Thursday, August 28, 2014

George Jung, drug dealer whose story was in featured the movie Blow, appears tonight on Crime Beat Radio

George Jung, legendary drug dealer whose story was in featured the movie Blow, starring Johnny Depp.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program that airs every Thursday at 8 p.m. EST. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Since Concealed Carry Permits Came to Chicago, Crime Rates Dropped

An 86-year-old Illinois man with a concealed carry permit fired his weapon at an armed robbery suspect fleeing police last month, stopping the man in his tracks and allowing the police to make an arrest.

Law enforcement authorities described the man as “a model citizen” who “helped others avoid being victims” at an AT&T store outside Chicago where he witnessed the holdup. The man, whose identity was withheld from the press, prevented others from entering the store during the theft. Police said the robber harassed customers and pistol-whipped one.

Since Illinois started granting concealed carry permits this year, the number of robberies that have led to arrests in Chicago has declined 20 percent from last year, according to police department statistics. Reports of burglary and motor vehicle theft are down 20 percent and 26 percent, respectively. In the first quarter, the city’s homicide rate was at a 56-year low.

“It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect,” said Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association. “The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.”

As of July 29 the state had 83,183 applications for concealed carry and had issued 68,549 licenses. By the end of the year, Mr. Pearson estimates, 100,000 Illinois citizens will be packing. When Illinois began processing requests in January, gun training and shooting classes — which are required for the application — were filling up before the rifle association was able to schedule them, Mr. Pearson said.

“The temperature would be 40 below, and you’d have these guys out on the range, having to crack off the ice from their guns to see the target,” Mr. Pearson said. “But they’d do it, because they were that passionate about getting their license.”

The demand has slowed this summer, but Mr. Pearson expects the state to issue about 300,000 concealed carry permits when all is said and done.

Illinois became the 50th state in the nation to issue concealed weapons permits. An individual permit costs about $600 and requires at least 16 hours of classes.

The Chicago Police Department has credited better police work as a reason for the lower crime rates this year. Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy noted the confiscation of more than 1,300 illegal guns in the first three months of the year, better police training and “intelligent policing strategies.”

The Chicago Police Department didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Washington Times.

However, the impact of concealed carry can’t be dismissed. Instead of creating more crimes, which many gun control advocates warn, increased concealed carry rates have coincided with lower rates of crime.

A July study by the Crime Prevention Research Center found that 11.1 million Americans have permits to carry concealed weapons, a 147 percent increase from 4.5 million seven years ago. Meanwhile, homicide and other violent crime rates have dropped by 22 percent.

“There’s a lot of academic research that’s been done on this, and if you look at the peer-reviewed studies, the bottom line is a large majority find a benefit of concealed carry on crime rates — and, at worst, there’s no cost,” said John Lott Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center based in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. “You can deter criminals with longer prison sentences and penalties, but arming people with the right to defend themselves with a gun is also a deterrence.”

Within Illinois, Cook County, which encompasses Chicago, has the state’s largest number of concealed carry applications, with 28,552 requests, according to the county’s website. Accounting for population, however, less than 1 percent are carrying.

Mason County has the top per-capita rate in Illinois, with 14 percent of its residents holding concealed carry licenses, followed by Shelby County, with 9 percent. “When I talk to folks that are supporters of concealed carry here, a lot of them want to get their permits so they can keep a gun in the car just so they have it when they travel to bigger towns and cities,” said Shelby County Sheriff Michael Miller.

Shelby County is in southwestern Illinois, about an hour and 45 minutes driving time from St. Louis. Its crime rate is low, and the majority of charges are domestic-related, Sheriff Miller said. He doesn’t anticipate concealed carry to change the statistics much. “These are folks who just want to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” Sheriff Miller said. “Luckily, we don’t have a gang problem or any serious violent crime. Our types are just rednecks that like to hunt and fish.”

Mason County Sheriff Paul Gann said it’s too early to tell whether an increased carry rate will have an influence on crime rates. “What I can tell you is we haven’t seen a spike in crime,” said Mr. Gann. “We haven’t seen a spike in anything that’s gun-related — brandishing a firearm, shootings, robberies, nothing. These are law-abiding individuals.”

From a national perspective, Florida has the most active concealed carry permits, at nearly 1.3 million. Texas is second, with just over 708,000. Hawaii, at 183, has the fewest of states whose data were available.

At 300,000 concealed carry licenses, Illinois would compare with Virginia, which has 363,274, and Alabama, with 379,917.

