Wednesday, March 28, 2012

$200,000+ Bail For Walmart Shooting Suspects

Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON--Four suspects in a shooting at the Walmart in Avon were held on more than $200,000 bail and police are still seeking a fifth person involved in what prosecutors described as a drug deal gone bad.
Keenen M. Hart, 18, of Main Street, Brockton, who was shot in the head during Tuesday afternoon's melee, was charged with carrying a firearm without a license and disorderly conduct, during separate arraignments of each suspect in Stoughton District Court.
Bail for Hart was posted at $250,000, but was revoked because he has a pending case with Department of Youth Services for possession of a firearm and with Brockton District Court for drug distribution and possession.
Three other suspects were held on $250,000 cash bail.
Those suspects are: Ashley Weiner, 20, of Homes St., Norton. She faces charges of carrying a firearm without a license and conspiracy to violate drug law. She was held on $200,000 bail.
Keshawne M. Murphy, 21, of Father Kenny Way, Brockton was charged with carrying a firearm without a license, discharging a firearm near a highway, disorderly conduct, assault with a dangerous weapon and conspiracy to violate drug law. He was held on $250,000 bail.
Joshua Z. Pierre-Louis, 23, of Hyde Park Ave, was charged with armed assault to rob, carrying a firearm without a license, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
He was held on $250,000 bail.
According to Assistant District Attorney Danielle Eng, Murphy called an identified friend to buy marijuana. Eng said Weiner drove a car carrying Murphy and Hart to the Walmart parking lot to make the exchange, but the deal didn't go down as planned.
Instead, Eng said, the trio met a separate vehicle with 3 others in it, including Pierre-Louis.
Eng said Murphy told prosecutors he hopped into the other car and when the deal went bad he placed a gun on the console of the car.
Eng said Pierre-Louis hit the gas and sped away with Murphy falling out of the car. She said at that point "all parties" indicated shots were fired.
Weiner and Murphy drove Hart to the hospital after he was hit by one of the bullets.
Weiner and Murphy were arrested at the hospital.
Pierre-Louis was arrested in Mattapan.
The fifth suspect, Jean Valbrun of Hyde Park, is still being sought by police.
The four arraigned Wednesday are scheduled to return to court April 25.

Victim, 2 Others Face Charges in Walmart Shooting

By Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON--As shoppers pulled into either entrance of the Walmart in Avon, many were surprised to find several things.
Topping the list for some was that police and the flashing blue lights of their cruisers were everywhere and a large part of the parking lot was blocked off by tell-tale yellow and black crime scene tape. The next surprising thing was that the store was still open.
"I saw all the cops and I said I think I'm going to have to go somewhere else," said Javon Costa, 34, of Brockton, who circled the parking lot where police did not have it blocked and pulled into a parking space.
Costa, like carloads of others who pulled into the Route 28 shopping center late Tuesday afternoon were shocked to learn a man had been shot in the parking lot and police were searching the area for suspects.
They were also surprised they could still shop in the store, and noted the building was eerily quiet.
"It feels weird--shopping and knowing someone may have been killed out front," said Colleen Coughlin, 56, of Brockton.
She was relieved to learn the victim was expected to pull through.
"That's at least a blessing," she said.
At about 4 p.m. Tuesday, Avon, Brockton and State police responded to a call about shots fired at the Walmart near the Avon-Brockton border.
Police officials at the scene said one male was taken to Good Samaritan Medical Center with an injury that is not expected to be life threatening. The same man, police said, was placed under arrest for unlawful possession of a firearm.
A second person was taken into custody. 
Police said at least one suspect fled the area and police had located a black vehicle involved in the shooting near Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan.
Police said one person associated with the Mattapan vehicle was taken into custody and along with the other suspect from the Walmart parking lot is expected in Stoughton District Court Wednesday morning for arraignment.
Police did not say what the charges would be.
The injured male, police said, would appear in court Wednesday if he is medically able.
Police said the incident may have been the result of drug activity.
(Correction: The original version of this story wrongly stated police had detained two people associated with the Mattapan vehicle)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Guns, Drugs Get Brockton Man 20 Years

