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Federal Government
Congressman Holding Inspects Hurricane Florence Damage In Harnett County PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Monday, 24 September 2018 08:27
 Congressman George Holding (NC-02) visited Harnett County’s Emergency Management Center for a briefing on Hurricane Florence.
 
“Parts of Harnett County have been devastated by this storm. The scenes of destruction – the debris, downed trees and catastrophic flooding – are tough to grasp. For many of our neighbors, this storm is a life-changing event. Once the rain stops and the flood waters recede, we will be able to access the full extent of the damage. I will do everything in my power to ensure those impacted in Harnett and around the state receive the federal support they need in a timely manner,” said Congressman Holding.
 
“I am immensely grateful to Sheriff Coats, Jimmy Riddle and all of the local officials and first responders working day and night to take care of our communities and citizens. They are doing an incredible job.”
 
On Saturday, September 15th, President Trump approved a major disaster declaration for eight North Carolina counties impacted by Hurricane Florence. While Harnett was not included in the original declaration, it was amended Sunday, September 16th to include Harnett County. As a result, federal aid funding is now available to Harnett residents impacted by the storm. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster. 
 
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can begin applying for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.
 
Wilmington Woman Sentenced To 8 Years In Federal Prison For Selling Heroin That Killed User PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 04 September 2018 09:32
Senior United States District Judge W. Earl Britt sentenced Porsche Renee Dillard, 31 from Wilmington, North Carolina, to 96 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release after she pled guilty to a one-count of distribution of a quantity of heroin and fentanylentanyl she distributed on April 24, 2016 which resulted in the death of the user.
 
The investigation revealed that on April 24, 2016, officers with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office responded to an overdose at a residence in Castle Hayne, NC. Upon arrival at the scene, officers found a deceased victim with a syringe in her arm, several used bags of heroin/fentanyl stamped with the words “Old School”, as well as the victim’s cellular phone. A search of the victim’s phone revealed multiple text messages between the victim and “Porcha” who was later identified as Dillard. 
 
On June 9, 2016, Dillard was arrested on unrelated state drug charges. She gave an interview to law enforcement officers during which she admitted to selling heroin to the victim in the specific stamped bags located at the victim’s residence.
 
With the imposition of an 8 year sentence, the people of New Hanover County can begin to recover from the effects of this crime and we are very pleased that
the United States Department of Justice could play a role in achieving that result.”
 
This case was prosecuted federally as part of the United States Department of Justice’s Opioid Initiative and the Take Back North Carolina Initiative of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
 
Implemented in March 2018, the Take Back North Carolina Initiative emphasizes the regional assignment of federal prosecutors to work with local, state and federal law enforcement and District Attorney’s Offices on a sustained basis in those communities to reduce the violent crime rate, drug trafficking, and crimes against law enforcement. The initiative targets those organizations and individuals who are responsible for increasing violent crime rates and drug trafficking – quickly routing the cases to federal court when prosecution in that venue would deliver the most significant impact.
 
The investigation of this case was conducted by the Wilmington FBI Coastal Carolina Criminal Enterprise Task Force consisting of the FBI, New Hanover County Sheriff's Office, Brunswick County Sheriff's Office, Wilmington Police Department, and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Lawrence J. Cameron prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 September 2018 09:40
 
Foreign Nationals Charged With Numerous Voting Fraud Offenses PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Wednesday, 29 August 2018 10:09
Nineteen foreign nationals were charged with voting by alien for their actions prior to and on November 8, 2016. A twentieth defendant was charged with aiding and abetting a fellow defendant in falsely claiming United States citizenship in order to register to vote.
 
A federal grand jury in Wilmington, North Carolina returned Indictments charging the following foreign nationals with false claim of United States citizenship in order to register to vote, and voting by an alien:
 
• Jose Cruz Solano-Rodriguez, age 41, of Mexico;
• Guadalupe Espinosa-Pena, age 63, of Mexico;
• Sarah Emilia Silverio-Polanco, age 35, of the Dominican Republic;
• Elizabeth Nene Amachaghi, age 44, of Nigeria;
• Maria Rufina Castillo-Boswell, age 31, of Philippines;
• Dora Maybe Damatta-Rodriguez, age 64, of Panama;
• Elvis David Fullerton, age 54, of Grenada;
• Olive Agatha Martin, age 71, of Guyana; and
• Kaoru Sauls, age 54, of Japan.
 
Separately, criminal charges of voting by an alien were filed against the following foreign nationals:
• Jose Jaime Ramiro-Torres, age 52, of El Salvador;
• Juan Francisco Landeros-Mireles, age 64, of Mexico;
• Alessandro Cannizzaro, age 46, of Italy;
• Dieudonne Soifils, age 71, of Haiti;
• Hyo Suk George, age 69, of Korea;
• Merius Jean, age 54, of Haiti;
• Rosemarie Angelika Harris, age 60, of Germany; and
• Daniel Tadeusz Romanowski, age 39, of Poland.
 
Also, a federal grand jury in Wilmington has returned an Indictment charging an eighteenth defendant, Diana Patricia Franco-Rodriguez, age 26, of Mexico, with fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents, and voting by an alien.
 
Additionally, a federal grand jury in Wilmington has returned an Indictment charging Denslo Allen Paige, age 66, with aiding and abetting Espinosa-Pena in falsely claiming United States citizenship in order to register to vote.
 
