An internal FBI investigation of a secretary with security clearance was the key to unlocking illegal gambling and drug trafficking operations that led to indictments of the employee, five Honolulu police officers, and 17 other people, officials announced yesterday.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles Goodwin said Charmaine Moniz may be the first FBI employee to be prosecuted in Hawaii. Five federal indictments filed this week detail allegations of cockfighting near a school, gambling, drug dealing, extortion and an illegal machine gun.
Nine people were arrested yesterday, FBI officials said.
Moniz, whose husband, Eric also was indicted, turned herself in to authorities yesterday and was arrested on conspiracy charges stemming from her alleged participation in a drug trafficking organization. The charges carry a 20-year maximum sentence.
Moniz, an FBI employee since 1999, divulged sensitive information to drug dealers on Oahu's North Shore in 2003 and 2004, Goodwin said.
Her title was technical support services technician and she worked with the organized crime and drug squad. She had access to an FBI computer containing sensitive law enforcement information, officials said.
The FBI began investigating her in March 2004 after learning from sources that there was a leak in the federal law enforcement community, Goodwin said. She was placed on administrative leave without pay when the first search warrant was served in December 2004.
"On behalf of the FBI, I want to apologize to the people of Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu for the breach of trust occasioned by the illegal activities of our now former employee," he said.
Goodwin said the indictments of police officers charged in the illegal gambling indictments filed Thursday stemmed from the investigation into Moniz.
FBI agents and the Honolulu Police Department's Internal Affairs Unit conducted a two-year investigation with 10 court-authorized wiretaps and more than 80 search warrants. Their investigation of Moniz revealed she passed the information to her husband, and eventually led to Damien Kalei Hina, who was allegedly involved in illegal trafficking of crystal methamphetamine.
Moniz also provided the tie to John Saguibo, a "key player who brokered information between the drug organization and the police department," Goodwin said.
Saguibo was the common link between both the drug-trafficking and the illegal gambling operations, which involved police officers, Goodwin said.
Six others suspected of drug dealing on the North Shore were indicted with the Monizes and Saguibo. They are Jess Lundren, Jonathan Kimo Luna, John Saguibo, Ronald B.L. Hill and Larene Rinkle.
Wiretapping and telephone interception of Saguibo established he was receiving information from Honolulu police officers Kevin Brunn, Glenn Miram, Bryson Apo and possibly others, Goodwin said.
The three officers have been charged with warning members of the operation of when the HPD's Vice Division intended to raid their cockfights, as well as craps and card games.
Brunn, a 21-year veteran of the department, and his wife, Micha Terragna, were also charged with extortion for allegedly demanding more than $3,500 in return for continuing to protect the gambling enterprise.
Saguibo passed on the police information to the drug-trafficking organization and was also the source of police information to known drug felon Charles Gilman, his father Douglas Gilman and his two brothers, Douglas Jr. and William, who were running chicken fights in Waialua for several years near Waialua Elementary School, the FBI said.
Indictment of the Gilmans involves the alleged conducting of that illegal gambling business including cockfighting, craps, card games and the protection or notification by police officers of pending raids.
Police officer Barry Tong, with 21 years service and a partner of Apo, was indicted separately for allegedly possessing an Israeli machine gun.
Another police officer, John Edwin Cambra IV, and his father were indicted for allegedly removing and concealing cockfighting spurs during an FBI search of their family's home in Kaneohe.
A final indictment unsealed yesterday charged Keele Vesnefski with conspiring to distribute and distributing methamphetamine. He was allegedly the source of drugs for Hina. Also indicted with him were Charles Gilman, Ahisa Kaluhiokalani, Michael Castaneda and Randy Lee-Kwai.
U.S. Attorney Ed Kubo praised Goodwin and Honolulu Police Chief Boisse Correa for their fine work and for taking "a lot of flak" from those within their organizations, union members and the public who questioned why the investigation was taking so long and why police officers were placed on paid administrative leave for months while the investigation was ongoing.
"This is a dark day for the Honolulu Police Department, obviously," Police Chief Boisse Correa said. "The indictment of five Honolulu police officers is extremely disheartening and disappointing."
Correa said after the federal investigation is complete, HPD will conduct an internal investigation that "should mushroom" into implicating more officers.
Three U.S. Customs agents and a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent were charged with stealing cocaine and laundering $200,000 in drug money after they were caught on camera during a U.S. Customs sting (Rachel Swarns, "Federal Agents Busted in Drug Sting: Hidden Cameras Recorded Theft of Cocaine, Cash," Miami Herald, 1/28/93, 1B; From news services, "Four Federal Agents Arrested," Washington Post, 1/28/93, A12).
The federal lawmen allegedly stole drugs and money from drug dealers, according to Leonard Freedman, regional internal affairs director for Customs. More federal agents may have been involved, Freedman said. The 18-month investigation snared Customs agents Orlando White, 42, Alcides Licona, 47, Ricardo Laurel, 37, and FBI agent Louis Reveiz, 27.
By Greg Szymanski
By Greg Szymanski
Richard Taus played it right and played it straight for 10 long years as an FBI agent. He swore to uphold the Constitution, obey the law and protect the American people from enemies both foreign and domestic.
What a shock, though, when he found out others in the department, including higher-ups in the Justice Department and the White House were playing a completely different game, playing a highly deceitful and illegal game of drug-running and money laundering.
And the tentacles of what came to be known as Iran Contra led to Taus being set up, arrested and sentenced to a 33-99 year federal prison term, a sentence that conveniently started just prior to "Daddy" Bush's 1988 election as President.
Many court observers close to former FBI agent, including his son, David, 42, said his father was "railroaded to the hilt right before the election" in order to protect Bush and others since the sensitive information pinning the former President was irrefutable, according to records compiled by Taus.
"He is a good man and was set up big time after he wouldn't back down to signing a document saying he wasn't aware of any criminal activity in the department," said his son, David, appearing as a guest on Greg Szymanski's radio talk show, The Investigative Journal.
"When he refused that's when the government started to try and frame him. First, they tried to say that he misused his government credit card, which, of course was not true and didn't stick. Then they went after him with trumped up child abuse charges.
"The trial lasted 8 months and it was like a kangaroo court. Witnesses and jurors were compromised. It was a joke as the judge disregarded every objection made in my father's defense. Finally, he was given an incredibly harsh sentence, 33-99 years. He has been in jail since 1988 and it has been incredibly difficult on him and his family, as his health been failing and we have no money to mount what may be a final appeal."
He said his father is basically being held as "political prisoner" without any hope of being released through the corrupt system. What is needed and his only hope, said his son, is for an outpouring of American people to insist that justice be served and the real criminals in the drug trafficking scam be put behind bars.
Although it is difficult to communicate with agent Taus from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, NY, he recently wrote a letter to the Arctic Beacon emphasizing his illegal incarceration as well as the illegal government drug trafficking ring he uncovered while serving as an agent.
"My combat tours in Vietnam initially uncovered the CIA's involvement in drug trafficking and other aspects contributing to U.S. intervention in foreign affairs, affairs that this nation should have avoided," wrote Taus from his prison cell. "Affairs that brought death and destruction to so many innocent lives with little or no benefit to mankind.
"Professor Noam Chomsky of MIT best described this imperialistic phenomenon in his work "The Culture of Terrorism." But, rather than discuss philosophy or political science, it was acaemic to me as a soldier and as an FBI agent that great harm was being done to this nation and its people by the shadowy government run by corrupt government officials."
Concerning the direct CIA connection to drug trafficking in the 1980's involving North, Bush and others he added:
"The CIA's own "privateers, which really are undercover agents, used the ploy termed "plausible deniability" to hide their crimes. The CIA was operating domestically both in violation of its congressional charter and in violation of U.S. criminal laws. Decent FBI agents were aware of this, but failed to act as they were cowered by their FBI superiors based upon political orders from higher-ups going up to the White House.
