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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Alleged Aryan Brotherhood Members Charged for Roles in Jefferson County, Texas, Shooting

WASHINGTON - Two alleged members and associates of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) were arraigned today on charges related to their alleged roles in the 2009 shooting of a man in Jefferson County, Texas, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney John M. Bales of the Eastern District of Texas.  

The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury on Mar. 17, 2011, and unsealed today, charges Joshua Mark Bodine, aka “Desperado,” 31, of Vidor, Texas, and John Oliver Manning, aka “Fish,” 59, of Pasadena, Texas, with violent crimes in aid of racketeering activity.   The alleged activities include conspiracy to assault, assault, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, possession of a firearm after a felony conviction, possession of a stolen firearm, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.   The defendants have been in custody since their arrest in March 2011 on charges contained in a criminal complaint.

According to the indictment, the ABT is a powerful race-based, state-wide organization that operates inside and outside of state and federal prisons throughout Texas and the United States.   The ABT was established in the early 1980s within the Texas prison system.   It modeled itself after and adopted many of the precepts and writings of the Aryan Brotherhood, a California-based prison gang that was formed in the California prison system during the 1960s.   According to the indictment, previously, the ABT was primarily concerned with the protection of white inmates and white supremacy/separatism.   Over time, the ABT expanded its focus to create a criminal enterprise that includes illegal activities for profit.

According to the indictment, the ABT enforces its rules and promotes discipline among its members, prospects and associates through murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, assault, robbery and threats against those who violate the rules or pose a threat to the enterprise.   Members, and oftentimes associates, are required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members, often referred to as “direct orders.”

The indictment alleges that on Sep. 7, 2009, Manning shot and wounded ABT associate Matthew Fails in Nederland, Texas, on the orders of Bodine.   It is alleged that the order was given because of Fails’ outstanding drug debt.

Bodine and Manning appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Earl S. Hines today for arraignment.   If convicted, they each face up to life in prison.

This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas and the Criminal Division’s Gang Unit.   The case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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

Travelers Smuggle Marijuana Packaged as Paper

Dallas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection intercepted two Japanese citizens smuggling more than 50 pounds of marijuana through Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, March 29.

The pair of 22-year-old men was traveling from Jamaica enroute to California when they were directed to baggage control for an inspection of their luggage. The inspection of their luggage revealed 11 vacuum-packed boxes containing 22 bricks of marijuana. The boxes containing the illegal narcotic were packaged to appear like reams of paper.

“This interception is indicative of the attention to detail our officers’ pay when processing travelers entering the U.S.,” said Jeffrey O. Baldwin Sr., director of Houston CBP Field Operations. “We will take every opportunity to disrupt criminal activity whenever we encounter it.”

CBP turned the two men over to the Dallas Fort Worth Airport Department of Public Safety for criminal prosecution.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

U.S. Border Patrol Seizes More Than $264K of Marijuana and Currency in San Diego

San Diego - Early Tuesday morning, U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested two U.S. citizens, one male and one female, and a female Jamaican national suspected of smuggling nearly 300 pounds of marijuana near the Border Patrol checkpoint in Temecula, Calif.

Agents stopped two suspicious vehicles, a 2003 Volvo SUV and a 2011 Chevrolet Impala rental car traveling in tandem on southbound Interstate 15 near
Mission Road
. At approximately , agents questioned the driver of the Volvo, a 22-year-old male resident of Los Angeles, and the 31-year-old driver and 21-year-old passenger of the Impala. Agents became suspicious of the nervous demeanor and inconsistent answers of the three individuals.

A Border Patrol K-9 team was summoned and performed a cursory inspection of the two vehicles, both resulting in a positive alert. Agents performed a search of the Volvo and discovered 63 cellophane-wrapped marijuana bundles with a total weight of 295 pounds and an estimated street value of nearly $177,000. A subsequent search of the Impala revealed $25,294 in cash located in the center console.

The suspected drug smugglers, narcotics, currency and Volvo were taken into custody and subsequently turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Later in the day, Border Patrol agents assigned to the I-8 checkpoint near Pine Valley, Calif., arrested a 48-year-old female Mexican national for attempting to smuggle 103 pounds of marijuana in the tires of a 1995 GMC SUV.

A Border Patrol K-9 team inspection resulted in a positive alert to all four of the GMC’s tires. Agents removed the tires and uncovered more than 103 pounds of marijuana concealed inside with an estimated street value of more than $62,000. The suspected smuggler and narcotics were turned over to a multi-agency drug task force. The 1995 GMC SUV was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

To prevent the smuggling of humans, drugs and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a strong enforcement posture on major routes of egress from the border, including the Interstate 15 corridor. Since the beginning of the 2011 fiscal year, agents in the San Diego Sector have seized more than 52,529 pounds of marijuana.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

USFA Announces the 2011 Arson Awareness Week Theme

Emmitsburg, MD – The United States Fire Administration (USFA) is pleased to partner with the International Association of Arson Investigators; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; USAonWatch; National Association of State Fire Marshals; National Volunteer Fire Council; and the Insurance Committee for Arson Control to announce the theme for the 2011 Arson Awareness Week: Working Together to Extinguish Serial Arson. USFA and its partners will use the week of May 1st to the 7th to focus public attention on the value of a collaborative effort with law enforcement, fire and emergency service departments, and the community to battle serial arsonists.

The goal for this year’s Arson Awareness Week (AAW) is to focus attention on serial arsonists and provide law enforcement, the fire service, and communities with tools and tactics to prevent arson in their city and towns. “A serial arsonist can paralyze a community with fear,” said Glenn Gaines, Deputy United States Fire Administrator. “Each fire feels like a personal assault. Banding together as partners strengthens our resolve and can bring law enforcement, the fire service, and the public together to more effectively fight the crime of arson.”

