Criminal Justice News

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Utah Man Indicted on Federal Hate Crime and Gun Charges Related to Religious-Motivated Attack on Synogogue

The Department of Justice announced today that a federal grand jury sitting in Salt Lake City returned a superseding indictment charging Macon Openshaw, 21, of Salt Lake City, on gun possession charges and a federal hate crime charge relating to a bias-motivated attack at a local synagogue.
 
The indictment alleges that between Jan. 1, 2012 and April 30, 2012, Openshaw intentionally defaced and damaged the Congregation Kol Ami synagogue in Salt Lake City by firing several rounds from a Walther .22 caliber handgun at the building, breaking windows and damaging the window frame of the building.  Openshaw allegedly performed these actions because of the religious character of the synagogue.  This charge carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment.
 
The superseding indictment charges Openshaw with one count of using and carrying a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, possession of a firearm with a removed, obliterated or altered serial number and possession of a firearm while subject to a protective order.  An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
 
The matter is being investigated by the Salt Lake City Division of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos Esqueda of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah, Central Division, and Trial Attorney  Nicholas Durham of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Sex Trafficker Terrence “T-Rex” Yarbrough Sentenced to Serve 536 Months in Prison

U.S. District Court Judge S. Thomas Anderson sentenced Terrence Yarbrough, aka “T-Rex,” 38, of Memphis, Tenn., to serve 536 months in prison, the Justice Department announced today.   A jury convicted Yarbrough on Dec. 5, 2012 of 10 counts of sex trafficking and one count of conspiracy to commit food stamp fraud.
 
“The Civil Rights Division is committed to pursuing justice on behalf of vulnerable members of our society,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels.   “Today’s sentence sends a clear message that the United States will not tolerate modern-day slavery and will work tirelessly to restore the rights and dignity of its victims.”
 
“Today’s sentence of 536 months in prison ensures Terrence Yarbrough, a ruthless predator who inflicted unspeakable physical and emotional harm upon vulnerable young women, will be held accountable for his depraved acts,” said Edward L. Stanton III, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.   “We will continue to prosecute those who engage in such reprehensible conduct of coercion and exploitation.”
 
During the trial, victims recounted a series of violent acts perpetrated by Yarbrough to coerce them into prostituting for him, including being beat with belts, wooden coat hangers, crowbars, padlocks and dog chains; being thrown down stairs; having their heads smashed in car doors; having their legs burned with irons; and being scalded with boiling water.
           
“The horrific physical violence, sexual abuse, and emotional torment suffered by the victims in this case cannot be undone, but this sentence ensures that their violent and evil predator will face the consequences of his actions,” said A. Todd McCall, Special Agent in Charge of the Memphis Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  “The efforts of the FBI and our law enforcement partners have removed a human trafficker from our streets.  We will continue to work together to aggressively pursue and bring to justice those who cruelly exploit others for profit, and to restore the rights and dignity of human trafficking victims.”
 
The USDA-Office of Inspector General is committed to the investigation and prosecution of those individuals who fraudulently obtain food stamp benefits,” said Karen Citizen-Wilcox, Special Agent in Charge of the Southeast Region for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Inspector General.  “We are very pleased we were able to work with the U.S. Attorney's Office and other law enforcement agencies in this case .”
 
Evidence presented at trial included the testimony of 10 victims identified in the indictment as well as several eyewitnesses.   Numerous witnesses testified that Yarbrough repeatedly lured vulnerable victims, some as young as 15 years old, into prostitution with false promises of love, family and prosperity.   The evidence showed that any time a victim refused to engage in prostitution, Yarbrough resorted to threats, intimidation and violence.  The jury heard testimony that Yarbrough’s pattern of recruitment, exploitation, and violent coercion continued for years before his 2009 arrest in St. Louis.
 
One victim testified that Yarbrough forced her to engage in prostitution the entire time she was pregnant with his child and that he frequently beat her on the stomach when she did not want to comply with his demands.   He induced labor through a severe beating in her eighth month of pregnancy, during which time he also had her working as a prostitute in Tunica, Miss.   Yarbrough drove her back to Memphis, dropped her off at a hospital, and forced her to resume prostituting the day after her release.   At a later date, Yarbrough smashed her on the head with a lamp and kicked out her front teeth when she tried to stop prostituting for him.
 
Another victim testified that Yarbrough lured her into prostitution by promising to reunite her with their children, then beat her severely when she insisted on seeing them and refused to continue working, punching her in the face so hard that he broke three of her teeth.   On another occasion, he beat her knees with a metal pipe, causing injuries that continue to affect her.   She also testified that Yarbrough threatened to prostitute their nine-year-old daughter.
 
