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Monday, October 30, 2017

National Institute Of Justice Explores New Ways To Detect Financial Elder Abuse



WASHINGTON – The Office of Justice Programs’ National Institute of Justice today published an article online that discusses new ways to identify financial exploitation and abuse of the elderly. The article discusses NIJ-funded research into whether computers can “learn” how to distinguish between financial exploitation and other forms of elder abuse.

The researchers found that computer models were effective in identifying financial exploitation and its variations. This study may provide practitioners with ways to use existing data to identify financial exploitation among elderly adults and opens the door for expansion into a web-based application for real-time monitoring and intervention.

TITLE:       “Computers Learn To Detect Financial Abuse of the Elderly”

AUTHORS:        National Institute of Justice


The point of contact for this advisory is Sheila Jerusalem, public affairs specialist, Office of Communications, OJP. She can be reached at Sheila.Jerusalem@usdoj.gov or 202-598-0793.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Second York Gang Leader Sentenced to Life in Prison



HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that the leader of a gang that has operated for a decade or more in the City of York was sentenced to life in prison for racketeering and drug distribution conspiracies.

According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, U.S. District Court Judge Yvette Kane imposed a sentence of life in prison on Marc Hernandez, a/k/a “Marky D,” age 32, who was identified as a leader of the “Southside” street gang as well as a member of the Bloods.  When imposing sentence, Judge Kane noted Hernandez’s leadership in the gang that ravaged the community in York for over a decade, causing numerous deaths and many other victims. Judge Kane indicated that Hernandez “was the leader of an organization that destroyed a community,” a group that committed countless drive-by shootings and killings of many individuals including innocent bystanders. Judge Kane also noted that “even from jail, he continued as a leader” in the same group doing the same activities.

At the sentencing, the government presented evidence that Hernandez’s gang related activities continued from his jail cell while he awaited sentencing. Including smuggling drugs and phones into prison and attempting to order the murder of individuals outside of prison. There was also evidence introduced at sentencing that Hernandez had risen to national leadership within his set of the Bloods gang. The government asked for a life sentence and pointed to the evidence that Hernandez continued to sell drugs and participate in violent retaliation while in prison. The government argued to court that it should have no confidence that Hernandez will ever stop his violent, drug trafficking ways, as demonstrated by his ongoing criminal conduct.  Judge Kane noted that Hernandez was comparable to his co-defendant, Rolando Cruz, Jr. who was sentenced to life in prison on October 3, 2017.

In November 2015, a jury convicted Hernandez of racketeering and drug trafficking conspiracies after a seven-week trial.  It included over 100 witnesses called by the government, including York City Police officers and detectives, federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the FBI and gang members who had previously pleaded guilty and featured the presentation of over 500 exhibits.  Among the exhibits were videos of violent incidents involving the Southside Gang, drugs, cash and property seized by police and ATF agents as part of the investigation.

The jury convicted the other 11 men who went to trial with Hernandez.

The gang, labeled by the government as a criminal enterprise, is known as Southside.  It operated in southern York, centered in the area of Maple and Duke Streets.  There was no formal structure but the participants included senior leaders, drug traffickers engaged in distribution and sales of narcotics, particularly crack cocaine, and “shooters,” individuals who committed acts of violence, including use of firearms on behalf of the gang and to protect its members from other gangs in York.  Order was maintained through intimidation and threats and, in some cases, murder.  The Southside Gang includes a group of violent drug traffickers, originally affiliated with the “Bloods,” primarily a New York-based national violent street gang.

Violence against a rival York gang, called “Parkway,” allegedly resulted in death or shootings of members of both gangs and innocent bystanders.

ATF, together with the York City Police Department and the York County District Attorney’s Office, began an intensive two-year investigation of Southside in 2012.  It culminated in a September 2014 grand jury indictment of 21 individuals.

Eight of the indicted persons, including James Abney, a senior Southside leader, pleaded guilty to the racketeering conspiracy charge prior to the trial, as did seven other individuals included in the September 2014 indictment. 

Many individual Southside gang members were investigated and previously prosecuted by York County law enforcement agencies on state charges.  The federal prosecution aimed at dismantling the organization by exposing and attacking its continuity and leadership.  The federal investigation of gang violence and drug dealing in York is continuing in full cooperation with local police and the York County District Attorney’s Office.

Overall, the jury found seven of the 12 men on trial guilty of racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to distribute drugs, mainly cocaine base (crack) and cocaine, but including heroin in some instances.  Two others were found not guilty of the racketeering charge but were found guilty of the drug distribution conspiracy count of the indictment.  Three of the defendants were found not guilty of either of the conspiracy counts.  The jury found all 12 defendants guilty of possession of illegal drugs with the intent to distribute.  Two defendants were also charged and found guilty of, possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking.

The principal defendants, specifically the most violent and those in leading roles, were found guilty of the racketeering conspiracy charges.

The individual defendants and the charges on which they were awaiting sentencing or were sentenced:

Rolando Cruz, Jr., “Mico,” age 32; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, drug possession with intent to deliver and possession of firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking (2 counts) was sentenced on October 3, 2017, to life in prison.

