DOJ – East Virginia

DOJ - Department of Justice
DOJ - Department of Justice
  • Illegal Alien Sentenced on Cocaine Trafficking and Firearms Charges
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An illegal alien with a prior felony drug trafficking conviction was sentenced today to more than 12 years in prison for cocaine distribution and firearms charges related to his involvement in a prolific cocaine trafficking network in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. “Alvarez is a recidivist armed drug dealer who has illegally entered the United States on multiple occasions,” said U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger. “After a conviction for drug trafficking in 2007, in which he was discovered in a hotel room with methamphetamine and a loaded handgun, he was deported back to Mexico. Alvarez illegally returned to the United States sometime later and eventually resumed trafficking controlled substances while armed with a firearm. He clearly has no regard for our nation’s laws and borders and he poses a threat to our public safety.” According to court documents, Homero Salgado Alvarez, 46, a citizen of Mexico, was previously convicted of drug distribution in 2007, and was subsequently deported to Mexico. He later returned to the United States, where he eventually resumed trafficking in controlled substances. When he came to the attention of law enforcement in late 2017, he was a wholesale cocaine distributor operating in southeastern North Carolina who was regularly trafficking in kilogram quantities of cocaine. The cocaine that Alvarez distributed made its way up from North Carolina to the greater Washington, DC area, including the Eastern District of Virginia. “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message that criminal enterprises engaged in the illegal acquisition ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-18
    1 day ago
  • Mother of Felon and Man Sentenced for Obstruction of Justice and Drug Trafficking
    RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond woman and Chesterfield man were sentenced to one year and four months in prison, respectively, for crimes involving obstruction of justice and drug trafficking. According to court documents, Regina Gasque, 49, and Trammel Lewis, Jr., 23 were involved in a conspiracy to obstruct justice after they crafted a scheme to deceive law enforcement. In April 2018, Richmond Police Officers performed a traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Keith Gasque, Regina Gasque’s son. Officers discovered two firearms in the vehicle, one of which law enforcement later learned had been illegally purchased for Keith Gasque by Lewis. While incarcerated, Keith Gasque solicited the help of his mother and Lewis to craft a false story to tell police about Keith Gasque possessing the firearms. Keith Gasque convinced Lewis to tell law enforcement that Lewis had left the firearms in Keith Gasque’s vehicle, and Keith Gasque had no knowledge of the firearms. Law enforcement reviewed recordings of phone calls that Keith Gasque made while in jail, and heard conversations where Keith Gasque told Regina Gasque and Lewis what Lewis should tell law enforcement to support the false story. Gasque agreed to craft and relay similar messages from Keith Gasque to Lewis. Keith Gasque was previously sentenced to serve more than four and a half years in prison for masterminding the conspiracy. Regina Gasque also pleaded guilty to, and was sentenced for, aiding and abetting the possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute. In May 2018, the Richmond ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-17
    2 days ago
  • Armed Illegal Alien Pleads Guilty to Firearm Possession
    RICHMOND, Va. – An illegal alien residing in Richmond pleaded guilty today to possessing a firearm illegally in the United States. “Perez-Agustin is in the United States illegally and was caught carrying a firearm,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This criminal activity reflects a blatant disregard for our nation’s laws and represents a threat to public safety. The Department of Justice is committed to prioritizing criminal immigration enforcement, and this case reflects that continuing commitment.” According to court documents, Manuel Dejesus Perez-Agustin, 39, had previously illegally entered the United States, been removed at taxpayer expense in January 2011, and then illegally reentered the United States again. “This individual has no regard for our nation’s laws,” said Lyle A. Boelens, Acting Field Office Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington, D.C. “Not only did he re-enter the country after deportation, he was arrested in possession of a firearm, making him a threat to public safety. We will continue to work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to keep our communities safe through enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.” In this instance, Perez-Agustin was charged with illegal reentry into the United Sates after removal and also illegal possession of a firearm. Perez-Agustin pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm while being illegally in the United States and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on July 31. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-17
    2 days ago
  • Sham Marriage Arranged in Scheme to Defraud Elderly Man
    NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach man pleaded guilty today to exploiting an elderly man’s diminished mental capacity to defraud him of nearly $157,000. “The financial and emotional harm these scams cause elderly victims and their family members can be devastating,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This office will continue to aggressively prosecute crimes involving elder fraud, and we remain committed to working closely with our local and state partners to ensure that those who choose to engage in fraud activity are held accountable and brought to justice.” According to court documents, John Michael Gatchell, 55, facilitated a marriage between the elderly man and a woman with whom Gatchell had a long-term relationship in order to gain access to the elderly man’s money and property. Gatchell induced the elderly man to make a down payment on a Jaguar that Gatchell and a family member drove for about 10 months before it was repossessed by the lender when the loan went into default. Gatchell also induced the elderly man to obtain two mortgage loans and then diverted most of the proceeds to the benefit of himself and others. He subsequently induced the elderly man to sell the property that secured the loans and again diverted most of the proceeds to himself and others. Gatchell used these monies that he fraudulently diverted to himself to purchase concert series tickets, pay delinquent bills, and make a security deposit and advance rent payments for a house he ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-17
    2 days ago
  • Cousins Convicted of Armed Robbery Sentenced to Prison
    RICHMOND, Va. – Two cousins were sentenced today to a combined 24 years in prison for their roles in an armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. According to court records and evidence presented at trial, John Campbell, 45, of Richmond, and Alhakka Campbell, 45 of Knightdale, North Carolina, stormed into a Wells Fargo Bank in Henrico shortly after the bank opened in November 2017. While John Campbell threatened employees with a firearm, Alhakka Campbell vaulted the teller counter, removing approximately $5,197 in cash from teller drawers and stuffing it into a black bag. The cousins then fled the bank in a stolen pickup truck that they later abandoned. When Alhakka Campbell removed the cash, he unknowingly grabbed two GPS tracking devices, which broadcast the location of the stolen currency to law enforcement. Law enforcement immediately responded to the location of the GPS trackers, leading to the arrest of both men, and the recovery of the firearm used by John Campbell during the robbery. John Campbell was sentenced to 13 years in prison for armed robbery and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Alhakka Campbell was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for armed robbery. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-17
    2 days ago
  • Gang Member Sentenced to Prison for Firearm Possession
    NORFOLK, Va. – A Portsmouth man was sentenced today to more than two and a half years in prison for possession of a firearm by convicted felon. According to court documents, Darren Brown, aka “Diego”, 25, sold a stolen .270 caliber rifle to a confidential informant in January 2016. The firearm was traced to a break-in of a Chesapeake family residence. Additionally, when the FBI arrested Brown in December 2018, he was in possession of Haskell JHP .45 caliber pistol. Brown was a member of the Nine Trey Gangsters, a subset of the United Blood Nation. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Martin Culbreth, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Raymond A. Jackson. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John F. Butler and Andrew C. Bosse prosecuted the case. A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-16
    3 days ago
  • Child Sexual Predator Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison
    NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach man was sentenced today to 27 years in prison for producing images of child sexual abuse of an 8 year-old victim. “We must do everything possible to protect our children from dangerous sexual predators like Brown,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Child sexual abuse is a horrific and abhorrent crime. I want to thank our law enforcement partners and prosecutors for ensuring that Brown will now be in a place where he cannot prey on our most vulnerable victims.” According to court documents and evidence, Leedente Darrell Brown, 32, met dozens of young girls, including an 8-year-old, in real life and online, and had them produce child pornography for him and other horrible sex offenders who were in group chat rooms with Brown. He was identified after a Virginia Beach Police Department officer responded to a Peeping Tom call. Investigators later learned that Brown was attempting to meet the 8-year-old girl to engage in sexual acts. The 8-year-old victim reported that Brown told her not to tell anyone, and if she did, he would kill her. “Adults that prey on innocent children are despicable,” said Michael K. Lamonea, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk. “Brown’s victims will have to cope with the longstanding effects of his abuse for years to come. HSI special agents and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate sexual predators like ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-15
    4 days ago
  • Herndon Man Pleads Guilty to Cyberstalking