Further testimony showed that a victim slept through a phone call from a client after prostituting for days on end with almost no sleep, and that when Yarbrough found out that she had missed the call, he smashed her head into a car door, dragged her by the hair to his hotel room and beat her with his belt.   Jurors also saw a letter addressed to the same victim and signed by Yarbrough stating that he was proud she did not scream during the aforementioned beating.
 
Witnesses testified that as a warning, Yarbrough bragged about his beatings of some victims to other victims.   Jurors also saw the “T-Rex” logos Yarbrough tattooed on four separate victims, and heard that he claimed that they had been “branded” as his property.   Testimony and jail recordings showed that Yarbrough confiscated his victims’ identification documents and money to make it difficult for them to escape. 
 
Jurors also heard testimony that Yarbrough conspired with his mother, Norma Yarbrough Webb, 66, and Michelle Johnson, 41, to fraudulently obtain food stamp benefits while Yarbrough was incarcerated.   Johnson and Webb previously pled guilty to related charges.
 
The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General, with assistance from the St. Louis Police Department.   Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Skrmetti and Trial Attorney Benjamin J. Hawk of the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit prosecuted the case.

Triple Murder Suspect's Time on the Run Ends in New Orleans, LA



New Orleans, LA – United States Marshal Genny May announces the arrest of Robert Bell, 33, at 425 South Roman Street, New Orleans, LA. Bell is the suspect of a triple homicide that occurred in Snellville, Georgia. He was booked into the Orleans Parish Prison and is awaiting extradition to Gwinnett County, Georgia.

On September 15th, 2013, Gwinnett County Police Department homicide detectives allege that Bell was involved with the murders of Angelina Benton, 34, her 12-year-old son, Joseph McDonald, and 19-year-old family friend Raymond Daniel. A fourth victim – 23-year-old Justin Cato – was hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Detectives established that Robert Bell and his wife Danielle Hill-Bell met Benton while attending church. Bell and his wife did not have a place to live so Benton invited them into her home. Detectives recovered Bell’s vehicle along with an AR-15 found inside of the vehicle that may have been used during the tragic shooting incident. After the Gwinnett County Police Department homicide detectives exhausted local efforts to locate Bell they referred the case to the U.S. Marshals Service Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force. Investigators with the Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force developed information that Bell had fled to New Orleans, LA. The Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force contacted the Gulf Coast Regional Task Force-New Orleans office and requested assistance with locating and apprehending Bell.

Today, Investigators with the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force-New Orleans office developed information that indicated Bell was linked into the homeless scene of New Orleans where he attempted to blend-in and fly under the radar of law enforcement. However, dedicated and vigilant task force members combed through the city and discovered that Bell was visiting a homeless shelter (under an alias) within the 1800 block of Gravier Street. Bell was arrested after a brief foot pursuit with the assistance of the Louisiana State University Health Science Center Police Department.

Most Wanted Murder Suspect & Leader of Heartless Felons Street Gang Captured by U.S. Marshals




Cleveland, OH –Today, United States Marshal Pete Elliott and Regional Director Todd Ishee of the Adult Parole Authority announce the arrest of one of northern Ohio’s most wanted violent fugitives.

On Wednesday October 23rd 2013 at approximately 4:30 PM, the U.S. Marshals led Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task arrested Julius Webster age 27, on Knollwood Drive in Parma, Ohio. Webster was wanted for the robbery and murder of 31-year-old Curtis Leon Marks Jr. on August 29th, 2013. The murder took place outside of a bar on the corner of 70th and Superior Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. Additionally, Webster was wanted by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office for escape, the Adult Parole Authority for a parole violation and is a suspect in two separate homicides in Canton, Ohio. Webster was a founding member and leader of the Heartless Felons Street Gang and had been previewed on multiple occasions throughout multiple cities as the United States Marshals Fugitive of the Week. The task force has been pursuing Webster endlessly for the last two months.

The task force developed information that Webster was staying at an apartment on Knollwood Dr. in Parma. Officers set up surveillance around the apartment. At around 4:30 a male fitting the description of Webster was seen exiting the building and getting into a vehicle. Members of the task force followed Webster a short distance before stopping the vehicle. The vehicle was surrounded at the corner of Knollwood and Big Creek Dr. in Parma. Webster was taken into custody and transported to the Cleveland Police Department without incident.

