Amazon

Friday, September 30, 2011

Six Additional Defendants Charged in “Operation Prairie Eagle”

PEORIA, IL—A federal grand jury has returned indictments against six additional defendants as a result of “Operation Prairie Eagle,” a cooperative investigation targeting distribution of crack cocaine and marijuana in the Bloomington-Normal area. Fifteen defendants were previously indicted in May 2011.

The charges are the result of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Springfield Division and the Normal Police Department, with assistance provided by the Bloomington Police Department, the McLean County Sheriff’s Office, the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois.

Four defendants, Richard George Martin, 32, of Bloomington, Ill.; Shane C. Crawford, 30, of Streator, Ill.; Chad Joseph Graff, 35, also of Streator; and Alex William Guhlstorf, 39, of Normal, are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana. The one-count indictment alleges the conspiracy began in 2001 and continued to the present and involved more than five kilograms of cocaine and more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. The indictment also seeks criminal forfeiture of Martin’s bank accounts and cash totaling approximately $107,059.

If convicted, the statutory mandatory minimum penalty for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana is 10 years to life in prison. If a defendant has one or more prior felony drug convictions, the mandatory minimum penalty is 20 years to life in prison. With two or more prior felony drug convictions, the statutory penalty is life in prison.

In a separate indictment, Kelsie Linea Thirtyacre, 26, currently of Las Vegas, previously of Springfield, Ill., and Julie Lynn Foster, 32, of Cicero, Ill., are charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute marijuana. The indictment alleges the conspiracy began in 2001 and continued to Apr. 5, 2011, and involved more than 100 kilograms of marijuana. The women also each face three additional charges of using a telephone in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

If convicted, conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute marijuana carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years to life in prison; if a defendant has one or more prior felony drug convictions, the mandatory minimum penalty is 10 years to life in prison. For using a telephone in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, the penalty is up to four years in prison.

The two indictments were returned yesterday; however, the charges had remained sealed pending the defendants’ arrests and court appearances today. Crawford, Graff, Guhlstorf, and Foster were arrested this morning and appeared in federal court in Peoria this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge John A. Gorman. All were detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending hearings scheduled next week. Foster’s next hearing date is Oct. 6; hearings for Crawford, Graff and Guhlstorf are scheduled on Oct. 7. Martin, who is currently in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections, will appear at a later date. Thirtyacre was arrested this morning in Las Vegas, and will make an initial appearance in federal court in Las Vegas.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Eighteen Indicted by Federal Grand Jury on Drug Charges

Defendants Face up to Life Imprisonment

An indictment charging 18 defendants with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana has been unsealed, United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade announced today. McQuade was joined in the announcement by Andrew G. Arena, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Robert Corso, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration; and Chief Ralph Godbee, Detroit Police Department.

The indictment charges eighteen defendants—all alleged to be members of a national drug trafficking organization—with conspiring to distribute cocaine and marijuana in Detroit over the past 11 years. The 18 defendants are:

■CLARENCE WILLIAMSON, JR., a/k/a “Dawg” and “Junior,” 48, of Southfield, MI
■ANTHONY BERNARDE EDWARDS, a/k/a “Ant” and “Mick,” 40, of Southfield, MI
■DARYL KEITH SEWELL, a/k/a “D-Nice,” 43, of Arizona
■MALCOLM MARTINES LONG, a/k/a “Black,” 38, of Macomb Township, MI
■ISAAC JOHNSON SHEPPARD, 30, of Detroit, MI
■CARL LEE JONES, a/k/a “Pookie,” 30, of Farmington Hills, MI
■GEOFFREY LAMAR HIGHTOWER, a/k/a “Chief,” 40, of Wayne, MI
■DENNIS CORNELIUS TATE, a/k/a “Deezy” and “Terrence,” 36, of Belleville, MI
■KENDRAH SMARTT, a/k/a “Old Girl,” 46, of Colorado
■TERRENCE LYNN PRITCHETT, a/k/a “Cowboy” and “C-Bo,” 40, of Detroit, MI
■JOHN LIGHTING III, a/k/a “J-Rock,” 29, of Detroit, MI
■SHAUN DEVON ASKEW, a/k/a “Dot,” 28, of Detroit, MI
■JOHNNY RICHARDS, JR., 43, of Roseville, MI
■JAAMI TOWNSEND, a/k/a “Jam,” 33, of Plymouth, MI
■DENISE DARRINE WILLIAMSON, a/k/a “Neecey,” 42, of Detroit, MI
■ERIKA ROYCE FLOWERS, a/k/a “E,” 29, of Detroit, MI
■THEBERA SHLANDA FLOWERS, 47, of Detroit, MI
■TERRELL RAYNARD CLARK, 23, of Detroit, MI
Isaac Johnson Sheppard is in custody in Detroit, and Kendrah Smartt is in custody in the State of Nebraska.

“We need to find new ways to address gun, drug, and violent crimes,” McQuade said. “Our law enforcement agencies are working together to use our resources in strategic ways.”

“The FBI remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners, particularly through our Violent Gang Task Force, and working with prosecutors to aggressively investigate drug dealing organizations,” Arena said.

Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Robert Corso stated, “The arrests that stemmed from this investigation are strong examples of the positive results that can be achieved when state, local and federal law enforcement agencies work together to fight drug trafficking. The DEA will continue to work with our partners to make our community safer by focusing on dismantling violent drug organizations.”

The most serious charge in the indictment, conspiracy to distribute more than five kilograms of powder cocaine and more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, carries a penalty of 10 years to life imprisonment.

An indictment is a charging document and not evidence of guilt. Each and every defendant is presumed to be innocent. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Portelli.

St. Francis Man Pleads Guilty to Two Counts of Involuntary Manslaughter

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Christopher L. Two Lance, age 28, of St. Francis, South Dakota, appeared before United States District Judge Roberto A. Lange on September 27, 2011, and pled guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter. The maximum penalty upon conviction for each count is eight years of imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, or both.

The charges stem from an incident that took place on the evening of July 6, 2011, at approximately 6:40 p.m., when Two Lance was driving a motor vehicle in excess of the posted 65 mile per hour speed limit, had been drinking alcoholic beverages, and was under the influence of alcohol. Two Lance was observed driving recklessly before he ran into the victim’s vehicle. Both victims died as a result of the collision. Two Lance was driving the car at a rate of about approximately 99 miles per hour at the time of the collision. Two Lance, whose blood alcohol was determined to be .319, was also hurt as a result of the crash.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Rosebud Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Maher.

A presentence investigation was ordered. Two Lance was released to the Department of Veteran’s Affairs for treatment pending sentencing.

Twenty-Seven Individuals Indicted for Drug Trafficking in the Municipality of Salinas, Puerto Rico

Defendants Are Facing a Narcotics Forfeiture Allegation of $3 Million

SAN JUAN, PR—On September 27, 2011, a federal grand jury indicted 27 individuals as a result of an investigation led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD)-Guayama Strike Force, announced today United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. The defendants are charged in a five-count indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and aiding and abetting in possession of heroin, “crack” (cocaine base) cocaine, and marijuana. The object of the conspiracy was to distribute controlled substances at the Brisas del Mar Public Housing Project, and other areas located in the Municipality of Salinas, Puerto Rico for significant financial gain.

According to the indictment, beginning on a date unknown, but not later than the year 2007, Jesús Sánchez-Alvarado, aka “Pilo,” was the main leader of the organization. During his absence, he maintained control of the drug points operating at Brisas del Mar Public Housing Project through individuals and co-defendants directly designated by him for that purpose. These co-defendants performed different tasks for the benefit of the leader and the conspiracy, including but not limited to the administration of the daily activities, of the drug points, the execution of the main leader’s orders, the collection of payments or “rent” from the different drug point owners and the safe delivery of those payments or “rent” directly to the leader. These payments were made with U.S. currency, illegal narcotics, or both.

The defendants and their co-conspirators would purchase wholesale quantities of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana in order to distribute the same in street quantity amounts at their drug distribution points. The 27 co-conspirators had many roles, in order to further the goals of the conspiracy, including: three leaders/drug point owners, one supplier, two enforcers, five runners, 16 sellers, drug processors, look-outs, and facilitators.

It was further part of the manner and means of the conspiracy that the controlled substances were sold in distinctive baggies, vials or packaging, using stickers or brands in order to identify, and maintain control of the drugs disseminated at the drug distribution points. They would use their homes as “drug laboratories” to process kilogram quantities of narcotics for street level sales. The members of the drug trafficking organization would use force, violence, and intimidation in order to gain and maintain control of their drug points and in order to intimidate rival drug trafficking organizations and/or expand their drug trafficking activities.

“This arrest operation will help break the cycle of drug trafficking which we continue to see in these communities. As we weed out the criminal element in these communities, we will be able to rescue, protect and serve the victims of drug-related crimes and the decent citizens who live in those areas,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

“This joint investigation conducted with the Police of Puerto Rico has resulted in the disruption of another violent gang with the individuals responsible being placed in jail. As the general public has seen within the past few weeks, the FBI and the Police of Puerto Rico are actively fighting crime in Puerto Rico, and we will continue to do so,” said Joseph S. Campbell, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI-San Juan Field Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Alberto López-Rocafort.

If convicted, the defendants face a minimum of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment, with fines of up to $8 million. Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Former Whitley County Sheriff Gets 186 Months

Former Sheriff Guilty On Extortion, Money Laundering, and Drug Trafficking Charges

LONDON, Ky. — Former Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge was sentenced today to 186 months in federal prison for his involvement in numerous illegal activities during his tenure as Sheriff.

Hodge, 51, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove to charges of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right, conspiracy to distribute oxycodone, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Hodge admitted that on at least three separate occasions between 2004 and 2007, he conspired with Williamsburg Defense Attorney Ron Reynolds to extort money from individuals that the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department charged with felony drug trafficking offenses. Specifically, Hodge referred criminal defendants to Reynolds for representation.

In addition, Reynolds, acting on behalf of Hodge, also encouraged these same clients to make forfeiture payments and/or cash donations to the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department. The department received more than $55,000 through this scheme.

