Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bounty Hunter Bloods Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Acts

NORFOLK, VA—Darren Antoine Pollard, 35, of Portsmouth, Va., pled guilty today in Norfolk federal court to participating in a pattern of racketeering activity (RICO) including a home invasion and conspiring to distribute controlled substances. He also pled guilty to possession of a firearm in a crime of violence.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, made the announcement after Pollard entered his guilty plea before United States District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Pollard will be sentenced on November 9, 2011 and faces a maximum penalty of life in prison.

According to court documents, in the Summer of 2006, Pollard and other members of the Bounty Hunter Bloods /Nine Tech Gangsters (BHB/NTG) executed a home invasion of a residence in Portsmouth, Virginia. Pollard was familiar with some of the individuals who lived at that residence because he had worked with them in the past. Pollard and the other gang members had attended a party at the residence the night of the home invasion. After leaving the party Pollard and the other gang members returned shortly thereafter brandishing firearms and demanding money. A female resident who was sitting on the couch with her young daughter observed one of the male residents running through the house while a gang member chased him with a firearm. The gang member pointed the gun at the female and tore a gold chain from her neck. Pollard and the other gang members then went through the pockets of all the other residents before fleeing the scene. Pollard was also involved in the distribution of illegal narcotics.

This case was investigated by the FBI, the Portsmouth Police Department and the Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys William D. Muhr and V. Kathleen Dougherty are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on pacer.uspci.uscourts.gov.

“ATF and YPD Target Documented Gang Members”

Yakima – Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that a joint operation between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Yakima Police Department has resulted in plea agreements concerning four documented Norteno gang members.

In the summer of 2010, due to rising gang violence in the City of Yakima, a joint proactive investigation was launched to detect, identify, and apprehend gang members who were selling controlled substances and firearms. During the investigation, law enforcement officers learned that several documented gang members were selling both methamphetamine and firearms. The law enforcement officers were also able to obtain audio recordings of several transactions which involved both methamphetamine and firearms. The investigation resulted in the return of several indictments.

On April 21, 2011, Orlando Marquez, aka Mr. Lucky, age 33, a documented Norteno VCV 21 gang member, plead guilty to Distribution of Methamphetamine. On July 21, 2011, Orlando Marquez was sentenced to 94 months imprisonment.

On April 18, 2011, Javier Vega Campos, aka Sprinkles, age 27, a documented Norteno VCV 21 gang member, plead guilty to Distribution of Methamphetamine. On July 26, 2011, Javier Campos was sentenced to 86 months imprisonment.

On July 26, 2011, Hugo Enrique Davadi, aka Flaco, age 23, a documented Norteno La Raza gang member, plead guilty to Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine and Felon in Possession of a Firearm. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the parties have agreed to recommend a sentence between 84 and 100 months imprisonment. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled to take place on October 13, 2011.

On July 26, 2011, Hermino Garcia Rojas, aka Boxer, age 23, a documented Norteno La Raza gang member, plead guilty to Distribution of Methamphetamine. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the parties have agreed to recommend a sentence of 120 months imprisonment. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled to take place on October 13, 2011.

Michael C. Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, said, “Gang members pose a clear danger to the public. The United States Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Yakima Police Department are committed to removing such offenders from our streets to protect the public.”

This investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Yakima Police Department. These cases were prosecuted by Tom Hanlon, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Louisiana Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Shooting at Home of Three Hispanic Men

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department announced today that Johnny Mathis, 48, of Lecompte, La., was sentenced to 15 years in prison by U.S. District Court Judge Dee Drell for shooting at the home of three Hispanic men because of the victims’ race and national origin.

Testimony at today’s sentencing hearing established that on June 15, 2008, Mathis fired three shots from a shotgun at the home of three Hispanic men who lived across the street from Mathis’ home in the Western District of Louisiana. After hearing two shots, the victims fled their house. Once outside, the victims watched as Mathis fired a third shot into the trees and then entered the victims’ house, left briefly and then returned. Minutes later, the victims’ house was engulfed in flames as Mathis exited. Subsequent investigation determined that the fire started in the kitchen where the victims had seen Mathis.

Mathis pleaded guilty on April 27, 2011, to criminal interference with the right to fair housing and using a firearm during a crime of violence.

“This kind of senseless and violent act has no place in this country. All people, regardless of race, have a right to be safe in their homes,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is committed to prosecuting those who violate our most critical federal civil rights laws.”

“Everyone should feel safe, especially in the place where they live,” said Stephanie A. Finley, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. “We hope today’s sentence sends a message that this type of activity is not taken lightly. Law enforcement will continue to investigate, and our office will continue to prosecute those who interfere with the right of others to peacefully live in their homes.”

