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Archive for February 14th, 2009

Ex-ICE Agent Who Served in Venezuela Gets 7 1/2 Years For Bribes

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — Gerardo Chavez knew how to get coveted posts at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was a special supervisory special agent and attaché in Caracas, Venezuela.
He also knew how to make money illegally.
On Friday a federal judge in Alexandria, Va., sentenced him to 7 ½ years in prison for taking kickbacks for a no-bid U.S. government contract for defective armor 4-wheel drive vehicles in South America and the Carribean .
According to court documents, Chavez, 46, of Clifton, Va., served in Venezuela from 2003 to 2007.
During that period, he used his position to steer $2.8 million in “sole source U.S. Government contracts” to a Caracas-based firm Blincar for the armored vehicles, the U.S. Attorney’s office said. In turn, he got a $172,000 kickback from the owner of Blincar and was hoping to get $87,000 more before the crime was uncovered by the FBI and Homeland Security, authorities said.
The FBI eventually conducted ballistic tests on the armored cars and found the armoring to be defective, authorities charged. Consequently, the government said, 45 armored vehicles were replaced at a cost of more than $5 million.
Authorities said that in addition to the kickbacks, Chavez also received about $250,000 in unreported funds outside of his salary.
He wired that money and the kickback funds to California in his brother-in-laws’s name to purchase and remodel a home in Clifton, Va., authorities alleged.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Feds Arrest More than a Dozen Mexican Mafia Gang Members in San Diego Area

Mexican Mafia art and tattoos/az dept. of corrections
Mexican Mafia art and tattoos/az dept. of corrections

Usually the word “Mafia” is a good indication that a group is up to no good. The Mexican Mafia has been up to a lot of no good over a good period of time, authorities say.

By Angelica Martinez
San Diego Union-Tribune
SAN DIEGO — More than a dozen gang members connected to the Mexican Mafia prison gang were arrested early Friday and accused of attempted murder, kidnapping and drug trafficking in San Diego County, authorities said.
Officials have charged 40 people – 17 of whom were arrested early Friday – in connection with the nearly year long investigation, dubbed “Operation Keys to the City”, that targeted the notorious prison gang, officials said at an afternoon news conference downtown.
Two criminal complaints charge 36 defendants with federal racketeering, firearm offenses and drug trafficking violations.
U.S. Attorney General Karen Hewitt described the Mexican Mafia and its connection to Latino street gangs as a rigid hierarchy comprised of “members”, “associates” and “soldiers” whose criminal enterprise spills into the community.
Some of the alleged crimes involved paying “taxes”, which officials say is the term used by gang members who use violent acts to extort payments from victims.
For Full Story