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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Man Sentenced to More Than 15 Years for Child Sex Trafficking in Richmond

FBI Richmond Division Press Release:

Man Sentenced to More Than 15 Years for Child Sex Trafficking in Richmond

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 29, 2014
  • Eastern District of Virginia(804) 819-5400
RICHMOND, VA—Troy Parker, 41, was sentenced today to 188 months in prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release, for child sex trafficking.
Dana J. Boente, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Adam S. Lee, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Richmond Field Office; and Clark E. Settles, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Robert E. Payne.
Parker pleaded guilty on February 12, 2014, to one count of child sex trafficking. According to court documents, Parker met a minor in Richmond, Virginia, and took her to the Travel Inn. He then used his cell phone to post an advertisement on Backpage.com containing pictures of the minor and offering her for sexual acts in exchange for money. Parker also provided transportation and a hotel room for the minor to perform those sexual acts. The minor then provided Parker with money she was paid by her customers. On May 28, 2013, an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, acting in an undercover capacity, spoke to Parker and arranged through him to meet the minor for purported sexual activities. At the time of the meeting, agents were able to secure the minor and take Parker into custody.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Richmond Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Heather L. Hart prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae.

U.S. Attorney Files Charges in Multi-Million-Dollar Kickback Scheme Orchestrated at Logan County Mine

FBI Pittsburgh Division Press Release:

U.S. Attorney Files Charges in Multi-Million-Dollar Kickback Scheme Orchestrated at Logan County Mine
Charges Cover Widespread Multi-Million-Dollar Fraud Uncovered in “Pay-to-Play” Kickback Scheme at Arch Coal’s Mountain Laurel Mining Complex in Logan County