BROCKTON--A Brockton man was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston for illegally possessing a sawed-off shotgun and selling cocaine.
Hector Acevedo, 35, who also used the aliases Hector Garcia and Cuba, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro to 20 years in prison, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston.
The term of imprisonment will be followed by 6 years of supervised release.
Acevedo was convicted by a jury during trial of being a felon-in-possession of a firearm and ammunition, of illegally possessing a sawed-off shotgun and of possessing with intent to distribute cocaine on December 8, 2011.
Evidence presented during trial showed that detectives from the Brockton Police Department executed a search warrant in June 2006 at Acevedo’s apartment at 202 Summer Street in Brockton.
Acevedo was found in bed with an unregistered sawed-off shotgun and a bag containing approximately 52 grams of cocaine that Acevedo had hidden in a stereo speaker in the bedroom was also recovered.
At Monday's sentencing, prosecutors emphasized that Acevedo, while awaiting trial, had engaged in numerous disciplinary incidents at the Wyatt Detention Facility and elsewhere.
According to prosecutors, Acevedo had attacked and threatened correctional officers, stabbed another detainee, was found in possession of various homemade weapons, and had been caught planning escapes.
Prosecutors also described Acevedo’s prior criminal record, which included several prior convictions for violent offenses.
The case was referred for federal prosecution by Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz’s Office under the auspices of the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative which makes prosecution of firearms cases a top priority.
The Project Safe Neighborhood’s Initiative provides a comprehensive, strategic approach to reducing gun violence in America.
Since 2002, when the U.S. Attorney’s Office implemented the Project Safe Neighborhoods Initiative, 11 cities across the state, including Brockton, have joined the program.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Woman Gets Prison, Restitution For Bilking Social Security

BOSTON--A Hyannis woman was sentenced last week to federal prison for stealing from the Social Security Administration.
U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro sentenced Sylvia Taylor, 51, of Hyannis, to 15 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
In October 2011, Taylor pleaded guilty to three counts of theft of government property for taking $74,643 in disability benefits.
Along with more than one year in prison, Taylor has been ordered to pay restitution to the SSA.
Between 1992 and 2010, Taylor had relationships with two different men who were entitled to Social Security disability payments.
From these relationships, Taylor had three children who were determined by the SSA to be eligible for auxiliary disability benefits through their fathers.
Because the children were minors, Taylor became their representative payee and received the payments on their behalf.
Soon after the benefits started, each of the three children began living with others, making Taylor no longer eligible to be their representative payee.
Taylor never notified the SSA, and for several years, she continued to receive the benefits and use them for her own purposes.

It Doesn't Pay To Discover For Braintree Man

BROCKTON--A Braintree man was indicted last week in federal court for allegedly stealing Discover credit cards from the mail and then using the cards to obtain money.
Gerald K. Acholonu, 31, of Braintree, was March 7 charged with credit card fraud, obstruction of United States mail, and of aggravated identity theft, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston.
Officials said Acholonu has been detained since his arrest on December 22, 2011.
The charges allege that between August 2010 and May 2011, credit cards issued by Discover Financial Services destined for the Northeast were stolen.
The cards were stolen at some point between Utah and reaching their expected processing at U.S. Postal Service mail-processing facilities in the Northeast.
According to the affidavit, Acholonu worked during this period at a company that sorted the mail by ZIP code between the mail’s unloading at Logan Airport and its transportation around New England by the Postal Service.
In late April 2011, Acholonu was spotted leaving his employer’s restroom with a tray of U.S. mail.
Investigators searched the trash from his residence and found stolen Discover credit cards and other evidence that Acholonu was using or planning to use the Discover customers’ identities by setting up telephone accounts in their names.
Investigators also obtained surveillance photographs from ATMs indicating that Acholonu had used some of the cards to withdraw money.
If convicted, Acholonu faces up to 17 years of in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture, and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss, whichever is highest.

Mass. Man Faces Charges In Sex, Alleged Photos Of 14-Year-Old

BROCKTON--A Shrewsbury, Mass., man has been charged in federal court with engaging in sex with a minor in the Dominican Republic.
Conrad Gallant, 61, previously of Winchendon, Mass., and most recently of Shrewsbury, was charged in a criminal complaint March 7 with engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston.
The complaint alleges that on several occasions between February 2011 and February 2012, Gallant traveled to the Dominican Republic and engaged in sexual acts with a minor.
According to court documents, Gallant engaged in a sexual relationship with a then 14-year-old girl, promised and paid her money, and took photographs of her.
Also, according to the same court documents, Gallant asked the minor victim to bring him other female minors with whom he could have sex.
Gallant was arrested in the Dominican Republic March 4, 2012.
He arrived in the United States late March 6, and appeared in U.S. District Court in Miami March 7.
If convicted, Gallant faces up to 30 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.
Law enforcement's ongoing efforts to target suspects involved in child exploitation offenses are part of Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers.
The U.S. Department of Justice encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form.
Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Former W. Bridgewater Teacher Faces 10 Years in Child Porn Conviction

