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This story is being repeated all over the country. The latest chapter is spelled out in this story out of San Diego.
WASHINGTON — More than 600 gang members and associates from 145 different gangs were arrested in 179 cities across the U.S. during Project Southbound, a month-long operation executed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), which targeted gangs affiliated with the Sureños.
The Sureños, also known as Sur 13, is a transnational criminal street gang that originated in Southern California with hundreds of cliques around the United States. The Sureños and their affiliates pay tribute to the Mexican Mafia and the number “13” is their symbol signifying “M” in the alphabet for Mexican Mafia. Membership and cliques associated with the Sureños are expanding faster than any other national-level gang in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Gang Intelligence Center’s 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment. Sureños gang members are involved in a myriad of criminal activity, including murder, extortion, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, prostitution and other crimes with a nexus to the border.
Through Project Southbound, which ran March 12 to April 13, HSI special agents worked with 150 federal, state and local law enforcement partners to apprehend individuals from various gangs affiliated with the Sureños. More than 73 percent of those arrested during this HSI National Gang Unit-led operation were members or associates of the Sureños.
In addition to the 638 gang members and associates, HSI agents also arrested – or assisted in the arrest of – 119 other individuals on federal and/or state criminal violations and administrative immigration violations, for a total of 757 arrests.
“Project Southbound is the largest-ever ICE operation targeting the Sureños gang,” said ICE Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Thomas S. Winkowski. “This gang now has more than 30,000 members in the United States and its numbers are growing. Targeting transnational gangs like the Sureños is a top priority for ICE and we will continue to disrupt and dismantle the violence and criminal activities that they inflict upon our neighborhoods.”
Of the 638 gang members or associates arrested: 525 were charged with criminal offenses; 113 were arrested administratively for immigration violations; 414 had violent criminal histories, including seven individuals wanted for murder and five wanted for rape or sexual assault; and 256 were foreign nationals.
Among the Sureños gang members or associates arrested during Project Southbound were:
- Cesar Lisandro Anaya, 27, an El Salvadoran national and an 18th Street gang member, arrested in Dallas, Texas, on immigration-related charges. He is wanted in El Salvador on felony warrants for aggravated homicide, extortion, and illicit groupings (gang activity).
- Nine MS-13 gang members arrested on RICO charges filed in the District of Maryland stemming from their involvement in multiple criminal acts including murder, assault, extortion and prostitution, in furtherance of MS-13.
- Richard Allen Cotinola, a U.S. citizen and Brewtown Locos gang member, arrested in New Mexico on an outstanding state warrant for violation of parole related to a previous conviction for aggravated burglary with a weapon. He has previous convictions for aggravated burglary with a weapon and armed robbery.
- A father and son arrested in San Francisco on state narcotics and firearms charges following the execution of state search warrants on the father’s property. The father, a Sureños gang associate and previously deported aggravated felon, accused of supplying large quantities of high-quality, commercially-grown marijuana to Sureños and Latin Kings gang members. During these arrests, HSI agents seized 4,669 marijuana plants, 25 pounds of processed marijuana, an AR-15 rifle, a stolen Glock handgun, four diesel generators, four vehicles and $85,635 in cash.
Those arrested during Project Southbound came from 21 countries in South and Central America, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Of the total 757 arrested, 678 were males and 79 were females.
HSI special agents also seized 54 firearms, 13.36 pounds of methamphetamine, 82.76 pounds of marijuana, 3.075 pounds of cocaine, 1.44 pounds of heroin, more than $166,000 in U.S currency and 10 vehicles during Project Southbound.
ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in Baltimore and Los Angeles also assisted with this operation.
This enforcement operation is part of HSI’s Operation Community Shield a global initiative, in which HSI partners with existing federal, state and local anti-gang efforts to identify violent street gangs and develop intelligence on gang members and associates, gang criminal activities and international movements to arrest, prosecute, imprison and/or deport transnational gang members. HSI’s National Gang Unit deters, disrupts and dismantles gang operations by tracing and seizing cash, weapons and other assets derived from criminal activities.
Since the inception of Operation Community Shield in February 2005, HSI special agents working in conjunction with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies across the nation have arrested more than 33,000 street gang members and associates linked to more than 2,600 different gangs. At least 43 percent of those arrested had a violent criminal history. More than 438 of those arrested were gang leaders, and more than 4,500 were MS-13 gang members or associates. Through this initiative, HSI has seized more than 5,615 firearms nationally.