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 30, 2014
  • Southern District of West Virginia(304) 345-2200
CHARLESTON, WV—United States Attorney Booth Goodwin today filed a variety of charges in United States District Court in Charleston arising out of a joint federal and state criminal investigation into cash kickbacks paid to Arch Coal, Inc. (“Arch”) employees working at the Mountain Laurel Mining Complex (“Mountain Laurel”) near Sharples, Logan County, West Virginia. The charges lay out a far-reaching scheme orchestrated by Arch employees, including the former Mountain Laurel General Manager David E. Runyon, 45, of Delbarton, Mingo County, to receive cash kickbacks from certain vendors in exchange for receiving work. According to the charges, vendors were required to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars over several years to ensure that vendors received and continued to receive work at Mountain Laurel.
“This kind of pay-to-play scheme hurts honest coal-industry vendors who refuse to pay bribes as a way to get customers,” commented U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin. “The corrupt way that these defendants did business should be a thing of the past. It’s bad for the economy and, ultimately, bad for consumers.”
According to the charges:
David E. Runyon, 45, of Delbarton, Mingo County, is charged with extorting certain vendors for cash kickbacks in exchange for ensuring that those complicit vendors continued to receive work from Mountain Laurel. As outlined below, Runyon and other Arch employees are charged with receiving kickbacks approaching $2 million over a five-year span from sometime in 2007 through sometime in 2012. Runyon faces up to 25 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $500,000 if convicted.
Gary K. Griffith, 62, of Oceana, Wyoming County, was charged with making a materially false statement to federal and state law enforcement when interviewed in the Mountain Laurel kickback scheme investigation. According to the charge, he was the maintenance manager at Mountain Laurel, and received cash kickbacks in the amount of at least $250,000 on behalf of him and mine general manager David E. Runyon from a vendor who refurbished shuttle cars. When he was asked by federal agents about receiving kickbacks either personally or on behalf of Runyon, he denied it. Griffith faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.
Stephen B. Herndon, 37, of Holden, Logan County, the former Mountain Laurel warehouse manager and now owner of Tri-State Mine Service, Inc., is charged with “structuring” a cash withdrawal from a local bank. The term “structuring” is used to describe criminal conduct when an individual engages in cash transactions with a financial institution in increments of $10,000 or less for the purpose of avoiding the financial institution’s currency transaction report (“CTR”) filing requirement with the Department of Treasury. Herndon faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.
Scott E. Ellis, 44, of Holden, Logan County, Stephen B. Herndon’s business partner in Tri-State, is also charged with structuring a cash withdrawal from a local bank account. According to the Information filed in Runyon’s case, Tri-State, through Ellis and Herndon, paid nearly $425,000 over a five-year period to receive rebuild work from Mountain Laurel. Ellis faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.
Alvis R. Porter, 61, of Holden, Logan County, owner and operator of Quality Oil, Inc., which was doing business as Southern Construction of Logan, provided construction services at the Mountain Laurel Mining Complex. Porter was charged with failing to collect, account for, and pay over trust fund taxes of an employee. As part of Runyon’s charge, Porter paid approximately $400,000 in kickbacks directly to Runyon. Porter faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.
David N. Herndon, 63, of Chauncey, Logan County, was charged with engaging in an unlawful monetary transaction of criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000. According to the charge, David Herndon owned MAC Mine Service, Inc., which provided contract labor to the Mountain Laurel Mining Complex. D. Herndon participated in a contract labor kickback scheme where in exchange for Runyon not seeking to terminate the contract, and instead extending the contract each year, David Herndon paid illegal cash kickbacks of approximately $340,000 for more than three years. D. Herndon faces up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.
Ronald Barnette, 53, of Holden, Logan County, was charged with making a materially false statement to federal and state law enforcement investigating the Mountain Laurel kickback scheme. According to the charge, Barnette’s false statement pertained to paying kickbacks at Mountain Laurel for work that Barnette’s company received in rebuild miners and bolters at Mountain Laurel. Barnette ultimately admitted to making approximately $300,000 in cash kickbacks to Runyon over the course of the scheme. Barnette faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.
Gary L. Roeher, 52, of Holden, Logan County, was charged with filing a false tax return. According to the charge, Roeher deducted approximately $43,000 as a business expense for his company, CM Supply, when Roeher actually used the funds to install an in-ground swimming pool at his residence. Roeher faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.
Chadwick J. Lusk, 32, of Davin, Logan County, was charged with honest services mail fraud. According to the charge, Lusk, while the purchasing agent at Mountain Laurel, defrauded Arch Coal of its right to honest services by receiving illegal cash kickbacks in a crib block kickback scheme. Gary L. Roeher, who owned CM Supply, Co., paid Lusk a portion of the profits for the crib blocks that Arch Coal purchased from CM Supply, Co. to use at Mountain Laurel to provide roof support in the underground mine portion of Mountain Laurel. Lusk faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.
James H. Evans II, 39, of Verdunville, Logan County, owned and operated Baisden Recyling, which had a contract with Arch Coal to recycle scrap metal at the Mountain Laurel Complex. Evans was charged with conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, as he recycled scrap cable at Mountain Laurel. Evans paid Arch’s $30,000 commission on the scrap cable to Runyon through another Arch employee, Stephen B. Herndon, rather than to Arch. Evans faces up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.
Today’s charge stems from an investigation being conducted by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, United States Postal Inspection Service, and the West Virginia State Police. Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas C. Ryan and Meredith George Thomas are handling the prosecution.
NOTE: An information is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Cheswick Man Sentenced to More Than 12 Years in Prison for Receiving and Possessing Child Pornography

FBI Pittsburgh Division Press Release:

Cheswick Man Sentenced to More Than 12 Years in Prison for Receiving and Possessing Child Pornography

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 30, 2014
  • Western District of Pennsylvania
PITTSBURGH—A Cheswick resident has been sentenced in federal court to 151 months’ imprisonment to be followed by lifetime supervised release on his conviction of receipt and possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
United States Chief District Judge Joy Flowers Conti imposed the sentence on Mark Philip Campbell, 49, formerly of McClure Road, Cheswick, Pennsylvania.
According to information presented to the court, from on or about February 27, 2013, to on or about September 15, 2013, Campbell received images and a video containing material depicting the sexual exploitation of minors. In addition, from on or about February 27, 2013, to on or about October 24, 2013, Campbell knowingly possessed images in computer graphic files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, some of whom had not yet attained 12 years of age. Campbell also admitted to sexual contact with a female minor over a five-year period.
Assistant United States Attorney Jessica Lieber Smolar prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.
U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Campbell.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Mercer Man Convicted on Child Pornography Offenses Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison

FBI Pittsburgh Division Press Release:

