Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Former LANL Employee Indicted for Stealing Irradiated Gold

United States Attorney's Office

District of New Mexico

Earlier today, Alex Maestas, 46, a former employee of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), was sentenced in federal court in Albuquerque, New Mexico to a one-year term of imprisonment to be followed by three years’ supervised release by Senior United States District Judge C. LeRoy Hansen for stealing a two ounce piece of gold, valued at approximately $2,000, from a LANL processing facility. The gold, which was taken by Maestas on March 24, 2009, was contaminated with a small amount of americium and plutonimum, which rendered the gold radioactive. According to federal prosecutors, the radioactive plutonium in the gold posed a serious health risk because it could have proven deadly if inhaled or ingested.

Maestas was charged by indictment in October 2009 with theft of government property, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 641, and with engaging in a prohibited transaction involving nuclear materials, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 831, based on an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The investigation was initated on March 24, 2009 after DOE personnel responded to an alarm sounded by a contamination monitor as Maestas attempted to leave the LANL processing facility at which he was then employed with the gold in hand. Maestas entered a guilty plea to theft of government property on January 28, 2010. During his plea hearing, Maestas admitted to stealing the gold and knowing that "the gold was taken from an area that was used to store materials that contained plutonium and nuclear material."

During today's sentencing hearing, Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Fred Federici argued that, at the time he took the gold, Maestas knew that he potentially exposing the public to radioactive contamination that could cause death or serious bodily injury. AUSA Federici asked Judge Hansen to increase Maestas' term of imprisonment based on the fact that Maestas was clearly conscious of the serious risks associated with his improper removal of the gold.

United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said: "Everyone who works at LANL, no matter what job he or she holds, is entrusted with the important responsibility of safeguarding the property of the laboratory. When LANL employees help themselves to lab property, they violate that special trust. In this case, Maestas not only violated that special trust by taking gold used in LANL experiments, but did so knowing that the gold was contaminated and could have endangered the lives of his family, friends, and neighbors. Fortunately, DOE personnel apprehended Maestas and recovered the gold before Maestas could endanger the lives of others, and they should be commended for their swift response to a potentially dangerous situation.

The case was prosecuted by AUSAs George C. Kraehe and Fred Federici.

ICE dismantles Long Island drug trafficking organization

NEW YORK - Agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations in New York arrested 17 individuals for their role in a narcotics trafficking ring operating in Long Island.

The complaint was unsealed on Tuesday charging 17 members of a criminal organization based in Suffolk County and the Bronx with conspiracy to distribute powder cocaine and marijuana, primarily on Long Island. The complaint was announced by the following agency heads: James T. Hayes Jr., special agent-in-charge of ICE-HSI in New York; Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Richard Dormer, commissioner of the Suffolk County Police; and John P. Melville, acting superintendent of the New York State Police (NYSP).

In a coordinated operation last night and earlier today, more than 300 federal, state, and local law enforcement officers arrested 16 defendants in the Bronx, Long Island, and Queens. One additional defendant was already in custody on state charges.

The following 16 defendants were arrested during this operation: Andres Marroquin-Corzo, aka Alex Lnu, aka Alex Rodriguez, aka Alexi Rodriguez, Ercilio Antonio Marine, aka Tony, Rolando Carmenante, aka Rolando Carmentate, aka Flaco, Huascar Figuereo, aka Ramon Lnu, aka El Gordo, Fausto Collado, Freddy Martinez, Rafael Perez, aka Gordo, Aida Sandoval, aka The Girl, aka Chiquita, Natalia Areiza, Alexander Morales, Hipolito Roldan, aka Paulie, Denny Rodriguez, Yunery Marine, Juan Carlos Ferrera and Engenio Solarzano-Lameda, aka Cuba. The defendants are expected to be presented in Manhattan federal court later on Tuesday. Luis Felipe Andujar-Rivera, aka Mario, will be transferred from state to federal custody at a later date.

ICE-HSI Special Agent in Charge James T. Hayes Jr. stated: "Drug trafficking organizations must be aggressively attacked and dismantled at every level - from the street dealer to the international supplier and drug lord. Through the coordinated efforts of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners, we have effectively eradicated an organization responsible for bringing significant quantities of drugs into our communities."

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: "These defendants allegedly belong to a dangerous organization that has distributed bounties of cocaine and marijuana throughout New York. With today's arrests, we have shut down their operations and their ability to pour poison into our communities. This coordinated takedown is another example of the important partnership we have established with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to continue pursuing those who drive the illegal drug trade."

According to the Complaint and other documents filed in Manhattan federal court:

Between April 2009 and August 2010, the Corzo Organization, a cocaine trafficking organization led by Andres Marroquin-Corzo, distributed kilogram quantities of powder cocaine and marijuana throughout Long Island. The Corzo Organization regularly obtained a supply of cocaine and marijuana from sources in the Bronx and Long Island, transported the narcotics to various residences and businesses in Suffolk County, and then further distributed the drugs through meetings in parking lots, homes and vehicles.

Marroquin-Corzo oversaw the Corzo Organization's efforts in obtaining supplies of cocaine and marijuana, transporting the cocaine and marijuana, and collecting the proceeds of the narcotics. Corzo received cocaine from various suppliers, including Huascar Moises Figuereo, Freddy Martinez, and Rafael Perez. Fausto Collado and Luis Felipe Andujar-Rivera aided Figuereo by transporting cocaine to Corzo and collecting payment for the cocaine. Ercilio Antonio Marine both supplied Corzo with cocaine and purchased cocaine from Corzo for further distribution. In addition, Corzo received marijuana from Juan Carlos Ferrera, through Eugenio Solarzano-Lameda and Rolando Carmenante, among others. Carmenante also acted as a broker for the Corzo Organization, assisting its efforts to obtain cocaine.

The Corzo Organization then distributed the cocaine and marijuana to a network of customers and other distributors on Long Island. Aida Sandoval acted as the lead courier for the Corzo Organization. Sandoval delivered cocaine and marijuana to a network of other members of the Corzo Organization, most of whom were in Suffolk County, for further distribution.

Some deliveries were arranged via telephone conversations, during which members of the Corzo Organization specified the amount of drugs, the price of the drugs, and the place and time to do the drug deals. Among these distributors and customers were Natalia Areiza, Alexander Morales, Hipolito Roldan, and Jose Sanchez. On various occasions during the course of the conspiracy, Morales and Areiza appear to have been converting cocaine into "crack" cocaine for further distribution. Sandoval also collected the money owed for the drugs, maintained "stash" houses to store the drugs, and kept records of drug transactions and drug debts. In addition, Marine distributed cocaine through other distributers and customers, relying on Denny Rodriguez and Yunery Marine to make the deliveries and collect the proceeds.

Earlier today, law enforcement officers searched nine locations in Suffolk County from which certain defendants stored and/or distributed cocaine and marijuana or stored the proceeds of this illegal activity. During these searches, officers recovered, among other evidence, about 250 grams of cocaine, over $100,000 in cash, and drug paraphernalia.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara praised the investigative work of ICE-HSI, the Suffolk County Police Department, and the New York State Police Department. He added that the investigation is continuing.

This case is being handled by the Office's Narcotics Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul M. Krieger, Michelle Parikh Brown, Justin Anderson, and Jason Hernandez are prosecuting this case.

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

-- ICE --

FBI and San Diego Police Seek Public’s Assistance to Identify Chase Bank Robber

For Immediate Release

August 30, 2010 FBI San Diego

Contact: Darrell Foxworth
Contact: April Langwell

The FBI and San Diego Police Department are seeking the public’s assistance to identify the unknown male responsible for robbing the Chase Bank, located at 8843 Villa La Jolla Drive, San Diego, California, on Monday, August 30, 2010.

On Monday, August 30, 2010, at approximately 9:00 a.m., the Chase Bank, located at 8843 Villa La Jolla Drive, San Diego, California was robbed by an unknown male. The robber presented a demand note and gestured that he was armed with a weapon. After receiving a sum of money, the robber walked out of the bank. No weapon or vehicle was observed.