Hodge also acknowledged that he conspired with numerous drug dealers in the Whitley County area to distribute prescription pills, primarily oxycodone, over a seven year period. Hodge admitted that he was addicted to prescription pills throughout his tenure as sheriff.

As part of this conspiracy, Hodge obtained pills for his own personal use from various drug dealers with the implicit understanding that the Whitley Sheriff’s Department would not investigate them in connection with their ongoing drug distribution activities.

According to the plea agreement, Hodge admitted responsibility for the distribution of approximately 1,500 oxycodone pills during his involvement in the conspiracy.

Finally, Hodge admitted to conspiring with a former bookkeeper for the Whitley County Sheriff’s Department to embezzle and launder nearly $65,000 of funds belonging to the department.

According to court documents, money donated or forfeited to the department in connection with various court cases, were placed in the Whitley Sheriff Department’s Drug and Alcohol Fund.

The money in this fund was supposed to be used to make controlled drug buys, to pay informants, and to further other similar law enforcement objectives. Instead, Hodge told the bookkeeper to write him a check from the fund for one of these legitimate purposes, when in reality he was using the money for personal expenditures and to fund his own drug habit. The bookkeeper was aware that Hodge was improperly taking the funds for his own personal use.

To cover up for the missing funds, Hodge permitted the bookkeeper to alter the sheriff department’s accounting records and to falsify reports and other required paperwork.

As part of his plea agreement, Hodge will be required to pay restitution to the Whitley County Government in the amount of $64,897 for his role in this scheme.

Kerry B. Harvey, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Paul J. Vido, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Elizabeth A. Fries, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Christopher R. Pikelis, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service today jointly made the announcement.

“It is a sad day for law enforcement when a person of trust allows greed to cause him to disregard the oath he swore to uphold, and betray the trust and confidence of the people who elected him,” Vido said. “The sentence of 186 months shows the seriousness of the charges. The Kentucky law enforcement community will not tolerate such criminal behavior. This case was an example of how ATF and its federal, state and local law enforcement partners work together toward a common goal.”

The joint investigation was conducted by agents with ATF, FBI, and IRS. The U.S. Attorney’s Office was represented by W. Samuel Dotson. In addition, the investigating agencies received assistance from the Kentucky State Police, the Williamsburg Police Department, the Office for the Auditor of Public Accounts for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and Whitley County Commonwealth Attorney Allen Trimble’s Office.

Firefighter Fatality

The United States Fire Administration (USFA) has received notice of the following firefighter fatality:

Name: Vince Cruz
Rank: Firefighter II
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Status: Career
Years of Service: 19
Date of Incident: 09/28/2011
Time of Incident: 0600hrs
Date of Death: 09/29/2011

Fire Department: Guahan (Guam) Fire Department
Address: PO Box 2950, Hagatna, GU 96932
Fire Department Chief: Joey C. San Nicolas
Fire Department Website: http://www.gfd.guam.gov/

Incident Description: Firefighter Cruz passed away while onduty from a cause still to be determined. Cruz, posthumously promoted to Fire Lieutenant, was reported by authorities to have responded to a number of emergency calls the fire department answered the previous night.
Incident Location: Pending

Funeral Arrangements: Pending
Memorial Fund Contact and Address: Pending
Tribute is being paid to Firefighter II Vince Cruz at http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/fatalities/

To date, 74 firefighter fatalities have been reported to USFA in 2011; 69 from incidents that occurred in 2011 and five from previous years’ incidents. Year-to-date monthly and annual USFA firefighter fatality reports are posted online @ http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/fatalities/statistics/ff_stats.shtm.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Mexico Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Murder of a Child

United States Attorney John E. Murphy announced that in El Paso this afternoon, 30-year-old Thelton Andres Riley, Jr., was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for the death of a 7-month-old child on August 10, 2009, on Fort Bliss.

In addition, United States District Judge Frank Montalvo ordered that Riley be placed under supervised release for a period of five years after completing his prison term.

On May 11, 2011, Riley pleaded guilty to one count of felony murder. By pleading guilty, Riley admitted that while living on the Laguna Indian Reservation in New Mexico beginning in June 2009, he and his co-defendant, 30-year-old Leesa Trujillo, engaged in a pattern of child abuse resulting in broken bones, namely the upper right arm, both legs and several ribs. The defendants, along with Trujillo’s child, traveled to Fort Bliss on August 8, 2009, so that Riley could receive medical treatment at William Beaumont Army Medical Center. Riley and Trujillo further admitted that they never sought medical attention for the infant knowing that medical treatment for the infant was necessary and was readily available. Instead, Riley gave the child oxycodone and hydrocodone to keep the child quiet. After receiving the drugs, the child died.

On August 31, 2011, Trujillo was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to one count each of involuntary manslaughter and injury to a child.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation together with the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division. It was prosecuted for the government by Assistant United States Attorney J. Brandy Gardes.

Help Us Find a Killer

Media Campaign Marks Anniversary of Prosecutor’s Murder

It has been nearly 10 years since a killer stood outside the Seattle home of Tom Wales and fired several shots from a handgun through a basement window, killing the assistant U.S. attorney and father of two while he worked at his desk.