Mercer Man Convicted on Child Pornography Offenses Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 30, 2014
  • Western District of Pennsylvania
PITTSBURGH—A former resident of Mercer, Pennsylvania has been sentenced in federal court to 40 years’ imprisonment, followed by supervised release for the remainder of his life, on his conviction of production of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor and possession of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.
United States District Judge Arthur J. Schwab imposed the sentence on Earl Warner, 56, formerly of Brandy Springs Apartments, Mercer, Pennsylvania.
According to Assistant United States Attorney Carolyn J. Bloch, who prosecuted the case, the evidence presented at trial established that on or about June 4, 2011; June 8, 2011; June 12, 2011; June 13, 2011; July 13, 2011; and July 23, 2011, in the Western District of Pennsylvania, Warner employed, used, persuaded, induced, enticed, and coerced one of three child victims to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing digital photographs and videos of such conduct. Also, on or about April 9, 2012, Warner possessed visual images and videos in computer graphics files, the production of which involved the use of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, on two memory cards seized during the execution of a search warrant at his home.
Prior to imposing sentence, Judge Schwab stated that Warner’s crimes were depraved and violent and that the production and storing of the photographs and videos of the sexual assault and abuse of minor children permanently recorded that abuse. The judge further described the defendant’s conduct as having created a horrific nightmare for the children to live.
U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Mercer County District Attorney’s Office for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Warner.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

Robbery of PNC Bank Branch in Philadelphia

FBI Philadelphia Division Press Release:

Robbery of PNC Bank Branch in Philadelphia

FBI PhiladelphiaMay 30, 2014
  • Public Affairs Specialist Carrie Adamowski(215) 418-4135
The Philadelphia Police Department and the FBI are seeking the public’s assistance to identify and locate the subject responsible for robbery yesterday, May 29, 2014, of the PNC Bank branch located at 2401 Welsh Road.
At approximately 3:27 p.m., the subject entered the bank and handed a teller a demand note. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of cash, the subject fled on foot, heading east on Welsh Road.
The subject is described as a white male, approximately 26-30 years old and 6’ tall, with a thin build, black hair, a close-cropped beard and mustache, and a large tattoo on the back of his neck. He wore a gray zip-up hooded sweatshirt, black pants, and a set of white earbuds. Photos of the suspect from the bank’s security camera are below.
Philadelphia Bank Robbery Suspect, Photo 1 of 4 (5/29/14)Philadelphia Bank Robbery Suspect, Photo 2 of 4 (5/29/14)Philadelphia Bank Robbery Suspect, Photo 3 of 4 (5/29/14)Philadelphia Bank Robbery Suspect, Photo 4 of 4 (5/29/14)
This subject is considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information about this robbery or this subject is urged to call the FBI at 215-418-4000 or the Philadelphia Police Department. There may be a reward for information leading to this subject’s capture. Tipsters can remain anonymous.

Real Estate Agent Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Conspiracy to Defraud Investors and Lenders

FBI Philadelphia Division Press Release:

Real Estate Agent Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Conspiracy to Defraud Investors and Lenders

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 30, 2014
  • Middle District of Pennsylvania(717) 221-4482
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced the sentencing yesterday of Andrew Brosnac, age 48, of Mansfield, Texas. Brosnac, a real estate agent and investment consultant, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud in connection with the sale and leaseback of businesses in Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, South Dakota, California, Oregon, and Wyoming.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, between 2006 and 2008 Brosnac and co-conspirator Samuel Pearson, age 47, Hanover, York County, Pennsylvania, admitted using a group of companies to buy Jiffy Lube stores, automotive service businesses, convenience store/gas stations, and other commercial properties, then selling them to investors in Pennsylvania and California. The investment properties included a Jiffy Lube store in Sayre, Bradford County, Pennsylvania.
In pleading guilty, Brosnac admitted arranging funding from banks and credit unions for investors to purchase the properties and then used other companies controlled by him and Pearson to lease and operate the properties for investors. Brosnac also admitted that he and Pearson provided investors and lenders with false and fraudulent financial information concerning the investment properties which induced loans and investments totaling approximately $19 million. In the plea agreement, Brosnac agreed that he received approximately $2.4 million in commissions and consulting fees from the sales of the properties.
Judge Yvette Kane sentenced Brosnac to five years in prison, followed by a period of three years’ supervised release, and a special assessment of $100, and ordered Brosnac to pay to victim investors and lenders restitution totaling $2,409,924.04 representing the commissions and consulting fees that he received as a result of the offense. Under the federal Sentencing Guidelines, the advisory imprisonment range was 60 months, which is also the maximum statutory term of imprisonment.
Pearson, operator of Peanut Oil, was charged separately with conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud in a criminal onformation filed in March 2011 and pled guilty in April 2011 pursuant to a plea agreement. He is awaiting sentencing before Senior U.S. District Court Judge William C. Caldwell.
The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney George J. Rocktashel.

