Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Chad A. Scott was charged in an indictment unsealed Monday was accused of stealing thousands of dollars in drug money, according to officials.
Scott was also charged obstruction of justice, perjury, falsifying records in a federal investigation, seeking and receiving an illegal gratuity, conversion of property by an officer or employee of the United States and removing property to prevent seizures and conspiracy.
A former DEA task force officer was also charged.
Chad A. Scott, 49, of Covington, Louisiana and Rodney P. Gemar, 41, of Ponchatoula, Louisiana, the former task force officer, were charged in an indictment returned on Sept. 29.
The Advocate of Louisiana reported that “Scott’s arrest late Sunday came more than a year and a half into a secretive investigation into a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration task force that Scott led for years — a team of lawmen who investigated drug dealing across southeastern Louisiana.”
“Wearing glasses, shackled at the wrists and ankles and clad in an orange jumpsuit, Scott scanned a New Orleans courtroom full of former colleagues during a brief court appearance Monday, thumbing slowly through a copy of a 13-count indictment,” according to the Advocate.
He was represented by his defense lawyer, Matt Coman, a former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted many of Scott’s drug investigations, the Advocate stated.
Scott plead not guilty, according to media reports.
Gemar is charged with two counts of unlawful conversion of property by a government officer or employee, two counts of removing property to prevent seizure and two counts of conspiracy to commit conversion and to remove property to prevent seizure. According to the indictment, Scott, Gemar and their co-conspirators committed these offenses while serving with the New Orleans Division of the DEA.
Gemar currently serves as a police officer with the Hammond, Louisiana Police Department.
Former DEA task force officer Karl Emmett Newman, 50, of Kentwood, Louisiana, was also charged with numerous offenses in a separate May 13, 2016 indictment and in an Oct. 7, 2016 superseding indictment.
Newman pleaded guilty on July 20, to unlawfully possessing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and conspiring to misappropriate money seized by the DEA during the execution of a search.
Former DEA task force officer Johnny Jacob Domingue, 28, of Maurepas, Louisiana, was arrested on a criminal complaint on May 12, 2016, and was also charged in an Oct. 7, 2016 superseding indictment with falsifying records in a federal investigation. Domingue’s case remains pending.
The defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
DEA and other federal officials announced Friday the arrest of Kassim Tajideen, a prominent financial supporter of the Hizballah terror organization.
Tajideen is charged with evading U.S. sanctions imposed on him because of his financial support of Hizballah, officials said.
DEA and other federal officials today announced the arrest of Kassim Tajideen, a prominent financial supporter of the Hizballah terror organization.
Tajideen is charged with evading U.S. sanctions imposed on him because of his financial support of Hizballah.
Tajideen, 62, of Beirut, Lebanon, was arrested overseas on March 12.
He is facing an 11-count indictment unsealed Friday in federal court.the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia following his arrival to the United States.
Tajideen has plead not guilty and was ordered held pending a detention hearing set for March 29.
The arrest and indictment are the result of a two-year investigation.
The arrest is part of DEA’s Project Cassandra, which targets Hizballah’s global criminal support network – dubbed by the DEA as the Business Affairs Component that operates as a logistics, procurement and financing arm for Hizaballah.
“Kassim Tajideen posed a direct threat to safety and stability around the world,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Raymond Donovan. “A prominent money man for Hizballah, Tajideen acted as a key source of funds for their global terror network. DEA and our partners are unrelenting in our pursuit of the world’s most dangerous terror and criminal networks and their many facilitators who threaten the rule of law and innocent lives.
The indictment charges Tajideen with one count of willfully conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) and the Global Terrorism Sanctions Regulations, seven counts of unlawful transactions with a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.
The indictment also indicates that the government will seek a forfeiture money judgment against the defendants.
According to the indictment, Tajideen allegedly presided over a multi-billion-dollar commodity distribution business that operates primarily in the Middle East and Africa through a web of companies, partnerships, and trade names.
The indictment further alleges that Tajideen and others engaged in an elaborate scheme to do business with U.S. companies while concealing Tajideen’s involvement in those transactions.
The Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control named Tajideen a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on May 27, 2009.
According to the indictment, between approximately July of 2013 until the present day, the conspirators illegally completed at least 47 individual wire transfers, totaling over approximately $27 million, to parties in the United States.
During the same time period, the conspirators caused dozens of illegal shipments of goods to leave U.S. ports for the benefit of Tajideen, without obtaining the proper licenses from the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty, according to officials.
Federal charges were filed against a Dallas-area man for his role in selling the heroin that caused a young woman’s overdose death at a McDonald’s restaurant in Farmers Branch in June 2016, federal officials announced Tuesday.
Two other men were charged by federal criminal complaints stemming from their trafficking of illegal narcotics, according to officials.
