Criminal Justice News

Friday, January 31, 2014

U.S. Marshals Task Force and Toledo Police Arrest Final Suspect in Murder Case



Toledo, OH – Early this morning members of the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force (NOVFTF) and Toledo Police Department arrested Phillip Allen Jr., 22, of Toledo for the murder of James Safadi.

Safadi, 34, was shot in the chest in the early morning hours of May 18, 2013, in an armed home invasion at his residence in Waterville. Safadi’s girlfriend hid in the bathroom and called 911. Paramedics arrived and transported Safadi to St. Luke’s Hospital where he later died of his injuries. Initially, information was developed that there were three men responsible but it was later determined there were four suspects.

The initial three suspects, Adam Anderson, 20 of Toledo; Ronald Rooker, 32, of Waterville and James Allen, 18, of Toledo were quickly arrested. Rooker was Safadi’s neighbor and police believe Safadi, whose family owns several carry-out stores in the neighborhood, was specifically targeted. Stolen from the residence was an undisclosed amount of money, jewelry, seven handguns and a large amount of ammunition.

A fourth suspect, Phillip Allen Jr., was identified and evidence was presented to a Grand Jury. Allen was indicted on December 18, 2013 for aggravated murder, aggravated burglary and aggravated robbery; all with firearms specifications.

For the past month, police had been unable to locate Allen. Last week, the NOVFTF and Toledo Police uncovered information on the possible location of Allen. This morning, after conducting surveillance on the location, the NOVFTF and Toledo Police searched a residence on 2900 block of Ontario in North Toledo, and found Allen hiding in the attic.

A second person, Joel Brown, 25, of Toledo was also arrested at the scene for obstruction of justice and weapons under disability. A loaded Smith & Wesson .380 was recovered from the residence.

Both men are in Lucas County Jail awaiting appearance in the Lucas County Common Pleas Court for Allen and Toledo Municipal Court for Brown.

“People should be able to feel safe in their own homes “said Pete Elliott, the U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio. “Thanks to the dedicated efforts of our Task Force and all local law enforcement, we were able to take a dangerous, violent offender off the streets.”

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of a known fugitive is encouraged to contact the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at: 1-866-4-WANTED or text keyword WANTED and the tip to TIP411 (847411). Tipsters may remain anonymous and a cash reward may be available. The Task Force’s “Dangerous Dozen” fugitives can be viewed at http://www.usmarshals.gov/district/oh-n/fugitives/pdf/dangerous_dozen.pdf, which is updated monthly.

The NOVFTF Toledo Division consists of the following federal, state and local agencies: Lucas County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Toledo Police Department, United States Marshals Service, Fremont Police Department , Holland Police Department , Ottawa Hills Police Department , Perrysburg Township Police Department, Customs and Border Protection and Wood County Sheriff’s Office.

NH Fugitive of the Week Arrested by U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force in Eliot, ME



Concord, NH – This afternoon, members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force arrested Fugitive of the Week, Craig Wiggins in Eliot, ME. Wiggins, 36, was last known to have ties to the New Hampshire seacoast and southern Maine areas.

Wiggins was being sought on multiple outstanding arrest warrants issued by the Rockingham County and Strafford County Sheriff’s Offices. The outstanding arrest warrants were for a failure to surrender for a prison sentence with an original offense of habitual offender and a violation of probation with an original offense of theft by unauthorized taking. Since the issuance of the arrest warrants for Wiggins, the Rockingham County and Strafford County Sheriff’s Offices had requested the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force in an effort to locate and arrest Wiggins.

As part of the U.S. Marshal’s fugitive investigation, Wiggins was aired on January 23rd as the 'Fugitive of the Week'. The 'Fugitive of the Week' is broadcast on WTPL-FM, WMUR-TV, The Union Leader, The Nashua Telegraph, The Patch and is prominently featured on the internet. Information developed by investigators and through tips, led investigators to a residence on Hawk Way, in Eliot, ME. During the early morning hours of January 29, the Eliot Police Department contacted the US Marshals Task Force and requested assistance after spotting a vehicle of interest on Hawk Way in Eliot. Eliot officers had attempted to make contact with Wiggins on at this residence without success. The Fugitive Task Force arrived in the area and developed additional information that Wiggins was in fact within the residence. After attempting to have Wiggins answer the door, task force members forced the door open. Wiggins was quickly located inside the residence and arrested without any further incident.

Also located at the residence was a friend of Wiggins' that interfered with the location and arrest of Wiggins, by providing him a place to stay while he was a fugitive. Wiggin's friend, Diana Foley, 27 of Eliot, ME, was arrested by the Eliot Police Department for harboring a fugitive.

Wiggins was turned over to the Eliot Police Department and was charged as a fugitive from justice. Wiggins was transported to the York County Jail, where he will be held pending his in initial court appearance.

This arrest was made by members of the task force, including; the Eliot Police Department, Rockingham Deputy Sheriff, deputy U.S. Marshals from Maine. and NH.