Since that time, the FBI and our law enforcement partners have dedicated themselves to finding those responsible for the murder. Now, as the 10th anniversary of the killing approaches on October 11, we are announcing a new media campaign to again ask for the public’s assistance.

“This is an active case in which we are constantly and aggressively pursuing leads,” said Greg Fowler, the FBI inspector in charge of the task force investigating the murder. “Information is the key,” Fowler added, “and the better the information, the greater the chance of finding those responsible.”

Wales, a prosecutor who specialized in white-collar crime cases, was shot at 10:40 p.m. It has been reported that a lone male suspect was observed leaving the scene.

“We know information about the crime is still out there,” Fowler said. “We know there are people who—because of fear, doubt, or other reasons—have not yet come forward.  Regardless of the reasons, now is the time to come forward. Now is the time to tell us what you know. Now is the time to help us solve this crime.”

During the next few weeks, residents in the Seattle region will see and hear a variety of print, broadcast, and billboard advertisements regarding the Wales investigation and the reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. In addition, detailed information about the case will be available on our website and our social media outlets, including Facebook.

“There are those who may not even know their information is important,” Fowler said, explaining the need for the media campaign. “Something seen, something heard, something out of place, something unusual—even the smallest clue may help.”

Special Agent Russ Fox, who has been supervising the investigation for the past two years, added that the 10th anniversary of the murder is a natural point to “renew the public’s interest in the investigation.” Fox noted that the murder took place exactly one month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which should help people remember that time period.

Fox acknowledged that the case has special significance because Wales was a federal prosecutor and a partner to law enforcement. “But he was also a neighbor, a father, and a member of our community.”

The FBI, the Seattle Police Department, the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and the Department of Justice—which form the Seattle Prosecutor Murder Task Force—“are still fully committed to this case,” Fox said.

“The murder of Tom Wales was more than a single act of violence against an individual,” Fowler added. “It was a crime that impacted many, but no one more than his family. Tom Wales left behind a legacy and a life that cannot be replaced. We remain confident that, with the public’s help, we will find those responsible and bring them to justice.”

If you have any information about the case, there are three ways you can contact the FBI, all of which are confidential:

■Call  800-CALL FBI;
■E-mail walestips@ic.fbi.gov; or
■Send a letter to P.O. Box 2755, Seattle, WA 98111

Insight Into a Killer
As part of the Wales homicide investigation, the Bureau asked its Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) to review the evidence to help understand the personality of the killer and the ways he might react as the 10th anniversary of the murder approaches.

“The anniversary and renewed media attention could prompt a reaction in anyone involved in the homicide,” said Susan Kossler, the BAU special agent assigned to assist with the case. “It’s important for people around that person to make note of behaviors that may be unusual or out of the ordinary.”

The media coverage surrounding the anniversary could trigger a variety of emotional responses from the killer, Kossler said. “He may appear tense or uneasy. He may make unexpected or inappropriate comments about the murder or about Wales.”

The killer might be preoccupied with the case and want to talk about it constantly. Or the very mention of the murder might make him shut down completely. “Any stronger than normal reaction, any significant deviation from the norm is what people should be looking for,” Kossler said.

Public Awareness Campaign Launched to Seek New Information in the Murder of Assistant U.S. Attorney

Attorney General Holder Joins U.S. Attorney, Wales Family, and FBI to Mark 10th Anniversary of Tom Wales’ Murder

SEATTLE—Attorney General Eric Holder joined U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Jenny A. Durkan, the Wales family, and the FBI in Seattle today to announce a new media and social media effort to seek information related to the 2001 slaying of Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas C. Wales. Wales worked as a federal prosecutor in the Western District of Washington for 18 years before he was shot and killed 10 years ago in his home the evening of Oct. 11, 2001.

“Tom was a dedicated public servant, a committed advocate, and a loving father and friend,” Attorney General Holder said. “Although this case remains unsolved, and Tom’s killer remains unknown, our resolve to uncover the truth—and to help Tom’s family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors find the answers and the closure that they deserve—has never been stronger.”

“The message to the public is: what you know may matter. Please call. What may seem to you to be a small, insignificant observation, could be a critical clue for law enforcement,” said U.S. Attorney Durkan. “It was one month after the 9-11 attacks. Think back, remember what you saw, heard, or knew, and use the FBI tip line. You could make the difference.”

In conjunction with the anniversary, the FBI is launching a major media and social media effort to encourage people with information to come forward. Investigators believe there are people who have not yet contacted the FBI, either because they are fearful or they do not believe their information is significant.

This effort includes advertisements in The Seattle Times and The Stranger, on Seattle-area billboards, and in commercials on local radio and television which start today and run through the anniversary of Wales’ death on October 11. The FBI has also launched a new web page, www.fbi.gov/wales, which is solely committed to posting and receiving information from the public about the Wales case. Additionally, the FBI will use its existing Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages to reach the public across the country to seek any new information.

In addition to these efforts, anyone with even the smallest bit of information is encouraged to contact the FBI and can do so confidentially by phone at 1-800 CALL FBI or by e-mail at walestips@ic.fbi.gov. People can also send anonymous tips to the FBI at P.O. Box 2755, Seattle, Washington, 98111.

