Making Immigration Happen
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: OCDETF

20 Indicted for Marijuana Trafficking Ring

A federal indictment, returned by a grand jury December 2012, was unsealed Friday, January 18, 2013, charging 20 Dallas-Fort Worth area residents with conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute 100 kilograms or more of marijuana.

More than half of the defendants are in custody, following an operation this week conducted by the following law enforcement agencies: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI); the Dallas High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA); the Desoto, Dallas, Balch Springs, Arlington and Midlothian police departments; Dallas County Sheriff’s Office; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office.

This announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

During the course of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) operation, law enforcement executed federal and state search warrants that resulted in the seizure of about 25 pounds of hydroponic marijuana, more than 600 marijuana plants, 10 vehicles and five firearms.

The indictment charges the below-named defendants in the drug conspiracy:

  • Sylvespa Eugene Adams, aka “Sylvesta Adams,” “Pa,” and “Paw,” 25,
  • Alma Diane Smith, aka “Diane Williams,” 30,
  • Michael Wayne-Cortez Ayers, aka “Big Mike,” 33,
  • Isaac Demon Mathis, aka “Ike” “Issac Damone Mathis,” 30,
  • David Laploise Jones, aka “Nino,” 31,
  • Kory Lamonte Crayton, aka “Mokmu Tave” and “Coon,” 39,
  • Taurus Kion Silmom, aka “T.K.,” 30,
  • Nathan Dewayne Brown, 21,
  • Connell Heads, 50,
  • Marvin Jamel Fantroy, aka “Seven,” 32,
  • Lamondrius Denard Kidd, 28,
  • Modrick Jamal Spencer, 28,
  • Waymon Madison, 39,
  • Edward Lee Witherspoon, 50,
  • Robin James Criss, aka “June Bug,” 30,
  • Andre Demacus Reid, aka “Black,” 27,
  • Rachael O’Neal, 20,
  • Natasha Brown, 34,
  • Jovanna Renee Bonner, 19, and
  • Precious Starr Lecreas Gowans, 30.

Defendants Sylvespa Eugene Adams and Alma Diane Smith are also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. The indictment alleges that since January 2010, Adams and Smith conspired together, and with others, to conduct financial transactions involving the proceeds of their crime that were designed to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source or ownership of the proceeds. The indictment alleges the following:

  • they stored and concealed drug proceeds,
  • caused cash to be transported as payment for drugs,
  • disposed of proceeds derived from the distribution and sale of narcotics by purchasing assets to conceal and disguise the nature and source of the proceeds,
  • structured deposits of U.S. currency, and
  • used a business front to create the appearance of a legitimate of source of funds to hide the true nature and source of the funds.

A federal indictment is an accusation by a grand jury; a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty. If convicted, however, the conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute marijuana count carries a statutory sentence of at least five years and up to 40 years in federal prison and a $5 million fine. The conspiracy to commit money laundering count, upon conviction, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $500,000 fine.

In addition, the indictment includes a forfeiture allegation, which would require convicted defendants to forfeit the proceeds of their criminal activity. It would also require some of the defendants, upon conviction, to forfeit numerous vehicles, including a Mercedes, a Porsche and a Bentley, as well as numerous pieces of real estate.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Phelesa Guy, Northern District of Texas, is in charge of the prosecution.

$5 Million of Cocaine Seized in Puerto Rico, Two U.S. Citizens Arrested

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, working jointly with Caribbean Corridor Strike Force (CCSF) officers, seized 199 bricks of cocaine Thursday, February 9, with an estimated weight of 245 kilograms and a street value of approximately $5 million. Two U.S. citizens were arrested for drug trafficking in connection with the seizure.

At approximately 10:40 a.m. Thursday the 9th, a marine patrol aircraft assigned to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Caribbean Air and Marine Branch (CAMB), crewed by CBP officers and a Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) agent, detected a suspicious white fiberglass twin outboard center console vessel traveling eastbound toward Puerto Rico with two persons on board.

 A second suspicious vessel; described as a single engine, white fiberglass with light blue trim, with two persons wearing yellow raincoats; was observed in the vicinity traveling westbound toward the Dominican Republic. The proximity within the two vessels suggested a possible transfer of contraband at sea.

 A CBP marine interceptor was launched to intercept the vessel, reaching it at approximately 10 miles off the coast of La Parguera in the southwest coast of Puerto Rico.
Once intercepted, the crew of the suspicious vessel was instructed to set course to the Mayaguez marine unit for further inspection. The inspections conducted by CBP’s field
operations officers and Border Patrol agents revealed approximately 199 bricks with a white powdery substance that reacted positive to cocaine during a field drug test.

 HSI special agents took custody of the narcotics and the two individuals for further investigation. Brothers Elvis Aviles Vega, 46, and Alberto Aviles, 47, were transferred to the Guaynabo, Puerto Rico Metropolitan Detention Center awaiting the outcome of their case. They had their initial hearing before a magistrate judge on Friday.

 “HSI will continue working with our CCSF partners to investigate and prosecute those who in flagrant disregard of our laws and way of life try to smuggle or transport illegal contraband into or outside our area of jurisdiction,” said Roberto Escobar Vargas, special
agent in charge HSI San Juan. “This seizure demonstrates what can be accomplished when law enforcement agencies work together with vigilance and a commitment to enforce our nation’s customs laws.”

 CCSF is an initiative of the U.S. Attorney’s Office created to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations operating in the Caribbean. CCSF is part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) that investigates South American-based drug trafficking organizations responsible for the movement of multi-kilogram quantities of narcotics utilizing the Caribbean as a transshipment point for further distribution to the United States. The initiative is composed by HSI, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico, Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, the Coast Guard, CBP, and PRPD’s Unified Forces for Rapid Action.

 HSI special agents have extensive knowledge of techniques employed by smuggling organizations to transport contraband into the United States. This expertise has been gained through years of experience in conducting undercover operations, utilizing
confidential informants, special enforcement operations and conducting contraband smuggling investigations.