Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hartford Man Involved in Crack Distribution Ring Sentenced to 21 Months in Federal Prison

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that Hassan Muhammad, also known as “Hadi,” 24, of Hartford, was sentenced today by Chief United States District Judge Alvin W. Thompson in Hartford to 21 months of imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, for his role in a Hartford crack cocaine distribution ring.
This matter stems from Operation Vinefield, a joint law enforcement investigation headed by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force targeting narcotics trafficking and gang violence in Hartford’s North End. As a result of the nine-month investigation, 38 individuals were charged with various offenses related to the distribution of crack cocaine and the unlawful possession and dealing of firearms in and around Hartford.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Joshua Easterling and Kyshiifa Boyd distributed large quantities of crack cocaine in Hartford’s lower Vine Street area, as well as in other locations in Hartford and East Hartford. In February 2012, Muhammad was intercepted over a court-authorized wiretap ordering a distribution quantity of crack cocaine from Easterling.
The Hartford Police Department has identified Muhammad as being a member of the AVE street gang.
On November 21, 2012, Muhammad pleaded guilty to one count of using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking felony offense.
Easterling and Boyd have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
This matter has been investigated by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force, the Connecticut State Police, the Hartford Police Department, and the Connecticut Department of Correction. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian P. Leaming.

Easthampton Man Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Charges

BOSTON—An Easthampton man was convicted yesterday in U.S. District Court in Springfield of conspiring to distribute cocaine.
Joaquin Carrillo, a/k/a Chito, 31, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Sentencing is scheduled for June 5, 2013. The maximum sentence under the statute is 40 years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
Between July 31, 2010 and May 2, 2011, Carrillo and others imported over five kilograms of cocaine into the United States and distributed it in Western Massachusetts over five kilograms of cocaine.
On February 15, 2013, co-defendant Pablo Drullard pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on May 13, 2013.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; John J. Arvanitis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Boston Field Division; and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Regan of Ortiz’s Springfield Office.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Six Convicted in Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy

MONTGOMERY, AL—George L. Beck, Jr., United States Attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, announced that six people were convicted by a jury in federal district court of conspiring to distribute powder cocaine and cocaine base. Defendant William Jerome Davis was also found guilty of money laundering. The six defendants convicted are:
Willie Jerome Davis, a.k.a. “Mobey,” age 52, of Elmore, Alabama; Eulanda Lashade Trimble, a.k.a. “Yo Yo,” age 33, of Montgomery, Alabama; Clifton Pettus, a.k.a. “Biscuit,” age 33, of Montgomery, Alabama; Robert Marshall, a.k.a. “Big Daddy,” age 39, of Montgomery, Alabama; William James Reese, age 38, of Deatsville, Alabama; and Eric Orlando Reese, age 38, of Montgomery, Alabama.
All defendants were found guilty after a two-and-a-half-week trial before Chief United States District Judge W. Keith Watkins.
Evidence introduced at trial showed a sophisticated drug trafficking conspiracy involving multi-kilograms of powder cocaine. This conspiracy ranged from Autauga, Elmore, and Montgomery Counties. Prosecutors introduced evidence gathered from four judicially authorized wiretaps initiated in February 2012 and running through May 2012. These wiretaps uncovered two drug trafficking cells that had joined forces to saturate Autauga, Elmore, and Montgomery Counties with cocaine. In addition to drug evidence gathered from wiretaps, prosecutors showed evidence of money laundering and unexplained wealth. According to the evidence, Mr. Willie Jerome Davis had at least $500,000 of illicit assets, including real and personal property. After establishing that Davis had very limited legitimate income, the jury was allowed to infer that his “wealth” came from illicit activity—drug trafficking.
United States Attorney George L. Beck, Jr. stated, “I want to thank local law enforcement for the tremendous help they provided to DEA. It is with the cooperation and assistance of local law enforcement, such as the Millbrook Police Department, the Wetumpka Police Department, the Montgomery Police Department, and through the Central Alabama Drug Task Force and HIDTA Task Force areas that we are able to prosecute individuals who prey on the weak and feed the drug culture that has become so prevalent in America. In addition to severe prison sentences, our office will seek the forfeiture of cash, personal property, and any homes used as means to sell drugs.”
U.S. Attorney Beck specifically would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Verne H. Speirs, Gray M. Borden, and Tommie Brown Hardwick.
DEA Resident Agent in Charge W. Marshall Simons remarked, “These guilty verdicts are a culmination of superior collaborative efforts by DEA Montgomery, the Middle District of Alabama United States Attorney’s Office, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force, FBI, and our other, federal, state, and local counterparts. This case sends an undeniable message to drug dealers in the greater Montgomery, Alabama area: your illegal activities are not welcomed here. The verdicts in this case represent the collective and symbolic voice of the fine citizenry in this community who have resolved to partner with us to take back their streets. The men and women of DEA remain steadfast in our commitment to this endeavor.”
At sentencing, some defendants will face mandatory minimum terms of incarceration, including life imprisonment. Other defendants could be sentenced to as much as twenty years’ imprisonment. A sentencing date has yet to be set by the court.
The following local, state, and federal agencies assisted with this investigation: DEA’s Montgomery Regional Office, the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, Birmingham District Office, DEA Atlanta, DEA New York, DEA’s Special Operations Division, Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Financial Investigation Team (Atlanta, Georgia), FBI, United States Marshals, Central Alabama Drug Task Force, Office Of The Attorney General, Elmore County Sherriff’s Office, Wetumpka Police Department, Montgomery Police Department, Millbrook Police Department, Montgomery County Sherriff’s Office, Prattville Police Department, Autauga County Sherriff’s Office, Alabama State Police, Alabama Beverage Control, Alabama Bureau of Investigation, Chilton County Sherriff’s Office, and the Alabama National Guard.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Verne H. Speirs, Gray M. Borden, and Tommie Brown Hardwick.

San Bernardino Man Pleads Guilty to Distributing Methamphetamine

OAKLAND—Hassan Johnny Valenzuela pleaded guilty in federal court in Oakland on Wednesday, February 20, 2013, to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.
In pleading guilty, Valenzuela admitted to possessing with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and agreeing with another individual to do so.
According to the plea colloquy, when Valenzuela was arrested on September 5, 2012, he had approximately 4.4 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine inside a speakerbox in the trunk of a vehicle that he was driving. According to the plea colloquy, Valenzuela had agreed with his co-conspirator to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine at a distribution point in Oakland, California.
Valenzuela, 22 years old, of San Bernardino, California, was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 27, 2012. He was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute methamphetamine in violation of Title 21, United States Code Sections 846, 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A)(viii), and possession with the intent to distribute methamphetamine in violation of Title 21, United States Code Sections 841(a)(1) and 841(b)(1)(A)(viii). Valenzuela pleaded guilty to both counts without a plea agreement.
At the conclusion of his guilty plea, Valenzuela was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals Service. The sentencing of Valenzuela is scheduled for May 8, 2013, before the Honorable Phyllis J. Hamilton in Oakland. The maximum statutory penalty for each count in violation of 21 U.S.C. §841(a)(1) and 846 is life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Chinhayi Cadet is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Jacquelyn Lovrin. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Oakland Police Department.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thirty People Indicted in Massive Florida-Arizona Drug Conspiracy