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Herndon man pleaded guilty today to cyberstalking a victim in New York.  According to court documents, Brandon Theresa, 21, engaged in an extensive cyberstalking campaign against a victim from at least May 2015 through December 2018. During that time, he accessed the victim’s online accounts without the victim’s permission and periodically impersonated the victim and the victim’s friends to gain information about the victim’s comings and goings. As part of that conduct, Theresa established U.S. Postal Service Informed Delivery accounts, which provide detailed information about the mail received at a particular address, using the personal information of the victim and the victim’s friends and family member in order to further place the victim under surveillance.  Theresa pleaded guilty to cyberstalking and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when sentenced on July 26. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Michael Ray, Inspector in Charge of Analytics/Cyber Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and Matthew J. DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after Senior U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Fong is prosecuting the case. A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-15
    4 days ago
  • Man Sentenced for Straw Purchasing Firearms for Convicted Felon
    RICHMOND, Va. – A Chesterfield County man was sentenced today to two and a half years in prison for making false statements when he purchased firearms for a convicted felon. “Straw purchasers are often literally arming criminals,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This poses a serious threat to public safety and the safety of our law enforcement partners. Simply put, convicted felons have forfeited their Second Amendment right to bear arms, and those who choose to straw purchase firearms for prohibited individuals will be investigated, prosecuted, and may themselves become convicted felons and therefore unable to possess or purchase firearms for themselves or others. We will continue to aggressively pursue these cases, seek to obtain felony convictions, and work with local federally licensed firearms dealers and our partners at the ATF to stop the flow of illegally purchased firearms from hitting the street.” According to court documents, Jeremy Durand Lewis, 35, purchased seven guns for Abdul Shahid Davis, a convicted felon, at federally licensed firearms dealers in Virginia between July and November 2015. When purchasing these firearms, Lewis falsely stated on forms that he was the actual purchaser of the firearms, when, in fact, he was purchasing them for Davis. Davis then sold those guns to an undercover New York City Police Detective. “This investigation demonstrates how firearms make it into the hands of convicted felons and onto our streets.  Anyone engaged in firearms trafficking should be on notice,” said Ashan M. Benedict, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-15
    4 days ago
  • Co-conspirators Sentenced for Roles in Marijuana Trafficking Conspiracy
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Two men were each sentenced today to over two years in prison for their respective roles in a large-scale marijuana trafficking conspiracy. According to court documents, Nikco Van Nguyen, 22, of Falls Church, and Michael Ngo, 29, of Fairfax, acted as marijuana redistributors for Cuong Huynh, the leader of a criminal street gang known as the Asian Dragon Family. Huynh led the Washington, D.C. area marijuana trafficking ring that distributed over 100 kilograms of marijuana over a two-year time period. Huynh operated at the center of the conspiracy, maintaining multiple wholesale sources of supply for marijuana while also maintaining a distribution network in the Washington, D.C. region. Huynh’s girlfriend, Victoria Nguyen, stored tens of thousands of dollars in cash proceeds at a time from the sale of marijuana and safeguarded those earnings for the next wholesale purchase. Nikco Nguyen and Michael Ngo, who were also members of the Asian Dragon Family, distributed marijuana for Huynh, picked up cash proceeds from customers and re-packaged larger quantities of marijuana into redistribution amounts. Victoria Nguyen was sentenced to two years in prison on April 5 for her role in the conspiracy. Huynh is scheduled for sentencing on May 3.  G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Matthew J. DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Lena Munasifi and Assistant U.S. Attorney Dennis M. Fitzpatrick prosecuted ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-11
    1 week ago
  • Illegal Alien Sentenced for Sexually Exploiting Women in Northern Virginia
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An El Salvadoran man who is in the United States illegally was sentenced today to over two years in prison for running an illegal commercial sex business that catered to the Hispanic community in Northern Virginia. “Bonilla-Hernandez profited from the sexual exploitation of women who found themselves in difficult and vulnerable places,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The tears, pain, and mental anguish expressed by the victims in this case is heartbreaking. Additionally, this case is yet another example of an individual who is here in the United States illegally and committing serious crimes. Human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of individuals remains a priority of this office and we will continue to investigate and prosecute these serious crimes that inflict mental, emotional, and physical harm on the victims involved.” According to court documents, over the past three years, Luis Bonilla-Hernandez, 33, and co-conspirator, Eliazar Duran Mota, 23, of Herndon, ran the illegal business out of their homes in Sterling and Herndon. The women who were exploited were Hispanic, spoke little-to-no English, and found themselves struggling financially in the United States. Bonilla-Hernandez and Duran Mota took advantage of the difficult situations the victims had found themselves in and sought to sexually exploit them for financial profit. Each week, Bonilla-Hernandez and Duran Mota would obtain a woman to work for a week at a time. During interviews with the women they described their bodies being sore and exhausted from the 10 ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-11
    1 week ago
  • WikiLeaks Founder Charged in Computer Hacking Conspiracy
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Julian P. Assange, 47, the founder of WikiLeaks, was arrested today in the United Kingdom pursuant to the U.S./UK Extradition Treaty, in connection with a federal charge of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer. According to court documents unsealed today, the charge relates to Assange’s alleged role in one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States. The indictment alleges that in March 2010, Assange engaged in a conspiracy with Chelsea Manning, a former intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, to assist Manning in cracking a password stored on U.S. Department of Defense computers connected to the Secret Internet Protocol Network (SIPRNet), a U.S. government network used for classified documents and communications. Manning, who had access to the computers in connection with her duties as an intelligence analyst, was using the computers to download classified records to transmit to WikiLeaks. Cracking the password would have allowed Manning to log on to the computers under a username that did not belong to her. Such a deceptive measure would have made it more difficult for investigators to determine the source of the illegal disclosures. During the conspiracy, Manning and Assange engaged in real-time discussions regarding Manning’s transmission of classified records to Assange. The discussions also reflect Assange actively encouraging Manning to provide more information. During an exchange, Manning told Assange that “after this upload, that’s all I really have got left.” To ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-10
    1 week ago
  • Terwilliger Joins ATF’s National Crime Gun Intelligence Board
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – United States Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger has joined law enforcement leaders from around the country at the ATF’s National Crime Gun Intelligence Governing Board meeting in Huntsville, Alabama. (Click here for tweet and photo) “It is an honor to join such an accomplished group of law enforcement officials in pursuit of reducing firearms violence,” said Terwilliger. “Already here in the Eastern District we have seen the benefits of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, or NIBIN, in helping solve shootings, and more help is on the way with the City of Richmond Police Department scheduled to receive their own NIBIN machine this fall. I believe this will be a game-changer in Richmond. Not only will it help us solve shootings, but it will also offer a deterrent effect in that criminals will know every time they fire a gun during a crime of violence, we will use this technology to assist us in matching the casing, tracking the gun, and hunting down the trigger-puller. The ATF’s leadership on this program and commitment to providing law enforcement officers around the country with the tools they need to solve firearms crimes is beyond impressive. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve on this national board and represent the interests of the Eastern District of Virginia.” The two-day meeting of law enforcement leaders will include a tour of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN) National Correlation Training Center and strategic discussions on NIBIN, a high-tech program that automates ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-10
    1 week ago
  • Man Sentenced to 17 Years in Prison for Bank Robberies
    RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond man was sentenced today to 17 years in prison for aiding and abetting the commission of two armed bank robberies. According to court documents, Andrew Welton, aka “Manny”, 28, along with two associates, participated in a bank robbery on Dec. 20, 2017. Welton scoped out the BB&T bank on Lakeside Avenue in Henrico, and then provided Amber Fusco with a revolver while Jennifer Bessette wrote the demand note and served as the getaway car driver. Three days later, the trio committed a similar bank robbery, this time involving the Wells Fargo Bank in Richmond. After the robbery, Welton was stopped by law enforcement and part of the proceeds from the robbery were recovered from his vehicle. Co-defendants Jennifer Bessette and Amber Fusco were previously sentenced to 7 1/2 years and 15 years in prison, respectively. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-10
    1 week ago
  • Illegal Alien with History of Sexual Battery Guilty of Reentering U.S.
