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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

FBI Seeks Public’s Assistance Locating Two Fugitives Wanted for Several Murders, Robbery, and Racketeering, Among Other Charges

Early this morning, FBI agents and NYPD detectives arrested a number of members of the Folk Nation Gang in Brooklyn. Two of those subjects are now at large and the FBI is seeking the public’s assistance in locating them.

Devon Rodney, aka D-BLOC, aka Devon Nias, aka Devon Rodriguez, is one of the leaders of this violent gang. He is 6’ tall, 200 pounds, with brown eyes, and black hair. He is 24 years old and has a tear drop tattoo under his right eye. He is known to frequent Flatbush and the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhoods of Brooklyn.

The second subject, Rahleek Odom, aka RAH, aka Ralik Odom, is another member of the gang. He is 5’8” tall, 230 pounds, with brown eyes, and black hair. He is 19 years old and is known to frequent the Ebbets Field neighborhood in Brooklyn. Odom was also recently released from prison.

A significant reward is available for a tip that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI immediately at 212-384-1000. As always, tipsters may remain anonymous.

Hartford Heroin Dealer Sentenced to More Than Six Years in Federal Prison

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ, 34, also known as “Ralphie,” was sentenced today by United States District Judge Mark R. Kravitz in New Haven to 80 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, for distributing heroin and for violating the conditions of his supervised release from a prior federal conviction.

According to court documents and statements made in court, in December 2010 and January 2011, an individual working with law enforcement made controlled purchases of heroin from RODRIGUEZ and his cousin, Jocelyn Perez. The investigation revealed that RODRIGUEZ was using 146 Mark Twain Drive in Hartford, where Perez resided with her four minor children, to store, process, and package heroin.

On January 7, 2011, a court-authorized search of the Mark Twain Drive residence revealed 3482 bags of heroin from a second floor closet, approximately 77 grams of heroin hidden in a bag of rice in a kitchen cabinet, and assorted paraphernalia associated with the processing and packaging of heroin.

On September 6, 2011, RODRIGUEZ pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute 100 or more grams of heroin.

On October 19, 2000, RODRIGUEZ was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Connecticut to 120 months of imprisonment and five years of supervised release, for conspiring to possess with intent to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin. He was released from the Bureau of Prisons on November 1, 2007, and was on supervised release in January 2011.

Perez has pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. She awaits sentencing.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crime and Gang Task Force Task Force, which includes representatives of the FBI, Connecticut State Police and Hartford Police Department.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian P. Leaming.

Michigan Man Charged with Making Threats to Superdome

NEW ORLEANS—SHAWN H. PAYTON, age 34, a resident of Jackson, Michigan, who was recently charged by criminal complaint in the Eastern District of Louisiana with sending threatening communications through interstate commerce, was arrested today by the FBI in Michigan announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.

According to public court documents, on January 7, 2012, at approximately 9:15 p.m., during the nationally televised National Football League (NFL) playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and the Detroit Lions, a threatening phone call was received by the Superdome reception desk. A male caller called the reception desk and asked the receptionist if this was the arena where the New Orleans Saints play. The receptionist stated that it was, and the caller responded that there was a bomb in the building. At this time, the Superdome was filled with over 70,000 people attending the game. A second call came into the Gate F reception desk at approximately 10:00 p.m. The receptionist noticed “70003” on the caller identification, indicating a blocked call. The recorded call obtained from Superdome Information Technology Department confirmed a male caller stated, “Hi, I want you to relay a message to the sideline, if your stupid Southern team keeps winning, there will be reper...severe consequences, okay?” Subsequent investigation by the FBI revealed the caller to be SHAWN H. PAYTON of Jackson, Michigan.

PAYTON made his initial appearance before a United States Magistrate in Detroit today. He was released on bond and ordered to appear in the Eastern District of Louisiana on February 14, 2012.

If convicted, PAYTON faces a maximum term of five years’ imprisonment, and a $250,000.00 fine.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecution is being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Greg Kennedy.

Off Duty Border Patrol Agent Remains Vigilant

Over a Million Dollars Worth of Marijuana Seized

Tucson, Ariz. – An off-duty Border Patrol agent called in a tip Saturday on what he believed to be bundles of marijuana being loaded into a vehicle near State Road 86. 

Agents working with surveillance equipment and an Air and Marine helicopter were able to confirm the activity. When agents arrived at the location, they discovered a Chevrolet Suburban, an ATV and just over one ton of abandoned dope wrapped in 88 individual bundles. The area was searched, but no arrests were made in conjunction with the smuggling attempt.

The Suburban had been reported stolen and was turned over to the Tohono O’odham Police Department. The ATV will be processed for seizure by the Ajo station. The 2,173 pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $1,086,500, will be turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. 

 “Our agents continue to be vigilant even when off duty,” said Tucson Sector’s Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Manny Padilla. “Thanks to our agents, our law enforcement partners and local citizens who alert us to suspicious activity, we can continue to help make our communities safer.”

