According to court documents, on January 19, 2022, law enforcement agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) responded to a request for assistance from the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) based out of Pembina, North Dakota. USBP initiated a traffic stop on a white-colored, fifteen passenger van less than one mile south of the U.S./Canadian border in a rural area between the official ports of entry located at Lancaster, Minnesota and Pembina, North Dakota. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Steve Shand, 47, a U.S. citizen.
Matthew Ray Lawson, 34, was sentenced Jan. 19 to 50 years in prison without the possibility of parole for three counts of possession of child pornography, four counts of aggravated sexual abuse in Indian Country, one count of lewd acts with a child in Indian Country, and one count of production of child pornography.
Nathan Nosley, age 30, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the sentence after a June 9, 2021 jury verdict finding him guilty of sexual exploitation of children, distribution of child pornography, receipt of child pornography, three counts of possession of child pornography, and accessing child pornography.
After four hours of jury deliberation, Yun Zheng, aka Wendy, 50, and Yan Qui Wu, aka Jason, 48, were found guilty of four counts of concealing, harboring, or shielding a person, whom they knew to be undocumented residents of the United States, for commercial advantage and private financial gain.
According to the federal indictment and the state of Tulsa’s probable cause affidavit, defendant Linda Been led a criminal enterprise of “Boosters” netting more than $4.5 million from the sale of stolen merchandise and over-the-counter products to fencing organizations outside of Oklahoma. The “Fences” then sold the stolen products through e-commerce sites, like eBay and Amazon.
Matthew “Stacks” Woods, 32, and his co-conspirators, Cornelius “Chip” Galloway and Marcus “Taylor Made” Taylor, were charged in a superseding indictment on Dec. 3, 2019, with seven counts of sex trafficking, conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and attempted sex trafficking.
For his role in supervising and managing couriers who helped smuggle bulk cash across the U.S.-Mexico border, Roberto Gallegos-Lechuga, 39, of Sinaloa, Mexico, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit international money laundering in July 2021.
Douglas James Schneider, 51 of Rhame, North Dakota, was sentenced before U.S. District Court Judge Daniel M. Traynor to life in federal prison on one count of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.
In fiscal year 2021, HSI human trafficking arrests across the country increased to 2,360 from 1,746 in the previous year, with 728 victims identified and assisted. As part of that effort, HSI KC has special agents throughout Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska who are dedicated to the eradication of this egregious crime.
Christopher Bernard Brown, 39, was sentenced Jan. 5 in the Southern District of Texas on two counts of interference with commerce by threats or violence and ordered to serve 90 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. He must also pay restitution.
In recognition of this important topic, the DHS's Blue Campaign hosts Wear Blue Day to encourage participants to dress in blue attire and post photos on social media using the hashtag #WearBlueDay, to show support to trafficking victims, raise awareness and provide prevention information about this horrendous crime.
In a complaint filed in August 2020 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the government alleged that Thu Phan Dinh, Tran Khanh and Nguyen Duy Toan engaged in a wire fraud scheme designed to profit from the COVID-19 pandemic. The defendants operated more than 300 websites that fraudulently purported to sell products in the United States that became scarce during the pandemic, including hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
ICE personnel participating in the pilot program received training on the proper use of the devices, adherence to the ICE Directive outlining the pilot program, legal considerations, and privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties safeguards, as well as training on data uploading, storage, retention, and tagging. The body worn camera will be mounted on an officer’s or agent’s outerwear (e.g., vest, shirt, or helmet).
|Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud
The HSI-led initiative, dubbed Operation Safety Claus, was supported by CBP and the Louisiana Bureau of Investigation, with support from the U.S. FDA Office of Criminal Investigations. The coordinated federal law enforcement operation focused on interrupting counterfeit efforts in the New Orleans metro area during the holiday shopping season. In total, the seized counterfeit items had a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price of $1,012,942.
The individuals in question were part of Neo-Nazi cells that were planning attacks against public areas, such as schools, as well as hate crimes against Jewish and black civilians. Operation Bergón was initiated in May 2021 due to criminal neo-Nazi groups using U.S.-based online platforms to call for violence against Jewish and black civilians.
Jason Coleman, 40, and Kimberly Coleman, 38, of Mesa, Arizona, made their initial appearance in federal court recently on a 62-count indictment charging them with Conspiracy, Bank Fraud, Wire Fraud, and Transactional Money Laundering. A federal grand jury previously indicted the Colemans and seven other individuals in connection with a fraudulent scheme to obtain approximately $23 million in PPP loans.