Criminal Justice News

Friday, June 23, 2017

Quebec Man Extradited to Vermont on Firearms Smuggling Charges



The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that Alexis Vlachos, 40, of Montreal, Quebec, was recently extradited from Quebec to the District of Vermont to face multiple federal firearms charges, including exporting firearms from the United States into Canada without a permit.

The Indictment against Vlachos, returned by the grand jury in Burlington, Vermont in February 2015 contains five counts. The first count charges Vlachos with conspiring to export approximately 100 handguns from the United States to Quebec without a munitions permit from the Department of State. Two counts charge Vlachos with exporting specific handguns without a permit and the remaining two counts charge Vlachos with possession of specific firearms in the United States while in alien status.

Specifically, the Indictment alleges that from July 2010 to April 2011, Vlachos, working with Annette Wexler and another co-conspirator, bought approximately 100 handguns from multiple licensed gun dealers in Florida. In purchasing these guns, the Indictment alleges that Annette Wexler and another co-conspirator falsely stated on the ATF forms they were the true owners of the firearms when they were actually purchasing these firearms on behalf of Vlachos with the intention of smuggling the firearms into Quebec. In addition, the Indictment alleges that on March 25, 2011, Wexler and a co-conspirator traveled to Derby Line, Vermont with multiple handguns and hid a small backpack containing these handguns in the bathroom of the Haskell Free Library. Vlachos, who entered the Library after walking from Quebec, went into the bathroom, retrieved the backpack containing the handguns, exited the library, and walked back into Quebec without going through the port-of-entry.

Annette Wexler previously pled guilty to conspiring to make false statements to licensed gun dealers and unlawful exportation. Her sentencing is scheduled for July 25, 2017 in Brattleboro, Vermont before United States District Judge J. Garvan Murtha.

At his initial appearance in the United States on June 5, 2017, Vlachos pled not guilty to the charges and did not contest continued detention until trial. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy ordered that Vlachos be remanded into the custody of the United States Marshals Service pending trial.

The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until she is proven guilty. If he is convicted, Vlachos faces a maximum possible term of imprisonment of twenty years. However, the actual sentence in the event of a conviction will be determined pursuant to the advisory federal sentencing guidelines and the federal statutory sentencing factors.

The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Perella. Vlachos is represented by Paul Volk, Esq. of Burlington. Wexler is represented by Robert Katims, Esq. of Burlington. This case was jointly investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Homeland Security Investigations of the Department of Homeland Security. In addition, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Surete du Quebec provided assistance.

Attorney General Sessions Announces Creation of National Public Safety Partnership to Combat Violent Crime



 WASHINGTON – As the Department of Justice continues its efforts to fulfill President Trump’s commitment to reducing violent crime in America, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today that 12 cities are joining the Department’s newly organized National Public Safety Partnership (PSP). The announcement came during the opening session of a national summit organized by the Attorney General’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. The summit convened federal, state and local law enforcement to discuss how to support and replicate successful local violent crime reduction efforts.

A list of the cities is posted at www.nationalpublicsafetypartnership.org (link is external).

“Turning back the recent troubling increase in violent crime in our country is a top priority of the Department of Justice and the Trump Administration, as we work to fulfill the President’s promise to make America safe again,” said Attorney General Sessions.  “The Department of Justice will work with American cities suffering from serious violent crime problems. There is no doubt that there are many strategies that are proven to reduce crime. Our new National Public Safety Partnership program will help these communities build up their own capacity to fight crime, by making use of data-driven, evidence-based strategies tailored to specific local concerns, and by drawing upon the expertise and resources of our Department.”

The Justice Department created PSP and the task force in response to President Trump’s February 9, 2017, Executive Order charging the agency with leading a national effort to combat violent crime. The partnership provides a framework for enhancing federal support of state, local and tribal law enforcement officials and prosecutors as they aggressively investigate and pursue violent criminals, specifically those involved in gun crime, drug trafficking and gang violence.

Twelve sites have been selected to receive this significant assistance:


    Birmingham, Alabama
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Memphis, Tennessee
    Toledo, Ohio 
    Baton Rouge, Louisiana
    Buffalo, New York
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Houston, Texas
    Jackson, Tennessee
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Lansing, Michigan
    Springfield, Illinois
    

We anticipate announcing additional sites this calendar year.
The Justice Department agencies involved in PSP are the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Office of Justice Programs; the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Office on Violence Against Women; and the Office of Community Oriented Policing.

ATF, NSSF Offer $5,000 Reward in Tulsa Cash America Pawn Robbery



ATF Seeks to Identify Suspect

DALLAS — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Dallas Field Division is offering a $2,500 reward, combined with an additional $2,500 offered by the National Sports Shooting Foundation (NSSF), for a total reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the robbery of Cash America Pawn in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

On Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at approximately 9:50 a.m., two suspects entered Cash America Pawn located in the 1100 block of South Memorial Drive. The first suspect entered the store displaying a hammer in a threatening manner toward employees. That suspect proceeded directly to the store’s glass display cases. The suspect shattered several display cases and removed an unknown quantity of jewelry and 5 handguns. The stolen items were placed in a black and orange backpack. The suspect wore the backpack in reverse, with the bag portion covering his chest. The second suspect entered just after the first. He lingered in the isles for a short period of time before advancing to the shattered display cases to grab the remaining jewelry. The second suspect placed the items he stole in a dark-colored backpack. The second suspect fled on foot after spending approximately 40 seconds inside the store. The first suspect remained in the store approximately 1 minute before he fled on foot.

A store patron was able to escape as the second suspect made entry. Once outside, the patron notified police and prevented the second suspect from fleeing until authorities arrived. Police took the second suspect into custody. Authorities describe the second suspect as an adult white male found in possession of stolen Cash America Pawn merchandise.

Surveillance footage and witness interviews indicate the first suspect is a black adult male, approximately 20-25 years old, approximately 6 feet tall with a medium build, At the time of the robbery, the first suspect wore a gray knit hat with red-colored lettering, dark-colored sunglasses, a blue-colored bandanna covering the lower half of his face, a gray hooded sweatshirt, possibly a lighter-colored blue shirt under the hooded sweatshirt, darker-blue sweatpants, white running-style shoes with dark accents near the toes, and a black backpack with orange accents worn reversed with bag in front.

This reward is part of a larger national cooperative initiative between the NSSF, the trade association for the firearms industry, and ATF in which NSSF matches ATF’s reward in cases involving the theft of firearms from federally licensed firearms retailers.

Any information regarding these crimes can be reported to ATF Dallas Field Division. Call 1-469-227-4300 [ 1-469-227-4300] or 1-800-ATF-GUNS [ 1-800-ATF-GUNS] (283-4867). A tip can also be reported via text or through ATF’s new “reportit” app. To text a tip, send the code ATFDAL to 63975, then follow the link to create a report. The “reportit” app is available at , at Google Play and the Apple App Store. All tips are confidential and can be anonymous. More information about ATF and its programs is available at www.atf.gov.