U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said, “Great team work by the Deputy United States Marshals,
The Canton Office of the FBI, the Adult Parole Authority and all the members of the Task Force led to the capture of this violent fugitive. Our streets are much safer today due to the fact that these officers and departments partnered together and never stopped pursuing Webster ending his run as one of northern Ohio’s most wanted”.

Adult Parole Authority Regional Director Todd Ishee said, “We are very proud to be partners with the Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force. Together our men and women of the Task Force are making a tremendous difference every day ridding our streets of many violent fugitives. Partnerships are what brought Webster to Justice.”

Anyone with information concerning any wanted fugitive can contact the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at 1-866-4WANTED (1-866-492-6833). You may also anonymously text in a tip by texting the keyword "WANTED" and your tip to TIP411 (847411), or you can send a web tip at the following webpage http://www.usmarshals.gov/district/oh-n/index.html. Reward money is available and tipsters may remain anonymous.

The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force – Cleveland Division is composed of the following federal, state and local agencies: U.S. Marshals Service, Cleveland Police Department, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority Police Department, Euclid Police Department, Lakewood Police Department, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General, Solon Police Department, and the Westlake Police Department.

Successful Hunt For “Operation Hog Trap”



Gang Members Arrested, Drugs & Guns Seized

San Antonio, TX – The San Antonio Police Department Gang Unit (SAPD) and the United States Marshals Service Lone Star Fugitive Task Force (LSFTF) concluded a 60 day operation known as “Operation Hog Trap” earlier this month. “Operation Hog Trap” was an initiative developed to reduce violent gang crime in the San Antonio area in a systematic and sustained manner. This operation’s primary focus was to disrupt the criminal operation of the Bandido Motorcycle Club and other violent gangs in San Antonio. The SAPD and LSFTF, with the assistance of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), utilized the strength of each agency’s enforcement techniques and statutory authority to reduce gang violence by arresting violent fugitives and criminal offenders who sold drugs and were known to illegally possess firearms in the city. “Operation Hog Trap” was a continued effort that proved to be successful similar to “Operation Triple Beam Orejon”, which took place in October of 2011 and “Operation Triple Beam Alliance” which took place from January to May of 2012. The collaboration of the SAPD spearheading the drug and firearm investigations along with the LSFTF spearheading the violent fugitive cases, resulted in 258 arrests to include 14 violent fugitives, 45 firearms seized, over $254,000 in drugs seized to include marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin, and over $82,000 in currency seized.

Jorge Rivera, 37, and Jennifer Flores, 35, were arrested without incident as a result of a search warrant that was executed at their residence. During the search of the residence, officers seized 6 high-powered rifles, 1 semi-automatic pistol, and over 500 grams of cocaine. Rivera and Flores were both arrested and charged on allegations involving conspiracy with the intent to distribute cocaine. Rivera was later identified as the Northwest Chapter president of the Bandido Motorcycle Club in San Antonio and Flores was identified as an associate.

Jesse Gutierrez, 24, was arrested at his residence in San Antonio without incident on felony warrants for allegations involving possession with the intent to distribute 250 grams of methamphetamine and felon in possession of a firearm. Officers also seized 4 grams of marijuana from the residence. Gutierrez was later identified as a member of the Tango Orejon gang and an associate of the Bandido Motorcycle Club in San Antonio.

Ismael Caracheo, 25, was arrested without incident on a felony warrant for an allegation involving possession with the intent to distribute heroin. Caracheo was later identified as a member of the Tango Orejon gang in San Antonio.

Alfred Finamore, 29, and Christopher Rodarte, 31 were arrested without incident while an alleged drug deal was taking place in the parking lot of a shopping center. During a search incident to arrest, officers seized 110 grams of heroin and $645.00 in currency. Finamore and Rodarte were both arrested and charged on allegations involving possession with the intent to deliver 4-200 grams of methamphetamine. Finamore and Rodarte were later identified as members of the Tango Orejon gang in San Antonio.

James Dean Gonzales, 55, was arrested without incident as a result of a search warrant that was executed at his residence. During the search of the residence, officers seized over 600 grams of methamphetamine and $7000.00 in currency. Gonzales was arrested and charged on allegations involving conspiracy with the intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine. Gonzales was later identified as one of the main suppliers of illegal drugs to the Bandido Motorcycle Club chapters in San Antonio.

“Operation Predator” Proves Successful



30 Sex Offenders Arrested In 10 Days

San Antonio, TX – This afternoon, the United States Marshals Service Lone Star Fugitive Task Force, with the assistance of Immigration & Customs Enforcement, concluded a 10-day operation resulting in the arrest of 30 state felony offenders. “Operation Predator”, a fugitive round-up, comprised of city, county, state, and federal law enforcement officers, targeted sex offenders with outstanding felony warrants for failing to comply with sex offender registration. The operation was a collaboration of approximately 20 law enforcement officers that sought after wanted sex offenders residing in San Antonio and the surrounding area.

