Criminal Justice News

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


DETROIT – Special Agent in Charge David L. McCain of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Detroit Field Division, and Special Agent in Charge Robert D. Foley III of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Detroit Division announced today that each agency is contributing $50,000 to the reward being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual (s) responsible for the I-96 corridor shootings.

Since October 16, 2012 there have been 25 shooting incidents, with the most recent shootings occurring on Saturday October 27, 2012. Saturday’s shootings resulted in a non-life threatening injury to a man driving eastbound on I-96 from the Kalamazoo area to attend the World Series game in Detroit. This is the first injury associated with the string of shootings.

In addition to the ATF and FBI reward, Crime Stoppers is offering an additional $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual (s) responsible for the shootings, bringing the total reward up to $102,000.

Special Agent in Charge McCain said “These senseless shootings must be stopped. This individual has no regard for public safety and is attempting to cause injury and fear to citizens that utilize I-96 on an everyday basis. The danger and burden these shooting incidents place on our citizens is unacceptable. These shootings are now one of ATF’s Detroit Field Division’s top priorities. I have authorized additional personnel and resources to the task force, and we will continue to work with our local, county, state and federal law enforcement partners to bring this individual (s) to justice”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Foley said, "The person or persons responsible for these random, violent shootings has demonstrated a reckless disregard for human life. These acts of violence pose a serious threat that is being answered by numerous law enforcement agencies including the FBI. The FBI continues to provide resources in order to facilitate apprehension and remains committed to supporting the task force.
 “The FBI is also putting forward $50,000 towards the reward, and together with ATF’s contribution, brings the total amount of the reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the responsible person or persons to $102,000.00. All tips will remain confidential."

Clarence Goodlein, Director of the Wixom Police Department said “The posting of a cash reward, and its recent increase to $100,000 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigations are outstanding, and a demonstration of these agencies’ commitment to law enforcement and communities. The assistance of these agencies with our investigation of these shootings and their concern for the safety of our residents and others across southeastern Michigan illustrates their dedication to the principles of justice and public safety. I greatly appreciate the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and their assignment of personnel and other assets to this investigation as well as the posting of this reward”.

These shooting incidents are being investigated jointly by the Wixom Police Department, Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, Livingston Sheriff’s Office, and Walled Lake Police Department, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Michigan State Police, ATF, USMS and the FBI.
ATF, FBI and Crime Stoppers are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the individuals responsible. Anyone with information is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 1 800- SPEAK-UP (1 800 773-2587)

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Prosecutor’s View-Death Sentence Delayed for 35 Years

One July evening in 1977, when I was a three year prosecutor, I received a call from County Homicide to respond to a scene.  It was a scene from Hell.   Homicide duty in those days was definitely not like being the Maytag repairman. Being on duty for a week at a time, you saw upwards of nine or ten bodies, and that was only in your half of the county. But rarely was it more than a double.

This was in a middle class black neighborhood, known as Carol City, in north Dade County, Florida, now in the city of Miami Gardens. There were five dead bodies, laid out like the spokes of a wheel.  All had their hands bound behind their backs. They were shot in the head.  After I said “Wow!” one of the detectives took me into a second bedroom and showed me number six. I had been a NPYD cop in the South Bronx for six years before law school and had never seen anything like this.

Two months before, an elderly couple in Miami for a funeral, were found beaten, bound, and shot to death in their motel room on U.S. 1.  The bullets were from the same gun to be used in the Carol City massacre. No one was ever charged in those murders.

Ten months later John Errol Ferguson, and three others were in custody.  Seems Ferguson, six months after the Carol City Six, so named by the media, found a young couple in a lovers’ lane.  He raped the girl and shot both in the head.  The gun used would be proven to have been stolen from the Carol City home.

Ferguson was convicted separately of murdering the two teenagers, Belinda Worley, a 17 year old Hialeah High School senior, and Brian Glenfeldt, also 17. A particularly vicious rape, Belinda’s mouth and throat were full of sand reflecting her position (and mental anguish) during the horrific assault.

Ferguson made the mistake of telling his girlfriend and she dropped a dime on him.  Our Chief of Homicide took the cases and within six months had flipped the driver of the lookout car and had the three men inside the house on Death Row.  Things moved a lot faster in those days.