“The murder of Tom Wales was more than a single act of violence against an individual,” said Greg Fowler, FBI inspector in charge of the case. “It was a crime that impacted many, but no one more than his family. Tom Wales left behind a legacy and a life that cannot be replaced. We remain confident that, with the public’s help, we will find those responsible and bring them to justice. ”

The FBI and the Seattle Police Department have led the joint investigation since the beginning. They are joined by staff from the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

“It is regretful that the suspect in Tom Wales’ murder has not been brought to justice,” said Seattle Police Chief John Diaz. “We will continue to work with our federal partners and do everything within our investigatory power to solve this heinous crime.”

“Attorney General Holder’s presence is a powerful reminder of the Justice Department’s dedication to pursuing justice in the murder of Tom Wales,” said Dan Satterberg, King County Prosecuting Attorney. “Local prosecutors will continue our partnership with federal investigators on this case. We are determined to solve this terrible crime.”

The compete library of information, including copies of the print and broadcast media pieces, the FBI Seeking Information poster, details about the tiplines, and more can be found at www.fbi.gov/wales. Additional information regarding the FBI’s efforts is available at www.facebook.com/FBI, twitter.com/#!/FBIPressOffice, and Youtube.com/FBI.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tucson Border Patrol Agents Seize Marijuana, Heroin; Recover Stolen Vehicle

Tucson, Ariz. –Border Patrol agents assigned to the Tucson Sector, a component of the Joint Field Command-Arizona, recovered a stolen vehicle and seized more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $1.1 million, as well as 1.6 pounds of heroin valued at approximately $21,760. 

Casa Grande Station agents assigned to the Motorbike Unit were tracking a group of suspected drug smugglers Monday when they discovered five bundles of marijuana weighing 342 pounds concealed in heavy brush. While searching the area, agents also found a backpack containing a 1.6 pound package of heroin. The marijuana and heroin, with a combined value of almost $193,000 were transported to the Casa Grande Station for processing.

In another incident Monday, Casa Grande agents tracking a vehicle traveling off-road in the West Desert discovered the vehicle abandoned and concealed in brush. The vehicle contained 80 bundles of marijuana weighing 1,895 pounds and worth approximately $947,500. The marijuana and vehicle, reported stolen out of Litchfield, Ariz., were transported to the station for processing. 

Smuggling contraband, either drugs or humans, is a federal crime. Smugglers frequently choose to abandon their loads rather than risk apprehension and the associated penalties.

CBP announced the JFC-AZ in February 2011 as an organizational realignment that brings together the U.S. Border Patrol, Air and Marine, and Field Operations under a unified command structure. The JFC-AZ integrates CBP’s border security, commercial enforcement, and trade facilitation missions to more effectively meet the unique challenges faced in Arizona.

Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol by calling (877) 872-7435 toll free. 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.

ICE arrests more than 2,900 convicted criminal aliens, fugitives in enforcement operation throughout all 50 states

Drugs, gangs, terrorism... all in a day's work as these homeland security books (written by agents) will tell you.

WASHINGTON - As part of the Obama administration's ongoing commitment to prioritizing the removal of criminal aliens and egregious immigration law violators, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced the results of a seven-day national "Cross Check" enforcement operation - which led to the arrest of more than 2,900 convicted criminal aliens.

"The results of this targeted enforcement operation underscore ICE's ongoing commitment and focus on the arrest and removal of convicted criminal aliens and those that game our nation's immigration system," said ICE Director John Morton. "Because of the tireless efforts and teamwork of ICE officers and agents in tracking down at large criminal aliens and fugitives, there are 2,901 fewer criminal aliens in our neighborhoods across the country."

This seven-day operation, the largest of its kind, involved the collaboration of more than 1,900 ICE officers and agents from all of ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations' (ERO) 24 field offices, as well as coordination with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners throughout the United States. Arrests occurred in all 50 states and four U.S. territories.

All of the 2,901 individuals taken into custody had prior criminal convictions including at least 1,282 aliens who had multiple criminal convictions. More than 1,600 of those arrested had felony convictions including manslaughter, attempted murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, drug trafficking, child abuse, sexual crimes against minors, and aggravated assault. Of the total 2,901 criminal aliens arrested, 42 were gang members and 151 were convicted sex offenders.

In addition to being convicted criminals, 681 of those arrested were also immigration fugitives who had previously been ordered to leave the country but failed to depart. Additionally, 386 were illegal re-entrants who had been previously removed from the country multiple times. Because of their serious criminal histories and prior immigration arrest records, at least 146 of those arrested during the enforcement action were presented to U.S attorneys for prosecution on a variety of charges including illegal re-entry after deportation, a felony which carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

Warm Springs Gang Member Sentenced to 15 ½ Years in Prison for Attempt to Kill Deputy U.S. Marshal

PORTLAND, OR—On September 27, 2011, U.S. District Judge Garr M. King sentenced Aldo Inez Antunez Sr., 33, of Warm Springs, to 188 months in prison for attempting to kill a deputy U.S. Marshal. On July 13, 2011, the defendant pled guilty to the crime of attempted murder of an employee of the United States. The sentence was ordered to be served consecutively to a 15-year state sentence the defendant is currently serving for attempted murder. Following the service of his federal prison sentence the defendant will serve three years of supervised release.

