|Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
On Aug. 8, Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Ricky J. Patel, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York, announced the return of 30 antiquities to the Kingdom of Cambodia, which were stolen as part of an organized looting network and sold by antiquities dealer, Douglas Latchford.
ICE's OPE hosted a virtual stakeholder engagement Aug. 3 with more than 30 individuals representing various nongovernmental organizations – the engagement was held at the request of stakeholders to expand on the July announcement updating the policy, procedures, and requirements for agency officers and special agents to preserve access to family visitation and child welfare services and to hear feedback.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) El Paso SAC Frank Burrola explains HSI’s critical role in an investigation into a Guatemala-based human smuggling network at a news conference Aug. 4, 2022, in San Antonio, Texas.
On Aug. 2, Osiel Cardenas Jr., 30, from Brownsville, admitted he attempted to purchase 10 assault rifles to export into Mexico. Cardenas is the son of Osiel Cardenas-Guillen, the former head of the Gulf Cartel who was convicted and sentenced to 25 years in federal prison.
Michael Alberto Benitez-Castro, 19, was removed July 29 via ICE Air Operations, arriving at the Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport in San Salvador, El Salvador, where he was turned over to authorities without incident.
Lester R. Hayes Jr. reported to duty as the new special agent in charge (SAC) of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Dallas. In this role, Hayes leads law enforcement investigations for seven outlying staff offices in 128 counties across North Texas and Oklahoma.
Brandon Lane McCullough, 31, of Branson, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge M. Douglas Harpool to 30 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced McCullough to spend the rest of his life on supervised release following incarceration, and to pay $204,199 in restitution to one of his victims.
Luis Eduardo Morales, 46, was removed to El Salvador via ICE Air Operations charter and transferred into the custody of Salvadoran law enforcement officials upon arrival at the El Salvador National Airport.
As the United Nations prepares to commemorate World Day Against Trafficking in Persons July 30, a team of U.S. federal investigators from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) are in Frankfurt, Germany, this week to train German law enforcement counterparts on the latest investigative techniques to combat human trafficking.
Jose Mojica Aldana, a native and citizen of El Salvador, was arrested near his residence. Mojica Aldana entered the United States without being inspected, admitted, or paroled by an immigration officer.
The individuals arrested pursuant to state arrest warrants for their alleged roles in the theft ring were Jose Martinez, 19; Armando Martinez, 18; Isaac Castillo, 21; Terance Elder, 20; and Armando Martinez Sr., 39; all residents of Houston, and Jose Sanchez, a 21-year-old resident of Dayton, Texas.
Jesus Ricardo Romero-Hernandez, 30, is wanted for aggravated equal violation, defined by Mexican authorities as a crime of sexual intercourse with a minor, or who for any reason, is unable to voluntarily engage in sexual relations or resist criminal conduct.
According to court documents and evidence presented at the trial of three co-defendants, Juan Garcia-Gomez, aka Scooby, 26, of El Salvador, conspired to participate in the affairs of Mara Salvatrucha, a violent criminal gang also known as MS-13, founded in Los Angeles and active in numerous states across the United States, as well as in El Salvador, Central America, and Mexico.
A local woman, who conspired to distribute methamphetamine, was sentenced July 15 to 64 months in prison following a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and local law enforcement partner investigation. Abby Bringman, 34, pleaded guilty Feb. 4 in federal court to distribute methamphetamine.
According to court documents, Jose Luis Vega-Arzate, 31, from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, drove into the Border Patrol checkpoint north of Laredo, May 11. At initial inspection, he displayed nervous behavior and had trouble shifting gears.
According to court documents, on May 24, Marthin Rueda Alcorta, 36, drove a tractor trailer into the BP checkpoint north of Laredo. He drove erratically through an inspection lane and nearly hit a K-9 until authorities ordered him to stop. Agents conducted a search of the trailer and discovered 110 people in his trailer; all later determined to be illegally present in the country from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.