Since the inception of the New Hampshire Joint Fugitive Task Force in 2002, these partnerships have resulted in over 5,523 arrests. These arrests have ranged in seriousness from murder, assault, unregistered sex offenders, probation and parole violations and numerous other serious offenses. Nationally the United States Marshals Service fugitive programs are carried out with local law enforcement in 94 district offices, 85 local fugitive task forces, 7 regional task forces, as well as a growing network of offices in foreign countries.

Convicted Sex Offender Flees Michigan; Apprehended in Arizona



El Paso, TX – Michael Mazel, 38, of Michigan, was arrested yesterday by United States Border Patrol – Tucson Sector and the Arizona Department of Public Safety near Casa Grande, Arizona. An arrest warrant was issued for Mazel after he failed to appear for his court proceedings in Detroit, Michigan.

In February 2013, Mazel was arrested in Detroit, Michigan by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) for possession of child pornography and soliciting young children. Mazel was allowed to be released on a $10,000.00 bond and ordered to report to Pretrial Services. Mazel was set to be sentenced in Federal Court on January 22, 2014. Mazel failed to show up for his sentencing and a warrant was issued for his arrest. It was later revealed that Mazel absconded from his residence and cut off his ankle monitor.

In January 2014, the United States Marshals Service Detroit Fugitive Apprehension Task Force (DFATF) developed information that Mazel was in El Paso, Texas and requested the assistance of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force (LSFTF). Task force members obtained information that Mazel stayed on the West side of El Paso near I-10 and Mesa and was traveling westbound towards Tucson, Arizona. The El Paso Border Patrol Sector put a “Be On The Lookout” (BOLO) for Mazel and his vehicle. On January 28, 2014, pursuant to the BOLO and information provided by the LSFTF, the Tucson Border Patrol Sector and the Arizona Department of Public Safety observed Mazel driving near Casa Grande, Arizona and initiated a traffic stop. Officers were able to positively identify Mazel and take him into custody without incident.

Mazel was booked into the Central Arizona Detention Facility by members of the U.S. Marshals Arizona WANTED Fugitive Task Force pending his extradition to Michigan.

Robert R. Almonte, United States Marshal for the Western District of Texas, states, “The quick response and collaborative effort of law enforcement played a key part in apprehending this fugitive. I want to thank everyone who was involved in taking this sexual predator off of the streets.”

Members of the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force: El Paso Police Department, El Paso Sheriff’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, United States Border Patrol, Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Office of the Inspector General, Texas Department of Public Safety, El Paso District Attorney’s Office and the United States Marshals Service.

Sexual Predator Finally Arrested After Multiple Assaults



Fugitive Captured & Facing Sexual Assault Charges

New Braunfels, TX – Jared Beyer, 24, was arrested yesterday by the United States Marshals Service Lone Star Fugitive Task Force (LSFTF) in New Braunfels, TX. An arrest warrant was issued pursuant to an investigation by the New Braunfels Police Department (NBPD), where it is alleged that Beyer committed sexual assault of a child.

Yesterday, members of the LSFTF initiated an investigation in locating and apprehending Beyer. Task force officers, through investigative efforts, determined that Beyer was at a residence in the 1300 block of River Road in New Braunfels, TX. Task force officers conducted a brief surveillance and approached the residence. Task force officers entered the residence, identified themselves, and made contact with Beyer. Beyer was then taken into custody without incident.

In 2013, Beyer was allegedly involved in sexually assaulting a child under the age of 16 on multiple occasions. On January 21, 2014, a District Court Judge of Comal County issued a warrant for Beyer’s arrest.

Beyer is currently being held in custody at the Comal County Jail.

Robert R. Almonte, United States Marshal for the Western District of Texas, stated, “We needed to arrest this fugitive before he had the opportunity to assault this child again. The physical and mental damage has already been done to this child, but now the healing process can begin.”

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
    Immigration & Customs Enforcement – Office of Detention & Removal
    U.S. Marshals Service

Turkish Police Need Bigger Ram





Roxbury Correctional Institution Sergeant Convicted of Obstructing Justice

The Justice Department, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland and the FBI announced that Josh Hummer, a sergeant at the Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) in Hagerstown, Md., was convicted today by a federal jury of obstructing justice during the investigation of an assault against an inmate. 
 
Hummer faces a statutory maximum of 20 years when he is sentenced by U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar.  The assault against the inmate occurred on March 9, 2008.
 
In related cases, Judge Bredar has accepted guilty pleas from former RCI officers Ryan Lohr, Dustin Norris, Tyson Hinckle, Reginald Martin, Michael Morgan, Edwin Stigile, Lanny Harris, Philip Mayo, Jeremy McCusker, Walter Steele, Keith Morris and Robert Harvey.  Two former RCI officers previously pleaded guilty in state court.
 