Witnesses describe the robber as follows:

Sex: Male

Race: Hispanic

Age: Mid 40’s

Height: Approximately 5”9” tall

Build: Medium

Hair: Black and gray hair

Clothing: Blue jeans, green buttoned-down long-sleeve shirt with pockets on both sides of shirt

Anyone with information concerning this robbery is asked to contact the FBI at telephone number (858) 565-1255 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477. You may remain anonymous by calling the FBI or Crime Stoppers.

Two of Dollison Family Sentenced to Federal Prison for Cocaine Distribution

For Immediate Release

August 27, 2010

Karen L. Loeffler, United States Attorney

Anchorage, Alaska — Karen L. Loeffler, U.S. Attorney for the District of Alaska announced that on August 27, 2010, two members of the Dollison Family were sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for cocaine distribution.

Dahmir Hale, 22, a resident of Anchorage, Alaska, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for distributing 92.5 grams of crack cocaine on three occasions between February and July of 2009. Dwayne Dollison Sr., 48, also of Anchorage, was sentenced to 87 months in prison for distributing a total of 17.7 grams of crack cocaine and 10.3 grams of cocaine powder. Both defendants were sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Ralph R. Beistline.

Also involved in this case with Hale and Dwayne Dollison, Sr., are Dwayne Dollison, Jr., and Kenneth Martin Douglas, each of whom was convicted of similar crimes earlier this year. Dwayne Dollison Jr., Dahmir Hale and Douglas are half-brothers; Dwayne Dollison, Sr. is the father of all three men. On June 4, 2010, Douglas was convicted of distributing a total of 40.3 grams of crack cocaine on three occasions in 2009, in cooperation with Dollison Jr., Hale and Dollison Sr. On June 2, 2010, Dwayne Dollison, Jr., was convicted of conspiracy with Hale, Douglas and Dollison, Sr., to distribute crack cocaine, and admitted personally distributing 53.5 grams of crack cocaine in cooperation with Hale on a single occasion in June 2009. Dollison, Jr. and Douglas will be sentenced later this year. Judge Beistline noted that the sentences were necessary to protect the Anchorage area from the dangerous trade in drugs.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Craig M. Warner, who prosecuted the case, all four men were apprehended after an undercover operation mounted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI. Over a period of approximately six months, agents with both agencies successfully infiltrated the Dollison drug operation and documented seven sales of cocaine base by its four members. Dollison Jr, Dollison Sr., Hale and Douglas were observed conducting a drug transaction in cooperation with at least one co-defendant. During their guilty plea hearings, Dollison, Jr., Dollison Sr., Hale and Douglas admitted conducting these transactions. Dwayne Dollison, Jr. admitted obtaining cocaine from suppliers in Alaska and then distributing it among his brothers and father for resale.

Retired Attorney Pleads Guilty to Receipt of Child Pornography

August 30, 2010 United States Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico
In July 2009, Robert A. Warren, a 70-year-old retired attorney who resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, was indicted on federal receipt of child pornography charges. This morning, Warren pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography before United States District Judge Bruce D. Black under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Warren specifically admitted to receiving a three (3) minute and fifteen (15)-second video depicting an adult male performing sexual acts on a young prepubescent female.
According to the plea agreement, special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recovered multiple computers and computer-related media (i.e., hard drives, compact disks, printed images) containing visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct (child pornography) when they executed a search warrant at Warren’s residence on June 18, 2010. As part of his guilty plea, Warren agreed to forfeit the computers and computer-related media seized from his residence. The plea agreement indicates that forensic examination of Warren’s computers and computer media uncovered more than 2600 images and 26 videos of child pornography.
At sentencing, Warren faces a term of five to 20 years' imprisonment, a maximum fine of $250,000, and a lifetime term of supervised release. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Warren and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have agreed to recommend that Warren be imprisoned for at least five years and not more than nine years. Warren also will be required to register as a sex offender upon his release from prison. Warren was taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Service immediately after entering his guilty plea as required by the plea agreement.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said: "What we can never forget in these child pornography cases is that there are real children—little boys and little girls—who were horribly abused in order to manufacture these images of child sexual abuse. Their lives were unalterably scarred for the viewing pleasure of persons that are attracted to this type of material, the demand for which creates a worldwide market for the images and for the abuse they contain. Each and every time someone views a pornographic image of a child, that child is victimized again. We cannot falter in aggressively pursuing these cases. I commend the team of investigators and prosecutors that worked hard on addressing the issues in this case."
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Charlyn Rees and Sasha Siemel, and was investigated by FBI in partnership with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

“JV Bandit” Robs Chase Bank Branch in Wheat Ridge

For Immediate Release

August 30, 2010 FBI Denver

Contact: Media Coordinator Dave Joly

The Wheat Ridge Police Department and FBI Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force (RMSSTF) responded to a bank robbery which occurred on Saturday, August 28, 2010, at approximately 12:05 p.m. at the Chase Bank, 3850 Wadsworth Blvd., Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

The suspect is described as a white male, late 20's, approximately 5'5" tall.

The suspect is believed to be the JV Bandit.

The suspect presented a note and demanded money.

Bank robbery is punishable by a 20-year prison sentence for each offense and increases if a dangerous weapon is used in the commission of the crime.

The FBI continues to provide financial institutions with the best practices for security to make them less vulnerable to robberies.

If anyone has any information on the bank robbery above or any bank robbery, please call the FBI Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force at 303-629-7171; or, you can remain anonymous and earn up to two thousand dollars ($2,000) by calling CRIMESTOPPERS at 720-913-STOP (7867).

Monday, August 30, 2010

ON THE SOUTHWEST BORDER: A Drug Buy in El Paso

08/30/10

It may look like any other afternoon along this busy shopping strip outside El Paso, Texas, with people walking in and out of stores and restaurants and traffic moving at a steady clip. But inside a particular establishment, one of our sources is waiting to buy nearly $20,000 worth of cocaine from a local gang member.

The operation represents one of the many ways we are fighting the drug trade along the Southwest border. From small street-level drug buys to major cases targeting the highest levels of cartel and gang leadership, our agents and law enforcement partners attack the problem from every angle to gain intelligence and to disrupt and dismantle trafficking organizations.

On this day, agents from our criminal enterprise/gang squad are working with local and state officers to build a case against the gang. Members of the team—all in plain clothes and driving unmarked vehicles—are inconspicuously and strategically parked near the site of the establishment. The source inside is wearing a wire, and his conversations can be heard on car-to-car radios. If anything goes wrong, the source will say a code word and the team will quickly be inside.

At a final briefing before the operation began, the team leader—one of our veteran agents—spoke to the group in a parking lot behind a nearby municipal building. He went over the plan again in detail, stressing the danger involved and the need for extreme caution to make sure everyone stayed safe. Then, like a basketball coach before a game, he gathered the team in a circle and read aloud the Bureau’s policy on the use of deadly force.

An hour later, the source was inside, but the target wasn’t—he called to say he would be late. While they waited in their car and listened to the radio chatter, two of our agents on the operation—we’ll call them Smith and Johns—explained the economics of the drug trade in El Paso and across the border in Juarez.

“Where you have gangs,” Smith said, “you have drugs. And in El Paso, all the drugs are coming from across the border.” A kilo of cocaine in El Paso costs about $20,000, but can be sold in Chicago, Atlanta, New York, or Miami for more than $30,000. There is a lot of money to be made.

Finally, the target arrived, but without any drugs and only vague promises to produce them that day. The team leader sent a text message to the source to leave, and then canceled the operation. “We’ll try again tomorrow,” he said.
False starts and dead ends are typical in such drug cases, Agents Smith and Johns said later. But the work is important. Even though small drug buys won’t break the backs of the cartels, Johns explained, “We gain a lot of intelligence from these operations, and sometimes we develop new sources as a result. And every kilo of coke we take off the streets is one that doesn’t make its way to American kids.”

Next: Going After the Major Players

St. Augustine Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Federal Prison for Gun and Drug Possession

For Immediate Release

August 26, 2010

A. Brian Albritton, United States Attorney
Contact: Steve Cole

Jacksonville, Florida — U.S. Attorney A. Brian Albritton announces that U.S. District Judge Henry Lee Adams, Jr. today sentenced Darryl Wayne Gardner (age 26, of St. Augustine) to 15 years in federal prison for possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute it and for possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony. Gardner was designated an Armed Career Criminal for multiple prior felony convictions, including three prior convictions for selling cocaine and a prior convictions for resisting arrest with violence. Gardner had been found found guilty at trial on May 26, 2010.

