The Chicago Syndicate

Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Details on Jesus Beltran Leon Prison Sentence, Former High-Ranking Member of the Sinaloa #DrugCartel

A former high-ranking member of the Sinaloa drug cartel in Mexico was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for his role in transporting large amounts of illegal drugs to the Chicago area and throughout the United States.

From at least 2009 until his arrest in November 2014, JESUS RAUL BELTRAN LEON conspired with other Sinaloa Cartel members to transport multi-ton quantities of illegal drugs into the United States. Beltran Leon invested in shipments comprising hundreds of kilograms of drugs that were purchased in Central and South America, imported into Mexico, and eventually smuggled into the U.S. for distribution in Chicago and throughout the country. Beltran Leon also sought to acquire from other cartel members numerous kilograms of drugs that already had been imported into the U.S. so that he could further distribute those narcotics to his own wholesale drug customers in Chicago and throughout the country.

Beltran Leon, 35, of Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a drug conspiracy charge. U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo imposed the sentence in federal court in Chicago.

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Brian McKnight, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.  Valuable assistance was provided by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew C. Erskine and Erika L. Csicsila.

Beltran Leon is one of more than 20 members of the Sinaloa or Beltran-Leyva drug cartels to be charged in federal court in Chicago. The investigation has resulted in seizures of approximately $30.8 million, approximately eleven tons of cocaine, 265 kilograms of methamphetamines, and 78 kilograms of heroin.

Monday, August 05, 2019

Attend a One-Day Conference "The Summit" to Discuss the Mob in Las Vegas at the @TheMobMuseum


Date: September 21, 2019
Time: 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Oscar B. Goodman Room
Cost: Regular price $225. Member price $180 (20% off).

RVSP Today!

Join us for a one-day conference that centers on the Mob’s four-decade-long reign in Las Vegas. Engage in conversations with historians, journalists, agents, regulators and others on the Mob’s arrival in Las Vegas, its control of the Strip and its eventual dislodging from the casino industry. Dig deep into subject matter involving mobsters such as Meyer Lansky, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal and Tony Spilotro.

Breakfast, lunch, a tour of The Mob Museum’s distillery, and a gift bag are all included.


Oscar Goodman, author of Being Oscar: From Mob Lawyer to Mayor of Las Vegas, keynote speaker

Known for his trademark, no-nonsense tell-it-like-it-is style, Oscar B. Goodman, the 19th mayor of Las Vegas, served for 12 years before swearing in his wife, Carolyn G. Goodman, as mayor in 2011. Passionate about downtown revitalization, Oscar Goodman is the primary visionary of The Mob Museum. As former chairman of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, Oscar Goodman worked feverishly to promote Las Vegas as one of the most exciting destinations in the world. Today, he is still formally engaged with the LVCVA, promoting Las Vegas as the city’s official ambassador. This self-proclaimed “happiest mayor in the universe,” Oscar Goodman is one of the nation’s best criminal defense attorneys and was named one of the “15 Best Trial Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal. He spent more than 35 years defending some of the most notorious alleged Mob figures, including Meyer Lansky, Frank Rosenthal, Anthony Spilotro and others. In 1995, he appeared as himself in the movie, Casino. Oscar Goodman has been honored with the Public Leadership in the Arts Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Leadership Award for Public Service from the International Economic Development Council.

George Knapp, journalist

George Knapp moved to Las Vegas in 1979. He has progressed from part-time studio cameraman to investigative reporter and is currently chief reporter for Channel 8’s I-Team investigative unit. During his career, Knapp has been the recipient of countless journalism awards—including the DuPont Award from Columbia University and the Peabody Award.

John L. Smith, journalist and Mob historian

John L. Smith is a longtime Las Vegas journalist and author of more than a dozen books on Nevada subjects, including:

The Nevada Press Association inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2016. That same year, Northwestern University awarded him the James Foley-Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism and he also received the National Society of Professional Journalists Ethics in Journalism Award and the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics from the University of Oregon. Smith’s biography of Las Vegas civil rights activist and politician Joe Neal is scheduled for publication in the spring of 2019. As a freelance writer, his work regularly appears in the Nevada Independent and CDC Gaming Reports, and he contributes commentary for Nevada Public Radio.