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

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.

Two Plead Guilty to Warwick Bank Robbery

PROVIDENCE, RI—A Providence man and woman arrested a short time after robbing a Warwick bank and then fleeing in a taxi have pled guilty to federal bank robbery charges announced U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Warwick Police Chief Colonel Stephen M. McCartney, and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Field Office.

Anthony Miller, 24, and Christine Halverson, 37, pled guilty as charged to conspiracy and bank robbery charges and face sentences of up to 25 years in federal prison followed by up to six years of supervised release and a fine of up to $500,000.

Miller pled guilty on Monday and is scheduled to be sentence by U.S. District Court Judge William E. Smith on April 27, 2012. Halverson pled guilty on December 20, 2011, and is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge William E. Smith on March 23, 2012.

At the time of their guilty pleas, Miller and Halvorsen admitted to the court that on August 30, 2011, they entered a Citizens Bank branch office together and demanded cash from two tellers. Miller admitted that he presented a note to a bank teller demanding cash. Halvorsen admitted that at the same time she verbally made the same demand of a second teller. The pair fled the bank with approximately $1,900.

According to information presented to the court, bank employees provided police with a description of a taxi in which the pair fled the bank after the robbery. A short time later, a Warwick Police sergeant who heard a police radio broadcast of a description of the taxi observed a vehicle matching that description stopped in traffic. As the officer exited his police vehicle and approached the taxi, Miller fled from the taxi but was quickly chased down by the officer and arrested. Halvorsen exited the taxi cab but was quickly detained.

Warwick officers recovered a large quantity of cash from the roadway in the area of the taxi the two were riding in. Several other items tying Miller and Halvorsen to the robbery were also recovered in and around the taxi.

Miller and Halverson have been detained since their arrest. Their cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch.

The matter was investigated by Warwick Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

South Florida Corrections Officers Sentenced on Federal Civil Rights and Obstruction Charges

MIAMI—Two corrections officers were sentenced to prison today for civil rights and obstruction charges stemming from prisoner abuse that took place at the South Florida Reception Center (SFRC), a state prison in Doral, Fla., the Justice Department announced. Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) Sergeant Alexander McQueen, 31, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Cecilia Altonaga to serve one year in prison, followed by one year of supervised release. Judge Altonaga also sentenced FDOC Officer Steven Dawkins, 31, to serve one month in prison, followed by six months of supervised release.

On Oct. 17, 2011, following a jury trial, McQueen was found guilty of conspiracy against civil rights and obstruction of justice for his involvement in, and attempts to cover up, prisoner abuse at SFRC. The same jury convicted Dawkins of obstruction of justice. A second jury was unable to reach a verdict with regard to co-defendant Guruba Griffin, 31, and acquitted co-defendant Scott Butler, 32.

According to evidence presented at trial, on Feb. 25, 2009, SFRC corrections officers physically abused inmates by choking, punching, and striking them with wooden broom handles. The officers further forced the inmates to fight one another. Additionally, McQueen and Dawkins falsified reports relating to these incidents.

“Conduct by corrections officers who abuse their power and violate the civil rights of those in their custody will not be tolerated,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute those who cross the line to engage in acts of criminal violence and obstruction.”

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting civil rights violators, especially when they seek to hide behind color of law or official position.”

“We are pleased with the sentence for McQueen and Dawkins because their actions affected more than those they physically abused, they undermined the public’s trust in law enforcement,” said Special Agent in Charge John V. Gillies of the FBI Miami Division. “Even though they participated in and attempted to cover up prisoner abuse at the Florida Department of Corrections’ South Florida Reception Center, they failed. The FBI will continue to work with our partners to remove those corrections officers who cross the line to engage in criminal misconduct.”

Co-defendant Griffin entered a guilty plea to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law on Dec. 13, 2011, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 22, 2012.

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Inspector General’s Office, Florida Department of Corrections, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Rhee Osborne of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and Senior Litigation Counsel Gerard Hogan and Trial Attorney Henry Leventis of the Civil Rights Division.

FBI Seeks Serial Bank Robber

The Charlotte Division of the FBI is seeking assistance to identify a subject responsible for two recent bank robberies in the Greenville, North Carolina area. Surveillance photos from the robberies show the same individual is responsible for robbing the East Carolina Bank located at 305 7th Street in Creswell, NC on January 6, 2012, and the RBC Bank located at 113 South Main Street in Colerain, NC on January 27, 2012.

In both robberies, the subject was armed with a silver revolver. The subject is described as a black male, 20-30 years old, approximately 6’ tall, 175-200 lbs. He wore a dark-colored cap with what appeared to be fake dreadlocks. The getaway car is believed to be a white Toyota Corolla or Camry and it is missing a hubcap. There is no description available on the person driving the getaway car.

The FBI is investigating in partnership with the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office. If you have any information about either robbery, call the Charlotte Division of the FBI at 704-672-6100.