Many communities across the country are experiencing a rash of serial arson-related fires. Serial arson is defined as an offense committed by fire setters who set three or more fires with a significant cooling off period between the fires. These types of fires are plaguing many rural and urban communities causing significant loss of life and millions of dollars in property damage, adding to the suffering already caused by the current economic climate.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) reports that from 2009 – 2010 there were 88 reported serial arson incidents with an aggregate monetary loss of $4.8 million. Arson in residential dwellings accounted for 49 percent of these incidents. The National Fire Protection Association reports that in 2007, three firefighters died and 6,100 were injured during response to intentionally set fires.

According to the USFA’s National Fire Incident Report­ing System (NFIRS) data, from 2004 to 2006 an estimated 210,300 intentionally set fires occurred each year in the United States. Intentionally set fires account for 13 percent of fires responded to by fire departments across the Nation. These fires resulted in an average of approximately 375 deaths, 1,300 injuries, and $1.06 billion in property loss each year.

For more information regarding the 2011 Arson Awareness Week, go to www.usfa.fema.gov/aaw/.

For more information regarding the Fire/Arson and Explosion Investigation curriculum, or any of the other courses offered at the National Fire Academy, go to www.usfa.fema.gov/nfa/.

Robbery of Public Service Credit Union Branch in Denver

The Denver Police Department and the FBI Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force (RMSSTF) are investigating a bank robbery.

Public Service Credit Union
815 Colorado Boulevard
Denver, Colorado
03/30/2011,

The suspect is described as a white male in his 40s, approximately 6’3” in height, approximately 200 pounds, with short gray hair, and unshaven.

The suspect showed a handgun, demanded money, then fled from the bank.

Bank robbery is punishable by a 20-year prison sentence for each offense and increases if a dangerous weapon is used in the commission of the crime.

The FBI continues to provide financial institutions with the best practices for security to make them less vulnerable to robberies.

If anyone has any information on the bank robbery above, or any bank robbery, please call the FBI Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force at 303-629-7171; or, you can remain anonymous and earn up to two thousand dollars ($2,000) by calling CRIMESTOPPERS at 720-913-STOP (7867).

Florida Resident Sentenced to 37 Years for Oxycodone Conspiracy and Firearms Violations

GREENEVILLE, TN—On Monday, March 28, 2011, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Greeneville, U.S. District Court Judge Ronnie Greer sentenced Robert Velez, 26, of Florida, to 444 months in prison for his leadership role in an oxycodone conspiracy stretching from south Florida to northeast Tennessee and his involvement in a shooting incident in Morristown, Tenn., related to an oxycodone debt owed to Velez by a co-conspirator.

Velez was convicted at trial of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute a quantity of oxycodone; the use, carry, and discharge of a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; four counts of using a communication facility in committing, causing, and facilitating the commission of a drug trafficking crime; and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The testimony during the trial revealed that Velez was supplying thousands of oxycodone pills to co-conspirators to transport and distribute in northeast Tennessee. One of the co-conspirators distributing oxycodone for Velez was arrested by the Morristown Police Department and a large number of oxycodone pills were seized from him. The money from the sale of these pills was owed to Velez. Numerous recorded telephone calls were played during the trial involving Velez threatening the co-conspirator if he did not get him the money for the pills. Testimony at trial revealed that Velez proceeded to put a hit on the co-conspirator. This was corroborated by recorded conversations wherein Velez told the co-conspirator that “he would call the dogs off when he got his money.” Velez also told the co-conspirator and his girlfriend that it was “game over” for both of them for not paying his drug debt.

Additional evidence introduced during the trial revealed that Velez instructed two other people to collect the drug debt for him. The two others, acting on the behalf of Velez, approached the co-conspirator with a shotgun and demanded the money. The individual holding the shotgun got Velez on the phone and Velez gave the co-conspirator instructions as to how to get his money to him. At that point, the co-conspirator was able to get back in his car, flee and contact law enforcement officers for assistance. As the co-conspirator was initially leaving, several shots were fired at his vehicle. A high speed car chase ensued in Morristown, Tennessee until the co-conspirator managed to escape and Velez told his debt collectors to hide the guns.

U.S. Attorney Bill Killian praised the efforts of law enforcement and the Assistant U.S. Attorney in this case. “More and more we are focusing efforts on truly serious drug offenders. These individuals are a danger to society and often carry weapons and otherwise commit crimes that harm people. Traveling from south Florida to east Tennessee will not give you safety from law enforcement if you are a serious offender.” said Killian.

The indictment and subsequent convictions of Velez and 10 co-defendants were the result of a joint investigation between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Johnson City, Tenn., and the Morristown Police Department in Morristown, Tenn., beginning in May 2008.

This case was part of the Department's Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) programs. OCDETF is the primary weapon of the United States against the highest level drug trafficking organizations operating within the United States, importing drugs into the United States, or laundering the proceeds of drug trafficking. The HIDTA program enhances and coordinates drug control efforts among local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. The program provides agencies with coordination, equipment, technology, and additional resources to combat drug trafficking and its harmful consequences in critical regions of the United States.

Robbery of First Financial Credit Union Branch

The FBI and Albuquerque Police are investigating an armed robbery that occurred Wednesday afternoon at First Financial Credit Union,
1625 Rio Bravo Blvd SW, #18
, near
Isleta Boulevard SW.

The suspect is described as a light-skinned black man with a medium build, about 6’2” to 6’5” tall, and in his late 20s to early 30s. His face was unshaven and had a scruffy appearance.