The case was investigated by the FBI, and it was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Mudrick of the Western District of Louisiana and Nicole Lee Ndumele, a Trial Attorney in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

Guilty Verdict Reached in 1973 Murder of Tucson Woman

TUCSON, AZ—William Floyd Zamastil, 57, of Waupan, Wisconsin, charged with first-degree murder for the 1973 murder of Leesa Jo Shaner, of Tucson, was found guilty today by a federal jury in Tucson. The case was tried before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Frank R. Zapata from July 12 to 28, 2011.

The defendant remains in custody after trial. Sentencing is set before Judge Zapata on October 5, 2011. The federal indictment alleged that Zamastil killed Ms. Shaner on Fort Huachuca, Ariz., on or about May 29, 1973. A conviction for first-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

“The jury’s verdict in this case may finally bring some peace to the Shaner family knowing her murderer has been held accountable,” stated U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke of today’s verdict. “Justice has been served by the tireless efforts of our federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents.”

“The FBI is extremely gratified by this verdict,” Phoenix Division FBI Special Agent in Charge James Turgal, Jr. stated. “While there can be no real justice for Leesa Jo Shaner’s family, at least they were able to witness her killer being called to answer for his crimes,” the SAC added. SAC Turgal noted that present in the courtroom every day were Ms. Shaner’s mother, husband, son, and three sisters, nearly all of whom reside outside Arizona. SAC Turgal expressed satisfaction that the FBI “never gave up” and worked almost 40 years to solve this case. All the FBI agents assigned to the investigation over the decades “worked their hearts out” to bring this matter to a successful conclusion.

The evidence at trial showed that Ms. Shaner left her family home around 9:25 p.m. on May 29, 1973, to pick up her husband from the Tucson International Airport. When her husband arrived he could not find her. The car she drove to the airport was later found in the airport parking lot with the driver’s window halfway down, the car unlocked and her purse inside on the back seat. Despite an extensive search, Ms. Shaner could not be located.

In September 1973, Ms. Shaner’s remains were found in a shallow grave on Ft. Huachuca, Ariz. Witnesses testified and evidence was presented at trial that Zamastil abducted her from the airport and took her to Ft. Huachuca where he raped, murdered, and buried her. Law enforcement officials first became aware of Zamistil’s involvement in Ms. Shaner’s rape and murder in 1979 while he was imprisoned for the rape and murder of a Wisconsin woman.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution was handled by Sandra M. Hansen and Carmen F. Corbin, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Tucson.

CASE NUMBER: CR-09-1619-TUC-FRZ
RELEASE NUMBER: 2011-164 (Zamastil)

Friday, July 29, 2011

FBI Assisting New Hampshire State Police in Search for Missing 11-Year-Old Girl

FBI Activates Its Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team

The New Hampshire State Police and New Hampshire’s Office of Attorney General requested that the FBI assist in locating a missing child from New Hampshire.

Celina Cass, a white female, DOB 1/2/2000, 5’5” tall, 95 lbs, long brown hair and hazel eyes, was last seen at her home in Stewartstown, New Hampshire at approximately 9:00 p.m. on Monday, July 25, 2011. She was last seen wearing a pink shirt, pink pullover, blue shorts, and shoes. Her whereabouts are currently unknown. The New Hampshire State Police is leading the investigation into her disappearance.

To assist the New Hampshire State Police, the FBI has deployed its Child Abduction Rapid Deployment Team (CARD). The team is composed of four to six Crimes Against Children investigators who have in-depth experience in child abduction cases. They provide on-the-ground investigative, technical, and resource assistance to state and local law enforcement.

The nationwide CARD Team consists of 60 members, with two full teams serving each region of the country. They work closely with FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit representatives, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime coordinators, and Crimes Against Children coordinators.

Anyone who has information regarding Celina Cass’ whereabouts is asked to contact the New Hampshire State Police at 603-846-3333.

Anyone with media inquiries about the investigation, including requests for photos of Celina Cass, should contact Senior Assistant Attorney General Jane Young of New Hampshire’s Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General, at 603-545-9282.

Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Racketeering and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

BOISE — Mathew Grover, 22, of Fruitland, Idaho, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise and unlawful possession of a firearm, U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced.

According to the plea agreement, Grover is a member of an enterprise called the "Brown Magic Clica," (BMC), a Sureno street gang with members in the Districts of Idaho and Oregon. Grover admitted that he and other members of BMC agreed to participate in the conduct of BMC through a pattern of racketeering activity. BMC members were ordered by the gang’s leaders to engage in criminal activity and to distribute a portion of the profits from the illegal activity to gang members who were incarcerated. Grover admitted that on April 21, 2009, he conspired with co–defendant Juan Gonzales and others to distribute oxycodone, and that he sold two .22 revolvers and a stolen motorcycle to another BMC member. Grover further admitted that on August 28, 2009, he sold three firearms and methamphetamine to a BMC member. At the time Grover possessed the firearms, he had previously been convicted of a crime punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year, and was therefore prohibited from possessing firearms. The charge of conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise is punishable by up to twenty years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to five years supervised release. The charge of unlawful possession of a firearm carries up to ten years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and up to three years supervised release.

