Thursday, May 31, 2012

South Carolina Man Arrested for Bomb Threats to Airliner

TUCSON, AZ—Ivan Bugakov, 24, of Jacksonville, South Carolina, was arrested on May 28, 2012 and charged with false information and threats involving aircraft. That charge entails giving false information pertaining to an explosive device aboard an aircraft, knowing the information to be false, under circumstances in which the information reasonably may be believed.

The complaint alleges that Bugakov was on a U.S. Airways flight that was scheduled to depart Tucson on Monday, May 28, 2012, when he became loud, unruly, and belligerent. Because Bugakov allegedly refused to follow orders of the flight crew, the flight crew decided to taxi back to the gate and have Bugakov removed from the plane. While exiting the plane, Bugakov allegedly told the flight crew and fellow passengers that there was a bomb onboard. When confronted by airport police, Bugakov allegedly stated that he had a bomb in his carry-on luggage. All passengers were required to exit the plane and all luggage and passengers were re-screened. Bomb detection dogs were brought in to search for explosive devices, but none were found.

A conviction for false information and threats involving aircraft carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. In determining an actual sentence, the sentencing judge will consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges. The judge, however, is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence.

A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Airport Authority Police, and the Transportation and Safety Administration. The prosecution is being handled by Beverly K. Anderson, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson.

Army Master Sergeant Arrested by AFOSI and the FBI

TAMPA—On Wednesday, May 30, 2012, special agents from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) and the FBI Innocent Images Task Force (IITF) arrested Army Master Sergeant Thomas Meyer, age 42, at his residence this morning without incident. A federal search warrant was also executed at Meyer’s residence today.

The law enforcement activity was the culmination of investigative efforts by the AFOSI; Largo Police Department; Kenton County Police Department, Kentucky; Pennsylvania State Police; United States Postal Inspection Service; and the FBI.

Meyer will be facing federal charges, including attempted production of child pornography, transportation of child pornography, and transfer of obscene material to an individual under the age of 16. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years, up to 30 years in federal prison for the production charge; a mandatory minimum penalty of five years, up to 20 years in federal prison for the transportation charge; and up to 10 years in federal prison for the transfer of obscene matter charge.

The FBI’s IITF is an intelligence-driven, proactive investigative initiative that combats the proliferation of child pornography and child sexual exploitation facilitated by the Internet. The mission of the IITF is to reduce the vulnerability of children to acts of sexual exploitation and abuse facilitated through computers; to identify and rescue witting and unwitting child victims; and to investigate and prosecute sexual predators who use the Internet to sexually exploit children for personal and financial gain.

The charges in the complaint are merely allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent, unless, and until proven guilty.

Former Rochester Amerk Sentenced on Drug Charges

ROCHESTER, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Sean McMorrow, 30, of Toronto, Canada, who was convicted of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute, and to distribute, 50 kilograms or more of marijuana, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and a $2,000 fine by U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brett A. Harvey, who handled the case, stated that McMorrow, a former professional hockey player, played for the Rochester Americans in the American Hockey League from 2003 through 2006. From April 2003 through April 2005, McMorrow was involved in importing large quantities of marijuana from Canada into the United States over the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls and distributing the marijuana to others in the Western District of New York. As part of the conspiracy, the defendant, on numerous occasions, obtained large quantities of marijuana from a supplier in Toronto and then transported the marijuana, concealed in hockey bags inside his sport utility vehicle, over the border.

Also as part of the conspiracy, McMorrow used various individuals, including two college-age women, to act as drug couriers. McMorrow organized and supervised the trips by the drug couriers, providing them with money to smuggle into Canada, loading their vehicles with marijuana, driving across the Rainbow Bridge ahead of the couriers in an effort to avoid detection by law enforcement authorities, retrieving the marijuana from the couriers on the United States side of the border, and paying the couriers for their services. The conspiracy involved up to 80 kilograms (or 176 pounds) of marijuana.

The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota.

Sarasota Man Pleads Guilty to Four Bank Robberies in Federal Court

Michael Joseph Forsythe (49, Sarasota) pled guilty today to four counts of bank robbery with a dangerous weapon. He faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in federal prison for each of the robberies. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

According to facts presented in court, on September 7, 2011, at approximately 2:05 p.m., Forsythe entered a branch of TD Bank located at 1852 Ridgewood Avenue in Holly Hill. He displayed what appeared to be a handgun to a teller and demanded money by saying, “Give me all the money in the top and bottom drawer, and I will not harm you.” Forsythe also warned the teller that there “better not be a tracking device.” The teller provided Forsythe with $8,331 and a hidden GPS tracker.

Minutes after the robbery, using the GPS tracker, local law enforcement located Forsythe in a stolen automobile. Officers from the Holly Hill Police Department found the money from TD Bank, a black and silver toy pistol, and a white hooded sweatshirt that matched the description of one worn by the robber. Shortly thereafter, Forsythe provided a full confession for the bank robbery to detectives from the Holly Hill Police Department and agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He subsequently admitted to three other identical bank robberies in Georgia, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Forsythe added that once he had left behind a demand note during his first bank robbery, he knew that he would eventually be caught because his fingerprints were on that note. Accordingly, he saw no reason to stop robbing banks.

This case was investigated by the Holly Hill Police Department and the FBI. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert E. Bodnar, Jr.

FBI Asks for Public’s Assistance Locating Queens Bank Robber

Today, a few minutes before 2:00 p.m., a black male entered the JPMorgan Chase Bank located at 54-12 48th Street in Maspeth, Queens. The suspect entered the bank; displayed a gray, black-handled handgun; and demanded cash. The suspect fled the bank on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.

The suspect is described as a black male with black hair and a black mustache. He is approximately 5’9’’ to 6’ tall and 160 to 180 pounds. He was last seen wearing a blue Yankees hat, dark sunglasses, a blue polo shirt, dark pants, and black shoes. Photos of the suspect are below.

A reward is available for a tip that breaks the case. Anyone with information is asked to call the FBI immediately at 212-384-1000. Tipsters may remain anonymous.