“Tragically, heroin deaths like this are not isolated events anymore,” said U.S. Attorney John Parker. “We obviously can’t bring this life back, but we can, together with our state and local partners, bring the full weight of law enforcement to bear on finding and prosecuting those who sell this poison. We will find you.”
Specifically, the complaint charges Rogelio Bernal, 20, of Dallas, and Zachariah Michael Wolf, 29, of Greenville, Texas, with conspiracy to distribute heroin in November of 2016, and separately charges Bernal with conspiracy to distribute heroin in June of 2016.
The penalty for the offenses charged in these criminal complaints is not more than 20 years in federal prison and a $1 million fine, according to authorities.
In a separate complaint, Steven Gomez, 18, of Dallas, Texas, was charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine on March 9, 2017, after having been found sharing a residence with Rogelio Bernal.
Gomez made his initial appearance in federal court on March 9, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Renee Harris Toliver who ordered that he remain in custody pending trial.
According to the affidavit filed against Bernal and Wolf, on Nov. 9,investigators learned that Bernal distributed heroin in the Farmers Branch, Texas, area.
Bernal had been the source of supply of heroin in the area since at least April 2016, and supplied Nancy Pineda, who was previously charged in a separate complaint for her role in the conspiracy.
Investigators discovered Bernal had several text conversations with co-conspirators coordinating meetings to conduct illegal drug transactions.
On Nov.17, Farmers Branch Police Department observed Bernal arrive at a shopping center parking lot in Dallas, Texas. Officers observed a white male get into the front passenger seat of Bernal’s vehicle. The white male was later identified as Wolf.
Approximately five to ten minutes later, Wolf exited Bernal’s vehicle and Bernal departed the location.
In the early morning hours of Nov. 18, a Greenville Police officer observed a green 1994 Chrysler Concord, traveling east on Templeton Street in Greenville, Texas. The vehicle was stopped after committing multiple traffic violations, and the driver was identified as Wolf.
Wolf was eventually arrested and the Greenville Police Department located a safe in the vehicle containing digital scale, several small clear zip lock style baggies, a syringe, a spoon with possible heroin residue, Suboxone sublingual packs, a half pill of alprazolam, a plastic baggie containing suspected cocaine, a plastic baggie containing suspected methamphetamine, and a plastic baggie containing suspected heroin.
Texas Department of Public Safety Laboratory Analysis of the drugs seized from the safe revealed 11.20 gross grams of heroin and 1.77 gross grams of methamphetamine. Two glass pipes, a wooden stick, and 50 packaged syringes were also found in the vehicle.
According to the affidavit filed with the Gomez complaint, a federal search warrant was executed on March 9, 2017, at the residence of Bernal and Gomez. A search of Gomez’s room revealed a number of weapons, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine.
Specifically, 490 gross grams of crack cocaine, 2,036 gross grams of suspected methamphetamine, and multiple firearms were located.
The defendants are presumed innocent unless he is found guilty.
A 28-year-old woman arrested Tuesday at Los Angeles International Airport has been charged with trying to smuggle at least a kilogram of cocaine to her hometown of Detroit.
Kennsha Mason, 28, was arrested by DEA agents after boarding a Spirit Airlines flight, according to officials.
A criminal complaint filed this morning alleges the narcotics were discovered in Mason’s luggage after she checked in for a flight bound for Baltimore, which was a layover on a trip to Detroit.
After seeing something suspicious in one of the bags during an image scan, the Transportation Security Administration inspected the bag, and discovered three individually wrapped items that were vacuum sealed and wrapped with a layer of carbon paper, according to officials.
Los Angeles Airport Police responded to the scene, located Mason on her Spirit Airlines flight, and escorted her off the airplane.
During a subsequent interview, Mason admitted to DEA special agents that she had previously transported drugs from Los Angeles to Detroit on four or five occasions,and that she was paid $3,500 each time she transported narcotics to Detroit.
During the interview recounted in the affidavit, Mason stated that she was working for an individual in Detroit who purchased Mason’s airline tickets and directed Mason to a residence in Pasadena, where she obtained the drugs to be delivered to Detroit.
“Our nation’s air travel system is designed to carry people to see loved ones and conduct business – not as a means to smuggle narcotics or other contraband,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “We actively work to interdict drug shipments as part of our mission to protect our critical infrastructure. Those who threaten that infrastructure will be subject to vigorous prosecution.”
Mason is being charged with possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
“The trend of criminal organizations utilizing the Los Angeles International Airport to distribute narcotics nationwide is on the rise,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Steve Comer. “Every time an illegal substance is smuggled onto a commercial airliner, it presents an unacceptable compromise to passenger safety. We’ll continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to mitigate these threats and bring the violators to justice.”
Mason is charged in relation to only one of the three packages recovered from her luggage.
Authorities are in the process of testing the other two packages to confirm the presence of cocaine. The total gross weight of all three packages was approximately four kilograms, which is more than eight pounds, according to authorities.
Mason is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.