Search Continues For Suspect Who Shot Texas Meteorologist Outside TV Station
Dec18

Search Continues For Suspect Who Shot Texas Meteorologist Outside TV Station

ABC News Police continued their search for a suspect in the shooting of a Texas meteorologist outside a TV station in Waco, Texas. The suspect fled after allegedly shooting Patrick Crawford, NBC affiliate KCEN’s morning meteorologist, multiple times in the studio’s parking lot Wednesday, Department of Public Safety Trooper D.L. Wilson told ABC News. Crawford underwent surgery, he added. Crawford’s wife, Heather Brinkmann, also a meteorologist at the station, was with him at the hospital, KCEN’s news director Jim Hice told ABC News. “Thank you for your continuous thoughts and prayers,” Heather Brinkmann posted on Facebook. “I am happy to say that Patrick is in stable condition. Doctors continue to tell me how well he’s doing considering the multiple gunshot wounds. Police tell me that if it wasn’t for his smarts to hurry up and drive off and flag down construction workers, it could have been a whole different story. He is truly my hero.”A man was later captured after a standoff at a nearby house, but police told ABC affiliate KXXVthat he was wanted in an unrelated case. “[Crawford] was getting into his car this morning after leaving the building and the subject walked up to him and they had a confrontation,” Wilson said. With multiple gunshot wounds, Crawford, 35, was still able to drive away and flag down a construction worker for help, he added. It’s not clear if there is a relationship between Crawford and the shooter. “Whether they know each other or it’s a random shooting, we don’t know that yet,” Wilson...

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Katy Woman Charged With Passing Forged Treasury Checks
Dec13

Katy Woman Charged With Passing Forged Treasury Checks

Special to the Laredo Sun   HOUSTON –Karrie Harrison-Matlock, 46, of Katy, has been charged in a 16-count federal indictment alleging conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Treasury, passing U.S. Treasury checks with forged endorsements and aggravated identity theft, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson along with Special Agent in Charge Lucy Cruz of Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). The indictment was returned today. Harrison-Matlock had been previously arrested on the matter Nov. 14, 2014. She is expected to make an initial appearance before a U.S. magistrate judge on this indictment in the near future. The 16-count indictment alleges Harrison-Matlock conspired with others to obtain U.S. Treasury checks which had been generated by filing false tax returns using stolen personal identification information. Harrison-Matlock allegedly negotiated more than 100 fraudulently-obtained U.S. Treasury tax refund checks totaling more than $900,000. If convicted of the conspiracy, she faces up to five years in federal prison. Each of the seven forgery counts carries a maximum punishment of 10 years in prison, upon conviction, while each of the six aggravated identity theft counts carries a mandatory two-year sentence which must be served consecutively to any sentence imposed for the underlying offense. All charges also carry as possible punishment, a $250,000 fine. The matter was investigated by IRS-CI. Assistant U.S. Attorney James R. Buchanan is...

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U.S. Seizes Investment Account Of Former Mexican Governor’s Political Appointee
Dec13

U.S. Seizes Investment Account Of Former Mexican Governor’s Political Appointee

Special to the Laredo Sun CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – An investment account in McAllen alleged to be owned by Homero De La Garza Tamez has been seized as a result of an the efforts of a multi-agency Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Tamez is the former Instituto Tamaulipeco De Vivienda Y Urbanismo (ITAVU) director in the State of Tamaulipas, Mexico. The account, held at UBS Financial Services Inc. in McAllen, contained $1,109,989.66 as of Nov. 4, 2014. According to the civil forfeiture complaint, the funds in the account were involved in a money laundering transaction, that the property constitutes or was derived from proceeds traceable to offenses including bribery of a public official, or the misappropriation, theft or embezzlement of public funds by or for the benefit of a public official. Tamez is allegedly the holder of that account. The complaint alleges Tamez transferred bribe monies from Mexico into the account in the United States. ITAVU is the Tamaulipas Institute for Housing and Urban Development. Tamez was appointed as director by former Tamaulipas Governor Eugenio Hernandez Flores. ITAVU is the department in Tamaulipas responsible for supporting lower income residents with housing programs and financing programs. One of the programs under ITAVU assisted municipalities by paying half of the costs associated with the repair of city streets and the construction of new streets within their city. The city would pay the remaining half of the costs. The program did not require municipalities to participate in the program. ITAVU also developed properties and built homes, in conjunction with providing special financing programs, which allowed low income families to move into new homes. The complaint alleges that during his tenure as the director of ITAVU, Tamez would receive bribe money from the government contractors who received contracts from the state government of Tamaulipas after the government officials would falsify and manipulate the bids during the bidding process. The complaint further alleges Tamez received multiple of these types of payments throughout his political career and that he received these bribes in the forms of cash and bank deposits made into his bank accounts, which were ultimately transferred into the UBS account. The complaint seeks the forfeiture of the $1,109,986.66 held in the investment account at UBS Financial Service Inc. The investigation leading to the civil forfeiture complaint was conducted through OCDETF in McAllen, San Antonio, Brownsville, Houston and Corpus Christi. FBI, Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Leon Valley Police Department conducted the investigation. This case is being prosecuted in the by...