According to court documents, deputies with the St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call at The Florida Club, a condominium complex in St. Augustine. During the investigation, deputies stopped the car that Gardner was driving and subsequently discovered under the seat, two firearms, a cigar tube of cocaine base (“crack” cocaine) and several bags of marijuana. Further investigation revealed that one of the firearms, a .45 caliber pistol, had been reported stolen.

The case was investigated by the St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”), Jacksonville Division. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Dineen A. Baker.

This is another case prosecuted as a part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” program - a nationwide, gun-violence reduction initiative led by ATF. United States Attorney A. Brian Albritton, along with Virginia O’Brien, Special Agent in Charge, ATF Tampa Field Division is coordinating the Project Safe Neighborhoods effort here in the Middle District of Florida in cooperation with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials. The program’s objective is to reduce violent crime by locating and seizing unlawfully possessed guns and then swiftly prosecuting the offenders.

Brothers Sentenced for Armed Robbery in Titusville

For Immediate Release

August 23, 2010

A. Brian Albritton, United States Attorney
Contact: Steve Cole

Orlando, Florida — U.S. Attorney A. Brian Albritton announces that U.S. District Judge John Antoon, II on August 20, 2010, sentenced Ramiret Davis (age 25, of Titusville) to 15 years in federal prison for conspiracy and armed robbery. Davis was found guilty by a jury on May 6, 2010. Davis’s brother, Loranzo Thomas (age 23, of Albany, Georgia) pleaded guilty on May 4, 2010, to charges of conspiracy, and armed robbery. Thomas was sentenced to 13 years and 7 months in federal prison.

According to court documents, on November 21, 2009, Davis and Thomas went into a Marathon Gas Station in Titusville with a revolver and a shotgun and demanded money from the clerk at gunpoint. The robbers “pistol-whipped” the clerk, and then shoved him into the store’s walk-in cooler before leaving with over $700. Two days later, Davis and Thomas drove to the Community Educator’s Credit Union in Titusville, intending to commit another armed robbery. While they were preparing to commit the robbery, they were spotted by a witness, who promptly called the police. The Titusville Police Department immediately responded, and were able to prevent the robbery and arrest the brothers. At the time of arrest, Davis and Thomas were found with a revolver, a pump shotgun, and a “sawed-off” shotgun.

U.S. Attorney Albritton stated: “I want to commend the Titusville Police Department and ATF for their teamwork which resulted in a successful prosecution and a long term prison sentence.”

Virginia O’Brien, Special Agent in Charge of ATF’s central and north Florida operations stated: “These violent brothers were a two man crime wave. Innocent customers and employees lives were endangered due to the Davis brothers’ disregard for the law. Because of the courage and efforts of the Titusville Police Department Officers, the Davis brothers are behind bars for a long time.”

This case was investigated by the Titusville Police Department, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Also assisting in this case was the Brevard County Cease Fire Task Force. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Vincent S. Chiu.

Bossier City Man Convicted on Gun Charges

For Immediate Release
August 24, 2010

Stephanie A. Finley, United States Attorney

Shreveport, Louisiana — A Bossier City resident faces a lengthy prison sentence after a federal jury returned a guilty verdict on felony firearm charges. Billy Dewayne Moore, 32, was convicted by a federal jury of possession of a firearm and ammunition by a convicted felon, United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today. U.S. District Judge Tom Stagg presided at the trial.

According to court testimony, on October 27, 2009, officers with the Louisiana Probation and Parole office visited the defendant’s home he was sharing with his girlfriend to conduct a search for a firearm. A loaded .45 pistol was found in a dresser drawer. The officers also discovered a shoe box in the bedroom that contained .45 caliber ammunition.

Trial testimony revealed that Moore has an extensive felony criminal history dating back to 1997. His criminal history includes assault and battery, illegal possession of firearms, unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling, and alcohol and drug offenses. The defendant’s most recent felony conviction is a December 2008 Bossier Parish conviction for illegally carrying a firearm.

Moore is scheduled for sentencing on December 2, 2010, at 2:30 p.m. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, a maximum sentence of life, a $250,000 fine, or both. Sentencing in federal court is determined by the discretion of federal judges and the governing statute.

This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a nationwide program begun in 2001 and was designed to reduce violence in our communities by aggressively using existing federal firearms laws. This case was investigated by the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Shreveport Field Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Earl M. Campbell.

Ex-CBP employee receives 20 years in drug, alien smuggling, corruption case

EL PASO, Texas - A federal judge sentenced a former U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employee to 20 years in federal prison Aug. 26 after she pleaded guilty to drug smuggling, alien smuggling and official corruption charges.

The sentence was the culmination of an investigation by U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and CBP Internal Affairs.

Martha Alicia Garnica, 43, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Judge David Briones, who also ordered her to pay a $5,000 fine, and be placed under supervised release for four years after she completes her prison term.

Garnica, a former CBP technician and CBP officer, pleaded guilty May 14 to all of the charges returned by a federal grand jury on Feb. 3, including conspiring to import more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of marijuana into the United States, conspiring to smuggle illegal aliens, bribing a public official and importing a controlled substance.

According to the indictment:

•Since April 2009, Garnica conspired with others to import into the United States from Mexico more than 100 kilograms of marijuana.

•From Oct. 1, 2009 until Oct. 11, 2009, Garnica conspired to smuggle illegal aliens into the United States from Mexico.

•On Oct. 11, 2009, Garnica offered a $500 bribe to a CBP officer to allow an illegal alien to be smuggled into the United States.

•On Nov. 7, 2009, Garnica paid a $3,500 bribe to a CBP officer to allow a controlled substance to be imported into the United States.

•On Nov. 17, 2009, Garnica offered a $1,500 bribe to a CBP officer to allow a controlled substance to be imported into the United States.

•On Nov. 8, 2009, Garnica knowingly imported marijuana into the United States from Mexico.

Garnica's co-defendants are serving federal prison terms for their roles in the smuggling ring.

On July 7, 2010, Carlos Francisco Ramirez-Rosalez, a Mexican national living illegally El Paso, was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release. He pleaded guilty to conspiring to import over 100 kilograms of marijuana into the United States and to paying a $3,500 bribe to an undercover officer.

On June 4, 2010, Edgar Ely Meraz of El Paso was sentenced to 24 months in prison and ordered to perform 100 hours of community service after pleading guilty to importing about 162 pounds of marijuana into the United States.

On July 20, 2010, Arturo Leal Rosalez of Cd. Juarez, Mexico, was sentenced to 24 months in prison after pleading guilty to importing about 162 pounds of marijuana into the United States.

The final co-defendant, Hugo Alberto Flores Colmenero, was murdered Feb. 24, 2010 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Juanita Fielden, Western District of Texas, prosecuted this case.

“Wise Guyz” Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Drug and Gun Offenses

For Immediate Release

August 26, 2010

Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney
Contacts: AUSA Vickie E. LeDuc, Marcia Murphy

Officers in Allegany County Seized 12 Firearms, Including Loaded Submachine Guns, and at Least 40 Marijuana Plants Grown in a Garage

Baltimore, Maryland — Benjamin Lee, age 25, of Cumberland, Maryland pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana, and possession of a gun in furtherance of drug trafficking.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Theresa R. Stoop of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - Baltimore Field Division; Allegany County State’s Attorney Michael O. Twigg; Cumberland Police Chief Charles H. Hinnant; Frostburg Police Chief William Evans, Jr.; Frostburg University Chief of Police Cindy R. Smith; Colonel Terrence Sheridan, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police; and Allegany County Bureau of Police Chief J. Robert Dick. Mr. Rosenstein thanked the Allegany Combined County Criminal Investigations (C3I), for their assistance in this investigation and prosecution.