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; Antonio J. Gomez, Acting Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Miami Field Office; and Ric L. Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, announce the arrests of 30 individuals engaged in a massive drug conspiracy that trafficked drugs from Arizona to Florida. The defendants were arrested earlier today and are expected to make their initial appearances today in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Dave Lee Brannon in West Palm Beach at 1:00 p.m.
Charged in the 12-count indictment are George Evans Bivins, Jr., a/k/a “Ziggy,” 30, of West Palm Beach; Antonio Markeith Beverly, a/k/a “Tony,” 29, of West Palm Beach; Daniel Emmanuel Torrez, 31, of Tucson, Arizona; Lavaris Reshard Bivins, a/k/a “Varis,” 22, of West Palm Beach; William Alvarenga, a/k/a “Chico,” 19, of Boynton Beach; Jessica Marie Arvizu, 30, of Tucson, Arizona; Michael Maxwell Barkley, a/k/a “Tater,” 38, of Lake Worth; Jerrick David Bartee, 30, of West Palm Beach; Kirk Douglas Bivins, a/k/a “Kirky,” 38, of Riviera Beach; Demetri Pernell Cobb, a/k/a “Meechi,” 23, of Lake Worth; Darren Duane Donnally, 39, of Palm Springs; Quatavious Carnell George, a/k/a “Jelly Boy,” 26, of Riviera Beach; Wellington Timothy Glinton, a/k/a “Timmy,” 20, of Lake Worth; Javaris Reshad Bartelmy, 24, of Boynton Beach; Ernest Andrew Holiday, a/k/a “Bam,” 30, of Riviera Beach; Jean Innocent, a/k/a “Barko,” 20, of Lake Worth; Demetrice Lemane Jones, 37, of Riviera Beach; Dominic Perry Lamare, 33, of Port St. Lucie; Patrick Jarrod Lowe, 24, of Lantana; Richard John Mercy, 30, of North Palm Beach; Frank Davis Moore, Jr., a/k/a “Bow Head,” “Bodeen,” 33, of Royal Palm Beach; Evens Pierre Louis, a/k/a “E-Bo,” 27, of Palm Springs; Theresa Lashai Razz, 28, of West Palm Beach; Lori Beth Mae Saccoman, 50, of West Palm Beach; Jeannot Saintelus, a/k/a “Jit,” 23, of Lake Worth; Calvin Leon Sirmans, Jr., a/k/a “CJ,” 28, of Lake Worth; Jamie Toby, 24, of Lake Worth; Monica Deloris Toby, 47, of Lantana; Eric Lanard Williams, a/k/a “Baby Boy,” 29, of Lantana; and David Lendell White, a/k/a “Popper,” 25, of Lake Worth.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer stated, “Today, the streets of Lake Worth and the surrounding areas are just a little safer, thanks to the concerted efforts of the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office. Thanks to their hard work, we have removed more than two dozen drug traffickers from our streets.”
“Through the combined efforts of local and federal law enforcement, this massive drug trafficking conspiracy is out of business,” said Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Miami. “Drugs and the violent gangs that profit from them have a devastating effect on our communities and we will continue to work with our partners to make South Florida a safer place.”
Antonio J. Gomez, Acting Inspector in Charge for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service stated, “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and all of our law enforcement partners in making our communities safer by working to eradicate narcotics from the U.S. mail stream.”
More specifically, the indictment, filed on February 7, 2013 and unsealed today, charges the defendants with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base and/or cocaine hydrochloride, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and/or cocaine hydrochloride, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1), and 846. If convicted, the defendants each face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison up to a statutory maximum term of life in prison.
According to statements made in court, this conspiracy involved multiple kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride that were shipped from Tucson, Arizona to Palm Beach County for sale and distribution as both cocaine hydrochloride and cocaine base. Much of the cocaine was sold in and around the streets of Lake Worth, Florida.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rinku Tribuiani and Robert Waters.
An indictment is only an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

High-Ranking Mexican Mafia Associate Sentenced in Stabbing and Drug Trafficking Case

United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy announced that Robert Mercado, a high-ranking Mexican Mafia associate from San Diego, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Anthony J. Battaglia to 14 years in custody after Mercado pleaded guilty to violent crime in aid of racketeering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1959. Mercado was one of 360individuals arrested last year as part of Operation Carnalismo, an investigation that targeted the Mexican Mafia’s organized criminal activity. Operation Carnalismo was one of three similar investigations charged at the same time that focused on Mexican Mafia crime, which resulted in well over 100 arrests of local gang members and associates.
Court filings describe the Mexican Mafia as a notorious, violent prison gang that controls a large portion of the criminal activity committed by Southern California Hispanic street-gang members. The Mexican Mafia controls the criminal activity of its subsidiary gangs through the extortionate collection of the proceeds from other criminal activity, such as drug trafficking. These extortion payments, commonly referred to as “taxes,” are collected for the benefit of members by gang associates like Mercado. The Mexican Mafia and its associates engage in a variety of crime in order to maintain their presence in the criminal world, including murder, assault, kidnapping, extortion, and drug trafficking.
As part of his plea, Mercado admitted that he carried out a variety of crimes in support of the Mexican Mafia, including assault with a dangerous weapon (stabbing), drug trafficking, and extortion. Filings with the court revealed that Mercado was a trusted lieutenant to convicted Mexican Mafia Member Salvador Colabella. Colabella had several independent methamphetamine trafficking organizations under his command. Mercado and others took money and cars from a number of drug dealers through violence or the threat of violence. In one particular incident, Mercado admitted stabbing a drug dealer (and twisting the knife in order to maximize the damage) because he believed that the drug dealer was not properly paying taxes to Colabella. After the stabbing, Mercado and an associate sent a third member of their group to the hospital in order to prevent the injured drug dealer from speaking with the police. Adding insult to injury, Mercado and his associate further demanded that the drug dealer give them his car, which he did later that evening after being released from the hospital. As part of his plea, Mercado also admitted that he sold heroin that was provided to him by the same victim of his violent assault.
United States Attorney Duffy praised the members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Violent Crimes B Gang Group (VCTF-GG”, which led this investigation, for their continued, outstanding work in pursuit of Mexican Mafia crime. The VCTF-GG is a federal task force composed of investigators from the FBI, Bureau of Prisons, and the San Diego, Chula Vista, and National City Police Departments. Duffy added, “We will continue to work tirelessly in order to ensure that our neighborhoods remain safe from organized gang activity through the successful prosecutions of cases like this. Gang members must know that their actions have serious consequences under federal law.”
Defendant in Criminal Case No. 12CR290-AJB
Robert Mercado
Progress of Cases Charged as Part of Operation Carnalismo
Summary: As of February 15, 2013, 30 of 36 defendants have been convicted, and 12 of those 30 have been sentenced.
12CR290-AJB—Convictions
  • Salvadore Colabella—RICO conspiracy
  • Jose Luis Mercado—RICO conspiracy
  • Robert Mercado—violent crime in aid of racketeering (168 months in custody)
  • Maria de Jesus Claudia Ochoa—RICO conspiracy
  • Silvano Hernandez—RICO conspiracy
  • Jose Briseno-Contreras—RICO conspiracy (46 months in custody)
12CR291-AJB—Convictions
  • Ramon Agredano—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (84 months in custody)
  • Ricardo Cornejo—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (135 months in custody)
  • David York—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine Guillermo Chaidez—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (120 months in custody)
  • Adrian Dominguez—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine
  • Charles Smith—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine
  • Anna Sheneman—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (93 months in custody)
  • Esteban Rodriguez—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (60 months in custody)
12CR292-AJB—Convictions
  • Juan Guerrero—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (135 months in custody)
  • Jorge Moreno—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine
  • Eduardo Moreno—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (120 months in custody)
  • Allen Mundell—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine
  • Brett Youkel—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (120 months in custody)
  • Lacy McElroy—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (100 months in custody)
12CR293-AJB—Convictions
  • Alfredo Bazurto—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine
  • Charles Monroe—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine
  • Jose Pedro Covarrubias—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (120 months in custody)
  • George Chavez—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine Jose Esparza—Conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine
  • John Atkinson—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (120 months in custody)
  • Annabel Vasquez—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine
  • Fantaja Deleal—conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine (78 months in custody)
12CR294-MMA—Convicted
  • Carlos Lozano—distribution of methamphetamine (57 months in custody)
Investigating Agencies
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Chula Vista Police Department
San Diego County Sheriff’s Department
National City Police Department
San Diego Police Department
San Diego County District Attorney’s Office
U.S. Bureau of Prisons
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
San Diego County Probation Department
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations
Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations

Canadian Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 81 Months in Prison

SACRAMENTO, CA—On February 11, 2013, United States District Judge William B. Shubb sentenced Sulaimen Safi, 31, of Vancouver, Canada, to six years and nine months in prison for his involvement in a conspiracy to distribute cocaine and Ecstasy, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
According to court documents, Safi worked with various Canadian drug trafficking organizations to import large amounts of Ecstasy, or MDMA, into the United States from Canada. He also worked with these organizations and others in the United States to export cocaine from the United States to Canada. The importation and exportation routes used by Safi and his partners ran through the Eastern District of California.
According to court documents, on February 1, 2010, detectives in San Bernardino, California, seized a 66-pound, Canadian-bound shipment of methamphetamine and more than $126,000 in cash at a hotel in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Safi, a Canadian-based drug trafficker, was arrested in the process of purchasing a six-kilogram sample of cocaine from a Los Angeles-based source of supply with the $126,000 cash. An international courier was to take the cocaine and methamphetamine back to Canada for distribution there. The courier, who was also arrested on the scene, used an encrypted Blackberry device to communicate with his handlers in Canada. This transaction was expected to set up a number of future international deals, each involving 20 or more kilograms of cocaine.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the IRS-Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the Fremont Police Department, and the Vancouver Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Michael M. Beckwith prosecuted the case.