The robbers identified the house as that of a small time marijuana dealer and decided to stage a robbery.  Ferguson claimed to be a utility repairman to gain entrance (indicative of someone so mentally ill he does not understand what is going on?).   The problem was that the homeowner was not there, so the robbers waited.  As people came in, they were bound.  The robbers wore masks.

Eventually, with eight victims on the floor (six in one room and two in another) one of the robber’s masks fell off.  Fearing an identification, a decision was made to kill them all. Two people turned their heads at the last moment and survived.  They came to court and testified how the other six died.

Buford White stood at the front door with a gun to prevent anyone from trying to leave.  He shot no one, but was convicted of six counts of felony murder, inter alia (and various robbery and kidnapping charges).
Marvin Francois, and Ferguson went around shooting the victims in the head. They were also convicted as charged and sentenced to death.  All were tried separately; additional emotional trauma for the victims’ families. After this trial, Ferguson was tried and also convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of the young couple. In 1985 Francois was executed and after I argued to the governor (and later senator, Bob Graham) and clemency board, White was also executed, in 1987.

“Had White not blocked the door with a gun, who knows who might have tried to escape. His actions led to these six deaths, as much as if he pulled the trigger himself,” I offered.  Why is Ferguson still in court in 2012?  Good question.

In Florida, the Office of the Attorney General handles criminal appeals.  If a hearing is needed in which witnesses must testify, such as motions alleging ineffective assistance of counsel, or mental health issues, the AG, very fine appellate attorneys, call upon the State Attorney, the original trial prosecutors, to assist with these live witnesses.  The trial prosecutor, Bob Kaye, having been given a well deserved appointment to the criminal bench, could no longer handle this matter.  I was assigned.

Years after Ferguson’s convictions and sentences were upheld by the Florida Supreme Court, his attorneys filed motions arguing that he was too mentally ill to assist them in prosecuting his continuing appeals (involving numerous technical procedural matters). Mental health experts and lay people testified in state court at hearings in 1988.  The judge denied the motion on two grounds.  First the appeals were all legal matters and the lawyers did not need his help.  Whatever happened at trial was in the transcripts. Furthermore, the court found Ferguson to be malingering and embellishing his symptoms (He did have a history of mental problems, but they were far from those supporting an insanity defense or what was alleged here.  As a matter of fact, at the trial for the murders of the teenagers, an insanity defense was presented.  The jury rejected it.  A SODDI defense was used for the Carol City case—Some other dude did it!  That too was rejected.).

This was appealed to the Florida Supreme Court and they upheld the rulings. However, because the right to a fair trial is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, what happened in the Florida courts is, what one federal judge once said, “merely interesting.”

So in 2004, we did it all again in federal court. Ferguson’s attorneys called three mental health experts.  The state countered with two forensic psychologists and a few correction officers and other personnel from Death Row. These lay witnesses have proved very effective over the years in these types of cases.  They see the defendant for upwards of forty hours a week, sometimes for years on end.  They talk about a variety of topics with the inmates, usually sports or current events.  On these topics there is no problem communicating. When I ask them if they ever saw the defendant act strange, or have a blank stare on his face, or make incoherent statements, they usually say, “Only when I tell him there is a doctor in the interview room.”
I tried a cop killer in the early 1980′s.  Early on, his lawyers asked for a competency hearing, as they were having trouble communicating with him.  A few doctors agreed.

At the hearing, I saw a young woman sitting in the courtroom.  Not knowing who she was, I called her to the stand, not having much to lose. Once she said she was his girlfriend I asked if she had visited him in the jail since his arrest.  “Yes.”  “What did he say?” I queried.  Her answer sealed his fate, “I think I fooled the doctors!!”

Tragically he too, has been on Death Row thirty years.

Back to John Errol. In Federal Court, the allegation was made that Ferguson had no concept of being killed.  If he could not appreciate the punishment, why impose it (History tells us the British navy used to suspend a flogging when the subject passed out. They waited until he was revived so he could “appreciate it.”).

We called as a witness a psychiatric nurse who worked on Death Row.  If she saw any conduct that merited the psychiatrist’s attention, she would so advise.  She also monitored Death Row mail for security reasons.  Seems Ferguson was pen paling a woman in Connecticut.  He wrote her that he did not want to be buried in the Potter’s Field behind the prison and asked her to bring his body to her church cemetery for a proper burial. So much for his lack of appreciation.