According to Lee’s plea agreement, Lee and his associates call themselves the “Wise Guyz.” On September 19, 2009 Lee traded crack cocaine for a handgun. Two days later on September 21, the Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigations Unit served search warrants on four locations in Cumberland used by Lee and his conspirators to store and manufacture drugs, and to store guns. From a garage at 1400 Old Oldtown Road, officers seized a loaded handgun, two loaded submachine guns and a shotgun. The second level of the garage was converted to grow at least 40 marijuana plants using artificial light, controlled temperature, and ventilation and irrigations systems. From 12507 Goldens Avenue, 26 Pennsylvania Avenue and 13B Jane Frazer Village, officers seized eight more firearms, bags of marijuana and cocaine, oxycodone pills, hydrocodone pills, a digital scale and $14,249.

Lee faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison for drug trafficking; and a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison for the gun offense, consecutive to any other sentence imposed. U.S. District Judge Benson E. Legg has scheduled sentencing for November 4, 2010 at 10:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended Assistant United States Attorney Peter M. Nothstein, who prosecuted the case.

Three Federal Agents Receive United States Attorney’s Award

For Immediate Release


August 25, 2010
Edward J. Tarver, United States Attorney
Contact: James D. Durham
First Assistant United States Attorney

Savannah, GA — Edward J. Tarver, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, announced the 2010 recipients of the District’s annual United States Attorney’s Award. ATF Special Agent Louis Valoze, DEA Special Agent Michael Sarhatt and Department of Defense Special Agent Clifford Curington each received the United States Attorney’s Award in a ceremony recently hosted by Mr. Tarver. The United States Attorney’s Award was established in 2005 to recognize exceptional performance by law enforcement officers and others who have contributed significantly to the Department of Justice’s mission.

Mr. Tarver stated, “These three agents embody the traits of dedication, hard work and public service. In 2010, for the first time, three individuals received United States Attorney’s Awards. These agents are on the frontlines on the streets of America every day. We thank them for their service, and honor their successes.”

ATF Special Agent Louis Valoze was cited for his twelve years of outstanding work in this District. Agent Valoze played a lead role in just concluded undercover operations that federal and state law enforcement carried out in Augusta and Statesboro. Over a 150 individuals were successfully prosecuted on firearms and drug charges arising out of these two investigations. In addition to his work in this District, Agent Valoze has assisted in operations throughout the United States; in many of these operations, he was placed in the midst of dangerous organizations and volatile individuals.

DEA Special Agent Michael Sarhatt was recognized as the lead federal agent on the investigation into a 45 defendant cocaine trafficking organization in Savannah and Atlanta. He led a task force of state and local officers that used a variety of evidence gathering methods including several electronic court-approved interceptions of telephone calls. The disrupted drug organization was led by Jamerson Smalls who received a 262 month prison sentence. It was estimated that over a two-year period the organization distributed over 200 kilograms of cocaine in the Savannah area.

Department of Defense Special Agent Clifford Curington was recognized for his outstanding work on both civil and criminal cases. Agent Curington successfully assembled a case in which a military supplier was allegedly overcharging the Department of Defense through inflated invoices. This civil case resulted in the recovery of $650,000 from the military supplier. In addition to his work on civil cases, SA Curington was the lead agent that busted a stolen military equipment ring operating in and around Ft. Stewart. Curington’s investigation led to court marshals against over ten soldiers from Fort Stewart and the indictment of four civilians on federal charges in this District.

Former El Paso FBI Agent Sentenced for Federal Firearms Violations

For Immediate Release


August 24, 2010
John E. Murphy, United States Attorney
Contact: Daryl Fields, Public Information Officer

United States Attorney John E. Murphy announced that in El Paso this morning, former Federal Bureau of Investigation special agent John Shipley was sentenced to two years in federal prison for violating federal firearms laws.

Senior United States District Judge David Briones also ordered that Shipley be placed under supervised release for a period of three years and complete 250 hours of community service after completing his prison term. Judge Briones also ordered that Shipley forfeit 17 firearms including two .50 caliber Barrett rifles; ammunition in various calibers including over 2,800 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition; one silencer; and, $7,340 in cash seized during the execution of a federal search warrant at Shipley’s residence on May 6, 2008.

“Federal agents are not exempt from the laws which they swore to uphold,” stated United States Attorney John E. Murphy. “Mr. Shipley is being held accountable for his own criminal actions. They are in no way a reflection of the outstanding work being accomplished by dedicated federal, state and local law enforcement across this District and this country.”

This investigation–conducted by agents from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General together with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives–commenced with a firearms trace of a .50 caliber sniper rifle sold by Shipley. That rifle was recovered by Mexican authorities following a gunbattle between suspected narcotraffickers and the Mexican military near Chihuahua, Mexico, on March 8, 2008.

“By illegally dealing in firearms, Shipley violated the trust that the public placed in him as a law enforcement official,” said Wayne D. Beaman, Special Agent in Charge, Dallas Field Office, Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General. “The Office of the Inspector General is committed to vigorously investigating and referring for prosecution any Department of Justice law enforcement official who engages in this type of illegal conduct.”

“This investigation shows ATF’s commitment into stopping the illegal trafficking of firearms that are fueling the cartel violence south of the border. Along with our associates on both sides of the border, ATF will leave no stone unturned in achieving this goal,” stated ATF Special Agent in Charge Robert Champion, Dallas Field Division.

On April 14, 2010, a federal jury convicted Shipley of one count of dealing firearms without a license, four counts of causing a firearms dealer to maintain false records and one count of making a false statement to federal authorities. Jurors found that Shipley engaged in the business of dealing in firearms from January 2005 until May 2008, while not being licensed as a Federal Firearms Dealer. Evidence presented during trial revealed that Shipley posted firearms for sale using an internet website more than 200 times, including multiple postings for many firearms. During that three-and-a-half-year time period, Shipley also purchased at least 54 firearms, then sold at least 51 of those firearms for more than $118,000.

Jurors also found that on four occasions between July 2007 and May 2008, Shipley provided false information on ATF forms 4473 when purchasing firearms at local gun shops stating that he was the actual buyer, when in fact, he was not.

Finally, jurors found that on March 21, 2008, Shipley provided to federal authorities a document–a Dealers’ Firearms Record Book–which Shipley claimed was his only complete and accurate listing of the firearms he bought and sold, knowing that he had another Dealers’ Firearms Record Book which contained a more extensive descriptive and accurate list of firearms he bought and sold.

Assistant United States Attorney Greg McDonald and Juanita Fielden prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

California Man Charged with Attempting to Extort Sexually Explicit Images from Minor

WASHINGTON - A Fremont, Calif., man made his initial appearance in federal court today on charges that include distribution of child pornography, possession of child pornography and attempted extortion, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Melinda Haag.

According to an indictment dated June 24, 2010, and unsealed today, James Dale Brown, 27, is alleged to have used the Internet social networking website Facebook to communicate with a minor female identified as Jane Doe. Operating under the username "Bob Lewis," Brown is alleged to have demanded that Jane Doe send him a video of herself engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Brown is also alleged to have possessed and distributed child pornography.

Brown was arrested in Fremont on Aug. 26, 2010, and made his initial appearance in federal court in Oakland, Calif., on Aug. 27, 2010. He is currently being held in North County Jail in Oakland. The defendant’s next scheduled appearance is at 9 a.m. on Sept. 3, 2010, for a detention hearing before Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler.

The mandatory penalty for distribution of child pornography is at least five years in prison and up to 20 years. The maximum penalty for possession of child pornography is 10 years in prison and the maximum statutory penalty for attempted extortion is 20 years in prison. Brown also faces maximum fines of $250,000 on each charged count, plus restitution if appropriate.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Hill and Department of Justice Criminal Division Trial Attorney Mi Yung Park of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, with the assistance of Jeanne Carstensen. The prosecution is the result of a one-year investigation by the FBI.

Please note: An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Brown must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Employee of Federal Contractor Charged with Disclosing National Defense Information to National News Reporter

WASHINGTON - A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia has returned an indictment charging Stephen Jin-Woo Kim with unlawfully disclosing national defense information to a reporter for a national news organization and making false statements to the FBI.

The indictment, which was unsealed today, was announced by David S. Kris, Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division; Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia; and Shawn Henry, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office.

