Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fugitive's 16 Year Run Comes to an End in Mexico

Sioux City, IA – Mitchell Meyer, a fugitive who fled the United States after failing to appear for trial in 1999, was arrested June 29th, 2015 by Mexican Federal Police and Immigration Agents in coordination with the U.S. Marshals Mexico City, Mexico Foreign Field Office, and the Northern Iowa Fugitive Task Force in Sioux City, Iowa. Meyer was detained by Mexican authorities and expelled from Mexico. After being expelled, Meyer was arrested by U.S. Marshals in the Southern District of Texas, where he is being held pending transportation back to Sioux City, Iowa.

Mitchell Meyer was arrested by the Woodbury County Sheriff’s Office in Iowa in February 1998 on 2 counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Meyer was released on bond and scheduled for trial on May 25, 1999; Meyer never appeared for trial.

In 2005 the United States Marshal Service Northern Iowa Fugitive Task Force adopted the case and began searching for the whereabouts of Meyer. Unfortunately family members were uncooperative, and the only promising lead was that Meyer was in Mexico. In 2014, Deputy Marshal Dave Hubbell put a fresh set of eyes on the case and began to search for new leads. In May of 2015 Hubbell featured Meyer on Siouxland’s Most Wanted; a collaborative effort with KPTH Fox 44 and KMEG television stations. The tips began to roll in; many were simply old news, however one particular tip put Meyer in El Mezquitillo Mexico and ultimately led to the arrest of Meyer by Mexican Authorities.

United States Marshal Kenneth Runde offered praise for Deputy Hubbell’s efforts, stating; “Hubbell’s tenacity and sheer determination is reflective of the dedication and commitment to the community that the United States Marshal Service exhibits every day enforcing the laws of the United States”.

Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Hate Crime for Assaulting an Elderly African-American Man

A man from Katy, Texas, has entered a guilty plea to a federal hate crime related to the racially-motivated assault of an 81-year-old African-American man, announced Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, and U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson of the Southern District of Texas.

Conrad Alvin Barrett, 29, was charged with violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.  On Nov. 24, 2013, he attacked the elderly African-American man because of the man’s race and color in what Barrett called a “knockout.”

At the hearing today, evidence revealed that Barrett recorded himself on his cell phone attacking the African-American man.  In the recording, Barrett questions whether there would be national attention if he attacked a person of color.  Barrett also claimed he would not hit “defenseless people” just moments before punching the elderly man in the face and with such force that the victim immediately fell to the ground.  Barrett then laughed and said “knockout,” as he ran to his vehicle and fled.  The victim suffered two jaw fractures and was hospitalized for several days as a result of the attack.

“This was a senseless and heinous act of violence that was committed simply because the victim was African American,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Gupta.  “The Department of Justice will continue to use every tool in our arsenal to vindicate the rights of victims of violent crimes.”

“The defendant’s admissions today resolve any question as to his guilt and are consistent with what we had planned to present at trial,” said U.S. Attorney Magidson.  “We do not take criminal civil rights violations lightly and are now prepared to move forward at sentencing to fully advocate for the appropriate punishment in this case.”

The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was passed on Oct. 22, 2009, and signed into law by President Barack Obama six days later.  Shepard was a gay student who was tortured and murdered in 1998 near Laramie, Wyoming.   Byrd was an African-American man who was tied to a truck by two white supremacists, dragged behind it and decapitated in Jasper, Texas, in 1998.

U.S. District Judge Gray Miller of the Southern District of Texas accepted Barrett’s plea today and has set sentencing for September 18, 2015.  At that time, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI in cooperation with the Fulshear, Texas, and Katy Police Departments as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Civil Rights Division Trial Attorneys Saeed Mody and Olimpia Michel are prosecuting the case along with Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ruben R. Perez and Joe Magliolo of the Southern District of Texas, in cooperation with District Attorney John Healey of Ft. Bend County, Texas.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Suspect in Wyoming, MI Armed Robbery Arrested by U.S. Marshals Task Force in Memphis

Wyoming, MI - A suspect wanted in connection with an armed robbery in Wyoming was arrested by a U.S. Marshals Task Force Friday in Memphis, TN. The man is charged with armed robbery and habitual offender 3rd offense.

Montai Riley is accused of robbing a Check-n-Go business on 28th Street SW in Wyoming on June 22. No employees or customers were injured in the robbery but a handgun was brandished by the suspect and he was able to flee with an undisclosed amount of cash. Riley is the main suspect in a similar robbery of the same business in April but has yet to be charged in that case.

Investigators from the US Marshals Grand Rapids Fugitive Task Force became involved with the case soon after the warrant was issued in late June. The investigation eventually led the task force to Memphis. Task force officers and deputy U.S. Marshals developed information on the likely location of Riley.

On the evening of June 26, the Marshals' Western Tennessee Task Force conducted surveillance at a hotel in Memphis and eventually arrested Riley at the hotel without incident. A handgun was recovered during the arrest.

Riley is being held at the Shelby County Jail in Tennessee and will be transported back to Michigan after it is determined whether he will face local charges in Memphis. He is expected to appear in court in Shelby County today.

A second person believed to be involved in the robberies has been identified and an arrest warrant has been issued for that subject. This subject is expected to surrender to authorities in Wyoming this week and will be arraigned on the charges.

The Marshals Fugitive Task Force in Grand Rapids is comprised of officers from the Grand Rapids Police Department, the Michigan Department of Corrections, the Wyoming Police Department, Troopers from the Michigan State Police, and deputy U.S. Marshals.