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An illegal alien with a criminal history that includes sexually assaulting a minor pleaded guilty today to illegally reentering the United States. According to court documents, Nelson Aldama Alarcon, 38, was encountered by law enforcement while driving without a license and came up in the system as having failed to register as a sex offender. Alarcon pleaded guilty to sexual battery in February 2000 after sexually assaulting his roommate’s four-year-old child. Alarcon was deported at taxpayer expense in 2004. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Lyle A. Boelens, Acting Field Office Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington D.C., made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carina A. Cuellar and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Reid are prosecuting the case. A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-78. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-09
    1 week ago
  • Woman Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Non-Profit Organization
    NORFOLK, Va. – A Newport News woman pleaded guilty today to her role in a conspiracy to defraud the Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), a non-profit corporation that provides case management services and financial aid to Americans with chronic, life-threatening, and debilitating illnesses. According to court documents, Andrea Braxton Wallace, 39, was a PAF employee assigned to work with their Co-Pay Relief Program. The program is designed to help low-income individuals pay for medications and treatments associated with certain diagnosed illnesses, such as Hepatitis C, various cancers, and HIV/AIDS. Eligibility for the program is based upon an individual’s diagnosed illness and annual household income. If approved, a PAF patient is awarded a grant (typically ranging from $12,000 to $25,000 per year) against which they can make claims for reimbursement for medications and treatments attendant to their disease. The scheme, which was run by a group of PAF employees and several “outsiders”, involved creating fake patient accounts with false diagnoses, then making false claims for reimbursement against the grants that were awarded. Once the reimbursement checks were cut, the co-conspirators would cash them and split the proceeds. Wallace was employed as a Verification Specialist at PAF. She recruited two outsiders to create fake applications, cash checks, and otherwise participate in the scheme. She was the direct cause of about $35,000 in losses to PAF. Wallace pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit health care fraud and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on July 11. Actual sentences for ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-09
    1 week ago
  • Third Defendant Pleads Guilty to Role in Pharmacy Robbery
    NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Lackey man pleaded guilty today to robbery and brandishing a firearm. According to court documents, Tysean L. Ransome, 25, along with Derrick Johnson, entered the Glendale Pharmacy in Newport News and robbed two employees of prescription pills at gunpoint. A third defendant, Jonathan Williams, directed Ransome and Johnson to do the robbery. Co-defendants Johnson and Williams each previously pleaded guilty and are scheduled for sentencing in June and July, respectively.  Ransome pleaded guilty to interference with commerce by robbery and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. He faces a mandatory minimum of 7 years to life on the firearms charge and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the robbery charge when sentenced on July 15. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-09
    1 week ago
  • Felon Sentenced to Prison for Firearm and Obstruction of Justice Charges
    RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond man was sentenced today to more than four and a half years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and conspiracy to obstruct justice. According to court documents, in April 2018, Richmond Police Officers performed a traffic stop on the vehicle of Keith Gasque, 26, for suspicion of illegal tint. During the stop, officers learned that Gasque had a suspended license and asked him to step out of the vehicle while the officers continued to ask him questions. Gasque then agreed to allow the officers to perform a protective sweep of his vehicle, leading to the officers finding a loaded magazine in the center console.  When officers attempted to place him in handcuffs, Gasque fled on foot, circled back to vehicle and again fled in the vehicle, nearly striking one of the officers. After officers eventually apprehended Gasque and fully searched the vehicle, they found two loaded firearms in a backpack belonging to Gasque, and learned that the original magazine found in the center console did not fit either of the two firearms. Further investigation led law enforcement to learn that Gasque had recruited others to straw purchase the firearms on his behalf. After Gasque was charged and detained in the Richmond City Jail, Gasque and his mother, Regina Gasque, agreed to recruit some of Gaque’s friends to falsely take responsibility for having owned the firearms officers found in Gasque’s vehicle. One of those friends, Trammel Lewis, is also one of ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-08
    2 weeks ago
  • Bloods Gang Member Sentenced to Life Plus 50 Years for Multiple Murders
    NORFOLK, Va. – A Portsmouth man was sentenced today to a 5 life sentences plus an additional 50 years in prison for his involvement in a violent crime spree, including four murders, multiple attempted murders, robbery, attempted robbery, and firearms offenses stemming from his involvement in the Nine Trey Gangsters, a street gang affiliated with the United Blood Nation.  According to court documents, Nathaniel Tyree Mitchell, aka “Savage”, 26, was convicted of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), four counts of murder, in violation of the Violent Crimes in Aid of Racketeering Act (VICAR), six counts of VICAR attempted murder, five counts of VICAR assault with a dangerous weapon, and a number of other firearms offenses related to those shootings. The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Billy Club. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of major drug trafficking organizations. The principal mission of the OCDETF program is to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking, weapons trafficking and money laundering organizations, and those primarily responsible for the nation’s illegal drug supply. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-08
    2 weeks ago
  • Petersburg Inmate Sentenced for Possessing Contraband In Prison
    RICHMOND, Va. – A Maryland man was sentenced today to 18 months in federal prison for possessing Suboxone, a Schedule III controlled substance, while in federal prison According to court documents, on July 5, 2018, James Pixley, 29, of Leonardtown, received 35 Suboxone strips, which are available only by prescription, from an individual who was with him in the visiting area of the prison. Shortly after he took possession of the Suboxone, prison officials questioned the visitor who admitted to having brought the Suboxone to Pixley at his request. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, David W. Archey, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Field Office, and John I. Dixon III, Chief of Petersburg Police, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson. Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Mastandrea-Miller prosecuted the case. A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:19-cr-011. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-08
    2 weeks ago
  • Armed Cocaine Dealer Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison
    RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond man was sentenced today to five years in prison for possession with intent to distribute cocaine and being a felon in possession of a firearm. “Armed drug traffickers pose serious threats to the safety of law abiding people,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Dowd carried a firearm and dealt drugs from his home in Creighton Court, an area of Richmond long plagued by drug trafficking and one that has the full attention of this office and our law enforcement partners. We are 100 percent committed to doing our part so that all can live in as crime free a neighborhood as possible, and will continue to devote law enforcement resources to similar areas of need around the City of Richmond and across the Eastern District of Virginia.” According to court documents, Cleveland Dowd, 37, was under surveillance by the Richmond Police Department in the Creighton Court area as part of a narcotics investigation. These observations prompted law enforcement to conduct controlled purchases of crack cocaine from Dowd in his home on April 13 and April 26, 2018. Following those controlled purchases, officers executed a search warrant and found more than 100 grams of powdered cocaine, multiple ounces of marijuana, $40,000 in cash, and a 9mm firearm. Dowd admitted to all of the drugs, cash, and gun, and admitted that he intended to “cook” the powdered cocaine into crack cocaine prior to selling it. Dowd had been previously convicted ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-04