He wore a black collarless long-sleeve pullover, dark blue or black pants, and a green and yellow baseball-style cap.

Witnesses say the suspect walked into the credit union at about , handed a note to a teller and pulled out a handgun.

He put an undisclosed amount of money in a black garbage bag and was last seen going east on foot.

Nobody was injured.

A reward of up to $1,000 may be available for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the subject.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Albuquerque FBI Office at (505) 889-1300 (24 hours) or Albuquerque Police Crime Stoppers at 843-STOP.

Five Sentenced to Prison for Conspiracy, Trespass, and Destruction of Government Property

Group Cut Through Three Fences, Violated Areas Secured by Armed Guards

Five protestors who knowingly violated a secure area at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, near Silverdale, Washington, on November 2, 2009, were sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to prison terms ranging from two months to 15 months in prison for conspiracy, trespass, destruction of property on a naval installation, and depredation of government property. The five were convicted December 13, 2010, following a four day jury trial. The jury deliberated just over four hours before finding the five defendants guilty on all counts. STEPHEN M. KELLY, 62, of Oakland, California, and SUSAN S. CRANE, 67, of Baltimore, Maryland, were each sentenced to 15 months in prison. WILLIAM J. BICHSEL, 82, of Tacoma, Washington, was sentenced to three months in prison and six months of home detention. ANNE MONTGOMERY, 84, of New York City, was sentenced to two months in prison and four months of home detention. LYNNE T. GREENWALD, 61, of Bremerton, Washington, was sentenced to six months in prison and 60 hours of community service. All five defendants will be placed on one year of supervised release and will share a $5,300 restitution obligation. U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle called the five’s actions “a form of anarchism. If it goes unchecked it will lead to a break down of the social order and descend into chaos,” the judge said.

According to testimony at the trial, members of the group used bolt cutters to cut holes in three chain link fences in order to enter the Main Limited Area (MLA) at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. The defendants entered the secure area where they were apprehended and ultimately arrested by armed military personnel.

At the lengthy sentencing hearing Judge Settle noted that one or more of the defendants could have been killed when they attempted to enter the secure area. Judge Settle said, “Little thought was given to the impact on the young men who are sworn to protect the base.”

In sentencing documents, prosecutors wrote, “The defendants have not shown respect for the rights of others. They have trespassed into a highly restricted area, destroyed the Navy’s property, and placed themselves and others in serious jeopardy. Throughout this case, the defendants have sought to justify their behavior by comparing themselves to heroic individuals who have reacted to being disenfranchised from the democratic process. They miss the point, however. These defendants have never been disenfranchised from the democratic process.”

The case was investigated by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Arlen Storm and Brian Werner.

For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@USDOJ.Gov.

Justice Department Opens Investigation into the Seattle Police Department

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it has opened a pattern or practice investigation into allegations of use of excessive force and discriminatory policing by members of the Seattle Police Department (SPD), pursuant to the pattern or practice provision of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the anti-discrimination provisions of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Justice Department will seek to determine whether there are systemic violations of the Constitution or federal law by officers of the SPD.   During the course of our investigation, the Justice Department will consider all relevant information, particularly the efforts that Seattle has undertaken to ensure compliance with federal law.   The Justice Department has taken similar steps in a variety of state and local law enforcement agencies, both large and small, in jurisdictions such as New York, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia and California.

Today’s announcement is separate from any ongoing federal criminal investigation involving the Seattle Police Department.

This matter is being investigated jointly by attorneys from the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington.   The Department welcomes any information from the community.   If you have any comments or concerns, please feel free to contact us at Community.seattle@usdoj.gov or 855-203-4479.

CBP Officers at Andrade and Calexico Ports Seize Almost $1.5 Million Worth of Narcotics

Imperial Valley, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the Imperial Valley ports of entry over the last four days stopped almost $1.5 million worth of narcotics from entering the United States.

Officers at the Andrade and Calexico ports of entry made several significant seizures of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine, weighing 589 lbs.

One of the seizures occurred at about yesterday, March 28, at the Calexico downtown port of entry after an officer detected signs of nervousness from a 22-year-old female U.S. citizen driving a 1996 Toyota 4-Runner. As the officer detected signs of nervousness, a canine unit screening vehicles also alerted to 4-Runner. The driver and vehicle were escorted for further examination.

An intensive inspection of the 4-Runner led officers to the discovery of 20 wrapped packages of cocaine concealed inside the vehicle’s gas tank. The weight of the cocaine was 52 pounds with a street value of approximately $468,000.

The driver, a resident of Mexicali, Baja California, was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

Another seizure occurred an hour and fifteen minutes later at the Andrade port of entry when a canine unit screening vehicles alerted to the auxiliary fuel tank mounted on the bed of a Ford F-350 pickup truck. The driver, a 28-year-old male Mexican citizen, and the vehicle were referred for further examination.

During the intensive examination, CBP officers utilized a fiber optic scope on the auxiliary tank which led to the discovery of 13 large wrapped packages of marijuana. The weight of the marijuana was 235 pounds with a street value of approximately $106,800.

The driver, a resident of Puerto Penasco, Sonora, was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

On Friday, March 25, at the Calexico East port of entry, an officer and canine unit conducted an intensive examination on a brown 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser and discovered 20 wrapped packages of cocaine concealed within the vehicle’s roof. The weight of the cocaine was 50 pounds with an estimated street value of $450,000.

The driver, a 22- year-old male Mexican citizen and resident of Ensenada, Baja California, was arrested for the alleged narcotic smuggling attempt.

In all incidents, the drivers were turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who in turn transported them to the Imperial County Jail where they currently await arraignment.

