THREE PORTLANDERS CHARGED WITH CIVIL DISORDER AFTER ASSAULTING LOCAL POLICE OFFICERS
PORTLAND, Ore.—In separate criminal cases, three Portland residents have been charged with civil disorder for crimes committed during declared civil disturbances in Portland, announced U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams.
William Grant Reuland, 24, is charged with civil disorder after assaulting police officers with a high-powered laser on June 13 and 14, 2020; Alexandra Eutin, 24, is charged with civil disorder after striking a police officer with a wooden shield on July 16, 2020; and Pedro Aldo Ramos, Jr., 20, is charged with civil disorder after punching a female police officer in the face on August 24, 2020. (Read Here)
SACRAMENTO MAN SENTENCED TO 14 YEARS IN PRISON FOR SEX TRAFFICKING
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Jaquorey Rashawn Carter, 24, of Sacramento, was sentenced today by Senior U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb to 14 years in prison for sex trafficking of a child, United States Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
According to evidence presented at a February 2020 jury trial, between 2013 and October 2018, Carter used a minor female and other adult women to work as prostitutes for him. As part of Carter’s pimping operation, he put the minor victim and other adult women in motel rooms and had them engage in prostitution on the street in order to make money from their prostitution activity. Carter ran his pimping operation in Sacramento, Stockton, Oakland, Sunnyvale, and Santa Ana. (Read Here)
ROCHESTER DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION MEMBER GOING TO PRISON FOR 25 YEARS FOR MURDERING RIVAL DRUG DEALER
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Jonathan Cruz-Carmona, a/k/a Tapon, a/k/a Eneno, 29, of Rochester, NY, who was convicted of murder with a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking crime, was sentenced to serve 25 years in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank P. Geraci, Jr.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Katelyn M. Hartford, Cassie M. Kocher, and Robert A. Marangola, who handled the case, stated that between 2015 and January 29, 2018, the defendant was a member of a Rochester drug trafficking organization run by co-defendant Carlos Javier Figueroa. The organization was responsible for selling cocaine and heroin in Rochester in the areas of Clinton Avenue, Burbank Street, LaForce Street, and Conkey Avenue. Carmona packaged, sold, and distributed quantities of cocaine and heroin, and acted as an enforcer to protect the interests of the organization.
On September 12, 2016, the defendant observed Walter Ross, a rival drug dealer, in the area of Clinton Avenue and Burbank Street in Rochester. Carmona had previously warned Ross not to sell drugs in that neighborhood because it was part of the Figueroa organization’s territory. At the direction of Carlos Javier Figueroa, the defendant approached the car Ross was sitting in at the corner of Clinton Avenue and Burbank Street, and shot several times through the window, striking and killing Ross. (Read Here)
TEACHER SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS IN FEDERAL PRISON FOR TRAVELING TO HAVE SEX WITH STUDENT AND SELLING ADDERALL
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – A former high school Spanish teacher from Huntington was sentenced to federal prison for traveling across state lines to have sex with one of her students and selling Adderall, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Amy Adkins, 30, was sentenced to five years in prison for travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and distribution of Adderall. Adkins also was ordered to complete 20 years of supervised release and to register as a sex offender.
“Adkins abused her position of authority as a teacher to betray the trust of this student and his family,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Parents expect their kids to be safe from predatory behavior at school, not preyed upon.”
Adkins previously admitted that while she was a Spanish teacher at Fairland High School in Proctorville, Ohio during the 2017 to 2018 academic year, she communicated frequently with one of her young male students on social media. This student was under 16 years old at the time. On April 7, 2018, Adkins admitted that she drove from her home in Huntington to Proctorville, where she picked up her underage student and brought him back to Huntington with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. Ultimately, Adkins had sex with the victim that day at her home in Huntington. (Read Here)
WASHINGTON MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ASSAULTING SECRET SERVICE AGENTS
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Bremerton, Washington man pled guilty to assaulting two special agents with the United States Secret Service, announced United States Attorney Mike Stuart. Joshua Wills, 31, pled guilty to assaulting, resisting or impeding federal officers.