Herm Groman, retired FBI agent

Herman Groman, is a retired FBI Special Agent and former director of security at a large Las Vegas hotel/casino.  While in the FBI, he specialized in deep, long-term undercover operations as an undercover operative in the areas of organized crime and narcotics. Herman also served as the agent in charge of several high-profile public corruption investigations. Later, he worked as a team leader of an FBI Special Operations Group that conducted surveillances of major terrorist cells and their associates throughout the United States. Prior to his extensive FBI experience, Herman served in the infantry in Vietnam. He was awarded both the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for valor. He resides in Las Vegas with his wife. They have two daughters and four grandchildren. His first novel Pigeon Spring, a Nevada thriller mystery, was released in the summer of 2010 and is selling all over the U.S, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. He is writing his second action packed Nevada based novel, Yucca Pointe, which will be published by Total Recall Publishing. He can be contacted on line at his website

Larry Gragg, historian

Larry Gragg is curators’ teaching professor of history at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. He has made more than 40 research trips to Las Vegas. Among his eight books is Bright Light City: Las Vegas in Popular Culture (2013) and Benjamin Bugsy Siegel: The Gangster, the Flamingo, and The Making of Modern Las Vegas (2015).

Michael Green, historian

Michael Green, Ph.D., is a noted historian and associate professor in UNLV’s Department of History. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UNLV and obtained his Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. Green is the author of nine books about the history of Las Vegas and Nevada as well as broader topics in American history.

His books on the Civil War era include:

His works on Nevada include:

His college-level textbook, Nevada: A History of the Silver State, is near publication and he is writing a history of the Great Basin in the twentieth century. Green is also active in writing and speaking in the community. He writes the Politics column and blog for Vegas Seven, Nevada Yesterdays for Nevada Humanities and KNPR, and Inside the Beltway and Books for a newsletter, Nevada’s Washington Watch.

Geoff Schumacher, Senior director of content, The Mob Museum

As the senior director of content, Geoff Schumacher is responsible for exhibits, artifacts and public programs. Schumacher earned his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno, and his master’s degree in history from Arizona State University. He started his 25-year journalism career at the Las Vegas Sun, where he was a reporter, editorial writer and city editor. He was the editor of Las Vegas CityLife and founded and edited the Las Vegas Mercury. He served as director of community publications for the Las Vegas Review-Journal for 10 years and also wrote a weekly public affairs column for the Review-Journal. He culminated his newspaper career by serving as publisher of the Ames (Iowa) Tribune.

Schumacher is the author of two books:

He served as editor of Nevada: 150 Years in the Silver State, the official book commemorating the state’s sesquicentennial.

Jeff Burbank, Content development specialist, The Mob Museum

Jeff Burbank is content development specialist for The Mob Museum. He is the author of four books, including:

While #Antifa Groups May Soon be Formally Declared #DomesticTerrorists, @TheJusticeDept Weighs Using RICO Racketeering Tools to Investigate Them #Mafia

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, recently requested an organized crime investigation of the masked militant group Antifa, which he called “a left-wing anarchist terrorist organization that routinely relies on violence to intimidate and punish its political opponents.”

Cruz made his request for a probe of Antifa in a letter to Attorney General William Barr, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and FBI Director Christopher Wray. The letter details a path to prosecuting members of Antifa under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

Broadly targeting those they claim are far-right and racist, Antifa members have repeatedly engaged in criminal activity ranging from destroying property to attacking a reporter. The group is best known for fighting those it labels “fascists” with tactics borrowed from Adolf Hitler's early followers, known as Brownshirts.

Antifa came to national attention in 2017 when its violent protests of President Trump’s inauguration led to hundreds of arrests. Antifa protesters in Washington destroyed storefronts, set trash cans and a limousine on fire, and attacked police officers with rocks and bricks.

In New York City, Dallas, Chicago and Portland, Ore., club-wielding Antifa protesters threw bricks and unknown liquids at police officers.