Sentencing is set for January 9, 2012.

A jury trial is set on December 6, 2011, for the remaining defendants named in the federal indictment – Salvador Apodaca, 24, of Pendleton, Oregon, Alfredo Castro, 35, of Boise, Oscar Garcia, 24, of Umatilla, Oregon, Adam Gomez, 23, of Boise, Adelaido Gomez, 26, of Boise, Juan Gonzalez, 26, of Cottonwood, Juan Jimenez, 27, of Boise, Jessie Rodriguez, 26, of Nyssa, Samson Torres, 23, of Ontario, and Amando Torres, 27, of Pendleton.

The federal racketeer influenced corrupt organizations () law prohibits individuals from participating, or conspiring to participate, in the conduct of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity. An enterprise is defined as any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity. Racketeering activity is defined as specified criminal acts, including murder, arson, distribution of controlled substances, and intimidation and retaliation against witnesses.

Operation Black Magic included the cooperative law enforcement efforts of the Treasure Valley Metro Violent Crime Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, the Boise Police Department, the Caldwell Police Department, the Canyon County Sheriff’s Office, the Idaho Department of Corrections, the Malheur County Sheriff's Office, the Meridian Police Department, the Nampa Police Department, the Nyssa Police Department, the Ontario Police Department, the Oregon State Police, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The investigation is ongoing.

Operation Black Magic is being prosecuted federally by Assistants U.S. Attorney and the Special Assistant U.S. Attorney hired by the Treasure Valley Partnership and the State of Idaho to address gang crimes. The Treasure Valley Partnership is comprised of a group of elected officials in southeast Idaho dedicated to regional coordination, cooperation, and collaboration on creating coherent regional growth. For more information, visit treasurevalleypartners.org.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Task Force Celebrates Its 25,000th Arrest

Cleveland, OH - Peter J. Elliott, United States Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, announced today that the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force arrested its 25,000th fugitive. Alphonso Tate, who was wanted on charges of rape, kidnapping, and five counts of gross sexual imposition out of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office, was apprehended by Deputy U.S.

Marshals and Task Force Officers on the near west side at 6110 Denison Avenue in Cleveland. Tate had been on the run since November of 2010 when he was indicted by the grand jury in Cuyahoga County.

Since its inception in June of 2003, the Task Force has been responsible for arresting 545 suspected murderers, 617 suspected rapists, 672 sexual offenders who have failed to register and has taken 1,289 weapons off the streets of Northern Ohio. Additionally, the Task Force has cleared over 35,000 warrants during this time. The wide-reaching grasp of the Task Force has nabbed fugitives in Mexico and Grenada, and has tracked fugitives to as far away as Israel. The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force has been one of the top performing Task Forces in the country and has grown in significantly over the last 8 years. The Task Force now consists of over 90 partner agencies with more than 350 officers assigned. The Task Force has 6 divisions throughout Northeast Ohio, located in Toledo, Mansfield, Elyria, Akron, Cleveland and Youngstown.

''The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force has had great success in making the communities across all of northern Ohio safer. Our strength lies in the partnerships we have built with other law enforcement agencies. I thank all the hard working Deputy Marshals, Police Officers, Deputy Sheriffs and Law Enforcement Officers who are part of this task force and who risk their lives daily to rid our communities of violent fugitives. I thank the leaders of our partner departments for their vision and dedication in being a part of this Task Force and making an incredible difference. I also have to thank our media partners who have previewed so many fugitives for us over the years, which has led to many captures. Without this media partnership, the NOVFTF would not be as successful as it is today and our communities would
be less safe." stated Pete Elliott, United States Marshal for Northern Ohio, who created the
task force.

"This Task Force has made such a tremendous difference in apprehending violent fugitives in our communities. Our success is due to the great relationships we have built with our partner agencies and the dedicated personnel on the city, state and federal level", added Chief Deputy United States Marshal Roberto Robinson.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of a known fugitive is encouraged
to contact the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at: 1-866-4-WANTED.
Callers may remain anonymous.

North Carolina Man Pleads Guilty to Robbing New Jersey Bank and Fast Food Restaurants, Admits to Eight Robberies

TRENTON, NJ—A Kingston, N.C., man admitted today to robbing a bank, six fast food restaurants, and a convenience store in New Jersey’s Monmouth and Middlesex Counties between January 29 and February 12, 2011, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Timothy Lester Johnson, a/k/a “Amiri Allah,” pleaded guilty to an information charging him with one count of bank robbery and two counts of commercial robbery for crimes he committed on February 11 and 12, 2011. Johnson entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Joel A. Pisano in Trenton federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Johnson admitted to robbing the following commercial establishments, culminating in the February 12, 2011, bank robbery:

Date Business Address
Jan. 29, 2011 Dunkin Donuts 231 Third Avenue
Long Branch, N.J.
Feb. 3, 2011 Burger King 139 Highway 35
Eatontown, N.J.
Feb. 4, 2011 Quick Chek 3607 Highway 33
Neptune, N.J.
Feb. 6, 2011 Dunkin Donuts 587 Fayette Street
Perth Amboy, N.J.
Feb. 8, 2011 McDonalds 588 Shrewsbury Avenue
Tinton Falls, N.J.
Feb. 11, 2011 Dunkin Donuts 2112 Highway 35 South
Ocean Township, N.J.
Feb. 11, 2011 Dunkin Donuts 4060 Asbury Avenue
Tinton Falls, N.J.
Feb. 12, 2011 PNC Bank 4620 Route 9 South
Howell, NJ

Johnson also admitted to brandishing what appeared to be a firearm in each robbery.

Review of surveillance video from the robberies and additional investigation led law enforcement to a Neptune, N.J., motor inn where Johnson was staying. On February 23, 2011, law enforcement observed Johnson place bags in the trunk of a car and depart the motel. Johnson was detained after law enforcement stopped the vehicle.

The three counts to which Johnson pleaded guilty each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. He is currently scheduled to be sentenced on November 7, 2011.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark; along with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Peter E. Warshaw Jr.; Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Bruce J. Kaplan; Howell Township Police Department; Long Branch Police Department; Eatontown Police Department; Neptune Township Police Department; Perth Amboy Police Department; Tinton Falls Police Department; and Township of Ocean Police Department for the work leading to the identification and apprehension of the defendant.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Clabby of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Trenton.

Defense counsel: Brian Reilly Esq., Assistant Federal Public Defender, Trenton

Victim, Suspect Identified in Fatal Shooting on Warm Springs Reservation

The FBI and Warm Springs Police Department have identified the victim in Tuesday’s fatal shooting on the Warm Springs Reservation as 24-year-old Delmer S. Davis. Davis was a tribal member.

At approximately 2:10 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, Davis was sitting in a vehicle outside a home in the Greeley Heights area of Warm Springs. He was shot as he held his young son. The child was not injured. Davis was transported to Mountain View Hospital in Madras where he was pronounced dead.

Shortly before 6:00 p.m., Ted L. Barney, Jr., age 23, turned himself into the Warm Springs Police Department. Barney is also a tribal member, but he was living off of the Reservation. Federal charges are pending.

The FBI and Warm Springs Tribal Police are continuing the investigation.

Former Tuscaloosa County, Alabama Sheriff’s Sergeant Charged with Civil Rights Violations

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department announced today that a federal grand jury in Birmingham, Ala., returned a three-count indictment charging former Tuscaloosa Sheriff’s Sergeant Althea Mallisham, 52, with federal civil rights crimes for using a stun gun on three jail detainees in 2008.

Mallisham is charged with violating the constitutional rights of three jail detainees by using a stun gun to illegally punish the detainees during separate incidents over a four-month period in 2008. The indictment alleges that each of the three detainees suffered bodily injury as a result of Mallisham’s use of the stun gun against them.

Mallisham faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each count.

This case, which is ongoing, is being investigated by the Tuscaloosa resident agency of the FBI’s Birmingham Field Office and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney D.W. Tunnage of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Tamarra Matthews Johnson for the Northern District of Alabama.

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Investigation into Fatal Shooting on Warm Springs Reservation

At approximately 2:10 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, a Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs member was shot as he sat in a vehicle outside a home on the Warm Springs Reservation in an apparent drive-by attack. He was holding his young son at the time. The child was not injured. The 24-year-old victim was transported to Mountain View Hospital in Madras where he was pronounced dead.

Authorities are withholding the victim’s identity pending notification of family.

The FBI, Warm Springs Tribal Police, Oregon State Police, and Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office are investigating.

Anyone with information about the shooting or the identity of the shooter is asked to contact the nearest law enforcement agency or the FBI in Portland at its 24-hour number, (503) 224-4181. This person should be considered armed and dangerous. Do not approach. If in immediate contact with this person, call 911.

Further information will be released as it is available.

Border Patrol Seizes $2.3 Million in Pot, 3 Vehicles

Tucson, Ariz. – More than 4,700 pounds of marijuana valued at about $2.3 million was seized yesterday by Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents in two separate incidents.

In the first incident, Ajo Station agents spotted suspicious activity near State Route 85 south of Why, Ariz. When agents searched the area, they discovered two pick-up trucks loaded with a combined 207 bundles of marijuana weighing more than 4,400 pounds. Both vehicles, reported stolen, were turned over to the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The marijuana, valued at more than $2.2 million, will be turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Later that evening, agents using thermal imaging technology observed a group of suspected drug smugglers loading marijuana into a vehicle northwest of Douglas, Ariz. Agents attempted an interdiction, but when they activated their emergency lights, the vehicle fled the scene. The Douglas Police Department took the lead in the pursuit. Two subjects were seen exiting the vehicle but one was quickly apprehended. The other is believed to have fled into Mexico. Inside the vehicle, agents discovered seven bundles of marijuana weighing 326 pounds with an estimated value of $163,000. The marijuana is pending transfer to the DEA. The subject will be presented for federal prosecution.

