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News Blog

July 2024  

Director Discusses Threat Environment, Partnerships in Capitol Hill Appearance

July 24, 2024

FBI Director Christopher Wray on July 24 testified at a regularly scheduled House Judiciary Committee hearing about Bureau oversight.

During his opening remarks to the committee, Director Wray addressed the July 13 assassination attempt against former President Donald Trump; the current threat environment the FBI is facing, from counterterrorism to cybersecurity; and the crucial role of partnerships in combating these threats.

He also took a moment to thank the FBI’s workforce and partners ahead of the Bureau’s 116th anniversary, which we’ll commemorate on July 26.

“... As we approach this week’s anniversary, I would just like to say to all those who are part of the FBI family—from our current employees to our formers, and to our partners across law enforcement and the Intelligence Community: Thank you,” Wray said. “Thank you for dedicating your lives to this country and to its people. It is both humbling and an honor to serve alongside you, and I look forward to the work we’re going to continue to do together.”

Resources:


Violent Crime Case Round-Up

July 19, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

Georgian National Charged with Soliciting Hate Crimes and a Mass Casualty Attack in New York City
Michail Chkhikvishvili, a leader of Maniac Murder Cult (MMC or MKY), a white supremacist group, allegedly recruited others to commit arson and bombings targeting racial minorities and the Jewish community.

  • MKY is a racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist group with members in the U.S. and abroad. Members share a common goal of challenging social order and governments via terrorism and violent acts that promote fear and chaos.
  • "As alleged, the defendant sought to recruit others to commit violent attacks and killings in furtherance of his Neo-Nazi ideologies," stated U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace. "His goal was to spread hatred, fear, and destruction by encouraging bombings, arson, and even poisoning children for the purpose of harming racial minorities, the Jewish community, and homeless individuals. We will not hesitate to find and prosecute those who threaten the safety and freedoms of all members of our community, including members of minority communities, no matter where in the world these criminals might be hiding."
  • Full press release

Operation Clean House: New Orleans
The operation targeted the most violent individuals as part of a long-term effort to uproot crime in the city and throughout Louisiana.

  • Law enforcement teams spread across New Orleans to combat violent crimes, such as homicides, armed robberies, carjackings, and shootings.
  • The operation resulted in a combined 155 arrests, 54 firearms confiscated, 10 firearm switches, and 39 instances of illegal narcotics taken off the streets. 
  • "Together, we focused on collective intelligence gathered from all our partners and what we were hearing from our own community members in the most affected neighborhoods," said FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Lyonel Myrthil. "Community is particularly important to the culture in New Orleans, and this level of overt coordination between law enforcement agencies had an immediate positive effect."
  • Full story

Floresville Man Gets 30 Years in Federal Prison for Sexually Exploiting a Child at a Home Daycare
Rodney Allan Felux was sentenced in federal court to 360 months in prison for the sexual exploitation of a seven-year-old girl.

  • Felux sexually assaulted and exploited the child victim while the child attended a residential daycare in December 2022. The victim advised her mother of the incident leading to an investigation. 
  • "This sentencing sends a clear message that we will not tolerate the sexual abuse and exploitation of children in our community," said FBI San Antonio Special Agent in Charge Aaron Tapp. "The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners at the Wilson County Sheriff's office, will continue to vigorously pursue every lead to rescue children who are being victimized, and bring their perpetrators to justice."
  • Full press release

U.S. Attorney Secures 26-Year Prison Sentence for Gambling-Fueled Crime Spree
Marc Candelaria was sentenced to 26 years in federal prison for orchestrating a violent home invasion against his father-in-law, John Doe, and robbing a bank in order to fuel a severe gambling addiction.

  • Candelaria was assisted by an unknown co-conspirator who acted as the actual intruder during the home invasion. The intruder entered the home and ultimately forced John Doe to write a $23,000 check, then the intruder brutally beat him.
  • Over a month later, Candelaria robbed a Bank of America branch using a typewritten demand note that threatened cartel violence. The bank teller, fearing for his life, gave Candelaria cash from his register.
  • Candelaria committed both crimes to fund a severe gambling addiction. Between September 2020 and May 2022, he visited a local casino approximately 169 times, losing large sums of money.
  • Full press release

Former Army Soldier Sentenced to One Year in Prison for Abusive Sexual Contact on an Aircraft
A former Chief Warrant Officer in the Army, James Benecke, who was stationed in Alaska, was sentenced to 12 months in prison for abusive sexual contact while on board an aircraft.

  • "Preying on teenagers in the confined space of an aircraft is traumatizing, and is happening far too often," said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Tessa M. Gorman. "Those convicted of this crime are required to register as a sex offender. Some have been banned from certain airlines. We need to get the message across that this conduct is unacceptable and will be prosecuted."
  • As noted in the government’s sentencing memorandum, the Western District of Washington "has experienced a significant increase in the number of reported airline sexual assaults over the last few years," and these crimes "have serious consequences on the victims." For the two victims in this case, "teenagers embarking on exciting travel opportunities, Mr. Benecke’s actions diminished their sense of personal safety, and turned what should have been joyous, meaningful trips—one to a school sporting competition, and one returning home from college orientation—into sources of trauma."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Celebrating Women Special Agents

July 17, 2024

J. Edgar Hoover Rejection Letter to Female Applicant

A rejection letter was sent to a female agent applicant in 1972, shortly before women were eligible to apply for the special agent role.

In 1972, Joanne Pierce (Misko) and Susan Roley (Malone) made history as the first female special agents to graduate from the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia.

But before the 1970s—and before the FBI’s policy that barred female applicants to the special agent role—three female employees held the role of special agent.

In the 1920s—before agents were permitted to carry firearms, before the days of Quantico, and before 1929’s first organized agent school—Jessie B. Duckstein, Alaska P. Davidson, and Lenore Houston were designated as special agents. By 1928, all three had resigned—and the next female agents weren’t hired for over 40 years.

By the end of 1972, 11 women had been sworn in as special agents—and, today, female special agents serve as firearms instructors, work in the FBI’s overseas legal attaché offices, and hold roles as FBI executives.


Violent Crime Case Round-Up

July 12, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

Criminals Are Targeting Bank and ATM Customers in Maryland
The FBI and local law enforcement partners are investigating a surge of armed robberies, known as "jugging" crimes, at financial institutions in Maryland. At least 21 bank and ATM customers have been victimized by these crimes just in the first week of July.

  • "Jugging" refers to a crime in which a suspect, or group of suspects, targets customers believed to have large amounts of cash. The perpetrators either rob customers while in the parking lot of a bank, credit union, or ATM or follow them to their next location.
  • A majority of the crimes have taken place in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties.
  • "These assailants are brazenly targeting bank and ATM customers, posing a significant risk to the public of both physical and financial harm. FBI Baltimore’s Violent Crime Task Forces and our partners are working together to combat the alarming rise of these dangerous incidents," said FBI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge William J. DelBagno. "We will continue to pursue criminals with all our available resources and remain determined to eradicate violent crime from our streets."
  • Full press release

Former Teacher Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Exploiting Children in Laos
Michael Sebastian was sentenced to 12 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release for sexually exploiting minors to whom he taught English in Laos.

  • Sebastian is charged with sexually abusing three minor children who lived with him between May 2018 and March 2020.
  • While teaching children in Laos, Sebastian allowed certain students to live with him in his apartment. Students who were unable to pay for their living expenses were forced to perform "chores" around the house to earn credit towards their rent payments, which entailed Sebastian sexually abusing them. 
  • "Michael Sebastian apparently thought, because he was halfway around the world, he could commit these heinous crimes with impunity. Today’s sentence makes it clear that was wrong," said FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen. "This serial sex offender shamelessly exploited three Laotian boys who were destitute and dependent upon him for shelter and education for his own gratification. Protecting vulnerable kids from predators like him is a top priority for FBI Boston’s Child Exploitation—Human Trafficking Task Force."
  • Full press release

Bloods Gang Leader Sentenced to Life in Prison for Racketeering Charges
Howard Davis, a leader of the violent Bloods street gang, was sentenced to life in prison plus 132 years for attempted murder, assault, robbery, distribution of controlled substances, obstruction of justice, and brandishing and discharging firearms during the commission of these offenses.

  • As proven at trial and in court filings, Davis was the leader of Long Island-based G-Shine set of the Bloods, a racketeering enterprise that engaged in multiple crimes of violence and narcotics trafficking.
  • While leading this criminal organization, Davis directed a campaign of violence against his rivals, including issuing a standing order to kill certain individuals whenever and wherever they were found, in addition to other crimes.
  • "Howard Davis’s tyranny over Long Island has come to an end. His myriad of crimes repeatedly violated the law as Davis used his status as the gang’s leader to breed further criminality and gun violence. Today’s sentence demonstrates the FBI’s determination to take armed criminals who threaten the safety of our communities off the streets," stated FBI New York Acting Assistant Director in Charge Christie M. Curtis.
  • Full press release

Tahlequah Resident Sentenced to Life in Prison for First-Degree Murder
Isaac Newman Sockey was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder stemming from a fatal knife attack on September 8, 2023, at a Tahlequah residence in Cherokee County, within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation Reservation, in the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

  • On the day of the murder, Sockey retrieved a butterfly knife from his bedroom, placed the knife to the victim’s throat, and threatened the victim in response to a verbal insult. The victim pushed the knife away and attempted to disarm Sockey.  Sockey then stabbed the victim more than twenty times, including in the neck, head, and torso.
  • Despite life-saving measures, the victim died from injuries sustained in the attack.
  • "Senseless tragedies such as this reverberate through our communities, and those who perpetrate these acts must be brought to justice," said FBI Oklahoma City Acting Special Agent in Charge Jason Kaplan. "The FBI and our law enforcement partners remain committed to preventing violent crime in Indian country by removing offenders like Mr. Sockey from our streets."
  • Full press release

Senior Leaders of Lev Tahor Sect Sentenced to 14 and 12 Years in Prison for Kidnapping and Sex Trafficking Crimes
Yakov Weingarten, Shmiel Weingarten, and Yoil Weingarten were sentenced to 14 years, 14 years, and 12 years in prison, respectively, for child sexual exploitation and kidnapping offenses.

  • The defendants are U.S. citizens and senior leaders of Lev Tahor, an extremist religious sect that has been located in several different jurisdictions, including New York, Israel, Canada, Mexico, and Guatemala. Lev Tahor leaders, including the Weingarten brothers, embraced several extreme practices, including forced family separations, child marriages, and underage sex.
  • The defendants masterminded a scheme to kidnap a 14-year-old girl ("Minor-1") and a 12-year-old boy ("Minor-2") from their mother in Woodridge, New York. The defendants then smuggled the children across the U.S. border to Mexico, where they reunited Minor-1 with her adult "husband" to allow him to continue his illegal sexual relationship with Minor-1. 
  • "The sentencing of the Weingarten brothers holds them accountable for kidnapping children from their mother in the middle of the night, including for the purpose of coercing a child into a sexual relationship with an adult," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams.
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Updates to List of Native Americans Verified as Missing Throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation   

July 11, 2024

On June 26, FBI Albuquerque released an updated list of Native Americans it has verified as missing throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. This list is part of an effort to improve the reporting and recovery of missing persons in Indian Country

The FBI is seeking public assistance and information on the cases. If you have information concerning any of these cases, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov (tips can remain anonymous). 

Since June 26 2024, 24 people have been removed from the list, and 10 people have been added. 

Below is a list of those who were added:  

  • Triphina Ben
  • Gerald Benally
  • Juan Charley
  • Nicole Curley
  • Alexander Dale
  • Roy Etsitty
  • Leon Spoonhunter
  • Lucas Williams
  • Thomas Yasteya
  • Tarail Yellowmexican 



Violent Crime Case Round-Up

July 5, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

FBI Cleveland Renews Call for Tips About Missing Teen’s Whereabouts
As the 17th anniversary of Ashley Summers’ disappearance approaches, the Bureau’s Cleveland Field Office is encouraging the public to come forward with any information they may have about her disappearance.

  • Summers was 14 years old when she was last seen in Cleveland, around July 7-8, 2007. She was reported missing to the Cleveland Department of Police on July 11, 2007.
  • The FBI joined the investigation in 2008 when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children alerted the FBI Cleveland Field Office about Ashley’s case.
  • "This is still very much an active investigation," said FBI Cleveland Special Agent Cristin McCaskill. "We still hope to bring resolution to Ashley’s family. And I believe that the only way we're going to be able to do that at this point is through tips—and the only way to generate those tips is by getting Ashley’s story out to the public. I am certain there are individuals out there who we haven’t spoken to yet. If someone believes they saw Ashley or knows where she may be, we welcome all tips."
  • Full press release

California Man Arrested for Allegedly Using Instagram to Advertise and Distribute Child Sexual Abuse Material and to Commit Sextortion
Alejandro Garcia Aranda, 23, of Sylmar, has been charged with one count of advertisement of child pornography, one count of distribution of child pornography, and one count transmitting threatening communications with intent to extort.

  • According to the indictment, in April and May of 2020, Aranda used an Instagram handle in hopes of “[e]xposing” victims: local girls who attended schools in California’s San Fernando Valley.
  • Aranda allegedly used Cash App, PayPal, Venmo, and Zelle to receive payments from customers who wanted to obtain sexually explicit content of the victims that he had advertised and offered to sell on the Instagram account. Aranda allegedly used Instagram to direct-message customers a link to a ZIP file containing sexually explicit photographs of his victims after receiving and confirming payment.
  • When victims discovered that Aranda was advertising and disseminating sexually explicit materials depicting them—and asked him to stop and remove the materials—Aranda allegedly tried to extract further more sexually explicit material from them, including by threatening to post more photographs.
  • Full press release

Texas Man Pleads Guilty in Racketeering Scheme That Resulted in Nationwide Lockdown of Federal Prison System
Juan Carlos Rivas-Moreiera pleaded guilty on July 2 for his role in a racketeering conspiracy in furtherance of the violent transnational criminal organization La Mara Salvatrucha, also known as MS-13.

  • In April 2022, seven defendants—including Rivas-Moreiera—were indicted and charged with the planning and execution of a violent attack orchestrated by MS-13 members against Mexican Mafia and Sureños associates.
  • The attack resulted in two deaths, two attempted murders, and a nationwide lockdown of all inmates in the Federal Bureau of Prisons for almost a week.
  • Rivas-Moreiera—the last remaining defendant to plead guilty—faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
  • The FBI investigated this case in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
  • Full press release

Member of Violent Connecticut Gang Sentenced to 9 Years in Federal Prison
Michael Lockhart was sentenced to 108 months of imprisonment, followed by four years of supervised release, for his involvement in a violent Bridgeport, Connecticut, street gang.

  • Lockhart was a member of the Original North End (“O.N.E.”), a gang based in the Trumbull Gardens area of Bridgeport that committed acts of violence against rival gangs.
  • He was arrested after a search of his residence revealed the following items:
    • Large bags of marijuana
    • Numerous items used to process and package narcotics for street sale, including thousands of glassine bags typically used to package fentanyl and heroin
    • Five Glock handguns
    • Three empty boxes for other Glock handguns
    • Extended magazines
    • Ammunition
    • Body armor
    • Other gun accessories
  • He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute controlled substances, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.
  • This prosecution is a part of the Justice’s Department’s Project Safe Neighborhoods, Project Longevity, and Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces programs.
  • Full press release

South Dakota Mother and Son Convicted of Second-Degree Murder and Assault Charges
A jury has convicted 47-year-old Theodora Belt and 23-year-old Bailey Belt of second-degree murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

  • The convictions stem from an incident that occurred on May 27, 2023, in Bridger, South Dakota, within the Cheyenne River Reservation.
  • Theodora and Bailey Belt got into an argument while visiting the home of their two victims.
    • The two went on to assault the first victim by punching, kicking, and beating him with a shovel. Theodora’s car then ran over the first victim while he lay on the ground outside the home, ultimately killing him.
    • Bailey Belt struck a second victim in the head with a shovel, requiring him to be life-flighted to Rapid City, South Dakota, for medical treatment. The victim survived.
  • The FBI investigated this case in partnership with Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Law Enforcement Services.
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


FBI Helps Return Stolen Revolutionary War-Era Firearm to Philadelphia Museum  

July 3, 2024

From left to right, FBI Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent Jake Archer of the FBI Art Crime Team, and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jamie Milligan pose with a Revolutionary War-era musket that was returned to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia on July 1, 2024.

From left to right, FBI Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent Jake Archer of the FBI Art Crime Team, and Assistant Special Agent in Charge Jamie Milligan pose with a Revolutionary War-era musket that was returned to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia on July 1, 2024.

This week, FBI Philadelphia helped return a historic musket to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.

The .78-caliber firearm was stolen from Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in October 1968, and had been missing for more than half a century.

The FBI told the story of the complex art crime case in April 2024. A tipster who read the story and recognized the musket soon came forward with information that allowed investigators to track down the firearm, transfer it into FBI custody, and return it to the museum.

Watch the video below to learn more about the musket's history, and read this FBI Philadelphia press release to learn more about how the artifact made its way home to the museum.

Museum of the American Revolution President and CEO Dr. R. Scott Stephenson discusses the history of a Revolutionary War-era musket during an FBI Art Crime Team repatriation ceremony on July 1, 2024. The musket was stolen from Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, in October 1968, and formally returned to the museum during the ceremony.

Transcript / Download


June 2024 

Violent Crime Case Round-Up

June 28, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

"King" of Violent Haitian Gang Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Gun Smuggling and Money Laundering
Joly Germine was sentenced to 420 months in prison for his role in a gunrunning conspiracy that smuggled firearms to Haiti in violation of U.S. export laws, and the laundering of ransoms paid for U.S. hostages held by the notoriously violent Haitian gang known as 400 Mawozo. 

  • Eliande Tunis, who styled herself as Germine’s "wife" and was described at trial as the "Queen" of 400 Mawozo, was sentenced on June 5, to 150 months in prison for her role in the conspiracy. 
  • "Joly Germine is being held accountable for his role in smuggling weapons into Haiti using funds laundered from the ransoms of kidnapped American citizens," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "The 400 Mawazo gang not only wreaks havoc in its own communities but targets innocent Americans living and traveling in Haiti. The FBI will continue to work with our partners to target the leadership and take down any violent criminal group who preys upon Americans abroad and uses unlawful and dangerous tactics like weapons-trafficking and kidnapping to further their criminal enterprise."
  • Full press release

Local Partners Join FBI New Orleans in Announcing Latest Violent Crime Initiative Operation Clean House
For four weeks, teams of law enforcement from a variety of agencies fanned out across the city, targeting areas plagued by narcotics trafficking, shootings, and killings.

  • Operation Clean House officially ended Wednesday, June 26, 2024, with a combined 155 arrests, 54 firearms confiscated, 10 firearm switches, and dangerous narcotics taken off the streets.
  • "This is not a 'one and done' effort," said FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Myrthil. "This is not a superficial attempt because New Orleans is hosting a major sporting event next year. We are here for the long haul…To the members of our great city who literally cheered us on, thank you. New Orleans we are here. We are listening, and we care."
  • Full press release

Members of a Cargo Theft Ring Sentenced to Prison
Yunior Hernandez, Roberto Quesada Lopez, Carlos Alberto Valdes, and Yubani Millares Vera have been sentenced to prison for multiple cargo thefts throughout the southeastern U.S. totaling more than $1.7 million.

  • "The FBI takes cargo theft very seriously, due to the significant impact it has on the United States economy, and the potential for stolen goods to be used to fund other criminal organizations," said FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Keri Farley. "This theft conspiracy did not stop at our state border, and neither did our investigation. Thanks to our partnership with Miami agencies, we tracked these thieves across the entire southeast, and now they will be held accountable for their crimes."
  • "Thefts of interstate shipments disrupt the production and delivery of needed goods and result in detrimental financial impact on businesses, consumers, and the U.S. economy generally," said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia Ryan K. Buchanan. "The sentencing of these defendants is an example of our office’s commitment to prosecute these criminals as well as a warning to others that these offenses are an investigative priority for our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners."
  • Full press release

Former Alabama Sheriff’s Deputy Sentenced for Federal Civil Rights Offense of Excessive Force
Former Elmore County, Alabama, Sheriff’s Deputy Blake Hicks was sentenced to 29 months in prison and three years of supervised release for depriving an arrestee of his civil rights under color of law. 

  • Hicks willfully used unreasonable force against an arrestee. Specifically, without legal justification, Hicks punched and kicked the arrestee in or around the head while the arrestee was handcuffed and incapacitated on the ground. The arrestee suffered a broken cheekbone, concussion, and lacerations from Hicks’ assault.
  • "This defendant had a duty to respect the rights of people in his custody and to keep them safe," said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. "Instead, he violently assaulted a person under arrest who was not resisting or threatening harm to the defendant or the public. The Justice Department remains firmly committed to holding accountable law enforcement officials who abuse their powers and use excessive force against people in custody."
  • Full press release

Former Airline Mechanic Sentenced to Prison for Sexual Assault of Woman Seated Next to Him on Plane
A former commercial airline mechanic was sentenced to six months in prison and five years of supervised release for abusive sexual contact aboard an aircraft.

  • Brick was on a March 20, 2023, flight from Phoenix to Seattle. He was seated in a middle seat, with the 24-year-old victim in the window seat. The victim was anxious about flying and had taken an anti-anxiety medication.
  • The victim fell asleep and awoke to find Brick repeatedly sexually assaulting her.
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney Grace Zoller said the assault was "intentional, methodical, and prolonged…it took place over many minutes. He knew she was not consenting and when he was caught, he blamed her."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Chasing the CryptoQueen: New Reward Announced for Tips Leading to FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitive's Arrest, Conviction  

June 27, 2024

The United States Department of State's Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program is offering a reward of up to $5 million for tips leading to the arrest and/or conviction of Ruja Ignatova—also known as the “CryptoQueen.” 

Ignatova co-founded OneCoin, a Bulgarian-based company that marketed a purported cryptocurrency that looked to rival Bitcoin. But the new virtual currency was allegedly a fraud scheme from the start. To date, OneCoin investors have lost the equivalent of more than $4 billion. 

Ignatova was placed on the the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List on June 30, 2022.  

You can listen to an episode of the Inside the FBI podcast or read our story about her addition to the list to learn more about Ignatova and her alleged crimes.

You can also view her FBI Wanted poster or watch a video clip of her at a speaking engagement in 2016

If you have any information about Ruja Ignatova’s whereabouts, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You can also submit tips online at tips.fbi.gov. You can share information with the FBI anonymously.


Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell Marks Ninth Anniversary  

June 24, 2024

On June 24, the Hostage Fusion Recovery Cell (HRFC) commemorates its ninth anniversary.

The HRFC was established in 2015 under Presidential Policy Directive 30 as a multi-agency team coordinating recovery activities for American hostages abroad. Based at FBI Headquarters, the HRFC is staffed by hostage recovery professionals from the FBI, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of State, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and other U.S. agencies. A key aspect of the HRFC is the Family Engagement Team, which coordinates direct support to family members of hostages in captivity, as well as post-captivity support to recovered hostages.

“The objectives of the Hostage Recovery Fusion Cell are to recover the victims, reunify and support the family members, and seek justice for the victims, no matter how long it takes,” said FBI Section Chief Rajiv Maan, director of the HRFC.

The HRFC encourages all Americans to be aware of current travel advisories and any hostage-taking threats in areas where they plan to travel. Visit travel.state.gov for information from the U.S. Department of State on your travel destination and areas of high-risk. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free State Department service that provides up-to-date safety and security information and helps the appropriate U.S. Embassy reach Americans abroad in emergency situations.

Rajiv Maan HRFC Director

HRFC Director Rajiv Maan


Violent Crime Case Round-Up

June 21, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

Former Colorado Resident Sentenced to Life in Prison for Federal Hate Crimes and Firearm Offenses Related to Mass Shooting at Club Q
Anderson Lee Aldrich was sentenced to 55 concurrent life sentences to run consecutive to 190 years in prison after pleading guilty to 74 hate crimes and firearms charges related to the Nov. 19, 2022, mass shooting at Club Q, an LGBTQIA+ establishment in Colorado Springs.  

  • Aldrich admitted to murdering five people, injuring 19, and attempting to murder 26 more in a willful, deliberate, malicious, and pre-mediated attack at Club Q. According to the plea, Aldrich entered Club Q armed with a loaded, privately manufactured assault weapon and began firing. Aldrich continued firing until subdued by patrons of the Club.
  • "The 2022 mass shooting at Club Q is one of the most violent crimes against the LGBTQIA+ community in history," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "The FBI and our partners have worked tirelessly towards this sentencing, but the true heroes are the patrons of the Club who selflessly acted to subdue the defendant. This Pride Month and every month, the FBI stands with the survivors, victims, and families of homophobic violence and hate."
  • Full press release

Fort Hall Woman Sentenced to Federal Prison for Causing the Death of Her Seven-Week-Old Baby by Methamphetamine Exposure
Keisha Cody was sentenced to five years in federal prison for felony injury to a child, following the death of her seven-week-old baby boy on December 10, 2019.

  • Cody admitted to recklessly causing the health of her child to be injured by willfully exposing the child to methamphetamine and causing the child to become malnourished, which resulted in the child’s death.
  • "This case painfully demonstrates the deadly consequences of substance abuse and drug addiction,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Idaho Josh Hurwit. "We stand with the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, as well as the law enforcement officers and emergency personnel who responded to this tragedy, in mourning this loss of life."
  • "The loss of her innocent newborn is something this mother will now have to live with for the rest of her life," said FBI Salt Lake City Special Agent in Charge Shohini Sinha. "This case shows the unintended and devastating consequences of drug addiction. The FBI and our partners are continuously working to combat this problem which has resulted in so much pain and destruction in our communities."
  • Full press release

Three Hells Angels Sentenced to Life in Prison for Racketeering Conspiracy and Related Crimes
Jonathan Nelson, Brian Wayne Wendt, and Russell Taylor Ott, were all sentenced to spend the rest of their lives in prison.

  • A jury concluded in June of 2022 that the defendants participated in an enterprise that engaged in a broad array of violent crimes, including murder, assault, robbery, extortion, and witness intimidation.
  • "These three Hells Angels members were the most violent of the dozens convicted in this investigation. They used violence and fear to intimidate our community, but their brutality and disregard for human life have now earned them life in prison,” said FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Robert Tripp. "Today’s announcement is the direct result of years of persistence, dedication, and collaboration with our partners at the California Highway Patrol and Santa Rosa Police Department. Today, these individuals have faced the consequences of their actions, and today, we are a step closer in fulfilling our mission of eradicating organized criminal activity and keeping our neighborhoods safe."
  • Full press release

Ten Minneapolis Gang Members Charged with Illegal Possession of Firearms and Drug Trafficking
Ten members of a south Minneapolis street gang have been charged in federal court for various crimes including illegal possession of firearms, possession of a machine gun, and drug trafficking.

  • The Minneapolis street gang known as the 10z are involved in narcotics and firearms trafficking in south Minneapolis, as well as violent crime throughout the Minneapolis metropolitan area.
  • "Violent criminals who carry guns pose a deadly threat to communities and, as recent tragedies show, to the law enforcement officers and first responders who are sworn to protect us all," said U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew Luger. "Our federal resources are focused on holding accountable those who threaten the safety of our communities. My message to the community: We are working for you, for your families and your children, to make sure violent crime continues to drop and we can all enjoy our beautiful cities this summer."
  • Full press release

U.S. Attorney Announces Extradition of Indian National Charged in Connection with Foiled Plot to Assassinate U.S. Citizen in New York City
At the direction of an Indian government employee, Nikhil Gupta, an Indian National, worked to carry out a plot to murder U.S.-based leader of Sikh separatist movement.

  • Gupta has been charged with murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
  • "As alleged, the defendant conspired from India with an Indian government employee in an unsuccessful assassination plot to assassinate, right here in New York City, a U.S. citizen of Indian origin who has publicly advocated for the establishment of a sovereign state for Sikhs, an ethno-religious minority group in India," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams. "Today’s extradition makes clear our unwavering resolve to investigate, thwart, and prosecute those who seek to harm and silence U.S. citizens here and elsewhere. We thank our Czech government counterparts for their close cooperation in this extradition."
  • "This defendant has been extradited for his alleged role in a plot to assassinate a U.S. citizen on American soil," said FBI Director Christopher A. Wray. "The FBI will not tolerate attempts by foreign nationals, or anyone else for that matter, to repress constitutionally-protected freedoms in the U.S.  We will continue to work with our partners at home and abroad to protect our citizens and these sacred rights."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Global Partnerships: FBI Director Visits Kenya, Nigeria

June 14, 2024

Director Wray at August 7 Memorial Park

FBI Director Christopher Wray visits the August 7 Memorial Park, which commemorates the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing, during a June 2024 visit to Kenya.

This week, FBI Director Christopher Wray made his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa as Director.

There, he met with top law enforcement and security officials in Kenya and Nigeria—as well as the Nigerian president—to underscore the Bureau’s dedication to partnerships in the region and to showcase our collaboration in countering various threats, including public corruption, terrorism, violent crime, cybercrime, and sextortion.

While in Kenya, specifically, Director Wray also attended the first commander’s meeting of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Kenya (or JTTF-K, for short).

“I know of no more effective way than a JTTF to bring all of a government’s resources to bear in a rule of law-based framework,” Wray said of the task force. “Collaboration, both within a country’s national security apparatus and among like-minded countries, is the only way to successfully fight the scourge of terrorism while protecting human rights. As we learned in the U.S. in the aftermath of September 11, no single agency has all the tools, knowledge, or resources to fight this battle alone.”

You can visit this resource page to learn more about FBI JTTFs.

You can read this press release to learn more about the Director’s trip.


Violent Crime Case Round-Up

June 14, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

Sureno Gang Member Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison for Murder on Yakama Nation Indian Reservation
Jaime Herrera was sentenced after pleading guilty to one count of second-degree murder in Indian Country and one count of assault with a dangerous weapon in Indian Country.

  • On July 19, 2017, Herrera, who is a Sureno gang member and not affiliated with the Yakama Nation, accused two men of being traitors to the gang. Herrera pulled out a rifle and killed one of the men—an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation. The second man—who survived the shooting—is an enrolled member of the Nez Perce Tribe.
  • Herrera also committed a second, unrelated homicide in the Yakima Valley—arranging an ambush and ultimately shooting the victim. Herrera was arrested shortly after the second murder, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 240 months imprisonment in that case.
  • "Senseless is the only word to describe this crime," said FBI Seattle Special Agent in Charge Richard A. Collodi. "The violence Mr. Herrera displayed in this case, and subsequently in a separate case, indicates prison is where he belongs. I applaud the work of our investigators and partners who work so hard to make our state’s reservations safe for the people who live on them."
  • Full press release

Former Police Officer Sentenced to Four Consecutive Life Sentences for 2016 Quadruple Murder
Nicholas Tartaglione was sentenced to four consecutive life sentences for his role in the 2016 murders of Martin Luna, Urbano Santiago, Miguel Luna, and Hector Gutierrez.  

