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Friday, August 31, 2012

Puerto Rico Man Found Guilty of Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy and Murder of a Witness



WASHINGTON—Edison Burgos-Montes, of Puerto Rico, was convicted after a two-month jury trial of cocaine possession with intent to distribute and killing a government witness, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez announced today.

Burgos-Montes, 42, was convicted yesterday in U.S. District Court in San Juan of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, one count of conspiracy to import cocaine, one count of murdering a witness to prevent testimony in an official proceeding, and one count of murdering a witness in retaliation for providing information to law enforcement. U.S. District Court Judge Jay García-Gregory presided over the trial.

According to the superseding indictment, Burgos-Montes conspired to transport multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico for further distribution in Puerto Rico for significant financial gain.

On or about July 4, 2005, Burgos-Montes killed Madelin Semidey-Morales, a government witness and informant, to prevent her from further informing authorities about his unlawful narcotics trafficking and to retaliate against her for providing information relating to the commission or possible commission of a federal crime to a law enforcement officer. Burgos-Montes was Semidey-Morales’ consensual partner.

Burgos-Montes faces a possible penalty of life in prison or the death penalty. The death penalty phase of the trial will begin on September 10, 2012.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Julie Mosley of the Justice Department Criminal Division’s Capital Case Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcela Mateo of the District of Puerto Rico. The case was investigated by Drug Enforcement Administration and the Puerto Rico Police Department, with assistance from the FBI’s San Juan Field Office Evidence Recovery Team.

China Springs Man to Serve Seven Years in Prison for Federal Involuntary Manslaughter Conviction



ALBUQUERQUE—This afternoon, a federal judge sentenced Julian Bahe, 20, a member of the Navajo Nation who resides in China Springs, New Mexico, to seven years in prison for his involuntary manslaughter conviction. Bahe will be on supervised release for three years after he completes his prison sentence.

U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Bahe killed Billy Boyd, a 59-year-old Navajo man, on November 20, 2010, when he set fire to a van parked outside his grandmother’s residence in China Springs in the Navajo Indian Reservation.

On May 11, 2012, Bahe entered a guilty plea to a criminal information charging him with involuntary manslaughter. In his plea agreement, Bahe admitted that on the night of November 20, 2010, he intentionally set fire to a van parked outside his grandmother’s home because he was angry with his grandmother. According to the plea agreement, earlier that day, Bahe had an argument with his grandmother while his grandmother, Billy Boyd, and Bahe were in the van, socializing and drinking alcohol. Bahe returned later that night with a gas can, poured gas into the van’s window, and ignited the gas. At the time, Bahe assumed that the van was empty because he did not see any lights in the van and did not hear anyone. He later learned that Billy Boyd was asleep in the van and died in the fire.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the Crownpoint Division of the Navajo Department of Public Safety and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark T. Baker.

Scranton Man Charged with Participating in Murder-for-Hire Scheme



The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a 44-year-old Scranton resident was charged in a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury Tuesday with conspiring with Edward McLaughlin to use a facility of interstate commerce to commit a murder-for-hire and possessing and carrying a firearm in relation to and in furtherance of a crime of violence.

According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, the grand jury alleges that Gary Williams and Edward McLaughlin conspired with each other to kill McLaughlin’s ex-wife. McLaughlin was charged in the original indictment on July 17, 2012.

The superseding indictment alleges that McLaughlin in 2011 and 2012 solicited Williams to kill McLaughlin’s ex-wife and shipped a Mauser rifle from Florida to Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Williams to use to commit the murder. The superseding indictment alleges that McLaughlin communicated with Williams by letters and telephone calls and on one occasion traveled to meet Williams to help him to more accurately fire the rifle intended to be used to kill McLaughlin’s ex-wife.

The charges against Williams and McLaughlin resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Scranton Police Department.

Williams and McLaughlin each face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, and up to life in prison, if convicted of using a firearm in connection to a crime of violence and up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the murder-for-hire scheme. McLaughlin faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of solicitation to commit murder.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa.

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An indictment and criminal information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proved the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Harrisburg Man Charged with Robbing Banks in Harrisburg and York



The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that a Harrisburg man was indicted by a federal grand jury in Harrisburg today on bank robbery charges.

According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, Angel M. Pomales, age 43, is charged with allegedly robbing the Fulton Bank and Sovereign Bank, both in Harrisburg, and the White Rose Credit Union in York, Pennsylvania.

On March 14, 2002, the Fulton Bank located at 1429 North Third Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was robbed and $2,000 was stolen from the bank. A week later, on March 22, 2012, the Sovereign Bank located at 235 North Second Street, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was robbed and again $2,000 was stolen from the bank. On April 2, 2012, the White Rose Credit Union located at 107 E. Philadelphia Street, York, Pennsylvania, was robbed and $2,000 was stolen from the bank.

If convicted, Pomales faces a maximum of 60 years’ imprisonment and fines of up to $750,000.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Capital City Safe Streets Task Force; Harrisburg City Police Department; Swatara Township Police Department; and the York City Police Department. Prosecution has been assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Daryl F. Bloom.

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An indictment or information is not evidence of guilt but simply a description of the charge made by the grand jury and/or United States Attorney against a defendant. A charged defendant is presumed innocent until a jury returns a unanimous finding that the United States has proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt or until the defendant has pled guilty to the charges.

Bandaged Bandit Robs Comerica Bank Branch in Houston



The Houston FBI Bank Robbery Task Force is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a bank robber who robbed a bank with a large bandage covering his left cheek and chin and bandages covering his right wrist and some of his fingers. It happened at the Comerica Bank located at 9997 Almeda Genoa in Houston, Texas, earlier this afternoon (August 29, 2012). Photographs from the robbery captured the bandit and his bandages and are at the conclusion of this press release.

At approximately 3:00 p.m., the man entered the bank, told a teller he was armed, and demanded money. He threatened he would shoot if the teller did not comply with his demands. The teller gave the man some cash. No one was physically hurt during the robbery.

The “Bandaged Bandit” was described as a white male, 40 to 55 years old, 6’2” tall, and weighing 260 to 280 pounds. He wore a large, white medical bandage covering his left cheek and chin and bandages covering his right wrist and some fingers.

Crime Stoppers is offering up to $5,000 for information leading to the charging and arrest of this robber. If you have information about this case, please call the Crime Stoppers tip line at 713-222-TIPS (8477) or the Houston Office of the FBI at 713-693-5000.