Chester County Lawyer and Client Charged with Bankruptcy Fraud

FBI Philadelphia Division Press Release:

Chester County Lawyer and Client Charged with Bankruptcy Fraud

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 30, 2014
  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania(215) 861-8200
PHILADELPHIA—Indictments were filed yesterday charging a Pennsylvania attorney and his client in a bankruptcy fraud scheme, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. Pietro A. Barbieri, esq., 61, of Exton, Pennsylvania, was retained by Deborah Messner, 59, of Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, for a divorce and bankruptcy matter. Barbieri is charged with bankruptcy fraud, agent concealing property in bankruptcy, and attempted obstruction of official proceeding. Messner is charged with concealing property in bankruptcy and two counts of false oath in bankruptcy proceeding.
According to the indictments, in February 2009, Messner and Barbieri began discussing Messner’s bankruptcy and she transferred possession of a Chevrolet Corvette to her father. In April of 2009, while assisting her in her divorce settlement, Barbieri allegedly advised Messner to set up an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) where she could deposit the $193,000 in proceeds from the divorce. According to the indictments, Barbieri advised Messner that “additional time will be required in order to protect this substantially larger fund from the grasp of the United States Bankruptcy Court.” It is further alleged that Barbieri later advised “If your funds are in place at the time you declare bankruptcy then they are not subject to confiscation.”
On May 19, 2009, after withdrawing $125,000 from the IRA account, Messner, with Barbieri’s counsel, filed a bankruptcy petition for relief under Chapter 7. In the petition, Messner claimed $84,410 in exempt assets and sought relief from unsecured debts totaling $86,861.47. Messner allegedly concealed the transfer of the Chevrolet Corvette, the divorce settlement proceeds, all of her unsecured creditors, and $22,000 which she transferred to pay Barbieri’s fee.
It is further alleged that on Jun 30, 2009, both Messner and Barbieri appeared at a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors and provided false statements about the bankruptcy petition’s accuracy; that they appeared at a Rule 2004 bankruptcy proceeding on October 7, 2009 and, again, Messner provided false testimony; and that Barbieri false represented that the IRA began to receive monies as part of the divorce settlement on August 1, 2009.
If convicted of all charges, Barbieri faces a statutory maximum sentence of 35 years in prison, a fine of up to $1million, three years of supervised release, and a $400 special assessment; Messner faces a statutory maximum sentence of 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $750,000, three years of supervised release, and a $300 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anita Eve.
An indictment, information, or criminal complaint is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Cancer Research Doctor Charged with Theft and Mail Fraud

FBI Philadelphia Division Press Release:

Cancer Research Doctor Charged with Theft and Mail Fraud

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 30, 2014
  • Eastern District of Pennsylvania(215) 861-8200
Steven W. Johnson, Ph.D., 49, of Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, was charged yesterday by indictment with mail fraud and theft from a program receiving federal funds, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. The charges arise from his misuse of federal funds for cancer research to conduct a for-profit business while he was employed as a researcher by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 210 years’ imprisonment, a three-year period of supervised release and a $2.75 million fine.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Karen L. Grigsby.
An indictment or information is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Luzerne County Court Employee Charged Federally with Stealing County Funds

FBI Philadelphia Division Press Release:

