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Friday, July 25, 2014

Portrait of an active shooter

by Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton
501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs


7/24/2014 - RAF CROUGHTON, United Kingdom  -- A thin sliver of light shone through the break between two heavy, dark curtains. No one saw, no one noticed the slight, almost imperceptible, movement of fabric.

Everyone's attention was focused at the base of the stage where Col. Douglas Mellars, 422nd Air Base Group commander, was briefing Airmen on changing the leadership culture on RAF Croughton, United Kingdom.

Behind the curtain, an eye peered out - scanning the crowd and silently waiting.

"You don't care. None of you care about me!"

The woman behind the curtain squeezed the grip of her M4 carbine and thumbed the selector to "auto." She felt the rage inside her boil over as she stared at the sea of faces - blaming them and the world for everything wrong with her life. Without another thought, she burst from behind the curtain, attacking the crowd below and launching the Airman of RAF Croughton into a multi-installation, multi-national active shooter exercise, July 22.

"As an active shooter I would want to take out as many people as I can," said Tech. Sgt. Ajenna Smith, 422nd Security Forces Squadron noncommissioned officer of training and simulated-active shooter. "I would be angry - angry at the military. They are doing force reductions, I'm on the board and don't want to get kicked out of the military."

Using recent changes in force management as her motivation, Smith painted a picture of herself as a troubled individual, isolated, angry and ready to violently lash out against the world. As an active shooter, Smith was not expecting to survive the incident.

"I know that if I survive I am going to jail," she said. "I don't want to spend the rest of my life in prison. If they don't kill me I'm going to kill myself."

Smith used the chaos to move from her hiding spot behind the stage. She stalked the grounds of RAF Croughton, hunting down more victims. Meanwhile, nearly 62 miles away, inside the projection booth a RAF Alconbury, Tech. Sgt. Leegale Irving, 501st Combat Support Wing ground safety manager and simulated-active shooter, was waiting for his moment to strike.

"I gave you 16 years and you're just going to throw me away!"

Irving's breathing became more agitated as he listened to the 423rd Air Base Group Commander, Col. Steven Sweeney, give his own all-call. Looking out over the crowd below, Irving no longer saw Airmen, friends and coworkers - he only saw targets.

"I would have thought this process out," he said. "There are individuals or groups I would feel a certain way toward. They are my targets, but at the same time anything that gets in my way becomes an obstacle to get through."

According to Irving, this attack would be the result of several factors leading him to an outburst of extreme violence. Any recent life-changing events, from non-judicial punishment to wrongdoing that left the shooter feeling they had a grudge against an individual, group or organization. These trigger signs could be personal or professional in nature, resulting in an individual feeling the only recourse is to engage in an active-shooter campaign.

"Day-to-day people could see changes in my mood or behavior," Irving said. "I might distance myself from my normal crowd of friends to the point where it is obvious to others. Disgruntled feelings and signs of aggression could also come out in my behavior before the incident."

This constant, negative display of emotion, if noticed and reported by friends, family or coworkers could mean the difference between an individual getting the help they needed, or opening fire into a crowded theater, Irving said.

Unfortunately, neither Smith nor Irving's warning signs were recognized. They planned, plotted and coordinated their actions through social media communication. They waited for the perfect moment and struck with devastating precision, leaving seven people dead - including themselves.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Justice Department Issues Joint Statement of Principles with City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Reform Albuquerque Police Department

The Justice Department today announced it has signed a joint statement of principles with the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico, that reflects the good-faith intent of both sides to enter into a court-enforceable agreement to reform the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).  The joint statement of principles publicly specifies the measures that the department and the city are undertaking in order to resolve the findings resulting from the department’s investigation into use of force by APD.  On April 10, 2014, following an extensive investigation, the department found reasonable cause to believe that APD engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force, including unreasonable deadly force.
 
Following the release of the findings letter the department and the city each separately reached out to numerous stakeholders across Albuquerque to hear their ideas and concerns about the reform of APD.  Attorneys and staff of the department have spoken to police officers, city officials, mental health service providers, advocacy organizations, individuals who have been personally affected by APD’s past conduct and other community members.  The department has held dozens of meetings and met with hundreds of people across the city.  Through these efforts, both sides have gained important insights into officers’ and the community’s concerns that will shape the final agreement.  The department is encouraged by the feedback it has received and is committed to sustainable reforms that will ensure APD delivers services in a manner that respects the rights of residents, promotes mutual confidence between the police and the community and improves public and officer safety.
 
