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Chicago Woman Arrested for Selling Fraudulent Identity Documents to Illegal Aliens
A woman was arrested Wednesday, February 13, 2013, on charges she allegedly sold fraudulent identity documents to illegal aliens. These charges resulted from an investigation conducted by U.S. Immigra

Tag Archives: Japan

Boston Man Arrested at LAX for Transporting Weapons, Hazardous Materials, and Body Bags on Flight

A body-armor-clad Boston man who arrived at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on a flight from Japan Friday, October 5, 2012, was expected to make his initial appearance in federal court the afternoon of Tuesday, October 9, 2012, on a charge of transporting hazardous materials after a search of his checked luggage turned up a smoke grenade, along with a hatchet, knives, other weapons, a gas mask, biohazard suits and body bags.

Yongda Huang Harris, 28, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Chinese descent, was referred for secondary inspection the afternoon of Friday, October 5, 2012, by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at LAX after CBP officers observed he was wearing a bulletproof vest and flame retardant pants underneath his trench coat.

CBP officers alerted U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, who responded and opened a formal investigation after CBP’s subsequent search of Harris’ checked luggage resulted in the discovery of numerous suspicious items. According to the HSI case affidavit, those items included a pyrotechnic smoke grenade, three leather-coated billy clubs, a collapsible baton, a full-face respirator, various knives, a hatchet, body bags, a biohazard suit, handcuffs, leg irons and a device to repel dogs.

The case affidavit states that when a member of the Los Angeles Police Department’s bomb squad conducted an x-ray examination of the smoke grenade, it showed the device fell under the United Nations’ explosives shipping classification, meaning it is prohibited on board passenger aircraft. Depending on the conditions when it is ignited, the smoke grenade, made by Commando Manufacturers, could potentially fill the cabin of a commercial airplane with smoke or cause a fire.

HSI’s probe into the incident of Friday, October 5, 2012, is ongoing and investigators here are coordinating closely with HSI’s attach√© office in Tokyo. Officials say Harris, who makes his permanent home in Boston, has been living and working recently in Japan.

Harris is charged in a criminal complaint with one count of transporting hazardous materials. The charge carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

In addition to the Los Angeles Police Department, HSI received assistance with the case from the FBI.

Former Navy Sailor Arrested for Drug Smuggling; Disguised Methamphetamines as Candy Bars

A former Navy sailor who worked in military law enforcement is expected to make his initial appearance in federal court the afternoon of Monday, July 30, 2012, on charges he attempted to smuggle more than four pounds of methamphetamine out of the United States packaged to resemble a well-known brand of candy bar.

Rogelio Mauricio Harris, 34, was taken into custody the afternoon of Friday, July 27, 2012, by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as he prepared to board a flight to Japan. According to the criminal complaint, at the time of his arrest Harris was traveling on an improperly retained official government passport that had been issued to him by the U.S. Navy. The complaint states that Harris was discharged from the Navy in August 2011.

Harris’ arrest came after officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) conducting routine baggage inspections became suspicious of what appeared to be a large box of candy bars inside his checked luggage. Upon closer inspection, CBP officers discovered the 45 individually wrapped, full-sized “candy bars” which contained a white substance that was subsequently determined to be methamphetamine. According to the criminal complaint, each bar “was coated in a chocolate-like substance to make the contents of the package appear to be a real candy bar.”

“This seizure is a great example of the enforcement work that CBP officers perform every day at our ports of entry, to not only keep illegal contraband and illegal criminal proceeds from entering the country, but from leaving the country as well,” said Todd C. Owen, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles. “Our officers were diligent in their border security duties and prevented over four pounds of methamphetamine from making it to Japan.”

Harris is charged in a federal criminal complaint with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison. The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

“This scheme involved considerable planning and preparation and it shows the lengths to which smugglers will go in an attempt to elude detection,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles. “The fact this ruse was detected should serve as a deterrent for others who might be considering trying similar tactics to conceal dangerous contraband.”

The phony candy bars contained approximately 1,900 grams or just over four pounds of methamphetamine. HSI special agents say the seized contraband would have sold for as much as $250,000 on the street in Japan.

HSI’s probe into the methamphetamine smuggling scheme is ongoing. Investigators say the imposter candy bar packaging is just the latest ruse employed by smugglers trying to transport illegal drugs through LAX. Other recent attempts have involved concealing the contraband in Easter eggs, snack food bags and cans of refried beans.