Charlotte Man Sentenced to More Than 29 Years in Prison for Drug Trafficking and Firearms Offenses

CHARLOTTE, NC—On Tuesday, February 19, 2013, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. sentenced Malcolm Springs, 22, of Charlotte, to 355 months in prison for drug trafficking and firearms offenses, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Springs was also ordered to serve five years under court supervision following his prison term and to pay $21,434 as restitution.
U.S. Attorney Tompkins was joined in making today’s announcement by Roger A. Coe, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division; and Chief Rodney Monroe of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD).
According to filed court documents and statements made in court, on or about March 20, 2011, Springs met an individual identified as “S.C.” in the parking lot of a gas station in Charlotte for the purpose of purchasing a distribution amount of crack cocaine. Court records reflect that Springs stole the drugs and brandished a firearm. Court records indicate that a struggle over the gun ensued and S.C. was shot in the arm and in the abdomen. Following the shooting, Springs fled the scene in his car, according to court records.
According to filed documents, CMPD officers spotted Springs’ car and attempted to make a traffic stop. Springs did not stop, led police on a short chase, and then jumped and ran from his vehicle when he drove into a dead end. According to court records, a uniformed CMPD police officer spotted Springs, who was moving between two houses. Court records indicate that while fleeing, Springs pointed and then shot his gun at the officer. After being shot, the officer returned fire and struck Springs. Springs was then apprehended by the officers, court records indicate.
At the sentencing hearing, prosecutors described the shootings committed by Springs as “reckless and wanton” acts, and noted that “Springs could have killed two people.” Prosecutors also said that Springs’ shooting of a police officer reflected “complete lack of respect for the law.”
In making today’s announcement United States Attorney Anne Tompkins stated, “The Springs case demonstrates the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s commitment to vigorously prosecuting violent criminals and to enforcing existing federal firearms laws. Let it also be known,” U.S. Attorney Tompkins added, “that we will not tolerate any acts or attempted acts of violence against police officers.”
“Malcolm Springs’ ruthless actions put many lives at risk. The FBI and our law enforcement partners stand united in our commitment to hold violent offenders accountable for their negative impact on our communities,” said Roger Coe, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Division of the FBI.
“It is unfortunate that the incident escalated to where the suspect fired a gun and placed two lives in danger,” said Chief Rodney Monroe, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. “Oftentimes those who are intent on breaking the law and who knowingly engage in criminal activities also lack a regard for human life.”
In December 2011, Springs pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking offense, and one count of possession of a firearm by convicted felon. Springs’ sentence was enhanced because of his four prior violent felony convictions, which make him an armed career criminal under the United States Sentencing Guidelines.
Springs has been in local federal custody since June 2011. Upon designation of a federal facility, he will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. All federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.
The investigation was handled by the FBI and CMPD, assisted by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Gleason of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte.

Members of Bedford-Stuyvesant-Based Drug Ring Charged with Narcotics Trafficking

An indictment was unsealed today in Brooklyn federal court charging six defendants from the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York with trafficking crack and powder cocaine.1 Four of the arrested defendants are scheduled to be arraigned today before United States Magistrate Judge Viktor V. Pohorelsky, at the U.S. Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York. A fifth defendant was arrested yesterday in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. A sixth is currently in being held in Vermont state custody on narcotics charges and will be brought to Brooklyn for arraignment on the federal indictment.
The charges and arrests were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; George Venizelos, Assistant Director in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office; and Raymond W. Kelly, Commissioner, New York City Police Department.
A one-year joint investigation by the FBI and the NYPD resulted in the charges against members of a narcotics trafficking organization based in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. As detailed in the indictment and a detention memorandum filed by the government, Glenn Miller, also known as Chewy; Jaron Johnson, also known as Jay Jay; Rashawn Johnson, also known as SB; Raumel Johnson; Azee Patterson; and Eric South together trafficked cocaine and cocaine base (or crack), supplying street-level drug dealers with narcotics for resale. During the investigation, investigating agents intercepted communications over a series of cellular telephones used by Rashawn Johnson, pursuant to court-authorized wiretaps, purchased over 500 grams of cocaine base from Rashawn Johnson through a confidential informant, and executed two search warrants. Also during the investigation, state authorities in upstate New York and Vermont arrested Patterson in possession of distribution-level quantities of heroin, cocaine, and cocaine base. As described in the detention memorandum, the investigation revealed that the defendants engaged in daily drug trafficking of large quantities of narcotics in Brooklyn and transported narcotics to upstate New York and Vermont for resale.
During the wiretaps, the defendants spoke in code, referring to “eight-balls” or 3.5 gram quantities of narcotics as “squirrelies,” and two-hundred gram quantities of narcotics as a “deuce.” During one intercepted call, Rashawn Johnson reported to a co-conspirator that he had prepared approximately 198 grams of cocaine base, or crack, with a street wholesale value of approximately $7,900, for Miller. During the call, the co-conspirator asked Rashawn Johnson, “You do that (expletive deleted) for Chewy [Miller] already?” Rashawn Johnson answered: “Yea. I been do that (expletive deleted) already.” The co-conspirator asked, “Was it that much?” Rashawn Johnson answered, “Na. It was only a deuce. Not even a deuce. A little under a deuce. Like a buck 98.” As alleged by the government in the detention memorandum, the defendants’ drug business was of a sufficiently large scale that 198 grams of crack cocaine was considered a small amount.
Glenn Miller, Rashawn Johnson, Raumel Johnson, and Eric South were arrested yesterday afternoon in Brooklyn. As alleged in government filings, contemporaneously with the arrests, agents executed search warrants and seized two kilograms of cocaine, 24 grams of cocaine base, two .45 caliber handguns, two .22 caliber handguns, scales and materials for making cocaine base from the defendants’ stash house in Bedford-Stuyvesant, and 10 grams of heroin, over $6,000 in currency, and an electronic money counter from a residence across the street. Jaron Johnson was arrested yesterday by FBI agents in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. At the time of his arrest, Jaron Johnson possessed approximately $23,000 in currency. Jaron Johnson will be arraigned today in United States District Court in Pennsylvania.
“As set forth in the indictment, instead of working to improve the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, the defendants chose to supply crack and powder cocaine to their community, building a lucrative narcotics organization. The narcotics trade siphons off not just dollars from those affected, but hope and opportunity. This case also illustrates how drug trafficking and illegal firearms go hand in hand. We are committed to removing the scourge of illegal guns and drugs from our communities, and holding those who possess and sell them accountable for their conduct,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. Ms. Lynch expressed her grateful appreciation to the NYPD and added that the government’s investigation is ongoing.
FBI Assistant Director in Charge Venizelos stated, “It’s hardly a surprise, in a case where the indictment charges drug trafficking, to find a cache of guns. Guns—and the potential for gun violence—go hand-in-hand with illegal drugs. That connection between drugs and guns is why the FBI will continue to work with the police department to curtail drug trafficking.”
The cases have been assigned to United States District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano. If convicted of the most serious offenses in the indictment, the defendants face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and a minimum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Amatruda.
1 The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The Defendants:
GLENN MILLER
Alias: Chewy
Age: 32
JARON JOHNSON
Alias: Jay Jay
Age: 35
RAUMEL JOHNSON
Age: 36
RASHAWN JOHNSON
Alias: SB
Age: 32
AZEE PATTERSON
Age: 28
ERIC SOUTH
Age: 59

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hadley Man Convicted of Drug Charges

BOSTON—A Hadley man was convicted yesterday in U.S. District Court in Springfield of distributing more than five kilograms of cocaine.
Pablo Drullard, 31, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Ponsor to conspiring to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of more than five kilograms of cocaine. Sentencing is scheduled for May 13, 2013. The maximum sentence under the statute is life in prison, followed by five years of supervised release and a $10 million fine.
Between July 31, 2010 and May 2, 2011, Drullard and others participated in a criminal conspiracy that transported kilograms of cocaine from Texas to western Massachusetts.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; John J. Arvanitis, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Boston Field Division; and Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Boston Field Division, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin O’Regan of Ortiz’s Springfield Branch Office.

Honolulu Man Faces 10-Year Mandatory Prison Term After Conviction of Methamphetamine Offenses

HONOLULU—Mario Cesar Torres, age 56, of Waipahu, was found guilty today of federal drug offenses by a federal jury after a trial before United States District Judge J. Michael Seabright. The guilty verdicts were returned the same day jury deliberations began on three methamphetamine distribution charges and a related conspiracy charge, each alleging a quantity of 50 grams or more.
Florence T. Nakakuni, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii, said that Torres faces a mandatory minimum prison term of at least 10 years and up to life imprisonment for each of the four counts when he is sentenced on June 3, 2013. According to evidence produced during the trial, from August 2010 to January 2011, Torres delivered approximately one pound quantities of methamphetamine on two occasions and was the driver on a third transaction in which a passenger in his vehicle delivered approximately one pound of methamphetamine.
The case was the culmination of a joint investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Honolulu Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark A. Inciong.