  • Tartaglione who is a former police officer, orchestrated the kidnapping and murders of all four victims.
  • "Nicholas Tartaglione brutally and senselessly murdered Martin Luna over money, and then ruthlessly executed Urbano Santiago, Miguel Luna, and Hector Gutierrez simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time," sad U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams. "He tried to cover up his crimes by burying all four victims in a shallow grave on his property...Today’s sentence of four consecutive life terms justly reflects the pain and suffering each victim underwent at Tartaglione’s hands. I hope that this outcome brings some measure of closure to the victims’ families and to their community."
  • Full press release

Carmel Man Sentenced to 22 Years in Federal Prison for Sexual Exploitation and Possession of Child Sexual Abuse Material
Thomas Cade Martin has been sentenced to 275 months in federal prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to distribution of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and possession of child sexual abuse material.

  • Martin also admitted to sexually exploiting a minor victim in Carmel, Indiana. Martin asked Minor Victim 1 (MV1), a 15-year-old male, to meet in-person after being introduced through Grindr, an online dating application. Martin continued conversations with MV1 through Instagram and Snapchat, initially lying about his identity and age in order to groom MV1.
  • "Martin sexually abused and exploited a 15-year-old boy, having gained his adoration and trust online. Taking advantage of vulnerable teens for sexual gain is a despicable crime that merits significant prison time," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Zachary A. Myers. "The sentence imposed today should serve as a warning to would-be groomers and offenders: if you solicit and exploit minors for sex, you will spend many years in federal prison."
  • Full press release

Member of Violent New Haven Gang Sentenced to More Than 15 Years in Federal Prison
Jaedyn Rivera, also known as "Jae Honcho," was sentenced to 182 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his involvement in a violent New Haven street gang, Exit 8. 

  • The Exit 8 gang is named after the geographic area accessed by exiting Interstate 91 at Exit 8 in New Haven.
  • Rivera and other members of the Exit 8 gang engaged in drug trafficking, used and shared firearms—and since June 2018, have committed at least three murders and 16 attempted murders.
  • Exit 8 members and associates also stole vehicles, at times from outside of the state, and used those stolen vehicles when committing acts of violence. Gang members also promoted, coordinated, facilitated, and celebrated their narcotics distribution and acts of violence through text messaging and the use of social media applications and websites.
  • Full press release

Yakima Man Sentenced to 16 Years in Federal Prison on Drug Trafficking Charges
An investigation into stolen skis for sale on Craigslist, led investigators to Jacob Rodney Penny, who was sentenced on drug trafficking charges and possession of a firearm. 

  • The victim of a residential burglary saw a Craigslist ad for ski equipment that matched items that had been stolen. Law enforcement contacted the seller, Penny, and asked to purchase the skis. Law enforcement detained Penny and executed a search warrant on Penny's Tahoe.
  • The Tahoe held four large bags that contained hundreds of fentanyl pills, two smaller bags containing between 100 and 200 fentanyl pills each, a small quantity of methamphetamine, a scale with drug residue, two 9mm pistols, and $2,600 in cash.
  • "Sometimes an unexpected break leads to success," said FBI Seattle Special Agent in Charge Richard A. Collodi. "In this case, a property crime led to sending a drug trafficker to federal prison. The FBI and our partners will continue working to keep these dangerous drugs off the streets and out of our communities."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 

June 13, 2024

June 15 marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The observance aims to educate the public about the dangers of elder fraud—crime intended to separate older Americans from their money or cryptocurrency.  

Elder fraud can take many forms. This year, however, the FBI and our partners are drawing attention to government impersonation scams.  

In these scams, fraudsters pretend to be government employees. Then, they threaten to arrest victims or charge them with crimes unless they agree to pay up.  

You can read a 2022 public service announcement from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) to learn more about this risk.  

You can also listen to a recent episode of our Inside the FBI podcast to learn about the Phantom Hacker scam—a hybrid tech-support/government-impersonation scam that's growing in popularity—and how to avoid becoming its next victim. 

If you suspect that you or a loved one may have been targeted by a government impersonation scam (or any other type of elder fraud), you can report it to the FBI by: 

  • Contacting your nearest FBI field office; 
  • Submitting a tip online at tips.fbi.gov; or 
  • Filing a complaint with IC3 online at ic3.gov

Resources: 


Reported Violent Crime Fell By 15.2% from Q1 2023 to Q1 2024, New FBI Data Release Shows

June 12, 2024

Reported violent crime fell by 15.2% between the first quarter of calendar year 2023 (January 1-March 31) and the first quarter of this year, according to the FBI’s first Quarterly Uniform Crime Report data release for calendar year 2024. 

Additional highlights from the release, which was based on data that law enforcement agencies voluntarily shared with the Bureau, included: 

  • A 26.4% decrease in reported murders; 
  • A 25.7% decrease in reported rapes; 
  • A 17.8% decrease in reported robberies; 
  • A 12.5% decrease in reported aggravated assaults; and 
  • A 15.1% decrease in reported property crime within the same time period. 

“This continued historic decline in homicides does not represent abstract statistics,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in a statement about the data release. “It represents people whose lives were saved—people who are still here to see their children grow up, to work toward fulfilling their dreams, and to contribute to their communities.” 

Garland’s statement also stressed the ongoing nature of the Justice Department’s quest to quell violent crime. 

“Our work will not be done until all Americans feel safe in their communities,” he said. 

You can read an FBI press release to learn more about the data release and how it was compiled. You can visit the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer to dig into the data more deeply. 

The FBI Quarterly Uniform Crime Report data releases, published by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, include data on violent crimes (including murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and property crimes (including burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft). The data releases provide a nationwide overview, data breakdowns by population group size or region, and data reported by cities with 100,000 and over in population. They also show how data points changed from the previous year. 


Violent Crime Case Round-Up

June 7, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

Former U.S. Soldier Turned Foreign Fighter Extradited from Ukraine to the U.S. for 2018 Double Homicide, Armed Robbery, Immigration Document Offenses, Aggravated Identity Theft, and Other Charges
Craig Austin Lang faces criminal charges in the Middle District of Florida, the Eastern District of North Carolina, and the District of Arizona.

  • "As alleged in the indictments, Craig Austin Lang went on an international crime spree that included a double murder in Florida, attempts to travel internationally to engage in other acts of violence outside the United States, and a plot to evade law enforcement detection by trading guns, a grenade, and cash to use another person’s identifying information to apply for a U.S. passport under an assumed name," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. 
  • "The alleged conduct of Craig Austin Lang, which includes homicide and armed robbery, will not be tolerated by the FBI," said Executive Assistant Director Timothy Langan of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch. "Individuals that engage in such activity must face the consequences of their actions. We would like to thank our partner law enforcement agencies for their efforts in ensuring that criminals face justice. If you cause harm to the American public, we will relentlessly pursue you even if you are located beyond our borders."
  • Full press release

Ex-Husband of 'Real Housewives of New Jersey' Star Convicted of Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering and Obstruction of Justice
Thomas Manzo was convicted on one count of committing a violent crime in aid of racketeering activity, one count of conspiracy to commit a violent crime in aid of racketeering resulting in serious bodily injury, and one count of falsifying and concealing documents related to a federal investigation.

  • In the spring of 2015, Manzo hired Lucchese crime family soldier John Perna to assault his ex-wife’s then-boyfriend in exchange for a free wedding reception for Perna held at an upscale venue Manzo owned. Perna, who is a "made man" in the Lucchese crime family with his own crew, worked with his associates to plan and carry out the violent assault, which took place on July 18, 2015.
  • "Manzo now faces a lengthy federal prison sentence because he chose to hire a 'made man' to carry out an assault on his ex-wife’s boyfriend," said FBI Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy. "He then gave away a free wedding and hid the documents to cover it up. The facts and circumstances in this case read like something from a bad TV crime drama, but the evidence and testimony presented in court prove it was reality. We truly hope the victims in this investigation are able to move on with their lives and forget about Manzo and his criminal mafia bedfellows."
  • Full press release

Bloods Gang Member Sentenced to 12 Years in Prison for Violent and Extortionate Takeover of the New York City Fire Mitigation Industry
Jatiek Smith was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role as the leader of a violent and extortionate racketeering enterprise that terrorized the fire restoration industry in New York City.

  • The fire restoration industry refers to the businesses that repair properties that have suffered damage from fires or exposures to fires.  Within this industry, fire restoration companies (sometimes referred to as emergency mitigation services companies) provide emergency mitigation services, demolition, and construction services to properties that have suffered such damages. First Response Cleaning Corp. ("First Response") was one such EMS company.
  • In 2019, Smith joined First Response and quickly assumed control over its operations. Smith, a member of the Bloods, the violent street gang, recruited other gang members and associates to join him at First Response. As the leader of this crew, Smith and his associates used violence, threats of violence, and extortion to terrorize and dominate the fire restoration industry in New York City.
  • Full press release

Illinois Predator Sentenced to 42 Years in Federal Prison for Years of Sexual Abuse of a Young Child he Drugged with Methamphetamine
Zachary Nichols has been sentenced to 42 years in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, after pleading guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a child and one count of permitting or assisting by a parent or guardian in the sexual exploitation of a child.

  • Nichols had been in a romantic relationship with a relative of an eleven-year-old child. Beginning in at least 2016, Nichols began sexually abusing the child and recording the abuse.
  • Nichols was an active user of methamphetamine and supplied the child with the drug to facilitate some of the sexual abuse. The child is nearly incapacitated because of drug use in some of the child sex abuse material that Nichols created. Nichols continued supplying methamphetamine to the child well into the victim’s teenage years.
  • "This sentence clearly demonstrates the gravity of the defendant’s heinous actions and ensures he will be behind bars for years to come and unable to perpetrate such depravity on another child," said FBI Indianapolis Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton. "The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue and hold accountable those who engage in these crimes."
  • Full press release

Meridian Man Sentenced for Destruction of an Energy Facility After Shooting at Two Idaho Power Hydroelectric Power Plants
Randy Scott Vail was sentenced to five years of probation for destruction of an energy facility.

  • On June 8, 2023, and continuing into June 9, 2023, Vail shot at the Hells Canyon Dam hydroelectric power station and the Brownlee Dam hydroelectric power station causing power loss and substantial damage to both. The dams are essential to electricity production, transmission, and storage in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.
  • "The citizens of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington rely on this infrastructure, and the damage potentially could have been catastrophic," said FBI Salt Lake City Special Agent in Charge Shohini Sinha. "The FBI and our partners will work diligently to identify, arrest, and hold accountable those who use violence to further ideology."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Updates to List of Native Americans Verified as Missing Throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation   

June 6, 2024

On May 28, FBI Albuquerque released an updated list of Native Americans it has verified as missing throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. This list is part of an effort to improve the reporting and recovery of missing persons in Indian Country

The FBI is seeking public assistance and information on the cases. If you have information concerning any of these cases, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov (tips can remain anonymous). 

Since May 28, 2024, 13 people have been removed from the list, and 11 people have been added. 

Below is a list of those who were added:  

  • Kiowa Benally 
  • Emy Bennett 
  • Nathan Boone 
  • Latisha Clark 
  • Lyle Clarke 
  • Tomacina Etcitty 
  • Galeeyia Holiday 
  • Star Nez 
  • Angel Ricotta 
  • Roy Sampson 
  • Harmony Yslas 



FBI Cyber Lead Keynotes 2024 Boston Conference on Cyber Security

June 5, 2024

FBI Cyber Lead Addresses Boston Conference on Cyber Security

FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Bryan Vorndran delivers a keynote address at the 2024 Boston Conference on Cyber Security on June 5, 2024.

FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Bryan Vorndran discussed how the Bureau executes our cyber strategy, relevant authorities that allow us to do this important work, recent cyber disruptions made possible by domestic and international partnerships, and more during a June 5 keynote address at the 2024 Boston Conference on Cyber Security

“Not one of our past—or future—disruptions is possible without exceptional partnerships,” he said. “We have to realize, and execute upon, this theme: that we are in this together. We are stronger together.” 

Vorndran also encouraged potential victims of LockBit ransomware to contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center so that we can potentially help them regain access to their stolen data. 

FBI Boston Division Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen also spoke at the event. 

The annual conference is co-hosted by the Bureau and Boston College. You can read this FBI Boston press release to learn more about this year’s event. 


Medicare Fraud Prevention Week

June 3, 2024

Each June, the FBI and our partners mark Medicare Fraud Prevention Week to raise awareness about health care fraud targeting older Americans. 

In this type of fraud, scammers—who can include doctors, patients, and others—intentionally deceive the health care system to get illegal benefits or payments. Innocent Americans are then left to pay the price, in the form of higher taxes and insurance premiums. 

Fortunately, the FBI is on the case. We work with government and insurance-industry partners to investigate crimes that impact both federal and private insurance programs. You can report suspected health care fraud to us by visiting tips.fbi.gov. You can also report it to your health insurance provider directly. 

Visit fbi.gov/healthcarefraud to learn about the different forms this crime can take and red flags to watch out for. 


May 2024   

Violent Crime Case Round-Up

May 31, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

FBI Director Wray's Full Statement on Extradition of Alleged Sinaloa Cartel Leader and Lead Assassin from Mexico to the U.S.
Néstor Isidro Pérez Salas was known as the primary enforcer of the Sinaloa Cartel’s ruthless security apparatus.

  • In addition to his alleged role in importing massive quantities of lethal narcotics into the U.S., he is accused of leading a group of enforcers who committed brutal acts of violence to maintain control and protect the cartel’s leadership and operations, including the murder of law enforcement officers, a witness and informant, and even a 13 year-old boy.
  • The Sinaloa Cartel causes immense harm to the American public by importing lethal narcotics and illegal firearms which terrorizes our communities, and the FBI thanks our partners who share a relentless commitment to going after the leadership of these cartels and holding those individuals to account.
  • Full press release

Operation "Clean House" Nets Dozens of Arrests by Multi-Agency Teams in Ventura County
Dozens of alleged felons wanted in Ventura County were arrested by teams of FBI Agents, police officers, and deputy sheriffs as part of "Operation Clean House," an FBI initiative to conduct pre-planned, concentrated enforcement operations targeting fugitives with outstanding felony arrest warrants with an emphasis on warrants related to violent crimes and unlawful firearm possession. 

  • Over the past several months, the joint agencies conducted records checks on existing felony warrant entries. Working with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI researched and assessed approximately 2,600 felony warrants from Ventura County issued over the past ten years. The research flagged nearly 100 warrants for individuals who were either deceased or were candidates for removal from warrant databases.
  • The joint agencies also carried out a week-long surveillance and arrest operation, focusing on the most violent fugitives at large within Ventura County. In total, 26 individuals were arrested on outstanding felony warrants for alleged violations including assault with a deadly weapon, crimes against children, corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant, and various firearms-related felony crimes. An additional nine people were arrested based on probable cause.
  • Full press release

Twenty-Four Members and Associates of Jersey City Street Gang Charged with Gang-Related Offenses, Including Drug Distribution, Armed Robbery, and Financial Fraud
Twenty-four people have been charged for their respective roles in gang-related offenses, including conspiracy to commit bank fraud; conspiracy to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine; Hobbs Act robbery; and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

  • Several defendants are members and associates of a neighborhood-based street gang that operates in the area of the Booker T. Washington Housing Complex in Jersey City. The "Booker T" street gang is responsible for multiple acts of gang-motivated violence in Jersey City, including homicides and shootings.
  • The investigation revealed that the gang runs a drug trafficking operation in and around the housing complex and distributes large quantities of controlled substances, including heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine.
  • Eleven members and associates of the organization are charged with conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin, more than 40 grams of fentanyl, and a quantity of cocaine.
  • Full press release

South Carolina Man Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison for Transporting Arizona Minor with Intent to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct
Timothy Mikell Schultheis was sentenced to 27 years in prison, followed by lifetime supervised release.

  • Schultheis transported a 12-year-old minor from Arizona to South Carolina with the intent to engage in sexual activity. After using social media to meet and groom the minor, Schultheis drove from South Carolina to Safford, Arizona, to pick up the minor and drive her back to his South Carolina residence.
  • "This sentencing puts a stop to Timothy Schulthies and his repeated offenses. He can no longer hurt children or their families across the country," said FBI Phoenix Special Agent in Charge Akil Davis. "This case demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to follow the evidence wherever it leads. We will use all tools available to bring to justice those who seek to harm children. We are extremely grateful for the swift actions of our law enforcement partners who worked nonstop to locate and apprehend Schultheis."
  • Full press release

Gangster Disciple Leader Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Three Shootings in 2020 and Related Firearms Offenses
Jean Fremont was sentenced to 35 years in prison for his participation in three shootings occurring on November 7 and 9, 2020, committed by members and associates of the No Love City (NLC) gang, a subset of the Flatbush-based Folk Nation Gangster Disciples gang.

  • Fremont was convicted by a jury in November 2022 on eight counts of a superseding indictment charging him with conspiracy to murder rival gang members in-aid-of racketeering, two counts of attempted murder in-aid-of racketeering, two counts of assault in-aid-of racketeering, one count of attempted assault in-aid-of racketeering, and two counts of discharging a firearm during a crime of violence in connection with multiple shootings in Brooklyn in November 2020. 
  • "Fremont will spend decades in prison for attempting to murder individuals for the sole purpose of defending his gang’s reputation,” stated U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace. "Incarcerating Fremont and his co-defendants for a long period of time for their ruthless acts of violence and complete disregard for human life will serve to protect the community while sending a message of deterrence to others who foolishly seek status by choosing to join violent gangs."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Staying Safe at ATMs and in Stores 

May 20, 2024

Did you know that scammers can steal your debit, credit, or Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card information and PIN when you pay for gas, take out cash, or use a point-of-sale (or POS) terminal?  

This crime, called skimming, uses devices that are illegally installed onto or inside ATMs, fuel pumps, or POS terminals to steal and store the data from customers’ cards during legitimate transactions. Some “skimmers” fit over a terminal’s card reader, though many ATM devices are installed inside the machines and outside customers’ view.

ATM “skimmers” are often accompanied by hidden cameras that film you entering your PIN on a keypad, or by keypad overlays that record which keys you tap. POS “skimmers,” such as those capturing EBT card data, typically include a keypad overlay.

Scammers then use that hijacked information to create an impostor card they can use to run up credit-card charges or clean out your bank or benefits account.

EBT cards have become a particular target for card-skimming criminals and groups. This is because EBT cards lack an embedded microchip to protect customer data. This feature is standard to most other payment cards, though.

Visit our resource page about skimming to learn more about this threat, how to protect your financial information, and how—and where—to report suspected skimming. 


Violent Crime Case Round-Up

May 17, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

Ten District Men Arrested in Fentanyl and Cocaine Distribution Conspiracy
Law enforcement arrested 10 members of a District-area drug trafficking crew charged in a 17-count indictment with participating in a conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and cocaine, as well as multiple firearms counts.

  • Law enforcement executed search warrants for 21 residences, nine vehicles, and 14 individuals in the District and Maryland, and seized nearly two dozen firearms as part of the operation.
  • Each defendant has been charged in a conspiracy to distribute 400 grams or more of fentanyl and cocaine base within 1,000 feet of a protected location, specifically Phelps ACE High School and AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School in Northeast Washington, D.C.
  • Two of the defendants, Charles Manson and Damien Jenkins, were also charged in connection with a shooting that occurred on March 7, 2024, near 19th and I Streets NE. For that incident, Manson was additionally charged with possession of a firearm in connection with a crime of violence and unlawful possession of ammunition.
  • Full press release

Thirteen People Indicted in Drug Trafficking Conspiracy Involving Fentanyl, Methamphetamine, and Cocaine
Thirteen people who were indicted in a significant drug trafficking investigation are being sought by law enforcement. Ten of them are in custody.

  • The lead indictment names ten members of the conspiracy who distributed controlled substances, including fentanyl, methamphetamine, cocaine, and alprazolam.
  • In the investigation prior to the arrests, law enforcement seized: 59 kilograms of fentanyl pills, 81 kilograms of methamphetamine, 21 kilos of cocaine, and 11 firearms.
  • "Today’s enforcement action demonstrates the strength of partnerships around the region in keeping our communities safe,” said FBI Seattle Special Agent in Charge Richard A. Collodi. "It’s satisfying to know the illegal drugs and weapons seized are now off the streets. The FBI and our partners will continue investigating these cases and holding those responsible accountable."
  • "These defendants were brazenly bringing large loads of drugs to western Washington and didn’t hesitate to arm themselves with high-powered firearms," said U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Tessa M. Gorman. "Even after law enforcement seized the drugs in various traffic stops in Oregon and Washington, they were not deterred."
  • Full press release

Former Bryant High School Teacher Sentenced to 13 Years in Federal Prison for Transportation of a Minor to Engage in Illegal Sexual Activity
Heather Hare was sentenced to serve the next 13 years in federal prison for transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of unlawful sexual activity.

  • Hare taught Family Consumer Science classes at Bryant High School and met the minor victim on their first day of their senior year. Hare began one-on-one counseling sessions with the minor victim, eventually giving them her personal phone number and primarily communicating with them through Instagram and Snapchat.
  • In addition to engaging in sexual activity between 20 to 30 times during the school term, in April 2022, during a field trip to Washington, D.C., in which Hare was the sponsor and chaperone, Hare and the minor victim engaged in the unlawful sexual activity to which she pleaded guilty.
  • "The FBI takes crimes against children very seriously,” said FBI Little Rock Special Agent in Charge Alicia D. Corder. "Today’s sentencing shows that the federal government will continuously work to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals who abuse their position of trust and authority to exploit children in our community."
  • Full press release

Four Imprisoned in Mexican Mafia Murder-for-Hire Plot
Several California residents have received significant sentences for their roles in a South Texas murder-for-hire scheme.

  • In 2018, Mexican Mafia gang members arranged for the murder of a male residing in Mission, California.
  • Viola Elizabeth Garcia and Christopher Andrade, a mother and son duo, were convicted in July 2023. Two others—Noah Solis and Ronaldo Gallegos—had previously pleaded guilty. Diego Morales was incarcerated at the time, but also pleaded guilty to his role in the crime.
  • "The Mexican Mafia, a deadly criminal enterprise that traffics in fear and terror, imported a mother and son duo—Garcia and Andrade—from California to murder a local man for $20,000," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Alamdar S. Hamdani. "Garcia and Andrade thought the scheme would raise their family’s fortunes, but thanks to the work of law enforcement, there won’t be any family reunions for years to come."
  • Full press release

Former Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, Resident Sentenced to Three Decades in Prison for Sexual Exploitation and Extortion of Several Minors
Kuang Myat Kyaw has been sentenced in federal court to 30 years in prison and a lifetime of supervised release, in addition to being ordered to pay a restitution of $27,826.57 on his conviction of coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity, production of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor, and distribution of material depicting the sexual exploitation of a minor.

  • Between August 2020 and September 2021, Kyaw used the Internet to entice and coerce five female minor victims ranging in age from 12 to 17 years old to produce photographs and videos depicting their sexual exploitation and engaging in sadistic and masochistic sexual acts.
  • Kyaw initially tricked the minors into providing him with photographs showing themselves naked, and then used the threat of disseminating those images to their family and friends to extort the minors to engage in what he referred to as a "seven-day challenge," during which he would demand that the victims produce increasingly depraved sexual imagery.
  • "Preying on children, tricking them into producing child sexual abuse material, and extorting them into ever-escalating behavior ranks among the most sadistic crimes the FBI investigates," said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Kevin Rojek. "We will never stop working to serve justice for the victims of predators like this individual. Today’s sentencing reflects the unyielding resolve of the FBI and our partners to protect the most vulnerable members of our community."
  • Full press release

Five Defendants Sentenced Following the Robberies of Two Cell Phone Stores in Montgomery, Alabama
Five individuals were sentenced for their roles in robbing two cell phone stores at gunpoint. 

  • According to the plea agreements and other court records, on April 25, 2023, members of the group entered a cell phone store located on the Eastern Boulevard in Montgomery. One of the members pointed a gun at store employees and demanded to be taken to the store’s safe. After gaining access to the safe, the defendants took assorted electronic devices.
  • The group repeated the same actions on May 18, 2023, this time at a cell phone store on Ann Street in Montgomery. Again, the defendants used a firearm to threaten store employees and gain access to the safe.
  • "The sentences imposed on these defendants should send a strong message to anyone contemplating other violent criminal acts," said FBI Mobile Special Agent in Charge Paul W. Brown. "Those who work and live in Montgomery deserve to feel safe and secure in their community."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Updates to List of Native Americans Verified as Missing Throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation  

May 17, 2024

On May 15, FBI Albuquerque released an updated list of Native Americans it has verified as missing throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. This list is part of an effort to improve the reporting and recovery of missing persons in Indian Country

The FBI is seeking public assistance and information on the cases. If you have information concerning any of these cases, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov (tips can remain anonymous). 

Since May 13, 2024, 13 people have been removed from the list, and 7 people have been added.  

Below is a list of those who were added: 

  • Carl Bergen 
  • Shanna Happy 
  • Leslie Mitchell 
  • Candice Pinto 
  • Omneya Skywater 
  • Chanda Villa 
  • Tyson Woods 

National Senior Fraud Awareness Day 

May 15, 2024

Every day, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) receives thousands of complaints reporting a wide array of scams, many targeting older Americans.   

According to the FBI’s most recent report on elder abuse in 2023, total losses reported to the IC3 by those over the age of 60 topped $3.4 billion, an almost 11% increase in reported losses from 2022.   

Protect Yourself  

  • Recognize scam attempts and end all communication with the perpetrator.
  • Search online for the contact information (name, email, phone number, addresses) and the proposed offer. Other people have likely posted information online about individuals and businesses trying to run scams.
  • Resist the pressure to act quickly. Scammers create a sense of urgency to produce fear and lure victims into immediate action. Call the police immediately if you feel there is a danger to yourself or a loved one.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door services offers.
  • Never give or send any personally identifiable information, money, jewelry, gift cards, checks, or wire information to unverified people or businesses.
  • Make sure all computer anti-virus and security software and malware protections are up to date. Use reputable anti-virus software and firewalls.
  • Disconnect from the internet and shut down your device if you see a pop-up message or locked screen. Pop-ups are regularly used by perpetrators to spread malicious software. Enable pop-up blockers to avoid accidentally clicking on a pop-up.
  • Be careful what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you don't know, and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you.
  • Take precautions to protect your identity if a criminal gains access to your device or account. Immediately contact your financial institutions to place protections on your accounts, and monitor your accounts and personal information for suspicious activity.

How to Report 

If you believe you or someone you know may have been a victim of elder fraud, contact your local FBI field office or submit a tip online. You can also file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.

When reporting a scam—regardless of dollar amount—include as many of the following details as possible:

  • Names of the scammer and/or company
  • Dates of contact
  • Methods of communication
  • Phone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses, and websites used by the perpetrator
  • Methods of payment
  • Where you sent funds, including wire transfers and prepaid cards (provide financial institution names, account names, and account numbers)
  • Descriptions of your interactions with the scammer and the instructions you were given

Whenever possible, you should keep original documentation, emails, faxes, and logs of communications.

Resources  

FBI Director Condemns Threats to Election Workers

May 13, 2024

FBI Director Christopher Wray underscored the Bureau’s dedication to protecting election workers—including volunteers—from harm during a May 13 meeting of the Department of Justice’s Election Threats Task Force in Washington, D.C. 

“Let me be clear: Any threat of violence to an election official, volunteer, or staff is completely unacceptable and something the FBI takes very seriously,” Director Wray said. “And we’re committed to ensuring threats to election workers receive the swift and thorough response they deserve, whether that’s through federal investigation and prosecution or a referral to our state and local partners.” 

The Justice Department established the Election Threats Task Force in June 2021 to combat threats against election workers. Members include the FBI, various DOJ components, and other federal agency partners. 

You can read the Director’s full remarks from the meeting to learn how the Bureau is using preparation and collaboration to safeguard U.S. elections. 

You can also visit fbi.gov/ProtectedVoices to learn about the FBI's Protected Voices initiative, which equips political campaigns, companies, and individuals with tools and resources to guard against online foreign influence operations, cyber threats, and federal election crimes. The initiative also offers resources for election officials and campaign staff members


Driver, Beware: Don't Get Scammed Out of Fake Toll Payments

May 13, 2024

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center recently issued a public service announcement warning that scammers are using text-message-based phishing—also known as “smishing”—attacks to get drivers to pay for tolls they don’t actually owe. 

The scam text messages alert their targets to an allegedly outstanding toll and direct them to click on a link—which is designed to look like the actual name of their state’s toll service—to pay up. 

But if a target clicks the malicious link and shares their personal or financial information in an attempt to pay off the fake tolls, that information ends up in scammers’ hands. 

Read the full IC3 public service announcement to learn more about this scam and what you should do if you receive one of these fraudulent text messages. 

Resources: 


Violent Crime Case Round-Up

May 10, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

Justice Department Strengthens Efforts, Builds Partnerships to Address Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons
The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of South Dakota joined its partners across the federal government, as well as people throughout American Indian and Alaska Native communities, in recognizing May 5 as National Missing or Murdered Indigenous Persons (MMIP) Awareness Day.

  • In recognition of MMIP Awareness Day, U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland highlighted ongoing efforts to tackle the MMIP and human trafficking crises in American Indian and Alaska Native communities, and other pressing public safety challenges, like the fentanyl crisis, in Tribal communities.
  • "There is still so much more to do in the face of persistently high levels of violence that Tribal communities have endured for generations, and that women and girls, particularly, have endured," said U.S. Attorney General Garland. "In carrying out our work, we seek to honor those who are still missing, those who were stolen from their communities, and their loved ones who are left with unimaginable pain. Tribal communities deserve safety, and they deserve justice. This day challenges all of us at the Justice Department to double down on our efforts, and to be true partners with Tribal communities as we seek to end this crisis."
  • Full press release

Man Who Carried Out Machete Attack on NYPD Officers in Times Square on New Year’s Eve 2022 Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison
Trevor Bickford was sentenced to 324 months in prison for attempting to kill officers and employees of the U.S. government and persons assisting them during his brazen attack using a machete-style knife against three New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers in Times Square on Dec. 31, 2022.

  • "Today’s sentence holds Trevor Bickford accountable for his premeditated 2022 terrorist attack in Times Square during which he attempted to kill three NYPD officers in a violent rampage," said U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. "The Justice Department is deeply grateful to the NYPD for its quick actions and bravery in disrupting this New Year’s Eve attack, and for the work it does every day to keep New Yorkers safe. The Justice Department will always stand by its state and local law enforcement partners as we work together to counter the threat of terrorism, and that includes being relentless in prosecuting those who seek to harm officers."
  • "The defendant’s brutal ambush of three New York City police officers keeping watch over New Year’s Eve celebrations was a premeditated act of terrorism," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "Police officers work tirelessly to protect the communities they serve and assaults on them are reprehensible. He planned, prepared, and travelled to conduct a savage attack in support of his violent ideology and now he is being held accountable for his actions."
  • Full press release

Trinitarios Gang Leader Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murdering a Confidential Informant
William Jones was sentenced to life in prison for the December 2019 murder of Frederick Delacruz. 

  • Jones was a high-ranking member of the Trinitarios, a racketeering enterprise that has engaged in a pattern of murder, attempted murder, drug trafficking, fraud, and witness tampering and retaliation.
  • On December 28, 2019, Jones and other Trinitarios lured Frederick Delacruz from the Bronx, New York, to Suffolk County, New York, where Jones shot and killed Delacruz because Delacruz was acting as a confidential informant for law enforcement.
  • "William Jones executed Frederick Delacruz in cold blood because Delacruz had the courage to cooperate with law enforcement," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams. "Now, Jones will spend the rest of his life in a federal prison."
  • Full press release

Grant Man Charged with Transporting Explosive and Possessing a Destructive Device
Luke Isaac Terpstra has been charged with transporting an explosive with the intent to kill, injure, or intimidate individuals or to unlawfully damage or destroy a building. 