"There was denying that the CIA was heavily involved in various criminal operations, domestically. The Pizza Connection case proved that, although the CIA tried to cover its trail. Further, my organized crime cases in New York against the Mafia disclosed a sinister relationship with the CIA and Mafia. For example, the five families' Godfather Paul Castellano, killed by Gotti, was the first cousin to Vito Castellano who occupied key capitol positions in Albany as Commissioner of Commerce."
Given Taus' deep loyalty to his country and his Vietnam experience, he couldn't turn away from doing his duty even though he was up against insurmountable odds, saying he wanted to speak the truth on what he called the "new domestic battlefield."
"Our country, the one we soldiers felt we were fighting for its survival, is now in the grips of selfish and greedy men intent upon their own preservation and profit," wrote Taus.
When Taus was eventually confronted with the ultimate decision of his life leading to the long prison term, he decided to take the high road, refusing to sign a Senate and House Intelligence Committee oversight form acknowledging he witnessed no government wrongdoing.
"I refused," said Taus. "I reached out to senators and congressman after my appeals to higher FBI superiors, including two directors, Webster and Sessions, failed to respond. Indeed the very members of the two congressional committees also did not respond. One can only wonder how many other dutiful law enforcement officers and agents were also ignored.
And in more recent times, Taus added, several FBI agents have been ignored concerning the events leading to the 9/11 tragedy, including Colleen Rowley, Kenneth William, Robert Wright and the late John O'Neill.
Regarding the truth and accuracy of what he uncovered as an agent, he added:
"For 25 years, from 1981 to my false arrest in 1988 and my incarceration up until now, my story has proven to be true and accurate with many of the revelations being disclosed by serious investigative reporters to the American people and the world."
To verify Taus' accusations regarding the illegal CIA-government sponsored drug trafficking, former DEA agent Cele Castillo, who uncovered the same facts as Taus, has been speaking nationwide, trying to make Bush and others accountable.
Also, former government agent and whistle blower, Rodney Stich, who uncovered facts verifying Taus' claims, said Taus was railroaded into jail and kept quiet to protect the wrongdoings of higher-ups in the government.
"Richard made the same mistake I did, the mistake of going to the Senate and Congress," said Stich, who has fought the government tooth and nail over many issues over the years, including the 9/11 cover-up. "I believe Richard 100 per cent and have placed parts of the manuscript he wrote up my web site in order to spread the word.
"He will never receive any justice within the system so his only hope is for an outcry from the American public, demanding justice."
Taus's manuscript can be viewed at Stich's web site at http://www.defraudingamerica.com.
For more informative articles, go to http://www.arcticbeacon.com
EL PASO, Texas - A former FBI special agent-in-charge in El Paso has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
Hardrick Crawford Jr., was indicted Wednesday on five counts of making a false statement in connection with the investigation into his relationship with a Mexican racetrack owner, whom Mexican officials alleged was a member of a drug cartel.
Crawford's lawyer, Mary Stillinger, said Wednesday night that Crawford had done nothing wrong.
"Mr. Crawford looks forward to finally being able to defend himself against these allegations that have been hanging over his head for two and a half years," Stillinger said in a written statement. "There is a great deal of history behind the allegations in the indictment. When all the facts are heard in court, we expect Mr. Crawford will be vindicated."
Stillinger said Crawford, who has not been arrested, would appear before a federal judge Thursday afternoon.
A 17-page indictment accuses Crawford of lying to federal investigators about what he knew of allegations that the racetrack owner, Jose Maria Guardia, was involved in drug trafficking and money laundering despite having been given that information several times.
Crawford also is accused failing to report thousands of dollars worth of gifts from Guardia, a one-time FBI informant, and that his wife held a $5,000-a.m.onth job with Guardia.