Customs and Border Protection regularly adapts and shifts resources to combat the flow of drugs into the United States. Coordination between multiple law enforcement agencies makes it difficult for transnational criminal organizations to operate with impunity.

Since launching the Southwest Border Initiative in March 2009, the Department of Homeland Security has made significant investments toward establishing a secure, safe border environment to improve the quality of life throughout Arizona communities.

Customs and Border Protection appreciates assistance from the community. Report suspicious activity by calling the Border Patrol toll free (877) 872-7435. All calls will be answered and remain anonymous.

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.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 25 Years in Ongoing Nuestra Familia Gang Prosecution



SACRAMENTO, CA—United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb sentenced Gabriel Caracheo, 38, of Salinas, today to 25 years in prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.

This case is the product of an extensive investigation by the FBI’s Stockton Violent Crime Task Force, the San Joaquin County Metropolitan Narcotics Task Force (METRO), the Stockton Police Department, the Salinas Police Department, the Watsonville Police Department, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This case was part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that was established in 1982 to conduct comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply. Assistant United States Attorneys Jason Hitt and William S. Wong prosecuted the case.

According to evidence introduced in a related trial, the Nuestra Familia (NF) is a violent Hispanic prison gang based in the California prison system, which exerts control over street-level NorteƱo gang members engaged in drug trafficking and violent crime. NF members and associates were responsible for distributing large amounts of illegal drugs, including methamphetamine, cocaine, marijuana, and ecstasy in the Eastern and Northern Districts of California with supply lines from Mexico and distribution channels throughout the United States.

According to court documents, between April 2004 and June 2007, more than 20 individuals were operating outside of prison to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana on behalf of the NF. In April 2007, Caracheo was given authority over the NF’s drug trafficking operations in the East Bay Area, which included Oakland. Caracheo obtained and distributed pound quantities of methamphetamine from Mario Diaz and others while Diaz lived in Los Banos. The methamphetamine was obtained from Southern California and transported through the Eastern District of California over Interstate 5 into the Salinas area.

Between March 22, 2007 and May 26, 2007, the FBI intercepted Caracheo in multiple drug-related phone calls with Diaz. As part of his plea agreement, Caracheo admitted that the intercepted calls involved him talking to Diaz about pound quantities of methamphetamine and the differing quality of methamphetamine available. Caracheo further admitted that on May 26, 2007, he was planning to get 1½ pounds of methamphetamine from Diaz, but law enforcement officers arrested Diaz.
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Arkansas Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime for Cross Burning

WASHINGTON—Curtis Coffee, 19, of Salado, Ark., pleaded guilty today to criminal violations of housing rights related to his role in the Aug. 28, 2010, cross burning in front of an African-American man’s apartment in Salado, the Department of Justice announced.

Coffee, along with co-defendants, Tony Branscum, 25, and Bradley Branscum, 23, also of Salado, were indicted in November 2010, by a federal grand jury on civil rights charges and other related federal charges stemming from their participation in the cross burning. Tony and Bradley Branscum, who are cousins, pleaded guilty last week for their roles in the cross burning.

Coffee admitted in court that on the night of Aug. 28, 2010, he, along with his co-defendants, devised a plan to burn a cross in the yard of an African-American in the Salado community. Thereafter, Tony Branscum constructed a wooden cross in a workshop behind his house. The men then covered the cross in gasoline-soaked clothing and Brad Branscum drove them and the cross to the victim’s residence. Upon arriving at the residence, Coffee propped up the cross on a satellite dish and ignited it.

“The burning cross is an unmistakable symbol of bigotry and hate, and to use it to threaten a person with violence because of his race is intolerable in this nation,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We will continue to aggressively prosecute hate crimes of this kind.”

Coffee faces up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

This case was investigated by the Little Rock, Ark., Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Ray White of the Eastern District of Arkansas and Trial Attorneys Cindy Chung and Henry Leventis of the Civil Rights Division.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fugitive Bank Robber Sought by the FBI

The FBI and the Philadelphia Police Department are seeing the public’s assistance to locate fugitive John Digman, also known as John McCue. Digman is charged via criminal complaint in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with four counts of bank robbery, in connection with the attempted robbery of the Bank of America branch located at 1841 East Allegheny Avenue on July 11, 2011, and the robberies of the PNC Bank branch at 900 Walnut Street on July 11, 2011; the PNC Bank branch at 1849 Walnut Street on July 18, 2011; and the Beneficial Bank branch at 826 East Allegheny Avenue on July 20, 2011. Digman is also a suspect in the robbery of the Prudential Savings Bank branch at 238 Moore Street on July 22, 2011. All of the robberies involved the use of threatening demand notes, and there were no physical injuries as a result of these robberies. No weapons were displayed during any of these robberies.