Three More Defendants Plead Guilty in Murder/Marijuana Grow House Conspiracy

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and J.D. Patterson, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department, announce that defendants Derrick Santiesteban, Yadira Santiesteban, and Raul Fabian Ramirez, Jr., all of Miami, pled guilty today before Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres. Sentencing for the defendants is scheduled for April 25, 2013, at 2:00 p.m. before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore.
Derrick Santiesteban pled guilty to counts one, two, and four of the indictment. Count one charged him with conspiracy to possess 1,000 or more marijuana plants with the intent to distribute, in violation of Title 21, United States Code Section 841(a)(1), all in violation of Title 21, United States Code Section 846. Count two charged him with conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h). Count four charged him with kidnapping, resulting in death, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1201(a)(1) and 2. At sentencing, the defendant faces a minimum mandatory term of 10 years in prison and a maximum term of up to life imprisonment on count one; a maximum term of 20 years in prison on count two; and a mandatory term of life in prison for count four.
Yadira Santiesteban pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956 (h). At sentencing, she faces a maximum possible statutory sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
Raul Fabian Ramirez pled guilty to count one of the indictment charging him with conspiracy to possess 1,000 or more marijuana plants with the intent to distribute, in violation of Title 21, United States Code Section 841(a)(1), all in violation of Title 21, United States Code Section 846. At sentencing, the defendant faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison and a possible maximum term of up to life in prison.
On February 4, 2013, Juan Felipe CastaƱeda, of Miami, pled guilty to counts one and three of the indictment, charging him with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana, in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. Section 846; and with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. Section 1201 (c). Sentencing is scheduled for April 25, 2013. At sentencing, the defendant faces a minimum imprisonment of 10 years and a maximum possible term of life in prison for count one, and a maximum term of up to life in prison for count three.
The other defendants charged in this case are Gilberto Santiesteban, Jr., of Miami; Norge Manduley, of Hialeah; Alexander Santiesteban, of Miami; Gilberto Santiesteban, Sr., of Miami; German Silvestro, of Miami; David Silva, of Miami; Francisco Javier Diaz, of Miami-Dade; Alejandro Pimentel, of Miami; Dayana Castellanos, of Miami; Estrella J. Mijares, of Miami; Darvis Santiesteban, of Miami; and John Villalonga, of Miami-Dade, and are scheduled to go to trial on April 1, 2013.
According to court documents, the defendants operated an extensive network of hydroponic marijuana grow houses throughout South Florida. In 2009, a large quantity of marijuana belonging to the organization was stolen. Members of the organization set out to find the people responsible for the theft. On June 28, 2009, Derrick Santiesteban, Gilberto Santiesteban, Jr., Yadira Santiesteban, Norge Manduley, and Juan Felipe CastaƱeda kidnapped the individual who they thought was responsible for the theft of the marijuana. During the abduction, the individual was shot and killed.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, Miami-Dade Police Department, and IRS-CI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys William Athas and Pat Sullivan.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Former Customs Officer Found Guilty of Importing More Than 1,200 Pounds of Marijuana into the United States from Mexico

TUCSON, AZ—On February 14, 2013, Luis Vasquez, 33, formerly of Douglas, Arizona, a former Customs and Border Protection Officer, was found guilty of drug charges by a federal jury in Tucson. The case was tried before U.S. District Judge David C. Bury. Vasquez was remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals Service while awaiting sentencing. Sentencing is set before Judge Bury on April 29, 2013.
The evidence at trial showed that Vasquez used his position as an inspector at the Douglas Port of Entry to allow over 1,200 pounds of marijuana into the United States from Mexico. He was found guilty on all counts, including conspiracy to import marijuana, unlawful importation of marijuana, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. The convictions carry a maximum penalty of 40 years’ imprisonment, a $5,000,000 fine or both.
The evidence at trial showed that on at least two occasions, Vasquez, along with other members of the conspiracy, imported a large quantity of marijuana from Mexico into the United States through the Douglas Port of Entry. Vasquez’s role in the conspiracy was to use his position as a Customs Officer to allow pick-up trucks loaded with marijuana to cross the international border without inspection.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection and Office of the Inspector General, and the Douglas, Arizona Police Department. The prosecution was conducted by James T. Lacey and Joseph W. Hanley, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Tucson.

New Haven Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Narcotics Charge

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that Cornell Streater, also known as “Messy,” 21, of Shelton Avenue, New Haven, pleaded guilty yesterday before United States Magistrate Judge Holly B. Fitzsimmons in Bridgeport to one count of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine base (“crack cocaine”).
According to court documents and statements made in court, this matter stems from an investigation conducted by the FBI New Haven Safe Streets Task Force, the New Haven Police Department, and the Connecticut State Police into drug distribution and related violence allegedly being committed by members and associates of the Grape Street Crips in New Haven.
Streater is scheduled to be sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Warren W. Eginton on May 9, 2013, at which time Streater faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $1 million.
On April 9, 2012, a grand jury returned an indictment charging 18 individuals, including Streater, with narcotics distribution offenses stemming from this investigation. To date, nine of the defendants have pleaded guilty. The other nine defendants are detained while awaiting trial.
With respect to the defendants awaiting trial, U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was being investigated by the FBI’s New Haven Safe Streets Task Force, which includes officers from the New Haven, Hamden, and Milford Police Departments, and the State of Connecticut Department of Correction. The investigation was significantly assisted by the Connecticut State Police, the United States Marshals Service and the Westerly (Rhode Island) Police Department.
The investigation was funded in significant part by the United States Attorney’s Office Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and supported by the Office’s Project Safe Neighborhoods and Anti-Gang programs.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Anthony Kaplan and Gordon Hall.

Interior Man Pleads Guilty to Distribution of a Controlled Substance

United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that Gerald Baker, Sr., age 27, of Interior, South Dakota, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy on February 8, 2013, and pled guilty to distribution of a controlled substance. The maximum penalty upon conviction is five years’ imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine.
On March 5, 2012, Baker distributed more than five grams of marijuana at Kyle, South Dakota. The investigation was conducted by Operation Eagle Eye, a drug interdiction program conducted by the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force, whose member agencies include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, the South Dakota Highway Patrol, the Pierre Police Department, and the Oglala Sioux Tribe-Department of Public Safety. In addition to Task Force members, other agencies assisting were the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the Martin Police Department; the U.S. Marshals Service; the Drug Enforcement Administration; and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ted L. McBride.
A presentence investigation was ordered, and a sentencing date was set for June 11, 2013. The defendant was released on bond pending acceptance of this plea and sentencing.

Laurel Man Sentenced to More Than Seven Years in Prison for Conspiracy to Distribute Heroin and for a Credit Card Scheme with Losses of More Than $116,709

