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05/16/2011

ICE agents recognized for their extraordinary efforts to solve crimes

BOSTON - Five special agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) are among 113 federal, state and local law enforcement officials who have been recognized for exceptional service as part of the 2011 Law Enforcement Public Service Awards given by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts.

Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of ICE HSI was among those who joined U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz at the U. S. Courthouse in Boston to honor law enforcement officers who performed exceptional public service while contributing to the successful prosecution of complex criminal cases. The honorees were nominated by assistant U.S. attorneys who presented the cases.

"We have deep respect for the integrity and professionalism of these special agents and their dedicated efforts to bring the highest level of investigative commitment to the work of the U.S. Attorney's Office here in Boston," Foucart said. Massachusetts' top prosecutor agrees.

"The work that has been done by the recipients of this distinct honor has directly impacted the safety of our communities here and throughout the nation," said U.S. Attorney Ortiz. "Despite difficult circumstances and long hours spent away from their friends and families, the recipients of this award have maintained their unwavering commitment to justice."

ICE HSI Special Agents Michael D. Balestra and Jamison F. Wiroll were recognized for their exceptional skills in the investigation that brought international attention to the case of a Massachusetts resident who was sentenced to three years in prison for illegally exporting electronics components used in military radar, electronic warfare and missile systems to the People's Republic of China (PRC). The Waltham, Mass., company she managed, Chitron Electronics, Inc., (Chitron-US), was fined $15.5 million stemming from their convictions last year. Several Chinese military entities were among those to whom the defendants exported the equipment.

In May 2010, Yufeng Wei, 46, of Belmont, Mass., was convicted of illegally exporting U.S. Munitions List parts and export restricted sensitive technology to the PRC over a period of 10 years, illegally exporting electronics to the PRC, and conspiring to file, and filing, false shipping documents with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Also in May 2010, Chitron-US was convicted of unlawfully exporting military electronics and exporting restricted electronics to the PRC and illegally exporting such parts to the PRC on 26 occasions between 2004 and 2007. Zhen Zhou Wu, Wei's ex-husband and the Chinese national who owned Chitron-US, was sentenced to more than eight years in prison for his role in the illegal export conspiracy.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys B. Stephanie Siegmann and John A. Capin praised the agents for their dedicated commitment to defending our nation's export laws and the critical component they provide for protecting our national security.

"The case against Zhen Zhou Wu and his codefendants received international attention that has put the District of Massachusetts in the forefront as expert in handling these types of matters. Without the extraordinary efforts of the agents, this case would have been impossible to successfully prosecute due to the complexity, volume of evidence and need for interagency cooperation."

ICE HSI Special Agents Glen Fitzpatrick and Sergio S. Lopez received recognition in a case involving a fugitive who fled the U.S. and was captured in the Dominican Republic more than a year later. Albania Deleon, 41, was arrested by Dominican law enforcement authorities with the assistance of the U. S. Marshals Service following a vehicle stop.

Deleon owned and operated Environmental Compliance Training (ECT), a certified asbestos training school located in Methuen, Massachusetts that offered training courses in the safe handling of asbestos. The investigation revealed that many of the students who received certificates of completion were illegal aliens who never attended the course.

On Nov. 20, 2008, Deleon was charged in a 28-count indictment and later convicted after a three week trial. Sentencing is scheduled in June.

ICE HSI Special Agent Eric B. LaForte was recognized for his investigative expertise in the case of a Massachusetts man brought to trial for possession of child pornography. David Ladeau, 54, of Shrewsbury, was indicted and charged with possession of child pornography.

The case began with an investigation by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police which identified Ladeau who was trading child pornography on Gigatribe, a hybrid peer-to-peer file sharing program on the Internet. Once Ledeau was identified, the evidence revealed that he had a prior conviction in state court for molesting a 12-year old boy. He was charged with possession of child pornography.

In January 2010, Ledeau was sentenced to 10 years in prison, the maximum possible penalty for possession of child pornography.