Digman is described as a white male, 48 years old, 5’10” tall, thin build, with multiple tattoos on both arms, including one on his right forearm of the word “Sherry.” He was last known to be living in the 3500 block of Frankford Avenue, but is also known to frequent the Kensington and South Philadelphia areas of the city. Digman was released earlier this month from Federal custody for prior bank robbery convictions.

Digman is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the FBI at 215-418-4000 or the Philadelphia Police Department. There may be a reward for information leading to Digman’s capture, and tipsters can remain anonymous.

Pictures of Digman are below. The surveillance picture of Digman taken during the robbery of the Beneficial Bank branch last Wednesday is included because it depicts Digman as significantly thinner and more gaunt-looking than the other photograph.

Des Moines Man Sentenced for Making False Statements During Purchase of Firearm

DES MOINES, IA — On July 22, 2011, William Lee Daniels, 40, of Des Moines, was sentenced to a term of two years probation for making false statements in connection with the acquisition of a firearm, announced United States Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt. Daniels plead guilty on April 22, 2011, to count one of the Indictment in U.S. District Court in Des Moines, Iowa, before the Honorable Judge James E. Gritzner.

Daniels was charged with two separate criminal offenses: Making a False Statement to a Licensed Firearms Dealer, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both; and Causing False Information to be Placed in the Records of a Firearms Dealer, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

According to the indictment, Daniels falsely stated to Pawn & Gun Sales, a licensed firearms dealer, on October 6, 2010, that he was the actual transferee or buyer of a Jimenez pistol, model JA NINE, caliber 9 mm, and that he was not acquiring it on behalf of another. The Indictment further alleged that Daniels was purchasing the firearm for one Robert Sears.

This case was investigated by the Des Moines Police Department, with the participation of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

California Man Arrested in Kidnapping of Mother from Oregon

Kern County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 55-year-old Marshall Goldberg Friday at about 4:15 p.m. at a motel in Frazier Park, California. Goldberg’s 85-year-old mother, Doris, was found safe. She is undergoing a medical evaluation at a nearby hospital this evening. Doris Goldberg was considered endangered because she has Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Frazier Park is about an hour south of Bakersfield.

Deputies were alerted to Goldberg’s location after some citizens, who had seen the recent publicity about this case, contacted them and told the deputies that they believed Goldberg was staying at that motel. Goldberg faces charges kidnapping, custodial interference and contempt of court charges out of Jackson County (Oregon) for taking his mother from her Ashland home in May. The FBI recently obtained a federal fugitive warrant for Goldberg.

Goldberg is in the Kern County Jail. In the coming days, it will be up to Jackson County authorities to arrange Goldberg’s extradition back to Oregon.

OGK Gang Member Sentencing

Twelfth OGK Defendant Sentenced, Receives 57 Additional Months’ Incarceration in Federal Racketeering Case

United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian announced today that NAKEEM STRATTON, a/k/a Bayshawn and Little Bay, age 25, of Albany, New York, was sentenced today by United States District Court Judge Gary L. Sharpe to 57 months’ incarceration (STRATTON was facing a sentence of 120 months but received 63 months’ credit for time already served), and five years of supervised release following his release from incarceration. This sentence follows his plea of guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge as set forth in count one of a federal indictment relating to the criminal activities of the ORIGINAL GANGSTER KILLERS (OGK), or “Downtown,” gang, which operated within the City of Albany.

STRATTON is the 12th OGK gang members to be sentenced. STRATTON previously had admitted that he was an OGK gang member and had conspired with other persons to possess with intent to distribute and distribute crack cocaine within the Northern District of New York. STRATTON’s involvement in the narcotics conspiracy involved the possession with intent to distribute and distribution of more than 50 grams of cocaine base (crack cocaine). STRATTON had also previously admitted that he had participated with other gang members in acts of violence.

This prosecution resulted from a joint investigation conducted by the Office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York; the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Albany Field Division; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration, Albany District Office; the City of Albany Police Department; the Albany County Sheriff’s Department; the Rensselaer County Sheriff’s Department; the New York State Department of Corrections; the New York State Division of Parole; the New York State Police; the United States Marshal, Northern District of New York, Albany Office; the Albany County District Attorney’s Office; the Rensselaer County District Attorney’s Office; the Town of Guilderland Police Department; the Town of Bethlehem Police Department; and the City of Cohoes Police Department.