GREENBELT, MD—U.S. District William D. Quarles, Jr. sentenced Moses Sumo Appram, age 28, of Laurel, Maryland, today to 90 months in prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for conspiracy to distribute heroin and, in an unrelated case, for credit card fraud and aggravated identity theft. Judge Quarles also ordered Appram to pay restitution in the credit card case of $116,709.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Brisolari of the Drug Enforcement Administration-Washington Field Division; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Postal Inspector in Charge Gary R. Barksdale of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service-Washington Division.
Appram was convicted after a three-day trial of conspiracy to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin. According to trial testimony, on March 11, 2011, Appram picked up a drug courier who had arrived from Ghana carrying approximately 800 grams of heroin. Appram allowed the courier to stay with him while he sought to distribute the heroin, and Appram obtained at least 180 grams of the courier’s heroin which he attempted to distribute himself.
Appram arranged to sell 200 grams of heroin for $10,000 to Nana Boateng, a native Ghanaian who was living in the U.S. and was involved in importing and distributing heroin. DEA agents investigating Boateng overheard Appram’s conversations with Boateng. On April 4, 2011, Appram delivered the heroin to Boateng in exchange for cash. Immediately after the sale, Appram realized that Boateng had given him less than the agreed upon $10,000 in cash. In fact, although Boateng claimed that it was a mistake made by a third party, Boateng had worked with another heroin dealer to prepare the fake “stacks” of money, which had a few $20 bills on the outside of the stacks but $1 bills within the stacks. Boateng never repaid Appram, despite Appram’s repeated requests to do so. Boateng re-sold the heroin obtained from Appram for $2,400.
Appram is responsible for the distribution of approximately 800 grams of heroin over the course of the conspiracy. Boateng pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and was sentenced to seven years in prison.
“This case demonstrates the postal inspectors’ commitment to vigorously pursue individuals who use U.S. mail for fraudulent activities,” said Inspector in Charge Gary R. Barksdale, U.S. Postal Inspection Service-Washington Division. “At every level, we will always make every effort to protect postal customers from corrupt individuals.”
According to his guilty plea in the credit card fraud scheme, Appram and his associates used the names and credit/debit cards of others, without those individuals’ knowledge or authorization, to place telephone orders for computers and computer equipment, using delivery addresses that at least matched the zip code of the actual credit card account holder. Before the vendor shipped the order, Appram’s associates changed the shipping address to one of a network of post office boxes that Appram and his conspirators rented around the country using fictitious identities and business names. They would then have the equipment repackaged at the mail store where it had been delivered and send the repackaged equipment to Appram, using an alias, through post office boxes in Columbia and Laurel that Appram had rented. Finally, Appram would re-ship the equipment to associates in Canada and elsewhere where it would ultimately be sold as “refurbished” or “reconditioned.”
Between December 2010 and June 2011, Appram received 188 separate packages containing computers and computer equipment at the Columbia and Laurel post office boxes he rented. On June 24, 2011, a search warrant was executed at his residence and agents recovered 16 laptop computers and four computer projectors, all in their original packaging. In addition, Appram’s computer and mobile devices included original shipping documents in the names of the victim account holders, the names and credit/debit card numbers of the victims, as well as messages from his associates with tracking numbers, information on what equipment had been shipped, and when to expect the shipment. As a result of the scheme, more than 10 victims lost a total of at least $116,709.
Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory, and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions, and other organizations. Over the past three fiscal years, the Justice Department has filed more than 10,000 financial fraud cases against nearly 15,000 defendants including more than 2,700 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked the DEA, FBI, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their work in these investigations. Mr. Rosenstein praised Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mushtaq Gunja and Kenneth S. Clark who prosecuted the drug case and Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam K. Ake, who prosecuted the credit card fraud case.

Federal Jury Convicts Two for Roles in Austin-Based Heroin Distribution Operation

Jose Pardo, age 68, of Austin, and Jorge Carrillo, age 45, of Lockhart, Texas, both face between 10 years and life in federal prison after a jury convicted them yesterday afternoon for their roles in a heroin distribution operation, announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman.
The jury convicted Pardo and Carrillo of one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute heroin. Evidence presented at trial revealed the defendants conspired from May 2011 until their arrests in June of 2012 to distribute more than 17 kilograms of heroin. Testimony also revealed that at least on one occasion, heroin was processed after business hours at the Pardo family-owned restaurant, Jovita’s, and that numerous drug transactions occurred right behind Jovita’s in co-defendant Amado Pardo’s house.
Jose Pardo and Jorge Carrillo, along with 12 co-defendants who entered guilty pleas prior to trial, are scheduled to be sentenced at 9:00 a.m. on May 3, 2013, before United States District Judge Sam Sparks in Austin. The alleged ringleader, Amado Pardo, passed away prior to trial.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Austin Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Criminal Justice Office of the Inspector General, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. This matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Dan Guess and Elizabeth Cottingham.

Blairsville Woman Pleads Guilty in Heroin Trafficking Conspiracy

JOHNSTOWN, PA—A resident of Blairsville, Pennsylvania pleaded guilty in federal court to a charge of violating federal narcotics laws, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
Kimberly Cassidy, 40, pleaded guilty to one count before United States District Judge Kim R. Gibson.
In connection with the guilty plea, from the spring of 2011 to May 15, 2012, Cassidy, along with co-defendants, conspired to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin.
Judge Gibson scheduled sentencing for June 27, 2013, at 10:30 a.m. The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $1,000,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie L. Haines is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.
The Laurel Highlands Resident Agency of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Indiana Police Department conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Cassidy. Other agencies participating in this investigation included the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, the Cambria County Drug Task Force, the Cambria County Sheriff’s Department, the Cambria County District Attorney’s Office, the Indiana County Drug Task Force, and the Indiana County District Attorney’s Office.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hartford Man Involved in Crack Distribution Ring Sentenced to Four Years in Federal Prison

David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that EARL DAVIS, 54, of Hartford, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to 48 months of imprisonment, followed by one year of supervised release, for his role in a Hartford crack cocaine distribution ring.
This matter stems from Operation Vinefield, a joint law enforcement investigation headed by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force targeting narcotics trafficking and gang violence in Hartford’s North End. As a result of the nine-month investigation, 38 individuals were charged with various offenses related to the distribution of crack cocaine and the unlawful possession and dealing of firearms in and around Hartford.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Dana Adams and others supplied crack cocaine to numerous street-level dealers, including gang members, who primarily distributed the drug in the area of Enfield Street in Hartford. Adams utilized lower-level dealers, including DAVIS, to bring customers to him in exchange for money or a quantity of crack cocaine. DAVIS would also provide information to Adams regarding police activity in the area. DAVIS was regularly intercepted on court-authorized wiretaps discussing drug trafficking activity and facilitating the distribution of crack cocaine.
DAVIS has been detained since his arrest on May 8, 2012. On November 28, 2012, he pleaded guilty to one count of using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking felony.
On January 31, 2013, Adams was sentenced to 156 months of imprisonment for distributing crack cocaine and for violating the conditions of his supervised release from a previous federal conviction.
This matter has been investigated by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Violent Crimes Task Force, the Connecticut State Police, the Hartford Police Department, and the Connecticut Department of Correction. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Brian P. Leaming.

Manchester Woman Sentenced for Distribution of Oxycodone and Crack Cocaine

CONCORD, NH—Inez Rodriguez, 43, of Manchester, was sentenced in United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire to 12 months in prison and two years of supervised release for her involvement in the distribution of oxycodone and crack cocaine, announced United States Attorney John P. Kacavas.
Inez Rodriguez’s son, Felix Fernandez, was a large-scale Percocet distributor. Felix Fernandez supplied defendant Inez Rodriguez and his grandmother, Aida Marquez, a/k/a “Abuela,” with Percocet for distribution. The Percocet was distributed from various residences in Manchester, including the residence of Felix Fernandez, the residence of Inez Rodriguez, and the residence of Aida Marquez.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Safe Streets Gang Task Force and the Manchester (New Hampshire) Police Department Special Investigation Unit. The arrests consisted of a joint federal, state and local effort. Members of the arrest teams included: (1) the Federal Bureau of Investigation; (2) the Manchester (New Hampshire) Police Department; (3) the United States Marsha’s Service; (4) the New Hampshire State Police; (5) the Nashua (New Hampshire) Police Department; and (6) the New Hampshire Department of Probation and Parole. The case was prosecuted by assistant United States Attorney Terry Ollila.
The Safe Streets Gang Task Force initiative, part of the FBI’s violent crimes and major offenders program, was created to encourage coordinated crime fighting efforts among FBI field offices and our local law enforcement partners. The mission of the Safe Streets Gang Task Force is to effectively use task forces to investigate, locate, arrest, and prosecute subjects for serious federal and state crimes, including drug and weapons violations, armed robbery, bank robbery, kidnapping, and gang- and drug-related violence.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Former School Board Member Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Trafficking

SHREVEPORT, LA—United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that former DeSoto Parish School Board member Bartholomew Claiborne, 25, of Mansfield, pleaded guilty Thursday before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote to distributing cocaine.
Claiborne was indicted on September 4, 2012, for distributing cocaine. According to the indictment, Claiborne was recorded to have distributed cocaine on 14 separate occasions between October 11, 2011 and July 12, 2012. Authorities used surveillance methods to observe Claiborne selling cocaine.
Claiborne faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $1 million, or both, with three years of supervised release on the count. Sentencing has been set for May 21, 2013, at 11:30 a.m.
“As an elected official, Bartholomew Claiborne swore to uphold the law, and by his own admission, failed to do so,” Finley stated. “He also failed the children and parents of his school board district where he served as a role model. We hope this case sends a message that public officials are not above the law. We will continue to prosecute those who violate federal laws. I thank all of the agencies on a federal, state, and local level who participated in the investigation.”
Claiborne was the first indictment as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation Limpiar Casa. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Mansfield Police Department, and the Tri-Parish Task Force which includes DeSoto, Sabine, and Red River parishes, participate in the OCDETF program and conducted the operation.
The OCDETF program is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Van Hook is prosecuting the case.