The University of California at Berkeley was Antifa’s next headline-making stage. Wearing their signature black garb and face masks, Antifa members threw fireworks, rocks and bricks at police to protest a speech on Berkeley’s campus by political provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos. They also set fire to buildings, smashed windows and pepper-sprayed a woman wearing a hat expressing support for President Trump.

Antifa has been particularly active in Portland. During a 2017 May Day riot, the group set bonfires in the streets, destroyed storefronts, and vandalized police cars. Recently Antifa attacks have become more violent.

Antifa protesters in Portland robbed and attacked journalist Andy Ngo and others with fists, sticks, pepper spray and milkshakes that local police say may have been mixed with cement in June. The attacks sent several people to the hospital with serious injuries – in Ngo’s case, a brain hemorrhage. Police stood on the sidelines and did nothing.

The violence escalated further in July. After sending his friends a manifesto declaring “I am Antifa,” a 69-year-old man attacked an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Tacoma, Wash.

Armed with a rifle and improvised incendiary devices, the man set cars on fire, threw firebombs at the facility and attempted to ignite a large propane tank. Police confronted him and then shot and killed him. 

The Tacoma attack could have easily produced mass casualties – and Seattle Antifascist Action seems OK with that. Hailing the attacker as “another martyr in the struggle against fascism,” the group added: “May his death serve as a call to protest and direct action.”

In response to Antifa’s increasing violence and – at least in Portland – local law enforcement’s inability or unwillingness to protect the community, commentators including Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow Hans von Spakovsky, have called for federal action.

Von Spakovsky argues that Antifa members should be prosecuted under civil rights laws like the Ku Klux Klan Act, which makes it illegal for masked thugs to deprive others of their civil liberties.

Cruz has upped the ante by urging the Department of Justice to investigate Antifa members under RICO, a law enacted to combat organized crime. Originally RICO was intended to take on the Mafia. Today it’s used more broadly – sometimes too broadly. But Antifa has made itself a fair target.

RICO makes it illegal for a person to participate in the affairs of an enterprise that engages in "racketeering activities." Racketeering activities include crimes like arson, robbery, fraud and money laundering.

Cruz lays out the RICO case against Rose City Antifa, the group based in Portland. For one, the group is an association of people or "enterprise" within the meaning of the statute. For another, its acts of arson and robbery are well-documented, extensive and ongoing.

What’s more, the group remains active and declares its intention to commit more – and increasingly violent – crimes in the future.

RICO makes it illegal for a person to participate in the affairs of an enterprise that engages in "racketeering activities." Racketeering activities include crimes like arson, robbery, fraud and money laundering.

If the Justice Department takes Cruz’s advice and opens an investigation, Portland would be a good place to start. But Antifa groups are perpetrating similar crimes all over the country in violation of state and federal laws.

The Justice Department and Antifa’s victims should use every tool at their disposal, including civil rights laws, to stop this modern-day Brownshirt mob.

Thanks to GianCarlo Canaparo and Christina Eastman.

Friday, August 02, 2019

Details on the Indictment of Illinois State Senator Thomas Cullerton for Allegedly Fraudulently Receiving Salary and Benefits from the Teamsters Labor Union #Corruption

A federal grand jury in Chicago has indicted Illinois State Sen. THOMAS E. CULLERTON on embezzlement charges for allegedly fraudulently receiving salary and benefits from a labor union for which he did little or no work.

Cullerton, 49, of Villa Park, is charged with one count of conspiracy to embezzle from a labor union and employee benefit plans, 39 counts of embezzlement from a labor union, and one count of making false statements in a health care matter, according to an indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago. Arraignment in federal court has not yet been scheduled.

The indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Jeffrey S. Sallet, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago office of the FBI; and Irene Lindow, Special Agent-in-Charge of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General in Chicago. The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amarjeet S. Bhachu and Abigail Peluso.