  • Terpstra also faces a separate charge that he illegally possessed a destructive device. The indictment charges that Terpstra built several devices that he characterized as “bombs” and then transported those devices, along with multiple firearms and ammunition, from Michigan to the site of The Satanic Temple (TST) in Massachusetts in September 2023.
  • "Today's indictment is a sobering reminder of the threats we face as a society and a true testament to the FBI's mission of protecting the American people," said FBI Detroit Special Agent in Charge Cheyvoryea Gibson. "We stand united with our partners to combat all forms of violence and will take all necessary measures to ensure the public's safety."
  • Full press release

Tanner Washington Sentenced to Life for Murder of Girlfriend
Tanner Dean Washington was sentenced to life in prison for the 2019 murder of his girlfriend, Faith Lindsey.

  • In August 2022, Washington pleaded guilty to one count of Murder in Indian Country—Second Degree. As part of the plea, Washington admitted to murdering 17-year-old Faith Lindsey on October 27, 2019.  
  • Despite an extensive investigation and exhaustive search efforts, Lindsey’s body has yet to be found.
  • "The defendant’s life sentence is part of our effort to seek justice and accountability for the tragic murder of an innocent young woman, who had a long and vibrant life ahead of her," said FBI Oklahoma City Acting Special Agent in Charge Sonia Garcia."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Violent Crime Case Round-Up

May 3, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

Newberry Man Sentenced to 40 Years in Federal Prison for Sex Trafficking Conspiracy, Firearm Possession and Witness Tampering
Eric Rashun Jones was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to human trafficking conspiracy, felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and witness tampering.

  • From August 2018 through November 2022, Jones violently exploited women in the commercial sex trade for his financial gain. He did so by means of physical violence and force, including beating victims with a pistol and other objects and hitting victims with closed fists causing victims multiple surgeries, hospitalizations, broken bones and teeth, permanent injuries, and scarring.
  • Jones also abducted two of his victims and restrained them for multiple days, introduced drugs to some victims and promoted the drug addictions of others, and engaged in sexual violence. 
  • "Jones’ crimes revealed the depth of human depravity and outright evil he casually and continuously imposed upon his victims," said FBI Columbia Special Agent in Charge Steve Jensen. "His heinous crimes yielded lifelong trauma that will be hard to reverse. This stiff sentence of justice removes him from the innocent victims’ lives and places him where he will no longer be able to inflict harm. The FBI is grateful for our local law enforcement partners for conducting this joint comprehensive investigation to hold this violent offender accountable. We also recognize the diligent work of the Victim Specialists who supported and continue to support the victims with valuable resources."
  • Full press release

South L.A. Gang Member Who Led Meth and Cocaine Trafficking Ring from His Storefront Sentenced to 12 Years in Federal Prison
A member of the Hoover Criminals Gang, Andrew Tate, was sentenced today to 144 months in federal prison for leading a drug trafficking enterprise that distributed narcotics, including crack cocaine and methamphetamine, which were sold from his storefront in South Los Angeles.

  • Tate is the lead defendant in an indictment targeting the gang's members and associates as part of an investigation dubbed "Operation Hoover Dam." He also is the final defendant to be sentenced in this case. In total, federal prosecutors secured 10 convictions in this matter.
  • "Tate participated in an extensive and long-running drug conspiracy to sell drugs, including methamphetamine and crack cocaine, in South Los Angeles," prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum. "Tate’s role in the drug conspiracy was significant; he was the head of the entire drug trafficking enterprise pumping drugs into a vulnerable area of Los Angeles."
  • Full press release

Former Oregon Department of Human Services Employee Sentenced to 25 Years in Federal Prison for Violating the Civil Rights of a Developmentally Disabled Woman in his Care
A former Oregon Department of Human Services employee, Zakary Edward Glover, was sentenced to 25 years in federal today for violating the civil rights of a woman with developmental disabilities in his care by engaging in sexual misconduct with her.

  • The victim, who has severe autism and cognitive deficits, was one of the individuals under Glover’s care.
  • In November 2021, while on an outing with the victim, Glover drove down a dead-end road near a cemetery in Aumsville, Oregon. Upon reaching the dead-end, he parked the van near the cemetery’s gate and proceeded to engage in sexual acts with the victim without her consent. 
  • "Zakary Glover's actions are inexcusable and appalling," said FBI Portland Special Agent in Charge Douglas A. Olson. "The FBI will not stand by when people in positions of trust violate and victimize vulnerable community members. Mr. Glover abused his power and today’s sentence sends the message that the FBI and our partners will hold accountable anyone in a position of power who fails the citizens of their community."
  • Full press release

Three Aryan Brotherhood Prison Gang Members Convicted of Murder in Aid of Racketeering, RICO Conspiracy, and Conspiracy to Commit Murder in Aid of Racketeering
Three members of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, Ronald Yandell, Danny Troxell, and Billy Sylvester, were found guilty of racketeering activity that included murder and drug trafficking.

  • "Today’s convictions further our effort to dismantle a violent criminal enterprise run from inside California prisons," said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California Phillip A. Talbert. "The Aryan Brotherhood controlled its members, associates, and others both inside and outside prison walls, ordering multiple murders and running a drug trafficking operation that spanned counties and states. We will continue to use every law enforcement tool to protect the communities plagued by the violence and criminal activities of the Aryan Brotherhood."
  • "Prior convictions and lengthy prison sentences didn’t alter the defendants’ disrespect for the law and public safety. They continued to commit brutal murders and other heinous crimes from behind bars, all while coordinating the distribution of drugs into the community for financial gain," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian M. Clark. "These convictions deal a significant blow to the Aryan Brotherhood leadership and underscores our commitment to tackle violent criminal enterprises from the top down."
  • Full press release

Repeat Bank Robber Sentenced to Federal Prison for Waycross Heist
Matthew McCloskey, who had previous robbery convictions, has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for robbing a Waycross bank.

  • McCloskey’s sentence will run concurrently with his state sentence on a kidnapping conviction related to the bank robbery. McCloskey has also been ordered to pay $877 in restitution, and to serve three years of supervised release upon completion of his prison term.
  • In 2022, McCloskey entered the Ameris Bank in Waycross, and handed a note to the teller demanding money. After receiving cash, he ran to a waiting vehicle and fled the scene.
  • Investigators learned that McCloskey and his girlfriend took a taxi to a local motel and used cash from the robbery to pay for the taxi. Officers took McCloskey into custody at the motel after a struggle that resulted in the kidnapping conviction on state charges when McCloskey refused to allow his girlfriend to leave their room.
  • "By now, Matthew McCloskey should realize robbing a bank is not a winning proposition," said Savannah Senior Supervisory Resident Agent Will Clarke of FBI Atlanta. "Those who choose to become involved in such a lifestyle should know that law enforcement at every level will work together tirelessly to bring them to justice."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Updates to List of Native Americans Verified as Missing Throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation  

May 1, 2024

On April 15, FBI Albuquerque released an updated list of Native Americans it has verified as missing throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. This list is part of an effort to improve the reporting and recovery of missing persons in Indian Country

The FBI is seeking public assistance and information on the cases. If you have information concerning any of these cases, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov (tips can remain anonymous). 

Since April 15, 2024, 14 people have been removed from the list, and 10 people have been added.

 Below is a list of those who were added: 

  • Yvonne Benally
  • Leianah Bennett
  • Shane Chee
  • Begay Dejuan
  • Judith Garcia
  • Letoya Hobson
  • Alana Jackson
  • Joycelynn Miller
  • Lambert Nathaniel
  • Keith Yazzie Jr.

April 2024  

Elder Fraud Losses Grew by Nearly 11% in 2023, New FBI Report Finds

April 30, 2024

This infographic shows how many complaints the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received about different types of elder fraud in 2023.

This infographic shows how many complaints the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received about different types of elder fraud in 2023.

Financial losses caused by elder fraud—or illegal efforts to scam older adults out of cash or cryptocurrency assets—rose by almost 11% in 2023 and exceeded $3.4 billion, according to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center’s 2023 Elder Fraud Report.  

This annual report identifies trends concerning frauds and scams that targeted victims aged 60 and over in that given year. The data is derived from reports the public submits to IC3. 

Tech scams were the most widely reported form of elder fraud in 2023, though investment scams conned older Americans out of the most money, leading to over $1.2 billion in losses.

Read our story about the report for a summary of its biggest takeaways or explore the full report on ic3.gov.  

Resources: 


Protecting Americans from Internet Crime, One PSA at a Time

April 29, 2024

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (also known as IC3) regularly publishes public service announcements, or PSAs, to help the American public stay in-the-know about scams, cyber threats, and other internet-facilitated risks to their safety and wallet. 

These PSAs provide an overview of a given threat in a way that non-experts can understand. They also explain how people can report suspected internet-based scams or crimes to the FBI, and provide tips for how they can protect themselves. 

View IC3’s full library of PSAs to increase your scam-prevention savvy. 

And visit this resource page to learn what kinds of suspected crimes should be reported to IC3. 


Violent Crime Case Round-Up

April 26, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

Burlington County Couple Convicted of Forced Labor and Other Federal Crimes
Bolaji Bolarinwa and Isiaka Bolarinwa were convicted of forced labor and other crimes related to their coercive scheme to compel two victims to perform domestic labor and childcare in their home, harbor the victims knowing that they were unlawfully present in the U.S., and unlawfully confiscate the victims’ passports.

  • "Imagine showing up in a foreign land, hoping for a better life, and ending up trapped with no place to go and no one to turn to for help," said FBI Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy. "The victims in this investigation suffered in unimaginable ways at the hands of their captors, enduring years of physical and mental abuse. Human trafficking often takes on many different forms and can hide in plain sight. I want to commend the agents and victim specialists who worked on this case, alongside our partners at the U.S. Attorney's Office. We want everyone to know if you or anyone you know is a victim – you can come to us for help. We will bring your tormentors to justice."
  • The defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each forced labor count. The defendants also face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the alien harboring count and Bolaji faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each unlawful document conduct count. 
  • Full press release

Beretta Bandit Serial Robber Convicted at Trial
A federal jury has found Richard Allen Randolph guilty of Hobbs Act robberies—namely three counts of robbery, one count of attempted robbery, three counts of brandishing a firearm, and one count of discharging a firearm during the commission of the robberies.

  • Randolph faces a minimum statutory penalty of 100 years in federal prison on the firearm counts and a maximum of 20 years on each of the robbery counts.
  • Randolph entered four Tampa commercial businesses between January 27 and February 26, 2020, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and facial covering. During each of the robberies, Randolph brandished and threatened the victims with a Beretta Pico pistol and removed cash from the registers. During the attempted robbery on February 26, 2020, Randolph again concealed his identity, entered the store, and threatened the clerk with the firearm.
  • Randolph faces a minimum statutory penalty of 100 years in federal prison on the firearm counts and a maximum of 20 years on each of the robbery counts.
  • Full press release

Louisville Father Sentenced to 17 Years in Federal Prison for Enticing Two Indiana Children to Obtain Sexually Explicit Material via Facebook
Anthony Michael Bentley has been sentenced to seventeen years in federal prison, followed by fifteen years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of making false statements to the FBI. 

  • "This supposed family man posed as an attractive teen boy on Facebook to win the trust of underage girls and entice them to send him sexually explicit material—exploiting children as young as just twelve years old for his own gratification,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Zachary A. Myers. "Making his crimes worse, Bentley distributed nude images of the minor boy whose pictures he stole to create his alias, casting suspicion on an innocent person. He then lied to the FBI when he was discovered and confronted. Unfortunately, sexual predators know that social media platforms like Facebook are a fertile hunting ground. We urge caring adults to talk to their children about staying safe online..."
  • Full press release

White Supremacist Leader Sentenced to 44 Months in Prison for Conspiring to Make Death Threats Against Brooklyn Journalist
Nicholas Welker was sentenced to 44 months’ imprisonment for conspiring to make death threats. 

  • Welker, the leader of Feuerkrieg Division ("FKD"), an international racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist group, which translates to "War Fire," posted death threats against a Brooklyn-based journalist so that the journalist would stop reporting on the Neo-Nazi group.
  • "Welker tried to silence a journalist from reporting on his white supremacist group so that his fellow extremists could continue to commit violence against racial, ethnic, and religious minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community," stated U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace. "There were real victims of this crime—the journalist and his news media organization. Today’s sentence demonstrates that we will stand up for them and other journalists who bravely report on these violent hate groups."
  • Full press release

Woman Pleads Guilty to Transporting Stolen Human Body Parts Out of the State of Arkansas
Candace Chapman Scott, a former employee of a mortuary services provider, pleaded guilty to transporting stolen body parts across state lines and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. 

  • The investigation revealed that Scott, while an employee at a mortuary services provider between October 2021 through approximately July 15, 2022, stole human body parts and fetal remains.
  • Scott would then sell the stolen human body parts and fetal remains, arranging for them to be transported across a state line to the purchaser.
  • Full press release

Waukesha Man Sentenced to 30 Years’s Imprisonment for Sex Trafficking
Cornelius M. Jackson was sentenced to a term of 30 years’ imprisonment, followed by 10 years of supervised release, after being convicted of four counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion, and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.

  • In announcing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig emphasized that it is "hard to overstate the seriousness" of Jackson’s conduct, describing how Jackson had "manipulated, used violence, and coerced many young women to sell their bodies for the sexual gratification of others" over a period of six years.
  • Judge Ludwig recounted the "mental and physical torture" that Jackson to which subjected his victims, including strangling several of his victims on multiple occasions. He also noted that Jackson’s "real failure to come to grips" with the gravity of his crimes or to take any meaningful responsibility, even at the sentencing hearing, impacted the court’s sentencing decision.
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Director Warns of Chinese Government Threat to U.S. Critical Infrastructure at Vanderbilt   
April 25, 2024

Director Wray and Vanderbilt University Chancellor Daniel Diermeier during the Vanderbilt Summit on Modern Conflict and Emerging Threats in Nashville on April 18, 2024.
FBI Director Christopher Wray (at right) speaks with Vanderbilt University Chancellor Daniel Diermeier during the Vanderbilt Summit on Modern Conflict and Emerging Threats in Nashville on April 18, 2024.

FBI Director Christopher Wray, during recent remarks to the Vanderbilt Summit on Modern Conflict and Emerging Threats, cautioned students and experts that the Chinese government is targeting U.S. critical infrastructure.

“The PRC [People’s Republic of China] has made it clear that it considers every sector that makes our society run as fair game in its bid to dominate on the world stage, and that its plan is to land low blows against civilian infrastructure to try to induce panic and break America’s will to resist,” he said at the April 18 event in Nashville.

He also discussed how the FBI responded to cyber incidents that aimed to target our nation’s critical infrastructure, such as our recent Volt Typhoon case—in which, Wray said, “we found persistent PRC access in our critical telecommunications, energy, water, and other infrastructure sectors.”


The FBI Commemorates National Crime Victims’ Rights Week   
April 24, 2024

Every year, the FBI and our partners mark National Crime Victims’ Rights Week (NCVRW).

“Through NCVRW we honor crime victims and survivors, recognize the professionals and volunteers who provide critical services to victims of crime, and raise awareness about crime victims’ rights and services,” states an announcement from the Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime, which is based out of DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs.

This year, the Bureau is underscoring the observance by launching its new Trauma Notification Training program.  

The FBI first launched an online death notification for first responders in 2015. This new program expands the scope to a range of trauma notifications, adds eight new instructional videos, and opens participation in the training to the general public.  

“Victims are at the heart of the FBI's mission, and the Trauma Notification Training offers resources, support, and hope to anyone who needs it," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "We are proud to announce the launch of this training during National Crime Victims' Rights Week and its expanded availability—a call to action for everyone to help crime victims." 


Ensuring Justice for All: FBI Director Talks Civil Rights in Birmingham  
April 23, 2024

Director Wray speaks at 16th Street Baptist Church on April 15, 2024, opening the annual Birmingham Civil Rights Conference.
FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks at 16th Street Baptist Church on April 15, 2024, opening the annual Birmingham Civil Rights Conference.

In an April 15 keynote address at the Birmingham Civil Rights Conference, FBI Director Christopher Wray encouraged civil rights activists and law enforcement leaders to forge ahead in their fight for justice despite the persistence of violent, bias-motivated hate crimes.  

Director Wray also reflected upon the FBI’s investigation into a deadly 1963 bombing at the very setting of the conference—the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama—which culminated in the sentencing of the final two conspirators in the early 2000s.

"Looking back across the 61 years since this church—and the ideas and the movement it stood for—were attacked by four men with hate in their hearts, I see progress towards a better present and a more hopeful future," Wray said. "I see that your work, and the work of many before us, has changed society—has bent the arc—so that when hateful acts occur, rather than obscuring that ugliness and protecting those who inflicted it, people instead shine a light on it, and we can move more swiftly to get justice." 

He also discussed the Bureau’s contemporary work investigating hate crimes and color-of-law violations, as well as FBI efforts to "to bend the world towards justice” in the future—including training initiatives, community outreach, and strategic partnerships. 


Protecting Communities, Together: Director Wray Honors 2023 DCLA Recipients   
April 22, 2024

FBI Director Wray and the 2023 Director's Community Leadership Award recipients pose for a group photo at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on April 19, 2024.
FBI Director Wray and the 2023 Director's Community Leadership Award recipients pose for a group photo at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C., on April 19, 2024.

FBI Director Christopher Wray on April 19 honored people and organizations from across the United States who help strengthen communities and reduce crime and violence with Director’s Community Leadership Awards (DCLA). 

Since 1990, FBI field offices have chosen award recipients on behalf of the current Director. 

This year’s recipients were recognized for a broad range of efforts, including building bridges between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve, combatting human trafficking and providing resources to victims, and supporting local youth programs. 

View the full list of 2023 award recipients and learn more about them and the organizations they represent. 

You can also learn more about FBI Oklahoma City’s 2023 honoree, prisoner-turned-pastor Thaddeus Black, in our profile of him.  


The Oklahoma City Bombing, 29 Years Later   
April 19, 2024

On April 19, 1995, an ex-Army soldier and security guard named Timothy McVeigh parked a rented Ryder truck in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City.  

The truck contained a powerful bomb made out of a deadly cocktail of agricultural fertilizer, diesel fuel, and other chemicals. When the bomb went off, it took the lives of 168 people, including 19 children, with several hundred more injured.  

This devastating event was the worst act of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history. The Oklahoma City bombing case would go on to shape the FBI’s approach to investigating terrorism. 

Resources 

Videos 


Violent Crime Case Round-Up

April 19, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

Investigating Torture: FBI-HSI Investigation Leads to U.S. Citizen’s Conviction for Human Rights Violations in Iraq
A U.S. Army veteran, Ross Roggio, who established an illegal weapons facility in the Kurdistan region of Iraq—and who proceeded to both direct and engage in the torture of one of his employees—has been sentenced to 70 years in federal prison for those crimes and for additional crimes linked to his role at the facility.

  • Roggio directed Kurdish soldiers to kidnap an employee and hold him hostage at one of their military compounds for 39 days. There, Roggio and the Kurdish military personnel under his corrupt command physically and mentally abused the victim.
  • "Torture is among the grievous crimes the FBI investigates and this is the second time we have been able to bring justice under the federal torture statute," said Executive Assistant Director Timothy Langan of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch in a DOJ release about the sentencing. "Our investigation into Roggio’s abominable crimes and today’s sentencing would not be possible without the sheer courage of the victim to tell his story. The FBI and our international partners stand with victims by standing up to human rights violations wherever they occur."
  • On April 15, 2024, Roggio became the second-ever person to be convicted under the U.S. torture statute since it took effect in 1994. 
  • Full story

Florida Man Charged with Sex Trafficking Multiple Women and Sexually Assaulting a Minor in New York
Joel David Forney was charged with sex trafficking, interstate transportation for purposes of prostitution, and coercion and enticement of a minor.

  • Forney allegedly trafficked women to work in commercial sex in New York, including at an open-air sex trafficking market along a stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in Brooklyn known as the Penn Track, as well as the defendant’s transportation of women from New York to multiple other states with the intent that they engage in commercial sex for his financial benefit.
  • According to the indictment, for years, Forney preyed on vulnerable women in tough financial circumstances by sex trafficking them, violently assaulting them, and subjecting them to constant threats of violence.
  • Full press release

Former Private Prisoner Transport Officer Sentenced for Federal Civil Rights Offenses for Sexually Assaulting Multiple Female Pretrial Detainees
A former private prisoner transport officer, Marquet Johnson, was sentenced to 30 years in prison and five years of supervised release and required to register as a sex offender for violating the civil rights of multiple female pretrial detainees by sexually assaulting them during prisoner transports.

  • "Law enforcement officers and other officials receive certain powers from the government so they can defend the rights of the people and prevent wrongdoing," said FBI Albuquerque Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda. "When individuals working in an official capacity violate the trust of their communities by abusing that power, they undermine the hard work of all officials. The despicable actions perpetuated by Johnson, against those he was entrusted to protect, have no place in society. When you break the trust you’re given as a member of law enforcement and ultimately break the law, there are consequences. Today’s sentence is a resounding reminder that the FBI is committed to restoring trust in law enforcement by holding those who abuse their privileges and abandon their responsibilities accountable. We encourage survivors to find the courage to come forward and report these crimes to the FBI…"
  • Full press release

Former Marine Sentenced to Nine Years in Federal Prison for Molotov Cocktail Attack Against Planned Parenthood Clinic in Orange County
Chance Brannon, who firebombed a Planned Parenthood clinic in Costa Mesa and plotted other attacks—including an attack on the Orange County power grid in furtherance of a race war, an attack at Dodger Stadium during an LGBTQ+ pride night celebration, and the home invasions of Jewish homes in Los Angeles—was sentenced to 108 months in federal prison.

  • According to the government’s sentencing memorandum, Brannon used racial slurs for various minority groups, "made hateful comments towards all non-white individuals," and discussed "cleans[ing]" the United States of particular ethnic groups.
  • "Mr. Brannon’s deep-rooted hatred and extremist views inspired him to target individuals or groups who did not conform to his neo-Nazi worldview and, in one case, led him to carry out a violent attack which could have killed innocent people," said FBI Los Angeles Acting Assistant Director in Charge Mehtab Syed.
  • Full press release

Lumberton Gang Member Sentenced to Eight Years in Federal Prison After Conviction for Possessing a Firearm as a Felon
Quillan Inman was sentenced to 100 months in prison and three years of supervised release for possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

  • Inman was previously convicted in North Carolina state court of robbery with a dangerous weapon and two counts of second-degree kidnapping as well as multiple breaking and entering charges. He has a lengthy criminal history spanning back to 2010.
  • "This defendant’s long history of violence has finally caught up to him, now getting...years in federal prison after a high-speed chase exceeding 90 miles per hour in Robeson County," said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina Michael Easley.
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Violent Crime Case Round-Up

April 12, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases.

Principal Drug and Weapons Supplier for MS-13 in Honduras Arrested and Extradited for Racketeering, Narcotics, and Firearms Offenses
David Campbell, one of the principal narcotics and weapons suppliers to MS-13 in Honduras, was charged with racketeering, narcotics, and firearms offenses.

  • In addition to Campbell, the superseding indictment unsealed also charged Yulan Andony Archaga Carías, the leader of MS-13 in Honduras and one of FBI’s, DEA’s, and HSI’s Most Wanted Fugitives.
  • "The FBI and our partners remain committed to the combating the violent criminal activity related to MS-13 occurring in communities across America," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "Criminals that engage in illegal activity targeting the American people should take today's announcement as a warning—they cannot hide beyond our borders. We are proud of the close collaboration with our partners which resulted in David Campbell having to face the consequences of his actions."
  • "Over the course of decades, MS-13 has sowed unspeakable violence in communities here in the United States and abroad," said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. "With the arrest and extradition of the alleged principal MS-13 drug and weapons supplier, the Justice Department is making clear that those responsible for flooding our communities with violence and deadly drugs will be held accountable in an American courtroom."
  • Full press release

Spokane Tribal Member Found Guilty of Assaulting His Partner with a Knife and Attempting to Suffocate Her
Marvin Samson Butterfly was found guilty of Assault with a Dangerous Weapon in Indian Country, Assault of an Intimate Partner and Dating Partner by Suffocating and Attempting to Suffocate in Indian Country, and Attempted Witness Tampering.

  • Butterfly was upset with the victim because the victim had let another woman shelter in her home because of the cold weather. Butterfly began shouting, took out a long knife and began stabbing the floors, doors, and furniture, then assaulted the victim by holding the knife against her throat.
  • He then attempted to suffocate the victim, then fled the home in the victim’s vehicle.
  • "Everyone deserves to live in a safe home free of violence. Native Americans experience some of the highest rates of violence in the country, a situation that is more tragic in light of the generations of trauma already suffered by Indigenous people, especially Native American women," stated U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington Vanessa R. Waldref. "By working with our tribal and federal law enforcement partners, we can continue to build trust and foster safer and stronger communities on Tribal lands and throughout Eastern Washington."
  • Press Release

Decatur Man Sentenced to 50 Years in Prison for Sexually Exploiting Minors
Kevin Dial was sentenced on April 5, 2024, to 50 years imprisonment for sexual exploitation of minors, receipt of child pornography, and possession of child pornography.

  • At the sentencing hearing, the government presented evidence that Dial directed the sexual abuse of three minors, including a two-year-old child, and ordered that the abuse be recorded.
  • During the hearing, U.S. District Court Judge Colin S. Bruce described Dial’s actions as “horrific,” noting the defendant had destroyed the lives of his victims.
  • "From Decatur, Illinois, to the Philippines, the FBI’s extensive reach delivered justice to children who were victims of one of the worst child sexual abuse cases we have seen in some time,” said FBI Springfield Field Office Special Agent in Charge David Nanz. "The investigation, which resulted in a significant sentence, demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to use the full strength of our authority to protect children."
  • Full press release

Man Who Bound and Raped Au Pair Pleads No Contest
Arisknight Arkin-Everett Winfree plead no contest to the five counts against him; kidnapping, coercing and enticing someone to travel for the purposes of illegal sexual activity, attempted coercion and enticement, and two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

  • Winfree used the website AuPair.com to create a fake listing to lure au pairs to his home, where he intended to sexually assault them. A woman from Kansas came and escaped after her parents called the police. An Italian au pair came, and Winfree handcuffed, bound, and raped her. He then spoke with his friend Paul Heiselman, indicating to Heiselman he intended to kill the Italian woman and dispose of her body. 
  • Winfree faces a potential maximum sentence of life in prison.
  • "The collective investigative efforts of the FBI and East Lansing Police Department prevented Mr. Winfree from potentially victimizing countless other young women," said FBI Detroit Special Agent in Charge Cheyvoryea Gibson. "We remain grateful for the bravery of the victims for coming forward to law enforcement. This case is stark reminder of the dangers and reach predators have through online methods, and how vigilant we must be while using the internet."
  • Full press release

Mother-Daughter Duo Sentenced to a Total of Twelve Years in Federal Prison for Robberies of Six Indianapolis Banks
Sierra Hunt has been sentenced to 68 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to bank robbery.

  • Between April 9 and April 15, 2022, Sierra Hunt robbed four Chase Banks in the Indianapolis area. In each robbery, she approached the teller, gave a note demanding the teller put money in the bag and no one would get hurt, and left with cash. As a result of the four bank robberies committed by Sierra, the banks suffered a loss of $26,655.
  • In October of 2023, Sierra’s daughter, Shamiya Hunt, was sentenced to 76 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to bank robbery and attempted bank robbery while on supervised release for a previous heroin trafficking conviction.
  • "It is incredibly disheartening to see a mother and daughter working together to victimize so many folks who were just going about their day working at and patronizing the bank," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Zachary A. Myers. "Thanks to the quick investigative work of the FBI, these defendants have been held accountable for their actions. The serious federal prison sentence imposed here demonstrates that these crimes carry serious consequences."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


FBI Director Christopher Wray Testifies Before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Fiscal Year 2025 Funding 

April 11, 2024

On April 11, FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies to discuss FBI funding for fiscal year 2025. 

Director Wray stressed the importance of the FBI’s work, the impacts our personnel have, and the threats and challenges faced by the nation and the FBI.  

“Each day, Federal Bureau of Investigation personnel are making a real difference in communities across the nation, tackling some of the most complex national security and criminal threats with perseverance, professionalism, and integrity—sometimes at the greatest of costs. I am extremely proud of their service and commitment,” Director Wray said in a statement for the record. 

Director Wray highlighted some of the significant issues the FBI is working to address, including:

  • Homegrown violent extremists   
  • Sophisticated cyber attacks 
  • Internet-facilitated sexual exploitation of children  
  • Human trafficking 
  • Violent gangs  
  • Criminal organizations  
  • Public corruption 
  • Corporate fraud 

Resources:


FBI's Section 702 Authorities Take Center Stage During Director's Remarks in Washington   

April 9, 2024

FBI Director Christopher Wray addresses the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law and National Security on April 9, 2024, in Washington, D.C.
FBI Director Christopher Wray addresses the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on Law and National Security on April 9, 2024, in Washington, D.C.

FBI Director Christopher Wray on April 9 said requiring the FBI to obtain a warrant to query its database of information collected under its Section 702 surveillance authorities would impede investigations, hinder the Bureau's ability to combat cyberattacks and terrorism, and hamper our ability to contact victims of cyber incidents in a timely manner. 

“If there’s no constitutional, legal, or compliance necessity for a warrant requirement, then Congress would be making a policy choice to require us to blind ourselves to intelligence in our holdings,” Wray told the American Bar Association's Standing Committee on the Law and National Security in Washington, D.C.

During his remarks, he also addressed legal and compliance questions surrounding a potential warrant requirement and highlighted the Bureau's recent progress in improving Section 702 query compliance.

You can read more about his discussion of Section 702 here and view his full remarks from the event here.


Updates to List of Native Americans Verified as Missing Throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation  

April 8, 2024

On April 1, the FBI released an updated list of Native Americans it has verified as missing throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. This list is part of an effort to improve the reporting and recovery of missing persons in Indian Country

The FBI is seeking public assistance and information on the cases. If you have information concerning any of these cases, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov (tips can remain anonymous). 

Since April 1, 2024, 14 people have been removed from the list, and 10 people have been added. 

Below is a list of those who were added: 

  • Shawntell Billy 
  • Vinson Dennison 
  • Tom Jim Jr. 
  • Ferlando Nez 
  • Justin Norberto 
  • Hailey Pacheco 
  • Deandrea Provencio 
  • Hunter Ricotta 
  • Augustine Secatero 
  • Monica Wilson 

Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

April 5, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Former Fugitive Sentenced to Six Years for Role in 2012 Drug Trafficking Conspiracy
Oliver Jaramillo Brown was sentenced to six years in prison, followed by five years of supervised release.  