Luzerne County Court Employee Charged Federally with Stealing County Funds

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 30, 2014
  • Middle District of Pennsylvania(717) 221-4482
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a criminal information was filed in U.S. District Court in Scranton charging Luzerne County Court employee Stacey McGlone, age 37, of McAdoo, Pennsylvania, with stealing in excess of $5,000 from the Luzerne County Probation/Parole office, under the supervision of the County Court of Common Pleas, during the course of her employment with that office.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, McGlone was responsible for the collection of funds from individuals receiving services associated with the Probation/Parole Office, as well as debts owed by those individuals, including fines, costs, and restitution debts incurred in connection with court proceedings. McGlone allegedly failed to make proper disposition of funds that came into her possession by reason of her employment. The Information charges that between January 2009 and March 2014, McGlone stole in excess of $5,000 in cash from payments she collected.
Federal jurisdiction to prosecute the case is based on the fact that Luzerne County and the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas each received more than $10,000 in federal funds annually.
The government also filed a plea agreement with McGlone which must be approved by the U.S. District Court.
McGlone faces up to 10 years in prison and fines in the amount of $250,000. McGlone’s employment with Luzerne County and the Court of Common Pleas has been terminated.
The prosecution is the result of a joint investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Luzerne County District Attorney’s Office. Prosecution is assigned to Assistant United States Attorney Michelle Olshefski.
Indictments and Criminal Informations are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.
A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
In this case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is 10 years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances, and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public, and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational, and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Jersey City Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Transportation of Stolen Goods and Extortion

FBI Newark Division Press Release:

Jersey City Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Transportation of Stolen Goods and Extortion

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 30, 2014
  • District of New Jersey(973) 645-2888
TRENTON, NJ—A Jersey City, New Jersey police officer today admitted stealing more than half a million cigarettes from a trailer and extorting $20,000 from a drug courier who turned out to be an undercover FBI agent, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Mario Rodriguez, 39, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Anne E. Thompson in Trenton federal court to an information charging him with transportation of stolen goods and extortion under color of official right.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court:
On July 3, 2013, Rodriguez and an individual working for the FBI as a confidential informant (CI) drove to a warehouse in Secaucus, New Jersey to break into a trailer, steal cigarettes, and sell the stolen goods to the CI’s associate. Law enforcement agents had previously parked the trailer at the warehouse and established surveillance of the area.
After using bolt-cutters to cut the lock off of the trailer, Rodriguez and the CI loaded 50 cases containing approximately 600,000 cigarettes and six televisions from the trailer into their vehicle. As they drove the stolen items to a parking lot in Staten Island, New York, Rodriguez made several phone calls seeking buyers for the TVs.
The pair met the CI’s associate—actually an undercover officer—in the parking lot to get the $5,000 payment for the cigarettes. Rodriguez kept $3,000 of the cash and three of the TVs.
On July 10, 2013, Rodriguez, the CI and an undercover law enforcement agent met in New Jersey and discussed the possibility of robbing a drug courier, who was actually another undercover officer. On July 24, 2013, the group met again in Staten Island to discuss the plan. The undercover officer told Rodriguez the courier would be delivering cocaine to them that day in exchange for a $20,000 payment. Rodriguez suggested a Jersey City mall parking lot due to an absence of surveillance cameras and called his associate, Anthony Roman, 48, of Jersey City, who was not a law enforcement officer, to help him with the robbery. Roman was charged with one count of Hobbs Act extortion.
Later that day, Rodriguez and Roman drove an SUV to the location where the CI and the drug courier were parked. Law enforcement agents had already established surveillance and staged the car containing $20,000 cash in a plastic bag. Rodriguez and Roman approached the car and identified themselves as law enforcement officers who were investigating the CI. They pretended to arrest the CI, threatened to arrest the drug courier and took the cash.
Later that day, Rodriguez, the CI and the undercover agent met in a hotel room at a Pennsylvania casino to split the cash.
The cargo theft and conspiracy to commit extortion charges to which Rodriguez pleaded guilty carry a maximum potential penalty of 10 and 20 years in prison, respectively. Both counts also carry a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for September 26, 2014. Rodriguez has been suspended from the police department.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark; the Special Investigations Unit of the Jersey City Police Department, under the direction of Acting Chief Joseph Connors; the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Gaetano T. Gregory; and criminal investigators of the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the investigation leading to today’s plea. He also thanked the Bayonne Police Department, Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and the N.J. State Commission of Investigation for their significant contributions to the investigation.
The government is represented by Acting Deputy Chief of the General Crimes Unit Jonathan W. Romankow in Newark.
The charges against Roman remain pending. They are merely accusations, and he remains innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Defense counsel: Brian J. Neary Esq., Hackensack, New Jersey

New Jersey Pharmacist Admits Attempting to Weaponize Deadly Toxins and Possessing Narcotics Manufacturing Equipment

FBI New York Field Office Press Release:

New Jersey Pharmacist Admits Attempting to Weaponize Deadly Toxins and Possessing Narcotics Manufacturing Equipment