    2 weeks ago
  • MS-13 Gang Member Sentenced to Prison for Illegal Reentry
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Salvadoran man who has been charged with multiple murders in El Salvador was sentenced today to one year in prison for illegally reentering the United States. According to court documents, Fily Giovany Amaya-Martinez, 36, a known MS-13 member, was removed at taxpayer expense from the United States to El Salvador in 2003 following a conviction for an aggravated felony in Fairfax County. Amaya-Martinez reentered the United States illegally in 2009 after being charged with multiple murders in El Salvador and lived undetected in northern Virginia until an anti-gang task force discovered his illegal presence in 2018. “After allegedly committing multiple murders in El Salvador, this violent MS-13 gang member fled El Salvador and illegally crossed our southern border to get back into the United States,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This case is a prime example of our need for strong borders and why this office continues to prioritize criminal immigration cases. My thanks to the dedicated anti-gang task force agents for their outstanding work on this important case, and for removing this dangerous felon from our community.” “Amaya-Martinez fled justice in his home country and defied the laws of this country when he illegally reentered,” said Lyle Boelens, Acting Field Office Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington, D.C. “Today’s sentencing answers his defiance. We stand with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in resolute commitment to continue to ensure that our communities ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-04
    2 weeks ago
  • Armed Drug Dealer Sentenced for Drug Trafficking and Possessing Firearms
    NORFOLK, Va. – A Chesapeake man was sentenced today to more than five years in prison for conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute methamphetamine and possession of firearms by an unlawful user of a controlled substance. “Youngblood was an armed drug dealer who profited off of the misery of others,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Additionally, this case represents the serious danger that armed drug dealers and armed drug users pose to first responders. In this case, officers found Youngblood unconscious in his bedroom, overdosed on a mixture of cocaine and fentanyl and surrounded by four loaded handguns, $5,000 in cash, ammunition, and other drugs. This situation clearly endangered the safety of those responsible for saving his life. My sincere thanks to the Chesapeake Police, medical first responders and our federal law enforcement partners for their terrific work on this case.” According to court documents, between December 2016 and November 2017, Marc Louie Youngblood, Jr., 51, received approximately 16 United States Mail parcels containing methamphetamine from California to an auto parts store where he worked in Norfolk. Youngblood sold this methamphetamine in Chesapeake and was also a habitual user of methamphetamine and marijuana during this time. "Drugs like heroin and methamphetamine destroy lives and communities, and Youngblood not only participated in the furtherance of this destruction, but as a user, nearly lost his own life to these substances,” said Michael K. Lamonea, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-04
    2 weeks ago
  • Former Leader of Honduran Cocaine Trafficking Organization Sentenced
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The former leader of a large-scale Honduran drug trafficking organization was sentenced today to 37 years in prison for trafficking thousands of kilograms of cocaine bound for the United States. “Montes-Bobadilla was a violent leader of one of the largest drug trafficking organizations in Honduras,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “The resources and collaborative efforts used to investigate this massive drug trafficking organization is a prime example of the extraordinary investigative capabilities of federal law enforcement and prosecutors here in the Eastern District. My sincere thanks to the DEA and the prosecution team for their outstanding work on this high-impact, international drug trafficking organization—also known as a DTO.” According to court documents, Noe Montes-Bobadilla, 35, was the leader of the Montes-Bobadilla drug trafficking organization, or “Los Montes,” one of the largest drug cartels in Honduras. Los Montes dominated the drug trafficking activity in the area of Francia, Honduras, in the Department of Colón. At that location and in the neighboring La Mosquitia region, Montes-Bobadilla’s organization and associates received shipments of cocaine sent via boats, clandestine aircraft, and even submarines by Colombian suppliers. Each shipment generally carried hundreds of, if not more than a thousand, kilograms of cocaine. Montes-Bobadilla worked closely with other drug trafficking organizations, such as Los Valles and Los Cachiros, to import the cocaine in Honduras and transport it north through Central America and Mexico to its ultimate destination, the United States. To protect his cocaine trafficking operations, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-04
    2 weeks ago
  • Former Chesapeake Sheriff’s Deputy Pleads Guilty to Corruption
    NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach man pleaded guilty today to corruption charges related to his smuggling of drugs and other contraband into the Chesapeake City Jail. According to court documents, Jenis Leroy Plummer, Jr., 34, used his official position as Chesapeake Sheriff’s Deputy to smuggle heroin, cocaine, cell phones, e-cigarettes and other contraband into the Chesapeake City Jail. In exchange, conspirators gave Plummer over $6,500 in cash. From July 2017 through January 2019, Plummer knowingly and intentionally conspired with an inmate in the Chesapeake City Jail to engage in this scheme. On numerous occasions throughout the conspiracy, Plummer contacted the inmate’s girlfriend and arranged to meet her at various locations in Hampton Roads to pick up the contraband. At these meetings, the inmate’s girlfriend gave Plummer the illicit contraband in blue latex gloves. Plummer then smuggled the contraband into the jail and delivered the items to the inmate. In exchange for using his official position, numerous individuals connected to the inmate paid Plummer with cash, via CashApp, and via PayPal. On one occasion, law enforcement observed the inmate’s girlfriend drop a black sock containing contraband at an arranged meeting location in a cul-de-sac on Horse Run Drive in Chesapeake. Law enforcement recovered the black sock and replaced the suspected bags of narcotics with two bags of fake narcotics and returned the black sock to its original location. Thereafter, law enforcement observed Plummer travel to the cul-de-sac and retrieve the black sock containing contraband that included the fake narcotics. After ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-03
    2 weeks ago
  • Arlington Gym Owner Sentenced to Prison for Drug Crimes
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – An Arlington man was sentenced today to nearly four years in prison for his role in purchasing 2 kilograms of cocaine from undercover detectives. According to court documents, Pascal Laporte, 40, intended to purchase 2 kilograms of cocaine from undercover Fairfax County Police detectives who purported themselves as members a drug cartel based in Mexico. For over a year, Laporte expressed to a confidential source his need for a cheaper supplier of cocaine who could provide him with kilogram quantities. Laporte first met the undercover detectives in early August 2018 at a restaurant in Tysons Corner, to discuss pricing per kilogram and the quantity Laporte desired. Laporte told the undercover detectives it would take him a week to sell off 1 kilogram of cocaine.  In the weeks leading up to his arrest, Laporte communicated with the CS his desire to start with the purchase of 2 kilograms of cocaine, and if the arrangement went well, he would then purchase 10 kilograms, and then upwards of 100 kilograms per month. Laporte even traveled to Miami with the intention to find a means to transport the cocaine himself to the Northern Virginia area in an effort to obtain the cheapest price per kilogram. Laporte was arrested in August 2018 as he was inspecting the cocaine that he was to purchase. He brought $45,000 to the meeting, as partial payment for the 2 kilograms. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-01
    3 weeks ago
  • Two Men Plead Guilty to Heroin Distribution Conspiracy