CBP seized the vehicles and narcotics.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of U.S. borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lebanon Woman Indicted, More Charges Filed in Sex Trafficking and Murder-for-Hire Scheme

Victim Tortured as Slave, Forced into Sex Trafficking and Forced Labor

KANSAS CITY, MO—Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Lebanon, Missouri woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury, joining her husband and four other co-defendants who were indicted last year for their roles in a commercial sex trafficking conspiracy.

The federal indictment alleges that a young, mentally deficient woman was sexually abused and tortured for several years at a Lebanon residence and forced to work as an exotic dancer at local strip clubs. Today's indictment also contains additional charges against the original defendants related to a murder-for-hire scheme, witness and victim tampering and witness retaliation, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and child pornography.

Marilyn Bagley, 45, along with her husband Edward Bagley, Sr., also known as "Master Ed," 43, and Michael Stokes, also known as "The Rodent," 62, all of Lebanon, Mo., and Bradley Cook, also known as "PutHer2GoodUse," 32, of St. Louis, Mo., were charged in an 18-count superseding indictment returned by a grand jury in Kansas City, Mo. Today's superseding indictment replaces a Sept. 8, 2010, indictment. Edward Bagley, Stokes, and Cook remain in federal custody.

Today's indictment alleges that Edward and Marilyn Bagley enticed a female victim, identified as "FV," who they believed came from a troubled childhood and suffered from mental deficiencies, into their trailer home in a wooded area. They allegedly engaged in sexual intercourse and sexual torture activities with FV to groom and coerce her to become a sex slave. Edward Bagley allegedly beat, whipped, flogged, suffocated, choked, electrocuted, caned, skewered, drowned, mutilated, hung, and caged FV to coerce her to become a sex slave. Edward Bagley allegedly advertised online that FV was his slave and could be sexually tortured during live online sessions or in person. The indictment states that Stokes and Cook participated in this conspiracy as customers who paid and offered goods to Bagley to sexually abuse and torture FV. The indictment also alleges that Edward Bagley forced FV to work as a stripper and the Bagleys kept the proceeds from that work.

The federal investigation began after Bagley allegedly suffocated and electrocuted FV during a torture session to a state of cardiac arrest on Feb. 27, 2009. FV, who was 23 years old at that time, received emergency medical treatment and was hospitalized.

Today's superseding indictment contains an additional charge against Edward Bagley for possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

Cook is also charged with two additional counts of using an interstate facility in the commission of murder-for-hire, and with one count each of attempted tampering with a victim and attempted witness retaliation, all of which are related to an alleged attempt to kill FV between Sept. 28, 2010, and Dec. 9, 2010. Cook is also charged with tampering with another witness, who is identified as "JP" in the indictment.

Today's superseding indictment also contains additional charges against Stokes for receiving child pornography over the Internet and for possessing child pornography.

According to the federal indictment, the Bagleys invited FV, who was 16 years old at the time, into their trailer after she ran away from home in December 2002. They promised FV, who had grown up in foster care homes, a "great life," and promised that they would help her to become a model and a dancer, the indictment says.

The Bagleys used the Internet and BDSM pornography to train and groom FV (while she was still a minor) to be a sex slave. Marilyn Bagley allegedly modeled "slave clothes" as part of recruiting FV to become Edward Bagley's slave. Edward Bagley allegedly gave FV marijuana and ecstasy, showed her images of pornography and sadomasochism activities, and began sexually abusing her while she was still a minor.

Edward Bagley began sexually torturing FV in February 2004, according to the indictment, when she turned 18 years old and he had her sign a "sex slave contract," which he convinced FV legally bound her to him as his slave for the rest of her life. The indictment cites numerous allegations of a variety of sexual acts, torture, and mutilation over a five-year period.

Marilyn Bagley posed in photographs taken by Edward Bagley, the indictment says, where she sexually abused FV. Marilyn Bagley allegedly told FV to "do as she was told" and refused to offer assistance when FV expressed fear of Edward Bagley. Marilyn Bagley benefited financially and by receiving something of value from her role in the sex trafficking scheme.

If FV attempted to stop the activity or cried for help, the indictment says, Edward Bagley escalated the torture. Edward Bagley allegedly threatened to kill FV and demonstrated to her that he could do so by keeping numerous guns in the home. Edward Bagley shot animals that FV cared for in front of her, the indictment says, and bragged about the bodies he had already buried in the woods behind the trailer home. Edward Bagley also threatened to bury FV alive, the indictment says, and showed her a video demonstrating how he intended to do it.

Edward Bagley had FV tattooed to mark her as his property, the indictment says, including a bar code on her neck, a tribal tattoo on her back with the letter "S" to mark her as a slave, and the Chinese symbol for slave on her ankle.

Between February 2004 and February 2009, the indictment says, Edward Bagley tortured FV on live webcasts on the Internet. Cook allegedly watched live video over the Internet of FV being sexually abused and tortured, and downloaded pictures of FV to his computer. Cook allegedly sent images to Edward Bagley of females in his residence that he beat, bound, and tied up to share ideas of how to abuse FV. Cook allegedly used those torture methods on FV when he visited the Bagley residence. Cook gave Bagley a hard drive with sadomasochism and torture videos downloaded from the Internet, including videos demonstrating to Bagley how he could bury FV alive.

Stokes allegedly traveled to the Bagleys' residence and engaged in both sexually torturing FV and watching Edward Bagley torture FV. Stokes gave Bagley steaks, cigarettes, coats, clothing, lighters, and cash. Stokes paid $1,000 for Bagley to transport FV to California in December 2006 for a photo shoot in which FV performed sexual acts. Stokes paid Bagley $300 for a torture session, and also gave him money to build a homemade device to sexually torture FV.

