syria by way of Turkey, as well as his willingness to die for the cause. During the exchanges, Tounisi also sought advice from the undercover employee on travel from Istanbul to the Turkish city of Gaziantep, which lies near the border of Turkey and Syria.

The complaint states that on April 10, Tounisi purchased an airline ticket for a flight from Chicago to Istanbul and on April 18, the undercover employee provided Tounisi with a bus ticket for travel from Istanbul to Gaziantep. Tounisi arrived at O’Hare International Airport’s international terminal Friday evening, and after passing through airport security, he was arrested.

If convicted of the charge filed against him, Tounisi faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison.

The JTTF is composed of special agents of the FBI, officers of the Chicago Police Department, and representatives from an additional 20 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The Justice Department’s National Security Division assisted in the investigation.

Mr. Nelson expressed his gratitude to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for the significant support provided by its officers during the arrest of Tounisi.

The public is reminded that a complaint is not evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”

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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 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.


U.S. Customs officer arrested on alleged federal bribery charges in scheme to avoid taxes on imports coming from China

October 26, 2012

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on October 25, 2012 released the following:

“LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities arrested a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supervisory officer Thursday morning on charges of accepting bribes to allow others, including his ex-wife, to smuggle goods into the United States so they could avoid paying duties and taxes.

Sam Herbert Allen, 51, of Diamond Bar, was arrested after being indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, bribery and making false statements to investigating agents with the Department of Homeland Security.

The probe was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Internal Affairs.

According to the five-count indictment, Allen served as a supervisory officer assigned to oversee the examination and release of cargo entering the United States. After he was transferred to other duties within CBP, Allen convinced his ex-wife to operate an import business that would avoid paying duties on shipments coming from the People’s Republic of China. The import business – technically a “foreign trade zone” – would falsely claim that the shipments from China were not imported, but were instead immediately sent to Mexico. The indictment alleges that Allen promised to make the shipments appear to CBP as if they had been exported to Mexico, this in exchange for bribe payments of $2,000 per shipment.

During the course the scheme, which operated from at least September 2009 until March 2010, Allen allegedly received more than $100,000 in bribe payments. The indictment alleges that the scheme caused the United States to suffer a loss of at least $781,000 in unpaid customs duties and taxes.

“When public servants break the law, it leaves behind an indelible stain,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “The indictment alleges that Officer Allen violated the public trust by using his position in a government agency to line his pockets and deprive the United States of legitimate taxes owed in the normal course of business. The criminal charges reflect our commitment to rooting out and punishing corrupt officials.”

The indictment goes on to allege that Allen encouraged his ex-wife to lie – and that Allen himself lied – to federal law enforcement personnel investigating and prosecuting this scheme. Allen is also charged with lying to investigators when he denied discussing a separate scheme to smuggle cocaine into the United States from Mexico.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed crimes. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Allen is expected to be arraigned on the indictment Thursday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

If he is convicted of the five counts in the indictment, Allen would face a statutory maximum penalty of 35 years in federal prison.

Allen’s ex-wife, Wei Lai, was charged with crimes related to her role in the smuggling scheme in July 2011. She has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled to go to trial with another defendant Feb. 19, 2013.”

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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 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.


HSI, Caribbean Corridor Strike Force seize 330 kilograms of cocaine, arrest 6

June 8, 2012

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on June 8, 2012 released the following:

“SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Following an investigation led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), officers and special agents assigned to the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force arrested six Dominican Republic nationals on drug trafficking charges earlier this week. The individuals tried to introduce 330 kilograms and one kilogram of heroin with an estimated street value of $8 million into the United States.

“Through these arrests and seizures we are sending a clear message Puerto Rico will not be a safe haven for criminals looking to ship drugs into Puerto Rico and the United States,” said Angel Melendez, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “ICE and its federal and local partners are committed to working together to stop the flow of illegal narcotics into Puerto Rico.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers onboard a marine surveillance vessel detected the six men aboard a suspicious 25-foot unmarked fiberglass boat transiting illegally towards Puerto Rico. Coast Guard watchstanders in Sector San Juan received notification from a CBP officer of the ongoing situation and proceeded to divert the Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus to interdict the suspect vessel.

The Coast Guard Cutter Matinicus arrived on scene, interdicted the suspect vessel and detained Jairo Torres-Balbuena, 29; José Manuel Rodríguez, 30; Anheli Regalado, 25; Berner Balbuena-Perreaux, 38; Jorge King, 52; and Juan Polanco-Rodríguez, 35; following the discovery of 15 bales of suspected contraband which later tested positive for cocaine and heroin during a field test.