Kim, age 43, was an employee of a federal contractor who was on detail to the State Department at the time of the alleged disclosure. Kim made his initial appearance today in court in the District of Columbia. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison for the unlawful disclosure of national defense information and up to five years in prison for the making of false statements.

According to the indictment, in June 2009, Kim knowingly and willfully disclosed information contained in an intelligence report classified Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) to a reporter for a national news organization who was not entitled to receive it. The classified information related to the national defense, specifically, intelligence sources and methods and intelligence concerning the military capabilities and preparedness of a particular foreign nation.

The indictment further alleges that, in September 2009, Kim made false statements to the FBI when he denied having had any contact with the reporter for a national news organization since meeting the reporter in March 2009, when in fact, Kim had had repeated contact with the reporter in the months following that meeting.

"The willful disclosure of classified information to those not entitled to it is a serious crime. Today’s indictment should serve as a warning to anyone who is entrusted with sensitive national security information and would consider compromising it," said Assistant Attorney General Kris. "I applaud the many agents, analysts and prosecutors who helped bring about today’s charges."

"The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting our nation’s secrets and bringing to justice those who betray the confidence placed in them by the American people. I want to thank the dedicated career prosecutors, investigators, and members of the intelligence community who worked tirelessly to uncover Mr. Kim’s wrongdoing and bring it before the court," said U.S. Attorney Machen.

"National defense information disclosed illegally to any person or organization is a crime and serves only those who wish to harm the United States and its citizens," said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Henry.

This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys G. Michael Harvey and Jonathan M. Malis of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, and Trial Attorney Patrick T. Murphy of the Counterespionage Section of the Justice Department’s National Security Division.

The public is reminded that an indictment contains mere allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted in a court of law.

Fairfield Man Sentenced to Prison for Role in $9 Million Investment Scam

CINCINNATI—Kevin Miller, 55, of Fairfield, was sentenced in United States District Court today to 15 months’ imprisonment for his role in a real estate investment fraud scheme between 2005 and 2008 that defrauded more than 90 victims out of more than $9 million.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Dugan T. Wong, Assistant Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Keith Bennett, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cincinnati Field Division (FBI); and Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper, announced the sentence handed down today by Senior United States District Judge Herman Weber.

In addition to the prison time, Miller’s sentence includes two years of supervised release and an order to pay restitution of $184,354.36 to the three victims directly affected by his actions. Miller is also prohibited from engaging in any further investment solicitation activity.

Miller pled guilty on January 21, 2010 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of obstruction of an investigation. According to court documents, Miller was a salesperson for Capital Investments. Capital Investments, Greater Miami Debentures and Great Miami Real Estate were three entities that duped victims into investing with them, claiming the investments were secure and backed by equity in real estate properties in Butler County, Ohio and in Florida. Many of the properties were not purchased or developed with investor monies and were owned by one of the conspirators, or the spouse or parent of a conspirator, and by November 2007 many of the properties lacked substantial equity, were in a state of disrepair, were in default, or were in some stage of foreclosure.

Miller or a co-conspirator sent a letter dated January 8, 2008 to one couple he had persuaded to invest with Capital Investments, representing that the investment was a "success" and continuing to be "an active player in the investment industry" providing "yields that are higher than those found elsewhere in the marketplace" when, in fact, by or before November 2007 all investors' money was gone, with many of the properties which purported to back the victims' investments in or approaching foreclosure.

In June, 2008, Miller tried to conceal his role in the investment scheme by falsely completing a questionnaire sent to victims by the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Securities which was investigating the sale of the unregistered securities.

One of Miller’s co-conspirators, James D. Powell, 53, of Hamilton, pled guilty on June 28, 2010, to conspiracy and wire fraud and is awaiting sentencing.

Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by Postal Inspectors, FBI agents, and investigators with the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Securities who investigated the case, and Senior Litigation Counsel Anne Porter, who prosecuted the case

Justice Department Seeks to Shut Down Two Georgia Tax Return Preparers

WASHINGTON – The United States has sued two Cobb County, Ga., tax preparers, seeking to put them out of business, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, seeks to permanently bar Christopher Musyoki and Samuel Nganga from preparing federal returns for others. The complaint also names Musyoki’s tax preparation business, Simba Consultants Inc.

According to the government complaint, Musyoki and Nganga have underreported their customers’ income, and have included numerous fabricated claims for earned income and child tax credits on tax returns they prepare. Musyoki has also allegedly made fraudulent claims for the fuel tax credit. The fuel tax credit is available only in limited circumstances for off-highway business use, and fraudulently claiming the credit is one of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) "Dirty Dozens" tax scams for 2010.

Friday, August 27, 2010

ViCAP

Fighting Violent Crime for 25 Years

When serial killers or rapists strike in different communities or even across multiple states, it may be hard to identify and capture them—because information about their crimes is stored separately in the files of various local police agencies.

But for the past 25 years, the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program, or ViCAP, has been used by state and local law enforcement across the nation precisely to help find and stop such dangerous villains by drawing links between their seemingly unconnected crimes.

ViCAP serves as the national repository for violent crimes, specifically those involving homicides, sexual assaults, missing persons, and unidentified human remains. The ViCAP Web National Crime Database is not available to the general public or the media—it’s strictly for law enforcement. Its information—obtainable through a secure website since 2008—is protected by strong encryption, controlled access, and strict adherence to federal privacy laws.

ViCAP is part of the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, and both operate under the auspices of our Critical Incident Response Group.

How it works. Investigators from participating agencies electronically enter in-depth data on their case directly into ViCAP Web. This can include details on the victim(s), type of trauma, weapons used, information about the suspect and any composite images, crime scene specifics, vehicle descriptions, modus operandi, and more.

Investigators can then search ViCAP Web for cases similar to theirs…anywhere in the United States. If any are found, investigators can read the details and—if they’re convinced there might actually be a link—reach out to the law enforcement agency point of contact for further discussion.

Meanwhile… At the ViCAP office in Virginia, FBI analysts review all incoming cases. First, they examine each submission to ensure the quality of the data. But then—based on public safety concerns and requests from investigators—they delve deeper into certain cases, looking for similarities, searching other FBI and non-FBI databases, and preparing reports that offer fresh investigative leads.

Where it all began. It’s only fitting that the idea for ViCAP—an investigative aid primarily intended for state and local law enforcement—came from a local police officer. In the 1970s, a Los Angeles Police Department homicide investigator named Pierce Brooks was hunting through major city newspapers at the public library for articles on murders similar to the ones he was investigating. He thought, “What if this information was contained in a searchable system?” He pitched his idea to the Department of Justice, and in the summer of 1985, Brooks became ViCAP’s first program manager.

Since then, over 4,000 law enforcement agencies have submitted more than 90,000 individual cases. For privacy reasons, we can’t discuss operational successes, but we can tell you there have been an untold number of leads generated for cases that might have otherwise gone cold. Countless suspects have been identified. And many missing persons have been located and unidentified human remains given names, thus bringing closure to their families.

Major J.R. Burton of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office in Florida, who is currently serving as chairman of the ViCAP National Advisory Board and who has been using the system for the past 15 years, said, “ViCAP gives local and state investigators real advantages—direct access to a national database, analytical support to help identify a suspect, and connectivity to the cases of law enforcement agencies nationwide.”

In short, ViCAP is a win-win resource—for the agencies that use it to solve cases and for members of the public who are better protected at the end of the day.

ICE nabs El Salvadoran for possession of and production of child porn

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico. - Special agents with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested a Luquillo, Puerto Rico, resident Tuesday for possession and production of child porn.

Jose Argueta, 54, of El Salvador, who was residing illegally in the United States, was arrested by HSI special agents when a search of his residence on June 30 revealed several videotapes containing inappropriate sexual activity involving two minors. He was charged with violations to Title 18, United Sates Code, Section 2251(a).

"This arrest sends a strong message to anyone who would even consider exploiting children in this manner," said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special agent in charge of the ICE HSI office in Puerto Rico. "People who create and possess child pornography are truly putting our children at risk-we're talking about images and videos depicting the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in horrific ways. We will continue to work closely with our local, state and federal partners to seek justice for those who perpetrate these despicable crimes."

