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: Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force

Nicaraguan National Sentenced for Drug Trafficking and Firearms Conspiracy

A Nicaraguan man was sentenced Thursday, January 31, 2013, to 19 years and seven months in prison on drug trafficking conspiracy charges and 15 years in prison for his participation in a conspiracy to provide weapons to a designated terrorist organization. The sentences resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Drug Enforcement Administration and an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

During the conspiracy, Franklin William McField-Bent, aka “Buda,” 55, had numerous meetings and phone calls with undercover Colombian law enforcement officers who claimed to be members of a foreign terrorist organization. McField-Bent tried to help them obtain weapons, which he believed would be used in attacks on the Colombian government. In March 2010, McField-Bent arranged the sale of six grenade launchers, 20 grenades, an Uzi submachine gun and 100 rounds of ammunition to the undercover officers. He also admitted to participating in three shipments of cocaine originating in Central America, all while knowing they were destined for the United States. Each shipment consisted of hundreds of kilograms of the drug.

“The arrest, conviction and subsequent sentencing of McField-Bent is an important accomplishment for theU.S.government and its international partners due to the magnitude of his criminal violations and the threat to the homeland,” said Alysa D. Erichs, special agent in charge of HSI Miami. “We will continue to work with our domestic and international law enforcement partners to identify and dismantle drug and weapons trafficking organizations.”

Organized crime drug enforcement task forces identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, as well as those organizations responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply.

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.

MS-13 Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Racketeering Scheme that Resulted in Two Murders

Dennis L. Gil-Bernardez, an MS-13 member who also is known as Pando, pled guilty Friday, December 7, 2012, to taking part in a federal racketeering conspiracy that was responsible for numerous crimes, including two murders, in the Washington, D.C., region. The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. of the District of Columbia, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

Gil-Bernardez, 36, pled guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Rosemary M. Collyer sentenced him to 76 years in prison. The sentence will run concurrently with an 80-year prison term that Gil-Bernardez already is serving in another gang-related case in Virginia.

The defendant was among a group of MS-13 members indicted in November 2011. As part of his plea, he admitted that he was in MS-13’s Normandie clique, and that, after consulting with an incarcerated member of MS-13 in El Salvador, he ordered the murder of Louis Membreno-Zelaya, which was committed by other MS-13 members. Membreno-Zelaya, 27, was found, stabbed to death, on Nov. 6, 2008, in Northwest Washington.

In his plea, Gil-Bernardez admitted that MS-13 is a transnational criminal street gang with a presence in at least 20 states and the District of Columbia, as well as many Central American countries, including El Salvador and Honduras, which is Gil-Bernardez’s country of origin. According to court documents, members of MS-13 use violence and intimidation to protect the gang and enhance its reputation. The gang is involved in murder, attempted murder, robbery, extortion and obstructing justice through the intimidation and threatening of witnesses.

In addition to ordering the murder of Membreno-Zelaya, Gil-Bernardez also admitted today to shooting a person whom he believed to be a rival gang member in April 2008. The victim was shot five times and hospitalized for a week after undergoing life-saving surgery.

Finally, Gil-Bernardez admitted to murdering Luis Chavez-Ponce, 22, July 29, 2008, in Riverdale Park, Md., believing Chavez-Ponce to be a rival gang member. Gil-Bernardez stopped one of the other MS-13 members from chasing after the victim, who was on a bicycle. Gil-Bernardez chased Chavez-Ponce around the corner of a building and fired several shots, killing him.

The gun which Gil-Bernardez used in the murder of Chavez-Ponce was determined to be the same weapon used in the shooting of three people in Reston, Va., in October 2008, to which Gil-Bernardez also admitted. His 80-year sentence in Virginia is a result of those crimes, which were prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. This latest plea is one of several by MS-13 members in recent months in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The prosecution grew out of the efforts of the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force, a multi-agency team that conducts comprehensive, multi-level attacks on major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. The principal mission of the nationwide program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s drug supply.

This case was investigated by ICE, MPD, Prince George’s County Police Department, Montgomery County Police Department and Fairfax County Police Department. It is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Laura Gwinn, of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nihar R. Mohanty and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill O’Malley.