Best Defender Bytes:

August 1, 2013

Child Exploitation Task Forces Conduct Multi-Night Operation in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties as Part of Operation Cross Country VII

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:47 am

Two Minors Rescued and Multiple Arrests Made

The FBI and multiple law enforcement agencies in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties conducted proactive investigations in various cities over the weekend focusing on the identification and recovery of victims of sexual trafficking, announced Bill L. Lewis, the Assistant Director of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. ADIC Lewis made the announcement on behalf of multiple departments that participated in the operation.

The law enforcement activity was part of a national initiative known as Operation Cross Country VII took place in 76 cities in the United States and led to the rescue of over 100 minors. Over 150 suspects were arrested for allegedly transporting minors for the purposes of prostitution, among other violations. More than 230 agencies participated in Operation Cross Country VII.

In the four counties that fall within the jurisdiction of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, two minors, ages 15 and 16, were rescued, and four pimps were arrested. As part of these efforts, investigators also partner with experts in the field of human trafficking to seek evidence of sex trafficking where adults, as well as minors, are being victimized.

“The FBI is proud to partner with local law enforcement agencies whose personnel encounter the victimization of minors through prostitution in their cities on a routine basis,” said Bill L. Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The FBI is committed to the identification and rescue of minor victims and to hold accountable through either state or federal prosecution those who exploit children for financial gain.”

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PIMP CHARGED WITH HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND PANDERING TWO MINOR GIRLS AND ATTEMPTING TO PIMP A THIRD TEENAGE GIRL

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:45 am

FULLERTON – A pimp has been charged with human trafficking and pandering two minors and attempting to pimp a third teenage girl. Curtis Maurice Canady, 19, was charged yesterday, July 29, 2013, with two felony counts of human trafficking with the intent to pander, two felony counts of pandering a minor by procuring, and one felony count of attempted pimping. If convicted on all counts, Canady faces a maximum sentence of 15 years and four months in state prison. Canady is being held in custody on $75,000 bail and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on Aug. 6, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-12, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Circumstances of the Case

Canady is accused of being a pimp/human trafficker who exploits women and children for financial gain. The victims are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp.

Prior to July 25, 2013, the defendant is accused of driving 19-year-old Jane Doe #1, 16-year-old Jane Doe #2, and 15-year-old Jane Doe #3 to an area known for commercial sex on Beach Boulevard in Anaheim.

The defendant is accused of dropping off the victims and instructing them to engage in acts of commercial sex. Undercover officers of the Anaheim Police Department (APD) observed two of the victims and made contact with them at the scene. Canady was arrested on July 25, 2013, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Operation Cross Country, a large-scale human trafficking sweep.

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July 31, 2013

MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR PIMPING AND PANDERING TEENAGER AFTER POSTING AN AD ON WEBSITE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 11:35 am

SANTA ANA – A man will be arraigned tomorrow for pimping and pandering a teenage woman after posting an advertisement on a website known for prostitution. Davion D’Anthony Johnson-Harris, 24, Anaheim, is charged with one felony count each of pimping and pandering. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison. He is currently being held on $100,000 bail, and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, July 31, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Circumstances of the Case

Johnson-Harris is accused of being a pimp/human trafficker who exploits women and/or children financial gain.

The defendant is accused of exploiting 18-year-old Jane Doe for commercial sex. For approximately four days, the defendant is accused of instructing Jane Doe on how much money to bring in for specific sex acts.

During an undercover sting operation, Anaheim Police Department (APD) officers responded to an advertisement on a website known for prostitution offering sex with Jane Doe. The undercover officer met Jane Doe in a hotel room for sex and determined that she was being exploited by Johnson-Harris. On May 24, 2013, APD arrested Johnson-Harris.

This case was investigated by APD and Deputy District Attorney Daniel Varon of the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case.

Proposition 35 and HEAT

In November 2012, California’s anti-human trafficking Proposition 35 (Prop 35) was enacted in California with 81 percent of the vote, and over 82 percent of the vote in Orange County, to increase the penalty for human trafficking, particularly in cases involving the trafficking of a minor by force.

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MAN FACES TRIAL FOR BEATING-MURDER OF 18-MONTH-OLD TODDLER AND SIMILAR 2009 CHILD ABUSE OF 3-MONTH-OLD RELATIVE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:52 am

SANTA ANA – A man will face trial Monday for the beating-murder of his girlfriend’s sister’s 18-month-old daughter and abusing another child in a similar way in 2009. Juan Carlos Aguilar, 27, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of murder, one felony count of assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death, and two felony counts of child abuse. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 31 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, July 29, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-29, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In July 2011, Aguilar is accused of living in a Santa Ana apartment with his girlfriend, their 3-year-old daughter, his girlfriend’s sister, and her 18-month-old daughter Megan Rodriguez.