Ten Current and Former Law Enforcement Officers Among 15 Arrested for Protecting Drug Dealers in Federal Drug Trafficking Sting

ATLANTA—Seven Metro Atlanta Police officers, two former DeKalb County jail officers, a contract officer with Federal Protective Services, and five others have been charged with accepting thousands of dollars in cash payments to provide protection during drug deals in a federal undercover operation.
The defendants are making their initial appearances today before United States Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman. U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates announced the case during a press conference today at the Richard Russell Federal Building, joined by FBI Special Agent in Charge Mark Giuliano and ATF Special Agent in Charge Scott Sweetow. Atlanta Police Department Chief George Turner, DeKalb Interim Police Chief Lisa Gassner, Forest Park Police Department Chief Dwayne Hobbs, MARTA Police Department Chief Wanda Dunham, DeKalb County Sheriff Thomas Brown, Stone Mountain Police Department Chief Chauncy Troutman, and Federal Protective Service District Commander Jim Longanecker also attended the press conference.
United States Attorney Yates said, “This is a troubling day for law enforcement in our city. The law enforcement officers charged today sold their badges by taking payoffs from drug dealers that they should have been arresting. They not only betrayed the citizens they were sworn to protect, they also betrayed the thousands of honest, hard-working law enforcement officers who risk their lives every day to keep us safe. We will continue to work with our local law enforcement partners to pursue this corruption wherever it lies.”
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated, “In recognizing the need for the criminal justice system and those who work within that system to firmly have the public’s trust, the FBI considers such public corruption investigations as being crucial. The FBI will continue to work with its various local, state, and other federal law enforcement agencies in ensuring that the public’s trust in its law enforcement officers is well deserved.”
“Corrupt public officials undermine the fabric of our nation’s security, our overall safety, the public trust, and confidence in those chosen to protect and serve,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Scott Sweetow. “The corruption and abuse of power exemplified in this case can tarnish virtually every aspect of society.”
The law enforcement officers arrested today were: Atlanta Police Department (APD) Officer Kelvin Allen, 42, of Atlanta; DeKalb County Police Department (DCPD) Officers Dennis Duren, 32, of Atlanta and Dorian Williams, 25, of Stone Mountain, Georgia; Forest Park Police Department (FPPD) Sergeants Victor Middlebrook, 44, of Jonesboro, Georgia and Andrew Monroe, 57, of Riverdale, Georgia; MARTA Police Department (MARTA) Officer Marquez Holmes, 45, of Jonesboro, Georgia; Stone Mountain Police Department (SMPD) Officer Denoris Carter, 42, of Lithonia, Georgia; and contract Federal Protective Services Officer Sharon Peters, 43, of Lithonia, Georgia. Agents also arrested two former law enforcement officers: former DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) jail officers Monyette McLaurin, 37, of Atlanta, and Chase Valentine, 44, of Covington, Georgia.
Others arrested today were: Shannon Bass, 38, of Atlanta; Elizabeth Coss, 35, of Atlanta; Gregory Lee Harvey, 26, of Stone Mountain, Georgia; Alexander B. Hill, 22, of Ellenwood, Georgia; and Jerry B. Mannery, Jr., 38, of Tucker, Georgia.
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges, and the criminal complaints:
The undercover operation arose out of an ATF investigation of an Atlanta area street gang in August 2011. ATF agents learned from an individual associated with the gang that police officers were involved in protecting the gang’s criminal operations, including drug trafficking crimes. According to this cooperating individual, the officers—while wearing uniforms, driving police vehicles, or otherwise displaying badges—provided security to the gang members during drug deals.
In affidavits filed in support of the charges, an FBI agent described how drug traffickers sometimes recruit law enforcement officers to maintain a physical presence at drug deals. The traffickers hope that the officers’ presence at the drug deals will prevent rival drug groups from intervening and stealing their drugs or money and also keeps legitimate law enforcement officers away from the scene. In return for the corrupt officers’ services, the drug dealers often pay the officers thousands of dollars, according to the affidavits.
Acting at the direction of FBI and ATF, the cooperator communicated to gang members and their associates that the cooperator sought police protection for upcoming drug deals. In response, three individuals—Bass, Coss, and Mannery—while not law enforcement officers themselves, provided the cooperator with the names of police officers who wanted to provide security for drug deals. Once these officers were identified, FBI and ATF agents arranged with the cooperator, as well as with Bass, Coss, and/or Mannery, for the officers to provide security for drug transactions that were described in advance to involve the sale of multiple kilograms of cocaine. The individuals charged today participated in undercover drug sales involving agents and/or cooperators, during which the agents and/or cooperators exchanged cash for kilograms of sham cocaine. The police officers, usually in uniform and displaying a weapon and occasionally in their police vehicles, patrolled the parking lots where the deals took place and monitored the transactions. These transactions were audio and video recorded.
The defendants arrested today include the seven police officers and one contract federal officer who protected the undercover drugs deals, as well as two former sheriff’s deputies who falsely portrayed themselves to be current deputies, and two individuals who falsely represented themselves as officers despite having no connection to a local police department. The defendants also include four individuals who are not law enforcement officers but who acted as intermediaries between the agents and/or cooperators and corrupt officers and also assisted with the scheme.
Specifically, the undercover investigation included the following transactions:
DeKalb County Police Department
Between October 2011 and November 2011, DeKalb County Police Officer Dennis Duren, working together with Bass, provided protection for what he and Bass believed were four separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. Duren and Bass accepted cash payments totaling $8,800 for these services. During the transactions, Duren was dressed in his DeKalb County Police uniform and carried a gun in a holster on his belt, as he patrolled on foot in the parking lots in which the undercover sales took place. After the first two transactions, Duren allegedly offered to drive his patrol vehicle to future transactions for an additional $800 fee and afterward received an additional $800 in cash for using his patrol vehicle in the final transaction in November 2011. Duren and Bass are each charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Duren also is charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Between January and February 2013, DeKalb County Police Officer Dorian Williams, working together with Mannery and Bass, provided protection for what he and Mannery believed were three separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. Williams and Mannery accepted cash payments totaling $18,000 for these services. During the transactions, Williams was dressed in his DeKalb County Police uniform and carried a gun in a holster on his belt, and he patrolled the parking lots in which the undercover sales took place in his DeKalb Police vehicle. During a meeting between the three transactions, Williams allegedly instructed Bass to remove any cocaine from the scene if Williams had to shoot someone during the upcoming sale. In another meeting, Williams suggested that future drug transactions should take place in the parking lot of a local high school during the afternoon, so that the exchange of backpacks containing drugs and money would not look suspicious. Williams and Mannery are each charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine.
Stone Mountain Police Department
Between April and September 2012, Stone Mountain Police Officer Denoris Carter, working together with Mannery, provided protection for what he and Mannery believed were five separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. For these services, Carter and Mannery accepted cash payments totaling $23,500. For all five transactions, Carter dressed in his Stone Mountain Police uniform. In four of the deals, he arrived in his police cruiser and either patrolled or parked in the parking lots in which the undercover sales took place and watched the transactions. During the final transaction in September 2012, Carter was on foot, displaying a firearm in a holster on his belt, and he walked through the parking lot in which the transaction took place and watched the participants. Finally, during one of the transactions, Carter agreed to escort the purchaser of the sham cocaine in his police vehicle for several miles, until the purchaser reached Highway 78. Carter is charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments, attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Atlanta Police Department
Between June and August 2012, Atlanta Police Officer Kelvin D. Allen, working together with Coss, provided protection for what he and Coss believed were three separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. Allen and Coss accepted cash payments totaling $10,500 for their services. For two transactions, Allen dressed in his Atlanta Police uniform and carried a gun in a holster on his belt. Allen patrolled on foot in parking lots in which the undercover sales took place and appeared to be monitoring the transactions. During a meeting after the three transactions, a cooperator gave Allen and Coss each a $1,000 bonus payment in return for protecting the three transactions. Allen and Coss are each charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. Allen also is charged with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
MARTA Police Department
Between August and November 2012, MARTA Police Department Officer Marquez Holmes, working together with Coss, provided protection for what he and Coss believed were four separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. For these services, Holmes and Coss accepted cash payments totaling $9,000. During the transactions, Holmes was dressed in his MARTA Police uniform and carried a gun in a holster on his belt. In two of the transactions, Holmes patrolled on foot in the parking lots in which the undercover sales took place and monitored the transactions. During the other two deals, Holmes drove to the site in his MARTA police cruiser and parked next to the vehicles in which the undercover drug sale took place. Holmes is charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments, attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Forest Park Police Department
Between October to December 2012, Forest Park Police Sergeants Victor Middlebrook and Andrew Monroe, sometimes working alone and at other times together, provided protection for what they believed were six separate drug deals in the Atlanta area, all involving multiple kilograms of cocaine. For his services in the first four transactions, Middlebook accepted cash payments totaling $13,800. During these transactions, Middlebrook wore plain clothes but displayed his badge and a firearm in a holster on his belt. He patrolled on foot in the parking lots nearby the vehicles in which the undercover sales took place and appeared to be monitoring the transactions. For the final two transactions, both Middlebrook and Monroe provided security and were given cash payments totaling $10,400. Middlebrook again monitored the transactions on foot in plain clothes while displaying his badge and gun, while Monroe watched from his vehicle in the parking lot and afterward escorted the purchaser of the sham cocaine for several miles. Middlebrook and Monroe are charged with conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments and attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine; Middlebrook is also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office
In January 2013, former DeKalb County Sheriff Jail Officer Monyette McLaurin, working together with Harvey, provided protection for what they believed were two separate drug transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. Harvey already had provided security for two undercover drug transactions in December 2012, falsely representing that he was a DeKalb County detention officer and wearing a black shirt with the letters “SHERIFF” printed across the back during the transactions. Harvey then stated that he knew other police officers who wanted to protect drug deals, and in January 2013, he introduced McLaurin as one of these officers. During a meeting to discuss future drug transactions, McLaurin falsely represented that he was a deputy employed by the DeKalb Sheriff’s office, even though his position as a jail officer ended in 2011. McLaurin and Harvey further stated during this meeting that they may need to kill another person who knew that Harvey had protected drug deals, if this person reported the activity to others.
During the two transactions in January 2013, McLaurin was dressed in a DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office uniform with a badge, and he carried a gun in a holster on his belt. He accompanied the undercover seller of the cocaine to pick up the drugs from a warehouse, counted the kilograms the seller received, and stood outside the purchaser’s vehicle during the actual transaction. He further discussed with the seller whether they should agree upon a signal for the seller to indicate that the sale had gone awry, requiring McLaurin to shoot the drug buyer. For their services, McLaurin and Harvey were paid $12,000 in cash. McLaurin and Harvey are each charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Later in January 2013, McLaurin and Harvey introduced a second former DeKalb County Sheriff’s Jail Officer, Chase Valentine, to help provide security for future drug deals. Like McLaurin, Valentine falsely represented himself to be a DeKalb County Sheriff’s Deputy, even though his position as a jail officer ended in 2010. Together with Harvey, Valentine provided security for one undercover drug transaction on January 17, 2013, during which he wore a DeKalb Sheriff’s Office uniform and a pistol in a holster on his belt. During the transaction, Valentine escorted the seller to pick up the sham cocaine, counted the number of kilograms delivered, and stood outside the purchaser’s car during the actual transaction. For these services, Valentine received $6,000 in cash. Valentine is charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Federal Protective Services
In November 2012, Sharon Peters, who was a contract officer for the Federal Protective Services, worked together with Mannery to provide protection for what they believed were two separate transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. For these services, Peters and Mannery accepted cash payments totaling $14,000. For both transactions, Peters parked her vehicle nearby the cars where the sham drugs and money were exchanged and watched the transactions. Before both transactions, Peters told others that she had her pistol with her in the car. Peters is charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Imposter Clayton County Police Officer
Between December 2012 and January 2013, Alexander B. Hill falsely represented himself to be an officer with the Clayton County Police Department while providing security for what he believed were three separate drug transactions in the Atlanta area that involved multiple kilograms of cocaine. During an initial meeting, Hill wore a uniform that appeared to be from Clayton Police, but during the transactions, he wore plain clothes and, for at least the first deal, a badge displayed on his belt. For these services, Hill received payments totaling $9,000 in cash. Hill charged with attempted possession with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine and with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Each charge of attempted possession with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, and a fine up to $10,000,000. Each charge of attempted possession with intent to distribute at least 500 grams of cocaine carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison, a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, and fine of up to $5,000,000. Each charge of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison, and a fine of up to $250,000. Each charge of conspiring to commit extortion by accepting bribe payments carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and fine of up to $250,000. In determining the actual sentence, the court will consider the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which are not binding but provide appropriate sentencing ranges for most offenders.
The public is reminded that criminal charges are only allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
These cases are being investigated by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Assistant United States Attorneys Kim Dammers, Jill Steinberg, and Brent Alan Gray are prosecuting these cases.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.Pressemails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.