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A West Virginia man and an Alexandria man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute heroin in and around Northern Virginia. According to court documents, Rodney Malcolm Livengood, 57, of Martinsburg, and Nicholas George March, 28, of Alexandria, conspired to obtain heroin from sources of supply in Baltimore and bring it back to Sterling for distribution to users. After the narcotics were packaged for individual sale, Livengood and March delivered the heroin to users in Loudoun and Fairfax counties. Livengood and March each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute 100 grams or more of heroin and distribution of a controlled drug and face a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison when sentenced on June 28. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Mark R. Herring, Attorney General of Virginia, Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division, and Michael L. Chapman, Loudoun County Sheriff, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga accepted the plea. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc J. Birnbaum is prosecuting the case. A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-04-01
    3 weeks ago
  • Convicted Felon Sentenced to Prison for Possessing Firearm
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Springfield man was sentenced today to nearly six years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to court documents, Sang June Han, 24, unlawfully possessed a loaded Glock pistol, on March 23, 2018, in Springfield. Han unlawfully possessed the firearm while shooting a music video, which was later posted to YouTube showing Han brandishing the pistol. Prior to the YouTube video being posted, Han posted photographs of himself on Instagram brandishing the firearm. Han had previously been convicted of five felony offenses in Virginia and was on supervised probation at the time of this offense. Han’s 2013 felony conviction for attempted robbery was the result of an armed attempt to rob a drug dealer of drugs and money. According to the victim, Han repeatedly pistol-whipped the victim during the attempted robbery. Han’s 2015 felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute was the result of a traffic stop during which law enforcement recovered 8.5 ounces of marijuana and a Smith & Wesson pistol from Han’s trunk. Han’s 2016 felony convictions for possession of cocaine and pentylone were the result of a police search of his hotel room during which police recovered 2 ounces of marijuana, 10 bundles of crack cocaine, and multiple bags of Xanax. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-28
    3 weeks ago
  • Man Sentenced to Prison for $1.8 Million in Real Estate Fraud Scheme
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Culpepper man was sentenced today to nine years in prison for operating a Ponzi scheme that took in approximately $9 million and defrauded over 20 victims of $1.8 million. According to court documents, from 2014 through 2018, Brian Thomas Sapp, 38, formerly of Alexandria, committed wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in executing the scheme. Sapp preyed on his closest friends and their families, many of whom described Sapp as a “best friend” and “like a brother.” He caused financial hardship to many victims, including those with special needs children. To execute the scheme, Sapp set up Novus Properties, claiming he had identified distressed single family homes in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, which he would purchase and then resell to guaranteed buyers. All he needed was investor funds to finance the property flips. On hundreds of occasions, Sapp fabricated a sophisticated set of interlocking purchase, sale, guarantee, and HUD-1 settlement documents to induce victims to part with money. He stole real identities of sellers and buyers and digitally forged their signatures hundreds of times. Sapp bragged that he was “killing it” and “dominating the market.” In reality, he never closed a single deal. Instead, Sapp used investor money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including golf trips, meals out, and attending wealth-building seminars. Sapp spent $80,000 to purchase and customize a Mercedes van that he outfitted with special rooftop satellite TV antennas and flat screen TVs. Sapp loaded the van with professional grilling equipment, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-28
    3 weeks ago
  • El Salvadoran Man Pleads Guilty To Illegal Reentry
    NORFOLK, Va. – An El Salvadoran national pleaded guilty today to illegal reentry after sustaining a felony conviction for aggravated sexual battery of a child less than 13 years old. According to court documents, Ubaldo Adonay Moran-Arevalo, 37, was determined to be in the United States illegally in 2004 and ordered removed in 2005. He remained in the United States, and in 2008, he was arrested in Virginia Beach for sexually assaulting a child. After being convicted and sentenced, he was removed from the United States, but returned sometime later. Moran-Arevalo came to ICE’s attention several months ago after he was arrested in Virginia Beach for a DWI. He has since been convicted of that charge. Moran-Arevalo faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on August 20. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Jeffrey M. Jacoff, Acting Field Office Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington, D.C., made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Douglas E. Miller accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson is prosecuting the case. A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-27
    3 weeks ago
  • North Carolina Businessman Convicted of Tax and Fraud Charges
    NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A federal jury convicted an Asheville man late yesterday on 35 charges of conspiracy, tax fraud related to a fraudulent tax shelter, mail and wire fraud and money laundering. According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Byron Hale Delavan, 63, engaged in a fraudulent tax and investment fraud scheme from approximately 2011 to 2016 that resulted in losses to victims of over $800,000, and a separate tax loss to the United States of over $400,000. Delavan offered a fraudulent tax program to various individuals in the Tidewater area and elsewhere whereby individuals paid Delavan between $10,000 and $12,500 in order to obtain fraudulent losses to offset income on their tax returns. In doing so, Delavan purported to deduct business bad debts from non-operational entities he controlled, passing through these losses to client returns as if the clients were actually involved in these entities. Furthermore, Delavan solicited business loans and investments from some of the same and additional clients that he falsely represented would be used for business purposes. Contrary to this, Delavan used such funds for personal use, including the repayment of prior clients and personal expenses, such as private school tuition. Finally, Delavan purported to sell gold to certain clients, but made false representations related to the value or existence of the gold or the purpose of the funds obtained. Delavan is scheduled to be sentenced on July 9. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-26
    3 weeks ago
  • Hopewell City Employee Pleads Guilty to Fraud Conspiracy
    RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond woman pleaded guilty today to her role in a conspiracy to defraud the City of Hopewell of funds intended for at-risk school children, and filing false tax returns. “As a result of Karriem’s theft of nearly half a million dollars from the City of Hopewell, she deprived at-risk school children of critically needed counseling services,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring those taxpayer funds were spent on improving the lives of at-risk children, Karriem chose instead to devise a complex fraud scheme to line her own pockets. We have a long history of investigating and prosecuting fraud cases here in the Eastern District, and we remain committed to working closely with our local and state partners to ensure that those who choose to engage in fraud activity are held accountable and brought to justice.” According to court documents, Jamillah Karriem, 45, was employed by the City of Hopewell as the City’s Comprehensive Services Act (CSA) Coordinator. The Commonwealth of Virginia utilizes the CSA to provide state funding for services to high-risk children across the Commonwealth, and provides those state funds to localities, such as Hopewell. As the city’s CSA Coordinator, Karriem was responsible for directing CSA-funded contracts to service providers for at-risk school children in Hopewell. “Karriem sought to benefit financially by devising a scheme to steal nearly half a million dollars from the City of Hopewell,” said Kelly Jackson, Special Agent in ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-26
    3 weeks ago
  • Honduran Man Pleads Guilty to Third Illegal Entry
