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Tag: Justice Department

Guilty Verdicts Returned for Mexican Cartel Affiliates

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Things did not go the way Gerardo Castillo-Chavez and Armado Garcia had hoped in Laredo, Texas, on Wednesday.

Both men saw guilty verdicts returned on all charges against them, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced. Castillo-Chavez, a 25-year-old from Tamaulipas, Mexico, was convicted of “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, interstate travel in aid of racketeering (ITAR) and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime or a crime of violence,” according to the Justice Department.

The guilty verdicts were returned unanimously after a four-day trial and six-hours of deliberation.

A Feb. 17, 2010 indictment charged Castillo-Chavez and 33 other individuals with 47 counts of conspiracy to kidnap and murder U.S. citizens in a foreign country, drug conspiracy, kidnapping conspiracy, firearms conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, use of juveniles to commit a violent crime, accessory after the fact and solicitation as well as substantive money laundering, drug trafficking and ITAR charges, according to the Justice Department. To date, 14 of those charged have been convicted.

Several witnesses in the trial tied Castillo-Chavez to the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas, and implicated Castillo-Chavez, also known as “Cachetes,” in a double murder on April 2, 2006, as well as other attempted murders a violent attacks in Mexico.

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Ex-CIA Officer Accused of Leaks Involving Terror Case

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A former CIA officer, who helped track down and capture a big terror suspect, was charged Monday with repeatedly disclosing classified information to journalists, including the name of a covert CIA officer and information revealing the role of another CIA employee in classified activities, the Justice Department said.

The charges were filed in fed court in Alexandria, Va., against former CIA agent John Kiriakou.

Kiriakou, 47, of Arlington, Va., was a CIA intelligence officer between 1990 and 2004, serving at headquarters and in various classified overseas assignments.

The government alleged in a four-count criminal complaint that Kiriakou made illegal disclosures about two CIA employees and their involvement in classified operations to two journalists on multiple occasions between 2007 and 2009.

In one instance, Kiriakou allegedly disclosed the name and contact information of an employee, identified in the complaint as “Officer B,” whose participation in an operation to capture and question terrorism subject Abu Zubaydah in 2002 was then classified, authorities said.

Authorities alleged that Kiriakou leaked the information prior to a June 2008 front-page story in The New York Times disclosing Officer B’s alleged role in the Abu Zubaydah operation.

“Safeguarding classified information, including the identities of CIA officers involved in sensitive operations, is critical to keeping our intelligence officers safe and protecting our national security,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement.

Read the press release

Read the NY Times story

 

50 Indicted in Fraudulent ID Trafficking Scheme in Puerto Rico

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Big goings on in Puerto Rico.

Fifty people have been charged in an indictment unsealed Wednesday in Puerto Rico with conspiracy to commit ID fraud as part of their alleged roles in an ID trafficking scheme. The charges were announced by leaders from the Justice Department, ICE, Homeland Securities Investigations, the US Postal Inspection Service, the State Department and the IRS.

A federal grand jury returned the one-count indictment on Dec. 29. Defendants were arrested Wednesday across Puerto Rico and the United States.

“The indictment unsealed today alleges that from April 2009 to December 2011, the defendants operated an extensive black market, identity fraud ring,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. “The alleged conspiracy stretched across the United States and Puerto Rico, using suppliers, identity brokers and mail and money runners to fill and deliver orders for the personal identifying information and government-issued identity documents of Puerto Rican U.S. citizens.”

Authorities said brokers solicited and sold ID documents in the US for prices between $700 and $2,500 per set, using coded telephone calls to suppliers in Puerto Rico to place orders for the documents. They used terms like “shirts,” “uniforms” or “clothes,” to refer to the documents. “Specifically, the brokers asked for ‘skirts’ for female customers and ‘pants’ for male customers in various ‘sizes,’ which referred to the ages of the identities sought by the customers,” said the Justice Department.

The defendants 15 year maximum sentences and fines of $250,000.

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Gets Rare ‘Red State’ Endorsement

doj photo

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder, a favorite target of Congressional Republicans in the wake of the Fast and Furious debacle in which ATF officials let guns “walk” from Southwestern dealers in the US to drug cartels in Mexico, is getting a rare endorsement from a prominent official in Utah–“perhaps the reddest of Republican-red states”–the website Main Justice reports.