BOSTON--A former 11th grade teacher at West Bridgewater High School was convicted Wednesday in federal court in Boston of possession of child pornography.  
Paul J. Teves, 35, of Fall River, pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography before U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro Wednesday, March 7 in Boston, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office. 
Teves was charged and arrested in September 2011.
Had the case proceeded to trial prosecutors say the evidence would have proven Teves portrayed himself online as the mother willing to “pimp” out an 11-year-old daughter.  After a search warrant, Teves admitted to trading and possessing child pornography.
From 2002-2005, Teves was a tennis coach at Bishop Connolly High School. From 2005 until his arrest, Teves was a teacher at West Bridgewater High School, and a coach for the boys and girls track team.
Judge Tauro has scheduled sentencing for June 12.  
Teves faces up to 10 years in federal prison to be followed by up to lifetime supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

13 Years In Prison For New Bedford Drug Dealer

BOSTON--A New Bedford man with a long criminal history was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Brockton for multiple counts of distributing crack cocaine and retaliating against a government informant.
 Daniel Smith, 48, of New Bedford, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard G. Stearns to 13 years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston.   
Smith pleaded guilty to two counts of distribution of cocaine base, one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine base, and one count of retaliating against a government witness.
 Had the case proceeded to trial prosecutors said evidence would have proven that Smith sold two “8-balls” of crack cocaine to an individual cooperating with the government in May, 2008.  
These sales were controlled, monitored, and recorded by federal agents.  
In June 2008, law enforcement agents seized 21 bags of crack cocaine when they executed a search warrant at Smith’s apartment.  
Later, Smith learned that the person to whom he had sold crack to in May was cooperating with the government.  
In September 2008, he left that individual a threatening message in which Smith said, among other things, that he was “gonna bust [the individual’s] f—ing face in . . . .”  
After he was arrested, Smith admitted that he had been dealing drugs in New Bedford for years and that he had threatened the cooperating witness because he was “pissed that he was a f—ing rat.”    

45 Criminal Illegal Aliens Arrested in Conn., Mass.

HARTFORD--During a four-day targeted enforcement operation in Connecticut and Massachusetts that ended Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers arrested 44 convicted criminal aliens. 
Operation Threats Against the Community began Feb. 24 and targeted 44 illegal immigrants, 18 who had multiple criminal convictions and 24 who had felony convictions, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston.
An additional individual was arrested who had two outstanding arrest warrants in New York and Texas. 
Of the 45 arrested, 40 were arrested in Connecticut and five were arrested in Massachusetts.
Many of these criminal aliens had prior convictions for serious or violent crimes, such as indecent assault and battery of a child, sexual assault, possessing and selling dangerous drugs, drunken driving and larceny charges.
The 45 arrests took place in the following locations:
  • Bridgeport
  • Danbury
  • Darien
  • Derby
  • East Hartford
  • Hamden
  • Hartford
  • Meriden
  • Naugatuck
  • New Britain
  • New Haven
  • New London
  • Shelton
  • Stamford
  • Stratford
  • Trumbull
  • Waterbury
  • Willimantic
  • Holyoke
  • Longmeadow
  • Pittsfield
  • Springfield
Numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts assisted with these arrests.
Of those arrested, there were 38 men and seven women who are nationals of the following countries: one from Bosnia, two from Brazil, one from Canada, one from Colombia, five from the Dominican Republic, one from El Salvador, one from England, one from Guatemala, one from Guyana, one from Haiti, one from Honduras, 17 from Jamaica, two from Mexico, one from Montserrat, two from Peru, one from the Philippines, three from Poland, one from Portugal, one from Russia and one from Tanzania. 
They range in ages from 21 to 57.
Forty-four of the 45 individuals were arrested administratively for being in violation of immigration law, and all are being held in custody pending immigration removal proceedings. 
The individual with an outstanding warrant for arrest will be turned over to the New York State Police via the extradition process.
Some of those arrested during this operation include:
• A national of the Dominican Republic who was convicted of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, gaming, smuggling of U.S. currency, knowingly receiving stolen property and malicious destruction of property.
• A national of El Salvador who was convicted of assault and battery of a minor and failing to register as a sex offender.
• A national of Jamaica who was convicted of carrying a weapon without a permit, risk of injury to a minor, eight counts of the illegal discharge of a firearm and three counts of assault on a police officer.
• A national of Haiti who was convicted of assault in the second degree, two convictions for assault in the third degree, sale of illegal narcotics and resisting arrest.
• A national of Canada who was convicted of indecent assault and battery of a minor.
• A national of Jamaica who was convicted of assault, sale and possession of controlled substances.
In November 2011, ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations conducted a similar enforcement operation that yielded 53 arrests of convicted criminal aliens in Massachusetts.
This enforcement action was spearheaded by ERO's Criminal Alien Program, which is responsible for locating, arresting and removing at-large criminal aliens. The officers who conducted the operation received substantial assistance from ERO's Law Enforcement Support Center (LESC) located in Williston, Vermont.
ERO is focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that targets serious criminal aliens who present the greatest risk to the security of our communities, such as those charged with or convicted of homicide, rape, robbery, kidnapping, major drug offenses and threats to national security. 
ERO also prioritizes the arrest and removal of those who game the immigration system including immigration fugitives or those criminal aliens who have been previously deported and illegally re-entered the country.
Largely as a result of these initiatives, for three years in a row, ERO has removed more aliens than were removed in fiscal year 2008. 
Overall, in FY 2011 ERO removed 396,906 individuals nationwide — the largest number in the agency's history. 
Of these, nearly 55 percent or 216,698 of the people removed, were convicted of felonies or misdemeanors — an 89 percent increase in the removal of criminals since FY 2008. 
This includes 1,119 aliens convicted of homicide; 5,848 aliens convicted of sexual offenses; 44,653 aliens convicted of drug related crimes; and 35,927 aliens convicted of driving under the influence. 
ERO achieved similar results with regard to other categories prioritized for removal. 
Ninety percent of all ERO's removals fell into a priority category and more than two-thirds of the other removals in 2011 were either recent border crossers or repeat immigration violators.

