Articles Posted in Crime News

Police Officer During a huge undercover sex sting operation, Florida police arrested a total of 277 people for soliciting sex or for displaying themselves as prostitutes.   The operation was called “No Tricks, No Treats” and within the arrested were doctors, pharmacists, and even other cops according to the press release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.  The operation started on October 10, 2017 and lasted until October 15, 2017.

The operation consisted of undercover detectives and investigators from different law enforcement agencies advertised false posts on websites, social media sites, and phone applications as either prostitutes or they would request sex workers.  The reports demonstrated that 209 of the people arrested were accused of soliciting sex of the undercover officials and 51 of them had exhibited themselves as prostitutes on the internet.  The remaining 17 were arrested for other offenses that were either worse or less than the rest of the group.

According to the Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, this operation composed the largest amount of people arrested in the history of the Polk County Sherriff’s Office.  The worst part about the operation was having to arrest Sergeant Luiz Diaz, who had been a police officer for 17 years, because he is suppose to be setting an example for the community.  But in situations like these, everyone is help accountable and now Sergeant Diaz no longer works for the Sheriff’s Office.

Sergeant Diaz wasn’t the only professional who broke the law, according to the police reports, some of the other suspects arrested were a cancer surgeon, teacher, pediatrician, Air Force veteran, retired deputy sheriff, retired police officer, active colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and several pharmacists. Around 215 of the people arrested were traveling from other states because Florida is known for Human Trafficking and its accessibility.

The Department of Children and Families counted nearly 1,900 reports of human trafficking in 2016, which was a 54 percent increase from the year before, and in 2017 the numbers continue to increase.  According to the Polaris Project, which job is to track human trafficking across the United States, declared that the state of Florida had the third highest number of reported cases in 2016 after Texas and California. This is due to Florida’s favoritism amongst tourist and the temporary populations.

Advocates for victims call human trafficking modern day slavery and according to the Florida State Law, human trafficking is defined as soliciting, recruiting, harboring, transporting or otherwise obtaining another person to exploit him or her for labor, domestic servitude or sexual exploitation. According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the victims are manipulated through means of force, fraud, or coercion. Some examples of these means of manipulation of fraud include false promises of work/living conditions, withholding promised wages, or contract fraud. Coercion may include threats of harm to self or others, debt bondage, psychological manipulation, or document confiscation. Many are forced to consume drugs, to the point that they become addicted and will do anything to obtain the drugs.

It is operations like “No Trick, No Treats” that allow for the government to help these victims and make them feel safe.  These official operations take off the streets people who continue to abuse these people for their personal pleasure or profit.

PillFentanyl, a very addictive and dangerous narcotic, continues to rise in popularity among the United States.  On October 05, 2017, two people were arrested and charged with a 24-page federal indictment, along with seven others, of distributing the imitation opioid fentanyl through the United States, especially through states such as Florida where drug abuse has always been an issue.  According to the Sun Sentinel, Anthony Santos Gomes and Lisa Gomes, told the judge they were trying to hire attorneys to represent them but most likely both will be transferred to North Dakota to face the charges against them in that state.

According to the officials of the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service, and the Department of Homeland Security the Gomes are being charged with five different counts in the indictment.  The indictment explains that Anthony Santos Gomes and Lisa Gomes were running a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute…controlled substances and controlled substance analogues resulting in seriously bodily injury and death. The indictment also explains that they did all this knowingly and intentionally with the purpose of distributing the drug.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse, describes fentanyl as a powerful synthetic opioid that is very similar to morphine, but 50 to 100 times more potent. If prescribed, it is given to patients with severe pain or to manage severe pain after surgery.  The way drug abusers use this new dangerous imitation of fentanyl is swallowing it in solid form, snorting it in powder form, or by burning it and then injecting it or having it absorbed by the mucous membrane. Similar to heroin and morphine, fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opioid receptors, which are found in areas of the brain that control pain and emotion.  Then they drive up dopamine levels in the brain’s reward areas, producing a state of euphoria and relaxation.  On the streets this drug is combined with cocaine or morphine, making it more addicting and requiring higher dosages which usually lead to overdoses and killing those who consume it.