“This agreement marks an important step forward in addressing the unreasonable use of deadly force uncovered in our investigation into the Albuquerque Police Department," said Attorney General Eric Holder.  "The residents of Albuquerque depend on their police department to serve their community with honor and integrity.  In the overwhelming majority of cases, our dedicated local law enforcement officials – who put their lives on the line every day— do just that.  But when misconduct does occur, we will never hesitate to act in order to secure the civil rights of everyone in this country.  As a result of our ongoing action, I am confident that the Albuquerque Police Department will be able to correct troubling practices, restore public trust, and better protect its citizens against all threats and dangers - while providing the model of professionalism and fairness that all Americans deserve.”
 
“We commend the city for engaging in good-faith negotiations to reach a court-enforceable agreement that will ensure sustainable reforms of APD,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division.  “The joint statement of principles provides the community with our commitment to work expeditiously with the city to craft a durable agreement that will resolve our findings and will ensure that APD provides effective and constitutional policing to the people of Albuquerque.”
 
“Since the release of DOJ’s findings letter, we have asked for and received valuable ideas and insights from officers, members of the community, representatives of many organizations, and others who have a stake in the future of our community,” said U.S. Attorney Damon Martinez for the District of New Mexico.  “We are thankful to everyone who has spoken to us.  The anticipated final court-enforceable agreement, which we hope to enter into with the city of Albuquerque, is already stronger because of the input we have received.”
 
The department and city have released the joint statement of principles to inform APD officers and the Albuquerque community that their concerns and ideas have been heard and that their ongoing participation will be critical to achieving sustainable reform.  Specifically, the joint statement of principles announces that the department and the city expect to develop reforms in the eight areas outlined in the department’s findings letter: use of force policies, interactions with individuals with mental illness and other disabilities, tactical units, training, internal investigations and civilian complaints, management and supervision, recruitment and selection of officers, and community engagement and oversight.  The joint statement of principles also indicates that the goal is to reach a court-enforceable agreement that will be overseen by an independent monitor. 
 
During the negotiation process, the department remains interested in obtaining recommendations and information related to reforms from the public.  The department continues to monitor the APD community hotline, which is available for both English and Spanish speakers, 1-855-544-5134 and the APD community email address

Admitted Gang Member Sentenced for Federal Rackerteering Charges



Armando Jose Velasquez, aka “Money,” 27, of East Chicago, Indiana, was sentenced today to serve 305 months in prison on federal racketeering charges relating to a Dec. 3, 2011, attempted murder.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David A. Capp for the Northern District of Indiana made the announcement.   The sentence was imposed today by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Philip P. Simon.

According to court documents, on Dec. 3, 2011, Velasquez fired a gun into a car being driven by an 18-year-old resident of East Chicago, Indiana, and struck the victim three times.  Velasquez believed that the victim was a rival gang member, but the victim was not actually a gang member and was not involved in any criminal activity.   Velasquez had been previously convicted in the Lake County Superior Court in Indiana of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2005 and was on state parole when he committed the offense.

Velasquez was part of a 24-defendant indictment alleging that members of the Imperial Gangsters committed 14 previously-uncharged homicides: 12 in East Chicago, Indiana, one in Hammond, Indiana, and one in Gary, Indiana.   The indictment also charged a decade-long racketeering conspiracy that involved the attempted murder of 19 other victims and the large scale distribution of cocaine and marijuana.

Velasquez pleaded guilty on Jan. 10, 2014, to one count of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity, attempted murder in aid of racketeering activity and a firearm offense relating to the Dec. 3, 2011, attempted murder.  Velasquez is one of 22 defendants charged in the indictment to plead guilty.   One defendant, Richard Reyes, was convicted by a jury of murder and conspiracy to commit racketeering activity on Jan. 24, 2014, and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 30, 2014.   The remaining defendant is scheduled for trial on Jan. 12, 2015.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the FBI, and the East Chicago Police Department, with assistance from the Gary Police Department, the Hammond Police Department and the Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program.   This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Bruce R. Hegyi of the Criminal Division’s Capital Case Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Nozick of the Northern District of Indiana.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Charges 27 in the Fordham/Kingsbridge Neighborhoods of the Bronx, Including 20 Members and Associates of the Trinitarios Street Gang, with Narcotics and Firearms Offenses



Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William J. Bratton, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (“NYPD”), James J. Hunt, the Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), Thomas Cannon, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), and James T. Hayes, Jr., the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), announced charges today against 27 individuals who sold narcotics and used guns in the Fordham and Kingsbridge areas of the Bronx, 20 of whom were members and associates of the Trinitarios street gang (the “Trinitarios” or the “Gang”).

