As the result of a probe by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Las Vegas, assisted by the Northern Nevada Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, Eric Blair McCartt, aka Aeryne McCartt, 37, of Reno, pleaded guilty in Jan. 2019, to producing child pornography.
The HERO, or Human Exploitation Rescue Operative corps is an annual initiative managed by the HSI Cyber Crimes Center in partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT).
Operation Keiki Shield 7 was led by Maui Police Department and was part of a joint effort by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC), including resources from HSI Honolulu, the State of Hawaiʻi Department of the Attorney General, the United States Secret Service and the FBI.
After a four-day jury trial, Rickon Amyon Wade, aka “Ricky Wade,” 35, was found guilty of one count of Fraud and Misuse of Visas, Permits and Documents, and one count of Misuse of a Social Security Number.
Mohamed Mokbel, 56, and Fathy Elsafty, 62, both of Houston, were arrested at their Houston-area homes early Tuesday morning. They are expected to make their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Edison at 2 p.m.
Michael David Miller, 40, was sentenced by U.S. Chief District Judge Beth Phillips to 20 years in federal prison without parole. Miller previously pleaded guilty June 2, to the coercion and enticement of a minor.
|Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
The HSI Phoenix case began Oct. 8, 2013, when special agents were contacted by a representative of the Chandler Historical Society regarding multiple suspected pre-Columbian Chinesco-Western pottery figures with origins as far back as 100 B.C., which were in the possession of the City of Chandler Museum. HSI special agents promptly met with the museum’s director who turned over 10 Shaft Tomb artifacts for further review and investigation. Through an archeological expert analysis, the authenticity of these artifacts was confirmed as being more than 1,500 years old and originating from Mexico.
This process is the continuation of efforts to develop an orderly immigration system that treats individuals humanely while ensuring national security, border security and public safety. The ICR process offers another channel through which noncitizens and their representatives can request that ICE exercise its prosecutorial discretion on a particular noncitizen’s behalf, and to resolve questions and concerns, consistent with law, policy and the interests of justice.
After the seizure of 618 boxes and 40 bags of merchandise for alleged trademark infringement, the case was turned over to HSI as part of a collaborative effort with CBP’s Electronics and Machinery CEEs.
Jason Wesley Matthews, 45, was arrested at his home in the 3500 block of Proud Eagle Way after HSI special agents executed federal search warrants at his residence. The Texas Department of Public Safety assisted in the case.
Noe Victelio Rivera-Batres, aka “Colocho”, 50, is a known or suspected member of the transnational criminal street organization known as Mara Salvatrucha or “MS-13”. Rivera illegally entered the United States in June 2018 near McAllen, Texas, and was issued a Notice and Order of Expedited Removal by the U.S. Border Patrol on June 12, 2018.
Alan Herrera-Valenzuela, 27, pleaded guilty Oct. 18, 2019. At his hearing, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez informed him that his actions troubled the court because, as a noncitizen, he was willing to cause harm by engaging in criminal activity that brought drugs into our community.
Sergio Badani, 51, of St. Charles, Illinois, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis sentenced to two years’ probation on one count of conspiracy to commit harboring for purposes of commercial advantage. Judge Ellis also fined Badani $15,000. He had previously pleaded guilty to the charge last year.
Federal authorities uncovered the 18-month conspiracy through a joint investigation titled Operation Cash on Delivery. The former USPS employees, who at the time worked as mail carriers in the Chicagoland area, are alleged to have stolen credit cards and other financial instruments from the mail and provided them to co-conspirators in exchange for cash or other items, according to a 20-count indictment unsealed Thursday in federal court in Chicago.
Carlos Ayala Hernandez, a.k.a. “Juan Juarez,” 44, of Granada Hills, the 19-count indictment’s lead defendant; and Nestor Perez, a.k.a. “Daniel Perez,” 32, of Van Nuys, each pleaded not guilty to one conspiracy count, nine counts of production of false identification documents, seven counts of transferring false identification documents and one count of possession of five or more false identification documents. Hernandez also pleaded not guilty to one count of being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.
Operation Broken Hearts was an undercover operation targeting sexual predators engaged in child sex crimes and human trafficking. Throughout the operational period, officers and undercover detectives placed ads on websites and apps which are commonly sought out by suspects seeking illegal sex acts with children. These 37 suspects solicited and/or brokered deals for various sex acts and were subsequently arrested.
Friedrich Karl Berger, a German citizen, participated in Nazi-sponsored persecution while serving in 1945 as an armed guard of concentration camp prisoners in the Neuengamme Concentration Camp system (Neuengamme). He was ordered removed from the United States in February 2020.
|Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
A Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) probe and Customs and Border Protection seizure resulted in the transfer of 51 Greek Hellenistic and early Islamic coins to the University of Washington Libraries in a ceremony hosted on the UW campus, Thursday.
ICE’s interim guidance will focus the agency’s civil immigration enforcement and removal resources on threats to national security, border security and public safety. The guidance defines which cases are presumed to present such threats and do not require prior approval.