CONTACT:
William C. Pericak, Deputy Criminal Chief
Carlos A. Moreno, Assistant United States Attorney
(518) 431-0247

Duluth Man Sentenced to 30 Years for Taking a 13-Year-Old Girl Across State Lines to Commit Sexual Abuse

MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court in Duluth, a 42-year-old Duluth man was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for taking a 13-year-old girl across state lines with the intent to sexually abuse her. United States District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank sentenced Todd Richard Franik, who was indicted on October 5, 2010, and pleaded guilty on November 5, 2010, to one count of interstate transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. In imposing the 30-year prison term, Judge Frank said a sentence of anything less would be insufficient to promote respect for the law and protect the public.

Following today’s sentencing, Donald E. Oswald, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Minneapolis Field Office, said, “Children are one of our community’s most precious assets. Child predators like Mr. Franik can always be assured that the FBI will give them its fullest attention to ensure that they are brought to justice.”

According to the documents filed in this case, Franik abducted the girl in Duluth at about 3:00 p.m. on August 2, 2010. The girl was walking her dog. She passed a parked car, its hood up. The man standing near the vehicle, later identified as Franik, asked the girl for directions to the zoo. As she drew closer, the man grabbed both her and the dog and forced them into the trunk. He then drove the car around for 15 to 20 minutes, crossing into Wisconsin and back into Minnesota, before stopping in a wooded area.

While in the woods, Franik removed the child and the dog from the trunk. He then engaged in sexual conduct with the child. Afterwards, he used duct tape to wrap the child’s hands and feet and secure her to a fallen tree. He also tore his shirt, stuffed the cloth into her mouth, and covered her mouth with more duct tape. He reportedly taped the dog’s mouth shut too. After Franik drove away from the scene, the child twisted and chewed through the duct tape and made her way to a business in Superior, Wisconsin, from where authorities were called.

While law enforcement officers worked to recover evidence from the woods, which ultimately included scraps of duct tape and fresh shoe prints, they observed a car repeatedly drive past them on a nearby highway. The car matched the description of the vehicle used in the crime, so authorities traced its license plate number. Later, they located the car in a Duluth parking lot and placed it under surveillance.

During the early afternoon of August 3, 2010, authorities observed Franik approach the vehicle and open up the trunk. Officers moved in, spotting duct tape and other evidence of the crime. A subsequent search of Franik’s residence yielded shoes with a tread pattern that matched the shoe prints found in the woods. Franik was subsequently arrested without incident.

This case was the result of an investigation by the Duluth Police Department, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin, and the FBI. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David P. Steinkamp.

More Guilty Pleas Entered in New Mexico Federal Firearms Trafficking Case

United States Attorney John E. Murphy announced that six more defendants have pleaded guilty this week to federal charges in connection with the Columbus, New Mexico firearms trafficking investigation.

Appearing before United States Magistrate Judge William P. Lynch in Las Cruces, New Mexico:

•Vicente Carreon, age 27, of Columbus, pleaded guilty this morning to one count of conspiracy and one count of smuggling firearms into the United States. As a result, Ortega faces up to ten years in federal prison on the smuggling charge; up to five years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge.
•Ian Garland, age 50, a federally licensed firearms dealer who did business as Chaparral Guns in Chaparral, New Mexico, pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of conspiracy and six counts of making false statements in the acquisition of firearms. As a result, Garland faces up to five years in federal prison per count. Garland remains in federal custody.
•Manuel Ortega, age 25, a resident of Palomas, Mexico, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of conspiracy and one count of smuggling firearms into the United States. As a result, Ortega faces up to ten years in federal prison on the smuggling charge; up to five years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge.
•Miguel Carrillo, age 30, of Columbus, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one count of conspiracy, two counts of making false statements and two counts of smuggling firearms from the United States. As a result, Carrillo faces up to ten years in federal prison for each smuggling count; up to five years in federal prison on each of the remaining counts.
•Brenda and David Christy, age 54 and 55, respectively, of Deming, New Mexico, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one–count Informations charging them with making a false statement to a federally licensed firearms dealer. As a result, Brenda and David Christy face up to five years in federal prison.
To date, ten individuals have pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with this investigation. No sentencing dates have been scheduled.

The investigation was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with assistance from the Comandante Chihuahua State Police in Palomas, Mexico and the Secretariat of Public Security in Juarez, Mexico. The U.S. Marshal’s Service, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, New Mexico State Police, Las Cruces Police Department, El Paso Police Department as well as other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies also provided assistance during the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by District of New Mexico Assistant United States Attorneys Nathan Lichvarcik and Michael Nammar.

FBI and El Cajon Police Seek Public’s Assistance to Identify Unknown Female Bank Robber

The FBI and El Cajon Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance to identify an unknown female responsible for robbing the Bank of the West, located at 1234 East Main Street, El Cajon, California, 92021, on Friday, July 22, 2011.

On Friday, July 22, 2011, at approximately 3:50 p.m., an unknown female robbed the Bank of the West, located at 1234 East Main Street, El Cajon, California. At the time of the robbery, the suspect presented a demand note to the victim teller and threatened to have a weapon. After receiving a sum of money the robber exited the bank. No weapon was observed and no injuries reported.