Argueta is in federal custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) where he remains awaiting the outcome of his case. ICE will begin deportation proceedings once his criminal case is complete.

Any person, or victim, with information about Argueta's illegal activities is encouraged to contact ICE at 787-729-6969.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable. Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested almost 12,000 individuals through Operation Predator.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

Twelve Members of the Bloods Street Gang Indicted on Racketeering, Murder, Drug Distribution, and Firearms Charges

An indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn this morning charging members of the “Nine-Trey Gangsters,” also known as the “Bugout Boyz,” a set of the Bloods street gang, with racketeering, murder, drug distribution, and firearms offenses. Two defendants, including Laron Spicer, were charged with the July 18, 2008, murder of a drug rival; eight defendants were charged with racketeering; nine defendants were charged with illegally possessing guns in connection with drug trafficking; three defendants were charged with armed robbery; and all defendants were charged with conspiring to distribute heroin and cocaine.1 The defendants arrested today are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Andrew L. Carter, Jr., at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. The case is assigned to United States District Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr.

The charges were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Janice K. Fedarcyk, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.

FBI and NYPD depart police station with subject during this morning’s arrests.

Photo credit: Richard Kolko, FBI New York

According to the indictment and a detention memorandum filed by the government, a two-year joint investigation by the FBI and the NYPD revealed that the Nine- Trey Gangsters operated for at least 12 years on Sterling Place in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, where they controlled four apartment buildings which they used as a focal point for crack cocaine and heroin dealing. The gang members allegedly dominated the illegal activity on their block and committed shootings, slashings, and other acts of violence to protect their turf. On July 18, 2008, armed gang members allegedly attempted to rob the apartment of a rival drug dealer on Sterling Place, and beat one individual in the apartment with a handgun. Later that same day, two of the defendants allegedly lured a rival drug dealer into the street where they shot him to death. Also during the summer of 2008, one of the defendants forced a resident of Sterling Place from her apartment at gunpoint, and the gang turned the apartment into a crack den.

“Today’s charges and arrests are yet another example of our commitment to eliminating gang violence and restoring our communities to their residents who wish to live, work, and raise families in peace,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to free our neighborhoods from the twin evils of narcotics trafficking and the violence it breeds.” Ms. Lynch thanked the Kings County District Attorney’s Office for its assistance and stated that the government’s investigation is continuing.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Fedarcyk stated, “As alleged in the indictment and other government filings, Laron Spicer was committed to an enterprise that not only terrorized people of the Brooklyn neighborhood where this gang operated, but affected interstate and foreign commerce by engaging in a great deal of illegal activity and acts of violence to include murder. He was allegedly the ‘Face’ of an organization responsible for instilling fear and trepidation into the lives of innocent people, but now he must face the FBI and our fellow law enforcement partners as we enforce the law and vigorously pursue justice.”



NYPD Commissioner Kelly stated, “This case is an example of the relationship between drugs and violent crime, where individuals use illegal guns and murder to battle rivals over a drug trafficking market. I want to commend the detectives, agents, and prosecutors who worked together to bring these alleged gang members to justice.”

If convicted of murder, Spicer and a co-defendant face up to life imprisonment or the death penalty. If convicted on the drug distribution conspiracy charge, each of the 12 defendants faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison. If convicted of illegal firearms possession, nine of the defendants face mandatory sentences of at least five years and a maximum of life in prison.

The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Amatruda and Zainab Ahmad.

Operation Targets Gang Violence

More than 160 Arrested During Multi-Agency Gang-Violence Reduction Law Enforcement Operation

WASHINGTON – Carroll Allbery, Acting United States Marshal for the Northern District of Oklahoma, joined by Chief Chuck Jordan of the Tulsa Police Department, today announced the culmination of a strategic gang enforcement operation that removed 163 violent gang members and gang member associates from the streets of the Tulsa metropolitan area.

Dubbed Operation Triple Beam, the goal of the operation was to combat the crime and violence associated with gang activity in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area. The two-week operation represents the commitment of law enforcement to reduce violent crime through multi-agency gang enforcement operations.

More than 40 law enforcement officers from the U.S. Marshals Service, the Tulsa Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and other federal, state, and local agencies combined resources that served as a force-multiplier to bring the most violent gang members to justice and remove deadly guns and drugs from the streets of Tulsa.

“This operation is a great example of multiple law enforcement agencies working together to reduce violent crime,” said Acting Marshal Allbery. “As a result of this initiative, many known violent-gang members were taken off the street, and the proactive nature of this mission was paramount in stopping gang activity before it occurred. The amount of guns, drugs, and other contraband that was seized highlights the operation’s compounded success. The citizens of Tulsa are truly safer as the result of this operation thanks to the officers, deputies, and agents involved.”

This operation employed a systematic and sustained approach to reduce violent gang crime. It illustrates the U.S. Marshals Service’s overarching gang enforcement strategy, which aims to join anti-gang resources from federal, state, and local partners, utilizing each agency’s expertise to remove violent gangs and gang members.

“Anyone who reads the newspaper or watches television news can tell you that there has been a significant absence of gang-related shootings and violence in the past two weeks,” said Police Chief Jordan. “This reduction can be directly attributed to the aggressive efforts of the agents, officers, and deputies involved in Operation Triple Beam. This has been an outstanding example of how coordinated efforts between federal and local law enforcement can have a positive effect on our community. We look forward to participating in similar operations in the future.”

Operation Triple Beam yielded substantial results. Authorities seized 46 firearms, $15,000 in U.S. currency, 167.5 grams of crack cocaine, and 2077.51 grams of marijuana.

The operation also resulted in the following significant arrests:

• Christopher “Quartertop” Price, a Hoover Crip gang member, who was wanted for shooting with intent to kill and on federal charges of marijuana trafficking. He also is a person of interest in several unsolved homicides and shootings over the last several years.

• Miguel “Spider” Lopez, who was wanted for delivery of a controlled drug. Lopez is considered the leader of the South Land Wicked gang, a splinter group of the Sureños gang.

• Marquis Craven, who was wanted for possession of a firearm by a felon. A member of the 4Duece gang, Craven had been released from federal prison just months earlier and is still on federal probation.

• Marquis “Pig” Smith, a 55 Hoover Crip gang member, who was wanted on two counts of shooting with intent to kill. During the arrest, Smith attempted to flee from officers by running into a home. Officers not only arrested Smith, but were able to serve a search warrant on the house, which resulted in the recovery of five handguns, eight long guns, more than two pounds of marijuana, scales, $200 in counterfeit currency, and $99 in U.S. currency.

• Operation Triple Beam officers gathered information in the unsolved homicide of Hoover Crip gang member, Shawn “4Years” Hatcher. With this information, Tulsa Police Homicide detectives were able to issue first degree murder warrants for Colin Profit and Kadrian Daniel, both of whom are affiliated with the Hoover Crips gang main rival, the 47 Green Team. Within 72 hours of the warrants being issued, Operation Triple Beam officers arrested both Profit and Daniels, who was found to be in possession of a loaded .357 caliber revolver at the time of his arrest.

• Operation Triple Beam officers investigated a shooting between Juarito and Sureño gang members who were fighting while driving on a congested highway in Tulsa. Investigators located a .380 handgun on the side of the road that was used in the shooting. Eric Hernandez, Juan Hernandez, Xavier Coronado, and Jose Rivera, all of whom are Juarito gang member associates, were arrested for the shooting.

• “This operation is an example of the best the Marshals Service has to offer when it comes to fostering cooperation among our law enforcement partners in the fight against violent crime,” said T. Michael Earp, USMS Assistant Director for Investigative Operations. “Operation Triple Beam will serve as a nationwide model for similar initiatives designed to tackle gang-related violence and take back our communities. I commend all of the participants for a job well done.”

Participating agencies included the ATF, the U.S. Secret Service, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, the Broken Arrow Police Department, the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office, the Claremore Police Department, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma and the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office provided critical assistance to the operation.

Ringleader of international drug trafficking organization sentenced

PHILADELPHIA - Phuong Thi Tran, 39, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, was sentenced on August 24 to 70 months in prison for her role in two drug trafficking conspiracies, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Zane Memeger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara L. McQuade and Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement John Morton.