Seven Members, Associates, and Leaders of Folk Nation Gang Indicted for Racketeering and Murder

Additional Charges Include Robbery, Assault, Illegal Use of Firearms, and Related Crimes

A superseding indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn this morning charging seven members, associates, and leaders of the violent Brooklyn street gang “Six Tre Outlaw Gangsta Disciples Folk Nation,” also known as the “Folk Nation.” The 16-count indictment charges the defendants with violent crimes including racketeering, murder in-aid-of racketeering, murder conspiracy, attempted murder, robbery, assault, and illegal use of firearms.1 Two defendants will be arraigned later today before United States Magistrate Judge Marilyn D. Go at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn. The defendants face sentences up to life imprisonment if convicted.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department. As detailed in the indictment and other court filings submitted by the government, a two-year joint investigation by the FBI and the NYPD revealed that since 2008, a violent set of the Folk Nation gang committed numerous crimes of violence including four murders, three attempted murders, two assaults, and six robberies. The gang was based in the Ebbets Field Houses, a New York City public housing community, although its criminal activities extended into the Tri-State area.

The gang is alleged to have used extreme and indiscriminate violence to further its objectives. The defendants’ victims include a 10-year-old girl, who was severely injured when she was shot in the neck by gang members while they were attempting to murder a rival. The gang is alleged to have committed four murders, in an effort to assert its power over the neighborhoods in which it operated. On at least two occasions, gang members missed their intended targets and hit innocent bystanders—after one murder at a teenager’s birthday party in an Ebbets Field apartment, gang members acknowledged that they had killed the wrong person.

In order to fund its illegal activities, members of the gang allegedly committed violent robberies of individuals and commercial establishments. Members of the gang are alleged to have robbed the Lee Perla jewelry store at the Riverside Square Mall in Hackensack, New Jersey, making off with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of luxury watches. According to the indictment, the gang also targeted individual robbery victims, whom they lured to secluded areas in Brooklyn, via Internet advertisements on Craigslist, and then robbed at gunpoint. According to a detention memorandum filed by the government, the charged murders and other acts of violence took place on public streets, in front of personal residences, and even on a playground, in Brooklyn neighborhoods.

The charges announced today are the latest in a series of federal indictments in this district charging members of violent street gangs with racketeering crimes.

“Motivated by greed, the Folk Nation employed indiscriminate violence to destroy the lives of their perceived enemies. But their violence spread beyond the gang world into the streets and playgrounds of Brooklyn, and innocent bystanders, including a child, were caught in the crossfire. Terrorizing a community, this gang claimed its turf by force and robbed from businesses and individuals alike leaving a trail of victims in its wake,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We are steadfast in our commitment to dismantling street gangs that put at risk the members of our community, and the seriousness of today’s charges reflect that commitment.”

“The reason the FBI places such a high priority on gang investigations is the extreme violence gangs so often commit. Here, as charged in the indictment, the defendants’ ruthlessness was matched by their recklessness. They allegedly showed no apparent concern for bystanders, and bystanders were seriously hurt as a consequence,” said Assistant Director in Charge Fedarcyk.

NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “Through a variety of partnerships, including clergy, the Brooklyn District Attorney, and in this case United States Attorney Loretta Lynch, the police department is suppressing crime in Brooklyn to the point where last year for the first time since 1963 murder in the Borough fell below 200. As charged in the indictment, members of the Folk Nation have been responsible for multiple murders and shootings, and their apprehension and prosecution should have a continued salutary effect for the residents in and around the Ebbets Field Houses.”

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Zainab Ahmad and Seth DuCharme.

The Defendants:

YASSA ASHBURN, also known as “Indio,” “Swirls,” and “Swerve”
Age: 28

HAILE CUMMINGS, also known as “Ruger” and “Rugah”
Age: 20

GERALDO ELAINOR, also known as “Gunny” and “Geraldo Casimir”
Age: 21

DANIEL HARRISON, also known as “Bones,”
Age: 24

RICKY HOLLENQUEST, also known as “Dancer”
Age: 20

JAMAL LAURENT, also known as “Tails” and “Gunner”
Age: 22

TREVELLE MERRITT, also known as “Tiger”
Age: 19

1 The charges contained in the superseding indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Joint Operations Net $1.4 Million in Marijuana

Border Patrol and Homeland Security Investigations Collaborate to Thwart Smugglers

Tucson, Ariz. – Agents from the Tucson Sector Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, working jointly, arrested two smugglers and seized 2,805 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $1,402,000 over the past week.

Ajo and Casa Grande Border Patrol agents conducting joint operations with HSI agents near Stanfield, Ariz., discovered an abandoned pick-up truck loaded with 42 bundles of marijuana. The vehicle was stopped on the side of the road but still running. Stacked in the cab and in the bed of the truck, agents found 947 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $473,500. The truck and drugs were seized and processed.