Thanks to Kelly Riddell.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Attorney Beau B. Brindley Indicted for Perjury and Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice

James L. Santelle the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced today the indictment in the Northern District of Illinois of Attorney Beau B. Brindley (age: 36) and Marina Collazo (age: 30) of Chicago in connection with a scheme to present perjured testimony in the 2009 trial of United States v. Alexander Vasquez, in federal district court in Chicago.

Although the crime is alleged to have occurred in Chicago, the United States Attorney’s Office there has recused itself in the matter and it has been transferred to the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, in Milwaukee. However, all legal proceedings in this case will take place in Chicago.

The indictment is based upon allegations that Mr. Brindley, a Chicago criminal defense attorney, caused Ms. Collazo to commit perjury in the trial of Mr. Vasquez, a Brindley client. The indictment contains five counts:

  • Count One charges both defendants with a conspiracy to obstruct justice through the presentation of false testimony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. The maximum possible penalty for this offense is a fine of not more than $250,000, imprisonment for not more than five years, or both, plus a mandatory $100 special assessment and up to three years of supervised release to follow any term of incarceration.
  • Counts Two through Four charge both defendants with perjury, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1623(a). The maximum possible penalty for each of those counts is a fine of not more than $250,000, imprisonment for not more than five years, or both, plus a mandatory $100 special assessment and up to three years of supervised release to follow any term of incarceration.
  • Count Five charges Mr. Brindley with obstruction of justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2). The maximum possible penalty for this offense is a fine of not more than $250,000, imprisonment for not more than 20 years, or both, plus a mandatory $100 special assessment and up to three years of supervised release to follow any term of incarceration.

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael J. Chmelar and Mel S. Johnson.

16 Former Police Officers Plead Guilty to Running Illegal Organized Crime Group from the Police Department

Sixteen former Puerto Rico police officers have pleaded guilty for their roles in a criminal organization run out of the police department. The officers used their affiliation with law enforcement to commit robbery and extortion, to manipulate court records in exchange for bribes, and to sell illegal narcotics.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez of the District of Puerto Rico and Special Agent in Charge Carlos Cases of the FBI’s San Juan Division made the announcement.

“These 16 police officers were charged with fighting crime, protecting lives and property, and improving the quality of life in Puerto Rico,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. Instead, they used their badges and guns to do the opposite, committing crimes, endangering lives, and stealing property under the veil of police authority. This prosecution demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to holding all criminals accountable – including those who wear a badge. We will use every tool at our disposal, including the RICO laws, to rid our communities of corruption.”

The following 13 defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act:

  • Osvaldo Vazquez-Ruiz, 38;
  • Orlando Sierra-Pereira, 37;
  • Danny Nieves-Rivera, 35;
  • Roberto Ortiz-Cintron, 35;
  • Yovanny Crespo-Candelaria, 34;
  • Jose Sanchez-Santiago, 32;
  • Miguel Perez-Rivera, 35;
  • Nadab Arroyo-Rosa, 33;
  • Jose Flores-Villalongo, 52;
  • Luis Suarez-Sanchez, 36;
  • Eduardo Montañez-Perez, 29;
  • Carlos Laureano-Cruz, 40;
  • Carlos Candelario-Santiago, 47.   

Three defendants, Ruben Casiano-Pietri, 36, Christian Valles-Collazo, 28, and Ricardo Rivera Rodriguez, 39, pleaded guilty to robbery and extortion charges. Several of the defendants also pleaded guilty to firearms charges in connection with the use of their police-issued firearms in furtherance of their crimes. At the time of their criminal conduct, Flores-Villalongo and Candelario-Santiago were sergeants with the Police of Puerto Rico (POPR), and the other defendants were police officers.  Sentencing hearings are scheduled for December 2014.

According to court documents, over the course of the conspiracy, the officers worked together to conduct traffic stops and enter the homes of suspected criminals to steal money, property and drugs for their own personal enrichment. They planted evidence to make false arrests, and then extorted money from their victims in exchange for their release from custody. Additionally, in exchange for bribe payments, the officers gave false testimony, manipulated court records and failed to appear in court when required so that criminal cases would be wrongfully dismissed. The officers also sold and distributed wholesale quantities of narcotics.