“To come all the way out here to a red state and speak to us on a big occasion, I think it’s huge,” Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Holder is expected to give the keynote address at the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission’s annual launch in Salt Lake City.

Shurtleff has been a vocal supporter of Holder, co-authoring an editorial in the Arizona Republic in November with former Utah AG Terry Goddard which argued, as Holder did before Congress, that Congress has failed to give the Justice Department the tools and funding needed to stop the flow of guns across the border, Main Justice reported.

Still, other state Republicans are as unhappy about Holder’s appearance as some might expect. The Attorney General “needs to be held responsible for the ‘Fast and Furious’ debacle and should be immediately removed from office,” State Rep. Carl Wimmer said. “…The man has no right to be in the position he is in,” he said.

To read more click here.

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Hacking Group “Anonymous” Stole Thousands of Credit Card Numbers to Make Donations to Charities

New US Attorney for Virgin Islands Named

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Barack Obama has named a new man to head federal law enforcement in the drug trafficking-prone US Virgin Islands, reports the Daily World. Ronald W. Sharpe is the new US Attorney for the District of the Virgin Islands.

Sharpe has deep roots and extended family in the area, according to the Daily World.  “His mom grew up in Plaisance and he still has a lot of relatives here,” his neice, Grace Thomas Garnier, told the paper.

Sharpe was confirmed by the US Senate after being named for the post by Obama, taking over duties earlier this month. Sharpe is the chief federal law enforcement officer in the region, supervising 41 people, including 16 attorneys, and is responsible for coordinating investigations across multiple agencies and the prosecution of all federal crimes.

To read more click here.

Mexican Extradited to U.S. on Charges of Killing ICE Agent Jaime Zapata and Wounding Another Agent

ICE Agent Jaime Zapata killed in Mexico/ice photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

A man charged in the Feb. 15 murder in Mexico of ICE agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE agent Victor Avila has been extradited from Mexico to the U.S. to face trial.

The Justice Department announced the charges and the extradition on Wednesday of Julian Zapata Espinoza, aka “Piolin.”

On April 19, a D.C. federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment.

“Julian Zapata Espinoza (“Piolin”) allegedly participated in the murder of ICE Special Agent Jaime Zapata and the attempted murder of ICE Special Agent Victor Avila,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer in a statement.

“The extradition of Julian Zapata Espinoza to face charges in the U.S. is a significant development in the ongoing investigation into the murder of Special Agent Jaime Zapata and attack on Special Agent Victor Avila,” said Kevin Perkins, Assistant Director for the FBI Criminal Investigative Division in a statement.

The Justice Department said the indictment was unsealed on Wednesday when Zapata Espinoza made his initial appearance before U.S. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth in D.C. He was ordered detained without bail.

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12 Amish Charged with Hate Crimes for Amish Beard-Cuttings

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Religion can unite folks. It can also divide them. It can also make them do some crazy things. Just ask the Amish.

A federal grand jury in Cleveland on Wednesday issued a seven-count indictment charging 10 men and 2 women who are part of an Amish breakaway group with federal crimes stemming from five assaults occurring in Ohio’s Amish country between September through November of this year, according to a Justice Department statement.

In each of the incidences defendants forcibly cut the hair from the beards and heads of victims in a different religious sect with which they had had a dispute. Hair is highly symbolic in Amish religion.

“For nearly 500 years, people have come to this land so that they could pray however and to whomever they wished,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio Steven M. Dettelbach in a statement. “Violent attempts to attack this most basic freedom have no place in our country.”

Charged with conspiracy to violate the Mathew Shepard-James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act–which prohibits the willful attempt to cause bodily harm to an individual based on their religion–was Samuel Mullet Sr., Johnny S. Mullet, Daniel S. Mullet, Levi F. Miller, Eli M. Miller, Emanuel Shrock, Lester Miller, Raymond Miller, Freeman Burkholder, Anna Miller and Linda Shrock. Some of the above we also charged in relation to hiding or obfuscating evidence from federal investigators.

The hate crime charges carry a maximum life sentence.