Joey David Smith, 41, was arrested on felony warrants for allegations involving failure to comply with sex offender registration and burglary. A loaded .380 handgun was also found in Smith’s possession during the arrest, which may result in additional charges of a felon being found in possession of a firearm.

Roy Monteith, 37, was arrested on felony warrants for allegations involving failure to comply with sex offender registration, indecency with a child, and 2 counts of assault. Monteith attempted to avoid capture by law enforcement officers by hiding out at his girlfriend’s house.

As a result of “Operation Predator,” 28 sex offenders were arrested in Bexar County, 1 sex offender was arrested in Kerrville, TX, and 1 sex offender was arrested in Corpus Christi, TX. In addition to the 30 fugitives arrested during this round-up, multiple subjects have been identified and will be investigated for allegedly violating federal laws involving the Adam Walsh Act. The Adam Walsh Act names the U.S. Marshals Service as the primary federal agency to assist state and local law enforcement agencies with tracking and arresting non-compliant sex offenders nationwide. The Adam Walsh Act also provides a statute for Deputy U.S. Marshals to prosecute sex offenders federally for failing to register as a sex offender.

Robert Almonte, the United States Marshal for the Western District of Texas, stated, “The United States Marshals Service Lone Star Fugitive Task Force will continue to partner with our city, county, state, and federal counterparts in efforts of tracking, finding, and arresting all fugitives on the run. This is a promise I’ve made and this is a promise I will keep.

Members of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force:

    New Braunfels Police Department
    San Antonio Police Department
    San Antonio Independent School District Police Department
    Bexar County Sheriff’s Office
    Comal County Sheriff’s Office
    Bexar County Fire Marshal’s Office
    Bexar County District Attorney’s Office
    Texas Office of The Attorney General
    Texas Department of Public Safety
    Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Office of the Inspector General
    U.S. Marshals Service

U.S. Marshals Capture Ohio Murder Suspect in Texas



Warren, OH – Early this afternoon, the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Violent Offenders and Fugitive Task Force (GCVOFTF) in Houston, TX, arrested murder suspect Tashawn “Boo” Walker. Walker, age 26, is wanted by the Warren Police Department for the murder of Richard Rollison that occurred this past Saturday. Walker apparently traveled from Texas to Warren to attend the funeral of his brother, Taemarr Walker, who died in a police involved shooting on Oct. 19. It is alleged that Walker shot and killed Rollison early Saturday morning and then fled the area, without attending the funeral of his brother, which occurred later that day.

On Saturday, the Warren Police Department requested the assistance of the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force (NOVFTF) with locating and apprehending Walker. The NOVFTF worked on the investigation over the weekend. The NOVFTF conducted surveillance at the funeral and then developed solid leads in Texas. The NOVFTF passed along all information to the GCVOFTF in Houston earlier this morning.

The GCVOFTF immediately responded and began working the investigation in the area of Baytown, TX. The GCVOFTF located Walker at a residence located on Chandler Street in Baytown, TX. Walker was taken into custody without incident. During the arrest, two firearms and a box of ammunition were found and seized as potential evidence. Walker will be held in Texas and await extradition to Ohio to face the murder charge.

U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott said, “Our team worked quickly to capture this suspect and the results were outstanding. Great job by our task force members and the U.S. Marshals task force in Houston as they worked together to safely bring this fugitive to justice.”

Anyone with information concerning any wanted fugitive can contact the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at 1-866-4WANTED (1-866-492-6833). You may also anonymously text in a tip by texting the keyword "WANTED" and your tip to TIP411 (847411), or you can send a web tip at the following webpage http://www.usmarshals.gov/district/oh-n/index.html. Reward money is available and tipsters may remain anonymous.

The Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force – Youngstown Division is composed of the following federal, state and local agencies: U.S. Marshals Service, Boardman Township Police Department, Campbell Police Department, Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office, East Liverpool Police Department, Girard Police Department, Goshen Township Police Department, Hubbard Township Police Department, Leetonia Police Department, Lordstown Village Police Department, McDonald Village Police Department, New Waterford Police Department, Niles Police Department, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Salem Police Department, Springfield Township Police Department, Trumbull County Probation, Warren Police Department, Washingtonville Police Department and the Youngstown Police Department.