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, for approximately five years, members and associates of the Trinitarios maintained a vise-like grip on narcotics trafficking in the Fordham and Kingsbridge areas of the Bronx, and controlled their territory through violence. Gangs like the Trinitarios are a cancer on New York’s neighborhoods – both in the physical harm they inflict and the atmosphere of despair they create. Today’s arrests again demonstrate this Office’s commitment to eradicating the scourge of gangs throughout the Southern District of New York and to giving back to residents the peaceful enjoyment of their communities.”

NYPD Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said, “Gangs and illegal drug trafficking compromise the quality of life in our communities. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the
investigators and prosecutors involved in this case, their operation has been shut down and they will be brought to justice.”

DEA Acting Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt said: “Residents of Fordham and Kingsbridge areas of the Bronx were unwilling victims of gun violence and intimidation imposed by the Trinitarios gang’s drug operations. This operation is the epitome of law enforcement collaboration between the US Attorney’s Office Southern District of New York, New York City’s Finest, local and federal law enforcement to combat gang violence and reclaim these neighborhoods from drug trafficking.”

ATF Special Agent-in-Charge Thomas Cannon said: “The arrests today mark the latest collaborative efforts of law enforcement against the scourge of gang violence, in particular the alleged criminal activities of members and associates of the Trinitarios. This investigation, which spans many years and has resulted in the arrests of over 100 gang members, continues to uncover the wanton violence and extensive narcotics trafficking this criminal organization and its associates committed with impunity on the streets of New York. The ATF is grateful to our law enforcement partners at the DEA, HSI, the NYPD and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their investigative focus and dedication throughout. Today, New York City residents can rest knowing that members of the Trinitarios responsible for victimizing the citizens of New York City and beyond have been brought to justice.”

ICE HSI New York Special Agent-in-Charge James T. Hayes, Jr. said: “Today’s arrest disrupt the illegal drug trafficking and violence of TREY 18, a particularly dangerous contingent of the Trinitarios criminal street gang. HSI is committed to working collaboratively across all levels of law enforcement to combat the violence and chaos caused by transnational criminal organizations such as the Trinitarios."

Two Indictments (“Indictment One” and “Indictment Two”) and a Complaint were unsealed today in Manhattan federal court.

According to Indictment One, from approximately 2009 to the present, the Trinitarios operated in the Fordham and Kingsbridge neighborhoods of the Bronx, among other locations. The Trinitarios operating in these neighhorhoods during this time period were members of two related “sets,” or factions of the Gang, called the “18 Treys” and “Greenbridge.” Members of the 18 Treys and Greenbridge sets, and their associates, committed acts of violence, such as shootings, against rival gangs – such as the “Eden Boys” gang – in order to protect their drug-trafficking operation, and to protect fellow members and associates of the Trinitarios. Members and associates of the 18 Treys and Greenbridge sets controlled drug trafficking in the Fordham and Kingsbridge neighborhoods of the Bronx. ANDY SOSA, a/k/a “Sosa Gucci Prada,” and NELSON VERAS, a/k/a “Monkey,” a/k/a “Monkey White,” were leaders of the Trinitarios in these neighborhoods. MICKEY VALDEZ, a/k/a “Mikey,” was one of the shooters on behalf of the Gang, enforcing the Gang’s control over these neighborhoods, as well as the Gang’s drug trafficking, through violence.

