Criminal Justice News

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Two Aryan Brotherhood of Texas Gang Members Plead Guilty to Federal Racketeering Charges

Two members of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas gang (ABT) pleaded guilty to racketeering charges related to their membership in the ABT’s criminal enterprise, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas.

Ben Christian Dillon, aka “Tuff,” 40, of Houston, and James Marshall Meldrum, aka “Dirty,” 40, of Dallas, each pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Sim Lake in the Southern District of Texas to one count of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity.

According to court documents, Dillon, Meldrum and other ABT gang members and associates, agreed to commit multiple acts of murder, robbery, arson, kidnapping and narcotics trafficking on behalf of the ABT gang.  Dillon, Meldrum and numerous ABT gang members met on a regular basis at various locations throughout Texas to report on gang-related business, collect dues, commit disciplinary assaults against fellow gang members and discuss acts of violence against rival gang members, among other things. 

Dillon and Meldrum admitted to being ABT gang members and engaging in multiple acts in support of the criminal enterprise.  Dillon admitted to trafficking in methamphetamine, acting as an enforcer to collect drug debts owed to the ABT enterprise, committing acts of arson for the gang and attempting to kill a fellow ABT gang member who had been marked for death by senior ABT officials. Meldrum admitted to trafficking in methamphetamine and severely beating a subordinate gang member.

According to the superseding indictment, the ABT was established in the early 1980s within the Texas prison system.  The gang modeled itself after and adopted many of the precepts and writings of the Aryan Brotherhood, a California-based prison gang that was formed in the California prison system during the 1960s.  According to the superseding indictment, previously, the ABT was primarily concerned with the protection of white inmates and white supremacy/separatism.  Over time, the ABT has expanded its criminal enterprise to include illegal activities for profit.

Court documents allege that the ABT enforced its rules and promoted discipline among its members, prospects and associates through murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to murder, arson, assault, robbery and threats against those who violate the rules or pose a threat to the enterprise.  Members, and oftentimes associates, were required to follow the orders of higher-ranking members, often referred to as “direct orders.”

According to the superseding indictment, in order to be considered for ABT membership, a person must be sponsored by another gang member.  Once sponsored, a prospective member must serve an unspecified term, during which he is referred to as a prospect, while his conduct is observed by the members of the ABT.

At sentencing, Dillon and Meldrum each face a maximum penalty of life in prison. Dillon’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 24, 2013, and Meldrum’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26, 2013.
Dillon and Meldrum are two of 34 defendants charged in October 2012 with conducting racketeering activity through the ABT criminal enterprise, among other charges.

This case is being investigated by a multi-agency task force consisting of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Drug Enforcement Administration; FBI; U.S. Marshals Service; Federal Bureau of Prisons; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations; Texas Rangers; Texas Department of Public Safety; Montgomery County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Houston Police Department-Gang Division; Texas Department of Criminal Justice – Office of Inspector General; Harris County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office; Atascosa County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Orange County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Waller County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Fort Worth, Texas, Police Department; Alvin, Texas, Police Department; Carrollton, Texas, Police Department; Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office; Atascosa County District Attorney’s Office; and the Kaufman County, Texas, District Attorney’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by David Karpel of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman of the Southern District of Texas.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Winchester Woman Accused of Making False Statements while Purchasing Firearm



ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Brita Lanette Jackson, 51, of Winchester, Va., was arrested today accused of making a false statement in connection with the purchase of a firearm.

Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and James Newman, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after Jackson’s initial appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Ivan D. Davis.

Jackson was arrested based on a criminal complaint and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison, if convicted.

According to court documents and court proceedings today, Jackson is alleged to have attempted to purchase a 7.62 x 39mm firearm from a licensed dealer in Manassas, Va., on May 24, 2012. To purchase the firearm, Jackson indicated on official paperwork that she was the actual buyer of the firearm; however, Jackson allegedly intended to transfer the firearm to a male with multiple felony convictions. Court records allege that Jackson previously purchased between 15 and 20 firearms since January 2012 on behalf of the convicted felon.

The investigation was conducted by ATF’s Washington Field Division. Assistant United States Attorney Adam B. Schwartz is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.

Criminal complaints are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.

North Carolina Man Sentenced in Murder Plot



Keith Clifton Hairston to Serve 600 Months in Federal Prison

DANVILLE, VIRGINIA – A North Carolina man who previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and murder charges, was sentenced yesterday in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia.

Following an extensive joint investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Henry County Sheriff‘s Office and the Henry County Commonwealth Attorney‘s Office, Keith Clifton Hairston, 26, of Greensboro, N.C., pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana and one count of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and in the course of that violation did result in the death of another person in the first degree.