As just a few examples of their criminal conduct, in April 2012, defendants Vazquez-Ruiz and Sierra-Pereira conducted a traffic stop in their capacity as police officers and stole approximately $22,000 they believed to be illegal drug proceeds. Vazquez-Ruiz later attempted to extort approximately $8,000 from an individual believed to be a drug dealer’s accomplice in exchange for promising to release a prisoner.

Further, in November 2012, defendants Sierra-Pereira, Nieves-Rivera, Ortiz-Cintron and Valles-Collazo illegally entered an apartment and stole approximately $30,000, which they believed were illegal lottery proceeds.

The defendants frequently shared with one another the proceeds they illegally obtained, and used their power, authority and official positions as police officers to promote and protect their illegal activity. Among other things, the defendants used POPR firearms, badges, patrol cars, tools, uniforms and other equipment to commit the crimes, and then concealed their illegal activity with fraudulently obtained court documents and falsified POPR paperwork that made it appear they were engaged in legitimate police work.

Guilty Plea from Dias Kadyrbayev for Impeding Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation

Dias Kadyrbayev, 20, a close friend of alleged Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston, to impeding the bombing investigation. Kadyrbayev pleaded guilty to conspiring to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede the Boston Marathon bombing investigation.

The terms of the plea agreement provide that the U.S. Attorney will recommend a sentence of seven years in prison. Kadyrbayev has agreed to be deported from the United States after serving his sentence. U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for Nov. 18, 2014.

In August 2013, Kadyrbayev was indicted with Azamat Tazhayakov for obstructing the investigation of the Marathon bombings. Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov are both nationals of Kazakhstan who were temporarily living in the United States on student visas while attending the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass). However, at the time of their arrests on May 1, 2013, their visas had been revoked.

Kadyrbayev admitted that on the evening of April 18, 2013, after he viewed images of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers released by the FBI, he exchanged text messages with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. He then went with Azamat Tazhayakov to the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth campus. At approximately 10:00 p.m., Kadrybayev, Tazhaykaov and a third individual entered Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dormitory room at UMass.

While inside Tsarnaev’s dormitory room, Kadyrbayev searched it and found a backpack containing fireworks and a jar of Vaseline. The fireworks appeared to have been opened, manipulated, and some of the explosive powder appeared to have been removed. After finding this backpack and the fireworks, Kadyrbayev showed them to Tazhayakov and they both agreed to remove the backpack from Tsarnaev’s dormitory room. Kadyrbayev also found Tsarnaev’s laptop computer. At approximately 10:30 p.m., Kadrybayev, Tazhayakov and a third individual left Tsarnaev’s dormitory room. When they left, Kadyrbayev removed several items from Tsarnaev’s room, including Tsarnaev’s laptop computer and his backpack and its contents. Kadyrbayev, accompanied by Tazhayakov and the third individual, then brought the items back to the apartment he shared with Tazhayakov in New Bedford.

Kadyrbayev also admitted that, after returning to their apartment, on the evening of April 18, 2013 and the morning of April 19, 2013, he and Tazhayakov watched television news reports and read Internet news articles about the bombing investigation and the manhunt for the two suspected Boston Marathon bombers whom they believed were Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev. During the early morning hours of April 19, 2013, Kadrybayev and Tazhayakov discussed getting rid of Tsarnaev’s backpack and the fireworks. They both agreed that they should get rid of Tsarnaev’s backpack and as a result of their agreement, Kadyrbayev placed the backpack and its contents, including the fireworks, into a large black trash bag and threw the entire bag into the garbage dumpster in his apartment complex. After discarding the backpack in the garbage, Kadyrbayev decided to keep Tsarnaev’s laptop computer and continue to conceal it. He did not attempt to return it to Tsarnaev’s dormitory room, nor did he notify law enforcement that he had Tsarnaev’s computer.

On April 26, 2013, after 25 federal agents searched a landfill in New Bedford for two days, Tsarnaev’s backpack, containing fireworks, a jar of Vaseline, and a thumb drive, was found. Although these items were found, the condition of the backpack and its contents had been altered by the actions of Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov.

If the plea agreement is accepted by the Court, Kadyrbayev will be sentenced to no more than seven years in jail and three years of supervised release. Kadrybayev will also be deported after serving any sentence that the Court imposes.

In July 2014, Azamat Tazhayakov was found guilty by a federal jury in Boston of conspiring to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede the Boston Marathon bombing investigation. Sentencing is set for sentencing for Oct. 16, 2014.