According to the Florida Sun Sentinel, the indictment explained that the drug ring was operated from January 2013 through August 2016 with two organizers participating from a Canadian prison and another operating out of China. The ring moved more than 400 grams of fentanyl and more than 100 grams of a fentanyl analog online using internet sites designed to be hidden from the public. The drugs were obtained from China and Canada, records show, and distributed in Florida, California, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon and South Carolina where records also show that the drug has been the cause of many deaths in those states due to drug overdose.

Both Anthony and Lisa Gomes and the other members of their drug trafficking ring could be punished with life sentences or a fine of up to 8 million dollars due the alleged charges on the indictment.

American FlagHate crimes in Florida continue to increase every year and in significant amounts after the 2016 Presidential Election.  This is something of great concerns because Florida has always been the destination of choice for many immigrants and their families due to its cultural diversity. According to the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Florida, a hate crime is an act committed or attempted by one person or group against another, or that person’s property, in a way that constitutes an expression of hatred toward the victim based on her or her personal characteristics.  They explain that it is a crime when the perpetrator intentionally selects the victim based on one of the following characteristics: race, color, religion, ethnicity, ancestry, national origin, sexual orientation, homeless status, advanced age, or mental/physical disability.

The groups with the highest numbers of hate crimes both in Florida and the United States are: anti-immigrant, anti-black, anti-Muslim, anit-LGBT, anti-woman, and anti-Semitism groups.The people associated with these hate crimes call themselves “white nationalist” have no care or respect for other people besides those who fit their description of what an “American” should be.  According to the FSRN, the FBI reported that the country had a 67% increase in hate crimes last year and in Florida the increase of hate crimes was at 500% therefore, providing data that illustrates why this issue is so concerning.  They believe those number are much higher already and we are only half way through this year.

Hate crimes can be both verbal and physical because these crimes do not only involve people but the attacks can also be against churches and temples, schools, different public centers, jobs, different forms of transportation, on the internet, and even in people’s homes.   In the state of Florida, the top five types of hate crimes are: (5) larceny or theft, (4) murder, (3) simple assault, (2) intimidation, (1) destruction/ damage/ vandalism of property. According to the reports from 2015 by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Florida, the cities with the highest numbers of hate crimes were Miami-Dade, Volusia, and Orange County.

The key element in determining these hate crimes is the motivation behind the act of these crimes. According to the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Florida, a prejudice remark does not necessarily make an incident a hate crime.  Law officers have a duty to thoroughly investigate the incident, find probable cause, and examine the physical evidence.  To best protect your loved ones and yourself is to read the Hate Crime Report Manual, and understand the definition of each crime and it’s elements.  If you feel that you are in situation that match any of the offenses listed in the Hate Crime Report manual, then contact one of the centers listed in the manual for immediate guidance and support.





On Wednesday, December 30, 2015, the Montgomery County District Attorney in Pennsylvania, filed the sexual assault charges against Bill Cosby, famous TV and movie personality, just short of twelve years after the incident allegedly occurred.   Filed just months before tolling under the statute of limitations set by Pennsylvania law, the charges will, arguably, survive that defense.

Vowing to fight the “unjustified” charges Bill Cosby through his attorney announced that he will mount a vigorous defense to the charge that he sexually assaulted a woman he was mentoring in 2004.

The newly re-opened case was and is based on a civil deposition of Mr. Cosby. The statement made by Mr. Cosby, is that Mr. Cosby admitted to using psychotropic and mood altering substances on women with whom he wanted to have sexual relations.  The statement did not indicate that he had given those substances to the purported “victim” in the charges filed in Philadelphia.

In a press release, Mr. Cosby’s attorneys said, “Make no mistake, we intend to mount a vigorous defense against this unjustified charge and we expect that Mr. Cosby will be exonerated by a court of law.”  The judge set Mr. Cosby’s bail at $1 million and required Mr. Cosby to surrender his U.S. passport.

