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Sacramento, CA
Harminder Phagura, 35, an officer with the Yuba City Police Department, and Gursharan Phagura, 39, of Yuba City and Roseville, were arrested based on a criminal complaint accusing them of conspiring to possess a controlled substance with intent to distribute; and use of a communication facility in narcotics trafficking activity.
Fresno, CA
Ezequiel Armas-Ortiz, 49, of Michoacán, Mexico, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy and to manufacturing and possessing with intent to distribute marijuana in connection with a large-scale cultivation operation in the Brush Creek drainage in the Sequoia National Forest in Tulare County.
Madison, WI
Aneudy Benitez-Martinez, 33, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was sentenced March 6 in the Western District of Wisconsin. U.S. District Judge Lynn S. Adelman sentenced Benitez-Martinez to 21 months in prison for illegally re-entering the US after having been previously deported, and for being an illegal alien unlawfully possessing a firearm.
New York, NY
Cyber Crimes
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Jian Qu, 30; Raymond Weng, 24; and Kai Wu, 22, all of Queens, New York, along with Dimitri Tseperkas, 22, and Cihad Akkaya, 22, of Middle Island and Port Jefferson, New York, respectively, were each arrested on June 18, and charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York with participation in a conspiracy to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.

Tampa, FL
Two individuals from California, Maria Lourdes Aguilar and Victor Yanez-Gutierrez, were each sentenced to more than 20 years in federal prison Friday for their leadership roles in a California-based drug trafficking and money laundering organization. The sentences resulted from an investigation conducted by ICE's Homeland Security Investigations...
Corpus Christi, TX
Four people have been sentenced for their involvement in a cocaine trafficking and money laundering conspiracy. These drugs were transported from Brownsville, Texas, to Atlanta and Dallas. Millions of dollars in drug proceeds received from those northern points were smuggled into Mexico.
Philadelphia, PA
A former airline employee was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison Friday after smuggling more than $150,000 on a commercial carrier from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) to the Dominican Republic.
New York, NY
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A three-month investigation led by U.S. ICE's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) into the smuggling of cigarettes from overseas through John F. Kennedy (JFK) International Airport has resulted in the arrest of a dozen individuals who have been charged with state tax violations and falsified business records.
Fresno, CA

David Ryan Burchard, 38, of Merced, is charged in a criminal complaint with distribution of marijuana and cocaine on Darknet marketplaces, including the Silk Road.

Atlanta, GA
Devon Samuels, 45, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer of Stockbridge, Ga., pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court to conspiring to launder drug money and attempting to smuggle guns onto an airplane.
Denver, CO

The objective of this operation was to apply an organized, methodical approach to locating and arresting ICE fugitive aliens, previously removed aliens, removable criminal aliens, and otherwise dangerous aliens at large who are involved in transnational gangs and/or heroin trafficking organizations in Denver, Colorado.

New York, NY
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The seizures follow the arrest Wednesday of Blake Benthall, aka "Defcon" for his alleged role in operating the Silk Road 2.0 website. This action constitutes the largest law enforcement action to date against criminal websites operating on the Tor network, a special network of computers on the Internet designed to conceal the true IP addresses of the computers on the network.
Victoria, TX
Lynn Denise Bilecki, 46, of Victoria, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey to 120 months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. Bilecki pleaded guilty to the charges in December 2014.
Houston, TX
Enforcement and Removal

Carolina Aguilar Rodriguez, 47, who illegally resided in Conroe, Texas, admitted she purchased prescription drugs from individuals who were not licensed wholesale distributors, and knowing they had covertly and illegally entered the United States from El Salvador and Mexico.

San Diego, CA
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Federal authorities Wednesday announced the filing of criminal charges against seven individuals for their role in plundering and smuggling swim bladders belonging to the endangered Totoaba fish that lives exclusively in Mexico's Sea of Cortez.
Del Rio, TX
Emilio Villalobos-Alcala, 29, and Jose Eluid Lugo-Lopez, 27, both from Mexico, were sentenced April 30 to life imprisonment for the following convictions: conspiracy to import marijuana, conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana, conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and smuggling goods from the United States.
Fresno, CA
A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment Thursday against Armando Arnoldo Martinez-Tinoco, 36; his brother, Juan Carlos Martinez-Tinoco, 41; and Luis Enrique Flores, 23, all of Mexico; and Ivan De Jesus Jimenez, 30, of La Puente, charging them with a conspiracy to cultivate marijuana on public land, cultivating and possessing marijuana with intent to distribute, and damaging public land and natural resources.
Detroit, MI
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Special agents and officers arrested Adams Amen, 29, of Ghana, and Ayeesha Amen, 37, of Detroit, without incident late Tuesday at an east side residence. Two stolen vehicles were seized at the residence. Both suspects are in state custody on possession of stolen vehicle charges after being arraigned in 36th District Court Wednesday afternoon.
San Juan, PR

On Feb 7, while investigating a suspicious yola-type vessel in Vieques, HSI and CBP special agents and officers, respectively, learned that a Coast Guard air unit, while on a routine patrol, detected another incoming vessel at approximately 10 nautical miles south of Vieques.

McAllen, TX
Noel Pena, 29, of Rio Grande City, who had been assigned to the Starr County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Task Force, and Hector Salinas-Hinojosa, 21, of Roma, Texas, were sentenced Jan. 21, by U.S. Chief Judge Ricardo Hinojosa. Judge Hinojosa ordered Pena to serve 84 months in federal prison, while Salinas will serve a 60-month term.
Washington, DC
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It's the stuff television shows are made of-special agents and officers apprehending and interrogating smugglers who try to sneak drugs and other contraband into the United States. In a new National Geographic television series, viewers go behind the scenes with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Wichita, KS
Esteban Ochoa-Almendariz, 24, who resided in Wichita at the time of his arrest, was sentenced Oct. 3 in U.S. District Court in Wichita.
Missoula, MT
Mark Lawrence Wilson, a 45-year-old resident of Big Fork, was arraigned and pleaded guilty to unlawful drug user in possession of firearms and ammunition. Sentencing is set for Feb. 20.
Columbus, OH
Columbus' recently formed Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force (BCSTF) has seized nearly $2.4 million this year in illicit proceeds from criminal organizations.
Bridgeport, CT
Azikiwe Aquart, also known as "Z" and "Ziggy," pleaded guilty Friday to three counts of murder in aid of racketeering for his role in the 2005 murders of three Bridgeport residents.