ANDY SOSA, a/k/a “Sosa Gucci Prada,” MICKEY VALDEZ, a/k/a “Mikey,” NELSON VERAS, a/k/a “Monkey,” a/k/a “Monkey White,” OSCAR ALMANZAR, a/k/a “Heavy,” JIMMY KELLY, AKBAR HUSSAIN, a/k/a “AK,” DARWIN AYALA, a/k/a “Fatulo,” JOSHUEL RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Alpa,” MIGUEL CARELA, a/k/a “Bone,” a/k/a “Bonet,” JUSTIN RAMIREZ, a/k/a “E.T.,” JAMES PAULINO, LUCAS CHAJECKI, a/k/a “Luc,” OMAURIS CABRERA, a/k/a “Oh Boy,” EDWIN MERCEDES, a/k/a “Mela,” a/k/a “Melasas,” CHRISTOPHER PEREZ, a/k/a “Flaco,” ARGENIS RODRIGUEZ, ISMEAL VASQUEZ, a/k/a “Ish,” MICHAEL ALVARADO, a/k/a “Dirt,” JORGE ARTILES, and ARGENIS HENRIQUEZ, a/k/a “Shysty,” are charged in Indictment One with conspiring to sell cocaine, heroin, crack, marijuana, oxycodone, and suboxone. SOSA, VERAS, RODRIGUEZ, CARELA, and RAMIREZ are also charged with carrying, brandishing, and discharging a firearm, and aiding and abetting the same, in connection with the charged narcotics conspiracy.

In Indictment Two, FRANCIS SANTOS, a/k/a “Lucky,” MANUEL SANTOS, and RALPHAEL GERMAN, a/k/a “Capo,” are charged with selling cocaine and marijuana in the vicinity of Andrews Avenue in the Bronx.

In the Complaint, SAGE PEREZ, a/k/a “Mango,” DANIEL BERROA, a/k/a “Bucks,” YAMIL LUNA, a/k/a “Skillz,” and JULIAN REYNOSO, a/k/a “Juju,” are charged with selling marijuana in the vicinity of West Kingsbridge Road in the Bronx.

During the arrests, agents and officers seized, among other evidence, prescription pills, heroin, and narcotics packaging paraphernalia. To date, in this case, agents and officers have seized, among other evidence, numerous firearms with ammunition, two machetes, multiple knives, and quantities of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy.

In a coordinated strike, 19 defendants were arrested in New York late last night and early this morning. They will be presented later this afternoon in Manhattan federal court. OMAURIS CABRERA is already in federal custody on a separate narcotics charge, and remains in custody. FRANCIS SANTOS, OSCAR ALMAZAR, EDWIN MERCEDES, and ARGENIS HENRIQUEZ are already in custody on state charges. As of the time of this press release, the following defendants are still being sought: Nelson Veras, Michael Alvarado, Jorge Artilles, Justin Ramirez, Argenis Rodriguez, Lucas Chajecki, and Manuel Santos. A chart identifying each defendant, the charges, and the maximum penalties is attached to this release. The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

The indicted cases are assigned to U.S. District Judge Michael H. Dolinger.

Today’s charges stem from a long-term investigation, “Operation Patria,” conducted by federal and local law enforcement officers working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. The charges unsealed today come approximately two years after the filing of the initial indictment in this case, which charged 50 members and associates of the Trinitiarios Gang with racketeering, narcotics, and firearms offenses, and approximately one year after the superseding indictment, which charged 26 additional defendants with nine murders. A total of 104 defendants have been charged in this case between the original indictment and the charges unsealed today. Aside from those defendants charged today for the first time in this case, all but 18 of those defendants have already been convicted at trial or by guilty plea.

In addition, in 2009 and 2010, this Office charged a combined 43 members and associates of the Manhattan faction of the Trinitarios Gang with racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, conspiracy to commit murder in aid of racketeering, assault and attempted murder in aid of racketeering, narcotics conspiracy, and firearms offenses. All of those individuals have pleaded guilty to charges associated with that case, including the May 2012 guilty pleas of Jonathan Feliz, who was alleged to have been the leader of the Manhattan faction of the Trinitarios Gang, to a mandatory minimum term of 30 years in prison for racketeering offenses committed in connection with his leadership of the Gang, and Louinsky Minier, also one of the Gang’s leaders, to charges related to the November 23, 2006, murder of Roy Abreu, which occurred on 162nd Street and Broadway in Manhattan.

Since 2009, this Office has charged at least a combined 147 members and associates of the Trinitarios Gang, including Leonides Sierra, a/k/a “Junito,” the Gang’s national leader, who pled guilty.
Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA, the NYPD, the ATF, and HSI/ICE. He added that the investigation is continuing.

