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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Over 400 Arrested in Rocky Mount Month-Long Operation



Rocky Mount, NC – The U.S. Marshals Service, Eastern District of North Carolina, and the Rocky Mount Police Department announce the successful conclusion of Operation Cerberus. Law enforcement officers from numerous agencies fanned out across the city of Rocky Mount and the surrounding areas of Nash and Edgecombe Counties over recent weeks, with the goal of locating and apprehending subjects wanted for a variety of offenses. By end of the operation, 404 subjects had been arrested and 634 warrants had been served. Additionally, officers seized 21 firearms, 579.9 grams of heroin, 95.2 grams of Marijuana, 11.78 grams of MDMA, and $4230 in U.S. currency.

Operation Cerberus was initiated by the Rocky Mount Police Department on March 17 to combat the increase in violent crimes in Rocky Mount, and officers worked tirelessly to identify those individuals responsible. In early April, the operation culminated with a two-day sweep that saw the combined resources of the U.S. Marshals Service Violent Fugitive Task Force brought to bear on those perpetrating the offenses and a clear message was sent to the citizens of Rocky Mount. Agencies participating during this operation include the U.S. Marshals Service, Rocky Mount Police Department, Greenville Police Department, Kinston Department of Public Safety, Nash County Sheriff’s Office, N.C. Department of Public Safety – Division of Adult Correction, Pitt County Sheriff’s Office, Raleigh Police Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Task Force.

Darrell James, 34, wanted for Assault With a Deadly Weapon (4 counts), Discharging a Weapon into Occupied Property, Discharging a Weapon inside City Limits, Possession of a Weapon while Intoxicated, and Injury to Personal Property .

Alfonso Moore, 43, wanted for Second Degree Kidnapping, and Assault on Female.

“The number of violent fugitives and weapons removed from the streets of Rocky Mount and surrounding areas during this operation is a direct result of Federal, State and Local law enforcement officers working together and being persistent in the common goal of ensuring that citizens of the community are safe from violent felons and probation violators,” said Scott Parker, United States Marshal for the Eastern District of North Carolina. “I want to thank the men and women of law enforcement who stood shoulder to shoulder during this operation, for their dedication to the citizens of the City of Rocky Mount and Eastern North Carolina.”

Rocky Mount Police Chief James Moore stated “The resolve of the Rocky Mount Police Department to identify and apprehend criminals is strong and our investigative capabilities are magnified when our federal and state law enforcement partners, each with its own areas of expertise, unite to achieve a common objective.”

Armenian Power Gang Leaders Convicted for Their Role in Racketeering Conspiracy


Two leaders of the Armenian Power gang were found guilty today by a federal jury in Los Angeles for their participation in a racketeering conspiracy that included extortion, bank fraud targeting elderly bank customers and a sophisticated credit and debit card skimming scheme that stole account numbers and   personal identification numbers (PINs) from thousands of people who used their cards at 99 Cents Only Stores throughout Southern California.

Armenian Power leaders Mher “Capone” Darbinyan and Arman “Horse” Sharopetrosian were each found guilty for their roles in a racketeering conspiracy, and an associate of the gang, Rafael Parsadanyan, was found guilty for his role in the 99 Cents Only Stores skimming scheme.

Acting Assistant Attorney General David O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney AndrĂ© Birotte Jr. of the Central District of California and Assistant Director in Charge Bill L. Lewis of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement following a four-week jury trial before United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner of the Central District of California.

Darbinyan, 38, of Valencia, was found guilty of 57 criminal counts, including racketeering conspiracy, extortion conspiracy, extortion, bank fraud, access device fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.   According to the evidence presented at trial, Darbinyan was a powerful leader of Armenian Power who operated a sophisticated bank fraud scheme that used middlemen and runners to deposit and cash hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent checks drawn on the accounts of elderly customers and jewelry businesses.   Darbinyan also organized and operated a sophisticated debit card skimming operation targeting customers of 99 Cents Only Stores.   This expansive scheme involved installation of skimmers in stores that were used to steal customers’ debit card numbers and PINs.   The scheme targeted stores throughout Southern California and involved the bank accounts of thousands of customers of the discount store.   Separately, Darbinyan conspired to extort and extorted funds from a member of the Armenian community using threats of violence.   He also possessed, on two separate occasions, firearms and ammunition after having previously been convicted of felony grand theft for his role in a 2004 debit card fraud scheme.

Sharopetrosian, 35, was convicted of three counts: racketeering conspiracy, extortion conspiracy and extortion.   The evidence at trial showed that while Sharopetrosian was incarcerated in Avenal State Prison in 2009, he directed the extortion of a member of the Armenian community.   Sharopetrosian worked together with Darbinyan and others to carry out the extortion over a period of six months, at one point even arranging the kidnapping of the victim in order to hasten the extortion payments.   Sharopetrosian, at different times, threatened to kill and kidnap the victim to coerce the victim into paying him over $100,000.

Parsadanyan, 29, of Los Angeles, was convicted of 14 counts of bank fraud for his role in the 99 Cents Only Store scheme.    The evidence at trial showed that Parsadanyan assisted Darbinyan by, among other things, collecting and storing proceeds of the fraud scheme, including delivering approximately $34,000 in criminal proceeds to a co-schemer.

Darbinyan is scheduled to be sentenced on July 21, 2014.   Sharopetrosian is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept.15, 2014.   Parsadanyan is scheduled to be sentenced on July 14, 2014.

Darbinyan, Sharopetrosian and Parsadanyan were among 90 individuals charged in 2011 in two indictments targeting Armenian Power.   One indictment accused 29 defendants, including Darbinyan and Sharopetrosian, of participating in the Armenian Power racketeering conspiracy that involved a host of illegal activities such as sophisticated bank fraud schemes, identity theft, debit card skimming and manufacturing counterfeit checks.   Some defendants in the case were charged with participating in a variety of violent crimes, such as kidnapping, extortion and firearms offenses.

According to court documents, the Armenian Power street gang formed in the East Hollywood area of Los Angeles in the 1980s.   The gang’s membership consisted primarily of individuals of Armenian descent, as well as of other countries within the former Soviet bloc.   Armenian Power has more than 250 documented members, as well as hundreds of associates.   According to court documents, Armenian Power members and associates regularly carry out violent criminal acts, including murders, attempted murders, kidnappings, robberies, extortions and witness intimidation to enrich its members and associates and preserve and enhance the power of the criminal enterprise.

Out of the 90 defendants charged in the two indictments, 85 have now been convicted.   Two of the defendants are still pending trial, two defendants are fugitives and prosecutors dismissed charges against one defendant.   The charges contained in the indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case was investigated by the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force, which is composed of the FBI, the Glendale Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Burbank Police Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, IRS – Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Secret Service.   The Huntington Beach Police Department and the Beverly Hills Police Department provided assistance.

The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Andrew Creighton of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys E. Martin Estrada and Elizabeth Yang of the Central District of California.

Former New Mexico Detective Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assaulting Police Department Intern

Michael Garcia, a former detective with the Las Cruces Police Department (LCPD) in Las Cruces, N.M., who focused on child abuse and sex crimes investigations, pleaded guilty today in federal court to a one count information charging Garcia with violating the civil rights of an LCPD student intern when he sexually abused her while on duty.
 
According to court documents, as a detective, Garcia worked with students who participated in Las Cruces High School’s Excel program, through which students interned at the LCPD.  On or about May 4, 2011, Garcia took the victim on a ride-along in his department-issued vehicle to visit a crime scene.  Afterward, instead of driving the victim directly back to the police department so that she could retrieve her belongings and go home, Garcia drove her to a secluded location where he sexually assaulted her. 
           
As part of the plea agreement, Garcia acknowledged that he knew that his actions were against the law and that the victim did not consent to his behavior. 
 
“The defendant exploited his position as a sex crimes detective in a most deplorable way,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division.  “The Civil Rights Division will continue to vigorously prosecute law enforcement officers who use their authority to engage in sexual abuse.  We commend the victim for having the courage to come forward, and we are thankful for law enforcement officers in this case, as well as the vast majority of others, who support and help victims of crime.”
 
In addition to a prison sentence, the terms of the plea agreement require Garcia to forfeit his law enforcement certification and comply with federal and state sex offender registration requirements.  A sentencing hearing has not yet been set.
 
This case is being investigated by the Las Cruces Resident Agency of Albuquerque Division of the FBI and the LCPD and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark T. Baker and Holland S. Kastrin for the District of New Mexico and Trial Attorney Fara Gold of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder Delivers Remarks at the 2014 Police Executive Research Forum

~ Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Thank you, Chuck [Wexler], for those kind words – and for your exemplary leadership, over the past two decades, as Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum.  I also want to thank my good friend, Philadelphia Police Commissioner [Charles] Ramsey, for his outstanding work as this organization’s President.  And I want to recognize PERF’s Board of Directors and professional staff for all they’ve done to bring us together for today’s important Summit.

Since its founding in 1976 – the same year I reported for work as a line attorney in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section – this group has worked hard to strengthen community policing, to minimize the use of force, and to guide and inform our national debate about criminal justice issues.  Over the years, you’ve helped to refine law enforcement’s response to crimes ranging from sexual assaults to active shooter situations.  Your members and leaders have promoted the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, accountability, and ethics.  And your consistent emphasis on proven, data-driven policing strategies and practices has bolstered the efficiency – and the effectiveness – of departments and agencies throughout the nation.

That’s why I’m so proud to stand with you today – as this Forum convenes once again to discuss one of the most urgent and complex challenges facing public safety professionals in this country:  the question of how best to combat illegal drug use – and confront the stunning rise in heroin and prescription opiate overdose deaths that so many of you have witnessed in the jurisdictions you serve.

Especially over the last few years, we’ve come to understand that the cycle of heroin abuse all too often begins with prescription opiate abuse.  Throughout America – between 2006 and 2010 – heroin overdose deaths increased by an alarming 45 percent.  This staggering rise is a tragic, but hardly unpredictable, symptom of the significant increase in prescription drug abuse we’ve seen over the past decade.  And it has impelled law enforcement leaders to fight back aggressively.

As you know as well as anyone, addressing this public health and public safety crisis will require a combination of rigorous enforcement and robust treatment.  I want to assure you this afternoon that the Justice Department is, and always will be, firmly committed to both.

As we speak, with DEA as our lead agency, the Department is doing more than ever to keep illicit drugs off our streets – and bring dangerous or violent traffickers to justice.  Since just 2011, DEA has opened more than 4,500 investigations related to heroin.  As a result of this work, the amount of heroin seized along America’s southwest border increased by more than 320 percent between 2008 and 2013.  And our comprehensive enforcement strategy is also enabling us to attack all levels of the supply chain – so we can proactively investigate the diversion of pharmaceutical controlled substances and prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.

From practitioners who illegally dispense prescriptions, to pharmacists who knowingly fill them; from notorious “pill mills,” to unscrupulous distributors that send controlled substances downstream without due diligence – DEA is standing vigilant against anyone who would divert prescription opiates from their legitimate use.  In targeted areas, they’re also using their regulatory authority to review and investigate new pharmacy applications – so they can identify and prevent storefront traffickers from obtaining DEA registrations.

This work shows tremendous promise – and it’s having a significant positive impact.  But all of it is only the beginning – because my colleagues and I understand, as you do, that although vigorous enforcement will always be critical, enforcement on its own will never be enough.

That’s why we’re partnering with leaders like you – and organizations like PERF – to increase our support for education, prevention, and treatment.  We’re working with doctors, pharmacists, and other health professionals – along with educators, community leaders, and police officers on the front lines – to identify and prevent controlled substance diversion during the health care delivery process. 
Nationwide, we’re supporting more than 2,600 specialty courts that connect over 120,000 people with the services they need to avoid future drug use and return to their communities from incarceration.  And we’re focusing our engagement efforts on specific areas where this work is most needed – and where it can make the most difference.

For example, in Ohio’s Northern District, our United States Attorney convened a summit at the Cleveland Clinic to bring together law enforcement and public health professionals to confront that area’s 400-percent rise in heroin-related deaths.  Another U.S. Attorney’s Office – in Vermont – partnered with a family whose young son tragically lost his life to a heroin overdose.  Together, they created an award-winning documentary, called “The Opiate Effect,” to raise awareness about the devastating consequences of opiate abuse.

This powerful video has already reached more than 50,000 people.  But as law enforcement leaders, each of us has an obligation to do even more.  That’s why, today, I’m calling on all first responders – including state and local law enforcement agencies – to train and equip their men and women on the front lines to use the overdose-reversal drug known as naloxone.

When administered in a timely manner, naloxone – also known as narcan – can restore breathing to someone experiencing a heroin or opioid overdose.  This critical tool can save lives.  To date, a total of 17 states and the District of Columbia have taken steps to increase access to naloxone, resulting in over 10,000 overdose reversals since 2001.  And I urge state policymakers and local leaders throughout the nation to take additional steps to increase the availability of naloxone among first responders – so we can provide lifesaving aid to more and more of those who need it.

After all, it’s only by working together – and adopting a holistic approach – that we can confront this crisis, strengthen our communities, and save lives.  That’s why my colleagues and I are committed to supporting you.  And we’re determined to ensure that limited public safety resources are targeted to the most dangerous types of drugs – and the most serious drug offenses.

As you know, last August, I launched a new “Smart on Crime” initiative that’s enabling the Department of Justice to do just that – by using evidence-based reforms to improve the federal criminal justice system across the board, and to make our expenditures both smarter and more productive.  Going forward, the Department will work with Congress to secure the passage of President Obama’s budget request, which includes $173 million to sustain and advance this effort.  And we’ll strive to enact commonsense reforms like the bipartisan Smarter Sentencing Act – which would give judges additional discretion in determining appropriate sentences for people convicted of certain federal drug crimes.
In every case and circumstance, our efforts will continue to be guided by the recognition that – while smart law enforcement will always play a critical role in protecting communities from drug crime, we will never be able to arrest or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation.  We’ll keep relying on innovative leaders like you to apply 21st century solutions to 21st century problems.  And we’ll never stop driving investments in the kinds of groundbreaking research – and data-driven strategies – that so many of you have long championed.

This afternoon, as we come together to discuss this work – and to renew our shared commitment to carry it into the future – I want you to know how proud, and humbled, I am to count you as colleagues and partners.  I thank you – and all of this Forum’s members – once again for your service, your leadership, and your patriotism.  And I look forward to all that we must, and surely will, achieve together in the days ahead.

Violent Iowa shootout captured on dash cam

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Child Abuse Prevention: It Only Takes a Minute

by Pamela Wamhoff, Family Advocacy Program
460th Medical Operations Squadron


4/14/2014 - Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. -- Child safety and well-being is everyone's responsibility, but many times passers-by, friends, community members and even parents are reluctant to speak up. Talking to people about parenting or reporting potential child abuse or neglect can feel uncomfortable. Many people think it's none of their business or that if something is truly wrong someone else will step in. It takes courage to speak up, but it only takes a minute to make a difference. Child safety is your business.

It only takes a minute to reach out to a parent under stress
If you see a parent under stress, offer your help or guidance. Sometimes a frustrated parent just needs a short break or someone to discuss their parenting woes with. Here are some ways you can help a parent under stress:
· Volunteer your time - Offer to watch the child for some time while the parent steps away to cool off.

· Listen - Have a conversation about what's bothering the parent. Actively listen, reinforce that everyone gets frustrated from time to time and that it's OK to ask for help.

· Point them to the right resources - If the child is under the age of 3, the New Parent Support Program can offer support. Your installation Family Advocacy Program or family support center can advise on local and online resources for parent education, family-friendly activities and services for families with special needs. Parents with children of all ages can call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 for no-cost, confidential non-medical counseling.

It only takes a minute keep your own children safe
Supervision is key to the safety for children and youth of all ages. Here are some precautions you can take to keep your child safe:

· Avoid leaving your child unsupervised. Contact your family support center or Family Advocacy Program to learn about local guidelines for the safety and supervision of children and youth.

· Make sure your young child is in a safe place like a playpen or crib if you absolutely need to step away for a moment.

· Reach out to a responsible friend, neighbor or babysitter when you need time to yourself. Everyone has moments when they need a break. Make sure your child is cared for during those moments.

· Reduce or eliminate electronic distractions when providing care and supervision. It only takes a minute for an unintended tragedy to occur.

· Reach out to any of the resources listed in the section above if you need parenting advice.

It only takes a minute to report abuse or neglect
If you see an unsupervised child, take immediate action. Find the child's caregiver or call local law enforcement for help. If you suspect child abuse or neglect, there are resources you can turn to for help:

· Call 911 or the military police if you are on an installation, if you witness violence or know someone is in immediate danger.

· Call the installation Family Advocacy Program or the local civilian Child Protective Services if you suspect child abuse or neglect.

· Call your state's child abuse reporting hotline or contact Childhelp at
800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453).

When child abuse occurs, the Family Advocacy Program supports the child victims and provides services to parents. The program helps families develop healthy relationship skills and address common relationship and parenting challenges during every stage of life. You can learn more about the program and child abuse prevention on Military OneSource.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Two Virginia Suspects Captured in Greensboro, North Carolina by U.S. Marshals



Greensboro, NC – Yesterday morning at 11:00 AM, Akim Tyrell Smith, a 22 year old black male and James Elliott Murphy, a 22 year old black male were arrested by the U.S. Marshals Joint Fugitive Task Force (JFTF) and the Greensboro Police Department (GPD). Smith was wanted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from the Western District of Virginia for Prohibited Person in Possession of a Firearm, Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine Base, and Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime. Murphy was wanted by the Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court for the City of Lynchburg, Virginia for strangulation of his girlfriend.

U.S. Marshals in the Western District of Virginia developed information indicating that Smith and Murphy were residing together in the Greensboro area. Additional investigation by the JFTF led them to an apartment building located at 504 Greenbriar Road. Members of the JFTF and a GPD K9 Officer surrounded the building and entry was made into the apartment where Smith and Murphy were taken into custody without incident.

Smith was taken to the Winston-Salem Federal Courthouse for his Initial Appearance in front of Magistrate Judge Joi Elizabeth Peake yesterday afternoon. Murphy was booked into Guilford County Detention Center and held on a $150,000 bond.

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, April 10, 2014

High-Level Sinaloa Cartel Member’s Guilty Plea Unsealed; Zambada-Niebla’s Cooperation with U.S. Revealed



 APR 10 (CHICAGO) –A high-level member of the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico pleaded guilty a year ago to participating in a vast narcotics trafficking conspiracy and is cooperating with the United States, federal law enforcement officials announced.  A written plea agreement with the defendant, Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, was made public today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

Zambada-Niebla, 39, pleaded guilty on April 3, 2013, before U.S. District Chief Judge Ruben Castillo.  Zambada-Niebla was arrested in Mexico in 2009, and he was extradited to the United States in February 2010.

Zambada-Niebla remains in U.S. custody and no sentencing date has been set.  Under the plea agreement, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison¸ a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years, and a maximum fine of $4 million.  If the government determines at the time of sentencing that Zambada-Niebla has continued to provide full and truthful cooperation, as required by the plea agreement, the government will move to depart below the anticipated advisory federal sentencing guideline of life imprisonment.  In addition, Zambada-Niebla agreed not to contest a forfeiture judgment of more than $1.37 billion.

“This guilty plea is a testament to the tireless determination of the leadership and special agents of DEA’s Chicago office to hold accountable those individuals at the highest levels of the drug trafficking cartels who are responsible for flooding Chicago with cocaine and heroin and reaping the profits,” said Zachary T. Fardon, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.  Mr. Fardon announced the guilty plea with Jack Riley, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Zambada-Niebla pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute multiple kilograms of cocaine and heroin between 2005 and 2008.  More specifically, the plea agreement describes the distribution of multiple tons of cocaine, often involving hundreds of kilograms at a time on a monthly, if not weekly, basis between 2005 and 2008.  The guilty plea means that there will be no trial for Zambada-Niebla, whose case was severed from that of his co-defendants.  Among his co-defendants are his father, Ismael Zambada-Garcia, also known as “Mayo,” and Joaquin Guzman-Loera, also known as “Chapo,” both alleged leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel.  Zambada-Garcia is a fugitive believed to be in Mexico, and Guzman-Loera is in Mexican custody after being arrested this past February.

Zambada-Niebla admitted that between May 2005 and December 2008, he was a high-level member of the Sinaloa Cartel and was responsible for many aspects of its drug trafficking operations, “both independently and as a trusted lieutenant for his father,” for whom he acted as a surrogate and logistical coordinator, the plea agreement states.  Zambada-Niebla admitted he was aware that his father was among the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel since the 1970s and their principal livelihood was derived from their sale of narcotics in the United States.

Zambada-Niebla admitted that he participated in coordinating the importation of multi-ton quantities of cocaine from Central and South American countries, including Colombia and Panama, into the interior of Mexico, and facilitated the transportation and storage of these shipments within Mexico.  The cartel used various means of transportation, including private aircraft, submarines and other submersible and semi-submersible vessels, container ships, go-fast boats, fishing vessels, buses, rail cars, tractor-trailers, and automobiles.

Zambada-Niebla “subsequently assisted in coordinating the delivery of cocaine to wholesale distributors in Mexico, knowing that these distributors would in turn smuggle multi-ton quantities of cocaine, generally in shipments of hundreds of kilograms at a time, as well as on at least one occasion, multi-kilogram quantities of heroin, from Mexico across the United States border, and then into and throughout the United States, including Chicago,” according to the plea agreement.

On most occasions, the Sinaloa Cartel supplied this cocaine and heroin to wholesalers on consignment, including to cooperating co-defendants Pedro and Margarito Flores, whom Zambada-Niebla knew distributed multi-ton quantities of cocaine and multi-kilogram quantities of heroin in Chicago, and in turn sent payment to Zambada-Niebla and other cartel leaders.  Zambada-Niebla also admitted being aware of, and directly participating in, transporting large quantities of narcotics cash proceeds from the U.S. to Mexico.

Zambada-Niebla also admitted that he and his father, as well as other members of the Sinaloa Cartel, “were protected by the ubiquitous presence of weapons,” and that he had “constant bodyguards who possessed numerous military-caliber weapons.”  Zambada-Niebla also admitted that he was aware that the cartel used violence and made credible threats of violence to rival cartels and to law enforcement in Mexico to facilitate its business.

The DEA in Chicago led the investigation, joined by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division and the Chicago Police Department.  Also assisting were the DEA’s National Drug Intelligence Center, the High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Police Department; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of Illinois; the Chicago and Peoria offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Chicago offices of  the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Marshals Service; the Cook County Sheriff’s Department, and other state and local law enforcement agencies.  The investigation was assisted by agents and analysts of the Special Operations Division (SOD), and attorneys from the Justice Department Criminal Division’s Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section.  The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs assisted with Zambada-Niebla’s extradition. 

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas D. Shakeshaft and Michael J. Ferrara are representing the government.

Justice Department Releases Investigative Findings on Albuquerque Police Department

Following a comprehensive investigation, today the Justice Department announced its findings that the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) has engaged in a pattern or practice of excessive force that violates the Constitution and federal law.  The department delivered a letter setting forth these findings to Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry and Police Chief Gorden Eden this morning.
 
The investigation was launched on Nov. 27, 2012, and was conducted jointly by the department’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico.  The investigation examined whether APD engages in an unconstitutional pattern or practice of excessive force, including deadly force, as well as the cause of any pattern or practice of a violation of the law.  This investigation did not assess whether any conduct violated criminal laws.  Specific cases have been referred to the Criminal Section of the division for consideration. 
 
The department found reasonable cause to believe that APD engages in a pattern or practice of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  The department specifically found three patterns of excessive force:
 
·          APD officers too frequently use deadly force against people who pose a minimal threat and in situations where the conduct of the officers heightens the danger and contributes to the need to use force;
 
·          APD officers use less lethal force, including electronic controlled weapons, on people who are passively resisting, non-threatening, observably unable to comply with orders or pose only a minimal threat to the officers; and
 
·          Encounters between APD officers and persons with mental illness and in crisis too frequently result in a use of force or a higher level of force than necessary.
 
The department also found systemic deficiencies of the APD which contribute to these three patterns, including: deficient policies, failed accountability systems, inadequate training, inadequate supervision, ineffective systems of investigation and adjudication, the absence of a culture of community policing and a lack of sufficient civilian oversight.
 
The department’s investigation involved an in-depth review of APD documents, as well as extensive community engagement.  The department reviewed thousands of materials, including written policies and procedures, internal reports, data, video footage and investigative files.  Department attorneys and investigators, assisted by policing experts, also conducted interviews with APD officers, supervisors and command staff, city officials, and with hundreds of community members and local advocates.
 
“We are very concerned by the results of our investigation and look forward to working with the city of Albuquerque to develop a set of robust and durable reforms,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division.  “Our work to assist police departments around the nation is intended to advance important principles.  Holding police accountable for constitutional practices improves public confidence, promotes public safety and makes the job of providing police services safer, easier and more effective.  Public trust has been broken in Albuquerque, but it can be repaired through this process.”    
 
Today’s groundbreaking announcement marks a critical milestone in addressing problems that have plagued our community and the Albuquerque Police Department for years,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez for the District of New Mexico.  “These findings come at a unique time for the city and the Albuquerque Police Department and provide a blueprint for changing the culture of the Albuquerque Police Department and for rebuilding broken relationships with the community it serves.  Although there are difficult and systemic issues to resolve, we embrace these challenges and are very optimistic for the future of the Albuquerque Police Department .”
 
The Justice Department looks forward to continued cooperation with the city and the Albuquerque Police Department to resolve these findings under mutually agreeable terms that will provide accountability to the public and accomplish the remedial measures within a fixed period of time. 
 
The full report can be found at the department website and the U.S. Attorney’s Office website .  For more information about the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, please visit the division website .  Any comments or concerns regarding the report can be directed via email or to 1-877-218-5228.

4 FW teams with local community to tackle child abuse

by Airman 1st Class Brittain Crolley
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


4/8/2014 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- Members of the 4th Fighter Wing joined Wayne County officials for a Child Abuse Prevention Proclamation Ceremony, April 8, in downtown Goldsboro, N.C.

Col. Jeannie Leavitt, 4 FW commander, along with key community members, signed a city proclamation declaring the start of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

The annual observation started in 1983 to promote child well-being. According to city officials, this year's theme, "Caring Communities Make the Difference," highlights the commitment everyone in the community must make to create a positive change. The signing of the proclamation also falls in line with the Department of Defense's observation of April as the Month of the Military Child.
During the ceremony, Leavitt spoke about the importance of awareness in preventing child abuse and the need for the community to come together to provide a healthy environment for children to grow.

"Any instance of child abuse or neglect is one too many," Leavitt stated. "Today's proclamation isn't a beginning and it isn't an end. It's simply a reminder that we have a job to do and it's incredibly important. Together, we can make a difference."

The Child Abuse Prevention Month flag was also raised over city hall where it will remain throughout the month. According to city officials, it represents the city's commitment to helping children who have been abused.

"Here in Wayne County, I stand proud to say that we work together as a community to prevent child abuse," said Trebor Jackson, Wayne County juvenile court counselor. "The success that we have had, as well as other communities, I believe, is created because we work together."

At the conclusion of the ceremony Leavitt interacted with children in attendance and talked to parents about the programs offered at Seymour Johnson for its military families.

"Our children are our nation's most precious resource and we cannot afford to fail them," Leavitt said. "The Air Force invests a great deal in its family advocacy programs, but those programs rely heavily on other agencies to succeed. At Seymour Johnson, we're privileged to have phenomenal support from Wayne County and the city of Goldsboro."

This year, the base will hold various events celebrating children in the community, including a children's block party, April 12 at 10 a.m., at the Youth Center. The event is open to all base personnel and will feature free food, an Easter egg hunt and entertainment. For more information, call the point of contact at (919) 722-0502.