“One sure fire way not to see the President of the United States is to brandish a weapon and threaten the safety of local and federal officials,” said United States Attorney Mike Stuart. “Assaults on law enforcement officers will not be tolerated. Great work by the Secret Service and the St. Albans Police Department in stopping Wills before he could do serious harm.”
Wills admitted that he intended to drive from the state of Washington to Washington, D.C. to meet the President of the United States. The U.S. Secret Service began investigating Wills after they had received reports that Wills was traveling to see the President while possessing a dangerous weapon. Two special agents with the U.S. Secret Service located Wills in a campground in St. Albans and approached him for questioning. Officers with the St. Albans Police Department arrived at the campground for assistance. Wills admitted that he became agitated by the presence of the law enforcement officers and a standoff ensued for approximately 20 minutes. When Wills was told that he was going to be taken into custody for disorderly conduct, he unsheathed and raised a three-foot long Katana sword as a show of force. After further resisting law enforcement commands, Wills was disabled by a non-lethal beanbag gun possessed by a St. Albans police officer and taken into custody. (Read Here)
VENTURA COUNTY MAN INDICTED FOR ALLEGEDLY THREATENING WOMAN DURING DECADES-LONG HARASSMENT CAMPAIGN TARGETING HER FAMILY
LOS ANGELES – A Port Hueneme man was named today in a federal grand jury indictment that charges him with making threats to rape and kill a student who is the daughter of a woman he allegedly began stalking and harassing in 1991.
Serge Agopian, 49, was named in a three-count indictment that charges him with sending threatening communications in an email and letters sent through the U.S. Mail.
The charges against Agopian stem from three identical threatening communications he allegedly sent anonymously to the student in April. The victim is the daughter of a woman Agopian began harassing when they attended the University of California, Santa Barbara, according to a criminal complaint previously filed in this case. (Read Here)
GRAND JURY INDICTS PEVELY MAN FOR PRODUCTION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
ST. LOUIS – A federal grand jury indicted Timothy Lloyd Blaney for production of child pornography. The 57-year old is a resident of Pevely.
According to court documents, between October 1, 2019 and August 14, 2020, Blaney sexually abused a four-year old child and produced visual depictions of that abuse. Blaney was an acquaintance of the child’s family.
Upon conviction, Blaney faces 15 years to life imprisonment and/or a fine of no more than $250,000. Blaney is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Law enforcement is requesting community assistance in identifying further victims. Anyone with information is asked to please contact the St. Louis Federal Bureau of Investigation at 314-589-2500.
“The majority of child sex abuse is perpetrated by individuals known to the victim or the victim’s family,” said Special Agent in Charge Richard Quinn of the FBI St. Louis Division. “In this instance, the young victim fortunately knew to tell her parents what happened. This highlights the importance of parents engaging early with their children about appropriate boundaries.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Pevely Police Department investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jillian Anderson is handling the case.
COLUMBIA MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS FOR ATTEMPTING TO ENTICE A MINOR FOR ILLICIT SEX
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A Columbia, Missouri, man was sentenced in federal court today for attempting to entice a minor, who was actually an undercover law enforcement officer, to engage in criminal sexual activity.
Jeffrey Charles Johnson, 52, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark to 15 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Johnson to 10 years of supervised release following incarceration.
On Jan. 21, 2020, Johnson pleaded guilty to attempting to entice a minor for illicit sex. Johnson admitted that he responded to a post on a website frequented by prostitutes, asking another person to help him find a juvenile female for a sexual encounter. A detective with the Boone County, Mo., Sheriff’s Department then assumed the identity of a single mother who was willing to allow Johnson to have sex with her 13-year-old daughter. (Read Here)
FORMER USPS EMPLOYEE ADMITS STEALING CASH AND GIFT CARDS FROM MAIL
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that ELIZABETH URBANI, 42, of West Haven, waived her right to be indicted and pleaded guilty today to theft of mail by a U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee.