Coast Guard personnel transferred custody of the six Dominicans, the suspect vessel, and the seized contraband to awaiting HSI special agents in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.

Those arrested were transferred to the Guaynabo, Puerto Rico Metropolitan Detention Center awaiting the outcome of their case. They had their initial hearing before US Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin June 6 and remain detained.

The strike force is an initiative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean. It is part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force that investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics using the Caribbean as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States. The initiative is composed of HSI, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, Coast Guard, CBP and Puerto Rico Police Department’s Joint Forces for Rapid Action.”

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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 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.


Caribbean Corridor Strike Force Seizes 245 Kilograms of Cocaine, Arrests Two

February 11, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on February 10, 2012 released the following:

“SAN JUAN, PR—The U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez, along with the heads of the agencies that compose the Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) announced today the seizure of approximately 119 bricks of cocaine with an estimate weight of 245 kilograms and an approximate street value of $4.9 million; and the arrest of two U.S. citizens for illegal importation of narcotics.

At approximately 10:40 a.m. on Thursday, a Marine Patrol Aircraft (MPA) assigned to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB), crewed by CBP officers and a Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) agent, detected a suspicious white fiberglass twin outboard center console vessel traveling eastbound towards Puerto Rico with two persons on board.

A second suspicious vessel; described as a single engine, white fiberglass with light blue trim, with two persons wearing yellow raincoats; was observed in the vicinity traveling westbound towards the Dominican Republic. The proximity within the two vessels suggested a possible transfer of contraband at sea.

A CBP marine interceptor was launched to intercept the vessel reaching it at approximately 10 miles off the coast of La Parguera in the southwestern coast of the island. Once intercepted, the crew of the suspicious vessel was instructed to set course to the Mayaguez Marine Unit for further inspection. The inspections conducted by CBP’s field operations officers and Border Patrol agents revealed approximately 199 bricks with a white powdery substance that tested positive to cocaine during a field drug test.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents took custody of the narcotics and the two individuals for further investigation.

Those arrested, the brothers Elvis Aviles Vega, 46, and Alberto Aviles, 47, were transferred to the Guaynabo, Puerto Rico Metropolitan Detention Center awaiting the outcome of their case. They will have the initial hearing before a magistrate judge on Friday.

“We will continue maximizing all of our combined resources to investigate and prosecute those who in flagrant disregard of our laws and try to smuggle and transport illegal contraband in our jurisdiction,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.

CCSF is an initiative of the United States Attorney’s Office created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean. CCSF is part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics utilizing the Caribbean as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States. The initiative is composed by the U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, ICE HSI, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Coast Guard and PRPD’s FURA.

The case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S Attorney Jose Capo Iriarte.”

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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 McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Ralph Hunt a Border Patrol Agent Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury For Making False Statements

July 25, 2011

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

“TUCSON, Ariz. – A federal grand jury in Tucson returned a three-count indictment on July 21, 2011, against U.S. Border Patrol Agent Ralph Hunt, of Tucson, for making false statements during a compelled interview. Hunt will be issued a summons to appear for an initial appearance on the indictment before a Federal Magistrate Judge.

The indictment alleges that on the afternoon of May 21, 2009, while on duty, Agent Hunt performed a traffic stop of a black GMC Denali. As Hunt approached the vehicle to question the occupants, the vehicle fled. After a pursuit that lasted approximately 45 minutes and over 30 miles, the occupants of this vehicle were arrested.

As part of his normal job duties when an arrest is made, Hunt prepared a Report of Apprehension, also known as an “I-44,” which documented the vehicle stop, the pursuit, the arrest of the occupants of the GMC Denali, and the seizure of marijuana. This I-44 is then submitted to the Drug Enforcement Administration in order for that agency to present the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution.

On September 25, 2009, as a condition of Hunt’s employment with the Border Patrol, the defendant participated in a compelled interview regarding the events that occurred during the pursuit and statements made in his I-44. Before this interview began, the defendant was advised that he could be subjected to criminal liability if he provided false statements or information during this interview. The indictment alleges that Hunt knowingly and willfully made three material false statements during this compelled interview. Count One alleges that Hunt falsely stated that he thought there was a child in a black GMC Denali that he had been pursuing, and that is why he told the Border Patrol dispatch to tell the Arizona Department of Public Safety that he was chasing a sexual offender and that there might be a child in the automobile. In truth and in fact, defendant knew that there was no child in the automobile and he is alleged to have intentionally made that statement to gain assistance of DPS.

