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Eiglarsh-Blog-1-300x193On Monday, May 3, a federal magistrate judge in Ft. Lauderdale ordered Coral Springs resident Horvin McKenzie, Jr. to be detained in light of his federal trial for attempted murder, narcotics, and firearm charges. Mackenzie, 28 years old, was among the two men arrested last month for shooting at law enforcement officers conducting a drug trafficking investigation in Dania Beach, FL.

According to court documents, McKenzie and his co-defendant, David Johnathan Venture, planned to sell two kilograms of cocaine to a third party. Mackenzie and Venture met the buyer in a retail store parking lot located in Dania Beach. Law Enforcement Officers were informed of the scheduled interaction and showed up at the meeting spot. Upon confirming McKenzie and Ventura’s involvement, they approached the defendants but were met with shots as they came closer. Both men were taken into custody. It was later found that they were in possession of two kilograms of cocaine, a Beretta .9 mm semi-automatic handgun, and a loaded Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun.

McKenzie and Venture have both been charged with Attempted Murder of a Person Assisting DEA Agents in Performance of Their Duties, Conspiracy to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Cocaine, Possession with Intent to Distribute 500 Grams or More of Cocaine, and Possession of a Firearm During and Furtherance of a Drug Trafficking Crime.

Eiglarsh-300x200On Tuesday, May 18, federal law enforcement officers arrested 58-year-old Miguel Andres Gutierrez Diaz of Santiago, an elected member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Dominican Republic. This happened following Guitierrez Diaz’s international flight arriving in Miami from the Dominican Republic. The arrest was made at Miami International Airport. 

Congressman Guitierrez Diaz was part of a transnational drug ring operating in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and the United States. His charges include conspiring to distribute cocaine, knowingly allowing it to be imported into the United States, conspiring to import into the United States, and conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute. If Gutierrez Diaz is convicted, he faces life in prison. 

The prosecution is a result of the ongoing investigations by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF), a partnership with law enforcement agencies at the federal, state, and local levels.

(Thanks to Elizabeth Chailosky for her work on this post)

HYPOTHETICAL

You see your teenager being arrested by police. You approach police who tell you to get away. You feel thoroughly scared and helpless. With the Derek Chauvin trial still fresh in your mind, you pull out your phone and begin recording officers. The officers see you standing across the street recording them. They shout, “Stop recording us or we will arrest you!” You continue to record believing that you have a legal right to do so. Even though you’re keeping your distance and not interfering with the officers in any way, you are stripped of your liberty and charged with obstruction. This arrest must be an unlawful, right?

Eiglarsh-Blog-300x200From March 2018 to June 2020, Frederick Lewis of Fort Lauderdale, FL, scammed Orlando theme park, Universal Orlando, valued at well over $62,300. On January 6, 2021, Lewis pled guilty to two counts of producing and trafficking counterfeit devices used to defraud.

Lewis used the stolen credit cards of 36 individuals to buy tickets to the famous theme park, including hotel packages, both online and over the phone (it is recorded that he used over 20 different phone numbers when making reservations to avoid any detection). Lewis purchased the tickets and packages for him and his friends, or alternatively, had Universal Orlando convert the hotel packages to gift cards.

Lewis faces a three-year sentence at the federal prison in Sheridan, Oregon. In 2014, he served a seven-month sentence in a Florida prison under burglary and grand theft charges.

kate-oseen-kk1NA7fVqnw-unsplash-1-248x300
Two South Florida residents have been arrested by a federal grand jury in connection with the suspected sex abuse of a 16-year-old teen.

The minor suspect was a fugitive from a group home on December 6, 2020, when she encountered the male and female suspects, according to charges in the criminal complaint affidavit originally lodged in this case. The man took the girl in and engaged in sex with her after providing a sofa for her to sleep on in his home, according to the affidavit. According to legal records, the two defendants physically trafficked the victim in the following days.

The female defendant is accused of taking nude photos of the 16-year-old girl and posting them on the internet, and both defendants are accused of selling sex with the girl to four separate men in Broward County, Florida, for $100 each. The girl was able to reach a relative on December 9, 2020. Later that day, she was saved by law enforcement.

shutterstock_330257822-1-300x200Federal prosecutors in South Florida have accused the head of an infamous Mexican drug gang and five others of allegedly smuggling over 500 kilograms (1,000+ pounds) of Mexican methamphetamine into the United States. Law enforcement officers intercepted over 1,100 pounds of crystal meth before it could enter the streets in what is now the biggest methamphetamine bust ever in Miami-Dade County.