    NORFOLK, Va. – A Honduran man pleaded guilty today to illegally reentering the United States for a third time. According to court documents, Luis Omar Vallarez-Martinez, 36, first entered the United States illegally in April 2006, by wading across the Rio Grande river. He was apprehended by immigration authorities in Texas and removed back to Honduras. He again illegally entered the country in March 2009, and was again promptly removed. At some point, he illegally entered the United States for a third time. He was found in Norfolk in November 2018, when he was arrested on charges of public intoxication, brandishing a firearm, and reckless handling of a firearm. Valladarez-Martinez pleaded guilty to reentry by an excluded, deported, and removed alien and faces a maximum penalty of two years in prison when sentenced on July 8. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Jeffrey M. Jacoff, Acting Field Office Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Washington, D.C., made the announcement after U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence R. Leonard accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney V. Kathleen Dougherty is prosecuting the case. A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-25
    4 weeks ago
  • Final Defendant in Virginia Beach Fentanyl Ring Sentenced
    NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach man was sentenced today to more than 11 years in prison for his role in a heroin and fentanyl distribution conspiracy that resulted in an overdose death. According to court documents, Christopher Allen Bardall, 34, sold at least 550 grams of fentanyl, which could translate to approximately 5,500 individual doses. He did so as a part of conspiracy with Michelle Best, whose drugs killed one young woman, K.R., and caused several other non-fatal overdoses. Best was sentenced on March 14 to 30 years in prison. Bardall was a street dealer who distributed fentanyl, supplied by Best, directly to K.R. Bardall knew the fentanyl he was dealing was strong and that it had resulted in multiple overdoses by clients of his who used it. On Dec. 17, 2017, within hours of K.R.’s coma and death, officers from the Virginia Beach Police Department located Bardall and arrested him after a vehicle and foot pursuit. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. G. Zachary Terwilliger, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-25
    4 weeks ago
  • Opioid crisis demands full-court-press
    By: G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia The Virginian-Pilot When Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell appeared on “60 Minutes” on March 10, he cited the opioid crisis as a threat to our country’s economic strength. He noted that opioid addiction has contributed to the “unusually large number of people in their prime working years who are not in the labor force” in the United States, which now “has a lower labor force participation rate than almost every other advanced country.”  His comments should remind Americans that the opioid epidemic not only destroys lives, but threatens the strength and viability of our nation. In my role as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, I see the alarming dimensions of this crisis daily. I have observed the emergence of a triple threat: 1) increasingly potent opioids dealt at the street level; 2) Chinese sourced fentanyl illicitly pressed into pills and disguised as legitimate prescription drugs; and 3) the diversion of prescription drugs onto the street. Users are at an increased risk because they are either unaware of what they are buying or they are using illicit narcotics with far more power than their bodies can withstand.  All across the Eastern District of Virginia, including here in Hampton Roads, I have made it one of my top priorities to prosecute opioid related cases. I make it known to my law enforcement partners that we do not have quantity threshold requirements for prosecuting fentanyl and heroin distribution cases. Further, any amount of ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-23
    4 weeks ago
  • Dominican Woman Sentenced to Prison on Drug Charges
    RICHMOND, Va. – A Dominican woman was sentenced today to two years in prison for possession with intent to distribute heroin. According to court documents, in December 1997, Ninorka Sencion, 45, pleaded guilty to traveling on a bus from New York to Richmond for the purpose of delivering over 300 grams of heroin. After pleading guilty she was released on a bond. At that time, Sencion fled to the Dominican Republic and failed to appear for her originally scheduled sentencing hearing in March 1998. She was arrested in the Dominican Republic in August 2018 on an outstanding arrest warrant and extradited to the United States for sentencing on this charge. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Robert Mathieson, U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after sentencing by Senior U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heather H. Mansfield prosecuted the case. A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:97-cr-329. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-20
    1 month ago
  • Convicted Felon Pleads Guilty to Firearms Charges
    RICHMOND, Va. – A Chesterfield man pleaded guilty today to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  According to court documents, Carlos Azucar Menjivar, 21, was encountered by Chesterfield County police officers after they observed his vehicle parked at a construction site after hours.  Officers approached the vehicle and noticed that it was missing tags. As officers were speaking with him, they observed a license plate in the front windshield, and when officers ran that tag, it came back to another vehicle.  During this interaction, one officer observed the magazine well of a firearm as well as a box of ammunition in plain view in Menjivar’s vehicle.  Officers then had Menjivar, who was previously convicted for attempted robbery in 2015, exit the vehicle and searched the vehicle to retrieve the firearm. In a backpack in the rear of the vehicle, officers found a total of three, individually packaged firearms with prices written on the outside of the packaging. Another firearm was located in the glove compartment of the vehicle. Menjivar pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison when sentenced on June 25. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-20
    1 month ago
  • Man Pleads Guilty for Possessing a Firearm with Altered Serial Number
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Waldorf man pleaded guilty today to possessing a firearm with an altered serial number. According to court documents, in October 2018, Albert Lyles, 29, was pulled over for speeding by Military Police at Marine Corps Base Quantico. Military Police noticed the smell of marijuana inside the vehicle and upon inspection discovered approximately one ounce of marijuana and a firearm with an altered serial number. Lyles pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm with an altered serial number and faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison when sentenced on May 21. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Ashan M. Benedict, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-19
    1 month ago
  • Man Sentenced to Prison for Heroin and Cocaine Trafficking
    NORFOLK, Va. – A Portsmouth man was sentenced today to more than 10 years in prison for conspiring to manufacture, distribute, and possess heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine. According to court documents, William Jerome Peele, 45, was part of a massive drug-trafficking operation in Hampton Roads. As part of that conspiracy, Peele personally distributed more than 15 kilograms of cocaine, more than 2 kilograms of crack, and more than 100 grams of heroin. Last year, DEA conducted five controlled purchases of cocaine from Peele, totaling roughly 200 grams. Investigators arrested Peele just before a sixth scheduled buy. He was caught with 90 grams of cocaine, marijuana, $1200 in cash, and four cell phones. He told the investigators that he was planning to “cook” much of that cocaine into crack before police showed up. Police recovered even more cocaine from Peele’s home while executing a search warrant. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Jesse R. Fong, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Washington Field Division, Col. K.L. Wright, Chief of Chesapeake Police, and Angela Greene, Interim Chief of Portsmouth Police, made the announcement after sentencing by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith. Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Jackson prosecuted the case. The case was investigated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), Operation Promotional Deceit. The OCDETF program is a federal multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional task force that supplies supplemental federal funding to federal and state agencies involved in the ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-19
    1 month ago
  • Jury Convicts Narcotics Trafficker Involved in Multi-Million Dollar Deal