The National Gang Unit within HSI identifies violent street gangs and develops intelligence on their membership, associates, criminal activities and international movements to deter, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal gang operations by tracing and seizing cash, weapons and other assets derived from illicit activities.
DALLAS – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is seeking the public’s help to identify a suspected child pornography producer, and rescue at least one child victim.
HSI special agents investigating this case believe “John Doe,” a young adult male between 18 and 20 years old, produced child pornography in which he photographed himself engaging in sexual contact with an African American baby girl 12 to 18 months old. Today the girl may be about 2 to 2 1/2 years old.
Based on investigative clues in the photos, HSI special agents believe that this person may now live in, or had visited, north Texas at the time these photos were taken sometime in April 2013. The ball cap’s logo, “Shut Up N Play,” was new at the time, and they had not yet been released for sale. However, there had been very limited distribution within north Texas when these photos were taken.
HSI Dallas investigators were unable to identify the suspect using traditional investigative means and request the public’s assistance.
In addition to public appeals, HSI Dallas has distributed the “John Doe” information and photos to fellow law enforcement agencies, and to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, in a unified effort to find this predator and rescue the child.
If you think you recognize this person, please contact HSI toll free at 1-866-347-2423. You can also email your tip by completing HSI’s online tip form.
All tips will remain confidential. Members of the public should not attempt to apprehend the suspect personally.
This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2013, more than 2,000 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative.
HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.
HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.
3/20/14 UPDATE I’VE JUST HEARD FROM IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT THAT THIS INDIVIDUAL HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AND ARRESTED. THAT’S ONE LESS PREDATOR ROAMING THE STREETS !
Los Angeles: The family of Ashley Aleriano and the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Division are asking for the public’s help to locate Ashley.
On March 12, 2014, around 7:45 a.m., Ashley was last seen leaving her residence located in the 400 block of E. 48th Street in Los Angeles. Ashley walked away from the location and has not been seen or heard from since. Her family is extremely concerned for her welfare because she made suicidal remarks.
Ashley is described as a 15-year-old female Hispanic with brown hair, brown eyes. She stands 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighs about 148 pounds. She was last seen possibly wearing a flower pattern top, blue jeans, and black shoes.
Anyone with information on Ashley’s whereabouts is asked to contact Newton Division Officers Padilla or Salazar at (323) 846-6576,; or the Newton Division Watch Commander at (323)846-6547. During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “webtips” and follow the prompts
Texas’ Largest Law Enforcement Organizations Form Powerful Alliance to Protect Working Officers and Their Families
- Texas Law Trumps NFL Policy Prohibiting Armed Off Duty Officers In Stadiums (dfw.cbslocal.com)
- Popeye Holmes remembered as one of the longest serving law enforcement officers in Texas during funeral (kfdm.com)
- Law Enforcement Officers Back Push for More Preschool Funding (kcrg.com)
- State law enforcement officers join forces to help with firearm purchase applications (baltimorenewsjournal.com)
DALLAS – Members from eight nationally acclaimed institutions located across the nation came together in Dallas, TX, on Sept. 11 to sign the official charter for the Forensic and Crime Scene Investigation Consortium (FCSIC).
Present at the signing were representatives from the following original FCSIC member institutions:
- National Center for Biomedical Research and Training, Stephenson National Center for Security Research and Training, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.
- W. Roger Webb Forensic Science Institute, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Okla.
- Texas Forensic Science Academy, Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, College Station, Texas
- Southeast Texas Applied Forensic Science Facility, Criminal Justice Center, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas
- Department of Criminal Justice, Charleston Southern University, Charleston, S.C.
- Criminal Justice Department, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nev.
- Center for Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, Chaminade University of Honolulu, Honolulu, Hawaii
- The Center for Rural Development, Somerset, Ky.
The idea behind this collaboration was first conceived in August 2009 with the United States Department of Justice report to Congress, in which a committee was tasked to identify the needs of the forensic science community. Among the committee’s findings, highlighted in a document entitled “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward,” was a surprisingly consistent message:
In response to this message, the FCSIC was developed to help support a fully integrated national forensic and crime scene investigation system by developing and delivering new courses, enhancing current undergraduate and graduate programs and expanding research projects in their core competencies.