Tran was the ringleader of an international drug trafficking organization which smuggled millions of ecstasy pills and other drugs from Canada into the United States between 2002 and her arrest in April 2008. The drugs were manufactured in Canada by various Asian organized crime groups and were distributed to drug dealers across the United States. Tran and her associates often smuggled 100,000 ecstasy pills into the United States per week.

Tran's role in this drug smuggling conspiracy initially came to light during the course of an investigation by special agents with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Detroit after they had seized several shipment of drugs which Tran had arranged to smuggle into the United States. In October 2006, a grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan indicted Tran for conspiring to distribute ecstasy pills.

At the same time, ICE-HSI special agents in Philadelphia were conducting a separate but related investigation. This investigation culminated in September 2007, when Tran and her associates sent two couriers, Jessica McNeill and Krystal Grant, to deliver 100,000 ecstasy pills to customers in Philadelphia and Boston. Unbeknownst to Tran and her associates, ICE-HSI special agents learned of this shipment and, with the assistance of Philadelphia Police, stopped the couriers' vehicle and seized the drugs. In December 2009, Tran was charged by the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania with conspiracy to distribute ecstasy pills. The charges from Detroit were then transferred to Philadelphia.

For the past several years, the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime & Racketeering Section in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney's Offices have been working closely with ICE-HSI, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and various Canadian law enforcement agencies, to crack down on these Asian organized crime groups which smuggle billions of dollars worth of drugs into the United States from Canada each year.

The case was prosecuted in Detroit by Assistant United States Attorney Kathryn McCarthy. The case was prosecuted in Philadelphia by Trial Attorney Robert Livermore of the United States Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. The case was investigated by special agents with the ICE-HSI. The investigation also received assistance from: the Drug Enforcement Administration, Philadelphia Police, Pennsylvania State Police, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Ontario Provincial Police Department, and the Toronto Metropolitan Police Department.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

ATF Announces $5,000 Reward in Gun Theft

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Special Agent in Charge Bernard J. Zapor of the St. Paul Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), today announced that ATF is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the theft of firearms that occurred at Gene’s Sports Shop in Perham, Minn.

Several firearms were stolen during a burglary of the federally licensed firearms dealer between Aug. 11 and 12.

ATF and the Perham Police Department are investigating the theft.

“We need the public’s assistance in providing information that will assist in recovering these stolen firearms and bring justice to the person or persons responsible for this crime,” said Zapor.

Any information regarding this burglary should be reported to:

St. Paul ATF Office at (701) 293-2860 or Perham Police Department at (218) 346-4452

St. Paul Police Dept. Officer Recipient of ATF National Award

ST. PAUL, Minn. — A St. Paul Police Department (SPPD) officer was presented today with the ATF Jake Kuredjian Memorial Award by U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Deputy Director Kenneth E. Melson at ATF’s 14th Annual Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C.

SPPD Sergeant Don Benner, currently assigned to the ATF Violent Crime Impact Team, was presented the award for significantly contributing to the safety of special agents during the preparation, planning and implementation of an enforcement operation with ATF. The Jake Kuredjian Memorial Award is an honorary award established in memory of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy Hagop “Jake” Kuredjian, who died Aug. 31, 2001, in the line of duty while responding to a “shots fired” barricade situation that involved the safety of ATF special agents. The award became effective in 2002.

“Law enforcement is an inherently dangerous occupation. Life and death situations necessitate having experienced, respected law enforcement officers to make immediate decisions. Sgt. Benner’s experience as a patrol officer, detective, and SWAT Team member has been invaluable in protecting his fellow officers, special agents, and the public during enforcement operations,” said ATF St. Paul Field Division Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Bernard J. Zapor whose office nominated Sgt. Benner.

“Those of us who have worked with Sgt. Benner know that this award is well deserved. His skills and leadership have long been valued by the St. Paul Police Department. We are proud of Sgt. Benner’s work, and proud of him,” said SPPD Chief Thomas Smith.

The event honored law enforcement officers, citizens and ATF agents for acts of heroism, service and commitment to public safety.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

California Man Sentenced to Serve 295 Months in Prison in Child Pornography Case

WASHINGTON—David Grummer, 44, of San Diego, was sentenced late Friday to 295 months in prison following his conviction on 18 counts of receipt of child pornography and five counts of possession of child pornography, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy for the Southern District of California.

Grummer was convicted by a federal jury in San Diego on June 24, 2010. Grummer is also required to register as a sex offender and to serve 15 years of supervised release following his prison term. Grummer has been detained since his arrest on Dec. 5, 2008.

The case originated from a joint investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Office of Criminal Enforcement and the FBI into the illegal sale of chlordane and DDT on the Internet. According to court documents and three days of trial testimony, Grummer, who was employed at a hazardous waste recycling facility, was selling banned chemicals on the Internet. Following an EPA, Office of Criminal Enforcement and FBI search of his residence in Oceanside, Calif., forensic examiners discovered child pornography on one of the computer hard drives seized. According to evidence at trial and court documents, the FBI Cyber Squad then conducted an investigation that led to a second search of the residence and the discovery of hundreds of images of child pornography on five separate hard drives. Additional forensic analysis revealed Grummer utilized file share programs to search for and download images depicting the sexual exploitation of children.

Not Guilty Pleas in North Providence Corruption Probe

PROVIDENCE, RI—Former North Providence town councilmen Joseph S. Burchfield, Raymond L. Douglas III and John A. Zambarano pled not guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Providence to conspiracy, extortion, and bribery charges. A federal grand jury handed up a superseding indictment Thursday, alleging the defendants and others extorted bribes from several businesses appearing before the town council. Zambarano also pleaded not guilty to making a false statement to the FBI.

The not guilty pleas, which were entered before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David L. Martin, were announced by U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. The defendants remain free on unsecured bond.

The alleged conspiracy includes four extorted bribe attempts, including a $25,000 bribe in exchange for a supermarket development zoning change; a $75,000 bribe in exchange for a zoning change which would permit residential development at an old mill in the Lymansville section of North Providence (of which $21,000 in cash was delivered); the attempted extortion of $3,000 from a bar owner seeking a liquor license (the bribe was not paid); and the attempted extortion of $5,000 from a restaurant owner seeking an extended hours permit (the bribe was not paid).

In addition to the conspiracy charge, the indictment charges each defendant as it relates to their roles in each of the four alleged extortion and bribery schemes. The indictment also includes asset forfeiture allegations which seek to recoup $46,000 in bribe money.

The matter continues to be investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha once again urged anyone with knowledge related to the conduct alleged to contact the FBI. He noted, “The investigation is not over. Anyone with information would do well to step forward.”

Potential maximum sentences for each charge contained in the indictment include five years in federal prison, three years' supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for conspiracy; 10 years in federal prison, three years' supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for bribery; 20 years in federal prison, five years' supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for extortion; and five years in federal prison, three years' supervised release, and a $250,000 fine for false statement to a federal agent.

Also named in the indictment are Attorney Robert S. Ciresi, 77, of Hope, R.I., and Edward Imondi, 73, of North Providence, R.I., who allegedly acted as middlemen. The indictment alleges that both Ciresi and Imondi received a portion of the respective bribes they delivered. They are scheduled to be arraigned in U.S. District Court on Wednesday.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John P. McAdams and Terrence P. Donnelly.

Rhode Island State Police, Providence Police, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division have also assisted in the investigation.

An indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Fifteen-Year Sentence for Child Sexual Abuse

BISMARCK, ND—Acting United States Attorney Lynn Jordheim announced that on August 23, 2010, Francis M. Baker, Jr., 36, of McLaughlin, South Dakota, was sentenced before United States District Court Judge Daniel L. Hovland on a charge of aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

Judge Hovland sentenced Baker to 15 years in federal prison, to be followed by 10 years of supervised release. Baker must pay a $100 special assessment to the Crime Victim’s Fund. Baker was ordered to register as a sex offender.

Baker pled guilty to the charge on May 18, 2010. Baker admitted that from between September 1995 to August 2002, on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, he engaged in a sexual act with a child under 12 years of age.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and Northern Plains Children’s Advocacy Center.

The United States Attorney’s Office prosecuted this case under the Project Safe Childhood Initiative.

