Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Large Marijuana Grow Operation on U.S. Forest Land Eradicated One Man Arrested and Four Others Sought; Will Face Federal Drug Charges

MADISON, WI—John W. Vaudreuil, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that a large marijuana grow operation located in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in Ashland County, Wis., was eradicated today. One individual was arrested at the scene, and four others are at large. The marijuana grow involved thousands of plants over a several-acre area approximately 25 miles northwest of Park Falls, Wis. Law enforcement was alerted to its presence by a tip from a hunter in November 2010.
Approximately 175 federal, state, and local law enforcement agents were involved in today’s operation, which involved the removal of the marijuana plants and the processing of the site for evidence. An evaluation of the scene indicated that the grow operation has been active for some time. The site included a campsite for individuals who cultivated the grow operation. Loaded firearms were found at the campsite.
Law enforcement officials are asking any members of the public who see suspicious individuals in the area to contact the Ashland County Sheriff’s Office at 1- 715- 685-7640.
Any individuals who are arrested in connection with this grow operation will be charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office with manufacturing marijuana.
“Unfortunately, there are criminals who take advantage of the remote and heavily wooded nature of our national forests to cultivate marijuana on a large-scale basis. Visitors to U.S. forest land who come upon marijuana grow operations should leave the area immediately and report their observations to law enforcement authorities,” United States Attorney Vaudreuil said.
The investigation of this matter is being conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Justice - Division of Criminal Investigation; Ashland County Sheriff’s Department; Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Forest Service; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Northwest Area Crime Unit (comprised of Sawyer, Douglas and Washburn County Sheriffs’ Departments and Superior Police Department); U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission. The prosecution of the case will be handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert A. Anderson.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Facebook Fake Pleads Guilty to Receipt of Child Pornography

OKLAHOMA CITY—DANIEL LESLIE MOONEYHAM, 32, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, pled guilty today to receipt of child pornography depicting a 15-year-old boy, announced Sanford C. Coats, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
According to court records, Mooneyham, using a fake Facebook profile, pretended to be an attractive 18-year-old blonde female named “Terri Smith.” Posing as Terri Smith, Mooneyham would send Facebook “friend” requests to teenage boys, some of whom he knew through church youth group and a youth camp. After establishing a Facebook “friendship” with teenage posing as Terri Smith, Mooneyham would solicit nude pictures in exchange for sexually explicit photos of Terri Smith. Mooneyham would direct them to text or e-mail their nude pictures to a Yahoo! e-mail account that he had created for his Terri Smith Facebook profile. Mooneyham received nude pictures via e-mail from at least three minors. The pictures of Terri Smith that Mooneyham sent the boys depicted an unknown female that Mooneyham had found on the Internet. During the investigation, Mooneyham, posing as Terri Smith, also solicited a sexually explicit photo from an undercover FBI agent who was posing as a 15-year-old boy on Facebook.
The FBI arrested Mooneyham on July 14, 2011, a few days before he was scheduled to return to an Oklahoma youth camp with a church youth group. Mooneyham is currently in federal custody. United States District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti will sentence Mooneyham in approximately 90 days. He faces not less than five years and up to 20 years in federal prison.
This case was part of Project Safe Childhood, the flagship program in the Department of Justice’s National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, and was the result of an investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Hale.
Filed By:Ekow Shalders