After the very experienced federal judge (who was the former chief state judge of the county) heard five days of testimony, he too, ruled that Ferguson was malingering.  In 2009 the U.S. Court of Appeals wrote a lengthy and very detailed opinion explaining the history of the case and pointing out how the judge below heard substantial evidence to support his ruling.  The U.S. Supreme Court denied further review the next year.

I remember seeing an elderly woman at the hearing in federal court.  She looked familiar.  Turns out I met her at the mental health hearing in state court years before.  She was the young man’s mother. She reminded me her son Brian would be 43 years old soon. I apologized for not being able to explain to her why we were still in court.  The young girl’s mother died a few months ago.  She had prophesized that Ferguson would outlive her.

Motions were still being filed as late as last week, alleging Ferguson’s mental health issues.  The governor appointed a commission to re evaluate Ferguson.  He was found competent to be executed.  Then a state judge held another hearing and more experts testified.  The corrections officers also testified again.  They said when Ferguson was advised the governor had signed the death warrant, he asked that they call his attorneys, his spiritual advisor and his family. His request for a last meal was also discussed. Again Ferguson was found to be competent.  The Florida Supreme Court affirmed.

In 2002, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled, in Atkins v. Virginia, 6-3, that executing mentally retarded individuals violates the constitution. Since then, it is amazing how many capital defendants allege they are retarded.

A death warrant was signed for the execution to be carried out in the month of October, 2012. The last week was hectic.  Ferguson’s execution date was set three times.  Each time it was stayed to allow his attorneys more time to file motions, twice by state courts.  The last stay was entered by the federal judge who heard the five day hearing in 2004, so he could entertain more arguments. That stay was lifted by the U.S. Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court, having rejected his appeals several times, chose not to intervene.

Then hours before the scheduled execution, the court of appeals reversed themselves and stayed it again!  The Supremes upheld the stay.  Hearings will be held next month!

How do we explain this to the victims’ families, some of whom were at the prison waiting to see the sentence carried out?  Is there no justice for them?

David Waksman
Assistant State Attorney (Ret.)
Major Crimes Division
Miami-Dade County, Florida

David M. Waksman, J.D., is a nationally known former homicide prosecutor with vast experience in trying violent offenders and a former sergeant with the NYPD. He served for 35 years with of the Miami-Dade (Fla.) State Attorney’s Office, primarily in the Major Crimes Division. He teaches Case Preparation and Courtroom Presentation, Police Involved Shootings, Injury and Death Investigation and Criminal Law at the Miami Dade College School of Justice, In-Service Training Unit and at various police departments in South Florida.  His specialty is Fourth and Fifth Amendment issues. He has tried almost 200 jury trials, including 79 for first-degree murder. He is the author of the Search and Seizure Handbook, 3/ed.  It was cited by the United States Supreme Court in Hudson v. Michigan, 547 U.S. 586 (2006), available from Prentice Hall.

Preventing domestic violence key to healthy relationships

by Senior Airman Benjamin Stratton
92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

10/26/2012 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- When punches are thrown, feelings are bruised and a family is crushed, violence within the home becomes a sobering subject.

Domestic violence has the power to seep into any household within the Fairchild community, according to Fairchild's Domestic Abuse Victim Advocate, Janet Bunn. Educating the community is the key to preventing domestic violence.

"Recognizing the signs of domestic violence and having the tools to intervene are vital in the fight against domestic abuse," she said. "Teaching people how and when to approach the subject with a suspected victim is one of the tools needed and then following with what to say and what not to say to the suspected victim. Remember the goal is to get the victim safe whether they stay or leave the relationship."

How it begins
The cycle of domestic violence can be just one day or it may escalate over a period of weeks or months depending upon the relationship.

"Victims never get hit or punched on the first date," said Bunn. "Controlling behavior can start very subtly. The relationship can be rushed and the boundaries within it are determined by the controller."

Domestic violence begins with the formation of an unhealthy relationship, meaning without shared responsibility, economic partnership, respect, negotiation and fairness, honesty and accountability, trust and support, according to Bunn, who describes abusive relationships as a three part cycle.

Cycle of abuse
Though each relationship is different, the three parts of the abusive cycle are usually consistent.

The first part is the tension-building phase, where friction is built within the home over money, children, jobs, or anything the abuser wishes to use. Abuse usually begins verbally until reaching a climax. This is when phase two - physical violence (explosive incident) occurs.