Former Alexandria Doctor Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Distribute Oxycodone

ALEXANDRIA, VA—Larren Wade, 55, of Venice, Florida, a former doctor who had a medical practice in Alexandria, Virginia, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to distribute oxycodone.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Robert Brisolari, Acting Special Agent in Charge for Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)’s Washington Field Division; Earl Cook, Alexandria Chief of Police; and Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by United States District Judge Claude M. Hilton.
“Larren Wade not only violated his oath as a doctor, he violated the law when he provided a highly addictive drug to individuals for no legitimate medical reason,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “The abuse of prescription pills has had a devastating impact on our community, and we will continue to pursue unethical doctors who sell the drugs for their own profit.”
“Larren Wade selfishly exploited his profession by operating a drug distribution business that supplied dangerous prescription pain killers to individuals with no valid medical need,” said Assistant Director in Charge Parlave. “As demonstrated by over 200 convictions and guilty pleas in Operation Cotton Candy, the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force is committed to the pursuit of prescription drug abuse and the FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to protect our community from the dangers of these crimes.”
Wade faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced on May 17, 2013.
In a statement of facts filed with his plea agreement, Wade admitted that between March and July 2010, he issued thousands of prescriptions for pain medications, sometimes exceeding 2,000 pills per patient each month. Wade frequently issued these prescriptions without conducting a physical examination, without reviewing prior medical records, and without establishing a treatment plan. During this time, Wade also operated an almost strictly cash business and would typically see between 30 and 50 patients per day but in at least one instance saw more than 100 patients in a single day and collected nearly $10,000 in cash.
Court records indicate that Wade was the subject of an undercover operation by law enforcement officials, and he issued numerous prescriptions for oxycodone to two undercover officers for no legitimate medical purpose. In addition, the undercover officers asked if they could obtain a prescription for a “friend” who did not exist. Wade provided two prescriptions for oxycodone for the fictitious patient after an $85 office visit fee was paid. After the transaction was completed, Wade created a patient file for the fictitious patient.
Oxycodone is the active ingredient in brand name pills such as OxyContin, Roxicodone, and Percocet. It is a Schedule II controlled substance and can be useful in assisting with pain management issues; however, it has a high potential for abuse, and abuse of the drug can lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.
This case was investigated by the DEA’s Washington Field Division, FBI’s Washington Field Office, Virginia State Police, and the Alexandria Police Department. Special Assistant United States Attorneys Stacey Luck and Elizabeth N. Eriksen are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
This case is part of an Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation dubbed Operation Cotton Candy, which has been focusing on the illegal distribution by numerous doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and patients of pain medication. This OCDETF matter has secured more than 200 drug-trafficking convictions and guilty pleas.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.

Mexican National Sentenced to 24 Years in Cocaine Conspiracy

HOUSTON—Jose Manuel Zuniga, 42, a Mexican National residing in Houston, has been sent to federal prison for his conviction on one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Zuniga entered a plea of guilty on June 17, 2011.
Today, U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein, Jr. handed Zuniga a total sentence of 292 months in federal prison, to be followed by a five-year-term of supervised release. Zuniga’s sentence was enhanced after he was deemed to be a supervisor of criminal activity that involved five or more participants.
From January 2006 to November 2010, Zuniga worked for an organization based in Mexico that was responsible for the transportation and distribution of cocaine into the United States and the return of the proceeds to Mexico. He relied on his co-defendants for the success of his enterprise and was responsible for arranging drivers in the Houston area to transport cocaine to different parts of the United States. Once the drugs arrived in Houston, his drivers would distribute the cocaine throughout Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, and Missouri.
Zuniga was responsible for coordinating and paying individuals to pick up, transport, and distribute cocaine while acting under the direction of a co-conspirator. In addition to paying individuals to pick up, transport, and distribute drugs, Zuniga would arrange for drivers to transport the drug proceeds, derived from his drug trafficking, back to Mexico. During the period of the conspiracy, Zuniga was responsible for distributing more than 260 kilograms of the Schedule II controlled substance cocaine.
To date, four others have been convicted in relation to this case, with sentences thus far ranging from 70 to 120 months.
Zuniga has been in federal custody without bond since his arrest, where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
This case was part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and was investigated by the FBI and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Stuart A. Burns is prosecuting the case.