U.S. Attorney’s OfficeMay 29, 2014
  • District of New Jersey(973) 645-2888
WASHINGTON—A licensed pharmacist pleaded guilty in federal court today to attempting to develop, produce, and possess the potentially deadly toxins ricin and abrin for use as weapons and to possessing equipment for producing illegal narcotics, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Jordan S. Gonzalez, 34, of New York and formerly of Jersey City, New Jersey, entered his guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Mary L. Cooper in Trenton federal court.
“Jordan Gonzalez admitted today that he worked to manufacture and deploy deadly toxins, stockpiled weapons and body armor, and acquired manuals training him for violent confrontation,” said U.S. Attorney Fishman. “We all have seen the devastation possible when these behaviors go unchecked. With today’s guilty plea, Jordan Gonzalez will face justice and will not be a threat to society.”
“The overriding focus of the FBI’s WMD Directorate and the primary focus of our overall efforts is prevention,” said FBI Newark Division Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford. “To make this happen, we pull together various resources from the FBI and work closely with our law enforcement partners. In this case, the FBI worked swiftly and tirelessly with our partners to prevent and neutralize all threats posed by this defendant.”
Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, said, “The men and women of DEA are dedicated to protecting the citizens of this nation. This investigation reveals how DEA and its law enforcement partners worked together to prevent Mr. Gonzalez from doing harm to the citizens of our communities.”
According documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From September 18, 2011 through March 19, 2013, Gonzalez purchased thousands of seeds containing ricin and abrin and materials to extract and administer those toxins to others, including filtering equipment, respirators, glass vials, a spraying device, and projectile weapons including a crossbow pistol. Gonzalez also purchased materials for making RDX, an explosive compound used in military and commercial demolition applications. Gonzalez made the purchases through an online third-party vendor marketplace, and all the items were delivered to him at his Jersey City apartment.
Gonzalez learned how to extract toxins from the seeds and about deployment methods from manuals he acquired. He also kept manuals teaching how to make improvised explosive devices and synthesize explosive compounds, including RDX.
On November 8, 2013, while living in New York, Gonzalez purchased one kilogram of sodium azide, a toxic, gas-forming compound that can explode at high temperatures and is lethal if ingested or absorbed through the skin. Law enforcement officers intercepted the delivery during the investigation.
On November 14, 2013, Gonzalez was arrested in Jersey City, and search warrants were executed at three locations he used: apartments in Manhattan and Jersey City and a storage unit in Jersey City. Collectively, material collected through the searches included thousands of seeds containing ricin and abrin; explosive precursor chemicals; manuals related to toxins, explosives, and improvised explosive devices; approximately one thousand rounds of ammunition, handguns, components for assault rifles, and high-capacity magazines; a bulletproof vest; and books and documents related to the collapse of social order and techniques for surviving in a lawless environment. Gonzalez has been in custody since his arrest.
Even small doses of ricin and abrin are potentially lethal to humans if ingested, inhaled, or injected—causing death within 36 to 72 hours from the time of exposure.
During his guilty plea, Gonzalez admitted that acquiring this knowledge and these materials were substantial steps toward developing ricin and abrin as weapons and that he acquired all the materials—including the firearms, ammunition, and body armor—in anticipation of using them in confrontations with other people in the future.
Gonzalez also acquired manuals for synthesizing controlled substances, including methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA) and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), also known as Ecstasy. He bought and had delivered to the Jersey City apartment a three-neck round-bottom flask, gel capsules, and an encapsulating machine, as well as precursor chemicals used in the manufacture of MDA and MDMA. Possession of that type of flask is prohibited if intended for use in the manufacturing of controlled substances.
The toxin charge to which Gonzalez pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of any term of years or life in prison and a $250,000 fine. The narcotics charge carries a maximum potential penalty of four years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled for September 17, 2014.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Ford in Newark, and the DEA, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Kotowski in New Jersey, with the investigation leading to today’s plea. He also thanked members of FBI Newark’s Joint Terrorism Task Force; FBI’s New York Office and Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate Laboratory Division; DEA’s New York Division; and the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness for their work on the case, as well as the police and fire departments of Jersey City and the city of New York, as well as the New Jersey State Police for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney L. Judson Welle of the U.S. Attorney’s Office National Security Unit and Assistant U.S. Attorney Francisco J. Navarro of the Office’s Criminal Division, both in Newark. Valuable support was provided by attorneys of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division-Counterterrorism Section.