Douglas Kelly, a/k/a “Killer,” age 39; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver is awaiting sentencing,

Roscoe Villega, a/k/a “P Shawn,” age 43; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver is awaiting sentencing,

Tyree Eatmon, a/k/a “Ree,” age 29; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver is awaiting sentencing,

Maurice Atkinson, a/k/a “Mo,” age 30; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver is awaiting sentencing,

Anthony Sistrunk, a/k/a “Kanye,” age 29; racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver is awaiting sentencing,

Eugene Rice, a/k/a “B Mor,” age 29; drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver is awaiting sentencing,

Angel Schueg, a/k/a “Pocko,” age 28; drug trafficking conspiracy, and drug possession with intent to deliver is awaiting sentencing,

Jalik Frederick, a/k/a “Murder Cat,” age 22; drug possession with intent to deliver was sentenced to 33 months in prison on June 5, 2017,

Brandon Orr, a/k/a “B Or,” age 23; drug possession with intent to deliver was sentenced to 34 months in prison on November 10, 2016,

Jabree Williams, a/k/a “Minute,” age 24; drug possession with intent to deliver was sentenced to 60 months in prison on May 15, 2017.

Southside gang members who pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy prior to the trial are and who are awaiting sentencing are:

James Abney, a/k/a “Doocs,” age 31.

Malik Sturdivant, a/k/a “Base,” age 25.

Jahkeem Abney, a/k/a “Foo,” age 27.

Ronald Payton, a/k/a “Ron Ron,” age 25.

Cordaress Rogers, a/k/a “Tank,” age 31.

Marquis Williams, a/k/a “Quis,” age 29.

Jerrod Brown, a/k/a “Boogie,” age 28.

Quintez Hall, a/k/a “Q,” age 25.

Richard Nolden, a/k/a “Rich,” age 27.

The case included the participation and assistance of the Pennsylvania State Police, West York Borough Police Department, Spring Garden Township Police Department, the York County Drug Task Force, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Marshals Service. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael A. Consiglio, William Houser, and Joseph Terz prosecuted the case.

Arrests Made in Drug and Firearm Charges in and Around Craven County



NEW BERN – The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Robert J. Higdon, Jr., District Attorney Scott Thomas, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announce the arrests yesterday of eight defendants pursuant to three federal indictments for drug and firearms charges.

A 35-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury on October 17, 2017.  The indictment charges nine defendants with conspiracy to distribute heroin and marijuana and various drug offenses, one defendant with operating a continuing criminal enterprise, and three defendants with firearm offenses arising out of a Title III wiretap investigation in Craven County.

The defendants include:

    CALVIN MARK WILSON, aka “Bali,” 33, of New Bern, NC
    MARIO CORRELLUS BARGNEARE, aka “Rio,” 38, of New Bern, NC
    WILLIE FRANK JAMES AHERN, aka “White, White Bread, Dribs,” 38, of Bayboro, NC
    DEREK JACQUAN WIGGINS, aka “DJ,” 37, of New Bern, NC
    ROY JAMES NOLON, aka “Henny,” 20, of New Bern, NC
    MICHAEL QUALEEK VELASQUEZ, aka “Moo Moo,” 22, of New Bern, NC (currently housed in the Bertie Correctional Institution)
    LAMAR HOSEA WIGGINS, aka “LB,” 39, of New Bern, NC
    LASHAWNNA JAQUETTE MCCOTTER, aka “Flossy,” 46, of New Bern, NC
    LATREKA DENISE HARDESTY, aka “T,” 26, of New Bern, NC
    

Additionally, ADRIENNE MICHELLE HALL, 34, of New Bern, NC, was indicted for conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute heroin and for possession of heroin.  CAROLINE LOUISE HUGHES, 27, of Alliance, NC, also faces a 3-count indictment for conspiracy to distribute heroin and distributing heroin.

In addition to the federal arrests, three other individuals were arrested by the New Bern Police Department for state drug and firearm offenses.  Suquanna Robinson, 33, of New Bern, NC, was arrested for possession with intent to sell and deliver heroin and maintaining a dwelling.  Dwayne Stallings, 32, of Cove City, was arrested for possession of a stolen firearm.  Finally, Nassar Mack, 36, of New Bern, NC, was arrested for possession of a firearm by a felon.

 “The heroin epidemic is affecting the lives of citizens here in North Carolina and throughout the nation,” commented U.S. Attorney Higdon.  “In fact we are losing more than 3 North Carolinians to drug overdoses every day.  And, heroin and opioids are driving a significant portion of this devastating problem.  This prosecution reflects the commitment of this office and that of our state and local law enforcement partners in combatting this crisis and targeting those who put these dangerous drugs on the streets.”

District Attorney Scott Thomas said, “This coordinated investigation between local, state and federal agencies is part of our ongoing effort to combat violence and illegal drug activity in our area.  The fight against crime requires cooperation between law enforcement agencies and prosecutors at the state and federal levels to be successful. My office will continue to work closely with the United States Attorney’s Office as these and similar cases are investigated and prosecuted in the future.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge CJ Hyman stated, “One of ATF’s primary missions is to combat violent crime, and this investigation is a great example of the positive results that can be accomplished when we collaborate with our law enforcement partners to accomplish the common goal of making our communities safer.”

“I applaud the spirit of cooperation that exists at local, state and federal levels”, said New Bern's Chief of Police, Toussaint E. Summers, Jr., as he remarked on the arrests yesterday that represented a coordinated effort of more than two years. “The citizens of the City of New Bern, Craven County and eastern North Carolina can be assured that the law enforcement community as well as federal and state prosecutors will work together to use all available resources to remove drug traffickers from the streets of our community.”

All but two of the defendants charged in the federal indictments are in custody pending trial.  DEREK WIGGINS and LAMAR WIGGINS remain at large.

In addition to the arrests, law enforcement executed seven search warrants of residences in Craven County as part of a multi-year investigation into the violent drug trafficking organization.  This case was brought as a part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation entitled Operation 190.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictments are merely accusations.  The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

The investigation of this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), New Bern Police Department, Jacksonville Police Department, Craven County Sheriff’s Office, Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, Trentwood Police Department, Carteret County Sheriff’s Office,Morehead City Police Department, and with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).