The Office's Violent and Organized Crime Unit is overseeing the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel Maimin and Justina Geraci are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Indictments and Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Monroe Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearms



MONROE, La. – A Monroe resident was sentenced to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release for illegal possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of firearms, U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today.

Corey Moses, 36, of Monroe, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert G. James, for one count of possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony and one count of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute. According to evidence presented at the November 15, 2013 guilty plea, Sterlington police officers stopped the vehicle Moses was driving for speeding on December 9, 2010. Moses consented to a search of the vehicle, and police found marijuana, two 9 mm pistols and one .380 caliber pistol. The two 9 mm pistols were stolen from another person. Moses had been previously convicted in Monroe of theft in 1996 and burglary in 1997. He was also convicted in October of 2007 in Providence, R.I., of carrying a firearm by a person convicted of a felony.

“Felons carrying weapons is a violation of federal law,” Finley stated. “The defendant’s situation was further complicated by also possessing an illegal substance and had stolen the weapons. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to vigorously prosecute felons who possess firearms while in possession of illegal drugs. Under our Project Safe Neighborhood Program, we have joined with our state and local partners to assure that convicted felons like Moses are identified, arrested and prosecuted. Our goal is to remove convicted felons, violent offenders, drug traffickers and others who carry and use firearms from our streets and neighborhoods. We want to make sure that each citizen feels safe and secure.”

The Sterlington Police Department, West Monroe Police Department, Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Gillespie Jr. prosecuted the case as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide program to reduce violence by aggressively enforcing existing federal firearms and explosives laws.

17 Schuele Boys Gang Members and Associates Charged with Drug Trafficking



BUFFALO, N.Y. — U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that 17 members and associates of the Schuele Boys Gang, a group which operated in the Schuele Street area of the East Side of Buffalo, were arrested and charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and 280 grams or more of crack cocaine. The defendants are also charged with unlawful use of a communication facility in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a fine of $10,000,000.

“At a time when the entire region is experiencing a rebirth of hope and positive change, there are those who would harm the community through narcotics trafficking and acts of violence,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “As today’s operation demonstrates, law enforcement stands ready and able to identify and remove these threats to the public.”

Charged in the complaint are:

    Antwan Garner, 29, Buffalo
    Aaron Glenn, 41, North Tonawanda
    Jerome Grant, 33, Buffalo
    James Hicks, 44, Buffalo
    Xavier Hill, 42, Buffalo
    Demetrius Holmes, 23, Buffalo
    Damario James, 32, Buffalo
    Fred Johnson, 21, Buffalo
    Ikeem Lyons, 21, Buffalo
    Benjamin Peoples, 25, Buffalo
    Damario Robbins, 23, Buffalo
    Michael Robertson, 24, Buffalo
    Spencer Rogers, 50, Buffalo
    Antwon Steward, 31, Buffalo
    Shawntorrian Travis, 34, Buffalo
    Andre Wise, 36, Buffalo
    Marcel Worthy, 30, Buffalo
    

Assistant U.S. Attorney George C. Burgasser, who is handling the case, stated that according to a complaint, during the summer of 2010, the Schuele Boys Gang, including defendant Marcel Worthy who is the alleged leader of the gang, were the targets of a mass shooting at the City Grill in downtown Buffalo. During the shooting, eight people were shot, four fatally. At the time, law enforcement officers believed that Marcel Worthy was a kilogram quantity cocaine trafficker.

The ensuing investigation utilized wire and electronic communications, confidential sources, controlled purchases of narcotics, and physical and video surveillance, to identify conspirators associated with the Schuele Boys Gang distribution network. The complaint further states that in addition to buying and selling illegal narcotics, the defendants were also involved in committing acts of violence including shootings.

The members and associates are alleged to have attempted to thwart law detection by law enforcement officers through the frequent changing of cellular telephones. The defendants also are alleged to have used other counter-surveillance techniques, including utilizing and frequently changing rental vehicles, employing evasive driving techniques, and speaking in coded language.