  • Brown was involved in a Nogales, Sonora-based drug trafficking conspiracy that used Tucson as a staging ground for distribution into the U.S.
  • Over the course of the government investigation, the U.S. seized more than 140 kilograms of cocaine, more than 60 kilograms of “ice” methamphetamine, over $1 million in bulk cash, and two firearms. 
  • In March 2012, Brown fled to Mexico while the government was making arrests of the U.S.-based members of the conspiracy. Brown lived in Mexico for more than a decade before he attempted to return to the U.S. in late 2022 and was apprehended on the fugitive warrant in this case.
  • Full press release

Thirteen Members of a Drug Trafficking Conspiracy Involving Louisiana State Penitentiary Inmates, Former Angola Guards, and Others Sentenced to Federal Prison
Thirteen individuals were sentenced in connection with an extensive federal, state, and local investigation aimed at a large-scale cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and methamphetamine trafficking network based in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, with suppliers in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, and Colton, California.

  • Between February 2017 and May 2019, the defendants worked in concert with each other to obtain and distribute controlled substances in the Louisiana State Penitentiary and elsewhere through the use of correctional officers and other non-incarcerated individuals, and with the intent to profit from the distribution of these controlled substances.
  • "The FBI’s goal is to identify and target criminal enterprises and other groups engaged in drug trafficking. Today, justice was served to those who chose to traffic and distribute illicit narcotics in Angola State Penitentiary..." said the FBI New Orleans Special Agent in Charge Lyonel Myrthil. "I assure you, the FBI will continue to enforce the laws and intervene when drug traffickers distribute narcotics on the streets or in the prison system."
  • Full press release

Texas Man Sentenced for Hate Crimes Following Mass Shooting Targeting Muslims at Car Repair Shop
Anthony Paz Torres was sentenced to 37 years in prison following his guilty plea to hate crime charges arising out of a fatal shooting at a car repair shop.

  • Torres pleaded guilty to five federal hate crime counts for killing one individual and attempting to kill four others during a mass shooting at Omar’s Wheels and Tires in Dallas on December 24, 2015. Torres also pleaded guilty to one count of using a firearm to commit the murder.
  • "The defendant attempted to commit a mass shooting and intentionally targeted victims at a Muslim-owned business," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "This case is an abhorrent example of how deadly Islamophobia can be in our own country and the severe consequences that wait for anyone who commits acts of hateful violence. The FBI places civil rights investigations as one of our highest priorities because everyone deserves to practice their religion without fear."
  • Full press release

Alabama Man Arrested on Federal Dog Fighting and Firearms Charges; Seventy-Eight Dogs Rescued and "Destructive Device" Recovered
A federal grand jury indicted Carlton Lenard Adams on charges of illegally possessing dogs for fighting purposes and illegally possessing three firearms subsequent to a felony conviction.

  • Adams maintained a stock of 78 fighting dogs at three properties—two in Bessemer and one in Adger.
  • Agents also recovered tools and supplies used in the training and keeping of dogs used for fighting. This included modified treadmills to hold dogs in place for dog fight conditioning, injectable veterinary steroids, suture materials and syringes, skin staplers, a homemade breeding stand used to immobilize female dogs who are too aggressive to mate naturally, and a break stick device used to break the bite hold of a dog during specified intervals in a dog fight.
  • The defendant was further found to possess two pistols and a semi-automatic shotgun known colloquially as a "Street Sweeper." The latter is not just a firearm but a "destructive device" under federal law.
  • The dogs were rescued and cared for by a program administered by the U.S. Marshals Service.
  • Full press release

Bronx Man Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison for Sexually Exploiting Minor
Markell Greene was sentenced in federal court for coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography, as well as traveling with the intent to engage in illicit conduct with the minor victim.

  • Through social media, Greene targeted a 12-year-old girl and then he proceeded to entice her to send him sexually explicit photos and videos. He then traveled from New York to Massachusetts where he raped the child while he was recording his deviant behavior on Snapchat.
  • "Markell Greene is a monster, and no sentence will ever wipe away the untold heartache, pain, anxiety, and fear that he inflicted upon this young child and her family," said FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen. "That said, today’s sentence does remove a dangerous predator from our community for a significant amount of time, and highlights the FBI’s ongoing commitment to ensure that sexual predators are held accountable for their crimes. Our Child Exploitation-Human Trafficking Task Force will continue to do what it can to prevent children from being sexually abused and exploited."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Director Unveils New Kansas City Field Office, Talks Cyber During Midwest Visit  

April 4, 2024

(From left to right) David Rumsey, acting regional commissioner for the  General Services Administration; Stephen Cyrus, special agent in charge of the FBI Kansas City Field Office; FBI Director Christopher Wray; and Ruth Noah, granddaughter of former Kansas City Police Chief and FBI Director Clarence Kelley cut the ribbon on the new FBI Kansas City Field Office headquarters building in Kansas City, Missouri, on April 3, 2024.
(From left to right) David Rumsey, acting regional commissioner for the General Services Administration; Stephen Cyrus, special agent in charge of the FBI Kansas City Field Office; FBI Director Christopher Wray; and Ruth Noah, granddaughter of former Kansas City Police Chief and FBI Director Clarence Kelley cut the ribbon on the new FBI Kansas City Field Office headquarters building in Kansas City, Missouri, on April 3, 2024.

This week, FBI Director Christopher Wray visited the Midwest to help usher in a “new beginning” at our Kansas City Field Office and to address a cybersecurity conference co-hosted by the Bureau. 

On April 3, Director Wray delivered keynote remarks at the Kansas City Division’s ribbon cutting ceremony for its new field office, located in Kansas City, Missouri.  

"Today is a big day—not just for this field office, but for the entire FBI and for the communities we serve here—because today, as we officially open the doors of this new facility, we renew our commitment to the people of Kansas and Western Missouri: that the FBI here is working hard for you to support your communities and keep you safe," he said. 

Wray also paid homage to how the Kansas City Division’s operational successes and role in molding Bureau history—noting that the new building is named for Kansas City Police Chief-turned-FBI Director Clarence Kelley.

He also expressed gratitude for the Bureau’s partners in the Kansas City area of responsibility.  

"I’m especially grateful to the agencies that have sent their agents, officers, and deputies to work on our FBI task forces," he said. "More than half of them are with us full-time, and I know it’s not easy to entrust your personnel to us like that, especially at a time when we’re all in need of additional resources. It’s a testament to the close and fruitful partnerships we’ve built, and to the trust we share, and I can promise you that none of us takes that trust lightly."

He also challenged the FBI personnel to continue to brainstorm ways to be of service to the agencies they work with. 

You can read his remarks from the ceremony in full here.

On April 4, Wray addressed the FBI and University of Kansas Cybersecurity Conference in Lawrence, Kansas.  

There, he painted a picture of today’s cyber threat ecosystem, explained how the Bureau is leveraging "joint, sequenced operations" with stateside and international partners to combat these risks, explained the FBI’s strategy for neutralizing cybercriminal groups, and encouraged students to consider careers at the FBI.  

You can read more about the Director’s appearance at the conference here, and view his full remarks here


The FBI Laboratory  

April 3, 2024

At the FBI, science and technology professionals work in a variety of roles where their contributions can crack cases and prevent crime. 

The FBI’s Laboratory Division—one of the largest and most comprehensive crime labs in the world— collects, analyzes, and shared scientific and technical information. And it’s not just scientists at work: Electronics engineers, crime-scene-response experts, photographers, and so many more all perform the essential functions that the FBI Lab provides. 
 
The FBI is constantly pushing the envelope when it comes to employing science and technology to conduct investigations, and the work done at the FBI Laboratory—including providing expertise and resources to law enforcement partners—furthers the FBI’s commitment to protecting the public. 


March Updates Made to List of Native Americans Verified as Missing Throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation  

April 1, 2024

On March 18, the FBI released an updated list of Native Americans it has verified as missing throughout New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. This list is part of an effort to improve the reporting and recovery of missing persons in Indian Country

The FBI is seeking public assistance and information on the cases. If you have information concerning any of these cases, please contact your local FBI office or the nearest American Embassy or Consulate or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov (tips can remain anonymous). 

Since March 18, 2024, 16 people have been removed from the list, and 25 people have been added. 

Below is a list of those who were added: 

  • Lance Armstrong  
  • Ashley Austin  
  • Kenneth Barbone 
  • Delilah Begay  
  • Angel Begaye  
  • Kevin Belinte  
  • Patricia Bennett 
  • Antoinette Bileen 
  • Lawrence Casias 
  • Joshua Daugherty 
  • Ty Furcap 
  • Matthew Haudley  
  • Richard Hosteen  
  • Ariel Martinez 
  • Miah Martinez  
  • Joycelynn Miller  
  • Andrew Nathaniel  
  • Jackie Padilla  
  • Delphine Paul 
  • Natesha Paul 
  • Cordell Shay  
  • Tommy Smith 
  • Belinda Sotelo 
  • Shawn Tsosie 

March 2024  

Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

March 29, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Jumbotron Hacker and Prolific Child Molester Sentenced to 220 Years in Federal Prison
Samuel Arthur Thompson was sentenced to 220 years in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for producing, receiving, and possessing child sex abuse material (CSAM), producing CSAM while required to register as a sex offender, violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), sending unauthorized damaging commands to a protected computer, and possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

  • The court also ordered Thompson to forfeit computers and a firearm that were used in the offenses.
  • "This case exemplifies the unrelenting tenacity of investigators who pursue justice for innocent victims of crime," said FBI Jacksonville Acting Special Agent in Charge Coult Markovsky. "Samuel Thompson repeatedly abused and exploited innocent children, inflicting immeasurable hurt on his victims. He also abused and exploited his employer by installing malicious software to manipulate their systems, which could have caused significantly more damage if not detected. Let this sentence serve as a pledge to all victims of crime that the FBI and our partners will doggedly pursue those who prey on them."
  • Full press release

Human Smuggling Family Admits to Over $2 Million Money Laundering Conspiracy
Four Mission residents have entered guilty pleas for their roles in a conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and a related conspiracy to transport aliens within the U.S.

  • An investigation began in November 2019 and revealed the smuggling organization brought approximately 300 undocumented migrants from the Southwest border regions further into the northern parts of the U.S. The network spanned from Honduras to as far north as Boston, Massachusetts, with a heavy emphasis on smuggling Brazilian nationals.
  • On March 9, 2023, Authorities executed multiple search warrants at the properties of the defendants, at which time they seized over $1.5 million in cash. The locations included their residence and a purported car dealership they operated as a front business. Throughout the investigation, law enforcement also seized approximately $2.69 million in assets and several luxury vehicles, jewelry, and several pieces of real property.
  • Full press release

White Swan, Washington, Couple Sentenced to Federal Prison for Carjacking and Violent Assault on the Yakama Nation
Sundron Larsell Miller was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison; Miller’s codefendant, Paula Eulojia Cantu-Lopez, was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison.

  • On December 28, 2021, the victim was with both Miller and Cantu-Lopez driving in the area of Fort Simcoe Road on the Yakama Reservation. The victim was driving her pickup, and Miller began assaulting Cantu-Lopez. When the victim tried to intervene, both Miller and Cantu-Lopez turned and assaulted the victim, who is an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation.
  • During the assault, Miller attempted to shoot the victim with her own rifle, but the rifle was unloaded. 
  • Ultimately, the victim was able to break away and run for her life. Law enforcement quickly responded.
  • Full press release

Seventh Correctional Officer at Federal Facility in Dublin California Sentenced to Prison for Sexual Abuse of Female Prisoners
Nakie Nunley was ordered to serve six years in prison after admitting he engaged in sexual acts, sexual contacts, and other inappropriate conduct with multiple women who were serving prison terms.

  • In addition to admitting he engaged in illegal and improper conduct towards prisoners, Nunley also admitted in his plea agreement that he lied to federal investigators about sexually abusing his victims and about sending one of his victims sexually explicit notes.
  • "This sentence is the result of the tireless efforts by the FBI and our partners to bring to justice Dublin FCI corrections officers and personnel who abused their positions to commit deplorable crimes,” said FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Robert Tripp. "We continue to work with our partners to protect the safety and civil rights of all individuals and hold public servants accountable when they violate the law and betray public trust."
  • Full press release

Charlotte Man Convicted of Robbing Two Businesses is Sentenced to Life in Prison
John Henry Moore was sentenced to life in prison for the armed robbery of two businesses.

  • In October 2022, a federal jury convicted Moore of two counts of Hobbs Act robbery, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • On March 26, 2024, Moore received an enhanced sentence under the provision of the “Three Strikes” statute, which mandates a sentence of life in prison for defendants previously convicted, on separate occasions, of two or more serious violent felonies.
  • Full press release

New York Man Who Traveled to Lynchburg to Meet 14-year-old for Sex Pleads Guilty
Derrick Loi of New York drove 8 hours, crossing state lines, to attempt to have sex with a 14-year-old Lynchburg, Virginia girl, with whom he had been chatting online.

  • In February 2023, Loi met a 14-year-old girl from Lynchburg on Twitter (now known as X), and began chatting with her on Discord. Loi told the young girl not only was he was interested in buying sexually explicit images and videos of her, but also wanted to meet her in person to have sex.
  • Loi and the victim made plans for Loi to travel to meet the victim in Lynchburg.
  • Just as Loi arrived at the pre-arranged location, an officer from the Lynchburg Police Department drove up and began questioning Loi. Initially, Loi provided a false name and lied to law enforcement about why he was in Lynchburg.
  • A subsequent search of Loi’s vehicle revealed that the trunk of the car contained a large yellow plastic storage bag and was lined with a vinyl or rubber shower liner, on top of which sat a flattened cardboard box.
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


FBI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Addresses Francis Scott Key Bridge Collapse  

March 26, 2024

This photo shows FBI Evidence Response Team members working at the scene of the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse on March 26, 2024, in Baltimore.
FBI Evidence Response Team members work at the site of the Francis Scott Key bridge collapse in Baltimore on March 26, 2024.


On March 26, FBI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge William J. DelBagno took part in an interagency press conference about the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge the same day. 

"Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by this tragedy, especially to the victims and their families," he said at the engagement. "On behalf of the FBI, I would like to say we are with you and with the families involved.” 

You can read FBI Baltimore’s full statement about the situation here

The bridge collapsed in the early hours of March 26 after being struck by a cargo ship that was departing the Port of Baltimore, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA).  


Violent Crime Decreased in 2023, New FBI Quarterly Uniform Crime Report Shows 

March 25, 2024

The FBI on March 18 released its final Quarterly Uniform Crime Report for calendar year 2023, which indicated a decrease in violent crime across the country that year.  
 
These reports, published by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, include data on violent crimes (including murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault) and property crimes (including burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft). The reports provide both a nationwide overview and data breakdowns by city, size, or region. They also show how data points changed from the previous year. 
 
The overall nationwide decline in violent crime in 2023 was demonstrated across all violent crime categories, including murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. 
 
“We are encouraged by this data indicating a decrease in violent crime in communities across the country in 2023 compared to the prior year, including an over 13% decline in homicides,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in a statement about the report’s release. 
 
Garland also emphasized that “the Justice Department will continue to remain laser-focused on working with our law enforcement and community partners to drive down violent crime. We will not rest until every community in our country is safe.” 
 
The Q4 2023 report was based on data from over 15,000 law enforcement agencies across the country.  
 
The FBI's Crime Data Explorer, the interactive online tool that hosts the report, aims to provide transparency, create easier access, and expand awareness of criminal, and noncriminal, law enforcement data sharing; improve accountability for law enforcement; and provide a foundation to help shape public policy with the result of a safer nation.  
 
Additional Resources:


Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

March 22, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Father and Two Sons Indicted and Arrested for Conspiracy to Transport Stolen Catalytic Converters and Money Laundering
According to court documents, the three men conspired to purchase stolen catalytic converters and transport them in interstate commerce to sell them—all in order to enrich themselves.

  • The defendants allegedly used Facebook to advertise the purchase of catalytic convertors from the public in Puerto Rico, and used their two metal recycling companies to purchase stolen catalytic convertors.
  • After amassing catalytic convertors, they allegedly used private commercial shipping companies to transport and sell them to various catalytic convertor extraction companies in the continental United States, earning more than $3,000,000 from the sales.
  • "The theft and resale of catalytic converters is a serious crime that not only harms the environment but also undermines the safety and security of our communities," said FBI San Juan Special Agent in Charge Joseph González. "This coordinated effort spanned multiple states and involved numerous law enforcement agencies. I am proud of the tireless efforts of our agents and law enforcement partners in bringing these criminals to justice."
  • Full press release

U.S. Citizen Sentenced to More Than 16 Years in Federal Prison for the Murder of His Mother, a Department of Defense Employee Working in Bahrain
After pleading guilty to second degree murder, Giovanni Pope was sentenced to prison for the fatal stabbing of his mother.

  • While living as a dependent with his mother, a Department of Defense employee assigned to Bahrain, Pope fatally stabbed his mother with a knife he obtained from the kitchen and subsequently cleaned her body and removed evidence of the crime from the apartment.
  • Pope was apprehended by Bahraini authorities the next day; he admitted to the crime and his plans to return to the United States the following day.
  • Pope was ordered detained and removed from Bahrain to the United States and was charged by indictment with one count of Murder while Employed by or Accompanying the Armed Forces Outside the United States.
  • Full press release

Maine Man Pleads Guilty to Sending Racist Death Threats to Black Family in His Apartment Complex
According to court documents, Charles Allen Barnes recorded and transmitted a racial-slur-laden voice message in which he threatened, in graphic and violent terms, to kill his neighbor.

  • In the message, Barnes made repeated derogatory references to the neighbor’s race and stated he was waiting in his car outside the neighbor’s apartment, and would kill the next person who emerged from it. Barnes then sent the recording to an acquaintance, whom he knew to be close personal friends with the neighbor.
  • "Charles Barnes admitted today to using his words as a weapon and making violent, racist threats against his neighbor," said FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen. "Threats to life are most certainly not protected speech, and the FBI will continue to work with our partners to bring to justice anyone who crosses the line and commits this type of crime."
  • Full press release

Toppenish Man Sentenced to Prison for Strangling and Threatening His Partner with a Firearm
Tyler Jonas Senator was sentenced to seven years in prison after pleading guilty.

  • While driving in the victim’s vehicle, Senator assaulted the victim by grabbing her neck and strangling her. Later that day, Senator resumed the assault, hitting, kicking, and biting the victim.
  • Senator also hit the victim in the head with the butt of a rifle, then pointed the firearm at the victim and threatened her.
  • "While no sentence will take away the horror of being assaulted by a trusted partner, we hope this case shows our continued commitment to fighting back against violent crime on our state’s reservations," said FBI Seattle Assistant Special Agent in Charge Kelly M. Smith.
  • Full press release 

St. Augustine Convicted Child Sex Offender Pleads Guilty to Producing a Video of Sexually Abusing a Minor
Christopher Lee Smith faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 25 years in federal prison.

  • Smith, a registered child sex offender, was previously convicted in 2012 of traveling to meet a child to commit a sex offense
  • According to court documents, in 2021, Smith engaged in online conversation with an undercover FBI agent, who was posing as the parent of a minor child. Smith advised the undercover agent that he wanted to have sex with the "child" and discussed, in detail, the sexual acts that he wished to perform on the child.
  • Smith told the undercover agent that he had previously abused a child and sent a video that depicted the child being sexually abused by an adult male. FBI agents identified Smith as the man in the video.
  • Full press release 

Additional resources:


‘The Right Thing in the Right Way’: Director Talks Government Accountability at UGA  

March 21, 2024

FBI Director Christopher Wray visited the University of Georgia’s Athens campus on March 19 to deliver the school’s annual Getzen Lecture on Government Accountability.  

“While there will always be people out there looking to exploit their positions of public trust by serving themselves rather than the American people, with an agency like the FBI on the job—and with institutions like UGA shining a light on why government accountability is so important in the first place—I like our chances,” Wray said.   

During his talk, Director Wray discussed three ways in which the FBI works to further the lecture’s central topic: by investigating law enforcement officers who abuse their power, by investigating public corruption, and by ensuring the Bureau does “the right thing in the right way.”  

He also discussed internal and external oversight the Bureau’s efforts receive and how those extra pairs of eyes help keep us accountable to our mission. 

Finally, he spoke to how lessons learned from the Bureau’s past missteps have been incorporated into training for new special agents and intelligence analysts. 

You can learn more about the lecture here and read his full remarks here


Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of the FBI’s Forensic Accountant Program  

March 20, 2024

Fifteen years ago this month, the FBI launched our Forensic Accountant Program to support the ever-increasing complexity of financial investigations.   

The financial landscape abruptly changed in the early 2000s after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and large-scale corporate frauds like Enron. This transformation highlighted the need for a standardized professional financial investigation position: the FBI forensic accountant. 

The Forensic Accountant Program—created, in their own words, “by agents, for agents”—sees forensic accountants digging into financial records, following the money to unravel cases and bring criminals to justice. FBI forensic accountants have worked as financial experts on thousands of cases over the years. 

At the FBI, forensic accountants provide expert insight and rigorous financial analysis into Bureau investigations into everything from white collar crime to counterterrorism. Any FBI investigation with a nexus to financial crime might leverage their private sector experience and investigative techniques to analyze and track money laundered by terrorists, spies, and criminals. 

When discussing the program’s anniversary, one FBI forensic accountant recalled the many cases that they’ve worked on throughout their career, including the Lafarge S.A. case—which marked the first time a corporation was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, providing material support to a terrorist organization.  

Another forensic accountant emphasized the variety of the work that the Forensic Accountant Program entails and said the job “is always evolving” since “criminals are getting smarter and finding new ways to commit fraud, and we need to be a step ahead.” 

You can learn more about how FBI forensic accountants support the Bureau’s mission here (informational PDF)



Returning the Ruby Slippers 

March 19, 2024

This is a close-up photo of the so-called "traveling pair" of iconic sequined shoes—one of at least four pairs used in "The Wizard of Oz" that are still in existence—that were recently returned to their owner, Michael Shaw, in an emotional reunion.

FBI Minneapolis and the Grand Rapids, Minnesota, Police Department announced the return of a pair of ruby slippers featured in the classic 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" and stolen from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids in 2005.

The sequined shoes, known as the "traveling pair," are one of at least four pairs used in the film that are still in existence. They were returned to owner Michael Shaw at a ceremony held at the Judy Garland Museum.

"We are incredibly honored to return the ruby slippers to their rightful owner," said Alvin Winston Sr., special agent in charge. "Beyond the glittering allure of the shoes lies a testament to the FBI’s unyielding commitment to preserving the everlasting legacy of cherished memorabilia. This piece of cinematic history has been returned to Mr. Shaw through the diligent efforts of our dedicated agents, professional staff, and invaluable partners."

Resources:



Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

March 15, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Fairbanks Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Enticing, Trafficking Two Minors
Leveron Moore enticed two minors for the purpose of coercive sexual exploitation.

  • Moore used his cell phone to produce and possess photos of sexually explicit conduct involving both minor victims.
  • "Mr. Moore deliberately exploited and abused minors, the most vulnerable members of our community," said FBI Anchorage Acting Special Agent in Charge Kevin Vorndran. "The FBI will continue to work collaboratively with law enforcement partners and service providers to seek justice for these horrific crimes against children."
  • Moore was arrested by the FBI in 2023 after one of the minor victims reported the abuse to a local health official.
  • Full press release 

Six Former Kentucky State Corrections Officers Sentenced for Violating the Civil Rights of an Inmate and Obstruction of Justice
The six former officers were sentenced for their roles in the assault of an inmate and the subsequent cover-up.

  • Three of the officers assaulted a non-violent inmate who was lying face-down, wearing handcuffs and leg shackles, and isolated in a prison shower cell.
  • Within hours of the abuse being reported, an investigation was opened. Three additional officers joined the cover-up scheme, writing false reports and lying to state investigators.
  • "When several officers took part in beating an inmate who was unable to defend himself, a blatant violation of the individual’s civil rights occurred. But the injustice did not stop there as evidence of a cover-up also emerged," said FBI Louisville Special Agent in Charge Michael Stansbury. "As in this case, FBI personnel will always take allegations of police misconduct seriously and will leave no stone unturned when it comes to identifying perpetrators who violate federal law."
  • Full press release 

Pine Ridge Woman Sentenced to Federal Prison
Stacey Bissonette was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison after being convicted of voluntary manslaughter.

  • Bissonette was convicted for stabbing a man with whom she had a romantic relationship; he later succumbed to his injuries.
  • Along with being sentenced to 70 months in federal prison, Bissonette was sentenced to three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution and a $100 special assessment to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
  • Full press release 

Portland Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison for Murder Committed Amid Violent Robbery Spree
Keandre Dshawn LaMarcus Brown was sentenced to prison for murdering a man in his home amid a violent robbery spree that spanned several months and targeted at least six local businesses.

  • After several days of planning, Brown and multiple accomplices carried out a home invasion robbery targeting a Milwaukie man they believed possessed large quantities of cocaine and cash.
  • The group forcibly entered the residence and confronted the homeowner, who quickly retreated into a bathroom and called 911. Brown and an accomplice, each armed with semi-automatic firearms, positioned themselves outside the bathroom door and fired their respective handguns multiple times at the bathroom door, penetrating the door and killing the homeowner.
  • "Within months of completing a five-year prison sentence for attempted robbery, Keandre Brown went on a three-month crime spree, affecting over 20 victims, and brutally killing one. He used weapons, drugs, and fear to wreak havoc on our streets," said FBI Portland Acting Special Agent in Charge Aubree Schwartz. "Today’s significant sentence removes this dangerous individual from our community and highlights the tenacity of the FBI and our law enforcement partners to identify and apprehend criminals like him who threaten public safety."
  • Full press release 

Philadelphia Man Sentenced to More Than 10 Years in Prison in Connection with Two Violent Carjackings
Dashawn Pringle pled guilty to two counts of carjacking and possession of ammunition by a felon.

  • While a driver was pulled over to the side of the road, Pringle and an accomplice entered the vehicle, assaulted the driver, and stole his wallet, car keys, and vehicle.
  • In the second carjacking, Pringle approached a victim in his vehicle and pointed a gun at the victim while an accomplice took the victim’s keys and stole their vehicle.
  • "Sentences like this are a product of the diligent work done by the FBI Philadelphia Violent Crimes Task Force, who leverages the resources of our local law enforcement partners to remove violent offenders from our streets," said FBI Philadelphia Special Agent in Charge Wayne Jacobs. "This serves as a reminder that brazen acts of violence will be not tolerated in this city and reinforces our commitment to fostering a safe community for the citizens of Philadelphia."
  • Full press release 

Additional resources:


On This Day in FBI History: FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives Program  

March 14, 2024

On March 14, 1950, the FBI started the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives program. In the 74 years following the list’s creation, over 500 fugitives have been added to the list—many of whom have been caught thanks to the public’s assistance.

The first fugitive placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list was Thomas James Holden, wanted for the murder of his wife, her brother, and her stepbrother. Holden was later arrested after a citizen contacted the FBI with a tip. 

There are two main criteria for adding individuals to the list—they must be considered dangerous based on crimes already committed or must be considered likely to continue committing crimes. Additionally, investigators must determine that public awareness can assist in the subject’s apprehension. 

Take a look at today’s Top Ten list—and if you have any information concerning the individuals listed, contact 1-800-CALL-FBI, your local FBI office, the nearest American Embassy or Consulate, or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov.

For more on the list’s history, see the Top Ten Most Wanted archive for historical photos of each fugitive added to the list. You can also listen to our Inside the FBI episode Top Ten List Turns 70.



Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

March 8, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Jefferson County Man Sentenced for Interstate Domestic Violence and Firearms Charges
Paul Richard Tomlinson was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for interstate violation of a protective order and possession of a firearm.

  • Law enforcement officers discovered a firearm in Tomlinson’s vehicle while investigating a domestic incident; because of a prior felony conviction, Tomlinson is prohibited from possessing firearms.
  • Tomlinson’s girlfriend told investigators that Tomlinson had sexually and physically abused her, and was granted a Domestic Violence Emergency Protective Order.
  • While being held on the firearms charge, Tomlinson asked his mother to contact his girlfriend on his behalf to encourage her to drop the charges against him.
  • Full press release

Queens Man Convicted of Murdering and Dismembering Woman in Fraudulent Scheme to Collect Life Insurance Benefits
Cory Martin was found guilty on all counts and faces a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.

  • Martin and a co-conspirator fraudulently obtained two life insurance policies in the name of victim Brandy Odom before strangling her in her bedroom, dismembering her corpse, and disposing her body parts in Canarsie Park in Brooklyn, New York.
  • At trial, Martin’s co-conspirator testified that, prior to the murder, Martin watched "The First 48," a true-crime program, and "Dexter," a TV show about a serial killer who dismembered victims, and discussed ways to commit the crime without being caught by police.
  • After her murder, Martin and his co-conspirator made several unsuccessful attempt to claim benefits under Odom’s life insurance policies. 
  • "Today’s guilty verdict is a message to anyone who, without fear of being held accountable, commits heinous acts of criminality in New York City," stated NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban. "The NYPD will continue to collaborate with the FBI and the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York to conduct meticulous investigations that lead to successful prosecutions, and ultimately deliver justice to victims."
  • Full press release

Lake St. Louis Man Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison for Recording Sexual Abuse of Young Girl
Steve G. Flores produced hundreds of pictures and videos of the victim, and pled guilty to production of child pornography in December.

  • Authorities were alerted by a tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children from a cloud storage company after Flores stored hundreds of photos and videos of the victim on electronic devices and online.
  • This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
  • Full press release

U.S. Attorney’s Office Prosecuted 85 Firearm Offenders, while Seizing and Forfeiting 163 Illegal Firearms in 2023
The Eastern District of Washington announced the prosecution of firearms offenders, resulting in the seizure and forfeiture of illegally owned, possessed, used, or obtained firearms.

  • The 85 defendants were charged with various federal offenses, including Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Federal Law Enforcement Officer, First-Degree Murder, Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition by a Person Convicted of Domestic Violence, and more.
  • "The FBI works alongside our law enforcement partners to keep our communities and neighborhoods safe," said FBI Seattle Special Agent in Charge Richard A. Collodi. "The FBI’s goal is to build cases which disrupt and dismantle the capabilities of criminal enterprises, putting the worst offenders behind bars to keep communities safer. The impact of firearms violations highlighted from 2023 represent a step forward in achieving that aim. These results would not be possible without the strong partnerships within the public safety community."
  • Full press release

Federal Jury Convicts Mescalero Man of Domestic Assault
Theodore Ian Chavez, IV, was found guilty for assault of an intimate partner by strangling.

  • Chavez strangled and assaulted his intimate partner, Jane Doe, multiple times. Doe sought medical attention after assaults resulted in the loss of consciousness, visible bruises, and a head injury.
  • FBI Albuquerque investigated the case with the assistance of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • At sentencing, Chavez faces ten years in prison.
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


FBI Releases 2023 Internet Crime Report  

March 6, 2024

Stock image depicting distressed man in front of computer monitors displaying ransomware lock screens.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center released its annual report, the 2023 Internet Crime Report, which includes information from over 880,000 complaints of suspected internet crime.  
 
Nationwide, there was a near 10% increase in complaints compared to 2022, and victims' reported losses exceed $12.5 billion—a 22% increase from last year. The FBI also releases state-specific statistics, which are included in the 2023 Internet Crime Report and in separate 2023 State Reports.  
 