The accused have received drug conspiracy, drug distribution, drug importation, and other charges in a pair of separate lawsuits. One lawsuit accused one man of drug trafficking offenses. He is a past mayor of Aguililla, Mexico, and, per the charges, the chief of the United Cartels in Michoacán, Mexico. It even suspects another person of being a co-conspirator. On March 30, 2021, both men were detained in Guatemala at the behest of the United States.

Another four suspects are accused with a second federal complaint about their involvement in the suspected drug operation. On March 30, 2021, law enforcement agents arrested these four suspects in Miami. They have made their first appearances and are expected in federal magistrate court in Miami on April 7, 2021, for custody hearings.

devin-avery-0CJZ3MXUxTM-unsplash-1-200x300In Ocala, a 24-year-old Florida man has been charged with a federal hate crime. A federal grand jury in Orlando charged the man from Dunnellon with setting alight and destroying the Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Ocala, returning an accusation against him.

In July of last year, the man set fire to the Queen of Peace Catholic Church, according to the indictment. According to the complaint, he was inspired to start the fire because of the church’s religious nature. He faces a single count of causing malicious harm to religious property, a hate crime offense under the Church Arson Prevention Act, and a single count of committing a felony through the use of fuel.

The man faces a potential sentence of 20 years in jail if accused of causing malicious damage to religious property. For using fire to commit a crime, he faces an extra statutory sentence of ten years in prison. He may also face a three-year supervised release sentence, as well as a $250,000 fine and restitution.

markus-winkler-PcKhVNNyEio-unsplash-2-300x200Federal prosecutors in South Florida have charged a licensed veterinarian based in Aventura with obtaining and owning child pornography as well as animal crushing, a federal offense punishing acts involving animal cruelty.

An IP address assigned to the veterinarian’s home in Miami regularly accessed a cloud-based file-sharing site storing photographs of child pornography, according to a Cyber Tip obtained by law enforcement. Law enforcement officers served a search warrant on his house as part of the probe. They found a cellular phone allegedly belonging to him, which had many sexually suggestive videos and photographs of minors, as well as talks about child and animal sexual violence.

Some of the chats, per the affidavit, appeared to include images of the veterinarian engaging in sexual intercourse with pets. According to the court filing, agents found thousands of videos of child pornography and other animal cruelty in his cloud-based account.

tanguy-sauvin-IBEXUZBmlXg-unsplash-1-300x200A pair of Florida men have earned themselves federal prison time after they were caught stealing more than ninety in sea turtle eggs. These eggs are protected by federal law as part of the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

One of the men, per the criminal complaint, dropped the other off at Singer Island Beach, located to the north of Palm Beach, one night in May of last year. Officials said the man who was dropped off uncovered a sea turtle nest, grabbed 93 eggs, and then made a phone call to be picked up. Officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission saw the poaching and pulled over the men’s vehicle. Sea biologists retrieved and moved the eggs.

The men were reportedly trying to market the sea turtle eggs, according to prosecutors.

bill-oxford-OXGhu60NwxU-unsplash-1-300x166Earlier this month, a federal magistrate judge in Fort Lauderdale ordered a South Florida pediatrician to be held without bail awaiting conviction on a federal charge of alleged child pornography possession.

In June of last year, the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force obtained a CyberTip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about files containing child pornography being posted to an e-mail server, including a recording of a child being sexually assaulted, per the federal criminal complaint affidavit. Law enforcement tracked down the pediatrician, who practiced in Broward County, Florida. According to the affidavit, law enforcement officers gathered information that he was using an instant messaging program to access child pornography and speak with minors when a search warrant at his Parkland, Florida residence was executed.

A federal magistrate judge in Fort Lauderdale ordered the pediatrician’s pre-trial arrest, which means he will be held in jail until his federal trial. He could face up to 20 years in jail if convicted of the federal charge. In connection with the suspected behavior, he is now facing a state court prosecution.

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