Yesterday in District Court, Hairston was sentenced to 600 months in Federal prison. "Mr. Hairston and his co-conspirators have been justly held ccountable for their brazen act of violence," United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. "The Department of Justice will continue to devout all possible resources to reduce acts of violent crimes like this senseless murder."

"When individuals brazenly disregard the law with such violence, make no mistake, ATF will take these individuals off our streets. ATF‘s mission is to remove violent offenders from ourstreets and put them behind bars where they belong," said Acting Special Agent in Charge James Newman.

Previously, Rodney Lamar Hairston, 22, Tremain Alando Thomas, 27, Quentin Dwayne McNebb, 36, and Andrew Albert Christian Edward Armour, 21, each pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy and murder charges as Keith Hairston.

According to a statement of facts entered into the record and agreed to by each defendant, in 2010, Rodney Hairston, a Henry County marijuana dealer, contacted his cousin, a known gang member, to recruit other gang members to help him rob one of his regular drug customers. Ultimately, Keith Hairston, Thomas, Armour and McNebb agreed to conduct the robbery. While Demarcus Levon Hairston and Akorean JaJauntex Murphy – the customers – were purchasing marijuana from Rodney Hairston at his trailer home in Henry County, Keith Hairston, Thomas, McNebb and Armour had driven down the road approximately one mile away and were setting up an ambush.

As the two customers left Rodney Hairston‘s home, Thomas and Keith Hairston had exited their own vehicle, both armed with loaded pistols. McNebb and Armour waited inside the vehicle. When Demarcus Hairston‘s car pulled up to a stop sign, Keith Hairston and Thomas fired shots into the car, hitting both Demarcus Hairston and Murphy, who was in the passenger seat. Murphy returned fire. After the shooting ended, the car Demarcus Hairston was driving rolled through the intersection and into a ditch, where it came to rest.

Shortly after the shooting, Demarcus Hairston got out of his vehicle and was picked up by a passing truck and taken to a local hospital. Murphy laid on the front passenger floorboard severely injured and moaning. Keith Hairston reached into the vehicle and grabbed the bag of marijuana that was underneath Murphy‘s body. Murphy later died of gunshot wounds to his head and chest.

The investigation of the case was conducted by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Henry County Sheriff‘s Office and the Henry County Commonwealth Attorney‘s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Donald Wolthuis prosecuted the case for the United States.

Kansas City Man Sentenced to 30 Years for Armed Robbery, Firearms Violations




KANSAS CITY, KAN. — A Kansas City, Mo., man has been sentenced to 30 years for armed robbery and firearms violations, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.

Mark R. Davis, 35, Kansas City, Mo, was convicted in a jury trial in October 2012 on one count of robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction.

Co–defendant Abasi Baker was convicted in a jury trial on 21 counts including seven counts of robbery, seven counts of unlawful possession of a firearm after a felony conviction and seven counts of brandishing a firearm during a robbery. He was sentenced to 164 years in federal prison.

The jury found Davis guilty of brandishing a .40 caliber Glock pistol while robbing the Radio Shack store at 6945 W. 7th Street in Overland Park on March 3, 2011. At the time, he was prohibited from possessing a firearm because of four prior felony convictions for robbery.

Grissom commended the following agencies and individuals for their work on the case: The FBI and the FBI Violent Crimes/Fugitive Task Force; the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office; the U.S. Attorney, Western District of Missouri; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department; the Kansas City Police Department; he Overland Park Police Department; the Olathe Police Department; the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office; the St. Joseph, Mo., Police Department; the Lee’s Summit, Mo., Police Department; the Mission, Kan., Police Department; and assistant U.S. Attorney Terra Morehead, who prosecuted the case.

Armed Drug Dealer Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison



Pawtucket Police Investigation Leads to Seizure of Crack Cocaine, .357 Revolver and Ammunition

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – James P. Perry, 35, of Pawtucket, was sentenced today to 10 years in federal prison on drug and firearm charges, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Pawtucket Police Chief Paul King. Perry was arrested by Pawtucket Police on March 15, 2012, during an undercover investigation into the trafficking of crack cocaine.

U.S. District Court Judge John J. McConnell, Jr., also ordered Perry to serve three years supervised release upon completion of his prison term. Perry pleaded guilty on August 1, 2012, to possession with the intent to distribute cocaine base and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

According to information presented to the court, Pawtucket Police executed a court authorized search of Perry‘s Pawtucket residence on March 15, 2012, and seized approximately 4.5 grams of crack cocaine; a .357 revolver, a speed loader and 50 rounds of ammunition; and various items used in the preparation, packaging and sale of crack cocaine.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Milind M. Shah.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted Pawtucket Police in the investigation of the firearm seized in this is matter.