One of the most concerning trends this year was the rise in ransomware incidents, with reported losses in 2023 totaling $59.6 million. Ransomware can impact individuals and businesses, regardless of their size and industry—and many instances aren’t reported. When victims report instances of ransomware—or any cybercrime incident—the FBI can gain insight on the crime and the tactics used by the criminals to help bring the perpetrators to justice.  
 
If you believe you may have fallen victim to cybercrime, visit ic3.gov to file a complaint and help aid in the fight against cybercrime.  

Resources:

  • On Inside the FBI, we discuss the Phantom Hacker scam, in which different scammers work together, misrepresenting themselves as tech support, financial institutions, and government agencies, to try and convince victims to transfer money. 
  • On Inside the FBI, we discuss romance schemes, common online scams in which criminals adopt fake online identities to gain a victim’s affection and trust.  


Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

March 1, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Florida Resident Sentenced to 60 Months for Smuggling Firearms from U.S. to Violent Haitian Gang That Kidnapped 19 Americans 
Jocelyn Dor, a Haitian citizen affiliated with the 400 Mawozo Criminal Organization, was sentenced to 60 months in prison for participating in a sophisticated weapons smuggling scheme.  

  • Between September 18, 2021, and October 17, 2021, Dor operated as a straw purchaser for 400 Mawozo, a notoriously violent Haitian gang and criminal organization. 
  • Dor purchased 10 semiautomatic high-power rifles for the express purpose of shipping the weapons to the 400 Mawozo gang leaders in Haiti for use in combat.  
  • Dor originally was charged in a May 2022 indictment that named two co-defendants.
  • Full press release 

Carthage Man Sentenced for Child Pornography 
James Beam was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison without parole for receiving and distributing child pornography.  

  • Beam began speaking to an undercover FBI agent in April 2023. During conversations, Beam expressed a desire to meet the undercover agent’s fictional niece for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity.  
  • Beam sent the undercover agent a video of child pornography, and expressed his intent to abduct and rape a child.  
  • Full press release

Armed Robberies of Metro Liquor Stores Land Oklahoma City Man in Federal Prison for 25 Years 
Marcus Angelo Buford was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to charges related to two armed robberies.  

  • On May 25, 2022, Buford robbed two separate Oklahoma City liquor stores, and brandished a firearm during both robberies.  
  • During the second robbery, Buford shot the owner of the liquor store in the head before he fled, leaving his victim behind in the parking lot.
  • Full press release

Owatonna Sex Offender Pleads Guilty to Producing Child Pornography, Threatening to Carry Out a Murder Plot 
Michael Lee Kurkowski pled guilty to threatening interstate communication and the production of childhood pornography. 

  • Authorities began investigating Kurkowski’s online communications and sexual exploitation of a minor victim. Investigators reviewed several messages from Kurkowski to the minor describing in graphic detail a plan to travel to Pennsylvania where Kurkowski would murder the parents of his former victim, rape his sister, and then kill her in front of his former victim.
  • When authorities arrested Kurkowski, they discovered a bag containing 16 heavy flex cuffs, electrical tape, a taser, a knife, rubber gloves, handcuffs, and hooded face masks.
  • Kurkowski was previously sentenced to 142 days in prison in 2021, and he was subsequently registered as a sex offender, ordered not to contact his victim, to refrain from behavior which may present a danger to others, and not to possess any weapons.
  • Full press release 

Final Defendant Sentenced to Prison for Violent Uber and Lyft Carjacking Conspiracy, Assaulting a Federal Officer 
Williams Charles Saffold was sentenced to 87 months in prison for his role in a series of violent carjackings and armed robberies targeting rideshare drivers and for assaulting a federal officer. 

  • Between September and October 2021, Saffold and his co-defendants engaged in a scheme targeting rideshare drivers, and conspired with each other to lure drivers to preplanned locations under the guise of picking up or dropping off passengers. When the drivers arrived, the defendants carjacked the drivers at gunpoint, brandished firearms, and beat and pistol-whipped the drivers.  
  • Saffold and his co-defendants also demanded keys, wallets, and cell phones, and forced the drivers at gunpoint to unlock their phones and provide passcodes. The defendants then used the passcodes to further victimize the drivers by accessing and stealing money from the drivers’ Cash App accounts or other applications. 
  • On May 11, 2022, an FBI agent attempted to execute an arrest warrant and approached Saffold, who immediately drew a pistol and pointed it at the agent before fleeing. 
  • Full press release  

More Than a Dozen People Sentenced in Federal Investigation Targeting the 4K Street Gang in Alachua, Florida 

  • The last of 12 defendants were sentenced for drug-trafficking and firearm charges related to a joint federal and state investigation into the 4K criminal street gang.  
  • After a number of gang-related shootings in 2018, the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force began an investigation of the 4K gang, working with the with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office and the Alachua Police Department to investigate the shootings. 
  • The FBI and DEA, who aided through investigation of the gang’s drug-trafficking activity, obtained six court-authorized wiretaps on cellphones used by members of the drug-trafficking conspiracy.  
  • "These sentencings demonstrate the FBI's relentless determination to eradicate drug-fueled gang violence that is plaguing communities," said FBI Jacksonville Acting Special Agent in Charge Mark Dargis. "Disrupting organizations like this one is a critical part of the FBI mission, and we will use every legal means available to hold accountable those who threaten our neighborhoods. The rule of law is not optional, and we want to make clear to other gangs operating in our communities: the FBI and our local, state, and federal partners are coming for you, and the violence won't be tolerated." 
  • Full Press Release 

Additional resources:


February 2024  


Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

February 23, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Kansas City Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Cyberstalking, Murder
A convicted felon, Lester E. Brown, received a life sentence for using a GPS device to track the vehicle of a man he later murdered, Christopher Harris.

  • Fingerprints found on the GPS tracking device were traced back to Brown—and digital evidence revealed a connection between Brown and Harris.
  • Investigators discovered that prior to Harris' murder, Brown sent threatening messages to Harris via Snapchat. These messages included photos of GPS devices and demands of monthly $10,000 payments to be made to Brown from Harris.
  • "Kansas City will continue to monitor and review state and local homicide investigations that are particularly heinous that could potentially be better served as a venue in federal court versus a local court," said Kansas City Supervisory Special Agent Nathan Kim.
  • This case marked the first filing of both the cyberstalking and the cyberstalking resulting in death charges in the Western District of Missouri.
  • Full press release

Effingham Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Attempted Sex Crimes Against a Minor
John S. Harmon was sentenced to spend 10 years in federal prison after he admitted to soliciting sex online from a purported minor in exchange for money.

  • Harmon began speaking to the undercover agent posing as a purported minor from May through June 2021. During conversations, he solicited the 15-year-old purported minor and an 11-year-old purported minor for sex in exchange for money, and also solicited nude images of both the purported minors.
  • "Our proactive efforts to protect children resulted in another offender being stripped of his ability to harm a member of our most vulnerable population," said FBI Springfield Special Agent in Charge David Nanz. "This sentence underscores the FBI’s unwavering dedication to investigate and arrest those who seek to harm our children."
  • Full press release

Convicted Drug Trafficking Murderer Sentenced to 50 Years
Jann Jousten Aponte-Rivera, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for the drug-related murder of Shantay Myisha Butler, of Frederick, Maryland.

  • Aponte-Rivera was part of a large-scale drug trafficking organization based in San Juan that was sending kilogram quantities of cocaine to the mainland United States, including the Washington D.C. region, via the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Law enforcement identified more than 50 parcels of cocaine shipped by the organization from Puerto Rico to the area with a wholesale street value of at least $2 million. Once the drugs arrived in the metropolitan area, a local drug trafficking organization distributed the cocaine to mainland dealers.
  • Full press release

Former Booneville, Mississippi, Basketball Coach Sentenced for Child Exploitation
A former Booneville High School assistant basketball coach, Kenny Paul Geno, was sentenced to serve ten years in prison following his conviction for online enticement of a minor.

  • Several current and former female students subsequently reported that Geno solicited images of sexually explicit conduct over Snapchat.
  • At least one former student advised that she engaged in sexual contact with Geno that he recorded on his cell phone. In addition, several videos of child sexual abuse material involving minor victims were recovered on Geno’s cell phone hidden within an encrypted application used to store the media.
  • "Mr. Kenny Paul Geno’s actions violated the innocence and trust of many young children," said FBI Acting Special Agent In Charge Maher Dimachkie. "The FBI is committed to combating crimes against children and will continue to engage with law enforcement partners and community leaders to protect children. The FBI will hold individuals like Mr. Geno accountable for their actions."
  • Full press release

Ada, Oklahoma, Resident Sentenced for Murder, Kidnapping, Arson, Burglary, Voluntary Manslaughter, Assault and Prison Contraband Charges
Kalup Allen Born was sentenced to a total of 608 months (over 50 years) imprisonment related to multiple crimes.

  • In January 2017, Born broke into an Ada residence, threatened and assaulted the occupant with a knife, stole the victim’s vehicle, then kidnapped and forced the victim into the car. As he drove south, Born backed the vehicle over the side of a bridge, sending it over the edge and down into the creek bed below. The victim ultimately died from the injuries sustained in the incident.
  • Born then made his way to a second home nearby, which he burglarized, stealing a blanket, a knife, a wallet, and electronics. From there, Born proceeded to yet a third residence, where he broke in and set the home ablaze with the occupants still inside. A bystander was able to rescue the occupants from the fire and Born was captured nearby.
  • In December 2020, while being held on charges for these crimes, Born killed a fellow inmate in the Pontotoc County Justice Center in a brutal and sustained attack.
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


FBI, U.K., and International Law Enforcement Partners Announce Disruption of LockBit Ransomware Group 

February 20, 2024

The FBI, U.K., and international law enforcement partners have announced the disruption of one of the most active ransomware groups in the world.

The LockBit ransomware group has

  • targeted more than 2,000 victims
  • received more than $120 million in ransom payments
  • and made ransom demands totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

Law enforcement seized public-facing websites used to connect to the LockBit organization’s infrastructure and also seized control of servers used by LockBit administrators. These actions disrupted the ability of LockBit actors to attack and encrypt networks and extort victims by threatening to publish stolen data.

With the indictment unsealed today, a total of five LockBit members have now been charged for their participation in the LockBit conspiracy. Russian national Mikhail Pavlovich Matveev is currently the subject of a reward of up to $10 million through the U.S. Department of State’s Transnational Organized Crime Rewards Program. If you have any information, contact the FBI at tips.fbi.gov.

Have you been targeted by this ransomware?

Contact the FBI at lockbitvictims.ic3.gov. 

The National Crime Agency, in cooperation with the FBI and international law enforcement partners, has developed decryption capabilities that may enable hundreds of victims around the world to restore systems encrypted using the LockBit ransomware variant. Law enforcement will determine whether affected systems can be successfully decrypted. 

"If you are a victim of ransomware, the FBI is on your side and is working to help you," FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate said in a video statement.

Additonal information:



Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

February 16, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Twenty-Five Charged in Indictment Targeting Philadelphia Drug Trafficking Organization
Twenty-five people have been charged in a case targeting a Philadelphia-based organization that was supplying large amounts of methamphetamine, fentanyl, and cocaine to North Central West Virginia.

  • According to court documents, Rodney Johnson was the leader of a group that was supplying significant quantities of illicit drugs to Monongalia County. The organization’s members utilized apartments in Morgantown in which to reside and store their drugs.
  • "I want to highlight the collective efforts of the FBI and our law enforcement partners to dismantle a criminal enterprise who was intent on flooding our communities with this poison," said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Kevin Rojek. "An investigation of this size requires partnership and teamwork. The result of this operation is a testament to the power of partnership and the FBI’s commitment to curb violence in our communities."
  • Full press release

Lackawanna County Woman Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Steal Major Artworks and Sports Memorabilia
Dawn Trotta admitted to intentionally conspiring with others to steal major artwork and objects of cultural heritage, and to move the stolen property in interstate commerce.  

  • Eight other individuals have been charged in the same conspiracy.
  • Stolen items include nine World Series rings, a Tiffany lamp, $400,000 worth of gold nuggets, antique firearms, art by Andy Warhol, and more.
  • The indictment and information further allege that after stealing the above-described items, the conspirators would transport the stolen goods back to northeastern Pennsylvania, and melt the memorabilia down into easily transportable metal discs or bars.
  • The conspirators would then sell the raw metal in the New York City area for hundreds or thousands of dollars, significantly less than the stolen items would be worth at fair market value.
  • Full press release

Man Sentenced to Life Plus 10 Years in Prison for St. Louis Murder, Drug Conspiracy
Freeman Whitfield IV was an enforcer for a large drug conspiracy.

  • The conspirators brought drugs from Houston and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the St. Louis area.
  • A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation with support from the FBI resulted in the seizure of more than $1.5 million in drug proceeds, as well as 25 kilograms of cocaine, 3 kilograms of fentanyl, 10 kilograms of heroin, luxury vehicles, watches, and guns.
  • "The Drug Enforcement Administration knows violence is a principal element of drug trafficking, as this case clearly demonstrates," said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Colin Dickey, supervisor of DEA operations in Eastern Missouri. "This enforcer protected the command and control of a drug trafficking organization dealing in the triple threat of fentanyl, cocaine, and heroin. It’s particularly satisfying for us in law enforcement that he will no longer endanger the lives of our citizens with illegal drugs or the gun violence that takes so many St. Louis lives."
  • Full press release

Eagle River Man Sentenced to 35 Years for Sexually Abusing Minor for Over Five Years
Michael Vernon Ross was sentenced to 35 years in prison for sexually abusing a minor in order to produce and possess child pornography.

  • Ross began sexually abusing a 7-year-old child in 2017. The abuse occurred weekly and lasted for multiple years.
  • Ross documented some of the abuse through pictures and videos kept on his cell phone. The defendant was in possession of over 450 photos and 30 videos of varied length depicting his sexual abuse of the victim.
  • "The defendant’s years-long child exploitation crimes are among the most egregious and have no place in our society," said FBI Anchorage Assistant Special Agent in Charge Brandon Waddle. "May this sentence serve as a reminder that the FBI and our law enforcement partners have zero tolerance for child predators, and will hold them accountable to the fullest extent of the law."
  • Full press release

Former Tennessee Department of Corrections Officer Sentenced for Writing False Report to Cover Up Another Officer’s Use of Excessive Force
A former Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC) tactical officer, Sebron Hollands, was sentenced to 15 months in prison and two years of supervised release for writing a false report in an effort to cover up another officer’s use of excessive force on an inmate.

  • His co-defendant, former TDOC tactical officer Javian Griffin, pled guilty on October 11, 2023, to using excessive force against the inmate.
  • According to court documents, Hollands was present when Griffin, without justification, punched an inmate in the head, breaking the inmate’s jaw. The inmate did not resist or pose a threat justifying the use of force. After the incident, Hollands provided false information in his official use of force report.
  • "When correctional officers abuse their authority, it not only violates our civil rights laws, it undermines the criminal justice system," said FBI Memphis Special Agent in Charge Douglas DePodesta. "The FBI makes it a priority to bring to justice any law enforcement officer who violates the civil rights of those they are sworn to protect."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


FBI Director Wray Talks Partnerships with Sheriffs  

February 15, 2024

On February 9 in Washington, D.C., FBI Director Christopher Wray joined the Major County Sheriffs of America during their 2024 Winter Conference to talk about key issues, including violent crime, extremism, border security, election security, and swatting. 

During Director Wray's panel appearance, he told the sheriffs that partnerships are the key to better protecting the American people. “Partnerships are how we leverage our respective strengths and capabilities,” he said. 
 
FBI-led task forces are working cases nationwide, Wray said, and they include more than 6,000 officers from hundreds of departments and agencies, “including many from the departments represented in this room.” 

The association includes the more than 100 sheriff's offices in counties or parishes with a population of 500,000 or more. 


Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

February 9, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft.  

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

International Law Enforcement Partners Announce Results of Takedown Targeting International Drug Trafficking Organizations

FBI Los Angeles conducted a SWAT operation as part of Operation Dead Hand. B-roll.

Transcript / Visit Video Source

A team of FBI and international law enforcement agencies conducted multiple arrests the morning of January 30, across the United States and Canada, to disrupt and dismantle an international organized crime syndicate importing and exporting massive quantities of drugs across the North American continent. 

  • The defendants allegedly conspired to traffic and import hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico through Los Angeles for export to Canada or redistribution throughout the U.S.  
  • The investigation, known as Operation Dead Hand, examined a network of "handlers" and "dispatchers" moving these substances. 
  • The estimated wholesale value of the narcotics seized was between $16-28 million—with an even greater value in Canada.   
  • This case is part of the FBI’s ongoing work with its partners to disrupt these organized criminal groups and drug traffickers.   
  • Full Story

FBI Launches MMIP Data Collection Project in Wyoming 
 The FBI is seeking the public’s help to compile an accurate list of cases in Wyoming involving Native Americans who are missing or unsolved homicides with Native American victims. Whether these cases were never reported, were never properly investigated, or new information is available, the FBI wants to hear about it. 

  • The FBI has set up a designated email account, wymmip@fbi.gov, to collect information from citizens across Wyoming who might have knowledge about unsolved cases involving missing tribal members or Native Americans whose murders have not been solved. You can also leave a message at (307) 433-3221. All callers who leave a name and phone number will receive a return call. 
  • The FBI is the primary law enforcement agency investigating serious crimes on the Wind River Indian Reservation, which includes the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. 
  • Full press release  

Central Illinois Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Attempted Arson of Clinic 
Philip J. Buyno was sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay $327,547.14 in restitution for attempting to use fire to damage a building used in interstate commerce.

  • Buyno had previously pleaded guilty, admitting that, in May 2023, he brought containers filled with gasoline and used his car to breach the front entrance to a commercial building in Danville, Illinois, to burn it down before it could be used as a reproductive health clinic.
  • When Danville police officers responded to an alarm at the building around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 20, 2023, they found Buyno stuck inside a maroon Volkswagen Passat that he had backed into the building’s entrance.   
  • During a search of the vehicle, FBI agents found bottles containing gasoline, a hatchet, road flares, multiple old tires, and a pack of matches. Agents also found that Buyno had fortified the trunk of the Passat with wooden beams.  
  • Full press release

Self-Proclaimed “Satan Child” Sentenced to 50 Years
Miguel Alejandro Diaz Gonzalez was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison for the production and transportation of child sex abuse material.

  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received a tip concerning an online media storage account associated with the username “Satans child,” where investigators found child sexual abuse material.
  • FBI agents traced that account to a home in Orlando, Florida, where Diaz Gonzalez lived. Agents also recovered a video that Diaz Gonzalez produced and shared depicting him raping an 8-year-old child. Two other child victims, ages 10 and 11, were also identified in the investigation as victims.
  • Diaz Gonzalez was also responsible for sharing and transporting several images and videos depicting children being drugged, raped, and molested by adults.
  • This is another case 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.
  • Full press release  

Former Professor Pleads Guilty to Setting Multiple Fires Behind Firefighters Responding to the Dixie Fire  

Gary Stephen Maynard pleaded guilty to three counts of arson on federal property. According to court documents, Maynard engaged in an arson spree in the Shasta Trinity National Forest and the vicinity of the then-ongoing Dixie Fire in the Lassen National Forest.

  • Maynard set some of his fires behind firefighters actively fighting the Dixie Fire, effectively surrounding these firefighters as they responded to one of the largest wildfires in California history.
  • Maynard admitted to setting the following fires during this arson spree: the Cascade Fire (July 20, 2021), the Everitt Fire (July 21, 2021), the Ranch Fire (August 7, 2021), and the Conard Fire (August 7, 2021).
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


China-Sponsored Hackers Targeting America's Essential Resources, FBI Director Says  

February 5, 2024

FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party in Washington, D.C., on January 31, 2024.
FBI Director Christopher Wray testifies before the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party in Washington, D.C., on January 31, 2024.

Chinese government-sponsored hackers are working to infiltrate American critical infrastructure systems so they can take them down in the event of a U.S.-China conflict, FBI Director Christopher Wray recently told Capitol Hill lawmakers.  

“There has been far too little public focus on the fact that PRC [People’s Republic of China] hackers are targeting our critical infrastructure—our water treatment plants, our electrical grid, our oil and natural gas pipelines, our transportation systems. And the risk that poses to every American requires our attention now,” Director Wray told legislators during a January 31 appearance before the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party. 

The FBI and our partners recently disrupted one such effort, but the FBI needs more funding to help us keep the economic and national security threats posed by Chinese government-sponsored cyber activity at bay. 

“I do not want those watching today to think we can’t protect ourselves,” he testified. “But I do want the American people to know that we cannot afford to sleep on this danger.”  

You can read Wray’s full written testimony here and his opening remarks, as prepared, here



Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

February 2, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

FBI Leads Surge in Arrests Targeting Drug-Trafficking Organizations Nationwide
Across more than seven FBI field offices in the last two weeks, nearly 200 people have been charged as part of a series of arrests targeting large-scale drug-trafficking organizations operating throughout the United States and North America.

  • "As demonstrated by the sweep of arrests and criminal charges filed nationwide over the last two weeks alone, the FBI will never stop until violent criminals are taken off the streets and brought to justice, making our communities safer," said FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate. "The FBI works relentlessly day and night alongside local, state, and federal law enforcement partners across the country to arrest and neutralize the most dangerous violent offenders and dismantle the criminal enterprises behind them. This is a snapshot of the work our dedicated personnel are committed to doing 24/7, and the community impact occurring each and every day."
  • Full press release

Federal Indictments Allege International Organized Crime Syndicate Imported and Exported Narcotics Across North America
Ten people were arrested in multiple cities on January 30, 2024, in relation to two federal indictments charging members of an organized crime syndicate who allegedly conspired to traffic and import hundreds of kilograms of cocaine and other controlled substances from Mexico through Los Angeles for export to Canada or re-distribution throughout the United States.

  • Arrest and search warrants were executed the morning of January 30, by a coalition of international law enforcement partners in various cities, including Los Angeles; Sacramento, California; Miami; Odessa, Texas; Montreal; Toronto; and Calgary, Canada.
  • "Until today, the organized members of this conspiracy operated with impunity throughout the many thousands of miles that comprise the North American continent, poisoning communities along the way," said FBI Los Angeles Assistant Director in Charge Donald Alway. "The strength of this partnership cannot be overstated. The agents and detectives on this case did an outstanding job of pooling resources and worked seamlessly across borders toward a mutual goal of putting this massive drug pipeline out of business."
  • Full press release

Minnesota Man Sentenced for the Theft of the "Ruby Slippers" from the Classic 1939 Film “The Wizard of Oz”
Terry Jon Martin was sentenced and ordered to pay $23,500 restitution to the Judy Garland Children’s Museum for theft of major artwork, an object of cultural heritage from the care, custody, or control of a museum.

  • In 2005, Martin stole an authentic pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in the 1939 film, "The Wizard of Oz," from the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. 
  • The ruby slippers, which were recovered by the FBI and Grand Rapids Police Department in July 2018, are widely viewed as among the most recognizable memorabilia in American film history. 
  • "The FBI, in collaboration with our law enforcement partners, worked diligently to bring this case to a resolution," said FBI Minneapolis Special Agent in Charge Alvin M. Winston Sr. "Today's sentencing underscores our commitment to safeguarding iconic artifacts. The FBI will continue to investigate and hold accountable those who seek to exploit and unlawfully acquire pieces of historical memorabilia."
  • Full press release

Tennessee Man Sentenced to Prison for Assaulting Flight Attendant in Austin
Michael Goins, Jr., was sentenced in a federal court to six months in prison for assaulting a flight attendant on a Southwest Airlines flight. 

  • Goins, a passenger, loudly uttered several expletives during a cell phone call which was overheard by passengers seated near him. A passenger traveling with children was disturbed by the language used by Goins, which led to his aggressive response toward the passenger.
  • During an altercation, Goins intentionally and deliberately pushed his closed fist into a flight attendant’s upper abdomen and pushed her back.
  • "As a passenger on an active flight, Mr. Goins disruptive behavior escalated into a violent outburst directed at a flight attendant," said FBI San Antonio Special Agent in Charge Aaron G. Tapp. "The FBI is dedicated to ensuring Americans can go to work and travel by plane without the fear of being attacked. We are grateful to our partners at the Austin Police Department for their work on this case—and their ongoing dedication to keeping our citizens safe."
  • Full press release

Washington Gun Offender Sentenced to 70 Months in Federal Prison
Reily William Arambul was sentenced after pleading guilty to felon in possession of a firearm.

  • On May 9, 2023, a resident called the police to report a disturbance involving an individual, later identified as Arambul, who was in possession of a weapon. Arambul tried to escape the police by recklessly taking control of a vehicle, but was later arrested.
  • Officers searched Arambul and found two knives, a black leather holster, a bag of syringes, and a small red bag with approximately 60 fentanyl pills inside, as well as a silver semi-automatic pistol.
  • "As a convicted felon, Mr. Arambul knew he was prohibited from possessing firearms," said FBI Seattle Special Agent in Charge Richard A. Collodi. "Not only did he possess a gun, he continued to disregard the law and engaged in other criminal activity including possessing dangerous weapons and illegal drugs while fleeing from law enforcement. Fortunately, no one was injured due to the swift actions taken by the Spokane Police. The FBI relies on partnerships like these as we work to protect the citizens of Washington state."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Protecting Yourself Against ID Theft  

February 1, 2024

While the internet has undoubtedly increased our ability to connect with people worldwide, it has also provided ample opportunities for criminals to target individuals and steal their personal information.   
 
Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information, like your Social Security number, and uses it to commit theft or fraud. According to a 2022 report published by the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), more than 58,500 people reported being victims of identity theft in 2022 alone.  
  
This is why everyone must take the right security measures and be alert and aware. Here are some tips to help protect yourself and your family from becoming a victim of identity theft:  

  • Keep systems and software up to date and install a strong, reputable anti-virus program.  
  • Be careful when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, and do not conduct any sensitive transactions, including purchases, when on a public network.  
  • Create a strong and unique passphrase for each online account and change those passphrases regularly.  
  • Set up multi-factor authentication on all accounts that allow it.  
  • Examine the email address in all correspondence and scrutinize website URLs before responding to a message or visiting a site.  
  • Don't click on anything in unsolicited emails or text messages.  
  • Be cautious about the information you share in online profiles and social media accounts.
  • Sharing things like pet names, schools, and family members can give scammers the hints they need to guess your passwords or the answers to your account security questions.
  • Don't send payments to unknown people or organizations seeking monetary support and urge immediate action.  

  
Learn more about what you can do to protect yourself from cyber criminals, how you can report cyber crime, and the Bureau's efforts in combating the evolving cyber threat.   


January 2024 


Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

January 26, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Investigators Dismantle Fentanyl Drug Trafficking Network in Eastern Panhandle—82 People Charged
Eighty-two people have been indicted by a federal grand jury for a drug trafficking operation that distributed fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine in the Eastern Panhandle.

  • According to court documents, Gary Bernard Brown Jr., of Baltimore, Maryland, supplied others with large quantities of fentanyl capsules and powder for redistribution in Berkeley and Jefferson Counties.
  • The investigation yielded 10 kilograms of fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine, firearms, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets.
  • "In a coordinated effort across three states, the FBI and our partners worked seamlessly to degrade the capabilities of a criminal enterprise that endangered the lives of our children and neighbors by pedaling illegal narcotics into our communities," said FBI Pittsburgh Acting Special Agent in Charge Mike Shanahan. "Today, their illicit activities came to an end."
  • Full press release

Drug Task Force Operation Leads to 19 Arrests
The FBI and Nebraska State Patrol led an operation that resulted in the arrest of 19 people and the unsealing of at least nine indictments. 

  • These cases were investigated by the CODE Task Force which is made up of law enforcement agencies throughout a 22-county area in west-central/southwest Nebraska and includes the FBI, Nebraska State Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, North Platte Police Department, Lexington Police Department, and Army National Guard Counter Drug Unit.
  • To report tips on drug trafficking, please contact the FBI at tips.fbi.gov or 402-492-8688 or the Nebraska Crime Stoppers tipline at 1-800-422-1494.
  • Full press release

Justice Department Announces Surge of Resources to Fight Violent Crime in Washington, D.C.
The Justice Department announced today that it will surge additional law enforcement tools and resources to target those most responsible for violent crime and carjackings in Washington, D.C.

  • Additional resources will include a multi-component Gun Violence Analytic Cell (GVAC), which is led by the FBI with partners from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
  • Using data analytics, GVAC will identify additional federal investigations that should be opened to combat violent crime and carjackings.
  • "Last year, we saw an encouraging decline in violent crime in many parts of the country, but there is much more work to do—including here in the District of Columbia," said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. "This surge in law enforcement resources will build on the Department’s efforts to target the individuals and organizations that are driving violent crime in the nation’s capital. The Justice Department will not rest until every community in our country is safe from the scourge of violent crime."
  • Full press release

Colorado Man Sentenced for Church Arson in Federal Hate Crime Case
Darion Ray Sexton was sentenced to 39 months in prison for a hate crime charge in connection with a fire that he set to a church in Loveland, Colorado, in January 2023.

  • Sexton admitted that he set fire to the church by throwing two Molotov cocktails at the church—one at the front door and the other at the basement. Sexton further admitted that he was motivated to set this fire due to the religious character of the church and that he intended to destroy the church. 
  • "This defendant admitted he set out to destroy this church, which was determined to be a federal hate crime," said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Mark D. Michalek. "FBI Denver worked with the Loveland Police Department to bring this man to justice. Anyone who attacks a house of worship will get the full attention of the FBI. In addition to seeking justice for these crimes, the FBI remains committed to providing resources for potential victims, such as the event with faith leaders held in this county the day before the crime occurred."
  • Full press release

Virginia Man and Woman Convicted of Forced Labor at Gas Station and Convenience Store for Multiple Years
Harmanpreet Singh and Kulbir Kaur forced the victim, Singh’s cousin, to provide labor and services at Singh’s store, including working as the cashier, preparing food, cleaning, and managing store records. 

  • Singh and Kaur used various coercive means, including confiscating the victim’s immigration documents and subjecting the victim to physical abuse, threats of force and other serious harm, and at times, degrading living conditions, to compel him to work extensive hours for minimal pay.
  • "These convictions demonstrate the FBI’s commitment to seeking justice for victims of human trafficking and should also serve as a reminder to those who seek to engage in this illegal activity," said FBI Richmond Special Agent in Charge Stanley M. Meador. "We will continue working with our local, state, and federal partners to aggressively identify, investigate, and bring those responsible to justice."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Submitting Tips to the FBI  

January 24, 2024
 
Have you ever wondered what happens when you submit a tip to the FBI?   
 
When you submit a tip, that information goes to the National Threat Operations Center (or NTOC). Once NTOC gets your tip, their job is to learn more about it. Whether your tip is because you have information about a federal crime, a fugitive from justice, or potential terrorism, NTOC routes the information to the appropriate FBI field office.   

Approximately 120 cases that have been featured in the Most Wanted section of the FBI website have been solved as a direct result of tips from the public. Additionally, four Ten Most Wanted Fugitives have been arrested as a direct result of the public seeing their information on the FBI website and providing the FBI with tips.  


