Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Kansas City Katherine Greer and Acting United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that Sidney Marker, 28, of Seward, Nebraska, was sentenced in an Omaha federal court Nov. 14 for conspiracy to sex traffic minors following an HSI and law enforcement partner investigation. On Nov. 8, Chief Judge Rossiter sentenced Marker’s codefendant, Carney Turner, 42, of Omaha, to life imprisonment on one count of conspiracy to sex traffic minors, three counts of sex trafficking of a minor and two counts of enticement of a minor. Chief Judge Rossiter also sentenced codefendant Julisha Biggs, 20, of Omaha, to 87 months of imprisonment for her role in the conspiracy.
According to court documents, Phil Pascoe, 60, of Floyds Knobs, Indiana; Monica Pascoe, 45, of Floyds Knobs, Indiana; Scott Tubbs, 59, of Georgetown, Kentucky; and Quadrant Magnetics LLC were charged with wire fraud, violations of the Arms Export Control Act and smuggling of goods for their roles in an illegal scheme to send export-controlled defense-related technical data to China and to unlawfully supply the U.S. Department of Defense with Chinese-origin rare earth magnets for aviation systems and military items.
Edwin Francisco Cubillas, 27, of Mexico, was indicted Oct. 25 for his attempt to enter the United States through the San Luis, Arizona, port of entry, where U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers discovered 16 packages containing circular, blue pills that tested positive for fentanyl hidden in Cubillas’ car. The packages’ combined weight exceeded 71 pounds.
On Oct. 5, ERO Fugitive Operations officers, pursuant to a targeted enforcement operation in Wilmington, California, arrested 22-year-old Wilder Mario Romero Perez. The ERO team received a lead referral identifying Romero as the subject was wanted for murder in Guatemala.
In recent months, HSI Houston has seen a significant increase in scammers using this tactic to make their phone number appear to be from a legitimate source in order to collect sensitive information from the public that can then be used to commit financial fraud or identity theft.
Osmar Mendez Martinez, a 34-year-old unlawfully present Mexican national, was transported by ICE officers Nov. 9 from the Montgomery Processing Center (MPC) in Conroe, Texas, to the Juarez-Lincoln Bridge in Laredo, Texas. Upon arrival, he was turned over to Mexican law enforcement officials.
Marcelo Alonso-Almaraz, 32, and Eloisa Almaraz-Vasquez, 35, both undocumented noncitizens from Mexico, are charged with human smuggling and hostage taking. Alonso-Almaraz is also charged with possession of a firearm. Both made an initial appearance in federal court Oct.4, and attended a preliminary and detention hearing today, where they were ordered held without bond pending their judicial proceedings.
Legusta Juaquim Rodan, 54, of De Valls Bluff, Arkansas, pleaded guilty Aug. 1, and was sentenced Nov. 8, by a federal judge to serve up to 87 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court noted that Rodan engaged in a pattern of conduct in narcotics trafficking as opposed to being caught up in a one-time event.
|Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud
For more than two decades, the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), working collaboratively with industry and brand owners, has led the effort in the government's response to prevent intellectual property theft, and has played a significant role policing the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods on websites, social media, and eCommerce marketplaces.
Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Kansas City Katherine Greer and United States Attorney Steven Russell announced that Omaha residents Carney Turner, 42, and Julisha Biggs, 20, were sentenced Nov. 8, in federal court for a conspiracy to sex traffic minors, following an HSI and joint law enforcement partner investigation.
On Oct. 26, Warren Evan Jose, 38, was sentenced by United States District Judge Scott H. Rash to 440 months in prison for conspiracy to transport illegal aliens for profit with endangerment during which death resulted; two counts of assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon; and two counts of discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence.
|Financial Crimes, Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud, Transnational Gangs
Federal, state, and local law enforcement partners from across the United States, including HSI, executed a nationwide, coordinated takedown Nov. 2 of leaders and associates of a national network of thieves, dealers, and processors for their roles in conspiracies involving stolen catalytic converters sold to a metal refinery for tens of millions of dollars. Arrests, searches, and seizures took place in California, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Wyoming. In total, 21 individuals in five states have been arrested and/or charged for their roles in the conspiracy.
David William McKeon, 67, of Laredo, was sentenced Nov. 2, to 57 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the court repeatedly emphasized McKeon’s actions resulted in endangering over 100 people.
A Tucson federal grand jury returned an indictment charging 49 firearms-related offenses against 12 people following a multiagency investigation, which included the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, HSI. CBP Office of Field Operations, the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The following individuals were indicted: Victor Coronado; Fernando Palomares, Jr.; Julissa Leonor Torres; Carlos Fernando Palomares-Leon; Briana Marie Montpetit; Karla Romero; Avery Danelle Gipson; Kevin Allen Lapedus; Ray Alberto Laborin; Elizar Olivares; Kyle Rene Fazlollah; Ty-Jhai Damon Grigsby.
Cory Lavell Smith, also known as “Fatz,” 28, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Howard F. Sachs to 18 years in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Smith to 20 years of supervised release following his incarceration.
Raymond Dugan was sentenced on Oct. 27, to four years and six months in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release, for accessing with the intent to view prepubescent child pornography. Dugan must also register as a sex offender. A federal jury found Dugan guilty following a one-day trial.
The indictment alleges that the 10 individuals were members of a Tucson-based firearms trafficking organization. The investigation leading to their indictment involved a series of firearms transactions that resulted in firearms being seized in the Republic of Mexico.