In a second incident, Ajo agents received information from HSI concerning a group of suspected narcotics smugglers moving through the west desert. Agents on horseback, supported by CBP air assets, responded to the area and discovered two smugglers and a vehicle loaded with 101 bundles of marijuana. The vehicle and 1,858 pounds of narcotics, valued at approximately $929,000, were seized and processed. The smugglers are in custody facing federal prosecution on drug charges.

The Border Patrol continuously works with federal, state and local partners to reduce crime and improve the quality of life in Arizona communities. Combined efforts and intelligence-sharing has made it increasingly difficult for smugglers to operate with impunity and transport their contraband throughout the United States.

Customs and Border Protection welcomes assistance from the community. Citizens can report suspicious activity to the Border Patrol and remain anonymous by calling (1-877) 872-7435 toll free.

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.

Ohio Man Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for His Participation in an Online Child Pornography Bulletin Board

WASHINGTON – An Ohio man was sentenced today in Riverside, Calif., to 35 years in prison and lifetime supervised release for his participation in an online child pornography bulletin board, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney AndrĂ© Birotte Jr. of the Central District of California and Assistant Director in Charge Steve Martinez of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. 

Billy Wade Carroll of Dayton, Ohio, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Virginia A. Phillips.  In October 2011, Carroll, 51, was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to advertise, solicit, transport, distribute, receive and possess child pornography and one count of committing a child pornography offense while being required to register as a sex offender in Ohio.

Today’s sentencing is the result of an international investigation into the “Lost Boy” online bulletin board.  The Lost Boy bulletin board, according to court documents and proceedings, was dedicated to men who have a sexual interest in young boys and was established to provide a forum to trade child pornography.

Evidence presented at trial established that from at least September 2007 until January 2009, Carroll was an active member of the bulletin board and made more than 100 posts.  He supplied images of child pornography for other members to download and also made requests on the board seeking out particular images to help supplement his child pornography collection.

Federal authorities, working in conjunction with a coalition of international law enforcement agencies, shut down the Lost Boy bulletin board approximately three years ago.  As a result of the investigation, 16 named defendants were charged in the United States and arrested for their roles in the bulletin board.  To date, 15 defendants have pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial, and one defendant died in custody.  Approximately six more men have been charged with child molestation as a result of the investigation.  The investigation also led to the identification of 27 domestic victims of child abuse, some of whom were portrayed in images posted to the Lost Boy bulletin board.

According to court documents and proceedings, law enforcement authorities discovered the Lost Boy bulletin board after receiving information from Eurojust, the judicial cooperation arm of the European Union.  Eurojust provided U.S. law enforcement with leads obtained from Norwegian and Italian authorities indicating that a North Hollywood, Calif., man was communicating with an Italian national about child pornography and how to engage in child sex tourism in Romania.  Acting on the information from Europe, the FBI executed search warrants that led to the discovery of the Lost Boy network.  Further investigation revealed that Lost Boy had 35 members, 16 of whom were U.S. nationals.  Other members of the network were located in countries around the world, including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. 

According to court documents, Lost Boy had a thorough vetting process for new members, who were required to post child pornography to join the organization.  Once accepted, members were required to continue posting child pornography to remain in good standing and to avoid removal from the board.  According to court documents, Lost Boy members advised one another on techniques to evade detection by law enforcement, which included using screen names to mask identities and encrypting computer data.

International law enforcement efforts involving European law enforcement, the Brazilian Federal Police and other agencies have identified child molestation suspects in South America, Europe and New Zealand.  Three suspects in Romania, one in France and another in Brazil have been charged, and offenders have been convicted in Norway and the United Kingdom.  Law enforcement have also identified dozens of child victims located in Norway, Romania, Brazil and other nations.

The investigation into the Lost Boy bulletin board was led by the FBI and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, in conjunction with the Los Angeles-based Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Team.  The High Technology Investigative Unit of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, along with Eurojust, have provided invaluable assistance during the investigation. 

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joey L. Blanch and Yvonne Garcia of the Central District of California and CEOS Trial Attorney Andrew McCormack.

New Haven Man Sentenced to More Than Seven Years in Federal Prison for Distributing Crack

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that TORRENCE JONES, 33, of New Haven, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven to 87 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for distributing crack cocaine.

This matter stems from a joint law enforcement investigation conducted by the FBI New Haven Safe Streets Task Force, the DEA New Haven Task Force, the New Haven Police Department, and the Hamden Police Department. Through the use of court-authorized wiretaps, investigating officers identified and dismantled a large drug-trafficking organization that was centered in the Newhallville section of New Haven and Hamden, and was responsible for the distribution of crack cocaine and cocaine throughout the Greater New Haven area.

According to court documents and statements made in court, from June 2010 through August 2010, JONES was intercepted several times over a wiretap ordering distribution quantities of crack cocaine from other members of the drug trafficking organization, which he then sold to his own customer base for profit.

On July 14, 2011, JONES pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).

Forty-seven individuals have been charged in federal court with various narcotics offenses as a result of this investigation.