The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the FBI's Safe Streets Task Force which includes representatives of the Amherst Police Department; the Buffalo Police Department; U.S. Border Patrol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Cheektowaga Police Department; the Erie County Sheriff’s Department; the Hamburg Police Department; the Lancaster Police Department; the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority Police; the New York State Department of Correctional Services; the New York State Police; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations. Additional assistance was provided by the Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the United States Marshal Service, the Lackawanna Police Department, and the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Maryland Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking Conspiracy

U.S. District Court Judge Paul W. Grimm sentenced Jean Claude Roy, aka Dredd the Don, 31, of Germantown, Maryland, to serve 240 months in prison to be followed by 10 years of supervised release, the Justice Department announced today.  A jury convicted Roy on March 19, 2014, of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, three counts of interstate transportation for the purpose of prostitution, and one count of witness and evidence tampering.
 
“The Civil Rights Division is committed to pursuing justice on behalf of vulnerable members of our society,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division.  “This sentence sends a clear message that the United States will not tolerate modern-day slavery and will work tirelessly to restore the rights and dignity of its victims.”
 
During the trial, victims recounted their fear of Roy, explaining instances of physical and sexual abuse, threats, tattoo branding and Roy’s bragging of beating a murder charge years prior in Massachusetts.  “If he could kill a man, who’s gonna care about a prostitute,” said one victim from the witness stand.  Witnesses detailed the guns in Roy’s possession and how he prostituted women in Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. 
 
“Jean Claude Roy preyed on vulnerable young women,” said U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein for the District of Maryland.  “Law enforcement agencies will continue to work to identify and prosecute human traffickers.”
 
“This case serves as another chilling example of the callous disregard for human life demonstrated by traffickers,” said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation’s (HSI) Baltimore Deputy Special Agent in Charge James P. Nagle.  “Our special agents will continue pursuing these criminals to ensure they are behind bars where they can no longer exploit the innocent.”
 
Trial evidence also showed that from Jan. 1 through Jan. 10, 2013, while Roy was in jail on related state charges, he called a family member several times and had that person access online accounts and storage services belonging to Roy and his co-conspirator in order to erase evidence related to these charges.
 
The jury acquitted Roy of one count of sex trafficking and two counts of attempted sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, and for the related counts of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.
 
This case was investigated by the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, which was formed in 2007 to discover and rescue victims of human trafficking while identifying and prosecuting offenders.  Members include federal, state and local law enforcement, as well as victim service providers and local community members.  For more information about the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, 

Report suspected instances of human trafficking to ICE HSI’s tip line at 866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423) or by completing its online tip form.  Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
 
This case was investigated by ICE HSI Baltimore and the Montgomery County Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristi N. O’Malley and Trial Attorney William E. Nolan of the Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit prosecuted the case.

Former Maryland Correctional Officer Sentenced in Connection with Series of Assaults on Inmate Final Officer Sentenced in 16-Person Conspiracy to Assault Inmate

James Kalbflesh, a former correctional officer at the Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) in Hagerstown, Maryland, was sentenced today in connection with the March 9, 2008, assault of Kenneth Davis, an inmate.  U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar sentenced Kalbflesh to serve 60 months in prison. 
 
Kalbflesh was found guilty by a federal jury of conspiracy against rights, deprivation of rights under color of law and conspiracy to obstruct justice.  Evidence at trial and in court documents filed in connection with his convictions established that Kalbflesh and other officers at RCI met during the midnight shift and agreed to assault Davis in retaliation for a prior incident involving Davis and another officer.  Kalbflesh and other officers then entered Davis’ cell and assaulted him. 
 
Davis was also subjected to retaliatory assaults by officers from the preceding and following shifts.  Davis suffered facial fractures, a broken rib and fractured vertebrae, among other injuries, as a result of the series of assaults.  The assaults by Kalbflesh and other RCI officers resulted in serious injuries that left Davis unrecognizable.  Kalbflesh is the last remaining officer to be sentenced in the related RCI cases.
 
“Sixteen former correctional officers from RCI have been convicted and sentenced for their involvement in the series of beatings of an inmate, and in the coordinated cover-ups that followed each assault,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division.  “These officers betrayed the public trust by using their official positions to commit violent civil rights abuses and then tried to cover up their crimes.  The Department of Justice will continue to prosecute vigorously correctional officers who use their power to violate federal law.”
 
The case was investigated by the Frederick Resident Agency of the FBI, and prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Forrest Christian and Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division.