In addition to the criminal conspiracy, each of the defendants is also charged with one count of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion and one count of using the Internet to facilitate the unlawful activity.

Edward and Marilyn Bagley are also charged together with forced labor trafficking and document servitude. The federal indictment alleges that the Bagleys forced FV to work as a stripper and exotic dancer at adult entertainment clubs from June 2007 to February 2009. They allegedly earned approximately $112,200 from FV's work. According to the indictment, Edward Bagley punished FV with torture and physical and sexual abuse for failing to be a top earner at the adult entertainment clubs where he had her dance and strip. Edward and Marilyn Bagley allegedly confiscated FV's identification documents, including her state-issued identification card, birth certificate, and Social Security card.

Edward Bagley is also charged with one count each of using the Internet to entice a minor to engage in illicit sex, enticement to travel for illicit sexual activity, transportation for illicit sexual activity, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance to a person under the age of 21, and being a drug user in possession of firearms and ammunition.

The federal indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Bagley to forfeit to the government any proceeds obtained from the alleged offenses, as well as any property used to commit the alleged offenses, including $112,200 allegedly obtained by the forced labor trafficking of the victim, two computers, sex toys and paraphernalia, torture devices, and 11 firearms. Cook would also be required to forfeit three computers, a hard drive, two Xbox 360s, and seven firearms.

Under federal statutes, a conviction for commercial sex trafficking carries a penalty of a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole. A conviction for either commercial sex trafficking or forced labor trafficking that involves aggravated sexual abuse carries a maximum penalty of life in federal prison without parole.

Phillips cautioned that the charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cynthia L. Cordes, Paul Becker and John Cowles. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in conjunction with the Human Trafficking Rescue Project.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers Seize Over $460,000 in Cocaine and Marijuana at Brownsville Port of Entry

Brownsville, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Gateway and Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridges over the weekend discovered cocaine and marijuana valued at approximately $460,300 concealed within three vehicles in three separate enforcement actions.

The first discovery took place on Saturday, March 26, 2011 at Brownsville and Matamoros International Bridge when a primary CBP officer encountered a 2000 Chevrolet Blazer driven by a male driver identified as a 52-year-old Mexico citizen who resides in Brownsville, Texas. The primary CBP officer referred the Blazer for a secondary examination. In secondary CBP officers discovered 16 packages hidden within the Chevrolet.

CBP officers removed the packages from the vehicle which had a combined total weight of 44 kilograms (97 pounds) of alleged marijuana.

In a second case at the B&M International Bridge on Saturday, March 26, 2011 CBP officers came in contact with a man driving a 1998 Ford Windstar. The driver identified as a 40--year-old Mexico citizen who resides in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico was referred to CBP secondary after a primary inspection revealed abnormalities within the Ford. In secondary CBP officers’ examination resulted in the discovery of 32 packages of alleged marijuana concealed within the Ford. CBP officers removed the 32 packages from the Windstar which had a combined total weight of 28.36 kilograms (62.5 pounds) of alleged marijuana.

The third case, on Sunday, March 27, 2011 CBP officers at the Gateway International Bridge stopped a male driving a gray 2002 Volkswagen Jetta for a primary inspection. The driver identified as a 50-year-old male U.S. citizen accompanied by four minor children and three dogs and resides in West Beach, Florida was referred to secondary for further inspection. Examination by CBP officers in secondary revealed 12 hidden packages concealed within the VW. CBP officers removed the packages from the vehicle which had a combined total weight of 4.28 kilograms (9.4 pounds) of alleged cocaine.

The approximate street value for the first two marijuana loads were $97,000 and $62,500 respectively. The alleged cocaine from these seizures has an estimated street value of approximately $300,800. CBP officers turned the three men over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) special agents for further investigation. CBP officers seized the narcotics and the vehicles.

“Vigilance by primary CBP officers contributed to the seizures of these loads of dangerous narcotics. This exemplifies the great work being done by CBP officers at the Brownsville Port of Entry in the war against drugs,” said Michael Freeman, CBP Port Director, Brownsville.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Three Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Distribute a Controlled Substance

PIERRE, SD—United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Errol Medicine, age 49, of Wakpala; Wynona Medicine, age 51, of Rapid City; and Wilma Medicine, age 44, of Rapid City, appeared before United States District Judge Charles B. Kornmann on March 28, 2011. All three defendants pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. The maximum penalty upon conviction is 10 years of imprisonment, a $500,000 fine, or both; three years of supervised release; and a special assessment of $100 to the Victim Assistance Fund.

The investigation was conducted by Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force. Special Assistant United States Attorney Ted L. McBride is prosecuting the case.

A presentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for July 11, 2011. The defendants were released on bond pending sentencing.

Fridley Man Pleads Guilty to Robbing a TCF Bank

Earlier today in federal court in Minneapolis, a 48-year-old Fridley man pleaded guilty to robbing a Fridley TCF bank on May 27, 2010. Joe Nathan Michael pleaded guilty to one count of bank robbery. Michael, who was indicted on June 23, 2010, entered his plea before United States District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis.

In the plea agreement, Michael admitted that he stole $1,991 from the bank, located at
250 57th Avenue Northeast
in Fridley. According to a law enforcement affidavit filed in the case, the robber, later identified as Michael, entered the bank and gave a teller a demand note that read, “Give money, I gun.” As the teller attempted to unlock the cash drawer, Michael warned her not to push any alarms. He also put his left hand in his jacket pocket, as if to indicate he had a gun. He then said, “Do you want me to shoot you?” The teller eventually opened the drawer and gave Michael the cash, which he stuffed in his jacket before leaving the bank.

