U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Update May 1, 2010

April 30, 2010

Military supply fraud case results in charges against 6 men, 3 companies

 BUFFALO, N.Y.- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr., announced April 30 that a federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging six persons and three corporations with conspiring to defraud the U.S. government and wire fraud in connection with the supply and composition of critical materials used in the American war effort. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), along with other federal agencies, investigated the case.

The indictment alleges that the defendants sold 1.8 million countermeasure flares, which are used in military aircraft to divert heat-seeking missiles, valued at $42 million to the Department of Defense (DoD) in violation of contract regulations. Such flares are composed primarily of magnesium powder. Read More..

North Texas man sentenced to 10 years on child pornography conviction

FORT WORTH, Texas – A man from north Texas was sentenced on Friday to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty in December 2009 to one count of receiving child pornography. This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas; the case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Stacy Onken, 37, of Euless, Texas, admitted using the Internet to download video files of minor children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. A forensic examination of Onken’s computer and related storage media, seized by ICE agents at his home in October 2009, revealed more than 30 video clips of child pornography. Read More..

596 criminal aliens arrested in targeted ICE operation throughout the southeastern U.S.

WASHINGTON – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and its law enforcement partners arrested 596 foreign nationals with criminal records during a three-day enforcement surge throughout the southeastern United States, making it the biggest operation targeting at-large criminal aliens ever carried out by ICE in the region.

During the operation, which concluded late last night, ICE officers and agents worked in teams with the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and local law enforcement agencies in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Puerto Rico. Read More..

April 29, 2010

7 members of alleged Houston drug ring arrested and charged

HOUSTON – Seven individuals were arrested on Wednesday and the charged for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute hundreds of kilograms of cocaine. These arrests were announced on Thursday by U.S. Attorney Jose Angel Moreno and Michael Feinberg, acting special agent in charge of the Immigration and Customs (ICE) Enforcement (ICE) Office of Investigations in Houston.

The arrests of the seven and the execution on April 28 of four federal search warrants at various locations in Houston and Sugarland, Texas, allegedly associated with the drug organization is the result of a yearlong multi-agency investigation. During the investigation, the criminal complaint alleges more than $1.5 million in alleged drug proceeds have been seized by investigating agents and the search warrants executed at four residences identified as allegedly being used to store and distribute cocaine, and to count and house drug proceeds resulted in additional money and drug seizures. Read More..

28 arrested in Chicago area during ICE operation targeting gang members

100429chicago_lgCHICAGO – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, in close partnership with local law enforcement officers, made 28 arrests during a three-day operation targeting illegal aliens with ties to violent street gangs in the Chicagoland area. This is the latest local effort in an ongoing national ICE initiative to target foreign-born gang members.

The arrests were made as part of Operation Community Shield, a national initiative whereby ICE partners with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target the significant public safety threat posed by transnational street gangs. Partnerships with local law enforcement agencies are essential to the success of Operation Community Shield. Read More..

ICE turns over drug smuggler to Mexican authorities

 EL PASO, Texas – Under the new Illegal Drug Program (IDP) agreement with Mexico, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) special agents on Wednesday turned over to the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic of Mexico (PGR) a woman who allegedly attempted to smuggle 25 pounds of marijuana into the United States.

This was the first violator, and second case transferred to Mexican authorities as part of the Illegal Drug Program (IDP), which took effect in El Paso on April 15. The IDP agreement allows PGR to prosecute certain Mexican drug smugglers under Mexican law. Read More..

3 plead guilty to smuggling cocaine on commercial airlines

NEWARK, N.J. – Mervin Francis, 34, of St. Lucia, West Indies, Genard Howard, 35, and Tajara Barnes, 34, both of Brooklyn, N.Y., plead guilty April 27, before U. S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh to separate, superseding information charging them with conspiracy to import and export cocaine aboard commercial airlines. Guilty pleas were announce by U. S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

Court documentation states that Francis admitted he was part of an organization that transported narcotics from Jamaica and St. Lucia, through the United States to Great Britain, around February and September 2008.  Read More..

Pennsylvania man sentenced to federal prison for child pornography

 PHILADELPHIA – Charles Hess, Jr., 63, of Oley, Pa., was sentenced on April 28 to 68 months in a federal prison for knowingly possessing child pornography on a computer hard drive and on six separate CD/DVD-ROMs. The pornography was found during an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Hess was found to be in possession of more than more 600 pornographic images and 28 pornographic video files of children, including some which depicted children under the age of 12 and some which depicted sadistic or masochistic conduct, or other depictions of violence. Hess resigned from his job as the Director of Visitor Services for the National Constitution Center in February 2009, a day after a search was conducted at his home in Philadelphia where he was living at the time. Read More..