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One Convicted And Another Sentenced In 10-Defendant Marijuana Conspiracy
Dec12

One Convicted And Another Sentenced In 10-Defendant Marijuana Conspiracy

Special to the Laredo Sun BROWNSVILLE. – Adonys Hurtado-Gutierrez, 38, has entered a guilty plea on the day prior to commencement of trial, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. One hour prior to the plea, Yisnel Garcia-Gonzalez, 31, one of nine others previously convicted in the case, was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. Hurtado-Gutierrez, from Delano, Fla., is the last of 10 charged in a multi-state drug trafficking conspiracy that had been trafficking narcotics since 2010. Hurtado-Gutierrez pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute more than 1000 kilograms of Marijuana. Previously, Garcia-Gonzalez had pleaded guilty as did Chad Jobe 34, and Phillip Cross, 54, both of Indianapolis, Ind.; Julio Treto, 54, of Miami, Fla.; and Francisco Javier Maya, 34, of Mission. Jobe, Cross, Treto and Maya were sentenced to respective terms of 38, 58, 47 and 189 months in prison for possession with intent to distribute more than 1000 kilograms of marijuana. Jose Angel Marichalar, 33, Angel Barraza, 34, Jesus Gonzales, 44, and Delton Hinderliter, 36, all also pleaded guilty and are set for sentencing on March 3, 2015. These four, along with Hurtado-Gutierrez, all face a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison. Marichalar, Barraza, Gonzalez and Hinderliter have also forfeited their interests in several pieces of real estate and numerous personal items, including cars, tractors, trailers, guns and jewelry, valued at more than $1.5 million. Additionally, as part of their plea agreements, they have also agreed to a $10 million money judgment against them. Evidence presented in support of the pleas demonstrated that all were part of a multi-state drug trafficking and money laundering organization that had existed since 2010. The drug trafficking organization, based out of the Rio Grande Valley, would hire out-of- state truck drivers to haul loads of produce with ton quantities of marijuana hidden in false compartments. Drug proceeds would then be transported back to the Rio Grande Valley. The conspiracy extended to Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, North Carolina and Tennessee. The case was the result of a nearly three-year Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation lead by the Drug Enforcement Administration with the assistance of Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation; Homeland Security Investigation; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; FBI; Sheriff’s Offices in Cameron and Zapata Counties; Hildalgo County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force; Border Patrol and the Brownsville Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Angel Castro is prosecuting the...

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Fugitive Surrenders In Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme
Dec12

Fugitive Surrenders In Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme

Special to the Laredo Sun HOUSTON – Thalia Diaz Camareno has surrendered to federal authorities following her indictment for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Camareno aka Irene Carrero Echevarria had been a fugitive in the case after co-defendant Antolin Julio Nazario Nazario aka Robinson Gomez Churon was arrested. Both are residents of Houston. The indictment was returned Nov. 13, 2014, and unsealed in its entirety as Nazario, 32, appeared in federal court for his detention hearing Nov. 20, 2014. At that time, U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances Stacy found him to be a flight risk and ordered he be detained pending further criminal proceedings. Camareno, 29, is expected to make her initial appearance before Judge Stacy today at 2:00 p.m. According to the indictment, Nazario and Camareno engaged in a sophisticated tax fraud/identity theft case involving the filing of hundreds of fraudulent tax returns from approximately June 2010 to January 2012. The scheme is commonly referred to as Stolen Identity Refund Fraud (SIRF). The defendants allegedly used stolen and unlawfully obtained personal identity information, including the names and Social Security numbers, of true persons to prepare fraudulent tax returns. The indictment alleges Nazario and Camareno mailed the fraudulent federal income tax returns through the U.S. Postal Service in order to generate and obtain tax refunds to which they were not entitled. The fraudulently obtained tax refunds were used to obtain cash and goods for their own benefit, according to the allegations. The potential loss attributed to this scheme is allegedly in excess of $807,096. More than 800 victims have been identified. If convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud or any of the six substantive mail fraud charges, each faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 maximum fine. Aggravated identify theft carries a mandatory two-year sentence which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed. IRS-CI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and Secret Service investigated. Assistant United States Attorney Suzanne Elmilady is prosecuting the...

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CBP Advises Travelers Bound For South Texas Ports To Obtain Their I-94s Early
Dec11

CBP Advises Travelers Bound For South Texas Ports To Obtain Their I-94s Early

Special to the Laredo Sun SOUTH TEXAS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials at South Texas ports of entry are anticipating an increase in applications by Mexican travelers for the required I-94 permit during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season. Mexican border crossing card (or “laser visa”) holders who plan to visit the U.S. for more than 30 days and or will travel more than 25 miles from the border during the upcoming travel season, are urged to obtain the essential document early instead of waiting until the day of travel. “Due to our unique geography, a significant percentage of U.S.-bound Mexican travelers cross the border at South Texas ports,” said Director, Field Operations David P. Higgerson, Laredo Field Office. “We strongly encourage those travelers to obtain their I-94s early, travel at off-peak times and obtain radiofrequency-enabled documents to use Ready Lanes and avoid unnecessary delays.” All traveling family members need to be present during the I-94 application process. Those requesting the permits must be able to establish financial solvency and proof of residency outside the U.S., and must demonstrate that they have sufficiently strong ties to their country of origin including a home abroad they do not intend to abandon. Applicants who present a border crossing card (or laser visa) are not eligible to work in the United States. Also, CBP advises that those who traveled by air and had their passports stamped on a previous trip don’t have a valid I-94 in force and would still need to obtain a paper I-94 if they plan to travel beyond the border zone via a land border port of entry. When crossing the border, travelers must declare all agriculture products such as meats, fruits, vegetables and holiday decorations that may have hay or straw as an ingredient. These are not allowed into the U.S. due to possible insects and diseases that could harm the nation’s agricultural industry. CBP officers have the responsibility to inspect you and your belongings. This may include your luggage, vehicle, and a search of your person, and is meant to enforce our laws as well as protect legitimate travelers. CBP officials continually monitor traffic and border crossing times and will employ various traffic management operations to maintain the flow of traffic during periods of exceptionally heavy usage. Avoid peak travel times when at all possible. The heaviest traffic periods typically are between the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily at most South Texas ports. During periods of heavy traffic, border crossers may wish to consider alternate crossings such as Colombia-Solidarity Bridge, Donna International Bridge or...

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