The honeymoon is the last phase, which manifests as an expression of remorse by the abuser portraying a kind, loving behavior with apologies, helpfulness and generosity, promising the abuse will never happen again, although some victims describe never having a third phase. Keep in mind, to the outside world the abuser appears to be a great parent, spouse, employee and family member. The first thing the neighbors say to the media after a murder or suicide is, "The family looked so happy, perfect."

"We never know what goes on behind closed doors," Bunn said.

Breaking the cycle
The cycle of abuse will continue until the victim makes the decision to leave or circumstances makes the decision for them. Often when the abuser starts to direct anger and abuse toward children or someone intervenes, sometimes a concerned co-worker, neighbor or family member suspects an environment of domestic violence and takes action, referring the family to Family Advocacy. There, families can discover their stressors and ways in which they can deal with them other than abuse with a variety of classes and counseling, Fairchild's Family Advocacy Officer Capt. Zarah Davis said.

"If you know how to open the subject with the individual, talk to them," added Davis. "Find out if they are safe or if someone in their home is hurting them. Talk to the victim about getting help and offer to make the call. If you need guidance on what to say and how to say it, call Janet Bunn 24/7 at (509) 481-9025. She will help you and your friend directly. There are resources available for victims of domestic violence."

Forms of abuse
Bunn helped explain the differences between the forms of physical and emotional abuse saying, "You don't have to be physically abused to be a victim of domestic violence."

Examples of physical violence such as hitting, kicking, shoving, punching, grabbing or even biting are easy to identify, Bunn said.

Harder to report and recover from are emotional, verbal, and mental abuse involving degradation or belittlement, interrogation or isolation from family members and friends. Sexual abuse (sex without consent with one's partner/spouse is against the law), animal abuse, neglect or physical abuse using different objects such as sticks, belts, electrical cords for strangulation, stabbing, burning or poisoning are forms of extreme domestic violence.

Bunn says the leading cause she finds in domestic violence cases is the need to have power and control over another individual. This is a learned behavior. The abuser has witnessed and/or experienced it sometime in their life. Alcohol and/or drugs do not cause domestic violence. The power and control issues within the relationship are already a factor; however, alcohol may exacerbate and accelerate the problem, Bunn continued.

Military families have more stressors that contribute to domestic violence, Davis added.

"Families in general deal with many stressful situations; employment, housing, problems with kids in school, alcohol and finances," said Davis. "Military families deal with many of those same situations but add to that deployment, easy access to weapons, family histories, isolating victims from family and friends far away, military members returning from the war in a battle mindset complete with stress reactions, and unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking, drugs, withdrawing, and/or sudden emotional outbursts."

Victims of domestic violence can contact the domestic abuse victim advocate 24/7 at (509) 481-9025. The Fairchild Family Advocacy Program offers restricted reporting to victims who have not informed their chain of command or a law enforcement agency. If a victim is in danger, one should contact the security forces immediately. Remember, everyone deserves to be safe.

[Editor's note: Rebecca Burylo from the Air University Public Affairs Office contributed to this article.]

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Justice Department Reaches Agreement to Extend Critical Reforms at the Los Angeles County Juvenile Probation Camps