On July 22, 2010, the United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force was on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation to arrest the defendant on an outstanding state arrest warrant. The state charges arose from the defendant’s involvement in the attempted murder of several local Madras police officers. The task force agents located the defendant inside a residence on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, surrounded the residence and, using a loud speaker, announced that they had a warrant for his arrest and they needed him to come out of the house. In response, the defendant used a high-powered rifle to shoot at Deputy U.S. Marshal Vincent Byford. Deputy Byford had taken cover behind a tree across from the house so he could keep an eye on the residence. The defendant took two shots at Deputy Byford, narrowly missing him on each occasion. The first shot hit a tree near Deputy Byford’s head. The second shot passed behind Deputy Byford’s head and he felt and heard the concussion of the bullet as it passed by him. After seeing the defendant raise his rifle again, in order to take a third shot, Deputy Byford returned fire and struck the defendant in the torso. Shortly thereafter, the defendant crawled out of the house and surrendered.

In imposing the sentence, Judge King stated that this was the “most egregious case” he has seen since becoming a federal judge and the intended victim was very fortunate to be alive. In concluding the hearing, Judge King noted that the defendant was a “violent gang member” who “clearly has no respect for human life” and that public safety demanded such a lengthy prison sentence.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force, and the Warm Springs Tribal Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Scott Kerin and Craig Gabriel prosecuted the case.

FBI Releases Photos of Two Wanted Bank Robbers

The FBI Bank Robbery Task Force needs your help identifying two men who robbed a Houston area bank earlier this month. New photos released depict the bank robbers as they exited the grocery store in which the bank was located less than an hour before the robbery occurred. The evidence suggests the men cased the bank before they robbed it. The robbery occurred at the First Convenience bank, located inside the Kroger store at 5150 Buffalo Speedway in Houston, Texas, on 09/08/2011.

At approximately 2:45 p.m., the men entered the bank and approached two bank employees while they were filling the automated teller machine (ATM) with cash. The bank robbers assaulted the employees with their fists, and stole the two cash canisters that were to be placed inside the ATM. The robbers ran out of the bank and grocery store. They were last seen getting into a gold colored Dodge Caravan driven by a third man. Neither of the employees was seriously hurt.

The first robber is described as a black male, in his early 20s, approximately 5’3” - 5’4” tall, with a slim build and a light complexion. He wore a black baseball cap, black short sleeved tee-shirt over a white long-sleeved shirt, and black pants.

The second robber is described as a black male, in his early 20s, approximately 5’10” tall, with a slim build, and medium to dark complexion. He wore a black baseball cap, black short-sleeved tee-shirt and black pants.

The getaway driver is described as a black male with a dark complexion and a full beard. He wore a green baseball cap.

Crime Stoppers of Houston is offering up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and arrest of these robbers, or any felony suspect. If you have information about this crime, please call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 713-222-TIPS (8477), or the Houston office of the FBI at 713-693-5000.

Metro Gang Task Force Arrests Bandidos Motorcycle Club Members and Their Associates

DENVER—Members of the Bandidos Motorcycle gang and their associates, all of whom were charged for trafficking methamphetamine and cocaine, were arrested early this morning without incident by approximately 50 agents and officers affiliated with or supporting the Metro Gang Task Force. The arrests follow a grand jury indictment obtained on September 13, 2011, which was sealed until the first defendant’s arrest. Similar enforcement actions took place this morning in Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin, Texas. Defendants were allegedly members or associates of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club. Most of those arrested this morning appeared in U.S. District Court in Denver this afternoon where they were advised of the charges pending against them, and the penalties associated with those charges.

As arrest warrants were executed this morning, agents and officers recovered eight guns.

Arrested today were:

■Keith P. Allison, age 39, arrested in Golden
■Ronald C. Tenorio, age 42, arrested in Denver
■Edward R. Goll, age 42, arrested in Denver
■Adan C. Chavez, age 29, arrested in Thornton
■Tommy Freyta, age 49, arrested in Rio Grande County
One defendant, Joseph P. Windsor, age 42, was already in state custody

There are two defendants who are currently at large.

According to court documents recently filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, the Bandidos Motorcycle organization is a self styled “1 percent” “outlaw” motorcycle organization. The Bandidos are generally known as a criminal organization comprised of more than 2,000 members and associates with more than 90 chapters in the United States, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere.

“Thanks to the tenacity and hard work of the Metro Gang Task Force, members and associates of motorcycle gangs are being prosecuted for trafficking cocaine and methamphetamine,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. “To demonstrate the importance of this investigation, agents and officers took eight guns off the streets of Metro Denver today, making our streets safer.”

“These indictments and arrests are a result of the ongoing partnership and collaboration at the Metro Gang Task Force to neutralize the most dangerous criminal organizations that attempt to conduct illegal activities in Colorado,” said FBI Denver Special Agent James Yacone.

“This operation shows when we combine our efforts, we can make a difference,” said Chief of Denver Police Gerald Whitman. “Getting these criminals off the streets will have a positive impact in all of our communities.”