Pursuant to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the court proceeding before U.S. District Judge Alvin W. Thompson occurred via videoconference.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Urbani was employed by the U.S. Postal Service and most recently was a mail carrier assigned to the New Haven Post Office. Beginning in December 2019, some USPS customers along Urbani’s mail route submitted complaints that their mail was missing or had been stolen. Subsequent investigation revealed that, in January and February 2020, Urbani opened approximately 125 pieces of mail and stole cash and gift cards contained within several of those mail pieces. (Read Here)
MADISON COUNTY NURSE PRACTITIONER PLEADS GUILTY TO HEALTHCARE FRAUD
Jami L. Mayhew of Glen Carbon, Illinois, pleaded guilty today to a single-count felony information charging her with healthcare fraud. Facts elicited at the plea hearing established that, from May 30 to June 26, 2017, the 41-year old nurse practitioner knowingly participated in a scheme to defraud Medicare by performing medically unnecessary visits in nursing homes located in St. Clair and Madison counties.
Mayhew carried out the fraudulent scheme by seeing nursing home residents multiple times, examining them for only a few minutes at a time, generating progress notes she knew contained misrepresentations and materially false statements about the services she had performed, and falsely reporting that her visits met the billing requirements for complex subsequent nursing home encounters, when in fact they had not.
As part of her guilty plea, Mayhew admitted that she knowingly caused 251 false claims to be
submitted to Medicare during the charged timeframe. Medicare paid her employer, General Medicine, P.C., over $23,000 for those visits. Mayhew, herself, received $27 from the company for each of the false claims she caused to be submitted, for a total of $6,777. (Read Here)
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT FILES FRIEND-OF-THE-COURT BRIEF IN INDIANA SUPREME COURT SUPPORTING CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE’S FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS IN FORMER HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER’S LAWSUIT
The Justice Department today filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the Indiana Supreme Court explaining that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives the Roman Catholic Archdiocese the right to decide for itself who should personify its beliefs, inculcate its teachings, and instruct students at religious high schools affiliated with the Archdiocese. In its brief, the United States explains that three separate aspects of the First Amendment prevent a former Catholic high school teacher from suing the Archdiocese over his termination: the church-autonomy doctrine, the Archdiocese’s right to expressive association, and the ministerial exception — a doctrine recently reaffirmed and clarified by the U.S. Supreme Court in its 7-2 decision two months ago in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru.
In September 2019, the United States filed a statement of interest in Indiana state trial court arguing that the First Amendment required this lawsuit to be dismissed. The trial court, in May 2020, declined to dismiss the case, instead ordering discovery into Catholic doctrine and its application and into whether the Archbishop is the highest ecclesiastical authority on the matters at issue. The Archdiocese is now asking the Indiana Supreme Court to intervene and dismiss the case. (Read Here)
ERIE MAN FACING FEDERAL CHARGES FOR ACTIONS DURING MAY 30, 2020 ERIE PROTEST
ERIE, Pa. – A former resident of Erie, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Erie on charges of obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder and possession of an unregistered firearm/destructive device, United States Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today.
“Throwing Molotov cocktails at Erie police officers is not the protected First Amendment activity of a peaceful protest; it is a criminal act that violates federal law,” said U.S. Attorney Brady. “Make no mistake: if you attack police officers or commit violent crime under the guise of a protest, you will be indicted federally. We will not tolerate these acts in western Pennsylvania.”
The two-count Indictment named Tyvarh Nicholson, 29, as the sole defendant. (Read Here)
LYON COUNTY MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO POSSESSING CHILD PORN
TOPEKA, KAN. – A Lyon County man pleaded guilty today to possessing child pornography, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said.
Jimmy Dwayne Leger, 26, who used to live in Allen, Kan., and now lives in Kuntz, Texas, pleaded guilty in federal court in Topeka. The investigation began when law enforcement officers used a file sharing program to download child pornography from an IP address in Allen, Kan. They served a search warrant at a house in Allen where they seized electronic devices from Leger’s bedroom. An examiner found 100 videos and 1,200 images of child pornography on an external hard drive.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 15. He could face up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
McAllister commended the FBI and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine Kenney for their work on the case.