Director Wray’s Advice to Students with FBI Dreams: Character Comes First  

January 23, 2024

FBI Director Christopher Wray (center) takes part in a fireside chat with U.S. Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasoneathe dual-hatted National Security Agency director and U.S. Cyber Command commanderathat was moderated by National Public Radio journalist Mary Louise Kelly (right) at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus as part of the 2024 Fordham International Conference on Cybersecurity in New York City on January 9, 2024.FBI Director Christopher Wray (center) takes part in a fireside chat with U.S. Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone—the dual-hatted National Security Agency director and U.S. Cyber Command commander—that was moderated by National Public Radio journalist Mary Louise Kelly (right) at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus as part of the 2024 Fordham International Conference on Cybersecurity in New York City on January 9, 2024.

If you’re a student who aspires to work at the Bureau, how you interact with others is more important than the degree you pursue, FBI Director Christopher Wray recently told college students in New York City. 

Wray shared this wisdom at the tail end of a fireside chat with U.S. Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, the dual-hatted director of the National Security Agency and commander of U.S. Cyber Command, during the 2024 Fordham International Conference on Cybersecurity.  

When asked his advice for students hoping to join the Bureau, Wray brought the conversation back to character. 

First, Wray said, you should cultivate good listening skills. "We're in a society these days where people are far more interested in talking than they are in listening,” he said. For this reason, he explained, active listeners can obtain a “competitive advantage very quickly." 

Secondly, he said, treat everyone you encounter with respect. "Everything your parents told you when you were growing up still applies," he said.  

"If you do those things, what field of study you pursue and things like that, I think, are very secondary by comparison," he said. 

You can visit fbijobs.gov/students-and-graduates to explore opportunities for college students and recent graduates to work at the FBI. 


Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

January 19, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Former Oahu Schoolteacher Sentenced to 17.5 Years in Prison for Producing Child Pornography
Alden Bunag was sentenced to 210 months in prison and 15 years of supervised release for the production of child pornography.

  • When Bunag was working as a middle school teacher on Oahu, he engaged in repeated sexual activity with a 13-year-old student. Bunag recorded the sexual activity on multiple occasions, and later sent the video(s) to others, including a teacher in Pennsylvania, who was also prosecuted for child exploitation offenses.
  • In addition to the videos Bunag recorded of his former student, he also possessed thousands of images of child pornography.
  • "This sentence shows that the FBI will target those individuals who prey on our most vulnerable members of our community and do whatever it takes to protect our keiki," said FBI Honolulu Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill. "We will hold them accountable for their heinous actions, especially when they were entrusted by students and parents alike to serve as role models and not a sexual predator going after young boys."
  • Full press release

Six Members or Associates of Violent Street Gang Convicted of Federal Racketeering Offenses Including the Murder of Chicago Rapper
A federal jury in Chicago today convicted six members or associates of the O-Block street gang on racketeering offenses that included the murder of Carlton Weekly, a Chicago rapper also known as "FBG Duck."

  • The O-Block gang publicly claimed responsibility for their violence and used social media and music to increase their criminal enterprise.
  • The jury found that the defendants conspired to murder Weekly in order to maintain and increase their positions in the gang.
  • "All too often, our residents are held hostage to violence and other dangerous activity on our city streets," said FBI Chicago Special Agent in Charge Robert W. Wheeler, Jr. "These convictions show that there are very real consequences for murder in the city of Chicago today, tomorrow, and every day going forward."
  • Full press release

U.S. Attorney Charges Two Men with Firebombing a Mount Kisco Residence and Conspiring to Stalk a Westchester Businessman
Damjan Stanivukovic and Vladamir Radunovic were each charged with one count of unlawful possession of a destructive device and one count of conspiracy to commit stalking.

  • On or about January 11, 2024, the defendants transported a homemade destructive device to a neighborhood in Mount Kisco, New York, and dropped the destructive device off in the driveway of the victim’s residence, where it exploded.
  • FBI New York Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said: "Damjan Stanivukovic and Vladamir Radunovic allegedly tried to resolve a contentious business relationship with threats of violence and a homemade bomb. While business deals aren’t always successful, neither are overt acts of violence that bring forth federal charges. Thankfully, in this case, no one was injured. The FBI will continue to ensure that anyone willing to solve personal grievances with threats and attempts of violence are punished to the fullest extent in the criminal justice system."
  • Full press release

Providence Man Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison for Enticing Minor Children to Engage in Illicit Sexual Activity
Akinola Akinlapa has been sentenced for coercing a 10-year-old Utah girl and more than a dozen other minor females to engage in sexually explicit conduct while he recorded their actions via a live internet link that he provided to them.

  • A forensic review revealed evidence that Akinlapa had victimized the Utah girl and 14 other young girls, and had attempted to do the same with approximately 60 other minor girls but was unsuccessful.
  • "What Akinola Akinlapa did—in sexually exploiting dozens of children—was cruel and disgraceful, and with this sentence, this predator will not be able to harm any more children for quite some time," said FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen. "This case is a prime example of how children can be victimized in the safety of their own homes and underscores the importance of talking to kids about the dangers of the internet. Parents, caregivers, and educators, please make it clear to your kids that they are not to blame if they fall victim, and please report these incidents so the FBI and our law enforcement partners can bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice."
  • Full press release

Delaware Man Sentenced to 118 Months in Federal Prison for His Murder-For-Hire Plot
Javier A. Rodriguez was sentenced for hiring a hitman to murder his ex-wife.

  • Over the course of the investigation, Rodriguez held multiple meetings about the murder plot, which were audio and video recorded by the FBI. During those meetings, Rodriguez explained exactly how he wanted his ex-wife murdered. Rodriguez made a down payment of $5,000 to another individual to pay for the hitman and agreed to pay an additional $5,000 once the murder was completed.
  • The FBI arrested Rodriguez before anyone was injured.
  • "The FBI is committed to investigating violent crimes such as this," said FBI Baltimore Acting Special Agent in Charge R. Joseph Rothrock. "The thwarted murder-for-hire plot in this case affirms the importance of collaboration between law enforcement agencies. Had it not been for their combined efforts, the consequences could have been tragic. The FBI remains steadfast in our goal of making Delaware's streets safer for everyone."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Financially Motivated Sextortion 

January 18, 2024

Financial sextortion is a crime. But it's not your fault. And you can get home. Report it to tips.fbi.gov.

The FBI is warning parents, young persons, teachers, and caregivers about financially motivated sextortion. 

In these schemes, predators typically pretend to be alluring young girls to befriend teen boys—often on social media and gaming platforms. The predators then trick these teens into exchanging sexually explicit material or believing the predators have already obtained it.

Once the scammers have a victim's pictures or video, they demand money to keep the explicit material from being shared with the victim’s family and friends. Even when victims comply, scammers often demand more money and escalate the threats.

Contact your local FBI field office, call 1-800-CALL-FBI, or report it online at tips.fbi.gov if you, your child, or someone you know is being exploited. 

Learn more about financially motivated sextortion and how to stay safe online:


Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

January 12, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Man Who Carried Out Machete Attack on NYPD Officers in Times Square on NYE 2022 Pleads Guilty to Terrorism Charges
Trevor Bickford pleaded guilty to multiple counts of attempting to kill officers and employees of the U.S. government and persons assisting them based on his jihadist attack using a machete-style knife against three New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, 2022.

  • In December 2022, Bickford, a U.S. citizen and resident of Maine, traveled from Maine to New York City to, in his own words, wage jihad and kill as many of his targets as possible. After considering his options, researching his target location, and settling on his plan of attack, he packed a large machete-like blade and went to one of the most densely populated areas in the United States at one of the most densely populated times possible: Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
  • "The defendant in this case, motivated by violent extremist views, traveled to New York City for the sole purpose of committing acts of violence and attacked three police officers causing serious injuries," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "Police officers bravely protect the American people and attacks against them cannot be tolerated. The FBI will work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to hold accountable all those who engage in acts of terrorism."
  • Full press release

Chaparral Man Sentenced to 90 months in Prison for Hostage Taking
Ricardo Arce, III, was sentenced to 90 months in prison for conspiracy to take a hostage and two counts of hostage taking.

  • Arce admitted to conspiring with his co-defendants, Jonathan Matthew Gonzalez and Vicki Sowell, to take two foreign nationals hostage.
  • Gonzalez transported the hostages to Arce’s residence, took their phones and wallets, and told them they were not allowed to leave unless their families paid money to secure their release.
  • While held against their will, Gonzalez assaulted both of the hostages. Arce recorded videos of Gonzalez assaulting one of the hostages while Sowell turned up music to cover the sounds of the beating. Gonzalez sent the videos to the hostage’s family along with a demand for money. Gonzalez threatened to kill the hostages if they did not pay the ransom.
  • Full press release

Registered Sex Offender Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for His Enticement of an Orange County Minor
Matthew Mills was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his enticement of an 11-year-old minor. 

  • Mills exchanged text messages with an 11-year-old minor (Victim-1) and directed Victim-1 to take and transmit sexually explicit photographs and videos of Victim-1 to Mills.
  • In addition to the prison sentence, Mills was sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release.      
  • "Matthew Mills’s crimes are the nightmare of every parent," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams. "Even after registering as a sex offender, Mills was able to prey on a young child from across the country, but the career prosecutors of this office and our investigative partners were relentless in pursuing this predator. Today’s lengthy sentence ensures that Mills will face justice for his reprehensible conduct."
  • Full press release

Woman Sentenced for Threatening to Murder U.S. Probation Officer
Tammy Morgan has been sentenced to time served in federal custody after pleading guilty to transmitting a threatening interstate communication.

  • On multiple occasions spanning from October 2018 through August 2022, Morgan sent repeated voicemails, texts messages, and physical notes threatening a federal probation officer.
  • "Federal probation officers play a critical role in protecting the public by helping offenders successfully reenter society and ensuring they comply with the law following their return from prison—an inherently difficult and sometimes dangerous job," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Zachary A. Myers. "No public servant should have to suffer death threats just for doing their job. Our office takes threats to all federal employees very seriously and is committed to supporting and protecting our counterparts in the court system."
  • Full press release

St. Paul Man Charged for Armed Robbery of Postal Employees
Rubin David Adams has been charged in a federal criminal complaint for armed robbery of postal employees on two separate occasions

  • In both cases, Adams pointed a handgun at the victims and demanded/and or stole mailbox keys.
  • Mailbox keys are valuable to criminals who use them to steal mail, cash, checks, and other financial instruments. Mailbox keys are the property of USPS, and it is a federal offense for an unauthorized person to possess one.
  • "This is part of an alarming trend that law enforcement is seeing around country, including here in the Twin Cities," said U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew M. Luger. "We take this issue very seriously and will continue to ensure postal employees are safe and free from violence as they serve their communities."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month 

January 11, 2024

Each January, the FBI joins our U.S. government partners in marking National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. But our work to combat human trafficking happens year-round.  

Human trafficking is the illegal exploitation of a person. Anyone can be a victim, and it can occur in any U.S. community—cities, suburbs, and even rural areas. The FBI takes a trauma-informed, victim-centered approach when investigating these cases.  

You can visit our human trafficking landing page to learn more how we pursue these cases and how our agents' collaboration with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners helps us identify victims and investigate traffickers.

You can also explore the resources below to learn more about our efforts to combat this crime and provide assistance to survivors once they've been identified. 

  • Listen to an Inside the FBI Podcast episode to learn how we fight trafficking and provide assistance to victims. 
  • Download a brochure about how the FBI’s Victim Services Division provides assistance to victims of trafficking. This resource is also available in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Tagalog
  • Read about Operation Cross Country, a coordinated operation among the FBI, other federal agencies, state and local police, and social services agencies across the country to find and assist victims of human trafficking, particularly child victims.

Report Trafficking and Get Help

If you’re a human trafficking victim or have information about a potential trafficking situation, you can:

  • Submit a tip to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov or contact your local FBI field office.
  • Contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) by at 1-888-373-7888, by text at 233733, or online at humantraffickinghotline.org. NHTRC is a national, toll-free hotline with specialists available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Submit a tip through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline or call 1-800-THE-LOST if you believe a child is involved in a trafficking situation. FBI personnel assigned to NCMEC review information that is provided to the CyberTipline. 

Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

January 5, 2024

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Former Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) Professor Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Produce Child Pornography
Kyle Knezevich pleaded guilty to attempting to produce child pornography.

  • In September 2023, an EKU student located a hidden camera in a men’s bathroom on campus. An investigation revealed that the camera had been placed in the bathroom by Knezevich, who at the time was a professor at the university.
  • After the discovery, law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Knezevich's home and electronic devices, which revealed that Knezevich knowingly produced surreptitious recordings of both adult and minor males, from approximately 2009 through 2023.
  • As part of his plea, Knezevich admitted that his intent in creating the videos was to capture the minor males engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
  • Knezevich faces a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison.
  • Full press release

Thief Ordered to Pay Back Gun Lake Casino Over $80,000 in Stolen Funds
Jordan Lewis Cook was sentenced to four months in prison and two years of supervised release for theft from a tribal organization, and ordered to pay $84,564 in restitution. 

  • Between September 2021 and November 2022, Cook stole over $100,000 from the Gun Lake Casino, which is owned and operated by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe).
  • During his theft scheme, Cook was employed at the Gun Lake Casino. Shortly after being hired, Cook began stealing cash from the cash-out kiosks located around the casino gaming floor. An internal casino audit and security surveillance video footage showed Cook pocketing large amounts of cash when he was supposed to be clearing jammed cash-out machines.
  • Cook’s bank records also revealed a large influx of cash deposits around the same time that the money was being stolen from the casino kiosk machines.
  • Full press release

St. Joseph Man Sentenced to 23 Years for Producing Child Pornography
Tyler B. Wirth, who produced pornographic images of three child victims and shared them online, was sentenced to 23 years in federal prison without parole.

  • In January 2023, Wirth pleaded guilty to one count of producing child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.
  • Wirth admitted that he produced pornographic images of three children, which he distributed to multiple users on the Kik application during his sexual conversations with them.
  • Wirth received hundreds of images and videos of child pornography from other Kik users, and distributed numerous other images and videos of child pornography from his possession of child pornography, which included over a thousand images and videos of child pornography.
  • Full press release

Four Gang Members Charged With Multiple Shootings and Armed Carjackings
A superseding indictment was filed today in federal court in Brooklyn charging Amaury Guzmán, Ian Diez, Ruffi Fernández and Jonathan Rodríguez, members of the Trinitarios street gang, with a string of violent crimes including multiple shootings and armed carjackings between November 2022 and February 2023. 

  • "Taking violent offenders off the street should send a message to Trinitarios members and their associates that violence and senseless murder will not be tolerated," said FBI New York Assistant Director in Charge James Smith. "New Yorkers should have the opportunity to live, work, and play without fear, and we ask the community to join us in our stand against violence. You can make a difference. If you have information about crime in your community, call our tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324), or submit information online to tips.fbi.gov to help ensure a safe environment in all our neighborhoods"
  • Full press release

Illegally Armed Serial Bank Robber Sentenced to Over 22 Years in Federal Prison
Gary Sistrunk has been sentenced to 22.5 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to armed bank robbery, brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, and illegally possessing a firearm as a convicted felon.

  • "This criminal has engaged in a pattern of violence throughout his life,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Zachary A. Myers. "Several years in prison for prior armed robberies did not convince him to change his behavior. The sentence imposed here should serve as a warning to repeat, violent offenders—reducing violence is a top priority for this office, and repeat offenders face lengthy terms in federal prison."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


December 2023

Violent Crime Case Round-Up 

December 22, 2023

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Columbus Man Pleads Guilty to Crimes Related to Sexually Exploiting and Sextorting More Than 25 Identified Victims
Lorenzo A. Winfield pleaded guilty to crimes related to sexually exploiting and sextorting more than 25 known victims—including one as young as 11-year-old—in at least three states.

  • Winfield, 22, of Columbus, pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting minors, possessing child pornography and communicating interstate with the intent to extort. As part of his plea, the parties involved have recommended a sentence of 23 to 27 years in prison.
  • From at least 2016 to 2021, Winfield contacted students at the Arts and College Preparatory Academy (ACPA) to demand nude photographs of them; he would also hack into victims’ social media accounts and use the photos he obtained against them. Winfield would further tell the victims he had nude photos of them or other students that he would distribute to friends or family unless the victims complied.
  • On numerous occasions, Winfield followed through on these threats, distributing sexually explicit photos of his victims to others to prove he was serious with his threats in a bid to contain more content. In addition, Winfield told the victims to send him sexually explicit images or videos in order to regain control of their own social media accounts.
  • Full press release

Leader of Large Cartel-Connected Drug Trafficking Organization Sentenced to 11 Years in Prison
Alan Gomez-Marentes, a citizen of Mexico, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to commit money laundering. 

  • Gomez-Marentes has been federally convicted of drug trafficking twice. He was arrested in July 2020 following an 18-month investigation of an extensive drug trafficking organization. FBI Seattle, FBI SWAT, and FBI Portland Tactical were involved in the investigation. 
  • The investigation into the conspiracy resulted in the seizure of 45 pounds of methamphetamine; 12 pounds of heroin; 3,200 fentanyl pills; 22 firearms; and $566,391. 
  • Full press release

Montgomery Woman Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Child Sex Trafficking 
Laporchie Howard, a resident of Montgomery, Alabama, was sentenced to 120 months in prison after entering a guilty plea to the charge of sex trafficking a minor. 

  • In early 2017, Howard resided with two co-defendants in an apartment located in Montgomery. Sometime before May 4, 2017, a female runaway under 18 and an adult female were invited to live with Howard. In return for food and housing, the two new residents—including the minor —engaged in commercial sex, with Howard receiving the proceeds. 
  • This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, an initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. 
  • Full press release

Two Inland Empire Brothers Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison for Trafficking Heroin via Home Delivery Service in Orange County  
Julio Cesar Martinez and Victor Martinez, two brothers who ran a drug trafficking operation, were each sentenced to 288 months in federal prison. 

  • From at least 2003 to July 2021, the brothers ran a drug trafficking organization that imported heroin from Mexico into the United States by couriers. They used two Orange County-based call centers that took telephone orders for deliveries of the drug. 
  • "Operation Horse Caller targeted all levels of this international drug trafficking network, ranging from suppliers in Mexico to mules and runners delivering drugs to customers in Orange County at the direction of the Martinez brothers," said Donald Alway, the assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles Field Office. "Federal and local law enforcement agencies working in partnership led to the dismantling of the Martinez brothers' network and closed off a main pipeline of the heroin supply in Orange County that operated for years and led to deadly consequences."
  • Full press release

Two Men Indicted on Federal Racketeering Charge for Allegedly Murdering Man to Increase Positions in Chicago Street Gang  
Diontae Harper and Amonti McClure have been indicted on a federal racketeering charge for allegedly murdering a man to maintain and increase their positions in a violent Chicago street gang. 

  • The indictment accuses the pair of murdering Paul Harris in May 2020 for the purpose of maintaining and increasing their positions in the Faceworld street gang. 
  • The Faceworld street gang is a criminal organization based on the South Side of Chicago whose members engage in violence and traffic narcotics.   
  • Full press release

'Tis the Season for Holiday Scams 

December 22, 2023

Holiday Scams 2023

This time of year, criminals put a holiday twist on the methods they use to scam you and your loved ones. As you check things off your shopping list, keep an eye out for deals that seem too good to be true.

  • Read the FBI's tips on how to identify and report holiday shopping scams at fbi.gov/holidayscams.
  • Remember to stay vigilant. Report suspicious activity and suspected scams to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.



Be Air Aware 

December 21, 2023

Imagery and text from awareness poster cautioning the public to Be Air Aware and how to report crime aboard an aircraft

Did you know that the FBI investigates crimes committed aboard aircraft, in airports, and related to air travel? 

The FBI investigates the following violations if they’re committed during a flight: 

  • Sexual misconduct
  • Assault
  • Interference with flight crew members
  • Theft 

We investigate the following airport-based violations: 

  • Violence against persons and property at international airports (when the victim or offender is a United States national or if the offender is located within the U.S.) 
  • Interfering with airport security screening personnel ahead of a flight 

The FBI also investigates bomb threats, whether they’re made on the ground or in-flight. 

If you’ve been the victim of one of these crimes or have witnessed one take place, report it to your flight crew, airport authority police, and the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324) or tips.fbi.gov. Also reach out to the FBI if you observe any suspicious activity in an airport or during a flight. 


Violent Crime Case Round-Up  

December 15, 2023 

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Malas Manas Transnational Criminal Organization Leadership Indicted on Charges of Human Smuggling and Drug Trafficking
A federal grand jury returned an 11-count indictment against Jorge Damian Roman-Figueroa, Luis Eduardo Roman-Flores, Manuel Jose Bernal, Joel Salazar-Ballesteros, and Jesus Armando Gonzalez-Villela, for the following: conspiracy to transport aliens; conspiracy to launder monetary instruments; conspiracy to distribute marijuana, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and cocaine; distribution of  marijuana, methamphetamine, fentanyl, and cocaine; and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

  • The indictment alleges that some of the defendants are members of the Malas Manas Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO), operating in the Santa Cruz and Mascarenas areas of Mexico, with the permission of the Sinaloa Cartel.
  • "These actions are the latest in a long line of the Justice Department’s efforts to dismantle, piece-by-piece, violent cartels like Malas Manas and Sinaloa," said U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. "We will continue to target and prosecute the leaders and associates of the criminal groups responsible for poisoning the American people with fentanyl and endangering vulnerable migrants for profit."
  • Full press release

Brothers Sentenced to More Than 35 Years Combined for Manufacturing and Distributing Machineguns Intended for ISIS
Moyad Dannon was sentenced to almost 17 years in federal prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release, after pleading guilty to attempting to provide material support or resources, namely firearms, to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

  • Dannon’s brother, Mahde Dannon, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in October 2021, after pleading guilty to the same charges.
  • "The defendant showed an absolute disregard for the rule of law and is being held accountable for his actions," said FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate. "Working with his brother, the defendant produced large caches of privately made firearms and attempted to place them in the hands of ISIS members overseas to be used against U.S. service members and allies. The FBI and our partners worked tirelessly to prevent the weapons from reaching their intended destination, and ensured these defendants faced justice for their attempts to support a foreign terrorist organization. We will continue to aggressively investigate anyone who tries to help terrorists and endangers the lives of others."
  • Full press release

Davis County Man Sentenced for Animal Torture
Samuel J. Webster pleaded guilty to animal torture via animal crushing and posting multiple videos of the animal cruelty

  • Webster was sentenced to 12 months and one day imprisonment, a fine of $5,500, and a term of three years supervised release.
  • "Animals deserve to be treated humanely which is why the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act was passed in 2019," said FBI Salt Lake City Special Agent in Charge Shohini Sinha. "Evidence shows that intentional animal cruelty can also be a precursor to other violent crimes. We are grateful for the public's assistance reporting this horrific abuse so law enforcement could put a stop to it and have Mr. Webster face the consequences."
  • Full press release

Vestavia Man Sentenced to 24 Years in Prison on Child Pornography Charges
Eugene Douglas Reid III was sentenced to 288 months in prison followed by 20 years supervised release for distribution and transportation of child pornography.

  • "Individuals who engage in the distribution and production of child pornography must be held accountable for their heinous actions. That is why the FBI, along with our local, state, and federal partners will stop at nothing to ensure these individuals and groups are brought to justice,” said FBI Birmingham Special Agent in Charge Carlton L. Peeples. "This sentence just reconfirms the FBI’s commitment to stopping child predators and shutting down the online networks that produce child sexual abuse material."
  • "Today’s sentence is the result of the collaborative work by our law enforcement partners in Alabama and Wisconsin to protect victims of child exploitation," said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama Prim F. Escalona. "I encourage anyone who may have information about possible child sexual exploitation, including posts on social media, to report it to the NCMEC at CyberTipline.org or by calling 1-800-THE-LOST."
  • Full press release

North Carolina Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing Three Connecticut Men in 2015
Edward Michael Parks was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for federal offenses related to his kidnapping and murdering of two individuals in Hamden, and his killing of a third man in New Haven to stop him from notifying law enforcement.

  • "This is a necessary and appropriate sentence that provides justice for the victims and their loved ones, and will protect society from a ruthless killer," said U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut Vanessa Roberts Avery. "Our office prioritizes the prosecution of those who illegally traffic, possess, and use guns, which wreaks havoc in our communities, especially our cities..."
  • "Today’s sentence is appropriate for the level of violence and murder this individual was responsible for while on our streets," said FBI New Haven Special Agent in Charge Robert Fuller. "It is our sincere hope that this sentence brings the victim’s families one step closer to some degree of closure."
  • Full press release

Seattle Man Convicted at Trial of Abusive Sexual Contact on Air France Flight From Paris to Seattle
Milan Edward Jurkovic was convicted of abusive sexual contact on a flight, and faces up to two years in federal prison.

  • Jurkovic was a passenger on an Air France flight from Paris to Seattle. Also on the flight was a school group from Western Washington. The students were returning from a class trip abroad. The 16-year-old victim was seated next to Jurkovic.
  • "Last summer, I joined with our law enforcement partners to call attention to a spike in sexual misconduct on aircraft—crimes such as this one that are traumatizing for victims," said Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington Tessa M. Gorman. "This case should be a warning to anyone who thinks that in the confines of an aircraft cabin they can get away with unwanted sexual touching. We will prosecute and the penalties are significant."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Protecting Places of Worship 

December 13, 2023 

In 2023, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to develop a fact sheet titled, “Protecting Places of Worship: Six Steps to Enhance Security Against Targeted Violence.”

This resource is designed to provide faith-based organizations and community leaders with actionable measures they can take to increase security and help protect worship spaces against potential threats of targeted violence while still maintaining an open and welcoming environment.

The two-page fact sheet, available at cisa.gov, includes numerous links to additional resources on recognizing and reporting potential threats, identifying security needs, developing a security plan, and applying for grants to fund security improvements.

Additional Resources:


Violent Crime Case Round-Up  

December 8, 2023 

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Four Members of Violent Bridgeport Gang Guilty
A federal jury in New Haven found Keishawn Donald, Trevon Wright, Eric Hayes, and Travon Jones guilty of racketeering offenses related to their involvement in a violent Bridgeport street gang.

  • More than 40 members and associates of warring gangs have been convicted, as well as 8 murders and approximately 20 shootings solved.
  • "We believe that the investigation of these warring gangs and resulting prosecutions have had a significant and substantial impact on the violence being perpetrated in Bridgeport," said U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut Vanessa Roberts Avery.
  • "Every Connecticut resident, regardless of where they reside or their race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic class, should be able to feel safe in their community,” said U.S. Attorney Avery. "No person or group of people is entitled to wreak havoc by engaging in repeated acts of violence, instilling fear and trauma on the children and families who reside in our communities. Every life matters. We implore anyone engaged in, or planning to engage in, senseless violence like these defendants to reconsider so you don’t end up either killed or facing the prospect of wasting your life sitting in a federal prison."
  • Full press release

Memphis Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Federal Prison After Pleading Guilty in Railroad Car Burglary
Lawrence Anthony was sentenced to 66 months in federal prison for aiding and abetting a railroad car burglary, possessing a machine gun, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

  • In March 2022, agents with CSX Transportation observed several people breaking into railroad cars containing retail merchandise destined for California. Agents apprehended one of the suspects, Anthony, who was also found to be in possession of a Glock .40 caliber pistol. 
  • The firearm had been modified with a small switch mechanism on the rear of the slide, allowing the weapon to fire fully automatically.
  • The other suspects fled the scene after stealing merchandise worth more than $7,500 from the railroad cars.
  • Full press release

South Los Angeles Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Recruiting Teenage Girls for Commercial Sex Work and Sex Trafficking an Adult
Donavin Dwayne Bradford was sentenced to life in federal prison for recruiting and enticing teenage girls for whom he acted as a “pimp” and providing them for commercial sex work.

  • "Bradford sex trafficked at least three minor girls and used threats of force and coercion to traffic a young adult—all for his own profit," prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum. "To control his victims, he beat and berated them, pointed a gun in at least one victim’s face, intimidated them by referring to his gang membership, filmed himself having sex with them, took their money, and destroyed their property when they dared to leave him. With at least one victim, he took her earnings from sex customers as well as her financial aid from school."
  • Full press release

Ohio Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison for Federal Hate Crimes Against Haitian Nationals
Izaye Eubanks was sentenced to 20 years in prison for committing federal hate crimes targeting and attacking Haitian nationals residing in the area.

  • "This defendant is being held accountable for repeatedly assaulting and robbing members of the Haitian community in Springfield, Ohio, because of their national origin," said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. "Attacks like these, where a group of individuals is targeted for violent abuse and robbery because of who they are, will not be tolerated. The Justice Department will continue to enforce our federal criminal civil rights laws to protect all people in this country, and we will prosecute predators who commit violent, bias-motivated crimes."
  • "The hate crimes committed by Izaye Eubanks threatened and intimidated the immigrant community throughout the region," stated FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge J. William Rivers. "Because hate crimes have such a wide-ranging impact, investigating these crimes is a top priority for the FBI."
  • Full press release

Southern Oregon Man Sentenced to More Than 12 Years in Federal Prison After Boobytrapped Home Injures Federal Officer
Gregory Lee Rodvelt was sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison after he boobytrapped a southern Oregon home and injured a federal officer.

  • "Fueled by anger and bitterness, this defendant boobytrapped a property in southern Oregon with intent to seriously injure someone. Unfortunately, his trap worked, and he injured an FBI bomb technician," said Nathan J. Lichvarcik, Chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Eugene and Medford Branch Offices. "We are fortunate Greg Rodvelt’s actions did not kill a law enforcement officer or community member. Today’s sentence is a just punishment for a serious crime."
  • "This individual went through great efforts to set intricate and deadly concealed traps to prevent FBI agents from doing their job. These were no joke," said FBI Portland Special Agent in Charge Kieran L. Ramsey. "Mr. Rodvelt knew he was breaking the law and his reprehensible actions are what landed him this sentence. We are thankful that our agent and other law enforcement officers survived this vicious attempt and we are thankful for our partners at the U.S. Attorney's Office for their diligent work in bringing justice to this case."
  • Full press release

Long Island Pastor Charged With Sexual Exploitation of Children, Coercion and Distribution Of Child Pornography
Jose Saez, Jr., a pastor at a church located in Brentwood, was charged with sexual exploitation of children, coercion and enticement of children, distribution of child pornography, and possession of child pornography. 

  • "When you go to church you expect to be safe and protected...but that's not what members of Pastor Jose Saez's congregation got. He allegedly possessed child pornography and sexually abused multiple children. This is unfathomable to the families and caused lasting harm to the children. The men and women of the FBI's Long Island Child Exploitation Task Force work tirelessly to protect our children but bad people are still out there. If anyone has any information on Saez or think they know someone who may be a victim, please call law enforcement," stated FBI New York Assistant Director-in-Charge James Smith.
  • "...Protecting children from predators and those who sexually exploit them will always be a priority of this Office," stated U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace.
  • Full press release


Additional resources:


Inside the FBI: Hate Crimes 

December 6, 2023 

What constitutes a hate crime? How are they investigated, and how does the FBI support victims, encourage reporting, and build greater trust in minority communities?  

In this episode of Inside the FBI, we'll answer all those questions and more. Hear from FBI personnel who have dedicated themselves to supporting hate crime victims about why this work is so important to them.  

If you believe you are a victim or a witness of a hate crime, please report it to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit a tip at tips.fbi.gov. You can remain anonymous. 