Witnesses describe the robber as follows:

Sex: Female
Race: White
Age: Mid 20s
Height: Approximately 5’6” tall
Weight: Approximately 135 lbs.
Build: Medium
Hair: Blond or brown
Clothing: Dark hoodie and black pants

Anyone with information concerning this robbery is asked to contact the FBI at telephone number (858) 565-1255 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. You may remain anonymous by calling the FBI or Crime Stoppers.

Bloomfield Man Involved in Hartford Drug Trafficking Sentenced to More Than Eight Years in Federal Prison

The United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut today announced that KYLE PITTS, also known as “Bark,” 27, of Norman Drive, Bloomfield, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to 100 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for distributing crack cocaine in Hartford.

This matter stems from “Operation Northern Strike,” a 15-month joint law enforcement investigation targeting alleged members and associates of geographically-based street gangs engaging in criminal activity in Hartford’s Upper Albany and Northeast neighborhoods. The investigation included the use of court-authorized wiretaps on multiple telephones, controlled purchases of narcotics, and physical surveillance. As a result of the investigation, 35 individuals have been charged with various federal drug and firearms violations.

According to court documents and statements made in court, PITTS was a member of the “The Ave,” a street gang involved in crimes of violence and which controlled the drug trade along significant portions of Albany Avenue and adjacent neighborhoods in Hartford. In May and June 2010, intercepted communications revealed that PITTS was involved in the distribution of significant quantities of crack cocaine. Intercepted communication also revealed that PITTS both possessed and sold firearms.

On May 18, 2010, PITTS told a co-conspirator that PITTS’ source of supply of narcotics was shot in the head. PITTS explained that his source was shot five times, including “three through the chest and one to the head.” Investigators were able to identify PITTS’ source of supply of narcotics and corroborated that his source was shot, as represented by PITTS.

On May 4, 2011, PITTS pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).

PITTS has several prior convictions, including multiple convictions related to violence against women. There are currently two active protective orders against PITTS.

PITTS has been detained since his arrest on September 22, 2010.

This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Gang Task Force—which includes representatives of the FBI, Connecticut State Police and Hartford Police Department—and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brian P. Leaming and Geoffrey M. Stone.

Combating Transnational Organized Crime


Today, the Obama Administration announced the release of the President’s Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime. In the words of the message from President Obama that accompanies the Strategy: “This strategy is organized around a single, unifying principle:  To build, balance, and integrate the tools of American power to combat transnational organized crime and related threats to our national security—and to urge our partners to do the same.

As the Cabinet agency charged with securing our nation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plays an integral role in the Obama Administration’s efforts to combat transnational organized crime (TOC) both at home and with our partners abroad.

Reading and studying organized crime books often helps law enforcement officials combat organized crime.  Due to the DHS’s mission, the Department is uniquely positioned to leverage and deploy resources of many components in the fight against organized crime everywhere, while working closely with other federal, state and local agencies, foreign governments and partners in the private sector.

The most effective way of curbing corruption and other illicit activities, including cybercrime, drug and human trafficking, and terrorism, is through enhanced intelligence gathering and information sharing throughout the federal government. Examples include:

•In November 2010, the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis established the Border Intelligence Fusion Section (BIFS)—in collaboration with the Departments of Justice and Defense, and the U.S. intelligence community— to provide law enforcement, border enforcement, and investigative agencies with multi-source intelligence to support investigations and operations conducted along the Southwest border.
•In support of this strategy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is implementing a new "Illicit Pathways Attack Strategy," which will prioritize, and integrate its authorities and resources in a focused and comprehensive manner to attack criminal organizations along the entire pathway, or continuum of crime, both at home and abroad. 
Once TOC threats have been identified, the Department works with our partners to interdict them through strengthened interdiction, investigations, and prosecutions. Some examples of these include:

•Cybercrime—As a result of close collaboration with the private sector regarding developing technologies and trends in the financial payments industry, the U.S. Secret Service has apprehended individuals charged with committing some of the world’s most advanced cybercrimes.
•Securing our borders—In 2006, ICE and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) worked with other federal, state, local, and foreign partners to establish the BEST, in order to break down TOC networks that attempt to conduct illegal activities across and along our borders. Since the inception of this initiative, there are now 21 BESTs spread out along the Southwest and Northern borders as well as at major seaports.  .

In addition to securing our nation’s Southwest and Northern borders to disrupt drug trafficking, DHS has multiple maritime agreements with our international partners to facilitate cooperation in counterdrug operations in U.S. and foreign waters. Earlier this month, DHS unveiled an unprecedented cross-component Maritime Operations Coordination plan to enhance the Department’s coordination capabilities, and the U.S. Coast Guard utilizes intelligence gathered across the federal government to intercept and apprehend traffickers before they reach the United States.