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Friday, September 28, 2012

Thirty-Nine Alleged Associates of Two Chicago-Area Drug Trafficking Organizations Facing Federal Narcotics Charges



CHICAGO—Two leaders of separate drug trafficking organizations that operated independently while sometimes supplying each other with multiple kilograms of cocaine were arrested and are among 39 defendants who are facing federal drug charges, federal and local law enforcement officials announced today. The charges contained in a criminal complaint stem from an investigation led jointly by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration that began in July 2011, with assistance from other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.

Agents yesterday executed three federal search warrants at the same time as they began arresting defendants in the Chicago area, as well as in Indiana, Texas, and California. Agents seized approximately 2.5 kilograms of cocaine, $176,800 cash, and several guns. The two alleged leaders, Jesus Ramirez-Padilla and Humberto Jimenez, were among 27 defendants who were arrested, while the whereabouts of four others were accounted for, and eight remained fugitives. Previously, during the year-long investigation, agents seized more than 13 kilos of cocaine, 10 kilos of marijuana, 1.5 kilos of heroin, and approximately $75,000.

All 39 defendants were charged with various drug distribution offenses in a criminal complaint that was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court and unsealed yesterday following the arrests. The defendants who were arrested began appearing yesterday before Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez in U.S. District Court and remain in federal custody pending detention hearings scheduled for next week.

Yesterday’s operation brings to nearly 100 the number of defendants who have been arrested and charged in Chicago with federal or state drug trafficking offenses in just the last three weeks.

Gary S. Shapiro, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, praised the dedication and teamwork of the FBI, DEA, and HSI agents who worked diligently with the Chicago Police Department to disrupt these alleged drug trafficking organizations. Mr. Shapiro announced the charges with William C. Monroe, Acting Special Agent in -Charge of the Chicago Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Jack Riley, Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration; Gary Hartwig, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Chicago; and Garry F. McCarthy, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. The U.S. Marshals Service and the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division also assisted, together with the Illinois State Police, the Cook County Sheriff’s Police, and the Berwyn and Oak Lawn Police Departments. The investigation was conducted under the umbrella of the U.S. Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

According to the complaint affidavit, the investigation determined that Ramirez-Padilla, 39, and Jimenez, 26, both of Chicago, each led his own drug trafficking organization. Both organizations regularly bought and sold multiple kilos of powder cocaine on Chicago’s southwest side. Each organization had its own wholesale distributors, drug couriers, stash houses, workers, and suppliers. While the Ramirez and Jimenez organizations operated independently, they sometimes supplied each other with kilograms of powder cocaine. Both organizations took steps to protect themselves from detection by law enforcement, including: using code words to disguise references to narcotics and other items; regularly replacing telephones; using different vehicles to transport drugs; and engaging in counter-surveillance techniques.

The 205-page affidavit details conversations among various defendants that were intercepted on 26 different telephones during the investigation pursuant to court-authorized electronic surveillance.

Sixteen defendants, who were charged in two separate conspiracies to possess and distribute cocaine and/or heroin, face a mandatory minimum of 10 years to a maximum of life in prison and a $10 million fine. The remaining defendants face maximum sentences up to 20 or 40 years in prison and a maximum fine of $2 million or $5 million. If convicted, the court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory United States Sentencing Guidelines.

The government is being represented by Assistant United States Attorneys Nathalina Hudson, Joseph Thompson, and John Kness.

The public is reminded that a complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Oakland Pimp Pleads Guilty to Exploiting 14-Year-Old Girl in Sacramento and Stockton



SACRAMENTO, CA—Jamir Imari Tatum, 20, of Oakland, pleaded guilty today to distribution of child pornography, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Innocence Lost Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle Reardon is prosecuting the case.

According to court documents, in January 2012, Tatum started a sexual relationship with the 14-year-old victim. On February 21, 2012, agents found Internet advertisements for the prostitution services of the girl in Stockton. These advertisements contained three sexually explicit images taken of her in Sacramento in January. The phone number on the advertisements was Tatum’s cellphone. Agents called and made a “date.” When officers arrived, they saw the 14-year-old girl on the street corner with Tatum standing approximately 50 meters away. When officers apprehended the victim, Tatum took off running but surrendered 15 minutes later after police dogs were brought into the chase.