Cherokee County Individuals Arrested on Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

TYLER, TX—U.S. Attorney John M. Bales announced today that 11 individuals are in custody following a lengthy investigation into drug trafficking in the Eastern District of Texas.
On February 5, 2013, a combined task force of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies began arresting individuals named in a federal indictment returned by a grand jury on January 23, 2013. The indictment charges the following individuals with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of more than 50 grams of methamphetamine:
  • Javier Colmenero Loyola, 46
  • James Franklin Carpenter, 59
  • Bobby Joe Whiteley, 42
  • Brandon Wesley Kimble, 28
  • Christopher Trent O’Neal, 27
  • Toby Hill Coslett, aka “Crazy,” 41
  • Jeffrey Rainey, aka “Pee Wee,” 49
  • Stile Parker Denton, 48
  • Morris Edward Stone, 43
  • James Adrien Craig, aka “Ace,” 37
  • Christine Marie Hamer, 35
The defendants will appear today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Love. If convicted, the defendants each face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison.
This indictment is the result of a joint investigation by the Tyler office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, the Jacksonville Police Department, and members of the Safe Streets Task Force. Numerous additional agencies participated in today’s arrests including DEA, ATF, HSI, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Texas Rangers Special Operations Group, and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Moore.
A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Beloit Man Sentenced to Nine Years for Distributing Heroin

MADISON, WI—John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Jarrell Knight, 27, Beloit, Wisconsin, was sentenced Friday, February 8 by Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Conley to nine years in federal prison, to be followed by six years’ supervised release, for distributing heroin.
Knight was indicted by a grand jury on July 11, 2012, with four counts of distributing heroin in the Beloit area between May 2010 and April 2011. Knight pleaded guilty to one of the counts on November 30, 2012.
At the sentencing, Judge Conley noted the dangerousness and negative impact upon the community which heroin distribution presents. However, Conley determined that Knight deserved a sentence below the 188-235 months called for by the advisory sentencing guidelines.
The charges against Jarrell Knight were the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, which consists of the Beloit Police Department, Rock County Sheriff’s Office, and Federal Bureau of Investigation. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Former School Board Member Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Trafficking

SHREVEPORT, LA—United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that former DeSoto Parish School Board member Bartholomew Claiborne, 25, of Mansfield, pleaded guilty Thursday before U.S. District Judge Elizabeth E. Foote to distributing cocaine.
Claiborne was indicted on September 4, 2012, for distributing cocaine. According to the indictment, Claiborne was recorded to have distributed cocaine on 14 separate occasions between October 11, 2011 and July 12, 2012. Authorities used surveillance methods to observe Claiborne selling cocaine.
Claiborne faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of $1 million, or both, with three years of supervised release on the count. Sentencing has been set for May 21, 2013, at 11:30 a.m.
“As an elected official, Bartholomew Claiborne swore to uphold the law, and by his own admission, failed to do so,” Finley stated. “He also failed the children and parents of his school board district where he served as a role model. We hope this case sends a message that public officials are not above the law. We will continue to prosecute those who violate federal laws. I thank all of the agencies on a federal, state, and local level who participated in the investigation.”
Claiborne was the first indictment as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) Operation Limpiar Casa. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office, the Mansfield Police Department, and the Tri-Parish Task Force which includes DeSoto, Sabine, and Red River parishes, participate in the OCDETF program and conducted the operation.
The OCDETF program is a joint federal, state, and local cooperative approach to combat drug trafficking and is the nation’s primary tool for disrupting and dismantling major drug trafficking organizations, targeting national and regional level drug trafficking organizations, and coordinating the necessary law enforcement entities and resources to disrupt or dismantle the targeted criminal organization and seize their assets.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Van Hook is prosecuting the case.
United States Attorney Stephanie Finley is available for comment and can be reached at (337) 262-6618.

Woodstock Doctor Sentenced on Drug Distribution Charges

ALBANY—Richard S. Hartunian, United States Attorney, Northern District of New York, announces that Dr. Wayne D. Longmore, age 63, of Woodstock, New York, was sentenced on February 7, 2013, in Albany by the Honorable Lawrence E. Kahn, United States District Court Judge, to six months’ home detention, three years’ probation, 200 hours of community service, and ordered to forfeit his New York State medical license and his DEA license to issue narcotic drugs. In addition to these penalties, Dr. Longmore was ordered to pay a $200,000 money judgment, which represents proceeds of his drug trafficking activities.
Dr. Longmore previously pled guilty on October 17, 2012, to a felony information that charged him with knowingly and intentionally distributing and dispensing and possessing with intent to distribute and dispense hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance, without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice, contrary to Title 21, United States Code, Sections 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(E) and Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 1306.04.
The plea agreement states that:
(1) From in or around November 3, 2011, through on or about March 21, 2012, in the Northern District of New York and elsewhere, Longmore did knowingly and intentionally distribute and dispense and possess with intent to distribute and dispense hydrocodone, a Schedule III controlled substance, without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice.
(2) In order to earn illicit profits from his medical practice, Longmore wrote and issued unlawful prescriptions to individuals for drugs containing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose and outside the usual course of professional practice.
(3) Longmore wrote these prescriptions in return for $60 cash payments. Longmore would write the illicit prescriptions for only a seven-day period.
(4) Contrary to accepted medical practice, Longmore prescribed Schedule III controlled substances to individuals at their first appointment with him and without conducting a thorough physical examination or medical history of such individuals to verify the claimed illness or condition.
As part of his plea agreement, Dr. Longmore admitted that he was responsible for the improper distribution of at least 2,500 units but less than 5,000 units of hydrocodone.
This prosecution resulted from a joint investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the New York State Department of Health-Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney, Geoffrey J. L. Brown.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Violent Drug Dealer Sentenced to 15 Years’ Imprisonment

PHOENIX—On February 4, 2013, Robert Francis Dayaye, Jr. (a.k.a. “Fat Rob”), 33, of Whiteriver, Arizona, was sentenced by U.S. District Judges Neil V. Wake and G. Murray Snow to a combined term of imprisonment of 15 years. Dayaye pleaded guilty on October 5, 2012, to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and attempted carjacking in two separate cases.
Before his arrest, Dayaye was the leader of the Diamond Creek Boyz (“DC Boyz”) gang on the Ft. Apache Indian Reservation. On December 6, 2011, Dayaye was found in a vehicle with a handgun and over 100 grams of actual methamphetamine. A federal search warrant was executed on a storage locker Dayaye was utilizing in February 2012, and approximately 100 firearms were seized, most of which were military-style weapons and four of which were illegal.
On June 11, 2011, Dayaye ordered four others to steal a car from a female acquaintance. The four men attempted to steal the car by force, which resulted in the hospitalization of the victim.
The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Arizona Department of Public Safety; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; and the Drug Enforcement Administration, as part of the Northern Arizona Violent Gang and Safe Streets Task Force. The prosecution was handled by Dimitra H. Sampson and Keith E. Vercauteren, Assistant U.S. Attorneys, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

Oxycodone Trafficker Sentenced to 10 Years

SAN FRANCISCO—Ella Mae Simpson, 55, of Hayward, California, was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of oxycodone, possession with intent to distribute and distribution of oxycodone, and possession with intent to distribute oxycodone, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.
On May 18, 2012, before U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston, Simpson pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and to distribute oxycodone in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. § 846; three counts of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of oxycodone in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C); and one count of possession with intent to distribute oxycodone in violation of Title 21, U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), (b)(1)(C). Simpson admitted that, between April 5, 2011 and June 9, 2011, she conspired with others to possess with intent to distribute, and she conspired to distribute oxycodone. Simpson further admitted that on three separate dates between April 5, 2011 and June 8, 2011, she distributed oxycodone and that on June 9, 2011, she possessed oxycodone with the intent to distribute it, all in the Northern District of California. On June 9, 2011, law enforcement officers seized $235,524 along with a firearm from Simpson’s residence. There was no plea agreement.
At the sentencing hearing, Judge Illston also ordered the forfeiture of the $235,524 and imposed a three-year period of supervised release. Simpson was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on March 22, 2013.
Denise Marie Barton and Katherine Dowling are the Assistant U.S. Attorneys who prosecuted the case with the assistance of AUSAs Patty Kenney, Dave Countrymen, Arvon Perteet, and Alicia Jusey of the Asset Forfeiture Unit; and Maryam Beros and Rawaty Yim. The prosecution is the result of a lengthy investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.