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.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) federal agents have seized approximately 10 million counterfeit 3M N95 respirator masks in recent weeks, the result of ongoing collaboration between the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and manufacturer 3M to prevent counterfeit masks from reaching hospital workers and first responders.
The NCA-led investigation into these attacks identified numerous victims, including well-known influencers, sports stars, musicians and their families. On Feb. 9, eight suspected members of the criminal group aged 18-26 were arrested in England and Scotland.
Jesse Anthony Garcia, 30, of Goodyear, had previously admitted to recording a video in which a minor victim was engaged in exploitive exhibition or other sexual conduct, and attempting to record a video in which a minor victim was engaged in exploitive exhibition or other sexual conduct in 2016. Garcia pleaded guilty to one count of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor, and one count of Attempted Sexual Exploitation of a Minor.
HSI Portland executed a search warrant at Alexander Wiese’s residence in Portland and arrested the former camp instructor Wednesday for receiving child pornography and accessing it with intent to view child pornography.
The criminal complaint was filed on February 9, 2021 and was unsealed today upon the defendants’ arrests. Charged in the criminal complaint are: Olakitan Oluwalade (“Olaki”), age 22, of Windsor Mill, Maryland; Olaki’s cousin, Odunayo Baba Oluwalade (“Baba”), age 25, of Windsor Mill; and Kelly Lamont Williams, age 22, of Owings Mills, Maryland.
ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) Assistant Director for Enforcement, Chris Cronen, took part in the ceremonial signing of the Criminal History Information Sharing (CHIS) Addendum Memorandum of Cooperation with the Guatemalan Minister of the Interior Gendri Rocael Reyes Mazariegos.
|Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud
HSI special agents and CBP officers conducted joint enforcement operations from Jan. 22 through Feb. 5 and seized counterfeit merchandise in various locations in El Paso County, including an Eastside parking lot, a Lower Valley business, and a Horizon City residence.
On Feb. 10, Jason Hernandez, 34, was also ordered to serve 10 years on supervised release following completion of his prison term, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children. And, he will have to register as a sex offender.
On Feb. 9, a Laredo grand jury returned an indictment against Brodrick Keith Rhodes, 32, from Houston, charging him with conspiracy to transport undocumented immigrants. Rhodes is expected to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge in the near future.
Partners of the Human Rights Violators and War Crimes Center (HRVWCC) including U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section (HRSP) of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division join foreign government partners, non-governmental organizations and local communities to call for the eradication of the practice.
A 58-year-old Bahamian national in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) passed away, Feb. 5, at the Calhoun County Jail in Battle Creek, Michigan. The preliminary cause of death was reported by emergency medical officials to be caused by a medical emergency.
Pedro Javier Villalobos, 24, of Santa Ana, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter. Villalobos pleaded guilty in October 2020 to one count of distributing methamphetamine and one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license.
Shant Ohanian, 38, of Burbank, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt, who stated that he intends at a future date to order Ohanian to pay restitution in an amount exceeding $2.5 million. Ohanian pleaded guilty in June 2019 to one count of wire fraud and has been in federal custody since the following month, when his bond was revoked because of allegations that he was continuing to defraud his clients.
|Intellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud
HSI announced Wednesday, the seizure of more than 169,000 counterfeit sports-related items over the past year, worth an estimated $45 million. This announcement was made during a joint press conference in Tampa with the National Football League (NFL), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Tampa Police Department (TPD).
The complaint alleges a scheme involving multiple entities affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to covertly ship Iranian oil to a customer abroad. Participants in the scheme attempted to disguise the origin of the oil using ship-to-ship transfers, falsified documents and other means, and provided a fraudulent bill of lading to deceive the owners of the Achilleas into loading the oil in question.