According to court documents, the 14-year-old had been working as a prostitute for Tatum since she ran away from home in February. She said that she had given all the money that she had made to him. Text messages recovered from Tatum’s phone confirmed that he was the victim’s pimp.

Tatum is scheduled for sentencing by United States District Judge Morrison C. England, Jr. on January 3, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. Tatum faces a potential sentence of five years to life in prison. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “Resources” tab for information about Internet safety education.

Woman Charged with Robbing Bank of America Branch



The FBI is announcing the arrest of Krystal Mae Alvarado, age 22, as a result of the investigation into the robbery of the Bank of America, located inside of the of Albertson grocery store at 543 Sweetwater Road in Spring Valley, California, on Tuesday, February 21, 2012.

On Tuesday, February 21, 2012, at approximately 4:34 p.m., an unknown female armed with a firearm robbed a teller at the Bank of America located inside of the Albertsons grocery store at 543 Sweetwater Road in Spring Valley, California. At the time of the robbery, the robber approached the teller and presented a demand note. The robber lifted up her shirt and displayed the handle of a firearm that was positioned at her waistline. The robber ordered the teller to place the money into a black and white purse the robber was carrying. After receiving a sum of money, the robber walked out of the grocery store, heading north.

According to the complaint filed in this matter with the U.S. District Court, Southern District of California, case number 12MJ3426, on September 16, 2012, Alvarado voluntarily surrendered to FBI agents and was interviewed concerning the robbery. Alvarado confessed to robbing the bank and apologized for doing so. On Monday, September 17, 2012, Alvarado was arrested by FBI agents investigating the robbery. Alvarado was taken into custody without incident.

On Monday, September 24, 2012, Alvarado had her initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge, David H. Bartick. Alvarado remains in custody at the Bureau of Prisons, Metropolitan Correctional Center in San Diego, California. This case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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

Robbery of Saks Fifth Avenue in Boca Raton



The FBI is releasing photographs and video from a robbery that took place Thursday, September 20, 2012, at approximately 7:50 p.m. at the Saks Fifth Avenue at 6000 West Glades Road in Boca Raton, Florida.

Several robbers entered the store, ordered employees and customers to lay on the ground, and took money from a register and merchandise from a display case. There were no injuries. The amount of money and merchandise taken will not be released at this time.

It is believed that the robbers used a black sedan as a getaway vehicle.

The FBI, Boca Raton Police Department, and the South Florida Violent Crime Task Force continue their investigation. The FBI and its South Florida Violent Crime Task Force are involved in this matter as part of an initiative to assist local law enforcement agencies combat violent crime.

There is a $5,000 reward for information provided to the FBI leading to the arrest and conviction of the subjects responsible for this robbery.

Anyone who has information as to the identity of these robbers is urged to call the FBI at (305) 944-9101 or the Boca Raton Police Department at (561) 338-1246.

New Haven Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Distributing Narcotics



David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that two men involved in a New Haven drug trafficking organization were sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Ellen Bree Burns in New Haven.

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.

Gemini Napoleon, also known as “G.I.,” “Poe,” and “Gemi,” 32, of New Haven, was sentenced to 140 months of imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release. On May 1, 2012, Napoleon pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 280 grams of cocaine base (“crack cocaine”). According to court documents and statements made in court, in early 2010, law enforcement officers conducted three controlled purchases of crack from Napoleon. Later in 2010, Napoleon was intercepted multiple times over a wiretap ordering distribution quantities of crack.

Napoleon’s criminal history includes felony convictions for sale of narcotics, sale of a controlled substance, possession of narcotics, and assault in the second degree.

Marc Hobson, also known as “Unc” and “Bean,” 37, of New Haven, was sentenced to 72 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. On March 8, 2012, Hobson pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine base. According to court documents and statements made in court, between June and October 2010, Hobson was intercepted numerous times over a wiretap ordering eighth-ounce quantities of crack cocaine from another member of the conspiracy. He then sold the crack in smaller quantities to his own customer base.

Hobson’s criminal history includes three convictions for sale of narcotics and one conviction for sale of a controlled substance.

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 FBI New Haven Safe Streets Task Force (composed of members of members of the New Haven, Milford, and Hamden Police Departments 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.