ELEVATE Command Staff Briefing

News Blog

March 2024  


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