U.S. Attorney Fein noted that federal prisoners are required to serve at least 85 percent of their sentenced term of imprisonment and are not eligible for parole.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s New Haven Safe Streets Task Force (composed of members of members of the New Haven, Ansonia, Milford, Hamden, and East Haven Police Department, and the Connecticut State Police and the Connecticut Department of Correction), the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Haven Task Force (composed of members of the New Haven, West Haven, Meriden, Ansonia, Hamden, and Branford Police Departments), along with substantial participation by members of the New Haven and Hamden Police Departments. The United States Marshals Service also has assisted the investigation.

The investigation was funded in significant part by the United States Attorney’s Office Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and supported by the Office’s Project Safe Neighborhoods and Anti-Gang programs.

This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Christopher M. Mattei and Robert M. Spector.

Fort Wingate Man Sentenced to 24 Months in Prison for Federal Assault Conviction

ALBUQUERQUE—This morning in federal court in Albuquerque, Andre Francisco, 24, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Fort Wingate, N.M., was sentenced to a 24-month term of imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release for an assault conviction. While on supervised release, Francisco will be required to participate in a substance abuse treatment program with testing compliance and to refrain from use of alcohol.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Francisco was indicted on January 28, 2011, and charged with (1) assault with a dangerous weapon, and (2) assault resulting in serious bodily injury. According to court records, on the afternoon of August 27, 2010, Francisco and his victim, also a Navajo man, became intoxicated and argued over ownership of an alcoholic beverage. The argument ended when Francisco slashed the victim’s face with a 12” steak knife. As a result of Francisco’s assault, the victim sustained a deep cut to the left side of his face that runs from the top of his ear to the left corner of his mouth.

On August 15, 2011, Francisco pled guilty to count two of the indictment, and admitted slashing the victim’s face with a steak knife in August 2010. Francisco was remanded into federal custody after entering his guilty plea.

Pursuant to the terms of the plea agreement, count one was dismissed after Francisco was sentenced.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety, Crownpoint Division, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers.

Murder-for-Hire Plot Leads to Six-Year Federal Prison Sentence

LOS ANGELES—A Santa Barbara County man who solicited a “hitman” to murder a Bel-Air man, his wife, and a business associate was sentenced today to 72 months in federal prison for orchestrating a murder-for-hire plot that stemmed from a decade-old business dispute.

Eugene Darryl Temkin, 51, of Goleta, California, received the six-year sentence from United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson.

Following a bench trial in August, Judge Wilson found Temkin guilty of soliciting a crime of violence, attempting to interfere with interstate commerce by threats and violence, and using interstate commerce facilities in the commission of a murder-for-hire.

“The evidence showed that defendant engaged in criminal conduct of the worst sort: With meticulous planning and full contemplation, defendant agreed to pay a hitman, ‘Pavel’ [who was actually an undercover law enforcement officer], to brutally kill in cold blood three people, two of whom he barely knew,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing brief. “What is more, these killings were only to take place after ‘Pavel’ first tortured the victims in order to force them to pay $15 million into defendant’s off-shore bank account.”

The investigation began in late 2009 when a source provided information to law enforcement indicating that Temkin planned to hire a professional killer to murder his former business partner. Over the following several months, undercover law enforcement personnel, posing as professional killers for hire, met with Temkin to discuss how the plot should be carried out. Temkin told the “hitmen” that the victim should be forced to pay $15 million to compensate Temkin for losses he believed he had sustained when a business deal to open a casino in Africa fell apart. Throughout the undercover meetings, Temkin proposed and planned various forms of murder, torture, and rape to be exacted on the victims in order to force them to pay him millions of dollars. Prior to his meetings with the undercover officers, Temkin had for almost 10 years harassed and threatened the victims. The harassment included hacking into their e-mail, stealing their personal belongings, and obtaining the victims’ personal information, including photographs and information about their children.

During the final undercover meeting with a purported “hitman” on July 8, 2010 in Encino, Temkin paid the undercover agent $3,000, which was the first installment of a $30,000 fee to extort and murder the victims. According to the plan agreed on by Temkin and the undercover agent, the extortion and murders were to be carried out in Spain, where Temkin believed the victims were vacationing. During this meeting, Temkin provided the undercover agent with, among other things, photographs of the victims, their address in Spain, and their identifying information, such as Social Security numbers and dates of birth. Temkin also gave the undercover agent information he would need to deposit the $15 million extortion payment into a bank account Temkin had control of in Uruguay.

Temkin has been held without bond since his arrest in the summer of 2010.