At approximately 7:00 a.m. on July 9, 2011, Rodriguez’s mother left the apartment to go to work at a Newport Beach hotel. At approximately 8:30 a.m., Aguilar’s girlfriend left to go to the market with their 3-year-old daughter. Aguilar is accused of remaining at home with the 18-month-old toddler and was solely responsible for her care.

While alone with the little girl, Aguilar is accused of assaulting the victim with great force by squeezing her ribcage with his hands. At approximately 10:30 a.m., Aguilar’s girlfriend and daughter returned from the store to find the victim limp and having trouble breathing.  Aguilar is accused of insisting that his girlfriend not call the police and instead drove the victim from Santa Ana to the Newport Beach hotel where her mother worked.

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MAN CONVICTED OF ASSAULTING VICTIM FOLLOWING ROAD RAGE PURSUIT AND CRASH

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:48 am

WESTMINSTER – A man was convicted yesterday of assaulting a victim following a road rage pursuit. Robert Allen Barnhart, 54, Bellflower, was found guilty by a jury yesterday, July 25, 2013, of two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one misdemeanor count of battery. He faces a maximum sentence of five years and two months in state prison at his sentencing Sept. 27, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. in Department W-9, West Justice Center, Westminster.

At approximately 10:50 a.m. on Nov. 5, 2011, Barnhart was driving his Dodge Ram truck on Bloomfield Avenue in Los Alamitos when he was rear-ended by 18-year-old John Doe at a red traffic light. Barnhart got out of his vehicle and confronted the victim by yelling and making threats at him. The victim returned to his vehicle and attempted to drive away.

Barnhart got back inside his truck, chased the victim, and sped up to get in front of John Doe’s vehicle. Barnhart purposely swerved, used the right rear bumper of his truck to hit the front of the victim’s driver-side bumper, and caused the victim’s vehicle to spin out into the opposite lane of traffic. The victim then attempted to drive away on the wrong side of the road.

Barnhart sped up and continued to chase the victim’s vehicle. Barnhart got in front of the victim’s vehicle and immediately swerved and hit the brakes, which caused John Doe’s vehicle to slam into the passenger side of the defendant’s truck and prevented the victim from driving.

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THIRTEEN MEN CONVICTED AND SENTENCED FOR SOLICITING SEX FROM UNDERCOVER OFFICER IN HIGH HUMAN TRAFFICKING AREA IN SANTA ANA

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:43 am

SANTA ANA – Thirteen men, who were arrested in an undercover sting operation, pleaded guilty and were sentenced yesterday for soliciting sex or sex acts from an undercover police officer, whom they believed to be a prostitute in an area known for human trafficking. David Arellano, 36; Adan Castillo, 29; Ricardo Diaz, 41; Daniel Lopez, 29; German Lopez, 41; Alberto Napoles, 25; Jose Navarro, 56; Michael Rodriguez, 33; Serafin Romero, 23; Juan Ruiz, 41; Gregorio Sosa, 28; and Fidel Urquiza, 44, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of soliciting another to engage in prostitution. Arellano, Castillo, Lopez, Romero, and Sosa also pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of driving without a license. Each of the defendants were sentenced to three years of informal probation, 10 days in jail with the possibility of CalTrans in lieu of jail, and must submit DNA as well as AIDS testing and education.

Andres Dominguez, 44, pleaded guilty to a court offer to one misdemeanor count of soliciting another to engage in prostitution. Dominguez was sentenced to three years of informal probation, 10 days in jail, and must submit to AIDS testing and education. As part of the court offer, Dominguez is not required to submit DNA.

On the night of May 28, 2013, the 13 defendants were arrested in an undercover operation by officers from the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) for soliciting sex or sex acts from an undercover female officer, whom they believed to be a prostitute. The defendants approached the undercover officer on First Street in Santa Ana and solicited sex in exchange for money.

This area of First Street is known to law enforcement to be a high-prostitution area and is known to frequently be used by individuals who sexually exploit and traffic women and underage girls for financial gain, including pimps, panderers, and human traffickers.

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July 30, 2013

WOMAN SENTENCED TO 16 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR SEXUALLY ASSAULTING TEEN RELATIVE’S 14 AND 16-YEAR-OLD HOCKEY FRIENDS

Filed under: Los Angeles sexual assault attorney — fayarfa @ 8:01 pm

SANTA ANA – A woman was sentenced today to 16 months in state prison for sexually assaulting two boys, ages 14 and 16 years old, who played on the hockey team of her teenage relative. Kathia Maria Davis, 46, Laguna Niguel, pleaded guilty June 27, 2013, to four felony counts of lewd acts on a child for John Doe #1. The defendant was previously found guilty by a jury Aug. 9, 2012, of four felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse for John Doe #2, and two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for John Doe #2 and Jane Doe #1. That jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict regarding the sex crimes against John Doe #1. In addition to her prison sentence, the defendant is subject to lifetime sex offender registration.

