Thursday, December 18, 2014

“Born To Kill” Gang Member Added To Us Marshals’ 15 Most Wanted Fugitive List

Suspect allegedly bound, stabbed three men and threw their bodies in river; one miraculously survived

Washington – Career criminal Tam Minh Le thought he had covered up his crimes when he and his associates allegedly threw three men they had bound, beaten and stabbed in the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in August and left them for dead. However, one of Le’s victims miraculously survived and was able to free himself, climb to the banks of the river and call for help. The lone survivor’s account of what happen led authorities to charge Le with numerous offenses including murder and attempted murder.

Le, 43, remains on the run, but his days as a fugitive are numbered with his addition to the U.S. Marshals 15 Most Wanted fugitive list today.

“The malicious crimes allegedly committed by Tam Le demonstrate his blatant disregard for life and have earned him a spot on the U.S. Marshals Service 15 Most Wanted list,” said U.S. Marshals Service Director Stacia Hylton. “We are absolute in our commitment to apprehend Le across both international and domestic jurisdictional boundaries to insure he faces justice.”

On Aug. 27, Le, along with members associated with the Vietnamese gang Born to Kill, allegedly held two brothers, Viet Huynh and Vu Huynh, hostage at his Southwest Philadelphia home for gambling away $100,000 they were supposed to use to purchase narcotics. In an attempt to free the brothers and buy some time, another man arrived at the home with a partial payment of $40,000. Le was not satisfied and allegedly decided all three men would pay with their lives. Le and his associates took the men to the 2300 block of Kelly Drive where they allegedly assaulted, and repeatedly stabbed the bound victims, tossing their mutilated bodies in the Schuylkill River. While the victim who attempted to settle the debt survived the horrific ordeal, the Huynh brothers did not. Authorities found their bodies in the river bound with zip ties, riddled with stab wounds, slashed throats, and heads wrapped with duct tape.

The Philadelphia Police Department charged Le on Sept. 20 with a number of crimes including murder, attempted murder, false imprisonment, and abuse of a corpse. The U.S. Marshals joined the manhunt for Le after he was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution in October.

“Given the nature of his charges, Tam Le poses a significant threat to anyone he may come into contact with,” said David B. Webb, U.S. Marshal of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. “Together with the City of Philadelphia we will utilize our nationwide law enforcement partnerships to apprehend Le.”

A reward of up to $25,000 is being offered for information leading directly to Le’s arrest. Anyone with information is urged to contact the nearest U.S. Marshals Service office or the U.S. Marshals Service Communications Center at 1-800-336-0102.

Ten Sentenced for Involvement in Aryan Brotherhood of Texas Racketeering Conspiracy

Final 10 of 36 Convicted and Sentenced

Ten Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) gang members and associates were sentenced to prison this week for their roles in the violent ABT enterprise, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas.

Today, Michael Richard Lamphere, 56, of Houston, Texas, Glen Ray Millican Jr., 41, of Houston, Texas, and Rebecca Johnson Cropp, 46, of Dallas, Texas, were sentenced to serve respective terms of 240 months, 120 months and 36 months in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake in the Southern District of Texas.  Earlier this week, William David Maynard, 44, of Houston, Texas, Sammy Keith Shipman, 32, of Houston, Texas, Chad Ray Folmsbee, 32, of Houston, Texas, David Orlando Roberts, 36, of Houston, Texas, Justin Christopher Northrup, 29, of Houston, Texas, Tammy Melissa Wall, 45, of Otto, North Carolina, and Benjamin Troy Johnson, 43, of Corpus Christi, Texas, were each sentenced to serve respective terms of 262 months, 188 months, 140 months, 135 months, 130 months, 72 months and 36 months in federal prison.

According to information presented in court, the 10 defendants were admitted members and associates of the ABT, a powerful race-based organization that operates inside and outside of state and federal prisons throughout Texas and the United States.  Along with other ABT gang members and associates, they agreed to commit multiple acts of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping and narcotics trafficking on behalf of the ABT gang.  ABT gang members met on a regular basis at various locations throughout Texas to report on gang-related business, collect dues, commit disciplinary assaults against fellow gang members and discuss acts of violence against rival gang members, among other things. 

The ABT was established in the early 1980s within the Texas prison system.  The gang modeled itself after and adopted many of the precepts and writings of the Aryan Brotherhood, a California-based prison gang that was formed in the California prison system during the 1960s.  Previously, the ABT was primarily concerned with the protection of white inmates and white supremacy/separatism, but over time, the ABT has expanded its criminal enterprise to include illegal activities for profit, according to court records.

In order to be considered for ABT membership, a person must be sponsored by another gang member.  Once sponsored, a prospective member must serve an unspecified term, during which he is referred to as a prospect, while his conduct is observed by the members of the ABT.

Court documents allege that the ABT enforced its rules and promoted discipline among its members, prospects and associates through murder, attempted murder, arson, assault, robbery and threats against those who violated the rules or posed a threat to the enterprise.  Members, and oftentimes associates, were required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members, often referred to as “direct orders.”

The defendants sentenced this week represent the final 10 of 36 defendants convicted of conducting racketeering activity through the ABT criminal enterprise, among other charges. 

This Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case was investigated by a multi-agency task force consisting of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Drug Enforcement Administration; FBI; U.S. Marshals Service; Federal Bureau of Prisons; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations; Texas Rangers; Texas Department of Public Safety; Montgomery County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Houston Police Department-Gang Division; Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Office of Inspector General; Harris County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Atascosa County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Orange County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Waller County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Alvin, Texas, Police Department; Carrollton, Texas, Police Department; Mesquite, Texas, Police Department; Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office; and the Atascosa County District Attorney’s Office.

The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney David Karpel of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ed Gallagher and Tim Braley of the Southern District of Texas.

Former Federal Law Enforcement Agent Pleads Guilty to Theft of Agency's Ammunition

A former special agent with the Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) pleaded guilty today to theft of government property for stealing thousands of rounds of law enforcement ammunition, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge Elton Malone of HHS-OIG’s Special Investigations Branch.

Josef A. Riekers, 44, of Rockwall, Texas, pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis of the Northern District of Texas, who set a sentencing hearing for April 8, 2015.

According to admissions in his plea agreement, Riekers, who had served as a federal law enforcement agent for over 15 years, stole ammunition from the armory at HHS-OIG’s Dallas regional office.  Riekers then traded the stolen ammunition on Internet forums for other, non-government-issued ammunition that he used for his own personal benefit.

This case was investigated by HHS-OIG’s Special Investigations Branch, with assistance from the Dallas Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit.  The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Kevin Driscoll and Justin Weitz of the Public Integrity Section.