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal jury convicted a narcotics trafficker from the Dominican Republic yesterday who was involved in a multi-million dollar deal to obtain a large quantity of cocaine. According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Luis M. Liriano-Toribio, 32, traveled from New York to Northern Virginia last October to assist Luis Rafael Tavarez and Manny Lizardo with a drug trafficking operation. Tavarez sought to obtain 100 kilograms of cocaine in exchange for $2.5 million in cash. Law enforcement seized over $1.15 million in cash at the time of Liriano-Toribio’s arrest. The government presented evidence showing that Liriano-Toribio and Tavarez spoke via telephone and FaceTime on 66 separate occasions within a nine-day period preceding the deal, including 16 separate occasions on the day of their arrest. Evidence presented at trial also included a photograph of Lizardo holding large stacks of cash, and text messages in which Liriano-Toribio and Tavarez discussed meeting late at night in the weeks leading up to the massive drug transaction.  Tavarez, who pleaded guilty on February 27, served as the leader and organizer of the operation and was arrested at a hotel in Vienna in possession of over $1 million in cash. Lizardo, who pleaded guilty on March 11, was arrested with Liriano-Toribio in a parking garage in Fairfax while both men were attempting to take possession of the cocaine with the intent to distribute it. The jury convicted Liriano-Toribio of attempted possession with the intent to distribute cocaine. He faces a mandatory ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-18
    1 month ago
  • Former State Delegate Pleads Guilty to Defrauding United States
    NORFOLK, Va. – A former member of the Virginia General Assembly pleaded guilty today to his role in a conspiracy that resulted in the fraudulent award of over $80 million in government contracts. According to court documents, Ronald A. Villanueva, 48, participated in a nine-year conspiracy involving over $80 million in fraudulently obtained government contracts. More specifically, Villanueva conspired with others to help two Virginia Beach companies secure Small Business Administration contracts that had been set aside for minority-owned businesses. Villanueva began working for one company, SEK Solutions, in or about 2005. When that company’s 8(a) status was set to expire in 2010, Villanueva and his co-conspirators set up a new company, Karda Systems, which on paper was run by Villanueva’s brother-in-law. However, in reality Karda’s contracting business was managed by Villanueva and others associated with SEK. As part of the conspiracy, Villanueva and others misrepresented whether SEK and Karda were eligible for government contracts under the 8(a) program. In fact, neither company was eligible to participate in the program, yet Villanueva and his co-conspirators made numerous false statements and certifications to the contrary. During part of the conspiracy, Villanueva was a member of the Virginia General Assembly, and in one instance used his House of Delegates letterhead to send a letter to the SBA in support of Karda’s application to participate in the 8(a) program, knowing that it contained false and misleading statements about who actually operated the company. As a result of the fraud, the two companies were ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-18
    1 month ago
  • Convicted Felon Sent to Prison for Possessing Firearm
    NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – A Hampton man was sentenced today to nearly four years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. “A convicted felon in possession of a firearm poses a serious risk to the safety of our community,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Slaughter has an extensive criminal record that includes assault and battery on a family member and assault on a law enforcement officer. In this case, he attempted to evade police and possessed a loaded handgun that he threw into a public parking lot. We will continue to prosecute these cases at every opportunity and remove violent felons like Slaughter from our communities.” According to court documents, on March 16, 2018, Newport News Police Department responded to the Happy Shopper store on Marshall Avenue in reference to two males in possession of firearms.  Officers made contact with the two suspects, Carl A. Slaughter, 24, and another male.  One officer observed a firearm magazine sticking out of Slaughter’s waistband and asked if Slaughter had a concealed carry permit. Slaughter immediately ran from the store through a parking lot, and officers pursued Slaughter on foot. Officers observed Slaughter throw a firearm during the chase.  Slaughter was apprehended and the firearm, a Taurus 9 mm with an extended capacity magazine containing 28 rounds with one round chambered, was recovered.  Slaughter had previously been convicted of assault and battery on a law enforcement officer and was on supervised probation at ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-18
    1 month ago
  • Local Business Settles Claims it Violated Servicemember’s Rights
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Lawn Doctor of Stafford-Culpepper, doing business as Beck I, LLC, has agreed to settle claims that the business and its owners violated the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) by suspending and terminating a U.S. Army Reserve soldier following his return from active duty military service. “Military reservists make tremendous sacrifices when they are called to active duty,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Such service should never be a detriment to their livelihood. We are committed to ensuring that these men and women are honored, not disadvantaged, for their military service, and will continue to hold employers who violate the rights of our servicemembers accountable.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office’s involvement in this matter began with a complaint that was referred to the Department of Justice by the Department of Labor concerning a servicemember who worked as a landscaper for Lawn Doctor of Stafford-Culpeper in Fredericksburg. The servicemember alleged that on Oct. 26, 2017, he received orders for active duty service with his U.S. Army Reserve unit from Oct. 30, 2017, through Nov. 3, 2017. The servicemember alleged that he promptly informed his supervisor of his upcoming military duty and was told that failure to appear for work would be considered job abandonment. The servicemember returned to work on Nov. 6, 2017, and was immediately suspended, pending termination. On Nov. 8, 2017, Lawn Doctor of Stafford-Culpeper terminated the servicemember’s employment. The servicemember complained that as a result of the ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-17
    1 month ago
  • Businessman Sentenced to Prison for Investment Fraud Scheme
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A local businessman was sentenced today to 2 1/2 years in prison for orchestrating a $1.3 million Ponzi scheme that caused losses to more than 40 victims. According to court documents, Amrit Jaswant Singh Chahal, 31, of Fairfax, operated an investment fraud scheme through The Kane Capital Investment Group, LLC (Kane Capital), a company he established and operated. Chahal held out Kane Capital as a private capital investment group that sought to earn profits and investment returns on behalf of its clients by purchasing, trading, or otherwise investing in commodities for future delivery and other financial instruments. Chahal executed this fraud through falsely representing that Kane Capital had earned returns of roughly 28 to 34 percent annually, when in fact, Chahal had suffered substantial losses in managing investors’ funds. Chahal also created falsified brokerage statements to conceal the losses he had sustained and siphoned off some of his investors’ funds by transferring the money to accounts he controlled or by spending the funds on personal items. When investors asked for returns on their investment, Chahal frequently used money from newer investors to pay disbursements to older investors, without disclosing this fact to his investors. In addition, Chahal opened an unauthorized bank account in the name of one of his investors to further divert funds to his personal use. G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Matthew J. DeSarno, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division, made the ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-14
    1 month ago
  • Drug Dealer Sentenced to Prison for Drug and Gun Crimes
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Springfield man was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for distributing more than 5 kilograms of cocaine and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of his drug dealing. According to court documents, Aidriss Saydi, 36, was one of the largest drug dealers in the Northern Virginia area over the past decade. Saydi frequently traveled to other states with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash to purchase narcotics that were later shipped to him. Over the course of the conspiracy, Saydi used dozens of people to receive drug shipments on his behalf. When shipments became more difficult given the quantity of drugs he was distributing, Saydi purchased his own plane to carry drugs to Virginia. In April of 2018, after fear that law enforcement was closing in on him, Saydi ordered a co-conspirator to hide close to a kilogram of cocaine, 30 pounds of marijuana, and a stolen handgun, all of which were later found by law enforcement. When the buried contraband could not be found, Saydi repeatedly beat his co-conspirator with another weapon, fearing that his co-conspirator had stolen them from him. As part of his sentence, Saydi agreed to forfeit $1 million and multiple vehicles. This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-14