“The apprehension of several criminals today in Colorado is indicative of the kind of excellent police work that can be done when information is shared at the federal, state and local levels,” said Colonel James Wolfinbarger, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “I commend our state troopers and then men and women of the Metro Gang Task Force who were involved in the arrests.”

“ICE HSI routinely partners with other agencies to add our unique law enforcement authorities and expertise to many types of investigations, such as illegal drugs and street gangs,” said David M. Marwell, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Denver.

“This is a great example of law enforcement agencies working together,” said Sean Sowards, Special Agent in Charge of IRS-Criminal Investigation, Denver Field Office. “Taking away the proceeds earned from these illegal activities hits criminals where it hurts the most—it deprives them of their profits.”

If convicted of knowingly possessing with intent to distribute methamphetamine or cocaine, the defendants face not less than 10 years, and not more than life in federal prison, as well as up to a $4,000,000 fine. If convicted of conspiracy with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and more than five kilograms of cocaine, the defendants face not less than 10 years and not more than life in federal prison, and a fine of up to $4,000,000. One defendant was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, which carries a penalty of not more than 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

The indictment also includes an asset forfeiture allegation, which states that upon conviction of one of the violations charged in the indictment, the defendants shall forfeit to the United States and all of the defendants’ right, title, and interest in all property constituting and derived from any proceeds obtained directly or indirectly as a result of the offense, as well as all property used to commit or facilitate the offense.

This case was investigated by the Metro Gang Task Force, which includes the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the Aurora Police Department, the Colorado Air National Guard, the Colorado State Patrol, the Commerce City Police Department, the Denver District Attorney’s Office, the Denver Police Department, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Rocky Mountain HIDTA, the Thornton Police Department, and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation.

The defendants are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Guy Till.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until found guilty.

West Virginia Man Sentenced for Posing as U.S. Army General to Obtain Job

Randall Thomas Keyser, of Barboursville, West Virginia, was sentenced to more than two years in prison for attempting to obtain a job at an Akron-based company by posing as a major general in the United States Army, Steven M. Dettelbach, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced today.

Keyser, 56, previously pleaded guilty to 13 counts of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud. U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent sentenced him to 27 months in prison.

“Passing oneself off as an Army general as a way to defraud a company and get money is an insult to all the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve in our nation’s military,” Dettelbach said.

Keyser, age 56, is also known as Carl R. Keyser, Jr., aka Carl Randall Thomas Keyser, aka Carl Thomas Keyser, Jr.

Keyser pleaded guilty to devising a scheme and artifice to defraud the Akron development company and one of its subsidiaries and to obtain money or property from them by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises.

Keyser attempted to get hired as the Director of Construction, and obtain the associated pay, signing bonuses, and other perks, by posing as a major general in the United States Army and the commanding officer of the Department of Defense’s Joint Construction Command, claiming to answer directly to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and representing himself to be a commissioned officer with 30 years experience who had been stationed around the world, held numerous high-level commissions, and overseen or supervised several multi-million-dollar construction projects throughout the world, according to court documents.

Keyser further posed as other high-ranking military officers to provide telephone recommendations for himself for the position. Keyser made interstate telephone calls, sent e-mails across state lines, and mailed documents to Ohio from West Virginia to execute and attempt to execute the scheme, according to court documents.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Akron Resident Office and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rebecca Lutzko.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

International Fugitive Captured After More Than 40 Years

Criminals often try escaping to other countries.  These international police books show they can run, but they can't hide!

NEWARK, NJ—The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), United States Marshals Service, New Jersey Department of Corrections, and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office jointly announce that George Wright, a fugitive for over 41 years, was arrested yesterday by Portuguese authorities, pursuant to a provisional arrest request from the United States. The United States is seeking his extradition from Portugal to serve the remainder of a 15- to 30-year sentence for a New Jersey state murder conviction.

On November 23, 1962, George Wright and three associates were involved in the commission of multiple armed robberies. During the second of these robberies, Wright and an associate shot and killed Walter Patterson, a World War II veteran and Bronze Star recipient, during the robbery of the Collingswood Esso gas station in Wall, New Jersey.

Wright was arrested two days later and was indicted on state charges along with his associates on December 13, 1962. On February 15, 1963, Wright entered a plea of “no defense” to the charge of murder. Wright was subsequently sentenced to 15 to 30 years’ incarceration.

On August 19, 1970, George Wright and three other men escaped from Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New Jersey. Subsequent to his escape, Wright traveled to Detroit and became affiliated with the Black Liberation Army. On July 31, 1972, five adults, accompanied by three small children, hijacked Delta flight 841 en route from Detroit to Miami. Subsequent investigation identified Wright as one of the hijackers.

Upon landing in Miami, Wright and his associates demanded a $1 million ransom in exchange for the passengers—the largest ransom of its kind at that time. After releasing the passengers, Wright and his associates forced the plane to fly to Boston for refueling and the addition of another pilot, and then proceeded across the Atlantic to Algeria where they sought asylum. At the request of the United States government, the money and plane were eventually seized and returned by Algeria to the Unites States. Wright and his associates were briefly taken into custody but were eventually released after a few days.