Additional Resources


Violent Crime Case Round-Up  

December 1, 2023 

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Justice Department Announces New Surge of Resources to Fight Violent Crime
The Justice Department, together with numerous law enforcement partners, announced a new initiative to surge law enforcement tools and resources to target gangs and other violent groups who are threatening and upending the safety and security of communities in Memphis.

  • The new initiative includes federal prosecutors from the Violent Crime and Racketeering Section, the nation’s foremost experts in charging federal racketeering (RICO) crimes, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys already working in Memphis and dedicated investigative agents, analysts, and forensic experts.
  • "Through data-driven, targeted, and focused enforcement against the worst-of-the-worst violent criminals and organized groups, coupled with a strong focus on crime prevention, intervention, and reentry, I believe all of us, working together, can make an incredible difference and secure a safer future for all of Memphis," said Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division Nicole M. Argentieri.
  • Full press release

New York City Man Sentenced to Nearly 26 Years in Prison for Abducting Elderly Woman with Dementia and Obstructing FBI Investigation
Johnny Ray Gasca was sentenced to 310 months in federal prison for kidnapping a 68-year-old woman with dementia at the West Los Angeles Veterans Affairs Medical Center in July 2021, then obstructing an FBI investigation into the abduction.

  • Gasca kidnapped the victim at approximately 8:30 a.m. on July 19, 2021, after the victim attempted to obtain a medical appointment at the VA facility.
  • "[Gasca] financially exploited [the] victim’s mental fragility—describing his supposed ‘girlfriend’ as ‘senile’…—to steal tens of thousands of dollars from her,” prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum. "After the victim managed to get away from [Gasca], he abducted her from the grounds of a hospital where she had sought care for her dementia, in order to steal even more of her money. Immediately after the abduction, he attempted to indoctrinate her to parrot back a version of events favorable to him."
  • Full press release

Fargo Man Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison for Murder and Manslaughter in Navajo Nation
Shilo Aaron Oldrock pled guilty in federal court to second degree murder and voluntary manslaughter relating to the deaths of two victims, E.B and P.S., on August 14, 2023.

  • "It is our solemn duty to bring justice and answers to grieving Tribal communities,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of New Mexico Alexander M.M. Uballez. "No amount of investigation, prosecution, or years in prison will bring back a murdered loved one. But this team of local, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners will meet the case of each missing and murdered Indigenous person with urgency, transparency, and coordination. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community and confident that law enforcement will be vigilant in the investigation of missing community members."
  • "The rationale behind the depraved violent criminal acts committed in this case may be hard to understand, but our message today is crystal clear: the FBI and its partners will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who show such a callous disregard for innocent lives," said FBI Albuquerque Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda.
  • Full press release

Man Sentenced for Election-Related Threats Toward Georgia Public Officials
Chad Christopher Stark was sentenced to two years in prison for posting a message online threatening several Georgia public officials following the 2020 election.

  • "It’s simple: protecting America’s democracy means protecting the public servants and officials who ensure the electoral process is fair and free," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "Christopher Stark threatened the lives of multiple election workers in an attempt to prevent them from doing their job. Today’s sentencing demonstrates the FBI’s resolute commitment to securing American elections from any attempts to undermine their integrity."
  • "Sending death threats and urging others to act is not protected speech—it is a crime," said FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Keri Farley. "The sentencing of Stark is a warning to all that those who attempt to undermine American democracy will be held criminally accountable."
  • Full press release


Additional resources:


November 2023 

Inside the FBI: Searching for Steven 

November 27, 2023 

Something was wrong when 12-year-old Steven Earle Kraft Jr. didn’t return home for dinner on February 15, 2001.

Steven lived in a close-knit community and was used to roaming around his neighborhood in Benton Harbor, Michigan. But after he went out for a walk one evening with his two dogs, no one saw Steven again.

In this episode of Inside the FBI, learn more about Steven Kraft’s disappearance and the FBI’s continued search for answers.


Violent Crime Case Round-Up  

November 22, 2023 

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Violent Crime Wrap-up 

During the week of November 12, 2023, the FBI, alongside international and local law enforcement partners, conducted nine independent operations that resulted in 99 federal arrests and 57 search warrants. 

These operations crossed the entire country in larger cities such as Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, Miami, Pittsburgh, and San Antonio, as well as smaller communities including Huntington, West Virginia, and Waco, Texas. This week’s violent crime post highlights some of these efforts. For more information, view the press release.

Federal Grand Jury Indicts 23 MS-13 Members and Associates for Alleged Widespread Methamphetamine Trafficking 
Twenty-three members and associates of the Mara Salvatrucha-13 (MS-13) transnational street gang were charged for allegedly trafficking pound quantities of methamphetamine and illegally possessing ammunition found in a "ghost gun."

  • Law enforcement seized multiple pounds of suspected methamphetamine, fentanyl and cocaine, as well as nine firearms and approximately $94,000 in cash—with about $50,000 seized from one residence. 
  • "MS-13 members, allegedly at the direction of an incarcerated Mexican Mafia member, were able to wreak havoc on communities in Los Angeles," said FBI Los Angeles Assistant Director Donald Alway. "This case is just the latest joint operation targeting MS-13’s transnational criminal enterprise as we continue to make an impact on their ability to intimidate and threaten law abiding citizens in and around Los Angeles."
  • Full press release 

U.S. Attorney Thompson and Law Enforcement Officials Announce Major Drug Trafficking Indictment 
Twenty-seven individuals were charged for their roles in a drug trafficking organization responsible for distributing large quantities of methamphetamine and fentanyl. 

  • The 53-count indictment charges the co-conspirators with distributing methamphetamine and fentanyl transported from Detroit, Michigan, Huntington, West Virginia, and other locations within the Southern District of West Virginia. 
  • Law enforcement officers obtained numerous search warrants in support of the investigation, and so far have seized approximately 2 pounds of methamphetamine, 2 pounds of fentanyl, 26 firearms, and $10,500. 
  • "The arrests demonstrate the continuing impact federal, state and local partnerships have on illegal drug trafficking," said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Mike Nordwall. "Huntington has been plagued by illegal drugs and fears of violence for too long, and it must be addressed. The FBI will aggressively investigate criminal organizations that target our communities with their drugs and violence and ensure they are held accountable."
  • Full press release 

High-Ranking MS-13 Fugitive Arrested on Terrorism Indictment 
Elmer Canales-Rivera was indicted on terrorism offenses relating to MS-13 criminal activities in the United States, El Salvador, Mexico, and elsewhere over the past two decades. 

  • Charges include conspiracy to provide and conceal material support to terrorists, conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism transcending national boundaries, conspiracy to finance terrorism, and narco-terrorism conspiracy. 
  • "With determination and coordinated effort, the FBI and our law enforcement and foreign partners successfully apprehended a violent criminal that directly threatened the safety of our communities," said FBI Director Christopher A. Wray. "This pursuit exemplifies the FBI's commitment to safeguard the American public and continued promise to dismantle criminal networks like MS-13."
  • Full press release

Two Highest-Ranking Leaders of Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang Convicted at Trial of Racketeering and Narcotics Offenses 
With the trial convictions of the gang’s founder and prison leader, Dwight Reid, and the gang’s street leader, Christopher Erskine, all 21 defendants—including numerous godfathers and godmothers—have been convicted. 

  • The Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation Bloods Gang (“Gorilla Stone”) is a brutally violent street and prison gang that operates across the country.
  • Gorilla Stone has also been involved in several fraud schemes that are well-organized and net a significant amount of money for the gang, including a fraudulent unemployment benefits scheme during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • "Dwight Reid and Christopher Erskine are the two highest-ranking members of Gorilla Stone, a ruthless gang, and are responsible for terrible violent acts and trafficking dangerous narcotics across the country and state, including throughout the New York State prison system," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams. "They now stand convicted of their crimes and will no longer be able to inflict harm on the people of our District."     
  • Full press release  

Mexican Mafia Associate Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison 
Juan Castro of San Diego was sentenced in federal court to 10 years in prison and 10 years of supervised release for selling 109 grams of methamphetamine to a cooperating individual. 

  • A government memorandum submitted for Castro’s sentencing described him as a high-ranking member of the San Ysidro (or "Sidro") street gang and an associate of the Mexican Mafia.  
  • Castro oversaw day-to-day operations for Sidro which included collecting payments in exchange for allowing others to commit crimes in the San Ysidro area. The payments, or taxes, were then distributed to high-ranking Mexican Mafia members.
  • Full press release


Additional resources:


Raising Awareness of Adoption Fraud  

November 20, 2023 

National Adoption Awareness Month

Are you a prospective adoptive parent or birth parent considering adoption?

Unethical adoption service providers can take advantage of an emotionally charged process to deceive and defraud prospective adoptive parents or birth parents considering adoption.

During National Adoption Awareness Month, we encourage you to be aware of common adoption scams and other potential red flags to during the adoption process. Learn what to look out for, how to protect yourself and your family, and what to do if you're a victim.


Violent Crime Case Round-Up  

November 17, 2023 

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

In FY23 the FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, arrested over 18,500 violent criminals, drug traffickers, gang members and child predators. In the process, the FBI seized more than 8,720 guns from those criminals and cut into the capabilities of 2,520 gangs and violent criminal enterprises. Throughout the fiscal year, the FBI completely dismantled 314 of those criminal enterprises.

Violent Crime Wrap-up
The following information compiled from October 1, 2022, to September 30, 2023, reflect the FBI's collective actions against violent crime: 

FY2023 Statistics

  • Number of Arrests: 18,535
  • Number of Indictments: 9,871
  • Number of Children Located: 2,401
  • Number of Weapons Seized: 8,725
  • Number of Disruptions: 2,524
  • Number of Dismantlements: 314
  • Number of Drug Seizures (Individual Instances): 12,766
  • Amount of Fentanyl Seized: 2,038 kilograms

Twenty-Eight Gang Members and Associates From Newburgh and Poughkeepsie Charged with Racketeering, Narcotics, and Firearms Offenses
The 34-count superseding indictment has charged 28 members and associates of the Young Gunnaz Gang, including the gang’s high-ranking street leaders.

  • Kashad Sampson, the Young Gunnaz Gang leader, was charged with participating in multiple assaults with a dangerous weapon in Poughkeepsie and Newburgh, New York.  In addition to serious acts of violence, the gang was also responsible for trafficking large amounts of narcotics across the City of Newburgh and New York State and perpetrated fraud schemes to enrich members of the gang. 
  • "The 28 members and associates of the Young Gunnaz Gang are alleged to have engaged in a gang-related conspiracy, acting with a sense of impunity that resulted in numerous senseless acts of violence and significant narcotics distribution," said FBI New York Assistant Director in Charge James Smith. "The FBI will not tolerate rampant gang violence terrorizing our communities. FBI New York's Hudson Valley Safe Streets Task Force, along with our law enforcement partners, are committed to removing these violent criminals from the streets and bringing them to justice."
  • Full press release

Two Puerto Rican Men Sentenced for Federal Hate Crime Against a Latina Transgender Woman and Obstruction of Justice Charges
Jordany Rafael Laboy-Garcia and Christian Yamaurie Rivera-Otero were sentenced today to 33 months in prison and three years of supervised release each for federal charges of conspiracy to commit a hate crime and obstruction of justice, arising out of an assault with a dangerous weapon against a transgender woman because of her gender identity.

  • "Every human being should be treated with respect and dignity," said Special Agent in Charge Joseph Gonzalez of the FBI San Juan Field Office. "There are no minor offenses when it comes to hate crimes. We at the FBI reiterate our position of zero tolerance for hate and ask anyone who has been a victim or a witness to a hate crime, to report it either by calling your local FBI field office or by leaving a tip online through tips.fbi.gov."
  • "The defendants have been held accountable for assaulting a Latina transgender woman because of her gender identity and then trying to obstruct an investigation into that assault," said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. "No one should live in fear of hate-fueled violence because of who they are. The Justice Department is committed to investigating and prosecuting people who target LGBTQI+ people with acts of violence or who try to obstruct investigations into these heinous crimes. We hope that this prosecution makes clear to LGBTQI+ victims and survivors that we see them, and we hear them, and we will stand up for them when they are targeted by hate-fueled violence."
  • Full press release

Man Sentenced in Lakewood, Colorado, Bank Robbery
Darren Michael Connolly was sentenced to 147 months in prison and 5 years of supervised release for bank robbery, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and brandishing a weapon during a federal crime of violence. His codefendant, James David Trujillo Jr., was sentenced on September 18, 2023.

  • In June 2022, Connolly and Trujillo robbed a Canvas Credit Union, armed with an AR-15 and shotgun. Connolly was wearing a GPS bracelet at the time of the robbery. Both he and codefendant Trujillo were covered in masks and ran from the bank to a waiting getaway car.
  • "It’s a blatant criminal who carries out the armed robbery of a bank while he is being monitored on parole. Clearly, this is a hardened felon and the public is safer with him behind bars," said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Mark Michalek. "The Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force will continue to work with state and local agencies to protect our communities from violent criminals."
  • Full press release

Former Gary, Indiana, Police Officer Sentenced for Using Excessive Force in Violation of Federal Civil Rights Laws
Terry Peck, a former officer with the Gary, Indiana, Police Department (GPD), was sentenced to one year and a day in prison, and one year of supervised release after pleading guilty to violating the civil rights of an arrestee.

  • Peck previously admitted to having used unreasonable force during the arrest of the victim, a man the defendant had stopped for an alleged traffic infraction.
  • "This sentence should send a clear message the FBI won’t tolerate the abuse of power of those who took an oath to serve and protect," said Special Agent in Charge Herbert J. Stapleton of the FBI Indianapolis Field Office. "The action of this officer not only violated the victim’s civil rights but damaged the community’s trust in law enforcement. When there is excessive use of force that rises to a federal crime, the FBI will investigate, and those individuals will be held accountable."
  • Full press release

Fourteen Gang Members and Associates Indicted for Racketeering Conspiracy and Fentanyl Trafficking
As part of a superseding indictment, 14 additional members and associates of the Minneapolis Highs gang were charged with racketeering (RICO) conspiracy and fentanyl trafficking. Additional charges include firearms violations, kidnapping, assault, and carjacking.

  • Between 2020 and 2023, Highs members are alleged to have made numerous round-trip flights from Minneapolis to Phoenix, at times carrying large sums of U.S. currency, to obtain fentanyl pills for re-sale in Minneapolis. Highs members shipped numerous U.S. Postal Service parcels containing fentanyl pills to Minneapolis from Arizona.
  • "Today’s charges against the Highs gang are focused on the criminal organization’s extensive fentanyl trafficking operations," said U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota Andrew Luger. "Selling fentanyl in our communities is as dangerous and lethal as the brazen gun violence we’ve seen in our cities. Addressing the nexus between narcotics trafficking and violent crime is a critical piece of our Violent Crime Strategy, and I am grateful to my law enforcement partners who are equally focused on protecting the lives of Minnesotans, regardless of the threat."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Report Hate Crimes to the FBI 

November 14, 2023 

Preventing hate crimes is a top priority for the FBI.

The FBI’s 2022 Hate Crimes Statistics report, released last month, showed an increase in hate crimes based on incident reports submitted by more than 14,000 law enforcement agencies across the nation.

Incidents in 2022 most commonly involved biases based on race, religion, and sexual orientation. Within those categories, the highest number of incidents reported involved anti-Black or African American bias, anti-Jewish bias, and anti-gay (male) bias.

Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim—they are meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community. 

If you believe you are a victim or a witness of a hate crime, please report it to the FBI by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or submit a tip at tips.fbi.gov. You can remain anonymous.

Additional Resources


Violent Crime Case Round-Up  

November 9, 2023 

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Engineer Indicted for Bombing Energy Facilities in California 
Peter Karasev was charged with destroying energy facilities and using fire or explosives to commit a federal crime. 

  • Karasev allegedly “knowingly and willfully” damaged the property of two energy facilities, specifically, two PG&E transformers in San Jose, California on Dec. 8, 2022, and Jan. 5, 2023, respectively—and attempted to cause and caused significant interruption and impairment of those energy facilities. 
  • "The indictment alleges that Karasev built explosive devices and used them to damage energy facilities, knocking out power to over 1,500 homes and businesses in the San Jose area," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "The FBI is laser focused on protecting the essential infrastructure that Americans rely on every day, and we and our partners like the San Jose Police Department will use every lawful means to hold anyone who targets that infrastructure accountable."
  • Full press release 

Over 220 Pounds of Suspected Controlled Substances Seized Including Pills Shaped to Resemble Heart Shaped Candy
An estimated 10 million doses of controlled substances have been seized, including eight million doses of fentanyl and methamphetamine laced pills and powder, in what's believed to be one of the largest single-location seizures in New England. 

  • The total street value of the drugs seized is upwards of $8 million. Three men have been arrested in connection with allegedly running this large-scale drug trafficking organization (DTO) on the North Shore of Massachusetts.
  • "This seizure by the FBI’s North Shore Gang Task Force saved lives in communities throughout Massachusetts," said FBI Director Christopher Wray. "Not only was this seizure one of the largest in the history of Massachusetts, but some of the pills were created to look like candy, potentially presenting an enormous risk to children. The FBI will continue to relentlessly pursue those involved in narcotics trafficking to keep drugs off our streets, and out of the hands of children."
  • Full press release

Captain of Santa Barbara-Based Dive Boat that Burned and Sank, Resulting in 34 Deaths, Found Guilty of Felony Federal Offense 
Jerry Nehl Boylan was found guilty of one count of misconduct or neglect of ship officer—an offense commonly called "seaman’s manslaughter."

  • Boylan was the captain of the P/V Conception—a Santa Barbara-based dive boat that caught fire and sank near Santa Cruz Island on Labor Day in 2019, resulting in the deaths of 33 passengers and one crew member. 
  • "Mr. Boylan’s failure to carry out his duties as Captain of the Conception led to the catastrophic loss of 34 victims who suffered a horrifying death and perished needlessly in the end," said FBI Los Angeles Assistant Director in Charge Donald Alway. "Ultimately, the hard work by the investigators from multiple agencies led to today’s outcome and now the victims’ families can continue their healing process. Let this tragedy be a lesson to anyone who commands a boat with vulnerable passengers that proper training, diligence and life saving measures—when called for—are necessary to safeguard those left in one’s charge."
  • Full press release 

Louisville Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison for Murdering a Man During a Carjacking 
Ashton Clay Nally was sentenced to federal prison for a carjacking that resulted in death. He was also sentenced for the use, possession, and discharge of a firearm during, and in relation to, a crime of violence, resulting in murder. 

  • "This sentence should serve as a stark warning to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky who choose to commit armed carjackings and other senseless acts of violence. The FBI and our law enforcement partners will not stand for violent offenders who recklessly terrorize innocent lives," said FBI Louisville Special Agent in Charge Stansbury. "In partnership with the Louisville Violent Crime Task Force, FBI Louisville will continue to work tirelessly to ensure violent criminals are removed from our streets."
  • Full press release 

Kennesaw, Georgia, Man Sentenced for Attempting to Entice Minor for Sex 
Joshua Herrera, who attempted to arrange to meet a minor girl for sex online, has been sentenced to over 19 years in prison. 

  • In November 2019, Herrera communicated online with an undercover special agent and expressed interest in performing sex acts on a minor girl, requested photographs of the child, and arranged to meet the girl. In January 2020, Herrera drove from Athens, Georgia, to a pre-arranged location in metro-Atlanta where he believed he would meet the child. FBI special agents arrested him upon his arrival. 
  • "The severity of this sentence clearly reflects the threat Herrera posed to the community and is the greatest message the FBI can send to anyone who would think about harming a child in this way," said FBI Atlanta Special Agent in Charge Keri Farley. "This is case shows the lengths the FBI will go to thwart child predators and we are thankful for the hard work of our team that connected with Herrera before he could get to an innocent child."
  • Full press release  

Burleson Would-Be Bomber Sentenced to 14 Years for Firearms, Child Porn Charges 
Noah Robert Calderon, who apparently idolized the Columbine High School shooters and possessed a homemade bomb, was sentenced to 168 months in federal prison. 

  • In addition, a search of Calderon’s phone revealed sexually explicit videos taken from a video chat between Mr. Calderon and a 13-year-old girl. 
  • "Today’s sentence is a shared success with the community who heeded the call to action to report suspicious activity when they saw suspicious activity. The information shared with law enforcement exhibited a distinctive pathway to further violence, that was ultimately thwarted by law enforcement and led to multiple federal charges," said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Chad Yarbrough. "The FBI will continue to aggressively pursue individuals that move beyond rhetoric into action as they threaten the safety of our communities. We continue to ask for the public’s assistance in reporting threatening behaviors, and will work closely with our partners for swift adjudication."
  • Full press release 

Additional resources:


FBI Internship Opportunities for Wounded Warriors 

November 8, 2023 

Photo of an FBI employee wearing an FBI lanyard with a US flag lapel pin

The FBI Wounded Warrior Internship Program offers current U.S. military servicemembers who are recovering from medical procedures or injuries the opportunity to intern at Bureau Headquarters or at one of our 56 field offices nationwide.  
 
Interns can strengthen their resumes, cultivate new skillsets, discover new professional interests, and get federal government work experience while they’re still in uniform. “We try to place them in an area where it'll be exciting and relevant and to have them gain exposure to what the FBI truly has to offer,” said Program Manager Marimar Keffer, a former member of the Air National Guard and current Air Force reservist. 
 
In addition to bringing “a fresh perspective” to the Bureau, Keffer said, these interns come equipped with intelligence and cybersecurity skills that are vital to the FBI mission.

“Offering this internship is a way to remind servicemembers that they're not forgotten, that after they retire—whether medically or voluntarily—there is another chapter for them. Their story isn't over. They can take all those skills, their job, and their life experiences and move them to the next chapter with the FBI,” Keffer said. 

Interested servicemembers can reach out to their Operation Warfighter coordinator to begin the application process.

Full story.


Assisting Crime Victims in Navajo Nation 

November 6, 2023 

VS Driving in Arizona

FBI Victim Specialist Blanda Preston was born on Navajo Nation. Today, working out of the FBI Phoenix Division’s Flagstaff Resident Agency, she regularly drives for hours at a time to meet with Navajo Nation victims who need her assistance after crimes occur on indigenous lands.   

"One-way, it can take me one to four hours,” Preston said matter-of-factly, describing her more remote meetings and call-outs. “By the time I’ve met with one or two of my contacts, it’s sometimes just enough time to head back.”

Phylishia Todacheenie, a criminal investigator on the Navajo Nation in Tuba City, said victim specialists like Preston fill gaps in the patchwork of local services and service providers that are trying to help crime victims navigate the process. A victim of child sexual assault, for example, may have to travel for hours across rural tribal lands to reach a child advocacy center in Flagstaff or to meet with one of the FBI’s child and adolescent forensic interviewers (CAFIs)—a small, specially trained cadre of interviewers skilled at gathering evidence without further traumatizing children and others with mental or emotional disabilities. 

"We live in a community where not everybody has money or transportation to get to these services," Todacheenie said. “By them helping us either transport the family or help pay for gas to get there, that really does help us a lot.”

Preston’s jurisdiction includes the western region of the Navajo Nation, as well as the Kaibab Paiute, San Juan Paiute, Hopi, Yavapai-Apache, and Yavapai-Prescott tribes. Over the years, her efforts in those communities showed a need for local victim advocacy resources, with staff who live in or near the communities they serve. Local advocates can get to victims’ homes faster than Preston can. And they sometimes meet her halfway to team up and escort victims and their families on long journeys.

“[Blanda] is trusted by the community she serves—she is a healer of her community,” said Jennifer Runge, executive director of Victim Witness Services for Northern Arizona.

More than a quarter of the FBI’s nearly 200 victim specialists and half of its CAFIs are assigned to jurisdictions that include Native American communities.

Full story.


Violent Crime Case Round-Up  

November 3, 2023 

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Operation Smoke and Mirrors Update: Charleston Man Pleads Guilty to Role in Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization
Jeremy Rayshad Walker pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and admitted to his role in a drug trafficking organization (DTO) that operated in the Charleston, West Virginia area.

  • Walker is among 32 individuals indicted as a result of Operation Smoke and Mirrors, a major drug trafficking investigation that has yielded the largest methamphetamine seizure in West Virginia history.
  • Law enforcement seized well over 400 pounds of methamphetamine as well as 40 pounds of cocaine, 3 pounds of fentanyl, 19 firearms and $935,000 in cash.
  • Walker and 21 other defendants have pleaded guilty. Indictments against the other defendants are pending.
  • Full press release

Grand Coulee Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison For Violent Assault Against Partner, Tribal Elders
Xander Lee Ostenberg was sentenced after having pleaded guilty to assault resulting in substantial bodily injury to a spouse, intimate partner, or dating partner in Indian Country, as well as two counts of assault by beating, striking, or wounding.

  • Mr. Ostenberg’s youth cannot be used as an excuse for his violent actions," said FBI Seattle Special Agent in Charge Richard A. Collodi. "While he has time to reflect on the choices he made which led to this prison sentence, his actions impacted the lives of multiple victims. Addressing violence on our state’s reservations remains a priority for the FBI and our partners across Washington."
  • Full press release

New Jersey Couple Resentenced for Child Abuse
A former U.S. Army major and his wife were sentenced for a fourth time for their respective roles in abusing their adopted children—who all were less than 4 years old and developmentally delayed—through neglectful and cruel acts, including breaking their bones, denying them medical attention, withholding water and force-feeding them hot sauce.

  • Carolyn Jackson was sentenced to 140 months in prison and her husband, John E. Jackson was sentenced to 108 months in prison.
  • "We work tirelessly to seek justice for victims of the cases we investigate," said FBI Newark Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy. "Many times, the punishments do not fit the crime. This couple abused developmentally challenged toddlers in ways that seem unimaginable and unbelievably inhumane. They are now facing the justice they deserve—and their victims deserve."
  • Full press release

Convicted Alien Smuggler Sent to Prison for Recording Sexual Material and Posting it on Snapchat
Victor Antonio Puente was sentenced to 180 months in federal prison—the court found he committed the offense while under supervised release for a previous alien smuggling offense which must be served consecutively for a total 192-month-term of imprisonment.

  • "Victor Puente gave a 15-year old alcohol, got her drunk and sexually violated her in area motels, but the once-convicted alien smuggler didn’t stop there," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Alamdar S. Hamdani. "Not only did he violate her physically, he posted images and videos of his abhorrent behavior on SnapChat. As the father of a 15-year old daughter myself, I am thankful that this predator won’t come anywhere near my or any other daughter for a very long time to come."
  • Full press release

Long Island Man Charged In Bronx Shooting
Terrence Allen with illegally possessing ammunition in connection with a shooting by Allen in the courtyard of the Melrose housing complex in the Bronx on the evening of September 21, 2023.

  • "As we allege, in the shadow of a housing complex’s playground, Allen senselessly fired a gun, threatening the community’s right to live in safety," FBI New York Assistant Director in Charge James Smith. "Along with our law enforcement partners, the FBI will hold anyone who endangers innocent lives accountable in the criminal justice system."
  • Full press release

Five Sentenced to Domestic Violence Charges During Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October marked the observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). U.S. Attorney Northern District of Oklahoma Clint Johnson announced that five individuals were sentenced in federal court to domestic violence charges.

  • Domestic violence, dating violence, and intimate partner violence can have long-lasting impacts and consequences. Approximately one in four women and one in seven men will experience severe domestic violence in their lifetimes; however, rates are disproportionately higher for American Indian and Alaska Native populations, women of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and Two-Spirit people, and people with disabilities. 
  • DVAM provides an opportunity to spread awareness about domestic violence and encourage everyone to play a role in ending gender-based violence.
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


FBI Returns 18th-Century Painting to German Museum 

November 1, 2023

From left: FBI Chicago Assistant Special Agent in Charge Eric Shiffman; German Consul General Michael Ahrens; Dr. Bernd Ebert, head of the Dutch and German Baroque Painting Collections at the Alte Pinakothek museum; and and FBI Chicago Special Agent Benjamin Milligan examine the painting "Landschaft italienischen Charakters" (or "Landscape of Italian Character") by the Austrian painter Johann Franz Nepomuk Lauterer at the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chicago on October 19, 2023.

That day, the FBI’s Art Crime Team in Chicago returned the painting to its rightful owner during a ceremony at the consulate.

From left: FBI Chicago Assistant Special Agent in Charge Eric Shiffman; German Consul General Michael Ahrens; Dr. Bernd Ebert, head of the Dutch and German Baroque Painting Collections at the Alte Pinakothek museum; and and FBI Chicago Special Agent Benjamin Milligan examine the painting "Landschaft italienischen Charakters" (or "Landscape of Italian Character") by the Austrian painter Johann Franz Nepomuk Lauterer at the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chicago on October 19, 2023. That day, the FBI’s Art Crime Team in Chicago returned the painting to its rightful owner during a ceremony at the consulate.

The FBI's Art Crime Team in Chicago recently returned a painting to the Alte Pinakothek museum in Munich, Germany, after the artwork went missing from the institution during World War II.

The piece, titled "Landschaft italienischen Charakters" (or "Landscape of Italian Character"), was created by 18th-century Austrian artist Johann Franz Nepomuk Lauterer. The artist intended the work to accompany a second painting of his, since they collectively compose a panoramic landscape.

The painting disappeared from the museum at the onset of the war in 1939. It resurfaced in the United States in 2011, but attempts to get the artwork back to the museum fell through, and it soon vanished again.

After the painting resurfaced in the possession of a Chicago citizen in 2022, the FBI worked with our international partners to return the work to its rightful owner. 

The Bureau formally returned the artwork to the museum in an October 19 ceremony at the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chicago.

"The FBI’s Art Crime Team has been bringing home stolen art for almost 20 years, and their dedication has led to the recovery of more than 20,000 artifacts valued at hundreds of millions of dollars," said FBI Chicago Field Office Special Agent in Charge Robert W. Wheeler Jr. "It is a pleasure to be able to return this painting to its rightful home at last, and we thank everyone who partnered with us to make this success possible."

Bavarian State Minister for Science and Arts, Markus Blume, expressed his gratitude to the Bureau and everyone who played a part in the repatriation.

"I am delighted that an art treasure that was believed to have been lost is coming back to Bavaria: the return of the painting by Johann Franz Nepomuk Lauterer to the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen [the museum's Bavarian State Painting Collections] is not only an act of historical justice but also an expression of the appreciation of our cultural heritage," Blume said.

Art and cultural property crime—which includes theft, fraud, looting, and trafficking across state and international lines—leads to billions of dollars in losses every year.

But art repatriations like the recent one in Chicago are only part of the FBI Art Crime Program's role in investigating and recovering missing art and cultural property. 

Listen to the latest episode of the Inside the FBI podcast to learn more about the program's efforts, the National Stolen Art File app, and how you can help the Bureau return ransacked artwork to its rightful owners.

Read more about recent FBI art repatriations here:


National Native American Heritage Month 

November 1, 2023 

National Native American Heritage Month

This National Native American Heritage Month, the FBI honors the contributions of our Native American partners, neighbors, and colleagues who serve communities across the nation.

Learn more about the FBI's work with Native American and Alaska Native communities:

Learn more about the Osage murders case, one of our most prominent Indian Country cases in history:


October 2023  

Inside the FBI: Top Ten Fugitive Alejandro Rosales Castillo

October 30, 2023 

In 2016, Alejandro Castillo, known as "Alex," was only 17 years old when he allegedly murdered “Sandy” Ly Le. 