Responding to the robbery, Fridley police saw Michael standing near a bus stop at the intersection of 57th and University Avenues. His clothing matched that worn by the robber, so they converged on him. In the process of apprehending him, money fell from his jacket pockets.

For his crime, Michael faces a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Judge Davis will determine his sentence at a future hearing, yet to be scheduled.

This case is the result of an investigation by the Fridley Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Chad Blumenfield and Erika Mozangue.

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Mother and Daughter in Murder-for-Hire Scheme

BIRMINGHAM—A federal grand jury today indicted a mother and daughter from Shelby County for conspiring in a 2009 murder-for-hire plot against the daughter’s ex-husband, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick Maley.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court, charges KIMBERLY DAWN McGUFFIE, 43, of Calera, and BARBARA LOUISE PATTERSON, 63, of Columbiana, with conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire. It also charges McGuffie with the underlying offense of murder-for-hire. According to the indictment, McGuffie promised to pay a man $1,000 to kill her former spouse.

“It is horrifying that a mother and daughter would plot murder because the daughter wants to regain custody of her children,” Vance said. “Thankfully, this murder didn’t happen because an informant turned to law enforcement for help, and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, and the FBI came together to foil the crime and catch the perpetrators.”

According to the indictment, Patterson and Kimberly McGuffie devised a plan to hire someone to kill McGuffie’s ex-husband with a poison cocktail of prescription medication supplied, in part, by Patterson. They attempted to carry out the plan as follows, according to the indictment:

In mid-July, 2009, Kimberly McGuffie first called an acquaintance and asked for his assistance in murdering her former spouse. She later met the man in person to discuss her plan. On July 23, 2009, her mother called her (Patterson’s) doctor’s office, requested a prescription for Lexapro, a medication used to treat depression, and picked up 14 sample tablets of the drug, which she gave to her daughter.

In August, Kimberly McGuffie and Patterson drove to a location near Columbiana to meet and again try to enlist the assistance of the man they wanted to help them kill the ex-husband.

On Sept. 8, 2009, that man, who became a confidential informant to police, told Kimberly McGuffie in a telephone call that he had found someone to do the job and would introduce her to him that night. After the phone call, Kimberly McGuffie drove to the town of Shelby and bought methadone pills, which she added to her deadly cocktail.

Later that evening, McGuffie drove to a shopping center parking lot in Calera where she met the confidential informant and an undercover officer posing as Norman Wilson, the “hit man.” She gave Wilson a small bag containing Lexapro, methadone, and Xanax and a key and a hand-drawn map to her ex-husband’s home. She also wrote him a $1,000 check to cement her agreement to pay him for the murder.

This case was investigated by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, the Alabama Bureau of Investigation, and the FBI, and will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney William G. Simpson.

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

Record 309-Year Sentence Upheld for White-Collar Criminal

BATON ROUGE, LA—United States Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux, Jr., announced today that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a sentence of 309 years' imprisonment for Robert Thompson, also known as John Lawson, age 44, of Zachary, Louisiana. Chief U.S. District Judge Ralph E. Tyson imposed the sentence on February 17, 2010, following Thompson's conviction on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and obstruct justice; seven counts of wire fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering; one count of mail fraud; one count of honest services mail fraud; one count of money laundering; four counts of access device fraud; two counts of aggravated identify theft; one count of computer fraud; one count of bank fraud; and one count of obstruction of justice.

The 309-year sentence constituted the fourth-longest white-collar prison sentence in U.S. history and the longest such sentence in the history of the Middle District of Louisiana. Thompson is currently serving his sentence in a specialized communication management unit located within the maximum security federal penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. The unit is one of only two in the country and is specially designed to deal with inmates who are prone to use communication with the outside to facilitate additional crimes.

This matter involved Thompson, a career criminal, engaging in multiple, long-running conspiracies with numerous co-conspirators to obtain and use the personal and financial information of approximately 150 individuals, churches, financial institutions, and businesses, without their knowledge or authorization, to steal from their bank accounts and use their credit to obtain things of value, including attempting to steal $20,000,000 from one victim's bank accounts. To facilitate the scheme, Thompson enlisted corrections officers to assist him through bribery and other means.

This matter was led by the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office, and the security and investigations staff of the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center. Many other agencies assisted in the investigation, including the Madison Parish Sheriff's Office, the Concordia Parish Sheriff's Office, East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office, the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office, the Hardeman County, Tennessee, Sheriff's Office, the Bolivar, Tennessee Police Department, the Baton Rouge Police Department, and the Louisiana Department of Corrections.

This matter was prosecuted by Senior Deputy Criminal Chief Corey R. Amundson and Assistant United States Attorney Alan A. Stevens. Appellate Chief Catherine M. Marist and Assistant United States Attorney Helina S. Dayries handled the appeal.

Former Chief Operations Officer for the National Center for the Employment of the Disabled Sentenced to Federal Prison

United States Attorney John E. Murphy announced that in El Paso this afternoon, former National Center for the Employment of the Disabled (NCED) chief operations officer Ernesto Alonzo Lopez, a.k.a. Ernie Lopez, was sentenced to three years in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,829,834.54 restitution to the U.S. Department of Defense for embezzling millions of dollars in government program funds.

On October 18, 2010, jurors convicted Lopez of one count of conspiracy to make false statements and defraud the United States and one count of making false statements. Evidence presented during trial revealed that between November 2002 until March 2006, Lopez and former NCED CEO and president Robert Edward Jones conspired to lie to the Committee for Purchase from the Blind and Severely Disabled, falsely claiming NCED was in compliance with the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act (JWOD). Compliance under JWOD required NCED to employ blind or other severely handicapped individuals to perform at least 75 percent of NCED’s work. Being in compliance with JWOD entitled NCED to receive no-bid contracts from government agencies. Based on the evidence presented at trial jurors found that NCED was not in compliance with the requirements and thus not qualified to obtain JWOD contracts.