The investigation in this case was conducted by Detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Special Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

CONTACT:
Assistant United States Attorney E. Martin Estrada
Violent and Organized Crime Section
(213) 894-3358

Former Suburban Massage Parlor Operator Convicted of Human Trafficking of Four Women in Illinois

CHICAGO – A federal jury today convicted Alex Campbell, 45, a northwest Chicago suburban massage parlor owner, of various federal crimes including sex-trafficking, forced labor, harboring illegal aliens, confiscating passports to further forced labor and extortion involving four foreign women whom he mentally and physically abused while forcing them to work for him between July 2008 and January 2010.  Campbell was found guilty of three counts each of forced labor, harboring illegal aliens for financial gain, and confiscating passports and other immigration documents to force the victims to work, and one count each of sex trafficking by force and extortion. The jury deliberated approximately two to three hours beginning last Thursday afternoon following a three-week trial in U.S. District Court.  The trial showed that Campbell, who formerly operated the Day and Night Spa on Northwest Highway in Mt. Prospect, Ill., used violence and threats of violence to force three women from the Ukraine and one from Belarus to work for him without pay and, at times, little to no subsistence.

Campbell, also known as “Dave” and “Daddy,”  formerly of Glenview, Ill., remains in federal custody without bond and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of life on the sex-trafficking count alone, as well as prison terms ranging from a maximum of 5 to 20 years on each of the remaining counts.

U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman scheduled a hearing on post-trial motions for April 19, 2012.  No date was immediately set for sentencing.

“The Civil Rights Division is committed to bringing human traffickers to justice and to protecting the victims of modern-day slavery,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “These crimes against the individual rights of the most vulnerable members of our society will not be tolerated in the United States.”

“I commend the prosecutors and investigators for their dedication and teamwork in working with the victims to bring this case to trial and achieve a successful result,” said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

“Forced labor and sex trafficking preys upon vulnerable women and is tantamount to modern-day slavery,” said Gary J. Hartwig, Special Agent-in-Charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago.  “The jury has vindicated the rights of four women who suffered mental and physical abuse, sexual exploitation, extortion and threats of deportation, all so Alex Campbell could make a profit.  HSI is at the forefront of the government's fight against human trafficking.  We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to combat this serious crime.”

All four victims testified as government witnesses at trial, as well as co-defendant, Danielle John, 25, who pleaded guilty before trial to two counts of harboring illegal aliens for financial gain and is also awaiting sentencing.

The testimony and evidence showed that Campbell recruited and groomed foreign women without legal status in the United States to become part of his “Family,” which he claimed was an international organization that would provide them with support.  He offered them jobs in his massage parlor, a place to live, assistance with immigration and lured each of them to enter into a romantic relationship with him. After gaining their trust, he forced the victims to get tattooed with his moniker, which he said made them his property and allowed him to stop paying them.  At the same time, he acquired the women’s passports and visas.  The women were forced to work long hours every day and do as Campbell instructed them, and they were beaten and punished if they disobeyed him.

Trial testimony established that Campbell confiscated passports and identity documents from three of the victims, as well as harbored and transported them to ensure their continued labor.  Campbell forced one victim to engage in commercial sex acts with customers at various other massage parlors, but not at the Day and Night Spa, which testimony showed he operated “cleanly” to avoid problems with law enforcement. He extorted another victim to pay him more than $25,000 to leave the “Family” by threatening to send a sexually-explicit video recording to her parents in Belarus.

The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office assisted in the investigation, which was coordinated by the Cook County Human Trafficking Task Force.  The task force, together with the Salvation Army Family and Community Services STOP-IT Initiative Against Human Trafficking, operate a toll-free hotline, (877) 606-3158, which victims of trafficking or those with information about human trafficking can call for assistance.  The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Diane MacArthur and Steven Grimes and Special Litigation Counsel John Richmond of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.

Overland Park Man Pleads Guilty to Producing Child Pornography

KANSAS CITY, KS—A Shawnee Mission man has pleaded guilty to a charge of producing child pornography, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

In his plea, Steven Miller, 30, Shawnee Mission, Kan., admitted that investigators found child pornography he produced on computer hard drives. The photos showed Miller sexually abusing a 3-year-old boy. The abuse took place in 2003 while Miller was living in Overland Park, Kan.

Sentencing is set for April 19. The parties have agreed to recommend a sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole.

The Overland Park Police Department and the FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Martin is prosecuting. This case is being prosecuted as part of the Justice Department’s Project Safe Childhood. For more information, see Projectsafechildhood.gov.

22-Count Indictment Returned for RICO Violations, the Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering Act, the Federal Gun Control Act, Controlled Substances Act, and Obstruction of Justice

NEW ORLEANS—MELVIN HUDSON, age 26; JERMAINE HUDSON, age 25; TRAVIS HUDSON age 29; MOSES LAWSON, age 27; MONTERIO WIGGINS, age 27; RODERICK WIGGINS, age 22; DANTE CARSON, age 21; DWIGHT CARSON, age 22; TOREY RICHARDSON, age 21; TEDRICK REYNARD, age 24; SHAYNE LEBLANC, age 40; and AKAI SULLIVAN, age 27, were charged today in a 22-count superseding indictment for violations of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, the Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering Act, the Federal Gun Control Act, Controlled Substances Act, and obstruction of justice, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten. MELVIN HUDSON was already under indictment but the other 11 defendants are newly charged.