If convicted, Crawford could face a five-year prison sentence and $250,000 fine for each charge.
Crawford abruptly resigned in November 2003 after complaints from Mexican government officials. In June of that year, according to the indictment, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico revoked Crawford's authority to travel to Mexico after learning that Crawford held a press conference in Ciudad Juarez to defend Guardia.
Link to brothel manager leads to indictment
By J.J. STAMBAUGH, email@example.com April 28, 2006
Clyde William Merryman, 60, was issued a summons to appear in court May 5 after a federal grand jury in Florence, S.C., returned a seven-count indictment charging him with obstruction of justice, mail fraud, concealing a material fact, and falsifying records, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Charlotte, N.C., which is prosecuting the case.
He currently serves as town manager of Surfside Beach and was placed on administrative leave with pay Thursday by the Town Council, said his executive assistant, Jan Lewis.
Merryman, who has an unpublished phone number, couldn't be reached for comment.
"He's due for his day in court just like any other defendant, and that day will be afforded to him by the U.S. Department of Justice," Gary Kidder, spokesman for the Knoxville FBI office, said Thursday.
Merryman, who worked extensively in East Tennessee in the 1980s and 1990s, was best-known for his work in the MACH-TENN corruption probe that led to the arrests of scores of people, including nearly a dozen county sheriffs, on drug and gambling charges.
In 1994, Merryman got into hot water with his superiors after he admitted to having a brief affair with the live-in girlfriend of a Blount County drug kingpin during an investigation. The FBI suspended Merryman without pay for two weeks and gave him a letter of censure but never publicly acknowledged the incident.
According to the indictment returned Wednesday, Merryman transferred to the FBI's office in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in 1999 and launched an investigation into Asian brothels in early 2002. At some point, he became sexually involved with one of the spa network's "top managers," an illegal Korean immigrant named Hye Yung Kang, the indictment alleges.
In September 2002, Merryman had Kang classified as a confidential witness for the FBI, which meant that the federal government paid some of her expenses. Merryman also allegedly provided her with a letter that allowed her "to travel at will, via airline, without any identification," records show.
Kang allegedly made several trips to New York City, and after one of those trips she returned to Myrtle Beach with more than $20,000 she had earned from the spa business, court records state. Merryman also allegedly tried to influence immigration officials to give Kang a "worker identification card," which she would need to obtain a Social Security account number.
After he retired from the FBI, Merryman "attempted to use his status as a former FBI agent and his current position" in Surfside Beach to "shield Kang from prosecution and circumvent the immigrations laws of the United States," according to the indictment.
Merryman and another former FBI agent, Joe Mann, are also defendants in a civil lawsuit pending in federal court in Knoxville related to the 1982 shooting of pharmacist David Comer. Merryman and Mann were allegedly working undercover in a probe of Cocke County chop shops when they learned that a car thief, Billy Hall, had confessed to shooting Comer.
To keep from blowing their cover, the agents kept quiet about the confession until after Leonard Hutchison and James Harper already had been convicted for attempted murder, the lawsuit contends. By the time Hutchison finally won a new trial 14 years later, evidence of Hall's alleged guilt was gone.
Harper won an early parole in the case but died before the two men finally won last year the dismissal of the charges filed against them. Hutchison and Harper's widow are fighting in federal court to prove the men's civil rights were violated.
I'm not sure what I just registered to use but I had to in order to leave my reply. The man Clyde Merryman is an honest good man I should I have been a friend of his for 25yrs. WOW it really has been that long. Just remember when you are quick to judge that how many more children would be on drugs if he hadn't been out there doing what he does and well I might add. So what he is a very sexy man and is considered a womanizer he still does his job. This other thing with the two men charged with a crime they didn't commit. This was not his fault he done all that he could do while being under deep cover, I know I was also present at that meeting and many more. He's not a rat it just so happens that he has someone in the US Attorneys office in Columbia that maybe should we say is jealous okay we will say it Jealous.
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