S. Dartmouth Man Guilty In Widower Loan Scam

BOSTON - A South Dartmouth man was convicted by a federal jury Wednesday of trying to bilk an elderly widower out of part of his retirement savings and all of an $85,000 loan falsely taken to buy land in Maine.
Richard Souza, 46, of South Dartmouth, was convicted Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Boston and is scheduled for sentencing May 23, according to a state from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston.
The money used in the crime originally came from the retirement savings of an elderly widower whom Souza had befriended.
Souza persuaded the man to use approximately a quarter of his retirement savings to purchase a property in Maine, as well as to take out a loan of over $85,000 by using the property as collateral.
Souza took the loan proceeds for himself and removed the majority of the proceeds from his account to avoid reporting rules that require banks to report cash transactions of over $10,000.
In 2006, Souza withdrew the majority of the proceeds of the Maine property loan in six separate cash
withdrawals of $9,000 each from five different Sovereign Bank branches in the New Bedford area during a two hour period.
Souza faces up to five years in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.

Illegal Catch Gets Conn. Fisherman $10,000 Fine

BOSTON--A Connecticut man was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Boston for trafficking in and making false records for 12,140 pounds of illegally harvested Atlantic striped bass.
Daniel B. Birkbeck, 47, of North Stonington, Conn., was sentenced to serve one year of probation and pay a $10,000 fine as part of a plea agreement, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston.
Birkbeck agreed to forfeit $5,000 in lieu of forfeiting the boat and truck that he used to commit the fishery crimes.
In November 2011, Birkbeck pleaded guilty to a felony charge of transporting and selling 12,140 pounds of striped bass in interstate commerce from Rhode Island to Massachusetts and knowing that the bass were harvested illegally.
Birkbeck, who is licensed as a commercial fisherman in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts, harvested striped bass in Rhode Island waters after the Rhode Island commercial fishing season had closed and transported those fish to Massachusetts for sale.
Birkbeck falsely reported to the Massachusetts Division of MarineFisheries that he had legally harvested the striped bass in Massachusetts waters.
The Lacey Act makes it a crime for a person to knowingly transport and sell fish in interstate commerce when the fish was taken or possessed in violation of state law.
Furthermore, the act also makes it a crime for a person to knowingly make or submit a false record, account, or label for fish which has been transported in interstate commerce.
Commercial fishing for striped bass in Massachusetts and Rhode Island is governed by a quota system overseen by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
The quota system was enacted in response to declining striped bass populations.
Since 2003, Massachusetts' commercial striped bass quota is about five times that of Rhode Island, and thus, the commercial striped bass season is open longer in Massachusetts than in Rhode Island.