Friday, August 29, 2014

Final Defendant Sentenced to Federal Prison in San Antonio's Duffle Bag Mafia Drug Distribution/Firearms Smuggling Operation

In San Antonio, 37-year-old Jesus Carmona of San Antonio received 101 months in federal prison for his role in a drug distribution and firearms smuggling operation announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge Robert Elder, Houston Division, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Janice Ayala, San Antonio Division and San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.

During yesterday’s sentencing hearing, United States District Judge Xavier Rodriguez sentenced Carmona to 41 months incarceration for possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and 60 months incarceration for possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

Charges against Carmona and nine other individuals stem from parallel investigations by ATF, HSI and SAPD which focused on firearms straw purchasing, violent gang activity and drug trafficking by members and associates of the Duffle Bag Mafia in San Antonio.

On September 26, 2013, Carmona pleaded guilty to the charges, admitting that he supplied co-defendants marijuana and cocaine in exchange for firearms. According to court records, one of those firearms, an AK-47 assault rifle, was previously used by 25-year-old Arnoldo Lopez (a.k.a. “Looney”), a member of the Duffle Bag Mafia, in a drive-by shooting on April 1, 2012, that resulted in the death of Joshua Arturo Pagan and Anthony Guevarro. That firearm was subsequently smuggled to the Los Zetas cartel in Mexico.

Last month, Lopez was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for various drug and firearms offenses. On September 5, 2013, Lopez pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute “crack” cocaine, possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime and six counts of making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm. According to court records, on October 4, 2012, Lopez and others were apprehended by the San Antonio Police Department Gang Unit while in possession of distributable quantities of “crack” cocaine as well as four firearms including one assault rifle, two shotguns and a semi-automatic pistol. Prior to his arrest, HSI agents were investigating a firearms straw purchasing operation wherein Lopez directed other individuals to purchase dozens of firearms under false pretenses. The weapons purchased included AK-47 and AR-15 type assault rifles which were destined for the Los Zetas cartel.

On August 7, 2014, 33-year-old Yolanda Hernandez was sentenced to 75 months incarceration after pleading guilty to possession with intent to distribute “crack” cocaine and possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.

On February 26, 2014, 31-year-old Michael Gutierrez was sentenced to 248 months in federal prison for his role in the drug distribution scheme. Six co-defendants in the firearms straw purchasing scheme have been sentenced to terms ranging from three years probation to 57 months in federal prison.

“This investigation is an outstanding example of where cooperative efforts of ATF, HSI, and the San Antonio Police Department can lead. Anytime we get criminals of this magnitude off the streets is a good day for our citizens,” stated ATF SAC Robert Elder.

“Those who engage in and/or facilitate the straw purchasing and smuggling of weaponry, and related items, will face serious consequences. HSI, ATF, and our law enforcement partners are dedicated to making communities safer by bringing violent criminals to justice and preventing or seizing firearms before they fall into the hands of transnational criminal organizations who pose a threat to public safety both here and abroad,” stated HSI SAC Janice Ayala.

“The best police work in the world is all for naught without a successful prosecution. We thank all of our law enforcement partners for the teamwork, and we thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their guidance and hard work. This criminal organization repeatedly demonstrated their total disregard for the law and we are proud to be part of the effort to dismantle them and bring them to justice,” stated San Antonio Police Chief William McManus.

Assistant United States Attorneys Russell Leachman and Bettina Richardson prosecuted these cases on behalf of the Government.

Durham Murder Suspect Arrested in Raleigh, NC by U.S. Marshals

Durham, NC – On August 27, 2014 at 9:00 AM, Shawn Leroy Butler, a 16 year old, Black Male, was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force (JFTF), U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force (VFTF) and the Durham Police Department. On August 27, 2014, warrants were issued by the Durham Police Department charging Butler with homicide (one count) and discharging a weapon into an occupied dwelling (two counts). It is alleged that on August 9, 2014, Butler discharged a firearm into multiple properties located at 609 Lee Street in Durham. When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered that Rakwon Smith had been shot inside his home. Smith was taken to the hospital where he later died as a result of those injuries. Officers believe that Butler and Smith were acquaintances.

Surveillance was conducted by JFTF, VFTF and the Durham Police Department at 7625 Mine Valley Road in Raleigh, NC. During that time, Butler was observed standing in front of the house and entering the passenger side of a minivan. Butler was taken into custody at that time without incident.

The U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force for the Middle District of North Carolina is comprised of investigators from the U.S. Marshals Service, Chapel Hill Police Department, Durham Police Department, Greensboro Police Department, High Point Police Department, Winston-Salem Police Department, Alamance County Sheriff’s Office, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, Department of Community Corrections – Probation & Parole.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Naval Station Norfolk CPOs, CPO Selects Unite to Help Victims of Domestic Violence

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Edward Guttierrez III, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (NNS) -- More than 30 chief petty officers (CPO) and chief petty officer selectees united with local charity Samaritan House to restore and renew emergency housing for the victims of domestic violence in the Hampton Roads region, Aug. 27.

"Today was our first community relations event of the chief induction season," said Chief Yeoman Steve Mundy. "We just wanted to come out and help Samaritan House and the families that will be staying in the residences."

Samaritan House has provided emergency and transitional housing, and community outreach to victims of domestic violence and homeless families in the Hampton Roads area since 1984.

The event was held as part of CPO 365 Phase II, the second part of a three-part, yearlong development and training program designed to test the first class petty officers or CPO selectees mentally, physically, personally and professionally. Phase II begins when board results are released and builds upon Phase I, which is intended to prepare board-eligible Sailors for their transition.

The goal of CPO 365 is to educate first class petty officers and CPO selectees about Navy heritage, Navy policies and procedures, equal opportunity guidance, sponsorship and indoctrination, Fleet and Family Service Center programs, the enlisted retention board, career development boards, physical fitness and nutrition.

"The most important thing about CPO 365 Phase II is instilling hard work, dedication, pride and team work into every chief selectee," said Mundy. "So any time we can come together as a team to reach a common goal, plus help the community, it's definitely a positive for the Chiefs Mess and the United States Navy."