According to the indictment, Cullerton was a member of Teamsters Local Union 734 prior to assuming office as an Illinois State Senator. After his election in November 2012, Cullerton was no longer an eligible participant in Local 734’s health and pension funds. In March 2013, while Cullerton was serving in the Illinois Senate, the president of Teamsters Joint Council 25 hired him as a purported union organizer. The full-time, salaried position included benefits from Local 734’s health and pension funds, due to an agreement Joint Council 25 entered into with Local 734 that same month, the indictment states.

The charges allege that for the next three years Cullerton did little or no work as an organizer. When Joint Council 25 supervisors requested that he perform his job duties, Cullerton routinely ignored them, the indictment states. From March 2013 to February 2016, Cullerton fraudulently obtained from Joint Council 25 and its members approximately $188,320 in salary, bonuses, and cellphone and vehicle allowances, as well as approximately $64,068 in health and pension contributions, according to the indictment. Cullerton used the proceeds of the payments to pay personal expenses, such as his mortgage, utilities and groceries, the charges allege.

The indictment alleges that Cullerton also fraudulently obtained approximately $21,678 in reimbursed medical claims from Local 734’s Health and Welfare Fund. Cullerton submitted or caused to be submitted to medical providers information that made it appear he was a “route salesman” for Local 734, the indictment states. The false information concealed and covered up the fact that Cullerton was not eligible for participation in the fund since he was not regularly scheduled to work at least 30 hours per week for Local 734, Joint Council 25, or any other employer that participated in the fund, according to the indictment.

The charges in the indictment are each punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment. If convicted, the Court must impose a reasonable sentence under federal statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Martin Scorsese's Latest Mob Movie #TheIrishman Set for World Premiere at @TheNYFF

Film at Lincoln Center announces Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman as Opening Night of the 57th New York Film Festival (September 27 – October 13), making its World Premiere at Alice Tully Hall on Friday, September 27, 2019. The Irishman will be released in select theaters and on Netflix later this year.

The Irishman is a richly textured epic of American crime, a dense, complex story told with astonishing fluidity. Based on Charles Brandt’s nonfiction book I Heard You Paint Houses: Frank 'The Irishman' Sheeran and Closing the Case on Jimmy Hoffa, it is a film about friendship and loyalty between men who commit unspeakable acts and turn on a dime against each other, and the possibility of redemption in a world where it seems as distant as the moon. The roster of talent behind and in front of the camera is astonishing, and at the core of The Irishman are four great artists collectively hitting a new peak: Joe Pesci as Pennsylvania mob boss Russell Bufalino, Al Pacino as Teamsters president Jimmy Hoffa, and Robert De Niro as their right-hand man, Frank Sheeran, each working in the closest harmony imaginable with the film’s incomparable creator, Martin Scorsese.

“The Irishman is so many things: rich, funny, troubling, entertaining and, like all great movies, absolutely singular,” said New York Film Festival Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones. “It’s the work of masters, made with a command of the art of cinema that I’ve seen very rarely in my lifetime, and it plays out at a level of subtlety and human intimacy that truly stunned me. All I can say is that the minute it was over my immediate reaction was that I wanted to watch it all over again.”

“It’s an incredible honor that The Irishman has been selected as the Opening Night of the New York Film Festival. I greatly admire the bold and visionary selections that the festival presents to audiences year after year,” said Martin Scorsese. “The festival is critical to bringing awareness to cinema from around the world. I am grateful to have the opportunity to premiere my new picture in New York alongside my wonderful cast and crew.”

Campari is the exclusive spirits partner for the 57th New York Film Festival and the presenting partner of Opening Night, extending its long-standing commitment to the world of film and art.

Presented by Film at Lincoln Center, the 17-day New York Film Festival highlights the best in world cinema, featuring works from celebrated filmmakers as well as fresh new talent. The selection committee, chaired by Jones, also includes Dennis Lim, FLC Director of Programming, and Florence Almozini, FLC Associate Director of Programming.

Tickets for the 57th New York Film Festival will go on sale to the general public on September 8. Festival and VIP passes are on sale now and offer one of the earliest opportunities to purchase tickets and secure seats at some of the festival’s biggest events, including Opening Night. Support for Opening Night of the New York Film Festival benefits Film at Lincoln Center in its non-profit mission to support the art and craft of cinema.

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