Jones and Patrick Woods, former member of the board of directors for NCED, were sentenced last month to 10 years and three years in federal prison, respectively, for their roles in the fraudulent scheme.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division-Major Fraud Unit; the General Services Administration-Office of the Inspector General (GSA-OIG); and, the United States Postal Service-Office of the Inspector General (USPS-OIG). The case was prosecuted for the government by Assistant United States Attorneys William Lewis, Jr., and Steve Spitzer.

Border Patrol Agents, Deputies Rescue Three

Marfa, Texas – Border Patrol agents from Marfa Sector’s Presidio Station, along with deputies from the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office were able to rescue three people lost in the desert north of Presidio Friday night. The rescued were a woman and two men.

About , Friday night, March 25, Presidio agents received a cell phone call from a woman who reported that she and her two male companions were lost north of Presidio. She said she could not see any roads or landmarks. Agents instructed the woman to stay where she was and they notified the Presidio County Sheriff’s Office. They also got the woman’s call back number.

About , agents and a PCSO deputy met north of Presidio and were able to locate the group’s campsite. They searched the area, but were unable to locate the lost campers.

The deputy sheriff called the woman and asked if the she could see any lights from the searchers vehicles. She said they could not, but she agreed to make a fire.

About , Border Patrol agents saw the fire. It took them almost an hour and a half, riding on ATV’s, to get to the group. Agents furnished them with water which they were out of. The group was led to a vehicle and then transported to their camp.

At their campsite, their health was assessed by a Border Patrol EMT. One of the men received an I.V. All three declined further medical treatment.

Agents of the Marfa Sector have rescued seven people so far this fiscal year.

Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Polo Woman Sentenced for $414,000 Bank Theft

KANSAS CITY, MO—Beth Phillips, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Polo, Missouri woman was sentenced in federal court today for embezzling more than $414,000 from Bank Northwest, where she was employed in Polo and Hamilton, Missouri.

Laurine K. Calvert, 56, of Polo, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays to 23 months in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Calvert to pay restitution to Bank Northwest.

On Oct. 14, 2010, Calvert pleaded guilty to embezzling $414,124 from Bank Northwest. Calvert was employed by Bank Northwest in both Polo and Hamilton as a teller and bank loan secretary.

Calvert took money from five separate customer accounts from Feb. 10, 2003, to Feb. 8, 2010. She later created four fictitious loans, using part of the funds from these loans to replace the money she had taken from customer accounts. Calvert used the rest of the loan money for her personal benefit, giving some to family members and spending some during her monthly trips to gamble at Kansas City casinos.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel M. Nelson. It was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Castaway Bandit” Wanted

PHOENIX—Phoenix FBI Special Agent in Charge Nathan Gray announced the FBI’s Bank Robbery Task Force is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the “Castaway Bandit.”

The Castaway Bandit presents the victim teller a note demanding money. He is described as a white male, 6’0”-6’3” tall, 180 lbs, 27-30 years old. He has worn a white “Gilligan”-style hat, dark sunglasses or large white framed sunglasses, and gloves.

Any information regarding the Castaway Bandit should be reported to Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or to the FBI at 602-279-5511.

Robberies linked to the Castaway Bandit include:

03/10/11: First Fidelity,
7401 E. Camelback Road, Scottsdale
03/16/11: First Credit Union
475 N. Gila Springs Boulevard, Chandler
03/21/11: TCF Bank
1990 E. Ray Road, Chandler

The FBI Bank Robbery Task Force is comprised of the Phoenix Police Department, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Mesa Police Department, and the Scottsdale Police Department.

CBP Officers at the Hidalgo International Bridge Seize Close to $1 Million in Cocaine

Hidalgo, Texas – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at the Hidalgo/Reynosa International Bridge seized approximately 29.7 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of close to $1 million.

On March 26, 2011, CBP officers working at the Hidalgo/Reynosa International Bridge came in contact with a northbound 2008 Dodge Caliber sedan and its driver, a 51-year-old U.S. citizen from Lexington, Kentucky. After the initial primary inspection, a CBP officer referred the driver and vehicle to secondary for further inspection.

In secondary, officers discovered and seized 11 packages of alleged cocaine concealed behind the vehicle’s dashboard. CBP officers seized the vehicle as well.

The female traveler was transferred to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) for further investigation.

Hector A. Mancha, CBP Port Director, Hidalgo/Pharr said, “I commend our frontline police officers for their work in intercepting and seizing this significant amount of cocaine. Our officers remain vigilant, focused and continue working hard to secure our nation’s borders and the communities in which we live.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.

Former high school band director sentenced to 200 months in prison and $3 million in restitution for child pornography

CHATTANOOGA - Roy Walsh, 39, formerly of Jasper, Tenn., now residing in Lenoir City was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to serve 200 months in prison and to pay $3 million in restitution to two victims in a child pornography case investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Criminal Investigative Division.

Walsh will serve an additional 15 years of supervised release upon his release from prison.  He had pled guilty to transportation of child pornography in interstate commerce by means of a computer on April 5, 2010.

In February 2008, prosecution of an individual in Connecticut revealed that Walsh, former band director for the South Pittsburg High School Band, had been sending and receiving images of child pornography over the Internet. Chat logs involving Walsh and images sent and received by him were recovered in the investigation.
A search warrant was executed at Walsh's residence in Jasper on Oct. 10, 2008, and two computer hard drives were seized and forensically examined. The seized items were found to contain numerous images of child pornography.