The Justice Department has reached an agreement with the county of Los Angeles to extend critical reforms at the Los Angeles County Juvenile Probation Camps that were set to expire later this month.   The agreement amends a memorandum of agreement (MOA) entered into in 2008 to resolve the department’s investigation into conditions of confinement at the juvenile camps.    
While the county was unable to achieve the goals set forth in the initial 2008 agreement, substantial reforms have occurred.   The amended MOA builds on these improvements.   The department and the county agree that additional time and specific measures are necessary to ensure that youth receive adequate rehabilitation and related services in the camps and in the community.   As part of the amended MOA, the county agrees to continue implementing corrective measures related to rehabilitation, behavior management, substance abuse treatment, staffing and quality assurance to ensure that the reforms are sustainable and result in improved outcomes for youth.   The remaining requirements of the MOA will terminate based on reports from a team of independent monitors that the county has substantially complied with those requirements.    
The county also agreed to promote the rehabilitation of youth by expanding youth access to community-based alternatives to incarceration, consistent with public safety and the best interests of the youth.   These innovative measures, designed to prevent unnecessary detention of youth, are among the most expansive the department has obtained in a juvenile justice system as part of its enforcement of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.   The measures are intended to provide qualifying youth with greater opportunities to receive rehabilitation and related services near their home communities where they can benefit from family and community supports.   The measures include steps to:
  • Divert youth from detention, as appropriate, including by collaborating with law enforcement agencies and judges to increase awareness of alternatives to incarceration;
  • Expand access to community-based placements by providing necessary security to youth who could benefit from rehabilitation services in the community; opening two additional day reporting centers; contracting with alternative housing providers; and improving re-entry and transition services;
  • Refer youth to community-based services and programs, as appropriate; and  
  • Establish a long-term partnership with an outside research entity to study recidivism and youth outcomes.
 “We commend the county for its continued cooperation in reforming the juvenile camps and for its commitment to ensuring that the constitutional rights of youth are protected,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.   “The amendment will result in better outcomes for youth and will provide them with more opportunities to benefit from rehabilitation services closer to home.”  
“The amendment to the MOA resulting from today’s agreement will lead to more integrated treatment options for youth in custody,” said AndrĂ© Birotte Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California.   “County youth will continue to receive much needed rehabilitation services in the camps, while also having greater access to community-based care that promotes their well-being and is delivered in a manner that is consistent with public safety.   Continuing to provide these rehabilitative options should help us all by decreasing recidivism.”  
In October 2008, the department and county entered into the MOA to resolve the department’s findings of unlawful conditions at the juvenile camps following a comprehensive investigation under CRIPA and the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.   The original MOA called for broad reforms in areas related to protection from harm, suicide prevention, mental health care, and quality assurance.   The county is expected to achieve full compliance with all terms of the amended MOA by Dec. 31, 2014.   The Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section and the Civil Rights Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Central California are enforcing the MOA.   

Operation Family Feud


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – David M. Ketchmark, Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that 21 St. Joseph, Mo., residents are among 25 defendants who have been indicted by a federal grand jury in six separate but related cases as a result of a large-scale investigation of illegal narcotics and firearms trafficking in the St. Joseph area.

Operation Family Feud, which began two years ago in October 2010, was a partnership between the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the St. Joseph, Mo., Police Department, the Buchanan County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department and the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force. Numerous firearms and various quantities of crack cocaine, powder cocaine and marijuana have been seized or purchased during the investigation.

“This successful investigation by local and federal law enforcement partners was an effective response to the increase in violent crime in the St. Joseph area,” Ketchmark said. “We are determined to make the community a safer place by taking illegal guns and drugs off the streets. We will vigorously prosecute those whose criminal activity endangers our neighborhoods.”

More than 100 law enforcement officers were involved in an arrest and search warrant operation on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012. Fifteen defendants were arrested, in addition to three defendants where were already in custody on unrelated charges. Agencies participating in the operation included ATF’s Special Response Team, the Buchanan County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the St. Joseph, Mo., Police Department, the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force, the U.S. Marshal Service, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

Buchanan County Sheriff Mike Strong said, “I am extremely proud of the partnership between our agencies throughout this long term investigation. This joint effort demonstrates that we will utilize every resource to take criminals off the streets of Buchanan County.”

“This has been a long and complex investigation involving close coordination and cooperation between our agencies. While our comments are limited at this time, we are proud of the collaboration, which is making our community safe,” said St. Joseph Police Chief Chris Connally.

“This indictment is the perfect example of what happens when agencies join together to fight violent crime,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Marino F. Vidoli. “The St. Joseph Police Department and the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department, working together, took the initiative to partner with ATF to take a stand against violence in their communities.”

Each of the six indictments was returned under seal by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012. They were unsealed and made public following the arrests and initial court appearances of several defendants.

USA v. Johnson, et al

Terrance A. Johnson, also known as “Skurge,” 32, Jaron M. Ewing, also known as “Pork,” 19, Elliott D. Ross, also known as “El,” 20, Anthony M. Busey, also known as “Bew” or “AB,” 33, Markanthony T. Greer, also known as “Nate,” 29, Donald J. Greer, also known as “DJ,” 32, Anthony A. Wilson, also known as “Tone Loc,” 26, Jarrodd D. Page, also known as “JP” or “Pistol,” 22, Keyon R. Wilkinson, also known as “Key” or “Lovey,” 20, Dareal S. Green, also known as “DG,” 25, Jamie G. Beattie, 51, and Susan A. Thomas, also known as “Mama Sue,” 55, all of St. Joseph, Mo., and Tyrell W. E. Page, also known as “Relby Gunz” or “Young Gunna,” 26, of Gladstone, Mo., were charged in a nine-count indictment.”