    1 month ago
  • Justice Department Obtains Largest Ever Settlement Against Property Management Company for Alleged Violations of Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – PRG Real Estate Management and several related entities have agreed to pay up to $1.59 million to resolve allegations of violations of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act for obtaining unlawful court judgments against military tenants and by charging improper lease termination fees. “The incredible sacrifices our servicemembers make when they deploy and move frequently should never create financial or legal hardships for them,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This settlement helps ensure that these men and women are honored for, not disadvantaged by, their military service, and that servicemembers’ rights are protected going forward.” This settlement is the largest ever obtained by the Department against a landlord or property management company for violations of the SCRA. “When landlords violate the SCRA, it causes disruption in the lives of servicemembers and their families. Our men and women in uniform deserve all the protections the SCRA provides them against civil lawsuits while they are defending our nation,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “We thank PRG for its cooperation in this case. This substantial settlement clearly sends the message that the Department of Justice is committed to the vigorous enforcement of federal laws that protect servicemembers.” Under the settlement, PRG will pay up to $1.49 million to compensate 127 servicemembers who had 152 unlawful default judgments entered against them and nearly $35,000 to compensate 10 servicemembers who were charged early lease termination fees in violation of the SCRA. PRG will also pay ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-14
    1 month ago
  • Two Men Indicted for Racketeering Conspiracy Involving Murder
    NORFOLK, Va. – Two Portsmouth men were arrested today for their alleged roles in a racketeering conspiracy that included the murder of 23-year-old Delante Eley. A federal grand jury returned a 13-count indictment on March 6, charging Rashaun Taylor, aka “Diablo”, 31, and Timothy Sawyer-House, aka “Trouble”, 28, with racketeering conspiracy, attempted robbery, felon in possession of a firearm, and distribution of heroin and fentanyl. Taylor was also charged with the capital-eligible offense of murder in aid of racketeering and use of a firearm resulting in death. According to the indictment, the two men allegedly were members of a Portsmouth-based “set” of the Nine Trey Gangsters (NTG), a gang affiliated with the United Blood Nation. The indictment alleges that on March 11, 2014, after a series of incidents between Delante Eley and members of Taylor’s gang, Taylor and Sawyer-House followed Eley to his home, where Taylor shot and killed Eley. Two days later, Taylor, Sawyer-House, and others attempted to rob a drug dealer of cash, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana while armed with a high powered Romanian-made semi-automatic rifle. The indictment also alleges that Taylor and Sawyer-House sold heroin and fentanyl. If convicted of the charged murder, Taylor would be eligible for the death penalty or a mandatory life sentence. If Sawyer-House is convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of life in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-13
    1 month ago
  • Jury Convicts East Coast Leader of Nationwide Methamphetamine Conspiracy
    ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal jury convicted a New York man today on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. According to court records and evidence presented at trial, Kendesia Juinize May, 40, was a leader of a sprawling, nationwide methamphetamine distribution network with ties to California, New York, Washington, DC, and the Eastern District of Virginia. The network utilized pirated and fraudulent Federal Express accounts to ship pound quantities of California-sourced methamphetamine throughout the United States. In late 2017, May negotiated to buy into the conspiracy and assume distribution responsibilities to its Washington, DC area customers, many of whom were themselves distributors of methamphetamine. According to evidence presented at trial, May “took over” methamphetamine distribution in the northern Virginia and Washington, DC area and aspired to become “the biggest drug dealer on the East Coast.” Multiple witnesses testified that May traveled from his home in New York to the Washington, DC area every week for the purpose of selling methamphetamine. He did so because the Washington, DC area is one of the most lucrative methamphetamine markets in the country.  The government presented evidence showing that the conspiracy sent nearly 400 FedEx packages containing either pound quantities of methamphetamine or thousands of dollars in proceeds of drug sales. On May 25, 2018, officers of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police stopped May while driving his Mercedez Benz vehicle, and a search of the vehicle led to the discovery of more than five pounds of pure methamphetamine, along with FedEx packaging, digital scales, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-13
    1 month ago
  • Woman Sentenced to 30 Years for Supplying Fentanyl that Resulted in Death
    NORFOLK, Va. – A Virginia Beach woman was sentenced today to 30 years in prison for her role in a heroin and fentanyl distribution conspiracy that resulted in an overdose death. “The callousness of Michelle Best is hard to overstate considering her knowledge of the death she helped cause and her desire to continue ‘business as usual,’” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “As a high-level regional supplier, she was attributed with enough fentanyl to supply 20,000 potentially lethal doses. The sentence in this case should serve as a reminder of what can happen to those who make it their business to exploit and profit by spreading poison in our communities. We will remain relentless in our efforts to hold drug dealers accountable.” According to court documents, Michelle Renee Best, aka Michelle Smith, 44, served as a regional wholesale supplier of fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine for over a year and half, and she did so from the comfort of her beachfront Croatan neighborhood. Even after learning that her drugs killed a young woman, she told a co-conspirator to keep the news of the death to himself and that it would be “business as usual.” On March 13, 2018, a Virginia Beach SWAT team executed a search warrant on Best’s house and recovered a commercial money counter, nearly $42,000 in cash, 1.85 kilograms of cocaine, 1.12 kilograms of marijuana, 382 grams of heroin laced with fentanyl, 207 pieces of jewelry, a drug ledger, and devices ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-13
    1 month ago
  • Former Congressional Candidate Sentenced for Fraud Conspiracy
    NORFOLK, Va. – A Hampton woman was sentenced today to three years in prison and one year of home detention for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and causing false records, wire fraud, and theft of government funds. “Brown lied about feeding needy children in our community in hopes of making a financial gain for herself,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “We will continue to thoroughly investigate those who lie and steal from taxpayers and the federal government. I want to thank our trial team and investigative partners for their incredible work on this important case.” According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Shaun Brown, 60, defrauded the USDA’s summer food service program (SFSP) aimed at feeding low income children. Brown and her mother ran a non-profit company, JOBS Community Development Corporation, which served as a sponsor for the SFSP. Over the course of the 2012 Summer, Brown inflated the number of meals JOBS purportedly served to low-income children and submitted fraudulent claims for reimbursement based on the inflated numbers. Brown also orchestrated a massive scheme to falsify hundreds of documents to support her fraudulently inflated meal count numbers and ordered excessive amounts of food and milk products which she was well aware would never be used to feed needy children. At her direction, Brown’s employees disposed of this food and milk, purchased with federal funds, in large mounds behind buildings in Newport News, as well as a pig farm in Southern ... read more
    Source: DOJ – East VirginiaPublished on 2019-03-12
    1 month ago