8 Members of Two Six Nation Indicted on Racketeering, Drug & Murder Charges

Eight purported street gang members have been indicted on racketeering and drug trafficking charges in federal court in northwest Indiana.

WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports the Two Six Nation street gang – which has roots in Chicago, and has spread into northwest Indiana – uses a cartoon rabbit with a bent ear as a symbol, but federal prosecutors allege the warm and fuzzy ends there.

David Capp, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana, and Chicago U.S. Atty. Zach Fardon said the gang’s violent crimes are numerous, including allegations they regularly moved hundreds of pounds of illicit drugs and killed at least two people.

“My message to those who are members of, or who continue to associate with violent street gangs – we are coming after you, and you are next” Capp said.

“Violent street gangs like the Two Six move drugs and guns and violence. We will follow,” Fardon said.

James Trusty, the Chief of Organized Crime in the U.S. Justice Department, said there are more than 40 alleged crimes detailed in the indictment against eight members and associates of the Two Six Nation, including:

  • Frank “Pumpkin” Perez Jr., 33, of Verona, Pennsylvania;
  • Adron “AWOL” Herschel Tancil, 36, of East Chicago;
  • Jesus “Chu Chu” Valentine Fuentes, 39, of Gary, Ind;
  • Anthony “P-nut” Cresencio Aguilera, 35, of Portage, Ind.;
  • Oscar “Cos” Cosme, 41, of East Chicago;
  • Ester “Mama D” Carrera, 61, of Gary;
  • Paul “Big Brock” Brock, 27, of Gary;
  • and Alma Delia Carrera, 28, of Gary.

“The indictment alleges that the Two Six Nation orchestrated and carried out a series of brutal crimes; including murders, kidnapping, drug trafficking, robberies, and other offenses spanning more than two decades,” Trusty said. “The gang brandished weapons like sawed-off shotguns and AK-47 assault rifles.”

Tancil, Fuentes and Cosme are charged in the May 2003 murder of Julio Cartagena in East Chicago. Another purported gang member, Kiontay Kyare Pennington, has pleaded guilty to murder for his role in the slaying.

Perez is charge in connection with the July 1999 murder of Jose Pena Jr. in Whiting. Perez made headlines in 2011 when he was arrested in Pennsylvania for Pena’s murder, following a shootout with police.

Capp said the work of the Chicago Police Department’s gang intelligence was invaluable to the case.

Federal prosecutors used the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act to go after the gang – a tactic once reserved for the mob – to charge them with an ongoing criminal conspiracy.

“This is our third use of the federal RICO statue over the past few years against a violent street gang in northwest Indiana. We are going to continue to use this powerful tool to get these individuals off the street,” Capp said.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Michael Kaiser Gets 20 Years in Prison #OperationBadNickname

Michael Kaiser, one of the defendants arrested in a Longmont Police Department methamphetamine bust last August, was sentenced Friday to 20 years in prison, to be followed by five years of mandatory parole, for racketeering under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act.

Boulder District Court Judge Patrick Butler also sentenced Kaiser to 16 years for conspiracy to distribute between 450 grams and 1 kilogram of methamphetamine, a sentence to run concurrently with the one Butler ordered for the racketeering felony, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Ken Kupfner.

The 41-year-old Kaiser, who originally had been charged with 33 felonies, had pleaded guilty on June 4 to the charges for which he was sentenced on Friday.

Kaiser and his wife, Geraldine Vodicka, were a Loveland couple at the center of what police called their Operation Bad Nickname investigation, which resulted in the arrests of more than 30 people accused of being involved in a methamphetamine-distribution ring.

This past Wednesday, a Boulder County District Court jury found Vodicka guilty of seven felony charges, including violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act and five counts of conspiracy to distribute various weights of a controlled substance and possession of more than one kilogram of the illegal drug.

Also found guilty by that jury on Wednesday was Terry Romero, on five felonies, including a special-offender status, a violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act and conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute between 25 and 450 grams of a controlled substance.

Sentencing hearings for Romero and Vodicka are scheduled for Oct. 24.

Longmont Police Cmdr. Jeff Satur said Operation Bad Nickname was a six-month multi-agency drug investigation into the sales of narcotics in Longmont, Loveland and northern Colorado. He said large quantities of methamphetamine, weapons and other dangerous drugs were recovered during the investigation. Several of the other defendants arrested in the meth-ring bust have also pleaded guilty and have received sentences or are awaiting sentencing.