This case arises out of a joint investigation by ATF, FBI, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. This investigation targeted an area which exhibited a disproportionate amount of violent crimes and narcotics trafficking. During the course of the investigation, specific individuals were identified as the main perpetrators of many of the violent acts and much of the narcotics distribution. Based on this initial information, federal and local law enforcement officers interviewed witnesses, confidential informants, as well as state defendants, relative to the targeted individuals. It was revealed that a group of individuals operated in areas of Harvey Louisiana, specifically the neighborhoods known as Scottsdale and Haydel. This group controlled these areas for their narcotics distribution activities through violence and through threats of violence, to include murder, attempted murder, and assaults. They were referred to as the Harvey Hustlers and/or Murder Squad.

The third superseding indictment charges MELVIN HUDSON, in count one with RICO conspiracy; counts two, three, and four with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base, cocaine hydrochloride, and marijuana; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; count six with obstruction of justice; count 15 with distribution of heroin; count 16 with prohibited person in possession of a firearm; Count 17 with possession with intent to distribute cocaine; and Count 18 with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense.

JERMAINE HUDSON, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; counts two and three with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base and cocaine hydrochloride; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses.

TRAVIS HUDSON, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; counts two and three with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base and cocaine hydrochloride; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; and count 21 with distribution of cocaine base.

MOSES LAWSON, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; count seven with prohibited person in possession of a firearm; count eight with possession of a stolen firearm; count 12 with murder in aid of racketeering; count 13 with causing death through use of a firearm; and count 14 with use and carrying of a firearm and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking offense.

MONTERIO WIGGINS, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; count 12 with murder in aid of racketeering; count 13 with causing death through use of a firearm; count 14 with use and carrying of a firearm and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking offense; and count 19 with person under indictment in possession of a firearm.

RODERICK WIGGINS, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses.

DANTE CARSON, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; counts nine, 10, and 11 with aiding and abetting in the unlawful acquisition of a firearm; count 12 with murder in aid of racketeering; count 13 with causing death through use of a firearm; count 14 with use and carrying of a firearm and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking offense.

DWIGHT CARSON, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; counts nine, 10, and 11 with aiding and abetting in the unlawful acquisition of a firearm; count 12 with murder in aid of racketeering; count 13 with causing death through use of a firearm; count 14 with use and carrying of a firearm and in relation to a crime of violence or drug trafficking offense.

TOREY RICHARDSON, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses.

TEDRICK REYNARD, is charged in count one with RICO conspiracy; count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; and counts 20 and 22 with distribution of cocaine base.

SHAYNE LEBLANC, is charged in count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base.

AKAI SULLIVAN, is charged in count two with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute cocaine base; count five with conspiracy to possess firearms during and in relation to crimes of violence and drug trafficking offenses; and count six with obstruction of justice.

MONTERIO WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, DWIGHT CARSON, and MOSES LAWSON are charged with murdering Reginald Francois on April 1, 2010. The third superseding indictment also alleges special findings against the defendants MONTERIO WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, DWIGHT CARSON, and MOSES LAWSON. As a result, the death penalty could be imposed if convicted of either counts 12 or 13.

Count One
MELVIN HUDSON, JERMAINE HUDSON, TRAVIS HUDSON, MOSES LAWSON, MONTERIO WIGGINS, RODERICK WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, DWIGHT CARSON, TOREY RICHARDSON, and TEDRICK REYNARD face up to a maximum term of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000.00 and up to five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count Two
MELVIN HUDSON, JERMAINE HUDSON, TRAVIS HUDSON, MOSES LAWSON, MONTERIO WIGGINS, RODERICK WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, DWIGHT CARSON, TOREY RICHARDSON, TEDRICK REYNARD, SHAYNE LEBLANC, and AKAI SULLIVAN face a minimum of 20 years’ imprisonment up to a maximum term of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000,000.00, and at least five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count Three
MELVIN HUDSON, JERMAINE HUDSON, and TRAVIS HUDSON face a minimum of 20 years’ imprisonment up to a maximum term of life imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000,000.00, and at least five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count Four
MELVIN HUDSON faces up to five years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000.00, and at least two years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

County Five
MELVIN HUDSON, JERMAINE HUDSON, TRAVIS HUDSON, MOSES LAWSON, MONTERIO WIGGINS, RODERICK WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, DWIGHT CARSON, TOREY RICHARDSON, TEDRICK REYNARD, and AKAI SULLIVAN face up to 20 years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count Six
MELVIN HUDSON and AKAI SULLIVAN face up to 20 years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count Seven
MOSES LAWSON faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count Eight
MOSES LAWSON faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Counts Nine-11
DANTE CARSON and DWIGHT CARSON face up to 10 years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 12
MOSES LAWSON, MONTERIO WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, and DWIGHT CARSON face a maximum term of imprisonment of life or the death penalty.

