Last Updated Friday, July 02, 2021, at 3:28 PM
Every Friday, The Criminal Lawyer Group publishes a digest of the latest federal prosecutions nationally. Our goal is to keep the public informed as to recent events in federal courts around the country.
Unless otherwise disclosed, none of the defendants mentioned in these summaries are clients of our firm.
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FRIDAY, July 02, 2021
I. Oklahoma Man Charged with Receipt and Distribution of Obscene Video, Images of Sexual Abuse of Children
A Grand Jury in the Northern District of Oklahoma has charged a former dependent of a military member with two counts of receipt and distribution of an obscene visual presentation of sexual abuse of a minor child under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA).
The charge was announced by the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma, Clinton J. Johnson. On June 24, 2021, the accused, Derek Ray Flaming, 35, of Salina, Oklahoma, made his initial appearance in the Northern District of Oklahoma on two counts of Receipt and Distribution of an Obscene Visual Representation of Sexual Abuse of Children.
According to the indictment, during 2016 and 2017, Flaming was the dependent of an United States Armed Forces member stationed at United State Army Garrison (USAG) – Youngsan, which is located within the Republic of Korea. At the time, Flaming received and later distributed an image depicting a minor child engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
MEJA gives U.S. courts jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed outside the United States by dependents of United States Armed Forces Dependents residing with members of the armed forces stationed outside the United States, among others.
II. Two Indicted on tax fraud and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business
On June 28, 2021, it was announced that David Wellington, 62, of Albuquerque, NM, and Jerry Shrock, 46, of Meadowview, VA, were indicted on June 23 by a federal grand jury charging them with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Wellington faces an additional count of operation of an unlicensed money transmitting business. Shrock is scheduled to be arraigned on July 15, while Wellington will make his initial appearance on July 7.
According to the indictment, since at least 2005, Wellington and his business partner operated National Business Services, which promoted, sold, and created Limited Liability Companies (LLCs) under New Mexico State Law. For many clients, National Business Services allegedly would open bank accounts under the names and IRS employer identification numbers (EIDs) of the LLCs, and the clients – whose names were not associated with the bank accounts – would have access to the funds in those accounts.
Since at least 2006, Shrock was a client of Wellington and National Business Services. Through National Business Services, Wellington allegedly created multiple LLCs in New Mexico for Shrock, including White Top Enterprise LLC. National Business Services allegedly opened a bank account in the business name and EID of White Top Enterprise and provided Shrock with access to the funds in the account.
Between May 9, 2011, and June 30, 2015, Shrock allegedly deposited and withdrew approximately $4,875,940, of which at least $4,347,101 was income for which Shrock never filed a personal or business tax return with the IRS.
III. Eleven Motorcycle Club Members Charged with Narcotics Distribution, Firearms Offenses, and More
Two high-ranking members of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club were arrested June 28, 2021, for assault in aid of racketeering. The arrest was announced by the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Rachael A. Honig. Luis Arocho, a/k/a “LuRoc,” 43, of Keansburg, New Jersey, and Maurice Guzman, a/k/a “Dawg,” 51, of Newark, are charged by complaint with one count of aggravated assault in aid of racketeering. They made their first appearance by videoconference the same day, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre.
According to documents filed in these cases and statements made in court, on April 24, 2018, Arocho, Guzman, and other associates of the Pagans assaulted an associate of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club at a gas station in Newark. The Pagans and the Hells Angels have a long-standing rivalry. The victim was beaten with an axe handle, punched, and kicked by the Pagans assailants, resulting in significant injuries.
Both Arocho and Guzman are high-ranking leaders in the Pagans’ organization. A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Nicholas Bucciarelli, a/k/a “Booch,” 56, of Brooklawn, NJ, with aggravated assault in aid of racketeering, brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and possession of firearms by a convicted felon, arising from his commission of a gang-related gunpoint assault in which an associate of the Pagans was assaulted for breaking the organization’s rules.
IV. South Dakota Man Indicted on Drug Charge
On June 25, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of South Dakota, Dennis Holmes, announced that a Milbank, South Dakota, man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance. Delvin Eagle Chasing, a/k/a Delvin Baumgarten, 35, was indicted on May 11, 2021. Chasing appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Veronica L. Duffy on June 25, 2021 and pled not guilty to the Indictment.
If he is convicted, Chasing faces up to life in prison and/or a $1 million fine, three years of supervised release, and $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund for each Count. Restitution may also be ordered.
According to the indictment, it is alleged that on January 12, 2021, in Eagle Butte, South Dakota, Eagle Chasing did knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of methamphetamine. The investigation is being conducted by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services and the Northern Plains Safe Trails Drug Enforcement Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Meghan N. Dilges is prosecuting the case.
V. Charges Brought Against Leader Plus 14 Members of Newark Drug Trafficking Ring
On June 29, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Rachael A. Honig announced that fifteen people had been charged for their roles in a Newark heroin and crack cocaine distribution organization that sold hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of illegal drugs out of a residential building.
The alleged leader of the operation, Jakai Dennis, is among those charged with engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. Dennis also is charged, along with the 15 other defendants, with one count each of conspiracy to distribute one kilogram or more of heroin and 280 grams or more of crack cocaine, and conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
All the defendants are in custody and had their initial court appearances later the same day, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court.