Former Maryland Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice

Ryan Lohr, 26, a former correctional officer at the Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) in Hagerstown, Md., pleaded guilty today to conspiring to obstruct justice and destroy evidence from a March 9, 2008, assault of an inmate by RCI officers.
 
According to court documents filed in connection with his guilty plea, Lohr opened the door to inmate K.D.’s cell to allow other correctional officers to assault K.D. in retaliation for a prior incident involving K.D. and another officer.   Lohr watched RCI officers use their fists and feet to strike K.D., who was restrained at the time of the assault.   After Lohr learned that there would be an investigation into this beating, he met with other RCI officers and agreed to cover up the assault.   Lohr directed others to clean up blood in K.D.’s cell, and watched a supervisor use what appeared to be a magnetic device in an effort to destroy surveillance video footage.   A supervisor also told Lohr not to write a report about inmate K.D. and his injuries.
 
Lohr further admitted in court documents that he lied to RCI investigators and the Maryland State Police, when these agencies asked him about K.D.’s injuries.   Lohr also told RCI officers to provide investigators with false information.
 
“Mr. Lohr admitted that he opened the door so that other correctional officers could assault an inmate, watched other correctional officers assault the restrained inmate, and conspired with others to cover up the assault,” said Assistant Attorney General Thomas E. Perez.  “The U.S. Constitution protects inmates and the Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute correctional officers who use their official position to assault inmates or to cover up crimes committed by their fellow officers.”
 
Lohr faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.   Sentencing is set for June 18, before U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar.
 
The case is ongoing and is being investigated by the Frederick Resident Agency of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Forrest Christian and Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, with the assistance of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Former Alabama Officer Indicted for Using Excessive Force

A federal grand jury today indicted a former Town Creek, Ala., police officer for violating an individual’s civil rights during the course of an arrest, announced Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez, U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Schwein Jr.
The indictment charges Brandon Shane Mundy, 32, of Oxford, Ala., with striking a man with a dangerous weapon and causing bodily injury during the man’s November 2009 arrest in a northern Alabama town. Mundy’s action deprived the man, identified as J.T., of the constitutional right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by someone acting under the color of law, according to the indictment.
If convicted, Mundy could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  An indictment is merely an allegation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The FBI is investigating the case, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Holt and Justice Department Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Daniel H. Weiss.

Registration opens for the ASIS 23rd New York City Security Conference and Expo Computer Forensics Show and CyBit to Colocate



Alexandria, Va.  (Jan. 28, 2013) – Registration for the ASIS New York City Security Conference and Expo (ASIS NYC) is now open (www.asisonline.org). This year marks the 23rd anniversary for the event and welcomes the colocation of two IT-centric conferences and exhibitions— the Computer Forensic Show and CyBit. The colocated events, set for Wednesday, May 8-Thursday, May 9, 2013 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York, NY, are anticipated to draw more than 2,500 traditional and IT security practitioners. Registration for the Computer Forensics Show (www.computerforensicshow.com) and CyBit (www.cybitexpo.com) will open Monday, February 4, 2013.

Host of the Security Conference and Expo, the ASIS New York City Chapter has over 1,600 members in the New York metropolitan area. This, their annual event, combines education and networking opportunities, and provides direct access to suppliers of innovative security products and services. A diverse audience including security management and law enforcement professionals, systems integrators, dealers, and distributors attend each year. The chapter will once again present its Person of the Year Award to honor an individual who has made a significant contribution to the security industry at a ticketed luncheon on May 9, 2013. This year’s honoree will be announced on a future date.

The Computer Forensics Show, now in its 7th year, will provide attendees with information on the latest technological advancements, ideas, and practical information available today in the field of investigations and computer forensics science. Education sessions and exhibits will also be featured.

CyBit will make its debut in New York City this year and will focus on aspects of IT and cyber security. Education sessions and exhibits will offer attendees key knowledge in the interdependent network of information technology infrastructures, including the internet, telecommunications networks, as well as information security applications and processes including: securing networks and allied infrastructure, securing applications, and databases.

All conference sessions and exhibits will be open to registrants of each colocated event. ASIS board-certified attendees can earn credits toward recertification by attending the conference sessions and expo.

For detailed information on programing, registration, exhibiting, and sponsorships, visit the respective event site.

ASIS International is the preeminent organization for security professionals, with 38,000 members worldwide. Founded in 1955, ASIS is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and productivity of security professionals by developing educational programs and materials that address broad security interests, such as the ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits, as well as specific security topics. ASIS also advocates the role and value of the security management profession to business, the media, government entities and the public. By providing members and the security community with access to a full range of programs and services, and by publishing the industry’s No. 1 magazine—Security Management—ASIS leads the way for advanced and improved security performance.