Assistant United States Attorney Gary Delorme prosecuted the case.

Former Chief Accounting Officer for Beazer Homes USA, Inc. Indicted on 11 Criminal Counts

Federal Charges Include Conspiracy, Obstruction, and Witness Tampering

CHARLOTTE, NC—Michael T. Rand, 48, of Alpharetta, Georgia, and former Chief Accounting Officer for Beazer Homes USA, Inc. (hereafter, “Beazer”), has been charged in a 11-count federal bill of indictment with conspiracy, securities fraud, obstruction, witness tampering, false statements to a financial institution, misleading conduct, and destruction of records. Rand appeared today before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in U.S. District Court in Asheville and was ordered detained pending a detention hearing. The charges arise from an ongoing government investigation involving Beazer and its employees. In July 2009, a federal bill of information was filed in U.S. District Court charging Beazer with, among other things, participation in the conspiracy and securities fraud with Rand. Beazer accepted responsibility for those charges and, in a deferred prosecution agreement, agreed to pay restitution over time up to $50,000,000.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney David A. Brown of the Western District of North Carolina, and Owen D. Harris, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina, announced today that the bill of indictment charging Rand was filed under seal on August 18, 2010, and unsealed today in open court.

According to the indictment, Rand is alleged to have directed an accounting fraud conspiracy to manipulate Beazer’s books and records, to deceive Beazer’s auditors, and to achieve earnings targets, and to boost or lower earnings at Beazer. The conspiracy is alleged to have gone on from at least in or about 2000 through in or about 2007.

The indictment alleges that Rand and others executed the conspiracy in two main ways: First, between 2005 and 2006, it is alleged, Rand entered into a hidden oral side agreement with another company through one of its employees, which was designed to allow Beazer to obtain cash and recognize revenue from purported “sales” of model homes. This activity was, according to the allegations, in direct contravention of the accounting rules as interpreted by Beazer’s auditors, and, as alleged, was hidden from Beazer’s auditors. Second,between 2000 and 2007, the indictment further alleges, Rand directed and agreed with others to engage in a scheme to commit securities fraud and create false books and records at Beazer by practicing a form of what is commonly known as “cookie jar accounting,” which allowed Rand and others to manipulate Beazer’s publicly reported financial statements.

The indictment alleges in count one that Rand conspired with Beazer, Employee #1, Company #1, and others, to commit securities fraud, to make misleading statements to Beazer’s auditors and accountants, to circumvent Beazer’s internal accounting controls, and to falsify books, records, and accounts of Beazer. Count two of the indictment alleges mail/wire fraud conspiracy in relation to the accounting fraud. Count three alleges securities fraud in that the defendant, in carrying out the conspiracy, operated a fraud upon Beazer investors and others in connection with the sale of Beazer’s common stock.

Counts four and five of the indictment allege that Rand made false statements and reports to Wachovia Bank. Count four refers specifically to a loan in excess of $35 million by Wachovia for use by Beazer in the “West Morehead Project” in Charlotte. The indictment alleges that in March 2009, Beazer was unable to complete the “West Morehead Project” and defaulted on the loan, resulting in loss to Wachovia of over $5 million. Count five refers specifically to a several hundred million dollar line of credit from a syndicate of lenders, including Wachovia, in which Wachovia relied upon and reviewed Beazer’s financial statements, which Rand and others, allegedly fraudulently manipulated.

Count six alleges that Rand obstructed justice in that he corruptly altered, destroyed, and concealed records, intending to impair their availability for the use of a federal grand jury. Count seven charges destruction of records, alleging that Rand altered, destroyed and covered up records and documents with the intent to impede the criminal investigation. Counts eight and nine allege that on two separate occasions Rand knowingly and corruptly engaged in misleading conduct toward another person with the intent to hinder, delay, or prevent communication of information to the FBI in the course of the criminal investigation.

Count ten alleges witness tampering, and count eleven alleges obstruction of an official proceeding, to wit, the proceeding of the federal grand jury.

Rand faces maximum statutory penalties, if convicted, as follows:

• Count One: Five years and a $250,000 fine

• Count Two: 20 years and a $250,000 fine

• Count Three: 20 years and a $250,000 fine

• Counts Four and Five: 30 years and $1,000,000 fine

• Count Six: 20 years and a $250,000 fine

• Count Seven: 20 years and a $250,000 fine

• Counts Eight and Nine: 20 years and a $250,000 fine

• Count Ten: 20 years and a $250,000 fine

• Count Eleven: 20 years and a $250,000 fine.

It is important to note that any sentence received upon conviction will be influenced by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which the Court consults in order to determine a defendant’s actual sentence. Sentences are based upon a formula that takes into account the severity and characteristics of the offense and each defendant’s criminal history, if any.

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. In the American justice system, a person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty in a court of law.

First Assistant U.S. Attorney Brown credits the FBI with leading the investigation that resulted in the filing of these charges. The Government is represented in this matter by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kurt Meyers of the U.S. Attorney’s Criminal Division in Charlotte.

Alien removed from U.S. 8 times charged with immigration violation

PITTSBURGH - A citizen of Mexico has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on a criminal charge of violating federal immigration laws. On August 17, the one count indictment was announced and named Victor Manuel Gonzalez Martinez, a/k/a Victor Gonzalez, 28, of Mexico as the sole defendant.

According to the indictment in the criminal court records, Gonzalez Martinez, an alien from Mexico, was removed from the United States on May 19, 2004, May 23, 2004, May 25, 2004, Nov. 13, 2005, Sept. 26, 2006, Oct. 26, 2006, Oct. 31, 2006, and Dec. 29, 2006. He reentered the United States and was found in Greene County on or about June 29, 2010, without having applied for and received permission from the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case. Assistant United States Attorney A. Elliot McLean is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of two years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Dubois, Pa. man pleads guilty to possession of child pornography

PITTSBURGH - A resident of Dubois, Pa., pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of possessing child pornography on August 16. Richard W. Prew, 38, pleaded guilty to one count.

According to court records, Prew knowingly possessed pictures and videos in individual computer graphic files on Feb. 5, 2010 which were produced using minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The computer graphic files were shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Pennsylvania State Police conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Prew. Assistant United States Attorney John J. Valkovci, Jr., is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

Prew is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 16, 2010, at 10 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based upon the seriousness of the offense and the criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Pending sentencing, the court continued Prew on bond.

The investigation that led to this case was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Denton Area Doctor Charged with Health Care Fraud

PLANO, TX—A 54-year-old Plano woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury for health care fraud violations in the Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Odette Campbell was indicted by a federal grand jury on Aug. 18, 2010, and charged with 30 counts of health care fraud and five counts of altering records during a federal investigation. Campbell surrendered to authorities on Aug. 23, 2010 and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Don Bush for an initial appearance.

According to information presented in court, Campbell, a physician with medical facilities in Denton and Corinth, Texas, is alleged to have defrauded Medicare, Medicaid, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas by billing for more expensive services than those provided to patients. She is also alleged to have altered medical records, after they had been requested by authorities, in an attempt to cover up the fraud.

If convicted, Campbell faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

This case is being investigated by the FBI, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit of the Texas Attorney General's Office and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Texas. This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard Blackmon.

It is important to note that an indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Wise County, Texas Man Sentenced to Four Years in Federal Prison for Possessing Child Pornography

FORT WORTH, TX—Kenneth Dale Chase, 50, of Wise County, Texas, was sentenced this morning by U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means, to 48 months in prison following his guilty plea in May to one count of possession of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. Judge Means also ordered that Chase register as a sex offender and serve a lifetime of supervised release following his imprisonment. He must surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on September 20, 2010.

According to documents filed in the case, on January 18, 2008, a Pengo Technologies computer disk was discovered in Chase’s vehicle. Upon review of its contents, the FBI was notified. They reviewed the disk’s contents and discovered numerous images and videos of child pornography. That examination resulted in FBI agents locating child pornography and Chase admitting that he had viewed child pornography that he had obtained from the Internet on his computer.

Chase admitted that between January 15, 2008, and February 7, 2008, he downloaded images of child pornography from the Internet onto his computer and external storage media.