"Each child seen in these pornographic videos is an innocent victim of those who produce, possess, transport and share child pornography. Unfortunately, these images are being viewed over and over again, perpetuating the abuse of these children," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of ICE HSI in New Orleans. "HSI will continue to diligently work with our law enforcement partners to identify child predators and bring them to justice."  Parmer oversees a five-state area which includes Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

This case was also 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 (CEOS), 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 projectsafechildhood.gov.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John MacCoon, Eastern District of Tennessee, represented the United States.

FBI and Chula Vista Police Seek Public’s Assistance to Identify Bank Robber

The FBI and Chula Vista Police are seeking the public’s assistance to identify the unknown male responsible for robbing the San Diego County Credit Union,
303 H Street, Chula Vista, California
, on Monday, March 28, 2011.

On Monday, March 28, 2011, at approximately , the San Diego County Credit Union,
303 H Street, Chula Vista, California
, was robbed by an unknown male. At the time of the robbery, the robber walked into the bank and approached the victim teller. The robber made a verbal demand for cash. The victim teller provided the robber a sum of money at which time the robber walked out of the bank.

Witnesses describe the robber as follows:

Sex: Male
Race: Black or Hispanic
Age: Mid 20s to early 30s
Height: 5’9” – 6’0” tall
Weight: 230 lbs.
Build: Heavy build
Hair/Coloring: Dark
Tattoo: Tattoo on left side of neck with a mix of letters and an unknown design
Clothing: Khaki colored hooded sweatshirt with the logo “SD” printed on several parts of sweatshirt, black or blue baseball cap with no logo, dark colored pants, and round sunglasses

US government offers up to $5 million reward for information regarding shootings of 2 ICE agents

WASHINGTON - The Departments of State, Justice and Homeland Security today jointly announced a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest and/or conviction of individuals allegedly responsible for the murder of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE HSI Special Agent Victor Avila.

The FBI, in conjunction with ICE, has established a 24-hour tip line based in the United States to process the information. Individuals in the United States with information are encouraged to call 1-866-859-9778. Individuals in Mexico can provide information by calling +001 800-225-5324. Spanish language speakers will be available using either number. Anyone wishing to email information can do so by visiting: https://tips.fbi.gov. All information is considered confidential.

Also today the Government of Mexico announced a reward of up to 10 million pesos for information leading to the arrest of individuals allegedly responsible for the murder and attempted murder. Individuals can call (55) 53-46-15-44 and (55) 53-46-00-00, extension 4748 in Mexico City. Outside of Mexico City, individuals can call 01-800-831-31-96 to provide information. Information may also be sent to the following email address: denunciapgr@gob.mx. More information about the Government of Mexico’s award can be found at www.recompensas.gob.mx.

Zapata and Avila were ambushed in Mexico on Feb. 15, 2011, as they were traveling in their U.S. government-issued vehicle from the state of San Luis Potosi to Mexico City. Mexican authorities have detained several individuals in connection with this incident and the investigation continues at this time.

The U.S. reward is being offered by the U.S. government through the U.S. Department of State’s Narcotics Rewards Program, which was established by Congress in 1986. Additional information on this program can be found at: www.state.gov/p/inl/narc/rewards/index.htm.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Charges Filed in Two North Suburban Bank Robberies

Criminal charges have been filed against a 42-year-old Chicago man in connection with the 2010 armed robberies of two north suburban banks. CARLOS STILLWELL, who has been in custody since June of last year on unrelated state charges, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Chicago late last week charged with two counts of aggravated bank robbery, which is a felony offense.

The charges were announced today by Robert D. Grant, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Patrick L. Kreis, Interim Chief of the Winnetka, Illinois Police Department, and Barry P. Silverberg, Chief of the Skokie, Illinois Police Department.

The thefts named in the indictment were both armed takeover robberies, one at the First Bank and Trust, located at
100 Green Bay Road
in Winnetka on June 14 and the second at the Brickyard Bank, located at 3536 West Dempster in Skokie, on June 2. In both incidents, witnesses indicated that a lone robber, subsequently identified as STILLWELL, entered the bank brandishing a handgun and threatening both bank employees and customers with harm if his demands were not met. Employees and customers of both banks were injured during the robberies, after they were allegedly beaten by STILLWELL.

STILLWELL was originally charged in a criminal complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago in February, with the Winnetka robbery. However, subsequent investigation conducted jointly by the Chicago FBI and Detectives from the Winnetka and Skokie Police Departments, developed additional evidence linking STILLWELL to both robberies and the filing of the charges announced today. The investigation was aided by forensic examinations conducted by the Northeastern Illinois Regional Crime Laboratory in Vernon Hills, Illinois.

In announcing these charges, Mr. Grant noted the invaluable assistance provided by the Skokie and Winnetka Police Departments. Said Mr. Grant, "Once again, the blending of local police experience and the resources of the FBI have proven to be a successful combination, which led to the identification and arrest of a suspected serial robber."

Chief Kreis added, "We are pleased that a violent armed robbery has been solved and a dangerous individual is now in custody, unable to threaten or harm other innocent members of our community."

STILLWELL is being held without bond, pending his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Chicago, later this week. Until then, STILWELL will be housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Chicago. If convicted of the charges filed against him, STILLWELL faces a possible sentence of up to 25 years' incarceration on each count.

Additional information about this and other recent Chicago area bank robberies, including downloadable photographs, is available at the Bandit Tracker website, www.bandittrackerchicago.com.

The public is reminded that neither a complaint nor an indictment is evidence of guilt and that all defendants in a criminal case are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Copies of the criminal complaint and grand jury indictment filed in this case are available from the Chicago FBI's press office at (312) 829-1199.