On May 26, 1976, Wright’s associates were located and arrested in Paris, France by the French National Police. The four adults were tried and convicted in French court. Since that time, George Wright has remained the lone fugitive, on the run since his escape on August 19, 1970.

Michael Ward, Special Agent In Charge of the FBI’s Newark Division, remarked: “The investigation into George Wright serves as an example of law enforcement strength and tenacity. Even after 40 years, the commitment of law enforcement is unwavering and through the vast contributions of a multitude of people in New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Portugal, Wright was successfully taken into custody. This case should also serve notice that the FBI’s determination in pursuing subjects will not diminish over time or distance.”

Juan Mattos, United States Marshal for the District of New Jersey, added: “The United States Marshals Service recently celebrated its 222nd year of constitutional authority, and this investigation of George Wright, with our partner agencies, the New Jersey Department of Corrections, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Judiciary Police in Portugal, defines our relentless pursuit of felon fugitives both domestically and internationally. This was a perfect example of interagency cooperation. I want to acknowledge the remarkable investigative efforts of the United States Marshals Service NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force. Over the course of nine years, their tenacious resolve has proven to be very powerful in seeking justice and closure for the victims.”

Gary M. Lanigan, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, also added: “Inmate George Wright was convicted of killing Walter Patterson, a gas station owner, 48 years ago. The crime left two young girls without a father. Despite the passage of time, justice has been served, and George Wright will pay for his crime. I commend members of the U.S. Marshals Service and our Special Investigations Division’s Fugitive Unit, as well as the FBI and the many other law enforcement bodies in the United States and Europe, for their untiring efforts in following leads over the years and locating this fugitive.”

This capture is the result of persistent, dedicated work by investigators from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, and the New Jersey Department of Corrections, and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. Additional vital assistance was provided by the U.S. Department of State, the Department of Justice Office of International Affairs, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey, and the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. Most importantly, Portuguese authorities, specifically the Judiciary Police, have been very instrumental in this matter. Without their friendship, cooperation, and assistance, the success of this investigation could not have been realized.

Media Contacts:
·         FBI: Bryan Travers, 973-792-3020
·         New Jersey Department of Corrections: Matt Schuman or Deirdre Fedkenheuer, 609-292-4224 (or 9340)
·         U.S. Marshals Service: Mike Schroeder, 973-390-7307

USFA Releases Annual Report on Firefighter Fatalities in the United States

Don’t forget the sacrifices of America’s firefighters.  Discover the best firefighter books written only by fire veterans.

Emmitsburg, MD – The United States Fire Administration (USFA) today released the report Firefighter Fatalities in the United States in 2010 (PDF, 2.5 Mb).  The report continues a series of annual studies by the USFA of onduty firefighter fatalities.  The USFA is the single public agency source of information for all onduty firefighter fatalities in the United States each year.

Eighty-seven onduty firefighters from 31 states lost their lives as the result of 83 fatal incidents that occurred in 2010.  This is the second consecutive year of substantially fewer firefighter deaths in the United States.  During the previous six-year period of 2004-2009, the average number of annual onduty firefighter deaths was 112. Illinois experienced the highest number of fatalities with nine firefighters killed; New York and Ohio had the next highest totals with eight firefighter deaths each.

An overview of the 87 firefighters that died while on duty in 2010:
           The total breakdown included 56 volunteer, 28 career, and 3 wildland agency firefighters.
           There were 4 firefighter fatality incidents where 2 firefighters were killed in each, claiming a total of 8 firefighters.
           11 firefighters died in duties associated with wildland fires.  Along with 11 such deaths in 2007, it was the lowest number of annual firefighter deaths associated with wildland fires in a decade.
           Activities related to emergency incidents resulted in the deaths of 48 firefighters.
           22 firefighters died while engaging in activities at the scene of a fire.
           16 firefighters died while responding to or returning from 15 emergency incidents.  9 of the firefighters killed while responding to incidents died from heart attacks (8) or stroke (1).
           Heart attacks were the most frequent cause of death with 50 firefighter deaths.
           12 firefighters died while they were engaged in training activities.
           15 firefighters died after the conclusion of their onduty activity.

The unique and specific objective of Firefighter Fatalities in the United States is to identify all on-duty firefighter fatalities that occurred in the United States and its protectorates during the calendar year and to present in summary narrative form the circumstances surrounding each occurrence.

For 34 years, USFA has tracked the number of firefighter fatalities and conducted an annual analysis.  Through the collection of information on the causes of firefighter deaths, the USFA is able to focus on specific problems and direct efforts toward finding solutions to reduce the number of firefighter fatalities in the future.  This information is also used by many organizations to measure the effectiveness of their current efforts directed toward firefighter health and safety.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation also maintains a list of firefighters who die in the line-of-duty and are honored during the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend held each October in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Visit www.FireHero.org for more information about the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and their assistance to the families of the firefighters lost in 2010 and beyond.

For additional information on firefighter fatalities, including the annual fatality reports from 1986-2010, 2011 firefighter fatality notices, and the report Firefighter Fatality Retrospective Study 1990-2000, please visit the USFA's website.