Friday, February 27, 2015

Florida Man Pleads Guilty for Role in Puerto Rican Identity Trafficking Ring

A Florida man pleaded guilty today for his role in a large-scale identity trafficking ring, which sold the identities of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens to foreign nationals to allow them to enter or remain in the United States illegally.  To date, a total of 14 individuals have been charged for their roles in this identity trafficking ring, and four have pleaded guilty.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Rosa E. Rodríguez-Vélez of the District of Puerto Rico, Director Sarah R. Saldaña of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Chief Postal Inspector Guy J. Cottrell of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Director Bill A. Miller of the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) and Chief Richard Weber of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.

Rey David Bravo-Aguirre, 43, of Bartow, Florida, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit identification fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit alien smuggling for financial gain and one count of transferring and possessing means of identification of another person during and in relation to a felony.  A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 3, 2015, before U.S. District Judge Juan M. Pérez- Giménez of the District of Puerto Rico.

According to his plea agreement, Bravo-Aguirre operated as a broker of Puerto Rican identities and corresponding identity documents out of Bartow, Florida.  In that role, Bravo-Aguirre received identity documents from other members of the conspiracy located in the Caguas-area of Puerto Rico and sold them to individuals unlawfully residing in Florida.  Specifically, Bravo-Aguirre admitted that he provided Social Security cards and corresponding Puerto Rico birth certificates to his customers.

The charges are the result of Operation Island Express II, an ongoing, nationally-coordinated investigation led by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), USPIS, DSS and IRS-CI offices in Chicago, in coordination with the ICE-HSI San Juan Office.  The Illinois Secretary of State Police also provided substantial assistance.  The ICE-HSI Attaché office in the Dominican Republic, National Drug Intelligence Center - Document and Media Exploitation Branch and International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2) provided invaluable assistance, as well as various ICE, USPIS, DSS and IRS CI offices around the country.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Marianne Shelvey of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and William Kenety of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jorge Ramos of the District of Puerto Rico.

Potential victims and the public may obtain information about the case at:  Anyone who believes their identity may have been compromised in relation to this investigation may contact the ICE toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423) and its online tip form at  Anyone who may have information about particular crimes in this case should also report it to the ICE tip line or website.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Beloit Man Sentenced for Distributing Heroin

MADISON, WIS. -- John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Marcus Payton, 30, Beloit, Wis., was sentenced yesterday by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to 84 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for distributing heroin. Payton pleaded guilty to this crime on December 30, 2014, and has remained in custody since his guilty plea.

On October 9, 2014, a federal grand jury returned a three-count indictment against Payton, charging him with distribution of heroin and cocaine on three occasions in 2014, after a confidential informant purchased the drugs from Payton at several locations in Beloit, Wis. Payton’s sentence of 84 months was due in part to his lengthy and violent criminal history.

The charges against Payton were the result of an investigation conducted by GROC (pronounced gee-rock), a task force formed through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Violent Crime Initiative, to address gang and drug-related violence in Rock County through the coordination of investigations among local and federal law enforcement agencies. Its members include the FBI; Rock County Sheriff’s Department; Beloit Police Department; and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie S. Pfluger.

Westside Shooter Arrested

Fugitive Facing 1st Degree Murder Charge Captured

San Antonio, TX – Edward Arocha, 19, was arrested this afternoon by members of the United States Marshals Service Lone Star Fugitive Task Force (LSFTF) in San Antonio, TX. An arrest warrant was issued pursuant to an investigation by the San Antonio Police Department (SAPD), where it is alleged that Arocha committed 1st degree murder.

This morning, members of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force (LSFTF) initiated an investigation in locating and apprehending Arocha. Through investigative efforts, task force officers determined that Arocha was hiding out in an apartment located in the 10000 block of South Highway 16, on the south side of San Antonio. While conducting surveillance, task force officers observed Arocha exit an apartment and walk toward the parking lot. Task force officers approached Arocha, identified themselves, and took him into custody without incident.

On February 16, 2015, Arocha was allegedly involved in shooting 2 young men with a handgun in the 1200 block of Longmont Street, on the west side of San Antonio. Reports stated that both victims were found lying on the ground when SAPD officers arrived. One of the victims was pronounced dead at the scene and the other victim was transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. After an extensive investigation by SAPD homicide detectives, an arrest warrant was issued yesterday for Arocha’s involvement in the shooting.

Arocha is currently being held in custody at the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office.

Robert R. Almonte, United States Marshal for the Western District of Texas, states, “Today I share mixed emotions. I am extremely proud of our task force officers for quickly apprehending Arocha, but I am also saddened that another young person has been stripped from this world without having the opportunity to truly live his life.”

Members of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force:

    New Braunfels Police Department
    San Antonio Police Department
    San Antonio Independent School District Police Department
    Bexar County Sheriff’s Office
    Comal County Sheriff’s Office
    Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Office
    Bexar County District Attorney’s Office
    Texas Office of The Attorney General
    Texas Department of Public Safety
    Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Office of the Inspector General
    Immigration & Customs Enforcement – Office of Detention & Removal
    U.S. Marshals Service