Separately on August 14, 2018, Ramon Esteban Paez-Jerez, age 58, of the Dominican Republic, was charged and pleaded guilty to a two-count Criminal Information charging him with passport fraud and voting by an alien.
 
According to the Criminal Information, Paez-Jerez in 1988 was ordered deported from the United States and failed to appear for his scheduled removal. According to court records, Paez-Jerez assumed a fraudulent identity and applied for amnesty. Paez-Jerez in 1989 was granted lawful permanent status under the false identity and in 1999 was naturalized contrary to law as a United States citizen. On July 7, 2007, Paez-Jerez registered to vote in North Carolina under his fraudulent identity.
 
On September 16, 2009, Paez-Jerez made a false statement in an application for a United States passport when he applied under the fraudulent identity and failed to disclose his real name. On November 8, 2016, Paez-Jerez illegally voted in the General Election of 2016 in Wake County, North Carolina, knowing he had illegally obtained United States citizenship.
 
Paez-Jerez faces maximum penalties of eleven years’ imprisonment, a $350,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. Sentencing is scheduled for the term of court commencing on December 11, 2018, in New Bern, North Carolina.
 
If convicted of false claim of United States citizenship in order to register to vote, and voting by an alien, Amachaghi, Castillo-Boswell, Damatta-Rodriguez, Espinosa-Pena, Fullerton, Martin, Sauls, Silverio-Polanco, and Solano-Rodriguez, would face maximum penalties of six years’ imprisonment, a $350,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
 
If convicted of voting by an alien, Cannizzaro, George, Harris, Jean, Landeros-Mireles, Ramiro-Torres, Romanowski, and Soifils would face maximum penalties of twelve months imprisonment, a $100,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
 
If convicted of fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents, and voting by an alien, Franco-Rodriguez would face maximum penalties of twenty-six years imprisonment, a $350,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
 
If convicted of aiding and abetting in falsely claiming United States citizenship in order to register to vote, Denslo Allen Paige would face a maximum imprisonment term of five years, a $250,000 fine, and a term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
 
The charges and allegations contained in the Indictments and Criminal Informations are merely accusations. An Indictment is a formal written accusation originating with the United States Attorney and issued by a Grand Jury against a party charged with a crime. A Criminal Information is a formal written accusation filed directly by the United States Attorney. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
 
The cases are being investigated under the newly created framework of the Document and Benefit Fraud Task Force (DBFTF) in the Eastern District of North Carolina lead by Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations, and assisted by Enforcement Removal Operations, and the Department of State - Diplomatic Security Service. The investigation as to voting fraud is ongoing.
 
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 August 2018 10:14
 
NC Man Pleads Guilty To Helping Foreign Terrorist Group PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Tuesday, 28 August 2018 11:43
Basit Javed Sheikh pled guilty to attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2339B.
 
Specifically, Sheikh pled guilty to attempting to provide material support and resources to Jabhat al-Nusrah, which the United States Secretary of State has identified as an alias name for al-Qa’ida in Iraq, a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. In pleading guilty Sheikh acknowledged that, since he is not a natural born citizen of the United States, he faces possible automatic removal from the United States.
 
Sheikh was initially charged by criminal complaint, and subsequently by Criminal Indictment filed November 5, 2013. At the time of indictment, SHEIKH was a 34 year-old from Pakistan who had been living for years in the United States as a legal permanent
 
resident. The affidavit to the complaint describes multiple Facebook postings by Sheikh occurring in 2013 and expressing support for Jahbat al-Nusrah. SHEIKH posted articles acknowledging that Jahbat al-Nusrah had been designated by the United States as a terrorist organization.
 
As detailed within the affidavit, Sheikh utilized Facebook to propagate the violent ideology of Islamic Extremism. In mid-2013, Sheikh sought out a relationship with an individual online whom he believed could assist him in travelling to Syria in support of violent jihad. This individual informed Sheikh of another person described as a member of Jabhat al-Nusrah able to assist Sheikh. In reality, both of these individuals were working with and for the FBI.  Sheikh reached out to the individual he believed to be a Jabhat al-Nusrah member and expressed his desire to travel to Syria in order to “help the mujahideen…in any way I can.” When asked how he wanted to help, Sheikh responded “logistics, media, fight too, God willing.” Despite the FBI covert employee stating to Sheikh that fighting was not for everyone, Sheikh replied that that he was “serious” and that he was ready to be a martyr.
 
Believing that the FBI covert employee would be able to assist in smuggling him from Lebanon into Syria, Sheikh purchased a one-way ticket with a final destination of Lebanon and a departure from Raleigh-Durham Airport on November 2, 2013. On that date,  he traveled to Raleigh-Durham Airport, obtained a boardingpass, checked in luggage, and proceeded through the security screening en route to his gate of departure. Sheikh was arrested prior to boarding his flight.
The applicable maximum statutory penalty for this crime is 15 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and 3 years supervised release. The actual sentence would be determined by the sentencing court after consideration of the plea agreement, the advisory sentencing guidelines, and all appropriate facts and circumstances.
 
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Charlotte Division, Resident Agency Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Assistant United States Attorney Jason Kellhofer is representing the government in this case.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 August 2018 11:49
 
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