Count Two alleges that Hunt falsely stated that the GMC Denali he was pursuing performed a U-turn and attempted to run him off the road, when in truth and in fact, the driver of the suspect automobile did not make a U-turn and did not attempt to run the defendant off the road.

Count Three alleges that Hunt falsely stated that the driver of the GMC Denali avoided attempt to spike the vehicle’s tires near Milepost 16 on State Road 286 by driving in hazardous manner. In truth and in fact, the driver did not avoid the spiking attempt by driving in a hazardous manner, nor did the defendant see the manner in which the driver avoided the spiking attempt and no other agent communicated to the defendant how the driver avoided the spiking attempt.

A conviction for a false statement carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both. An indictment is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by the Office of Internal Affairs for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in Tucson. The prosecution is being handled by Karen Rolley and Eric Markovich, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Tucson.

CASE NUMBER: CR-11-2572TUC RCC/DTF”

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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Project Delirium Results in Nearly 2,000 Arrests During 20-Month Operation, Seizures of More Than 12 Tons of Drugs and $62 Million in U.S. Currency

July 22, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on July 21, 2011 released the following:

“WASHINGTON—Approximately 1,985 individuals have been arrested on narcotics-related charges as part of a 20-month multi-agency law enforcement investigation known as Project Delirium, which targeted the La Familia Michoacana drug cartel, the Department of Justice announced today.

As part of an ongoing takedown that began June 1, 2011, 221 individuals have been arrested across the United States as part of Project Delirium, including more than 70 individuals apprehended yesterday and today. In addition, $770,499 in U.S. currency, 635 pounds of methamphetamine, 118 kilograms of cocaine, and 24 pounds of heroin were seized by law enforcement agents since June 1, 2011.

“Through coordinated and strategic efforts like Project Delirium, we are disrupting the operations of Mexican drug cartels in the United States and Mexico,” said Deputy Attorney General James Cole. “Today, we see drug traffickers operating in urban and rural communities alike. The arrests and seizures we are announcing today have stripped La Familia of its manpower, its deadly product, and its profit, and helped make communities large and small safer. The department is determined to continue our aggressive efforts, along with our Mexican law enforcement partners, to diminish and ultimately eliminate the threat posed by these dangerous groups.”

“Through the Secretariat of Public Security, the Government of Mexico has seen increased results in their fight against the drug trafficking organizations,” said Mexico’s Secretary of Public Security Genaro Garcia Luna. “Due to increased information sharing and collaboration with the DEA, these efforts have resulted in successful and significant arrests and seizures of drugs and money.”

“Project Delirium is the second successful, strategic, and surgical strike to disrupt and destroy one of the most violent Mexican cartels, La Familia,” said Administrator Michele M. Leonhart of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). “Through their violent drug trafficking activities, including their hallmark of supplying most of the methamphetamine imported into the United States, La Familia is responsible for recklessly and violently destroying countless lives on both sides of the border. The strong joint efforts with our Mexican and U.S. law enforcement partners are crippling this brutal organization by capturing its leaders, strangling its distribution networks, and relentlessly pursuing its members and those who facilitate them.”

“Law enforcement officials here in the U.S., in Mexico and all around the world are cooperating at unprecedented levels. There is a willingness—like never before—to work hand-in-hand to fight the cartels, the criminal enterprises, and the violent gangs that threaten the peace and security of people on both sides of the border,” said John Morton, director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“Investigations such as Project Delirium target the dangers these organizations pose to the United States and Mexico,” said Shawn Henry, FBI’s executive assistant director of the Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. “The FBI, together with our federal and international law enforcement partners, will continue to commit our resources to combat the threat posed by transnational criminal enterprises.”

Project Delirium is the result of information gathered during the course of a previous effort targeting La Familia known as Project Coronado. To date, Project Delirium has led to the arrest of 1,985 individuals and the seizure of approximately $62 million in U.S. currency, and approximately 2,773 pounds of methamphetamine, 2,722 kilograms of cocaine, 1,005 pounds of heroin, 14,818 pounds of marijuana, and $3.8 million in other assets.

