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Friday, March 30, 2012

Four Indicted in Undercover Investigation


OMAHA, Neb. – The United States’ Attorney’s Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Omaha Police Department announced today four defendants have been charged with federal crimes following a five month undercover investigation. The announcement follows the defendants’ initial appearances today in U.S. District Court.

Three of the defendants were charged in a seven count indictment. Manuel Menchaca, also known as “Jose Hector Rodriguez” and “Rooster”, age 36; Jorge Montejano, also known as “El Paso”, age 31; and Francisco Sanchez-Gastelum, also known as “Poncho”, age 40, were charged with distribution of methamphetamine and conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. Menchaca and Montejano were also indicted on three counts of being felons in possession of firearms. Jamie Cedillo, age 35, was charged in a separate one count indictment for being a felon in possession of firearms. During the undercover investigation, investigators purchased or seized a total of six firearms and over 4 ½ pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of over $110,000. The six firearms include a Norinco, Model SKS, 7.62 caliber rifle; a Hi Point, Model 995, 9mm caliber rifle; and two Glock pistols.

The investigation was a joint effort between ATF and the Omaha Police Department’s Narcotics Unit. The case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Former Corrections Officer at Shiprock, N.M., Detention Center Charged for Sexually Abusing a Female Inmate


WASHINGTON - A federal grand jury in Albuquerque indicted Sylvester Bruce, 44, a former corrections officer with Navajo Nation’s Shiprock, N.M., Detention Center, on charges related to the sexual abuse of an inmate during the summer and fall of 2010.   The indictment was returned on March 28, 2012, and was publicly posted earlier today.

 Bruce is charged with one count of violating the civil rights of the victim by engaging in sexual contact with the victim and depriving her of her right to bodily integrity.   The defendant is also charged with abusive sexual contact of the victim without her consent.   Bruce is also charged with two counts of making false statements to the FBI, for denying that he had sexual contact with the inmate and for further denying that he took pictures of inmates inside the cells of the Shiprock Detention Center.


 Bruce faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison for abusive sexual contact, one year in prison for the civil rights violation and 10 years in prison for the charges related to false statements.

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

 This case is being investigated by the Farmington, N.M., Resident Agency of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Baker for the District of New Mexico and Fara Gold of the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Gila River Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for His Role in Drive-By Shooting


PHOENIX—On March 28, 2012, Eric L. Fulwilder, 25, of Bapchule, Arizona, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell to 37 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. On January 27, 2012, Fulwilder pleaded guilty to malicious mischief.

According to the plea agreement, on December 2, 2010, Fulwilder was driving a vehicle on the Gila River Indian Reservation when his cousin, Gordon Fulwilder, II, discharged a firearm at a home. Although the occupant inside of the home at the time of the shooting was not injured, the shotgun’s discharge broke the living room window and damaged the exterior of the home.

Gordon Fulwilder, II is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Campbell on April 9, 2012 for his role in the shooting.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Gila River Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Phoenix Division. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather H. Belt, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

Two San Diego Men Arrested for Impersonating FBI Agents


FBI Warns Public of Falling Victim to the Bank Examiner Scam

The FBI is announcing the arrest of two San Diego men arrested on charges of impersonating FBI agents as part of a scheme to defraud. Nenad Videnovic, age 22, and Brian John Murphy, age 33, both of San Diego, were arrested by FBI agents earlier this week and have been charged with violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Section 912, false personation, officer or employee of the United States.

Nenad Videnovic was arrested by FBI agents on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at approximately 9:15 a.m. in the Ocean Beach area of San Diego. Brian John Murphy was arrested later that same day at approximately 8:20 p.m. in the Mission Bay area of San Diego.

According to the complaint filed in this matter with the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, Videnovic and Murphy were allegedly impersonating FBI agents in an attempt to defraud a San Diego woman out of more than $200,000.

According to the complaint, on Friday, March 23, 2012, Videnovic and Murphy allegedly contacted the victim at her residence and represented themselves as FBI agents. Both men identified themselves to the victim as FBI agents and one displayed what appeared to be FBI credentials and a gold badge. The men told the victim that she was the victim of a fraudulent scheme by her bank and asked her to withdraw money from her account and turn the money over to them so that they could put tracers on the money to find out who was defrauding her. In discussions with Videnovic and Murphy, the victim became suspicious of the two and requested additional information concerning their FBI employment. One of the men provided a business card with false FBI contact information. The victim was suspicious of both men, but indicated she was willing to assist them.

Later that same day, the victim filed a report with the San Diego Police Department concerning this suspicious activity. The responding San Diego Police Department Officer telephonically contacted the FBI San Diego Field Office and determined the name given by one of the men was not accurate and advise the victim of this information.

On Saturday, March 24, 2012, both men allegedly returned to the victim’s residence to collect the money. The victim advised that she did not have the money and indicated she needed more time. Following this visit, the victim contacted the SDPD and the FBI San Diego Field Office. Based upon the victim’s report, the FBI initiated an investigation into this matter. On Sunday, March 25, 2012, Videnovic allegedly contacted the victim again in an effort to collect the money.

On Tuesday, March 27, 2012, Videnovic was arrested by FBI agents as Videnovic was making contact with the victim at her residence. Subsequent investigation by FBI agents identified Brian J. Murphy as Videnovic’s accomplice, and he was arrested later the same day. Both men remain in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC).

The FBI would like to remind the public of this particular scam and how it works. The bank examiner scam occurs when someone representing themselves as a bank official or a law enforcement officer tells you they are working an investigation of thefts by a bank employee and need your help to catch the dishonest employee. The victim is convinced to withdraw money and hand it over to the purported investigator to assist in the investigation. The purported investigator usually states that the money needs to be checked for serial numbers or examined for fingerprints or some other reason. Once the purported investigator has the money, they are never seen again. If you are approached by someone claiming to be a bank examiner or other official requesting you to remove money from your account(s), call law enforcement and your bank immediately. Never give large sums of money to a stranger. The elderly are the primary targets of this scam.

If anyone believes they are a victim of this particular scheme they may contact the FBI at 858-565-1255 or submit a tip electronically at https://tips.fbi.gov. This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

An arrest itself is not evidence that the defendants committed crimes charged. The defendants are presumed innocent until the government meets its burden in court of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Beloit Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Heroin Trafficking


MADISON, WI—John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Maurice D. Vaughn, 38, of Beloit, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 20 years in federal prison for his role in a conspiracy to distribute heroin in Beloit during 2010. The investigation began when Beloit Police became concerned in the summer of 2010 that there had been a number of heroin overdoses.

Vaughn was found guilty of the conspiracy charge by a jury after a three-day trial in federal court in Madison in January 2012. At trial, witnesses testified that during the summer of 2010, Vaughn supplied 50 to 80 bags of heroin each day to Maurice Lockhart and Carlos Ford, who then distributed them in the Beloit area. Customers contacted Vaughn to arrange the heroin deals, and then Vaughn would arrange for Ford or Lockhart to deliver the heroin to those customers.

Ford pleaded guilty to a federal heroin charge in early 2011 and was sentenced in August 2011 to five years in federal prison. Lockhart, who was also found guilty following the January trial, will be sentenced on April 9, 2012. He faces a minimum mandatory sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Judge Conley told Vaughn that a significant sentence was necessary, since a previous nearly 10-year federal sentence for drug trafficking by Vaughn had served no deterrent effect. Once out of prison, he returned to dealing in drugs despite other choices he could have made.

The charges against Vaughn, Lockhart, and Ford were the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, which consists of the Beloit Police Department, Rock County Sheriff’s Office, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson.