Thursday, August 21, 2014

Cincinnati Man Sentenced for Illegal Possession of Firearms, Ammunition, Body Armor

CINCINNATI, OHIO – Shawn Jones, 41, of Cincinnati was sentenced to 77 months in prison for illegal possession of seven firearms, more than 200 rounds of ammunition, and a set of individual body armor.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Michael Boxler, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Columbus Field Division (ATF), the Regional Enforcement Narcotics Unit (RENU) in Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil’s Office, and Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell announced the sentence handed down today by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Herman J. Weber.

Jones pleaded guilty on April 8, 2014 to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and one count of possession of body armor by a convicted felon.

According to court documents, members of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Regional Narcotics Unit, ATF and CPD executed a search warrant at Jones’s residence in Lower Price Hill on October 5, 2013. They found three handguns, three rifles, a shotgun, 203 rounds of ammunition of various calibers and brands and a set of individual body armor.

Jones was prohibited from possessing firearms, body armor or ammunition because he had been convicted of first degree robbery in Campbell County, Kentucky and aggravated armed robbery in Hamilton County, Ohio. Both crimes are felonies. Federal law prohibits convicted felons from owning or possessing firearms, ammunition or body armor.

Jones was also ordered to forfeit the items seized during the investigation and serve three years under court supervision following his time in prison.

Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by ATF agents, RENU and Cincinnati Police officers, along with District Criminal Chief Kenneth L. Parker, who prosecuted the case.

DEA to Publish Final Rule Rescheduling Hydrocodone Combination Products

On Friday the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will publish in the Federal Register the Final Rule moving hydrocodone combination products (HCPs) from Schedule III to the more-restrictive Schedule II, as recommended by the Assistant Secretary for Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as supported by the DEA’s own evaluation of relevant data.  The Federal Register has made the Final Rule available for preview on its website today at 

This Final Rule imposes the regulatory controls and sanctions applicable to Schedule II substances on those who handle or propose to handle HCPs.  It goes into effect in 45 days.

The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) places substances with accepted medical uses into one of four schedules, with the substances with the highest potential for harm and abuse being placed in Schedule II, and substances with progressively less potential for harm and abuse being placed in Schedules III through V.  (Schedule I is reserved for those controlled substances with no currently accepted medical use and lack of accepted safety for use.)  HCPs are drugs that contain both hydrocodone, which by itself is a Schedule II drug, and specified amounts of other substances, such as acetaminophen or aspirin.

“Almost seven million Americans abuse controlled-substance prescription medications, including opioid painkillers, resulting in more deaths from prescription drug overdoses than auto accidents,” said DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, “Today’s action recognizes that these products are some of the most addictive and potentially dangerous prescription medications available.”

When Congress passed the CSA in 1970, it placed HCPs in Schedule III even though it had placed hydrocodone itself in Schedule II.  The current analysis of HCPs by HHS and the DEA shows they have a high potential for abuse, and abuse may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.  Adding nonnarcotic substances like acetaminophen to hydrocodone does not diminish its abuse potential.  The many findings by the DEA and HHS and the data that support these findings are presented in detail in the Final Rule on the website.  Data and surveys from multiple federal and non-federal agencies show the extent of abuse of HCPs.  For example, Monitoring the Future surveys of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 2002 to 2011 found that twice as many high school seniors used Vicodin®, an HCP, nonmedically as used OxyContin®, a Schedule II substance, which is more tightly controlled.

In general, substances placed under the control of the CSA since it was passed by Congress in 1970 are scheduled or rescheduled by the DEA, as required by the CSA and its implementing regulations, found in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations.  Scheduling or rescheduling of a substance can be initiated by the DEA, by the HHS Assistant Secretary of Health, or on the petition of any interested party.  (Detailed information on the scheduling and rescheduling process can be found beginning on page 8 of Drugs of Abuse on the DEA’s website at

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder Delivers Remarks at the St. Louis FBI Field Office

~ Wednesday, August 20, 2014
We have brought to this area very experienced prosecutors, we have very experienced agents who are handling this matter, and doing so, I think, in a fine way.

I'm going to get briefed on more of the details about the investigation.  I've been kept up to date, but there's nothing that can replace actually coming to the office that's handling the matter, and being able to look in the face the people who are, I think at this point, very ably handling this investigation.

Now, our investigation is different from that which the state is doing.  We are looking for violations of federal, criminal civil rights statutes, which is different from what the local investigation is.

We have brought a substantial number of people here, of agents here, who have done a great job in the canvassing that they did over the past weekend, and continue to follow leads so that we can do a thorough and a fair job of making a determination about what happened on August the ninth.  And I'm confident that through the ability of these people, we will be able to make a determination about whether or not any federal statutes have in fact been violated.

My hope also is that through the trip that I'm making out here today and by expressing the importance of the way in which this investigation is going, that hopefully will have a calming influence on the area, if people know that a federal, thorough investigation is being done--is being manned by these very capable people.  My hope is that that will have—give people some degree of confidence that the appropriate things are being done by their federal government.

Again, we are doing something different, okay, than that which the state is doing--than what the county prosecutors are doing.  But nevertheless, I think that what we are doing, hopefully, will have a positive impact.

Thank you.

Quickstoppers: Action vs. Inaction


8/20/2014 - TMF Fall 2014 -- How often have you seen a hazard and simply maneuvered around it to avoid getting hurt? Do you recall your first encounter with this condition--thinking, "This is not safe" but simply avoiding it instead of doing something about it? Eventually, the hazard blends into what you and others accept as the environmental norm, and your ominous sentiment slowly fades into the periphery of your consciousness. After all, it hasn't materialized into a serious accident yet.

Let's suppose for a moment that a visitor--let's say an inspector--stumbles upon your work area and points out a hazard that needs immediate correction. You know, that hazard you and someone else were concerned with at some point. What kind of reception might this person receive? After all, what does he know? As far as you and everyone in your workplace are concerned, avoiding this hazard has become part of your routine, and no one has had a serious accident because of it.

Sometime thereafter, an accident happens to an unsuspecting person. It's unfortunate that our initial concerns about the condition should be validated by an accident. This doesn't have to be the case, and I want to highlight one instance where folks identified a hazard, realized that the potential outcome could be unacceptable, and were persistent in fixing it.

In April of 2012, two NCOs converged on an old natural gas incinerator. TSgt Lambdin alerted the unit Safety NCO, TSgt Sotak, to an incinerator that had sheared from its foundation and now had the smell of natural gas emanating nearby. TSgt Lambdin was logically concerned for his workers' safety, as they had also noticed the smell of natural gas in the course of their work. Together, the two NCOs sought assistance from several on- and off-installation entities. They found the source of the elusive gas leak, fixed the leak, and repaired the incinerator's foundation to prevent future leaks or other potential problems. They did not simply avoid it, and they prevented a potential catastrophe before someone was hurt or possibly killed.

We don't know how many lives may have been saved by their efforts--perhaps one, maybe two or three. We'll never know. What we can be certain of is that they'll never regret inaction or have to look at the grieving family of a lost or injured coworker. That is something they can live with. The loss of even a single employee greatly affects family, friends, and coworkers. The aftereffects also compromise productivity and morale, and hinder the overall mission. Can you live with the consequences of inaction? Must a hazard materialize into an accident to gain attention? The answer is obvious. Embrace safety, and don't become a statistic.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bombing of District Attorney's Office Results in Federal Prison Sentence

MEDFORD, Ore. – Alan Leroy McVay, 47, of Medford, Oregon was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison by Senior U.S. District Judge Owen M. Panner after his conviction for malicious destruction of property by explosion for the bombing of the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office. The court also ordered McVay to pay $14,854.20 in restitution to Jackson County for the damage to the District Attorney’s office.

On November 13, 2013, McVay assembled a bomb by attaching a CO2 metal cylinder filled with gunpowder to a propane tank and inserted a fuse into the CO2 cylinder as a means of detonating the tank. McVay wanted to destroy the District Attorney’s office in order to delay his plea and sentencing in state court scheduled for the following day. McVay had been charged in state court with committing four residential burglaries and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

At approximately 4:30 a.m., McVay took the bomb to the District Attorney’s office, lit the fuse and attempted to throw it through an office window, but it was held on the window sill by an office blind, preventing it from completely entering the office. The CO2 cylinder exploded, puncturing a hole in the propane tank resulting in fire spewing from the tank. The device was blown just outside the broken window and was on fire when police and fire personnel arrived on the scene. The explosion broke other exterior windows and debris was blown both in and outside the building. Immediately following the explosion, it was unknown whether there were other explosive devices in the area, whether a specific prosecutor or the entire office was being targeted and whether there were other targets. Police began checking other government buildings, residences of the prosecutors and judges, and the state circuit court was closed that morning. The District Attorney’s office remained inaccessible for two days.

Several days later, detectives and federal agents received a tip that McVay was believed to have committed the bombing. Following up on the tip, they determined that McVay and his codefendant in the state case, who had already been sentenced, had several telephone conversations. Recordings of those conversations revealed McVay talking before the bombing about having "some things to do it with," "[getting] rid of all kinds of paper from the ground up" and "it’ll be fun" and "you’ll hear about it." After the bombing, McVay mentioned about somebody blowing up the District Attorney’s office and it was "funny shit." They also determined McVay was in the vicinity of the District Attorney’s office during the early morning hours of the bombing. Later, search warrants for McVay’s pickup and residence uncovered containers of gun powder, bullets separated from cartridges and the exact type of tape on the explosive device used in the bombing. When McVay was arrested and confronted with all the evidence the police had accumulated against him, McVay confessed to the bombing.

Judge Panner agreed that the use of the destructive device in an attempt to destroy the District Attorney’s office and the significant disruption it caused to that office and the Jackson County criminal justice system warranted the enhanced 15 year sentence. As part of McVay’s federal guilty plea, he will also enter guilty pleas to the four residential burglaries and being a felon in possession of a firearm in state court with those sentences to be served concurrent with his federal sentence.

U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall commended both local and federal law enforcement for their thorough and effective investigation in quickly solving the bombing of the District Attorney’s office. She also said, "Any attack on the criminal justice system will not be tolerated" and "if the District Attorney’s office had been destroyed or anyone injured, the consequences for the attack would have been even more severe."

This case was investigated by the Medford Police Department, the Oregon State Police, the FBI and ATF. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Byron Chatfield.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Armenian Power Associate Sentenced to More Than 13 Years in Prison for Racketeering Conspiracy

An associate of the Armenian Power gang, who was convicted at trial for his role in a racketeering conspiracy that included stealing personal and financial information of elderly bank customers for accounts valued at more than $25 million, was sentenced to serve 168 months in prison today in federal court in Los Angeles.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura 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.   The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez of the Central District of California.

Andranik Aloyan, 41, of Los Angeles was found guilty by a federal jury on Feb. 11, 2014, of racketeering conspiracy, attempted bank fraud, access device fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.   According to evidence presented at trial, Aloyan possessed personal and financial information belonging to more than 75 mostly elderly customers of banks operating throughout the country.   This information was stolen by Aloyan and his associates.   The combined value of the accounts for which Aloyan possessed account information exceeded $25 million dollars.   In addition to his prison term of 168 months, Aloyan was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,516,711 in restitution to victims.

Aloyan was among 90 individuals charged in two indictments, including a 140-count indictment in July 2011 charging 70 defendants with a variety of criminal activities associated with the Armenian Power gang.   The indictment accused 29 defendants, including Aloyan, of participating in the Armenian Power racketeering conspiracy that involved a host of illegal activities such as sophisticated bank fraud, identity theft, debit-card skimming, manufacturing counterfeit checks and money laundering.   In addition, defendants in the case were allegedly involved in a variety of violent crimes, such as kidnapping, extortion and firearms offenses, along with other crimes including drug trafficking and illegal gambling.   Eighty-one defendants have previously been convicted or pleaded guilty to the charges, including 24 defendants who were convicted of or pleaded guilty to racketeering charges.

According to court documents, the Armenian Power street gang formed in the East Hollywood district 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 been designated under California state law as a criminal street gang and is believed to have 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.

The case was investigated by the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force, which is comprised of the FBI, the Glendale Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Burbank Police Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Secret Service.

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 Martin Estrada, Elizabeth Yang and Stephen Wolfe of the Central District of California.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

Member of Cherry Hill Group “Little Spelman” Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Racketeering Conspiracy, Including Drug Dealing and Two Murders

Cherry Hill Area Shootings and Murders Attributed to Rival Drug Gangs

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George L. Russell, III sentenced Davon Martin, age 26, of Baltimore, Maryland today to 35 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise, related to his drug dealing and violence in the Cherry Hill section of Baltimore.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge William P. McMullan of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department; and Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein.

“Many of the shootings and murders in Baltimore City result from disputes between rival drug gangs,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein. “Thanks to a lengthy and intensive investigation, we will hold accountable the criminals who turned Cherry Hill into a war zone.”
According to his plea agreement, from at least 2003 to 2013, Davon Martin was a member of a group known as “Little Spelman” in the “down the hill” area of Cherry Hill. This group committed acts of robbery, homicides, non-fatal shootings and drug distribution, to include crack cocaine, heroin, cocaine and marijuana. From 2009 to 2011, Martin and Dewayne Jones, another member of Little Spelman, operated a crack cocaine distribution “shop” out of an apartment located on Round Road. Martin and others sold at least two kilograms of crack cocaine from the apartment on Round Road. On at least one occasion, while in possession of a firearm, Martin robbed an individual who had sold him some bad cocaine. Martin admitted he has also committed other robberies related to his drug distribution.

Martin admitted that on January 20, 2011, he shot and killed Rhidell Price, a member of a rival group operating in Cherry Hill known as “Up Da Hill,” in the rear of 2900 Denham Circle. After receiving a call that Price was in the area, Jones drove Martin to Denham Circle where Rhidell Price was getting out of a vehicle parked on the street. Martin got out of the vehicle and began shooting at Price, chasing after Price and ultimately killing him. Martin killed Price in retaliation for Martin and Jones being shot at by Up Da Hill members a few days earlier. Dewayne Jones was subsequently shot and killed on August 28, 2011.

Two days after Martin killed Price, on January 22, 2011, Little Spelman associate Harry Hicks was shot and killed by Up Da Hill members in retaliation for Price’s murder. On April 9, 2011, Martin shot and killed Up Da Hill member Dwight Taylor at a barbershop on W. Saratoga Street in Baltimore, in retaliation for Hicks’ murder. During the murder, Martin was wearing a black jacket and a black mask which he discarded in a nearby dumpster on Clay Street. Both the mask and jacket were recovered by police from the dumpster. The DNA recovered from both the face mask and the jacket matched Martin’s DNA. A ballistics comparison of the .45 caliber firearm that Martin used to kill Taylor revealed that it was the same gun used on January 28, 2011 by Dominic Hope, another Little Spelman associate, and the former leader of Little Spelman, to shoot Up Da Hill member Antione White, who was leaving the funeral of Rhidell Price. Dominic Hope was subsequently shot and killed on January 20, 2012.

Earlier this year, Martin pleaded guilty in Baltimore City Circuit Court to first degree murder and use of a firearm in a crime of violence for the fatal shooting of Dwight Taylor. Martin is scheduled to be sentenced in that matter on September 12, 2014.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the ATF, Baltimore Police Department, and Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation and thanked the FBI, Baltimore County Police Department, Anne Arundel County Police Department, and Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office for their assistance. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Andrea L. Smith and Brooke Carey, who are prosecuting this Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force case.

Chastain Montgomery, Sr. Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison for Robbery and Murder of Henning Postal Workers

Memphis, TN – Chastain Montgomery, Sr., 50, of Lavergne, TN, was sentenced to consecutive life sentences in federal prison for the murders of United States Postal Service employees Paula Robinson and Judy Spray, announced Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee; Thomas Noyes, Inspector in Charge of the Charlotte Division, United States Postal Inspection Service; and Mark Gwyn, Director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

On May 22, 2014, Montgomery pled guilty to the seven count superseding indictment and avoided facing the death penalty for his crimes.

“The senseless and heinous murders of Paula Robinson and Judy Spray have left an irreplaceable void throughout the entire community,” said U.S. Attorney Edward Stanton. “I want to commend the tireless efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement who assisted with the investigation and prosecution of this case. The life sentence without the possibility of parole imposed upon Chastain Montgomery, Sr. today will hopefully bring justice and a meaningful measure of closure to the Spray and the Robinson/Croom families.”

“Today’s sentence of Chastain Montgomery, Sr. once again shows the determination of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to bring criminals to justice who take the lives of postal employees,” stated Inspector in Charge Thomas Noyes. “The cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement was second to none. We are fortunate to have such determined law enforcement partners who are willing to work countless hours to see these criminals identified and prosecuted.”

“We sincerely hope today’s sentencing brings some small sense of justice for the families and friends of Paula Robinson and Judy Spray,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “Though it will probably never fully bring closure, we are thankful the cooperation of law enforcement will ensure the man responsible will never go free.”

According to the facts alleged in the superseding indictment and revealed during subsequent hearings, on October 18, 2010, Montgomery, Sr. and his son Chastain Montgomery, Jr. drove from Nashville, TN to Henning, robbed the United States Post Office, and then murdered Sales and Service Associate Robinson and Rural Carrier Associate Spray.

Following their crimes, they returned to Nashville. Eight days later, Montgomery, Jr. stole a Nissan Frontier pick-up truck in Smyrna, TN and used it as the getaway vehicle following their robbery at gunpoint of Southeast Financial Credit Union in Lavergne, TN on October 29, 2010.

One month later on November 29, 2010, the pair stole a Chevy Venture minivan and used it as a getaway vehicle following the robbery at gunpoint of Mid-South Bank in Smyrna, TN.

On February 14, 2011, the pair made plans to leave the Middle Tennessee area. Montgomery, Jr. carjacked a man and stole his Chevrolet pick-up truck, driving it from Nashville to Mason, TN. During the journey he was observed by Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike Smothers of the Haywood County Sheriff’s Department, who began a vehicular pursuit.

Chief Deputy Smothers reported that Montgomery, Jr. began driving at an excessive rate of speed and veered into other lanes in what appeared to be an attempt to cause an auto accident. Chief Deputy Smothers was joined in his pursuit by Mason Police Chief J. C. Paris.

When Montgomery, Jr. entered the town of Mason, he exited his vehicle and began shooting at members of law enforcement and innocent civilians outside a nearby market. Chief Deputy Smothers returned fire and struck Montgomery, Jr. who died at the scene.

Law enforcement immediately cordoned off the crime scene and began processing evidence. While doing so, officials noticed Montgomery, Sr. cross the crime scene barrier and begin moving toward the Chevy truck driven by his son. He was taken into custody and transported to the Tipton County Sheriff’s Department. While there, Montgomery, Sr. was interviewed by United States Postal Inspectors and made a full confession to all of his crimes.

Law enforcement confiscated a number of weapons and other items from the Mason crime scene, including the Ruger 9mm pistol and the Smith & Wesson .40 caliber pistol used to kill Robinson and Spray; a .45 caliber Glock pistol; a .380 pistol; two Mossburg 12 gauge shotguns; a Remington 12 gauge shotgun; a Springfield 9mm pistol; a Rossi .357 Magnum revolver; large amounts of ammunition; ski masks and latex gloves.

In addition to the prison sentence, Senior United States District Judge Jon Phipps McCalla ordered Montgomery to serve five years of supervised release plus restitution. There is no parole in the federal system.

This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service; the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; the Tennessee Highway Patrol; 25th District Attorney General Mike Dunavant’s Office; the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Department; the Tipton County Sheriff’s Department; the Haywood County Sheriff’s Department; the Mason Police Department; the Henning Police Department; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the United States Secret Service; the Tennessee Department of Correction; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Lavergne Police Department; the Smyrna Police Department; and the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.

United States Attorney Edward L. Stanton III; Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Arvin; Assistant U.S. Attorney Lorraine Craig; Assistant U.S. Attorney Stuart Canale; and Capital Case Section Attorney Michael Warbel represented the government.