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March 1, 2024
|Child Exploitation
On Aug. 2, 2023, HSI agents notified the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Apprehension Team that they had discovered Joshuah Cruz Eberhart, 25, of Clay Springs, was distributing child sex abuse material online.
February 29, 2024
|Human Smuggling/Trafficking
Charges unsealed Feb. 22 against Faustino Romero De La Cruz, 40, of Santa Barbara, allege that he organized the attempted smuggling of multiple unauthorized immigrants by boat on April 10, 2022, which resulted in the tragic drowning deaths of three passengers.
February 27, 2024
|Human Smuggling/Trafficking
Luis Alberto Rivera-Leal aka Cowboy, 38, of Mexico, pleaded guilty Feb. 27 to one count of conspiracy to transport noncitizens placing lives in jeopardy.
February 27, 2024
|Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives
On Feb. 21, a federal grand jury indicted Jose Rene Murrieta, 30, of Nogales, on one count of smuggling goods from the United States, felony receipt of a firearm, and conspiracy to smuggle firearms out of the United States to promote a felony.
February 27, 2024
|Child Exploitation
Ryan N. Curving, a 50-year-old resident of Texas City, was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas to 10 years in federal prison and was further ordered to pay $5,000 assessments to both the Justice for Victims Trafficking Act and the Amy, Vicky and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act, for a total of $10,000 in penalties.
February 26, 2024
|Child Exploitation
Jesse James Bertetto, 30, of Webster, was also ordered to register as a sex offender and pay $74,500 in restitution after a federal jury found him guilty on April 12, 2023.
February 23, 2024
|Partnership and Engagement
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement leadership met with American University’s Center for Warfare Analysis and Evaluation this week.
February 23, 2024
|Narcotics
Esteban Terrazas, 56, pleaded guilty Oct. 27, 2023, to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine.
February 23, 2024
|Financial Crimes
Devin Alan Rhoden aka Denny aka Deviinz, 24, of Pinellas Park, and Berman Jerry Nowlin Jr. aka Repulse aka Zayous, 20, of Huntsville, Alabama, each face a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.
February 23, 2024
|Narcotics
The meth was smuggled through the Eagle Pass Port of Entry on Feb. 18 and was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations at the Camino Real International Bridge.
February 23, 2024
|Child Exploitation
Ulysses Rubalcava, 34, of Weslaco, pleaded guilty Oct. 31, 2023, and was sentenced Feb. 20. At the hearing, the court noted his remorse, but explained how society deems these crimes as particularly heinous and that the court must protect children and the public to deter this type of crime.
February 23, 2024
|Narcotics
HSI Executive Associate Director Katrina W. Berger, acting Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and DEA Administrator Anne Milgram made the announcement.
February 23, 2024
|Child Exploitation
Saoud Al Naimi, 21, who was in the United States on a student visa and attending a local college, was ordered by the court to forfeit three iPhones, an iPad Pro and a MacBook, which were used in the commission of the offense. Al Naimi was also ordered to register as a sex offender. Al Naimi entered a guilty plea on August 22, 2023.
February 22, 2024
|Narcotics
Manuel Alejandro Soto-Bazan, 36, of Mexico, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Randy Crane on Feb. 22 to serve 135 months in federal prison. Not a U.S. citizen, he is expected to face removal proceedings following his imprisonment.
February 21, 2024
|Child Exploitation
John W. Balch, 76, of Jacksonville, received the six-decade sentence Jan. 26 at the U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
February 20, 2024
|Child Exploitation
Robert James Alden, a 37-year-old San Leon resident, was ordered to pay $22,000 in restitution to known victims and will serve 10 years on supervised release following completion of his prison term.
February 20, 2024
|Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives
Jonen Castillo, 23, of Orlando, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. The indictment also notifies Castillo that the United States intends to forfeit a Smith and Wesson firearm and four Glock firearms, which are alleged to be involved in the offense.
February 20, 2024
|Cyber Crimes
Nicole Danielle Devilbiss, 35, of Jacksonville, faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
February 20, 2024
|Human Smuggling/Trafficking
Illeysel Carcasses, a 38-year-old Cuban national, was convicted Feb. 15 in the Southern District of Texas of illegally transporting noncitizens in the back of a locked tractor trailer filled with rotting produce.
February 17, 2024
|Counter Proliferation Investigation Unit
This transfer is the first of its kind from the United States to a foreign ally for the express purpose of assisting Ukraine, and the second time the Justice Department’s Task Force KleptoCapture has made confiscated Russian assets available for Ukraine — having provided $5.4 million in forfeited funds last year to the State Department for the support of Ukrainian war veterans. The confiscated funds are being transferred to Estonia since under current authorities, the facts of this case do not allow for a direct transfer to Ukraine.
February 16, 2024
|Child Exploitation
The HSI investigation revealed that from 2021 through 2022, a now-15-year-old minor living in Texas and another minor engaged in sexual intercourse and then sold videos and images of these sexual encounters on the internet through various internet-based social and messaging applications.
February 16, 2024
|Narcotics
Manuel Ignacio Ley Villa, 54, was sentenced Feb. 14 to 255 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by five years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, the judge noted Ley Villa had been previously convicted for the same offense.
February 16, 2024
|Narcotics
Jeffery Wills, 39, was sentenced Feb. 14 to serve 135 months in federal prison to be immediately followed by three years of supervised release. At the hearing, the judge heard evidence that Wills served as a key player in handling narcotics imported from Mexico for distribution along the East Coast.
February 16, 2024
|Narcotics
On Feb. 15, the USMS and HSI San Juan arrested Christopher Maldonado-Lopez and Christian Maldonado-Lopez, the final remaining fugitives from Operation Youngblood, in Newark, New Jersey.
February 15, 2024
|Narcotics
Officials removed 110 packages from the vehicle with a total combined weight of 72.05 kilograms (158.8 pounds). The packages contained blue pills with “M30” markings, and the initial investigation determined the pills contained fentanyl.
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