Two current or former RCI officers still face federal charges in connection with this incident.  The officers, who are presumed innocent until proven guilty, will stand trial in February. 
 
The investigation by the Fredrick Resident Agency of the FBI is ongoing.  The case is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Forrest Christian and Trial Attorneys Christine Siscaretti and Sanjay Patel for the Civil Rights Division.     

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Two Sentenced for Involvement in Aryan Brotherhood of Texas Racketeering Murder


An Aryan Brotherhood of Texas (ABT) gang member and an ABT associate were sentenced to prison today for their involvement in the May 2008 murder of an ABT prospect member.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Sim Lake in the Southern District of Texas.

Shane Gail McNiel, aka “Dirty,” 34, of San Antonio, was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison and Destiny Nicole Feathers, 24, of Jourdanton, Texas, was sentenced to serve 78 months in prison.   In addition to their prison terms, McNiel and Feathers were sentenced to serve three years of supervised release.

On Aug. 21, 2013, McNiel pleaded guilty to the charge of accessory after the fact in the murder.   Feathers pleaded guilty to the same offense on Aug. 14, 2013.

According to information presented in court, McNiel was a member of the ABT and Feathers was associated with the gang, a powerful, race-based, statewide organization that operates inside and outside of state and federal prisons throughout Texas and the United States.  According to court documents, an ABT prospective member was murdered by Jim Flint McIntyre, 43, aka “Q-Ball,” Michael Dewayne Smith, 30, aka “Bucky,” and another ABT gang member for allegedly stealing drugs he was ordered to deliver to a customer on behalf of the ABT.  According to court documents, the murder was a result of a “discipline” ordered by Frank Lavell Urbish, aka “Thumper,” and his superiors.  The victim’s body was discovered in Atascosa County, Texas, on May 4, 2008.  McIntyre, Smith, and Urbish each pleaded guilty to this racketeering murder in 2011.
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.   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, 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 time he is referred to as a prospect, while his conduct is observed by the members of the ABT.

McNiel and Feathers are two of 36 defendants charged 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, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Atascosa County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Orange County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Waller County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office; Alvin, Texas, Police Department; Carrollton, Texas, Police Department; Mesquite Texas, Police Department; Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office;   and the Atascosa County District Attorney’s Office.

The case is being prosecuted by the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

U.S. Marshals and Rossford Police Arrest Murder Suspect in 16-Year-Old Cold Case



Toledo, OH – At approximately noon on Saturday, members of the Rossford Police Department and the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force (NOVFTF) arrested Adolphus Hollingsworth on charges he murdered his estranged wife in 1997.

Hollingsworth, 45, of Chattanooga, Tenn. was arrested at the Knight’s Inn Motel in Rossford and is currently in the Wood County Jail awaiting extradition to Tenn. Police allege Hollingsworth, who has a violent criminal history, murdered his wife, Victoria Hollingsworth, after she put the couple’s two young children to bed. When the children woke up the next morning, their mother was nowhere to be found. Police suspected foul play but were unable to determine if Mrs. Hollingsworth was murdered or simply missing. Finally, over a year later her body was found and marks on it indicated she had been stabbed to death.

Police investigated the case but there were few leads and eventually the case went cold. Producers from the TNT television program “Cold Justice” heard of the case and profiled Mrs. Hollingsworth’s murder. After the program aired, local police developed enough information to issue an arrest warrant for Hollingsworth who was determined to be living in Amarillo, Texas at the time. He was arrested in Texas on Friday, January 25, on charges of first degree murder, however, jail officials mistakenly released him.

Information was developed that Hollingsworth was staying at the Knight’s Inn Motel with people he knew. Rossford Police and the NOVFTF identified Hollingsworth’s car in the parking lot. Since officers didn’t know what room Hollingsworth was in, they waited for over an hour for him to enter his car. Once Hollingsworth was in the car, officers moved in and arrested Hollingsworth without incident. Rossford Police Officers took him to the Wood County Jail where he is currently awaiting extradition to Tenn.

Since the time of her murder, Mrs. Hollingsworth’s mother has passed away but her father and two children were informed of the arrest.

“You can run but you can’t hide,” said Pete Elliott, the United States Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio. “Even after sixteen long years the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force, along with the continued collaboration with local law enforcement, will find you.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of a known fugitive is encouraged to contact the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at: 1-866-4-WANTED or text keyword WANTED and the tip to TIP411 (847411). Tipsters may remain anonymous and a cash reward may be available. The Task Force’s “Dangerous Dozen” fugitives can be viewed at http://www.usmarshals.gov/district/oh-n/fugitives/pdf/dangerous_dozen.pdf, which is updated monthly.

The NOVFTF Toledo Division consists of the following federal, state and local agencies: Lucas County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Adult Parole Authority, Toledo Police Department, United States Marshals Service , Fremont Police Department, Holland Police Department , Ottawa Hills Police Department , Perrysburg Township Police Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Wood County Sheriff’s Office.