Count 13
MOSES LAWSON, MONTERIO WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, and DWIGHT CARSON face imprisonment for any term of years, life imprisonment or the death penalty, a fine of $250,000.00, and five years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 14
MOSES LAWSON, MONTERIO WIGGINS, DANTE CARSON, and DWIGHT CARSON face a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years’ imprisonment up to a maximum term of life imprisonment, up to $250,000.00, and up to five years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment. Any term of imprisonment shall be serve consecutive to any other term of imprisonment.

Count 15
MELVIN HUDSON faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,00,00.00, and at least three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 16
MELVIN HUDSON faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 17
MELVIN HUDSON faces up to a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000,000.00, and at least three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 18
MELVIN HUDSON faces a minimum term of imprisonment of five years’ imprisonment up to a maximum term of life imprisonment, up to $250,000.00, and up to five years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment. Any term of imprisonment shall be serve consecutive to any other term of imprisonment.

Count 19
MONTERIO WIGGINS faces up to five years’ imprisonment, up to $250,000.00 in fines, and up to three years’ supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 20
TEDRICK REYNARD faces up to a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000,000.00, and at least three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 21
TRAVIS HUDSON faces up to a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000,000.00, and at least three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

Count 22
TEDRICK REYNARD faces up to a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000,000.00, and at least three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.

U.S. Attorney Letten reiterated that the indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

The case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau Investigation, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Duane A. Evans.

CBP U.S. Border Patrol Agents Seize More than 10 Tons of Marijuana

Edinburg, Texas ─ CBP U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector seized more than 21,000 pounds of marijuana over the past seven days.

Agents seized one of the largest loads of marijuana in Havana, Texas, after they encountered a group of smugglers hiding bundles of marijuana in the brush near the Rio Grande. When the smugglers saw the agents they fled to Mexico. While thoroughly searching the area, agents found more than 1,300 pounds of marijuana, with an estimated value of more than $1.2 million.

Nearly 1,000 additional pounds of marijuana were confiscated in an unrelated seizure Wednesday in Sullivan City, Texas. The seizure occurred after agents received a call over the radio about a minivan that was possibly loaded with narcotics. Agents in the area saw a vehicle matching the description run a red light. Agents found the vehicle abandoned with the marijuana inside. The marijuana has an estimated value of more than $760,000.

Additional seizures from Friday through Thursday pushed the total estimated value of marijuana seized to more than $17 million. It was turned over to the appropriate agencies for further investigation.

To report suspicious activity, call the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector’s toll-free telephone number at (800) 863-9382.

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.

Mission Man Arraigned on Charges of Second-Degree Murder, Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, and Aiding and Abetting

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a Mission, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for second-degree murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and aiding and abetting. Ronald Dean Kills In Water, age 28, was indicted by a federal grand jury on January 18, 2012. He appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Mark A. Moreno on January 26, 2012, and pled not guilty to the superseding indictment. The maximum penalty upon conviction is life in custody, a $250,000 fine, or both. Restitution may also be ordered.

The charges are merely accusations, and Kills In Water is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The investigation is being 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.

Kills In Water was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshal.

Arkansas Men Sentenced in Cross-Burning Case

WASHINGTON—Bradley Branscum, 23, and Tony Branscum, 26, who are first cousins, of Salado, Ark., and Curtis Coffee, 19, of Batesville, Ark., were sentenced for charges relating to their roles in burning a cross in the yard of an African-American resident on Aug. 28, 2010. Tony Branscum was sentenced on Jan. 20, 2012, to 18 months in prison. Bradley Branscum and Curtis Coffee were sentenced today. Bradley Branscum was sentenced to seven months in prison and Curtis Coffee was sentenced today to 18 months in prison.

On Aug. 28, 2010, the three men and a juvenile constructed a cross, placed it in the yard of an African-American resident of Salado, and lit it on fire. The defendants then drove away. The resident did not suffer injury, and his home was not damaged. All three men had previously pleaded guilty in this case to interfering with the housing rights of another.

“The defendants acted to instill fear because of the victim’s race,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “The Department of Justice remains committed to protecting our communities from such violence and will continue to aggressively prosecute these acts.”

This case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by AUSA John Ray White, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Trial Attorney Cindy Chung of the Civil Rights Division.

Seeking Information on Two Bank Robberies in Colorado

The Denver and Lakewood Police Departments, along with the FBI Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force (RMSSTF), are investigating two bank robberies, suspected of being committed by the same individual.

Wells Fargo Bank
1905 South Wadsworth Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado
01/26/2012, 3:22 p.m.

US Bank
1100 South Broadway
Denver, Colorado
01/26/2012, 3:55 p.m.

The suspect is described as a white male, 45 to 60 years of age, approximately 5’5” to 6’0” in height, with a thin to medium build, and is unshaven.

The suspect entered the bank, presented a demand note, and fled.

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

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

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