Jury Convicts Man of Impeding Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation


A federal jury in Boston has convicted a friend of alleged Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, for impeding the bombing investigation.

Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz of the District of Massachusetts and Special Agent in Charge Vincent B. Lisi of the FBI’s Boston Field Division, made the announcement today.

The jury found Azamat Tazhayakov, 20, guilty of conspiring to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede the Boston Marathon bombing investigation.   U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for October 16, 2014.

In August 2013, Tazhayakov was indicted for obstructing a terrorism investigation.   Tazhayakov is a national of Kazakhstan who was temporarily living in the United States on a student visa while attending the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, but at the time of his arrest his visa had been revoked.

The evidence at trial proved that on April 18, 2013, after the release of photographs of the two men suspected of carrying out the Marathon bombings (who were later identified as Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev), Tazhayakov and others went to Tsarnaev’s dormitory room and found items that linked Tsarnaev to the bombing, including fireworks from which “gunpowder” appeared to have been removed and a jar of Vaseline that they believed could be used to make bombs.   A forensic examiner testified that Vaseline can be used to make improvised explosive devices.   A month before the bombing, Tsarnaev had told Tazhayakov that it would be good to die as shaheed (martyr) and that he knew how to build a bomb.   Tsarnaev also identified specific ingredients one could use to make a bomb, including “gunpowder.”

After searching Tsarnaev’s dormitory room on the evening of April 18, 2013, Tazhayakov helped remove Tsarnaev’s laptop and a backpack containing fireworks, a jar of Vaseline, and a thumb drive.   Later that night while Tazhayakov was monitoring the manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers, he discussed getting rid of the backpack containing the fireworks and agreed to get rid of it.    The backpack was then placed in a garbage bag and then thrown into a dumpster outside Tazhayakov’s New Bedford apartment.   The FBI recovered this backpack a week later, after 25 agents spent two days searching a landfill in New Bedford.

The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison on the obstruction of justice count and five years on the conspiracy count, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000 for each charge.   Tazhayakov will also be deported at the conclusion of this prosecution.   Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties.   Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This investigation was conducted by the FBI's Boston Division and member agencies of the Boston Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) which is comprised of more than 30 federal, state and local enforcement agencies.   U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Massachusetts State Police, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Department of Public Safety, New Bedford Police Department, Dartmouth Police Department, U.S. Department of Transportation – Office of Inspector General, U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), Essex County Sheriff’s Office, and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigations, provided assistance to this investigation.

T he case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann and John A. Capin of Ortiz’s Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Former Officer Sentenced for Excessive Force and Obstruction Charges

Lindrith Tsoodle, 58, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland to serve 15 months in prison for two incidents in which he used excessive force against an arrestee and for lying to a federal agent.  Tsoodle was further ordered to serve two years of supervised release following completion of his prison term.  On April 1, 2014, a federal jury convicted Tsoodle on these three charges.
 
Tsoodle was a police officer with the Three Affiliated Tribes Police Department in New Town, North Dakota, on the Fort Berthold Reservation.  He was convicted of twisting the neck of a handcuffed suspect, throwing him to the ground and dropping a knee on him.  He was also convicted of, on a separate occasion, excessively tightening the handcuffs of an arrestee, slamming him against the wall, using pepper spray on the arrestee and striking him with his hands and a baton.  Both of these actions occurred while the suspects were restrained.  Tsoodle was also convicted of telling various false statements to a U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs Special Agent, who interviewed the defendant regarding one of the assaults.
 
“Our system of government requires police officers to abide by the laws they enforce and to protect the constitutional rights of all persons in their custody,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels of the Civil Rights Division.  “This officer used his official position to commit civil rights abuses and then lied about his actions.  The Department of Justice will continue to prosecute vigorously law enforcement officers who use their power to violate federal law.”
 
“With our colleagues at the Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting the civil rights of the citizens on the reservations in North Dakota,” said U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon for the District of North Dakota.  “This prosecution shows that our commitment to public safety on the reservations is matched by our commitment to a vigorous enforcement of civil rights of all people.”
 
This case was investigated by the Minot Resident Agency of the Minneapolis Division of the FBI and was prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Gerald Hogan and Nicholas Durham of the Civil Rights Division.