Criminal Justice News

Friday, September 29, 2017

Pensacola Man Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison for Drug and Firearm Crimes



PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – Clifford B. Gandy Jr., 26, of Pensacola, was sentenced today to 25 years in prison after an October 2016 jury conviction of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  The sentence was announced by Christopher P. Canova, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

In May 2016, an officer walking on patrol observed Gandy inside a running vehicle in a public parking lot with three bags containing a white powder on Gandy’s lap.  Another officer confirmed this observation.  As the officers approached, Gandy attempted to reverse the vehicle to escape capture.  The officers drew their weapons and prevented Gandy from leaving.  While one officer removed Gandy from the vehicle, a digital scale and cocaine bags fell onto the ground.  A vehicle search revealed $800 in cash and a loaded semi-automatic pistol in the closed center console along with a bag of marijuana.  The firearm was stolen, and Gandy is a multi-convicted felon.

This case resulted from an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the Pensacola Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney David L. Goldberg prosecuted the case.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

Three Baltimore Area Residents Sentenced in Arson and Wire Fraud Scheme, Obstruction, and Witness Tampering



Set Three Residences On Fire in Baltimore and Pennsylvania

Baltimore, Maryland – United States District Judge George L. Russell, III sentenced Greg Ramsey, age 55, of Baltimore, Maryland, to 355 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for use of fire to commit wire fraud, malicious destruction of property by fire, and attempted witness tampering.  Ramsey also was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,081,606.90.  Judge Russell also sentenced Tyesha Roberts, age 29, of Baltimore, to five years of probation, for attempted obstruction of an official proceeding.  Roberts also was ordered to pay restitution of $1,000.  Judge Russell previously sentenced Ramsey’s co-conspirator Julia Teryaeva-Reed, age 33, a citizen of Ukraine, to 162 months for wire fraud, use of fire to commit a federal felony, and malicious destruction of real property by fire.

The sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning; Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Daniel L. Board Jr., Baltimore City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, Baltimore City Fire Chief Niles R. Ford, PhD, Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel William M. Pallozzi, Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci, United States Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Christopher Caruso, and Department of Homeland Security Special Agent in Charge Andre Watson.

According to Ramsey’s plea agreement, Ramsey and Teryaeva-Reed set fire to three separate residences between October 2012 and August 2013, two in Baltimore, and one in Weatherly, Pennsylvania. One fire spread to adjoining residences and did substantial damage. Two of the residences were occupied at the time. In addition, the pair set two vehicles on fire in August of 2013 in the area of Walbrook Ave. and N. Dukeland Street, which spread to a nearby church. The fires were set in an effort to obtain money from insurance companies for the claims related to the fire damage.

Teryaeva-Reed was initially charged by the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office and arrested at JFK airport as she was about to board a flight to Ukraine in 2013. In 2015, Ramsey planned to have a relative, co-defendant Tyesha Roberts, testify falsely for Teyaeva-Reed at trial for $2,000. Ramsey also plotted to assist in the murder of another witness. In November 2015, Ramsey produced a loaded .357 Ruger revolver, which was to be used for the murder, and he was arrested.

Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning commended the ATF for its work in the investigation. Mr. Schenning thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew J. Maddox, Judson T. Mihok, and Zachary Myers, who prosecuted the case.

Justice Department Invests More Than $47 Million to Combat Human Trafficking and Assist Victims



The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today announced more than $47 million in funding to combat human trafficking and provide vital services to trafficking victims throughout the United States.

As part of this announcement, Associate Attorney General Rachel L. Brand visited the national headquarters of the International Association of Chiefs of Police this afternoon, where she met with Executive Director Vincent Talucci, Deputy Executive Director Terrence Cunningham, and Director for Programs Domingo Herraiz. While there, she provided notification that the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) had awarded the organization a $1 million grant to support a National Anti-Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement Task Force, which supports criminal justice systems efforts to investigate, and prosecute all forms of human trafficking.

“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the victims of human trafficking,” said Associate Attorney General Brand.  “DOJ grants provide training and technical assistance to state and local law governments, law enforcement, and victim service organizations.”

Approximately $31 million of the funds was awarded under nine OJP grant programs. The grants aim to support the criminal justice system’s efforts to investigate and prosecute all forms of human trafficking; offer victims services through experienced providers; and seeks to strengthen communities’ responses to the sexual exploitation and forced labor of victims by raising community awareness and providing training and technical assistance.

Grants awarded under Fiscal Year 2017 OJP programs include the following:
 
 Specialized Services for Victims of All Forms of Human Trafficking; About $7.5 million to 13 victim service organizations to enhance the quality and quantity of specialized services available to all victims of human trafficking. 

Legal Access to Victims of Crime: Innovations in Access to Justice Programs; Approximately $5 million to support an award to Equal Justice Works, which will partner with qualified nonprofit organizations to host attorneys who will provide comprehensive and holistic legal services to survivors of human trafficking and enforce victims' rights.

Improving Outcomes for Child and Youth Victims of Human Trafficking: A Jurisdiction Wide Approach; Nearly $5.2 million to four states to improve jurisdiction-wide coordination and multidisciplinary collaboration to address the trafficking of children and youth.

Comprehensive Services for Victims of All Forms of Human Trafficking; Over $3.6 million to five community agencies under this program with a demonstrated history of serving victims of human trafficking.

Specialized Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance for Service Providers; $1.7 million to the Freedom Network USA and Futures Without Violence to help victim service providers develop and implement housing and employment practices that better serve victims of human trafficking.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance and the Office for Victims of Crime awarded four grants totaling nearly $3 million to two multidisciplinary human trafficking task forces under the Enhanced Collaborative Model to Combat Human Trafficking Program.  This initiative supports task forces made up of victim service providers, law enforcement agencies and prosecutors that implement a victim-centered approach and work collaboratively to identify sex and labor trafficking victims of all ages and sexes; investigate and prosecute trafficking cases at the local, state, tribal and federal levels; and provide a comprehensive array of quality services that address the individualized needs of victims.

The Bureau of Justice Assistance awarded $1 million to the International Association of Chiefs of Police to support National Anti-Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance for Law Enforcement Task Forces. The task forces support efforts to investigate, and prosecute all forms of human trafficking. For a list of OVC and BJA awardees, visit https://go.usa.gov/xRhQ7.

The National Institute of Justice awarded about $2 million to three research organizations under the Research and Evaluation on Trafficking in Persons program, which funds research and evaluation efforts to understand, prevent and respond to trafficking in persons in the United States. For a list of NIJ awardees, visit https://go.usa.gov/xRh8f.

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) awarded approximately $1.9 million to three mentoring project sites and one training site under the Mentoring for Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Domestic Sex Trafficking Initiative. This program helps organizations develop their capacity to respond to the needs of child victims. For a list of OJJDP awardees, visit https://go.usa.gov/xRhQs.

In addition to the awards, the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) transferred more than $16 million to the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs to help address the housing needs of human trafficking victims.  OVC also dedicated funding of about $100,000 to the Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit (HTPU) within the DOJ Civil Rights Division for training and technical assistance. HTPU provides anti-trafficking training and technical assistance to agencies outside of DOJ, and follows several mandates since the passage of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act.

The Office of Justice Programs, headed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Alan R. Hanson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice and assist victims. OJP has six bureaus and offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering and Tracking. More information about OJP and its components can be found at www.ojp.gov.