Consortium members were carefully selected for their broad array of competencies, extensive infrastructure and subject matter expertise, making the consortium a valuable national resource for forensic and crime scene investigation training. Current areas of focus among the FCSIC include crime scene investigations in hazardous environments, medical investigation, facial reconstruction, forensic art, digital forensics, property and evidence management, latent print technologies, crime scene documentation, courtroom testimony, underwater forensics, trace evidence, curriculum development and instructor training.
The training, education and research the FCSIC has and is developing and delivering is important and unique in the criminal justice system because state and local agencies perform the majority of all forensic and crime scene investigations conducted in the U.S., yet there is a dire need for 1) Mandatory training requirements 2) A career-spanning, standards-based training curriculum 3) A priority research environment and 4) A fully integrated forensic and crime scene investigations system in the U.S.
With already inadequate funding being cut even further, state and local agencies will now have the opportunity to train their employees at no additional cost through the courses delivered by the FCSIC. FCSIC courses are career-spanning, offering training for all three career levels: basic, intermediate and advanced.
The enhancement of current degree programs will provide a vibrant pool of degreed workforce applicants for the laboratories in addition to enhanced technologies and evaluative processes as a result of the research being conducted. With a well-trained forensic and crime scene investigations workforce, both domestic and internationally, the public will be safer, and society will be served more efficiently.
PHOENIX – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman announced today that the U.S. Department of the Treasury‘s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) reported the designation of three individuals and three entities linked to Ismael Zambada Garcia, one of the principal leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel. Those designated include Jose Antonio Nunez Bedoya, a Mexican attorney and notary public who helps to create front companies in order to conceal and launder assets related to Zambada Garcia, members of Zambada Garcia’s family, and other members of the Sinaloa Cartel. Nunez Bedoya incorporated Estancia Infantil Nino Feliz and Establo Puerto Rico on behalf of Zambada Garcia and he notarized real estate purchases on behalf of Santa Monica Dairy, all of which were previously designated by OFAC in May, 2007. Additionally, Nunez Bedoya notarized real estate purchases on behalf of Sinaloa Cartel leader Joaquin Guzman Loera and his wife, Griselda Lopez Perez, who OFAC designated in September, 2012.
“The Sinaloa Cartel cannot hide behind front companies like a water park or agricultural business,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Doug Coleman. “We are working with OFAC to expose these traffickers’ front companies for what they really are—not legitimate businesses, but illegal enterprises that fuel the drug trade, its violence and corruption. As we continue to follow the money trail, we starve these traffickers of their assets and eventually put their global criminal networks out of business.”
The cash-intensive businesses designated by OFAC today were Parque Acuatico Los Cascabeles, a Sinaloa-based water park, Centro Comercial y Habitacional Lomas, a shopping mall in Culiacan, and Rancho Agricola Ganadero Los Mezquites, a cattle ranch in Sinaloa. Nunez Bedoya incorporated and notarized all three businesses on behalf of Zambada Garcia.
Also designated today were Tomasa Garcia Rios and Monica Janeth Verdugo Garcia, wife and daughter of deceased narcotics trafficker Jose Lamberto Verdugo Calderon. Verdugo Calderon, who was killed by the Mexican military in January 2009, was widely identified by U.S. and Mexican authorities as a major financial operative and lieutenant for Zambada Garcia. Tomasa Garcia Rios and Monica Janeth Verdugo Garcia own Rancho Agricola Ganadero Los Mezquites and Parque Acuatico Los Cascabeles.
“Treasury will continue to target and disrupt financial operations linked to the Sinaloa Cartel by taking action against any facilitators, legal or financial professionals, or businesses that are laundering their narcotics proceeds,” said OFAC Director Adam J. Szubin.
Today’s action, pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act), generally prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these designees and also freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction. The President named Ismael Zambada Garcia and the Sinaloa Cartel as significant foreign narcotics traffickers pursuant to the Kingpin Act in May, 2002 and April, 2009, respectively.
Internationally, OFAC has designated more than 1,300 businesses and individuals linked to 103 drug kingpins since June 2000. Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1.075 million per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.
- Mexican Drug Cartels Take Over Chicago for $30 Billion A Year Illegal Drug Business (12160.info)
- Governor López of Sinaloa Accused of Having Ties with Sinaloa Cartel (justiceinmexico.org)
- Mexican Drug Lord Captured – So What? (nationalinterest.org)
- World Drug Report Reveals The Staggering Extent Of North America’s Meth Problem (planet.infowars.com)