As part of Project Delirium, arrests have been made or charges have been unsealed to date in the following districts: the Northern District of Alabama; the Central, Eastern, and Southern Districts of California; the District of Colorado; the District of Columbia; the Northern District of Georgia; the District of Kansas; the Eastern District of Michigan; the District of Minnesota; the Eastern District of Missouri; the District of New Mexico; the Eastern and Western Districts of North Carolina; the Western District of Tennessee; and the Northern, Southern, and Western Districts of Texas. On June 21, 2011, Mexican law enforcement arrested La Familia leader and Consolidated Priority Organizational Target (CPOT) Jose de Jesus Mendez-Vargas, aka “El Chango” or “The Monkey,” based on Mexican charges.

Individuals indicted in these cases are charged with a variety of crimes, including: conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana; distribution of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana; conspiracy to import narcotics into the United States; money laundering; and other violations of federal law. Numerous defendants face forfeiture allegations as well.

An indictment is merely an allegation and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The investigative efforts in Project Delirium were coordinated by the multi-agency Special Operations Division, comprised of agents and analysts from the DEA, FBI, ICE, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Marshals Service, as well as attorneys from the Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section and Office of International Affairs. More than 300 federal, state, local, and foreign law enforcement agencies contributed investigative and prosecutorial resources to Project Delirium through the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces.

The department thanks the Government of Mexico and its Mexican law enforcement partners for their continued partnership and collaboration in the ongoing efforts to combat Mexican drug cartels.”

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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David Aric Ladewig, a U.S. Citizen Living and Working in Mexico, Pleads Guilty to Possession of Child Pornography

July 6, 2011

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

“HOUSTON – David Aric Ladewig, 43, has pleaded guilty today to one count of possession of child pornography before U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

The investigation began on Sept. 9, 2010, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston conducted an inbound inspection on Continental Airlines passenger David Ladewig, arriving on an international flight from Cancun, Mexico, where he was living and working at the time. During the inspection, it was discovered that Ladewig was a match for an individual suspected of downloading and collecting child pornography. Ladewig, who was transporting a laptop computer and an external hard drive, was asked for the items in order for CBP officers to conduct an inspection and forensic exam. Ladewig was allowed to continue to Michigan where he was visiting family.

During the forensic analysis, it was determined that both the laptop computer and the external hard drive contained approximately 1,439 images of child pornography and 81 videos of child pornography that had been downloaded using the Internet.

The forensic exam of the laptop revealed that Ladewig had visited certain websites and that Limewire and Frostwire, peer-to-peer file sharing programs, were present.

Ladewig was arrested in October 2010 as he was returning to Cancun. He has been detained in federal custody since his arrest.

Ladewig faces a sentence of up to 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000 as possible punishment at his sentencing set for Oct. 3, 2011. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Ladewig also faces a maximum of life on supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The charges against Ladewig are the result of an investigation conducted by the Houston office of Homeland Security Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe.”

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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Mexican Woman Convicted of Attempting to Smuggle Teddy Bears and Pillows Stuffed with Cash Into Mexico

July 1, 2011

U.S. Attorneys Office Southern District of Texas on June 30, 2011 released the following press release:

“McALLEN, Texas – A 33-year-old Mexican national has been convicted of bulk cash smuggling in her attempt to smuggle more than $270,000 stuffed in teddy bears and pillows, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

Jeanette Barraza-Galindo, 33, of Monterrey, Mexico, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane to attempting to smuggle into Mexico $277,556 in U.S. currency concealed in two teddy bears and two pillows.

At today’s hearing, Barraza admitted that on March 1, 2011, the date of her arrest, she, intending to evade a currency reporting requirement under the law, knowingly and intentionally concealed $277,556 in cash inside two teddy bears and two pillows and attempted to smuggle the currency from the United States to Mexico.

On March 1, 2011, Barraza was a passenger aboard a bus stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Hidalgo, Texas, Port of Entry. The bus was heading outbound toward Mexico. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers explained the currency reporting requirements to Barraza. When asked if she had more than $10,000 in cash to declare, Barraza gave a negative declaration even though she knew that she was carrying more than $10,000 in cash. However, the CBP officers searched her teddy bears and pillows and found a total of $277,556 in cash in the items. Immigration and Customs Enforcement continued the investigation which subsequently lead to the charges against Barraza.

As part of a plea agreement announced in court today, Barraza has agreed to forfeit the $277,556 in currency to the United States.

A federal criminal complaint was filed after Barraza’s arrest and a federal grand jury in McAllen then indicted her for bulk cash smuggling. Barraza has been held with no bond since her arrest and will remain in custody pending her sentencing hearing scheduled for Sept. 8, 2011, before U.S. District Judge Randy Crane. Barraza faces up to five years in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $250,000.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Sully is 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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