Criminal Justice News

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Alabama Man Pleads Guilty to Enticing a Minor for Sex


Met 16-Year-Old Victim Through 'Game of War' App on Her Cell Phone

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – An Alabama man pleaded guilty in federal court today to enticing a 16-year-old victim, whom he met through the “Game of War” application on her cell phone, to engage in illegal sexual activity.

James Reece Vance, 46, of Madison, Ala., pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips.

The investigation began when the child victim’s father discovered emails between Vance and his daughter. The emails, from March 7 through May 8, 2017, contained numerous exchanges where she and Vance discussed getting together, having sexual intercourse, and future plans to get married. The child victim told investigators she met Vance through the “Game of War” application on her cell phone. Vance drove to Kansas City twice during April 2017 to meet the child victim for sex.

Under federal statutes, Vance is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison without parole, up to a sentence of life in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine A. Connelly. It was investigated by the FBI and the Kansas City, Mo., Police Department.

Westminster Woman Sentenced To Federal Prison After Selling Heroin That Led To Overdose Death


DENVER – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn announced today that Kayla Pagano, age 24, of Westminster, Colorado, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Blackburn to serve 77 months (6 years and 5 months) in federal prison for distribution of heroin and methamphetamine.  Following her prison sentence, Pagano will serve 4 years of supervised release.  She appeared at the sentencing hearing in custody, and was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service at the hearing’s conclusion.

According to the facts contained in Pagano’s plea agreement, on May 31, 2018, an individual with the initials E.N., a woman named Ariel Walker and an individual with the initials C.T., drove to Westminster to buy heroin from Kayla Pagano.  E.N. paid Walker approximately $80 to purchase the heroin and approximately $40 for arranging the drug deal. Walker then met with Pagano at a Circle K in Westminster where she sold Walker approximately .20 grams of heroin and approximately .20 grams of methamphetamine.  E.N. used the heroin and then passed out. Police later found E.N.’s dead body dumped in an alley in Denver.  The heroin which caused E.N.’s death was the heroin Walker purchased from Pagano outside the Circle K and then distributed to E.N.  Walker has pleaded guilty to distribution of heroin resulting in death in criminal case number 18-cr-414-RBJ and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 16, 2019.

“I hope drug dealers are getting the message:  when someone dies as a result of your conduct, you will be held accountable and you will do time in federal prison,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.

“Today’s sentencing of Kayla Pagano illustrates the FBI’s commitment to investigating those that enable the heroin epidemic and the consequential tragedies resulting from this growing problem,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Dean Phillips. “We extend our gratitude to the Denver Police Department, the DEA, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their invaluable investigatory and prosecutorial assistance in this case.”

This case was investigated by the Denver Police Department with assistance from the FBI Denver OCDETF Strike Force.  The defendant was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter McNeilly.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Federal Drug Trafficking Indictments Unsealed, Search Warrants Executed in Dougherty, Henry, Muscogee and Worth Counties


Albany, GA— A multi-agency investigation has resulted in the execution of search warrants today in Dougherty, Henry, Muscogee and Worth Counties, announced Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. Additionally, federal indictments charging six individuals for drug trafficking were unsealed today.

The search warrants were executed in the following locations:

    948 South Street, Albany, Dougherty County
    3 Simmons Way, Ellenwood, Henry County
    204 Whitehead Drive, Albany, Dougherty County
    710 Johnson Road, Apartment C, Albany, Dougherty County
    1718 Nelms Road, Albany, Dougherty County
    7794 Leaning Pine Court, Midland, Muscogee County
    202 Glade Lane, Albany, Dougherty County
    610 Johnson Road, Albany Dougherty County
    101 Gurr Drive, Albany, Dougherty County
    202 Pecan Street, Sylvester, Worth County
    
    The following defendants were indicted by the September 2019 federal grand jury. An indictment is only an allegation of criminal conduct. All of the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law beyond a reasonable doubt.
    

    Willie Keith Ware, 32, of Albany, is facing six charges. Mr. Ware is charged with four counts of distribution of methamphetamine in an amount exceeding 50 grams.  If convicted on any of these charges, Mr. Ware faces a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison, up to a maximum of life in prison, and a $10 million fine.  Mr. Ware is also charged with one count of distribution of heroin.  If convicted on this charge, Mr. Ware faces a maximum 20 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine.  Mr. Ware is also charged with one count of distribution of MDMA.  If convicted on this charge, Mr. Ware faces a maximum 20 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine.
    
    Jamie L. Keith, 38, Albany, is charged with one count possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine in an amount exceeding 50 grams.  If convicted, Mr. Keith faces a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison, up to a maximum of life in prison, and a $10 million fine.
    
    Quade’ Z. Barrett, 25, of Albany is charged with one count of distribution of MDMA.  If convicted, Mr. Barrett faces a maximum 20 years imprisonment and a $1 million fine.
    
    Demarcus Cook, aka GA Boy, 37, of Sylvester, is facing two charges. Mr. Cook is charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in an amount exceeding 50 grams.  If convicted, Mr. Cook faces a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison, up to a maximum of life in prison, and a $10 million fine.  Mr. Cook is also charged with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  If convicted, Mr. Cook faces a mandatory minimum 5 years in prison consecutive to any other conviction, up to a maximum of life in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
    
    Addy Cook, aka Frost, 36, of Sylvester, is facing two charges. Ms. Cook is charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in an amount exceeding 50 grams.  If convicted, Ms. Cook faces a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison, up to a maximum of life in prison, and a $10 million fine.  Ms. Cook is also charged with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  If convicted, Ms. Cook faces a mandatory minimum 5 years in prison consecutive to any other conviction, up to a maximum of life in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
    
    Artarius Davis, aka Showboat, aka Boat, 38, of Albany, is facing two charges. Mr. Davis is charged with one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in an amount exceeding 50 grams.  If convicted, Mr. Davis faces a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison, up to a maximum of life in prison, and a $10 million fine.  Mr. Davis is also charged with one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  If convicted, Mr. Davis faces a mandatory minimum 5 years in prison consecutive to any other conviction, up to a maximum of life in prison, and a $250,000 fine.
    
    “These search warrants and indictments are part of a multi-month, multi-agency investigation,” said U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler. “Our office is grateful for the strong partnership exhibited between our local, state and federal law enforcement in the Middle District of Georgia.”
    
    The case was investigated by the Crisp County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, Thomas County Sheriff’s Office, Worth County Sheriff’s Office, Albany Dougherty Drug Unit, the GBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Assistant U.S. Attorney Leah E. McEwen is prosecuting the case for the Government.
    
    Questions can be directed to Pamela Lightsey, Public Information Officer, United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 621-2603 or Melissa Hodges, Public Affairs Director (Contractor), United States Attorney’s Office, at (478) 765-2362.