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08/22/2019
San Juan, PR
Child Exploitation

According to the plea agreement, during the months of May through August of 2018, Báez-Aponte used the Facebook Messenger application to communicate with a 12-year-old male to persuade, induce, entice, and coerce the minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct. Báez-Aponte requested sexually explicit photos from the male minor and sent him sexually explicit photos. The sexually explicit conduct occurred in at least four times at the defendant’s residence.

08/22/2019
Manchester, NH
Narcotics

According to court documents and statements made in court, between May and September 2018, Israel Perez conspired with other persons to distribute more than 40 grams of fentanyl as part of a drug trafficking organization.

08/22/2019
Providence, RI
Child Exploitation

Jordan Monroe, 54, has been detained in federal custody since his arrest by HSI special agents and members of the Rhode Island State Police Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force on May 12, 2016, when, during a court-authorized search of his residence, he was found to be in possession of tens of thousands of images and nearly a thousand videos containing child pornography.

08/22/2019
Enforcement and Removal

Ziyaya Mtola, 45, who was convicted following a 2018 jury trial of assaulting an officer and destroying government property was turned over to ICE for removal in February 2019, as the agency made final preparations for his repatriation.

08/21/2019
Pocatello, ID
Child Exploitation

Joseph Lavern Harris, 32, of Rigby, Idaho, was sentenced yesterday in U.S. District Court to 300 months in prison, for sexual exploitation of a minor child, Brad Bench of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Seattle field office and U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced.

08/21/2019
Peoria, IL
Child Exploitation

In addition to the 160-month sentence, U.S. District Judge Michael M. Mihm, Central District of Illinois, also ordered that Eric Ingram, 31, of Washington, Illinois, remain on supervised release for eight years following his release from incarceration.

08/20/2019
Los Angeles, CA
Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit

Rami Najm Asad-Ghanem, 53, who was commonly known as Rami Ghanem, a naturalized United States citizen who was living in Egypt at the time of the offenses, was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge S. James Otero.

08/20/2019
Boston, MA
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

The enforcement operation included the execution of multiple search warrants and the arrests of three prolific, Brazil-based human smugglers on Brazilian charges:  Abdifatah Hussein Ahmed (a Somalian national); Abdessalem Martani (an Algerian national); and Mohsen Khademi Manesh (an Iranian national).

08/20/2019
Guatemala City, Guatemala
Enforcement and Removal

Since mid-July, Guatemala and the United States have implemented a new process to more expeditiously remove aliens without any claims to support remaining in the U.S. This enhanced cooperation results in reduced lengths of stays in DHS custody for Guatemalan citizens, while allowing the U.S. to fulfill its mission to repatriate those illegally present without utilizing resources to house aliens or manage their cases while they await immigration or removal proceedings out of custody.

08/20/2019
Huntington, WV
Narcotics

A federal grand jury sitting in Huntington has returned a six count superseding indictment charging Steven Dale McCallister, 45, and his father, Larry McCallister, 76, a retired Cabell County Deputy Sheriff, with various drug and gun crimes.

08/19/2019
Washington, DC
Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) is reviewing an annual report on the number of IPR seizures that have raised the total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of the seized goods – had they been genuine – to $1.4 billion.

08/19/2019
Denver, CO
National Security

The tanker, cargo and cash are subject to forfeiture based on violations of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), bank fraud statute, and money laundering statute, as well as separately the terrorism forfeiture statute.

08/19/2019
Los Angeles, CA
Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

John Seil Lee, 41, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson, who ordered him remanded into federal custody. Judge Anderson – who also ordered Lee to pay more than $552,000 in restitution to his victims, including men who were injured by Lee’s misbranded pills – remarked in court on Lee’s “callousness” and how Lee’s “scheme has literally ruined lives.”

08/16/2019
Houston, TX
Child Exploitation

Martin Mejia Ramos, aka Ricardo Morales Rodriguez and Martin Jose Romes-Ramirez, pleaded guilty May 10, 2019, to illegally reentering the United States following an aggravated felony conviction.

08/15/2019
London, United Kingdom
Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
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Pursuant to an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with participation from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS); the High Commission of India in London in coordination with Indian Customs; and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York (DANY), the limestone carved relief and Navaneetha Krishna Bronze figure from India were repatriated to their home country.  On Aug. 15, the High Commissioner of India in London accepted the return of the artifacts on behalf of India.

08/15/2019
New York, NY
Human Smuggling/Trafficking
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Jose Miguel Melendez-Rojas was arrested in February 2019 in Mexico following the joint investigation, and is charged with five co-defendants: two were extradited from Mexico to the United States in October 2018, and three were previously arrested in the United States. He faces an 18-count indictment charging him with sex trafficking conspiracy, sex trafficking of minors, interstate prostitution, alien smuggling and money laundering conspiracy.

08/15/2019
Charlotte, NC
Enforcement and Removal

ICE arrested fugitive Oscar Pacheco, 33, a Honduran national, and repeat immigration violator during a targeted enforcement operation in Mecklenburg County August 9, nearly two months after the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office refused to honor an ICE detainer, or even notify ICE of the release, and instead released Pacheco from local criminal custody following his arrest on first-degree rape and indecent liberties with a minor charges.

08/14/2019
New York, NY
Financial Crimes
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ICE's HSI announced earlier this month the addition of former Venezuelan Vice President and current Minister of Industry and National Production Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah and his co-conspirator, Venezuelan businessman Samark Jose Lopez Bello, to its Most Wanted list for international narcotics trafficking and money laundering. The action followed an ICE HSI New York investigation that led to their special designations as narcotics traffickers as well as sanctions imposed by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2017 and criminal charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York earlier this year.

08/14/2019
Chicago, IL
Child Exploitation

Ronald Feder, 32, of Skokie, Illinois, offered to give child pornography to an individual he met online in exchange for what Feder thought would be access to molest the individual’s nephew and niece. 

08/14/2019
Washington, DC
Enforcement and Removal

On Aug. 12, Ricardo Florencio Pelayo Vilchez was removed from the United States escorted by ERO officers. Pelayo arrived at Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima where he was transferred into the custody of Peruvian authorities.

08/14/2019
Pocatello, ID
Child Exploitation

Lex Bennett Goodwin, 34, of Pocatello, was sentenced to 100 years in federal prison for producing, transporting, and possessing child pornography, Brad Bench of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Seattle Field Office and U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced today.

08/13/2019
Greenbelt, MD
Child Exploitation

U.S. District Judge Paul W. Grimm today sentenced Steven Hadley Hassan, age 52, of Frederick, Maryland, to 40 years in federal prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, for sexually abusing minors to produce child pornography and transporting those images to the United States.

08/13/2019
Corpus Christi, TX
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

During the two-day trial, the jury heard testimony that on April 15, 2019, Heriberto Lerma, 42, Pharr, Texas, drove a tractor trailer into the Border Patrol Checkpoint south of Sarita shortly after 1 a.m. Lerma told agents he was traveling alone and that he was hauling building materials. However, authorities noticed the bill of lading and the seal placed on the door of the trailer did not match.

08/10/2019
San Salvador, El Salvador
Human Smuggling/Trafficking

Acting Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Matthew Albence visited El Salvador from August 9-10, 2019. The purpose of the acting director’s visit was to discuss ICE enforcement priorities and the agency’s commitment to dismantle networks involved in human smuggling.

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