Saturday, April 29, 2017

Armed Career Offender from Albuquerque Sentenced to Fifteen Years for Unlawful Possession of Firearm

Alires Prosecuted Under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – Joe Ray Alires, 42, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced yesterday in federal court to180 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for unlawfully possessing firearms and ammunition, announced Acting U.S. Attorney James D. Tierney and Special Agent in Charge Thomas G. Atteberry of the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

Alires was charged by an indictment filed on Nov. 19, 2014, with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition on June 26, 2014, in Bernalillo County, N.M.  Alires was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his status as a convicted felon.  According to the indictment, on June 26, 2014, Alires had at least ten felony convictions, convictions for residential and commercial burglary, possession of a controlled substance, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a deadly weapon or explosive by a prisoner.

On March 9, 2017, Alires pled guilty to the indictment under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and admitted to possessing a loaded pistol on June 26, 2014, despite his status as a convicted felon.

This case was investigated by the ATF office in Albuquerque and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Walsh as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution.  Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders primarily based on their prior criminal convictions for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.  Because New Mexico’s violent crime rate, on a per capita basis, is one of the highest in the nation, New Mexico’s law enforcement community is collaborating to target repeat and violent offenders, primarily based on their prior convictions, from counties with the highest violent crime rates including Bernalillo County under this initiative.

Seven Baltimore Men Indicted in Federal Drug Conspiracy Related to 2014 Murder of McKenzie Elliott

Gang Member Allegedly Shot and Killed Three-Year-Old Girl in Turf Battle; Authorities Aim to “Catch the Killer and Dismantle his Gang”

Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging seven alleged members of the Old York Money Gang, an alleged drug trafficking organization (DTO) operating in the Waverly Way section of Baltimore, with conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances. One defendant is charged with using a gun to kill an innocent bystander. The indictment was returned on April 25, 2017, and unsealed today upon the arrest of the defendants.

The indictment charges the following defendants, all of Baltimore:

    Terrell Plummer, a/k/a Rell, age 28; Davonte Rich, a/k/a Chopper, age 22;
    Trevon Beasley, a/k/a Tre, age 23;
    Tyrone Jamison, a/k/a Ty, age 23; Davin Lawson, a/k/a D, age 25; Calvin Watson, a/k/a Monster, age 26; and
    Tyron Brown, a/k/a Boobie, age 26.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Daniel L. Board Jr. of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; and Commissioner Kevin Davis of the Baltimore Police Department.

"Exceptional police officers and prosecutors worked tirelessly and creatively to catch the killer and dismantle his gang because they care about saving lives," said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. "The indictment alleges that an armed drug dealer killed McKenzie Elliott, which is no surprise because most murders in Baltimore are committed by armed drug dealers who belong in prison."

"The loss of any life is heartbreaking to a family member, but to see this level of callous disregard for human life, especially when it leads to the loss of an innocent child, is wholly unacceptable," said ATF Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Daniel L. Board. "ATF will remain steadfast in our partnerships with the Baltimore City Police Department and the USAO to combat these blatant and vicious attacks against our communities."

"This case rocked not only the Waverly community, but the entire city of Baltimore," said Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. "McKenzie should be in school, running around with her friends and doing everything a six-year-old does, but instead, her life was cut short by a coward with a gun. This case exemplifies the strength of our federal partnerships and our resolve to go after those who choose to harm citizens, especially our most vulnerable."

According to the 16-count indictment, the defendants were members and associates of the Old York Money Gang (OYMG), a violent drug trafficking organization operating in the Waverly Way neighborhood in the northeastern district of Baltimore since January 2014. Crimes committed by the gang include murder, robbery, extortion, burglary, and narcotics trafficking. A neighborhood gang, OYM generally limits its membership to persons that originate from or live in the Waverly Way neighborhood, and excludes outsiders. The gang represents their association through social and digital media in which members and associates identify themselves by hand signals forming the letters "OY" or written labels of "Old York Money Gang" or OYMG.

The indictment alleges that the defendants sold heroin, powder and crack cocaine, and marijuana in their territory in Waverly Way and elsewhere. The defendants and their associates controlled, maintained, and defended drug territories called "shops" and permitted only OYMG members to sell drugs in these shops. Any non-OYMG members who wished to distribute drugs in these shops would be violently attacked. The defendants agreed to defend their territory. In order to maintain and increase their power, they agreed to commit murder and assaults against anyone who posed a threat to their organization or who invaded their territory.

In the summer of 2014, Plummer allegedly carried a firearm defend OYMG territory and collect drug debts. On July 31, 2014, Plummer, Rich and other OYMG members allegedly violently attacked three victims who had entered OYMG territory to support a friend who was engaged in a dispute with the sister of an OYMG member. In this incident, an OYMG member stabbed one of these victims.

The three victims returned to the same OYMG drug shop on August 1. In order to protect OYMG territory, Plummer allegedly shot multiple rounds at the vehicle carrying the three victims. One of the rounds hit a victim in the head but did not kill him. Another bullet missed the three victims and killed a three year-old girl named McKenzie Elliott.

If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison for the drug conspiracy. Plummer faces a maximum sentence of death or life in prison for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking conspiracy in which death results and a maximum of life imprisonment in prison for using, brandishing, and discharging a firearm during a drug trafficking crime. Beasley, Lawson, Jamison, Watson, Plummer, and Brown also face a maximum of 20 years in prison for each count of distribution of heroin, powder cocaine and/or crack cocaine. Rich also faces a maximum of 5 years in prison for distribution of marijuana. The defendants are expected to have an initial appearance later today in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the ATF and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Metcalf and Robert R. Harding, who are prosecuting the case.

Da Vinci Apt. Arsonists Takes 15-Year Plea for $100 Million Fire

LOS ANGELES – Today, Dawud Abdulwali, 58, took a 15-year plea agreement, to avoid a trial for aggravated arson and arson of a structure, for starting the devastating fire that destroyed the unfinished, seven-story Da Vinci apartment complex, at 900 W. Temple St., Los Angeles, Calif., on Dec. 7, 2014. Investigators estimated the fire caused more than a $100 million in damages.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) National Response Team (NRT) responded to scene to join the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) and Los Angeles ATF special agents who worked jointly on the investigation.

More than 250 LAFD firefighters contended with a 1.26 million square-foot structure. In addition to the structure itself, three nearby high-rise buildings were damaged. There were no reported injuries.

“As the federal agency with jurisdiction for investigating fires and crimes of arson, ATF partnered with LA Fire Department sharing its technical and scientific expertise along with its cutting-edge resources to solve this unnecessary and violent crime,” said Eric Harden, special agent in charge, of the ATF Los Angeles Field Division.

“While the motives in arson acts may vary from greed to plain evil, ATF’s determination and will to place these criminals behind bars is solid and pointed. We will continue to seek out, investigate and remove arsonists from society so our communities can be safe, Harden added.

ATF’s NRT consists of highly trained agents, forensic chemists, engineers, EEOs, electrical engineers, fire protection engineers, canine handlers, forensic auditors and other technical experts who deploy within 24 hours to major explosion and fire scenes anywhere in the U.S.

The NRT and LA ATF special agents assisted by completing a comprehensive examination of the scene, followed up on countless leads, interviewed numerous individuals, poured through social media sites, recovered security video, and worked tirelessly with LAFD and LA County District Attorney Jacki Lacey’s team to secure evidence for this investigation.