Each of the 13 co-defendants is charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine and five kilograms or more of powder cocaine between Jan. 1, 2009, and Oct. 17, 2012.

In addition to the conspiracy, Johnson is charged with one count of possessing powder cocaine and crack cocaine with the intent to distribute in Buchanan County. Wilson is also charged with two counts of distributing crack cocaine in Buchanan County. Tyrell Page, Jarodd Page, Busey and Ewing are each charged with one count of distributing crack cocaine in Buchanan County. Thomas is also charged with one count of making her apartment available for the purpose of unlawfully distributing crack cocaine.

USA v. Brooks, et al

Jamayal M. Mannings, also known as “Mal” and “Slim,” 27, Lavorisa D. Carolina, also known as “BoBo,” 29, Felix D. Turner, also known as “Lil Fe,” 22, Andre M. Turner, also known as “Dre,” 24, and Cordell A. Wilson, also known as “B-Loc” and “BB,” 23, all of St. Joseph, Larry Brooks, also known as “Unc,” 45, of Raytown, Mo., Jaron T. Smith, 26, of Durango, Colo., and Earl Penn, also known as “Lil Earl” and “Lil E” and “Marko,” 21, address unknown (state of California), were charged in a three-count indictment.”

Each of the eight co-defendants is charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute 280 grams or more of crack cocaine and five kilograms or more of powder cocaine between Jan. 1, 2009, and Oct. 17, 2012.

In addition to the conspiracy, Jamayal Mannings is charged with possessing crack cocaine with the intent to distribute in Buchanan County. Carolina is also charged with distributing crack cocaine in Buchanan County.

USA v. Wilson

Cordell A. Wilson, also known as “B-Loc” and “BB,” 23, of St. Joseph, Mo., was also charged in a separate six-count indictment returned by the grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.

The federal indictment alleges that Wilson, who has been convicted of a felony, was in possession of a loaded Cobra .380-caliber handgun in June 2012, and in a separate count charges Wilson, who is not a licensed firearms dealer, engaged in the business of dealing in firearms on that day.

The federal indictment also alleges that Wilson was in possession of a loaded Walther .380-caliber handgun with a partially defaced serial number in June 2012, and in a separate count, that he engaged in the business of dealing in firearms on that day.

The federal indictment also alleges that Wilson was in possession of a loaded Ruger 9mm handgun in August 2012, and in a separate count that he engaged in the business of dealing in firearms on that day.

USA v. Esters

Keith T. Esters, also known as “LG,” 42, of St. Joseph, was charged in a one-count indictment. The federal indictment alleges that Esters distributed crack cocaine in St. Joseph in June 2011.

USA v. Wilson

Malcom Wilson, also known as “Boo Loc,” 21, and Isaac R. Banks, also known as “Ike,” 24, both of St. Joseph, Mo., were charged in a six-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.

The federal indictment alleges that Wilson, who is not a licensed dealer of firearms, engaged in the business of dealing in firearms on two separate occasions in June and July 2011.

The federal indictment alleges that Banks, who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, was in possession of a loaded Lorcin 9mm handgun in June 2011. A separate count of the indictment charges Banks, who is not a licensed firearms dealer, with engaging in the business of dealing in firearms on that day. The indictment also charges Banks with illegally possessing a CBC .22-caliber rifle with a partially defaced serial number.

The federal indictment charges Wilson and Banks together in one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms in June 2012.

USA v. Caroll

Barrett J. Carroll, also known as “B,” 28, of St. Joseph, was charged in a four-count indictment. The federal indictment alleges that Carroll, who has been convicted of a felony, was in possession of firearms on four separate occasions. Under federal law, it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to be in possession of any firearm or ammunition. Carroll was allegedly in possession of a loaded Hi-Point .40-caliber pistol in September 2011, a Norinco 7.62 x 39mm rifle in October 2011, a loaded Mauser 9mm pistol in October 2011 and a Smith and Wesson 9mm pistol in December 2011.

Ketchmark cautioned that the charges contained in these indictments are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.

These cases are being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jalilah Otto. They were investigated by the Buchanan County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department, the St. Joseph, Mo., Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force.