Davis met 14-year-old John Doe #1 and 16-year-old John Doe #2 through her male relative’s hockey team.

On one occasion between April 2006 and April 2008, the defendant let her relative and John Doe #1 drink alcohol in her home during a sleepover. After two of the defendant’s teen relatives fell asleep on the floor, Davis sexually assaulted the victim by kissing and masturbating him in the same room.

On four occasions between July 2010 and July 2011, the defendant had unlawful sexual intercourse with John Doe #2 at her home in her bedroom. Davis also gave John Doe #2 alcohol. On one other occasion, Davis encouraged John Doe #2 and a teen girl to drink alcohol during a party in her home.

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FOUR MEN SENTENCED FOR DEFRAUDING HUNDREDS OF VICTIMS IN REAL ESTATE LOAN MODIFICATION SCAM

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:28 am

SANTA ANA - Four men were sentenced today for defrauding hundreds of victims in a real estate scam that included fraudulently collecting upfront fees for loan modification services and sending fake letters with the CitiFinancial or CitiMortgage logos offering home loan modification assistance. Victim losses in this case are estimated to be in excess of $130,000.

Defendants

Jacob John Cunningham, 26, and John D. Silva, 28, both from Irvine, pleaded guilty May 8, 2013, to one felony count each of conspiracy to collect illegal upfront fees and conspiracy to commit theft by false pretenses.

Cunningham and Silva have been sentenced to eight months in jail and five years formal probation, during which they are prohibited from engaging in loan modification or loan consulting practices. The defendants have jointly paid $40,000 toward restitution and will be ordered to pay additional restitution in an amount to be determined at a later hearing.

Justin Dennis Koelle, 23, Costa Mesa, pleaded guilty May 8, 2013, to one felony count each of conspiracy to collect illegal upfront fees and conspiracy to commit theft by false pretenses. He was sentenced to nine months in jail, five years of formal probation, during which he is prohibited from engaging in loan modification or loan consulting practices, and ordered to pay restitution in an amount to be determined at a later hearing.

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Man Wanted in Moreno Valley for Attempted Murder and Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution Arrested in Oklahoma

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:19 am

PONCA CITY, OK—A man wanted for attempted murder in Riverside County was arrested in Ponca City, Oklahoma, on Wednesday, announced Bill Lewis, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Leon Lowe, 24, was wanted for a shooting that occurred in Moreno Valley, California, on May 29, 2013, that left one victim hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds. The shooting was investigated by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Moreno Valley Station, whose detectives identified Lowe as the person responsible.

On June 17, 2013, a felony warrant was issued in Riverside County charging Lowe with attempted murder. Shortly after the issuance of the Riverside County warrant, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department requested the assistance of the FBI’s Inland Regional Apprehension Team (IRAT) in order to locate Lowe, who was believed to have fled the state of California. On July 22, 2013, a federal arrest warrant was issued for Lowe in the United States District Court, Central District of California, charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution (UFAP).

Information developed by investigators indicated that Lowe fled California for Ponca City, Oklahoma. IRAT contacted the FBI’s Oklahoma City Division, whose agents coordinated efforts to locate Lowe by working with the Ponca City Police Department (PCPD). As a result, on July 24, 2013, officers with the PCPD arrested Lowe pursuant to his active warrants.

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July 29, 2013

MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR SHOOTING MULTIPLE ROUNDS WITH FIREARM NEAR EQUESTRIAN CENTER AND DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:03 am

SANTA ANA - A man is scheduled to be arraigned today for shooting multiple rounds with a firearm in Silverado Canyon near an equestrian center and driving under the influence of drugs. Tyler Maxwell Tennigkeit, 22, Silverado, is charged with 10 felony counts of discharging a firearm with gross negligence, one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon, and one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of drugs with one prior misdemeanor conviction for alcohol related reckless driving in 2012. Tennigkeit also faces a sentencing enhancement for a prior felony conviction for carrying a loaded unregistered firearm in public in 2011, for which the defendant served a state prison sentence. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 11 years and eight months in state prison. The People will be requesting he be held on $1 million at his arraignment this afternoon in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

At approximately 10:30 a.m. on July 24, 2013, Tennigkeit is accused of shooting multiple rounds with a firearm from a residence in Silverado Canyon in the direction of an equestrian center. Several people were in the area when the shots were fired, including children.

Approximately one hour later, the defendant is accused of driving and crashing into a curb near Silverado Canyon Road, approximately five miles south of the shooting. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), found the defendant inside his vehicle and arrested him. The defendant displayed objective signs of being under the influence of drugs.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Brett Brian of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 13CF2399 / July 26, 2013

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