The two worked together at a restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina. A joint investigation by the FBI and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department revealed that Castillo owed Le money—approximately $1,000. According to text messages between Castillo and Le, they agreed to meet on August 9, 2016, so he could repay the loan. 

Instead, he made Le withdraw money from an ATM. Afterwards, investigators believe Castillo drove Le to a wooded area outside of Charlotte where he allegedly shot her in the head and dumped her body in a ravine. Le was 23-years-old.  

Castillo then allegedly took Le’s car and fled the scene. On August 15, Le’s car was left at a bus station in Phoenix, Arizona. The next day, after 9:00 p.m., Castillo was seen on surveillance video crossing the border from Noagles, Arizona, into Mexico. Around the same time, Le’s body was found and identified back in North Carolina.  

Castillo remains at large. His last known residence was in Charlotte, North Carolina, and he has family ties to Phoenix, Arizona.  

The FBI is offering a reward of up to $250,000 for information leading to Castillo's arrest. 

Tune in to this episode of Inside the FBI to learn more about the case.


Violent Crime Case Round-Up  

October 27, 2023 

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Haitian Gang Leader Charged with Hostage Taking Offenses that Resulted in the Death of a U.S. Citizen in Haiti in October 2022
Vitel’homme Innocent, a Haitian national and leader of the Kraze Barye gang, has ben charged for his alleged role in the October 2022 armed hostage taking of two U.S. citizens, one of whom was killed during the event.

  • Vitel’homme Innocent and the Kraze Barye gang operate in the Ouest department of Haiti to include Delmas, Torcelle, and Tabarre. The gang actively participates in kidnappings for ransom, extortion, and car thefts.
  • "The indictment unsealed today demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to follow the evidence wherever it leads and to work our way up to the leaders of criminal plots wherever they are," said FBI Miami Special Agent in Charge Veltri. "Neither time nor distance will weaken our resolve. We will use all tools available and go to the farthest reaches of the globe to bring to justice those who seek to harm Americans."
  • Full press release

White Swan, Washington, Man Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison for Sexual Abuse of a Young Girl
Charlie Jim Peters was sentenced to 120 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to one count of sexual abuse.

  • In 2020, on the Yakama Nation reservation, Peters molested a sixteen-year-old victim while the victim was asleep inside a camper van. DNA analysis later confirmed Peter’s DNA from a sample recovered from the crime scene.
  • "Mr. Peters will fortunately spend the next ten years in prison," said FBI Seattle Special Agent in Charge Richard A. Collodi. "While no sentence may seem long enough to a victim of his reprehensible actions, I commend her for taking the steps necessary which ultimately led to this sentence. The FBI and our partners are committed to making our state’s reservations safer for the citizens who call them home."
  • Full press release

Former Mississippi Department of Corrections Officials Sentenced for Using Excessive Force Against an Inmate
Three former Mississippi Department of Corrections officials were sentenced for using excessive force against an inmate involving the use of dangerous weapons and resulting in bodily injury.  

  • On July 11, 2019, at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, Corrections Officer (CO) Jessica Hill, CO LaToya Richardson, and Case Manager Nicole Moore assaulted a defenseless inmate, L.C., while L.C. was in the fetal position and not resisting in any fashion. 
  • "Our citizens serving time for their criminal acts against the public are warranted the safety and protection from harm by correctional officers responsible for their care," said FBI Jackson Special Agent in Charge Jermicha Fomby. "Hill’s deliberate violation of this trust is a disservice to those in the penal system, correctional officials who are honorable in their profession, and citizens in general. The FBI is committed to protecting all citizens of our community."
  • Full press release

Two Hells Angels Members Sentenced to Prison for Racketeering Conspiracy and Obstruction of Justice
Two Hells Angels members were sentenced to prison for their participation in the activities of the criminal enterprise of the Sonoma County charter of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HASC).

  • Jeremy Greer was sentenced to a term of 84 months in prison for his violent crimes as part of the HASC racketeering conspiracy. Merl Hefferman was sentenced to a term of 48 months in prison for obstruction of justice.
  • "Hefferman used his connection at a funeral home to order the illegal cremation of a member of his own gang as part of the Hells Angels’ efforts to cover up a murder. For eight years, the victim's family grieved without a body to mourn or certainty about what had happened to their loved one. Greer committed serious violent crimes, including armed robbery, beating, and maiming," said FBI San Francisco Special Agent in Charge Tripp. "Hefferman, Greer, and other members of their criminal enterprise attempted to use fear and intimidation to get away with their crimes. I commend the witnesses for their courage. Without them, these men may not have pleaded guilty. Now, they have been brought to justice."
  • Full press release

Laredo Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for False Statement During Firearm Purchase
Brandon Ray Speed was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release for providing a false statement in required information kept by a firearms dealer. 

  • Speed provided an incorrect home address when he attempted to purchase a 12-gauge shotgun at a sporting goods store in San Antonio in 2022. Speed’s attempted purchase was delayed due to expanded background checks for purchasers under age 21, and he never completed the purchase.
  • Speed had been previously arrested by local authorities for ‘terroristic threats’ on social media.
  • "Brandon Speed provided false statements on an official form while trying to purchase a gun after demonstrating concerning behavior in several other areas of his life," said FBI San Antonio Special Agent in Charge Oliver E. Rich, Jr. "I would like to thank the San Antonio Behavioral Threat Assessment Group, the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit, and our local law enforcement partners for their exceptional work on this case."
  • Full press release

Urologist Charged In Superseding Indictment With Sexually Abusing Eight Patients, Including Minors
Darius A. Paduch, a New York–area urologist, was charged for his years-long sexual abuse of eight victims who were his patients, six of whom were minors during part of the period of abuse. 

  • "As alleged, Darius A. Paduch was a serial sexual abuser," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams. "Purporting to provide clinical care, Paduch instead violated patients—including minors—to gratify his own sexual desires. As alleged in today’s superseding indictment, Paduch’s abuse was pervasive, spanning over a decade and victimizing patients inside and outside the clinical setting. With today’s additional charges, my office seeks to hold Paduch accountable for the full measure of his reprehensible conduct."
  • If you have been victimized by Darius A. Paduch in any way or have any additional information about his alleged illegal behavior, please call 1-800-CALL-FBI or reach out at www.tips.fbi.gov.
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Inside the FBI: Making Sense of FISA Section 702  

October 25, 2023 

For most people, the number 702 may not mean very much.

But for the Intelligence Community, which is charged with protecting the nation’s security, that number refers to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.  

This part of the broader law gives the FBI and other federal agencies the authority to conduct targeted surveillance of non-U.S. citizens located outside the United States, but only under specialized circumstances and with proper approvals and oversight.

Section 702 is indispensable to the Intelligence Community’s role in protecting the country from spies, malicious cyberattacks, terrorists, and other foreign threats.

On this episode, FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate explains Section 702: what it is, what it's not, and why you’ll likely be hearing a lot about it in the future.


Indian Country Onboarding Program  

October 23, 2023 

The FBI’s field office in Phoenix, Arizona, recently hosted a week of specialized training for new FBI agents.

The Indian Country Onboarding Program prepares agents to operate in Native American communities, where they often would be working solo and without the resources available in more densely populated areas.

“When you’re working [in] Indian Country, you may be just yourself and a tribal investigator with you out in the middle of nowhere, and you may not even have cell phone reception. You’re going to have to make command decisions and be able to act responsibly and accordingly,” said Supervisory Special Agent Jerry Grambow.

During the course, agents learn and reinforce previous training on a variety of subjects, including conducting homicide interviews, finding witnesses, defensive tactics, and remote medical care. They also learn about the cultural differences between them and the Native Americans living on the land and how to communicate better with and assist those communities in seeking justice.

Full story.

Additional Resources:


Violent Crime Case Round-Up  

October 20, 2023 

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Thirty-Seven Gang Members Plead Guilty to Racketeering Conspiracy
The 37th and final defendant charged as part of the case against members and associates of the Simon City Royals gang—a gang aligned with the Gangster Disciples—pleaded guilty to racketeering (RICO) conspiracy.

  • The Simon City Royals were a violent prison gang operating primarily in the Mississippi Department of Corrections, but with members and associates acting on their behalf outside of prison throughout Mississippi, Louisiana, and elsewhere.
  • "These convictions demonstrate the steadfast commitment of the FBI and our law enforcement partners to protecting the public from violent gangs that terrorize and poison our communities,” said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. "As a result of our collective efforts, this destructive criminal enterprise has been dismantled and the members who have been operating both in and out of the prison system are being held accountable."
  • Full press release

Firearms Trafficker Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Supplying Weapons and Ammunition to Sinaloa Cartel
Alfredo Lomas Navarrete, a prolific firearms trafficker, was sentenced in federal court today to 15 years in custody for his role in supplying hundreds of high-powered weapons and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition to the Sinaloa Cartel.

  • This case is part of a long-running investigation targeting the Valenzuela Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO), which is a significant component of the Sinaloa Cartel. The Valenzuela TCO is one of the largest importers of cocaine into the United States.
  • "The sentencing of Mr. Navarrete is a major milestone in federal law enforcement’s efforts to disrupt and dismantle illegal trafficking operations of all kinds," said FBI San Diego Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy. "We are proud to support our law enforcement partners in all efforts that target and take down crime organizations that threaten the citizens of the United States of America."
  • Full press release

Defendant Charged with Operating Sex-Trafficking Ring on Pennsylvania Avenue in Brooklyn Known As The "Penn Track"
Douglas Welch, also known as "Paradise," was charged with sex trafficking by force, sex trafficking conspiracy, interstate prostitution and promotion of prostitution. 

  • Welch allegedly forcing victims to engage in prostitution, in among other places, a stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in Brooklyn known as the "Penn Track."
  • "As alleged, Welch has trafficked multiple women for his own financial benefit while boasting about the cruel and brutal violence he has inflicted on the vulnerable victims," stated U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace. "Running a brazen, open-air commercial sex market in East New York or anywhere else in our district is unacceptable, dangerous to our communities, and especially harmful to women caught in this terrible cycle of abuse. Today’s indictment will hold the defendant accountable in a federal courtroom for his exploitative crimes."
  • Full press release

Doctor Pleads Guilty in Dark Web Murder-for-Hire Plot
James Wan pleaded guilty to paying a hitman he found on the dark web to murder his girlfriend. 

  • Wan accessed a dark web marketplace from his cellular telephone and submitted an order to have a hitman murder his girlfriend.
  • After learning about the threat to the victim’s life, FBI agents notified the victim, provided her protection, and questioned Wan. Wan admitted that he had placed the order, made the payments, and checked the status of the order daily on the dark web marketplace. 
  • "Despite his cowardly concealment on the dark web, Wan’s cold hearted murderous plot was averted due to the exceptional work of our team. He will now face the full consequences of the criminal justice system," said Keri Farley, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. "This case shows that the FBI will not tolerate heinous acts of violence and will go to great lengths to protect our citizens." 
  • Full press release

Brothers Sentenced to a Total of 27 Years in Federal Prison for Armed Robbery Using OfferUp
Jessie Dixson and his brother, Joqeis Dixson, have been sentenced to a total of 27 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to commercial robbery and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime.

  • On May 14, 2020, Jessie and Joqeis Dixson used OfferUp, an online marketplace, to advertise the purported sale of a PlayStation game console. Victim N.B. agreed to purchase the console from the Dixson brothers. When N.B. arrived at the agreed location, Jessie Dixson pointed a shotgun in the victim’s face, and Joqeis Dixson took the victim’s cell phone and wallet. Both Dixson brothers fled the scene.
  • "For years, violent criminals have been using online marketplaces like OfferUp to set up armed robberies, sometimes leading to injuries and deaths," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Zachary A. Myers. "Most local police departments will allow people to use their properties as a safe place to meet when buying and selling online, which can help keep everyone safe during these transactions. You often don’t know who is on the other end of an online communication, or what their intentions might be..."
  • Full press release

Xavier Zamora Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison for the 2019 Murder of U.S. Letter Carrier
Xavier Zamora was sentenced to 22 years in prison for the murder of U.S. Postal Service Letter Carrier José Hernandez in 2019. 

  • "Far too many of us have felt this loss within our agencies," said FBI Albuquerque Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda. "The impact and pain extend beyond the agency and the family; it extends to the community. Even more so when the individual is part of the fabric of the nation making a difference in every community across this country. On behalf of the Hernandez family and others suffering from the loss of a family member to violent crime, the FBI will continue to work in partnership with local, state, tribal and federal partners to ensure offenders like Xavier Zamora are brought to justice."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Inside the FBI: The Osage Murders 

October 18, 2023 

At the turn of the 20th century, oil was discovered on the Osage Indian Reservation in present-day Osage County, Oklahoma.

Through government royalties, members of the Osage Nation profited as the oil market expanded. As word spread, opportunists flocked to Osage lands, some seeking to separate the Osage from their wealth by any means necessary—even murder.  

In May 1921, the badly decomposed body of Anna Brown—an Osage Native American—was found in a remote ravine in northern Oklahoma. Two dozen people, including her mother, eventually turned up dead.

On this episode of Inside the FBI, hear from FBI Historian Dr. John Fox as he unravels how an Osage family became targeted in a deadly conspiracy and how a young Bureau of Investigation searched for answers.

Additional Resources


During Historic Five Eyes Press Conference, FBI Director Wray Condemns Chinese Economic Espionage    

October 17, 2023 

MI5 Director General Ken McCallum, New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Director-General of Security and Chief Executive Andrew Hampton, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Australian Intelligence Security Organisation Director-General Mike Burgess, and Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director David Vigneault take part in a press conference as part of the FBI's Emerging Technology and Securing Innovation Security Summit in California's Silicon Valley on October 17, 2023.

MI5 Director General Ken McCallum, New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Director-General of Security and Chief Executive Andrew Hampton, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Australian Security Intelligence Service Organisation Director-General Mike Burgess, and Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director David Vigneault take part in a press conference as part of the FBI's Emerging Technology and Securing Innovation Security Summit in California's Silicon Valley on October 17, 2023.

During a joint press conference by the leaders of the Five Eyes coalition, FBI Director Christopher Wray called the Chinese government the biggest threat to innovation, noting the Chinese Communist Party has made economic espionage and intellectual property theft “a central component of its national strategy.” 

“Beijing's economic espionage campaign hurts our nations and our people—individual engineers, entrepreneurs, families whose hard work and livelihoods are stolen,” Wray said at the October 17 press conference, which was held during the FBI’s Emerging Technology and Securing Innovation Security Summit in California’s Silicon Valley.  

Wray convened the single-day summit to unite leaders from the Five Eyes partnership, private industry, and academia to address the threat of innovation theft by China and other hostile nation-states, and to equip attendees with knowledge and partnerships they can use to protect their technology and intellectual property.

The Five Eyes partnership grew out of the BRUSA agreement, shortly after the end of World War II, to share intelligence and coordinate security efforts. The five member countries have a long history of trust and cooperation, and they share a commitment to common values. The summit marked the first-ever joint public appearance by the coalition’s leaders. 

“If China wants to be a great nation, it's time to start acting like one: Abiding by its commitments not to steal innovation, following other basic norms like not exporting repression, or working with other nations against dangers that all nations face—like cybercrime, fentanyl trafficking, and money laundering—instead of siding with criminals against rule of law nations everywhere,” he added. “Because until it does, everywhere it flouts the rule of law and tries to undermine our economic security, it's going to find us there together, disrupting their hostile designs, defending our security together—not just as governments, but as five joined societies with public servants, private citizens, and businesses all united against the threat.” 

MI5 Director General Ken McCallum, Australian Security Intelligence Service Organisation Director-General Mike Burgess, New Zealand Security Intelligence Service Director-General of Security and Chief Executive Andrew Hampton, and Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director David Vigneault also participated in the press conference. 

The summit also included a fireside chat moderated by former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice and closed-door breakout sessions where participants could further discuss the threat posed by China’s hunger for economic and technological dominance, as well as other emerging threats. 

You can learn more about the summit here


Director Wray Gives Keynote Address at IACP  

October 16, 2023 


On October 14, FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference in San Diego.

"Our partnerships are stronger than they’ve ever been, and you have my commitment that, from the FBI’s perspective, we’re going to make sure that remains true," said Wray.

Partnership with law enforcement has been at the core of the Bureau’s mission for more than a century. Referencing the shared mission and “spirit of cooperation” between the FBI and the IACP, Director Wray stressed how sharing our strengths and our resources has been critical to protecting communities across the country.

More than 6,000 FBI task force officers are stationed across the United States, working with our partners to combat violent crimes, gangs, drugs, organized crime, and child exploitation. Director Wray emphasized recent initiatives in Texas, West Virginia, Georgia, and Indian Country that were successful in large part due to the cooperative efforts of everyone involved.

Director Wray concluded by thanking the IACP for their continued resolve during challenging times: "The FBI will continue to stand with you and your officers in protecting the people we serve." 

Approximately 75 FBI executives and other employees also attended the four-day conference, participating in sessions focusing on mass violence and school shooting threats, today’s crisis negotiators, and gang-involved child sex trafficking, among other topics.

Full story.

Remarks as delivered.


Violent Crime Case Round-Up  

October 13, 2023 

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

FBI Portland Seizes 25 Guns, Nearly Nine Kilos of Suspected Cocaine and Makes Five Arrests in Multi-State Takedown
Five people were arrested in a large-scale drug and gun bust throughout three states.

  • During the operation—which involved over 150 officers, agents, and personnel from federal, state, and local agencies—law enforcement seized nearly nine kilos of cocaine, 25 firearms (11 from one location), nearly $50,000 in cash, and thousands of suspected fentanyl pills.
  • "The amount of suspected fentanyl alone that we seized in this operation will make a difference in our communities. 25 guns now off the streets, kilos of drugs out of circulation, that’s an impact," said FBI Portland Special Agent in Charge Kieran L. Ramsey. "In a coordinated effort across three states the FBI and our partners, worked seamlessly to cut into the capabilities of these criminal enterprises and we are working hard to put the most violent offenders and facilitators behind bars for as long as we possibly can."
  • Full press release

Bixby Man Gets Life for Carjacking, Robbery, and Haikey Creek Park Double Murder
Hunter Isaiah Hobbs was sentenced to life in federal prison for multiple felonies including carjacking, robbery, and multiple murder charges.

  • "Hunter Hobbs conspired to rob multiple victims in this case. He and his co-defendant shot one victim, a complete stranger, in an attempted carjacking and then killed two of their own friends during this crime spree," said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma Clint Johnson. "The relentless efforts of this Office, the FBI, and the Tulsa and Broken Arrow Police Departments resulted in the life sentences handed down today."
  • "Today's sentence means Hunter Hobbs will spend the rest of his life behind prison walls for his spree of senseless and violent crimes, which tragically led to the death of two innocent victims," said FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray. "This case demonstrates the FBI's steadfast commitment to pursuing justice for victims and holding dangerous criminals accountable."
  • Full press release

Leader and Two Members of Brooklyn-Based Real Ryte Gang Convicted of Violent Racketeering Offenses
Semaj Smith, a member of the Brooklyn-based street gang Real Ryte, pleaded guilty at the federal courthouse in Brooklyn to racketeering conspiracy and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.  

  • Between 2015 and 2018, Real Ryte was a violent street gang that operated in Brooklyn. Real Ryte members committed acts of violence, including murder and assault, and also engaged in bank fraud and wire fraud while committing other serious crimes.
  • "The defendants admitted that Real Ryte carried out violent crimes and committed acts of fraud, leaving some victims destitute and others shot." stated U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Breon Peace. "These types of organized criminal groups inflict grievous harm on their communities and will not be tolerated."
  • Full press release

Arizona Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Attempted Murder of a Federal Task Force Officer
Robert Benjamin Nelson was sentenced to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder of a federal task force officer and discharging a firearm during a federal crime of violence on March 22, 2023, following a mistrial on January 17, 2023.

  • "These types of shootings are brazened, violent acts, absolutely without justification and a threat to our entire community," said FBI Albuquerque Special Agent in Charge Raul Bujanda. "An attack on a federal Task Force Officer is a federal crime with serious consequences. Today’s sentencing reflects the FBI’s unwavering commitment to ensure that all those responsible for violence crimes against law enforcement officers are brought to justice."
  • Full press release

Martha's Vineyard Man Pleads Guilty to Armed Robbery of Falmouth Bank
Petar Petyoshin pleaded guilty to an armed robbery of a Falmouth bank, during which he zip-tied individuals, brandished a firearm, placed a purported bomb on the counter and fled the scene in the vehicle of a bank customer.

  • In April 2023, Petyoshin entered the bank placed an alleged bomb on the teller counter and brandished a firearm. Petyoshin pointed the firearm at the tellers and customers, telling one bank employee, "I’m robbing you," before having the customers and bank employees zip-tie each other’s hands together. Petyoshin then had two additional tellers place over $20,000 in cash from the bank into a brown bag, took a customer’s car keys and fled the scene in the customer’s vehicle.
  • On May 23, 2023, Petyoshin was arrested on state charges in connection with the robbery. A subsequent search of his residence resulted in the recovery of thousands of dollars in cash bundled together in Rockland Trust money bands, zip ties, and clothing items the suspect was captured wearing on surveillance footage both before and after the robbery. Additionally, 57 firearms and a large quantity of ammunition were seized during the search.
  • Full press release

Self-Proclaimed King of Bissonett Guilty of Sex Trafficking
A federal jury in Houston has convicted Larry Lewis of sex trafficking four women by means of force and of taking three women across state lines to engage in prostitution.

  • At trial, the victims detailed how Lewis recruited them on false promises of good money and a good life. Lewis confiscated the identification cards of two women and tightly controlled access to their hotel rooms. The women were completely dependent on him for food, lodging, and basic necessities. In addition, Lewis’ rules dictated where and how long they worked, and the women were required to give Lewis all money they earned after commercial sex dates. 
  • If thee victims broke Lewis' rules, he physically abused them—Lewis kicked one victim in the head into a window, and during another incident, he whipped the same victim with an electrical cord following an attempt to escape using his vehicle. Another victim described how Lewis broke her ribs and left bruises all over her body after receiving many beatings.
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


Today in FBI History 

October 11, 2023 

On October 11, 1925, Special Agent Edwin C. Shanahan was waiting in a Chicago garage. He’d heard from sources that Martin J. Durkin, a car thief who had previously wounded four police officers to evade capture, would be hiding a stolen car there.

When Durkin arrived, Shanahan approached the vehicle and attempted to place Durkin under arrest. Durkin grabbed a revolver from his front seat and shot the agent in the chest before escaping the garage. Shanahan died on the scene at the age of 32.

Shanahan was the first FBI agent killed in the line of duty. Durkin was later apprehended and sentenced to 35 years in prison for murder, plus an additional 15 years for auto theft.


Are You Cyber Secure? 

October 10, 2023 

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

Do you know the best ways to protect your computer, network, and personal information?

  • You can practice good cyber hygiene at home by keeping your systems and security software updated, securing your data and data backups, and being cautious while online.
  • If you believe you are the victim of a ransomware attack, you should immediately report it to your local FBI field office or to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. The sooner you report it, the sooner we can assess the situation and provide the appropriate assistance.
  • Businesses can partner with the FBI to better understand their cyber risk factors and enhance our response in the event of an attack. Having an organizational incident response plan in place can help ensure continuity of operations if you are targeted or victimized by a cyberattack.
  • To help children understand the importance of safe online surfing, visit sos.fbi.gov. The Safe Online Surfing Internet Challenge was developed by the FBI to help students learn about online safety-- keeping each grade level's online usage and knowledge in mind—while engaging in fun, interactive games.  

The FBI is the lead federal agency for investigating cyberattacks and intrusions, and we take proactive steps to ensure our partners have the information they need. 

Learn more about what you can do rotect yourself from cyber criminals, how you can report cyber crime, and the FBI’s efforts in combating the evolving cyber threat.
 
Additional resources:


Violent Crime Case Round-Up  

October 6, 2023 

The FBI plays a key role in combating violent crimes across our country—and in some cases, abroad—through our investigative work targeting gangs and criminal organizations, violent crimes against children, Indian Country crime, human trafficking and involuntary servitude, bank robbery, and jewelry and gem theft. 

FBI investigators usually work in partnership with other law enforcement groups, often establishing task forces to concentrate resources and efforts. This round-up is only a partial list of recent FBI violent crime stories—for a full list, read more FBI violent crime news and press releases

Frank James Sentenced to Life In Prison for Subway Mass Shooting
Frank James was sentenced to 10 concurrent life sentences in prison, plus 10 years to run consecutively for shooting 10 people during an attack on the New York City subway in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, on April 12, 2022.  

  • James previously pleaded guilty to all 11 counts of a superseding indictment, which included 10 counts of committing a terrorist attack or other violence against a mass transportation vehicle—one count for each gunshot victim—and one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of his violent attack.
  • "Today, Frank James was rightfully sentenced for his deliberate and calculated act of terror against our city," stated FBI New York Assistant Director-in-Charge James Smith. "He aimed to kill innocent people, who were simply going about their daily lives amid the morning rush. It is because of the dogged determination and vigilance of the investigators of the FBI New York’s Joint Terrorism Task force that James was brought to justice and is facing the consequences he rightfully deserves."  
  • Full press release

Washington Man Sentenced for Hate Crime Targeting LGBTQI+ Community at Seattle Nightclub
Kalvinn Garcia was sentenced in federal court for committing a hate crime in connection with an arson at a nightclub and event space in Seattle, Washington.

  • Garcia set fire to the contents of a dumpster in the alley directly behind the nightclub, and was arrested minutes after setting the fire. Garcia admitted that through the use of fire, he willfully attempted to cause bodily injury to the occupants of the nightclub because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • "Mr. Garcia admitted to setting the fire in an effort to hurt people based on his own bias," said FBI Seattle Special Agent in Charge Richard A. Collodi. "No person in the United States should fear for their safety based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. I am proud of the continued work of the FBI and our partners in protecting the civil rights of all people."
  • Full press release

Las Vegas Man Sentenced to 23 Years in Prison for Committing Two Armed Carjackings, Shooting at Police During Car Pursuit, and Assaulting a Federal Corrections Officer
Justin Venegas was sentenced to 23 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for two carjackings during which he brandished a firearm and shot at one victim, shooting at police officers during the vehicle pursuit, and for assaulting a federal officer while in custody.

  • "The defendants’ sentence should serve as a deterrent to anyone who is considering terrorizing the safety and security of our community by committing armed carjackings," said FBI Las Vegas Special Agent in Charge Spencer L. Evans. "The sentence also reflects the severity of the crime and the commitment of the FBI, along with our federal, state, and local partners, to reduce the potential of future carjacking offenses, a major driver of violent crimes."
  • Full press release

Bronx Man Sentenced to 22 Years in Prison for Drug-Related Shooting on Crowded Manhattan Sidewalk
Michael Rowe was sentenced to 22 years in prison for shooting another man over a $150 drug debt on a crowded sidewalk in Hell’s Kitchen on April 29, 2023.  

  • "Michael Rowe resorted to a reckless act of violence when his victim failed to pay him just $150," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams. "Rowe could have taken someone’s life on that crowded sidewalk in Hell’s Kitchen over a trivial drug debt, but fortunately, no bystanders were hurt, and the victim survived his injuries. Thanks to the quick work of our law enforcement partners and the prosecutors of this Office, Rowe now faces prison time for his dangerous behavior."
  • Full press release

Camden County Man Sentenced to 100 Years in Federal Prison After Pleading Guilty to Sexual Exploitation of Children
Michael Williams Kersey was sentenced to 1,200 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to engage in sexual exploitation of children; three counts of sexual exploitation of children; and possession of child pornography.

  • Kersey’s co-defendant, Lesley Henry, produced sexually explicit images and sent them to Kersey. Henry is serving more than 30 years in prison.
  • "Kersey’s determination to pursue lurid desires shows his lack of fear of the law and a willingness to harm children no matter how young they are," said FBI Senior Supervisory Special Agent Will Clarke of the FBI's Savannah office. "Although the FBI can never fully repair the damage inflicted by these predators, we can ensure that justice is served on those who commit these terrible crimes."
  • Full press release

Inmate at FCI-Berlin Sentenced to an Additional 30 Months for Assaulting Another Inmate
Aniel Gomez was sentenced in federal court for assaulting another inmate, and also ordered to pay $1,392 in restitution to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

  • On December 19, 2022, Gomez beat another inmate with a homemade weapon consisting of two padlocks strapped together. As a result, the victim suffered head trauma, including the loss of teeth and lacerations above the right eyebrow and back of the head.
  • "Today’s sentence makes it clear that prison is not a place to continue committing crimes," said FBI Boston Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen. "Aniel Gomez brutally beat a fellow inmate and will now spend more time behind bars for jeopardizing that inmate’s safety and the safety of the prison’s staff. This case demonstrates how the FBI will not hesitate to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that anyone who engages in violence will be brought to justice."
  • Full press release

Additional resources:


FBI Archives: Finding Answers in Osage      

October 4, 2023

In the 1920s, a series of unsolved murders in Osage County, Oklahoma, struck fear across the nation. The Bureau of Investigation—which later became the FBI—was called in to investigate.

Anna Brown, an Osage Native American, had been found dead in May 1921 with a bullet wound in the back of her head. Two months later, her mother died suspiciously. Two years later, her cousin was shot to death and her sister and brother-in-law died in a house explosion.

The mysterious deaths in Osage continued. At least two dozen people, including other Osage Native Americans, an oilman, and a lawyer were killed inexplicably.

Osage Native American Anna Brown, murdered in 1921, leading to the FBI's Osage Hills murders investigation.

Anna Brown

Early evidence pointed to William Hale, a local cattleman and oil tycoon with an eye on controlling the oil discovered on the Osage Indian Reservation.

However, solving the case was another matter. Locals weren’t eager to talk with the federal agents, who went undercover as an insurance salesman, cattle buyer, oil prospector, and herbal doctor to turn up evidence. Over time, they gained the trust of the community and built a case. The agents were able to prove that Hale had ordered the murders to gain control of the oil rights and cover up his crimes.

In 1929, Hale and his accomplices were convicted and sent to prison.

Read more about the Reign of Terror in Osage and the agents who searched for answers and justice for the victims.

Additional Resources


Supporting Indian Country     

October 2, 2023

The FBI recently surged personnel and resources to tribal areas to support Native Americans who have been victims of crime in Indian Country.

During Operation Not Forgotten, more than 220 cases were handled by FBI special agents, intelligence analysts, and staff operations specialists deployed to 10 field offices whose regions support women and children in Indigenous communities. Victim specialists—who are specially trained to understand the cultural sensitivities and unique needs of Native American communities—also provided critical support to victims and their families, ensuring they understood their rights and the resources available to them.

Through Operation Not Forgotten and the broader Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons strategy, the FBI has continued to enhance its collaboration with tribal law enforcement agencies, tribal governments, and community members. Both initiatives reflect the FBI’s continued dedication to address the violence impacting Indigenous communities, build safer communities, and protect the rights of all individuals.

Anyone with information relevant to these initiatives is encouraged to submit an online tip at tips.fbi.gov or contact their local FBI office.  

Additional resources:

Press release in English and Navajo
Indian country crime
Violent crimes against children