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February 23, 2010

South Florida Gangs Committing Identity Theft

Scam artists and fraudsters used to be the prime suspects in one of today's most popular crimes. With the coming age of the credit card, identity theft cases are boasting heavy numbers. Identity theft occurs when an individual or a group of individuals illegally obtain another individual's personal information with the intent to steal goods or services. The problem of identity theft has even caused the federal legislature to enact new laws in an effort to combat the problem. A new law called aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two year prison sentence in the federal criminal system. If you or someone you know is being investigated for or has been arrested for identity theft or aggravated identity theft, immediately contact a Miami criminal attorney with experience in defending these types of cases both in federal and state court.

A recent investigation revealed that South Florida gangs are becoming a part of the growing wave of identity theft cases. A Fort Lauderdale investigation called "Operation Smoking Gun" targeted violent street gangs with the intent to get guns and drugs off of the streets. While marijuana trafficking, cocaine trafficking and ecstasy trafficking, as well as, a plethora of gun related charges were the target of the investigation, searches conducted by authorities revealed $5,000.00 in counterfeit cash and more than 300 names related to identity theft. The operation netted more than 300 firearms, four kilograms of cocaine, 5 kilograms of marijuana, more than 7,500 ecstasy pills and more than 6,000 prescription pills, but to the surprise of investigators, violent gang are now becoming involved in identity theft.

The United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida was quoted as saying, "Operation Smoking Gun didn't start out looking for identity theft; it initially focused on rounding up gang members involved in guns and drugs. I think ii speaks to the evolution of crime in society today." Federal investigators believe that gang members are able to become involved in identity theft in large part to how people use their credit cards today. Fast food restaurants have become a large part of the problem because of the large volume of credit card transactions that occur in those locations. Card are secretly swiped and recorded by employees and the stolen data is typically sold of $5 to $10 per identity.

If you or anyone you know is contacted by the police regarding identity theft, contact a criminal defense firm and get legal advice and representation from a person experienced in these matters. Law enforcement will want you to give a statement regarding your alleged involvement in identity theft. Remember, anything you tell law enforcement can and will be used against you in court. Do not consent to the search of your home car or person. Make the police do their job and obtain a search warrant. Possession or the use of stolen credit cards or possession or use of fraudulent credit cards will be construed as identity theft. If investigators and prosecutors are motivated to send someone to prison, the charges of, racketeering and wire fraud may be found on an information or indictment as well.

Broward Sting Shows Gangs are Moving to Identity Theft, NBC, February 22, 2010.

October 2, 2009

Miami Gang Members Indicted on Murder Charges

A Miami grand jury has indicted four men in a triple murder case which occurred in 2006. Four well-known gang members armed with masks and guns opened fire on a van killing three men and wounding another in day light hours on a Miami street. Miami police investigators determined that the mastermind of the attack and resulting homicide was Emanuel "Mano" Cadillon. The attack was the result of retaliation for the execution-style murder of Cadillon's toddler son weeks earlier. Cadillon has been charged by the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office with three counts of first degree murder. The record is unclear as to which Miami criminal lawyers will be representing the four co-defendants in the case.

Cadillon is currently serving a five-year prison sentence for possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. He was arrested in Miramar, Florida after an all-night standoff with police. Along with Cadillon, a Miami-Dade grand jury indicted Robert Shaw, Junior Sylvin and Samuel Cadillon. Sylvin is currently scheduled for trial in federal court in October for cocaine trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine charges.

All of the men indicted have been under investigation by gang and homicide detectives for their alleged involvement in several brutal murders in Miami-Dade County. Investigations have revealed that the men are members of a violent Haitian street gang referred to as the "69th Street" gang. The victims of the murder are said to have been associated with another street gang referred to as the "Zombie Boys." Miami detectives acknowledged the ongoing violent criminal and drug activities of these local street gangs.

The key evidence in the case against the defendants is DNA on cell phone that was recovered at the crime scene, weapons seized in a Miami Beach hotel room, and statements made by Shaw to other inmates while he was in custody on an unrelated case. After the grand jury indicted the four co-defendants, Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle issued the following statement, "I have a simple message to gang members like these determined to commit vicious crimes: Don't stop looking over your shoulders because my prosecutors and our police are determined to hunt you down and take you off our streets."

Homicide detectives are investigating another triple homicide with the same gang members being the primary suspects. The MO is apparently the same, with gang members using two vehicles to box in the vehicle being operated by the victims. Once the vehicle is stopped the gang members pump dozens of rounds into the vehicle with the intent of killing everyone inside.

4 Gang Members Charged in 2006 Miami Triple Slaying, The Miami Herald, October 2, 2009.

August 2, 2009

Miami Gang Members Busted in South Florida Probe

Law enforcement officers from North Miami Beach along with federal agents arrested 53 people in a South Florida gang sweep. Law enforcement officials claim that the arrests dealt a significant blow to gangs across Miami and South Florida. The multi-agency operation led by the North Miami Beach Police Department and federal law enforcement officers arrested dozens of gang members for numerous drug offenses, firearm charges and various immigration violations. "We have made an impact," said Rafael P. Hernandez, North Miami Beach police chief. "The gang members were ranging from low-level street sellers to some high-time drug suppliers." Miami Criminal Attorneys will tell you that the amount of gang activity has significantly increased over the past few years.

Operation Dead End occurred as a result of a gang related slaying of Miami police officer James Walker by a gang member back in 2008. Operation Dead End came at the end of a fifteen month investigation into gang related activity in the Miami and South Florida Area. The investigation involved eight gangs from Plantation to South Miami. Federal prosecutors have indicted thirteen alleged gang members with charges ranging from drug offenses to firearm offenses. State prosecutors have filed charges against 26 gang members for drug sales and illegal firearm possession.

Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jeff Sloman, explained that, "These charges can carry up to life imprisonment." Chief assistant at the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office, Jose Arroyo stated, "Violent criminal street gangs in South Florida will not be tolerated." Evidence recovered during the arrests included 118 grams of crack cocaine, 80 grams of powder cocaine, 180 grams of marijuana, assorted other narcotics and several firearms.

ICE (Immigration and Customs Officials) also made arrests for various immigration violations and are seeking deportation proceedings against 5 individuals. Immigration officials are concerned about the growing number of foreign nationals involved in gang related violence and are therefore working with police to assist with the problem. "If we come across an illegal alien, who is part of gang, that is our highest priority," said Special Agent Mangione, head of the local ICE unit.

State wide prosecutors are continuing to investigate gangs that operate in the North Miami Beach area. The gangs being investigated are the Victory Park Zoes, One Way and Young Head Busters. Some members of those gangs were arrested during the sweep.

53 People Arrested in South Florida Gang Probe, Miami Herald, August 1, 2009