VI. Gang Members Charged with Trafficking Young Girls for Sex
On June 29, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, Jennifer B. Lowery announced that four Houston-area gang members are in custody following the return of a federal indictment on allegations of human trafficking. Clarence Chambers, a/k/a Chris, 29, is appeared the same day before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Bray.
Also charged are Javon Opoku a/k/a Glizzy, 20, Damarquis McGee, a/k/a Lil Blue, 23, and Andres Portillo, a/k/a Andro, 20. Portillo will make an initial appearance on July 1, while McGee and Opoku will make their initial appearances on July 6.
The defendants are charged with trafficking young runaway girls on what it known as the “Blade,” or the Bissonnet Track. This is an area in Houston where traffickers commonly place their victims, according to the indictment. The indictment alleges that the defendants worked to recruit underage teenage girls and forced them to engage in sex acts for money in cars and hotels around the Blade.
They allegedly passed around or reassigned victims amongst one another, taught each other “the pimp game” and required the young girls to walk the Blade and sell their bodies. They also kept the proceeds, according to the charges.
VII. Las Vegas Man Indicted for Distribution of Fentanyl Resulting in Death
On June 28, 2021, a Las Vegas man was indicted by a federal grand jury for distributing fentanyl that caused the death of another person.
According to the indictment and allegations made at the initial court appearance, Gabriel Ulloa, 29, distributed fentanyl to the 27-year-old victim, who believed he was buying Oxycodone pills. The victim died because of ingesting the drugs. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid drug that is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance.
It is approximately 80-100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. Ulloa, who has been charged with one count of distribution of a controlled substance. Ulloa made his initial appearance on June 25, 2021, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brenda Weksler, who scheduled a jury trial for August 23, 2021.
If convicted, Ulloa faces at least 20 years and up to life in prison and a $10,000,000 fine.
VIII. Two Charged with Conspiring to Steal Guns from Firearms Dealer in Suburban Chicago
On June 30, 2021, an indictment was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. The indictment Two men have been charged in federal court with conspiring to steal a dozen handguns from a suburban Chicago firearms dealer. Roneal Nightengale and Eric Rowe conspired to steal the guns from Shoot Point Blank, a firearms dealer and shooting range in Naperville, Ill., on June 1, 2020, according to an indictment returned in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
The indictment alleges that Nightengale drove Rowe and an unindicted co-conspirator to Shoot Point Blank around 9:00 p.m., at which point Rowe and the co-conspirator burglarized the facility and stole the guns.
In addition to the conspiracy charge, the indictment charges Nightengale and Rowe with stealing the firearms, possessing stolen firearms, and illegally possessing the firearms as previously convicted felons. Nightengale, 34, of Glendale Heights, Ill., was arrested earlier this month in Arizona.
He pleaded not guilty Tuesday during his arraignment before U.S. Magistrate Judge Sunil R. Harjani in Chicago. A detention hearing was then set for July 1, 2021.Rowe, 36, of Bellwood, Ill., is not in custody and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.
IX. Six Indicted in Marijuana Trafficking Conspiracy
On June 30, 2021, the Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota, W. Anders Folk, announced that six people have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana.
According to court documents, from 2016 through June 2021, Douglas Robert Finch, Danny William Gehl, Jr., David William Gehl, Frank Joseph Kittleson, Patrick Thomas Maykoski, and Daniel Richard Thomas, all conspired to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana. The defendants and others were part of a drug trafficking operation (DTO) that shipped marijuana from California to Minnesota.
Members of the DTO routinely sent shipping crates from a warehouse in St. Paul, Minnesota, to a warehouse in North Highlands, California. The DTO members would fly from Minnesota to California to purchase the marijuana, fill the crates with marijuana, and then load them on a delivery truck for shipment back to Minnesota, where DTO members unpacked the crates, repackaged the marijuana in large garbage bags and boxes for distribution.
X. Four Arrested for Producing and Trafficking Fentanyl
On June 30, 2021, four were arrested and charged in connection with operating a prolific drug trafficking organization that allegedly supplied counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl to suppliers on the North Shore of Massachusetts. A fifth defendant currently in state custody was charged with firearm and drug offenses.
It is alleged that all four defendants possessed a pill press capable of generating up to 15,000 pills per hour, which they used to produce counterfeit Percocet pills, containing fentanyl.
Vincent Caruso, 26, a/k/a “Fatz” and “Big Boy,” and Ernest Johnson, 33, a/k/a “Yo Pesci,” both of Salem, were charged with one count of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl; one count of conspiracy to conduct financial transactions affecting interstate commerce involving the proceeds of dealing in a controlled substance; and one count of conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking conspiracy.
Caruso was also charged with one count of conspiracy to possess a tableting machine to manufacture a controlled substance. Laurie Caruso, 51, of Lynn, and Nicole Benton, 45, of Saugus, were with one count of conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and one count of conspiracy to conduct financial transactions affecting interstate commerce involving the proceeds of dealing in a controlled substance.
Cesar Rivera, 22, of Revere, was charged separately with one count of possessing controlled substances with intent to distribute and one count of conspiracy to possess and use a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.