SOUTH TEXAS WOMAN SENT TO PRISON FOR HUMAN SMUGGLING WHILE ON BOND
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 23-year-old Edinburg woman has been sentenced to federal prison for multiple conspiracies of transporting illegal aliens, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Today, U.S. District Judge David S. Morales ordered Joceline Esmeralda Garcia to serve a total of 51 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the court heard how Garcia recruited, facilitated or directed more than five individuals to transport undocumented aliens, often in the enclosed trunks of vehicles. In one instance, humans had been concealed within wooden furniture in a U-Haul van.
Garcia had pleaded April 17, 2019, to an alien smuggling conspiracy involving seven smuggling events and 18 undocumented aliens. While on bond pending sentencing in that case, Garcia continued to lead a subsequent alien smuggling conspiracy involving three human smuggling events and eight additional undocumented aliens.
Garcia has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Customs and Border Protection conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Reid Manning is prosecuting the case.
OPERATION LEGEND: CASE OF THE DAY
Each weekday, the Department of Justice will highlight a case that has resulted from Operation Legend. Today’s case is out of the Western District of Tennessee. Operation Legend launched in Memphis on Aug. 6, 2020, in response to the city facing increased homicide and non-fatal shooting rates.
United States vs. DeQuan Johnson
“Prohibited persons in possession of firearms or ammunition, such as convicted felons, persons with histories of domestic violence, and unlawful users of illegal narcotics present a known and immediate risk of violence to the community at large,” said U.S. Attorney D. Michael Dunavant for the Western District of Tennessee. “Operation Legend is leveraging our collaboration between federal, state, and local law enforcement, and is already making a difference in our collective fight against violent crime in Memphis by interrupting the shooting cycle and holding trigger-pullers accountable. As long as this indiscriminate and senseless violence rules the streets, we will use the resources of Operation Legend and the authority of federal charges to incapacitate these community predators, reduce violent crime rates, and ultimately save lives.”
DeQuan Johnson, of Memphis, was charged on Aug. 25, 2020, with unlawful possession of a firearm by a drug user. (Read Here)
SIX FACING FEDERAL CHARGES FOR CRIMES COMMITTED DURING PROTESTS THROUGHOUT SOUTH CAROLINA
Columbia, South Carolina — United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr. announced today that six people are facing federal charges for participating in actions including arson, inciting riots, and other civil disorder in Columbia and Charleston, South Carolina, on May 30 and 31, 2020.
Following George Floyd’s death in Minnesota on May 25, 2020, protestors in Columbia and Charleston joined to peacefully demonstrate against racism and the use of excessive force by law enforcement. While the large majority of participants exercised their First Amendment rights in a lawful manner, others engaged in violent criminal acts and threatened public safety, including assaulting citizens and law enforcement officers and vandalizing and destroying public and private property.
“On May 30, 2020, violent agitators disrupted and distracted from peaceful protests in Columbia and Charleston and committed violent acts against citizens and law enforcement officers, vandalizing businesses and destroying public property,” said U.S. Attorney McCoy. “This is unacceptable and crosses a line, and this office will always stand up for law and order. We worked diligently with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to identify, arrest, and prosecute the individuals whose violence, vandalism, and destruction violated federal law. By escalating and inciting violence, these individuals interfered with the legitimate forms of expression and Constitutionally protected activity.” (Read Here)
JACKSONVILLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH DISTRIBUTION OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE VIDEOS
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces that Thomas Lester Hazouri, Jr. (40, Jacksonville Beach) has been arrested and charged by federal criminal complaint with distributing child pornography. Hazouri faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 5 years, and up to 20 years, in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, and a potential life term of supervised release. Hazouri has been detained pending a hearing scheduled for September 11, 2020.
According to the complaint, MediaLab, the company that hosts the Kik online messaging application (“app”), notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that one of its users, identified by user name “mybfsgaynotme,” had uploaded suspected child sexual abuse videos on March 26, 2020, using an account whose subscriber information included the email address “email@example.com.” Further investigation by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office revealed the internet protocol address used to distribute these videos on Kik resolved to the residence of Thomas Lester Hazouri, Jr. in Jacksonville Beach. JSO determined that Hazouri was a second grade teacher assigned to Mayport Elementary School in Jacksonville. (Read Here)