The accusation which forms the substantive allegations supporting a charge of sexual assault are that in 2004, a female employee of Temple University visited Mr. Cosby at his home outside of Philadelphia.  The police probable cause affidavit states that Mr. Cosby “sought to incapacitate” the “victim” by giving her a mix of pills and wine that caused her to slip in and out of consciousness.  Mr. Cosby has maintained that the sexual partnering was mutual and consensual.  The criminal allegation states that the mix of pills so compromised the “victim” that her consent, if in fact it was given, was not voluntary and therefore the sex was an assault.

The previous prosecutor declined to file criminal charges against Mr. Cosby for the alleged incident, and the matter was, to Mr. Cosby and his attorneys, considered closed and declined.  However, in 2015 Kevin Steele was elected to the position of prosecutor in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and he decided to file charges.  Mr. Steele said he filed the previously declined charges “because it was the right thing to do.”  Critics of Mr. Steele allege the filing of charges is a “mean spirited” attempt to grab headlines and advance his political career.  Mr. Steele, responding to charges that his reasons for filing charges after his predecessor found insufficient legal circumstances to justify an arrest, stated to the press “…reopening this case was our duty as law enforcement officers with a sworn obligation to uphold our constitutions and to uphold the law.”

Prosecutor Steele said that his newly appointed team of local investigators had re-interviewed several witnesses and that based on the re-interviews, he decided that the filing of criminal charges is justified.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents other women who allege Mr. Cosby used drugs to entice their consent to sexual relations said, “For many of my 29 clients, who allege that they are victims of Bill Cosby, seeing him criminally charged and having to face a trial is the best Christmas present they’ve received.”

Prosecutors have charged “Suge” Knight with one count of Murder and one count of attempted Murder. Reportedly he drove his vehicle at and killed a business associate and nearly killed another man. All this took place in a parking lot in Compton, California.

Authorities at first considered the act as a hit-and-run: it was and is re-filed as murder and attempted murder. The charges were filed against Knight, the owner of Death Row Records, a prominent rap artist promoter and producer. Marion “Suge” Knight was out on bail at that time on felony robbery charges in Los Angeles. Many of you know Suge Knight from his professional football career of twenty-five years ago. Since leaving professional football Mr. Knight (age 49) has been in and out of prison, shot six times last summer and has pending robbery charges.

Marion "Suge" KnightHis lawyers have provided authorities with copies of a video recording of the events, which took place in a “burger” restaurant parking lot. Knight’s lawyers said the video showed that Knight was trying to escape an attack. Authorities, after reviewing the tape, indicated that the video shows him deliberately driving his car over the two men, killing one of the two. Knight faces a prison term of 50 years to life in California under the State’s three-strikes-and-you’re-out Statute. Details of the event indicate that Suge Knight was on a movie set for the movie “STRAIGHT OUTTTA COMPTON” when the events occurred.   Knight’s lawyer, Mr. James Blatt said that Knight “accidentally” ran over the two men, killing one of them, as he (Knight) was trying to escape a “vicious attack.”

Authorities have released the name of the man who died as Terry Carter (age 55) and the injured man is reported to be Mr. Cle “Bone” Sloan (age 51). Details, which are not confirmed, are that after visiting the movie location (Straight Outta Compton), which is a film about the rise of N.W.A., a rap group, the men argued. Sheriff deputies who were there providing security, told Knight to leave. The men got together again in a nearby parking lot and the dispute resumed.  Reportedly punches were exchanged through a window of his pickup truck. Then, as the unconfirmed reports continue, Knight drove his pickup truck at the men, killing one and injuring the other.

Attorney Blatt disputes this report of the events. According to Blatt a group of people tried to kill Knight and were in the process of pulling him out of his pick-up truck when he regained control of his vehicle and ran over the two men while trying to escape the attack. The incident was originally handled by authorities as a hit and run case and Knight was issued bail of $2.05 million dollars. However, once his status as being out on bond for a robbery (involving a camera he took from a photographer who was taking photos of him last November in Los Angeles) was reviewed, and the charges re-filed as murder and attempted murder, authorities moved in court to have Knight remanded into custody without the opportunity to be released on bond. The reasons cited by the prosecutor’s office were his status as a convicted felon, the fact that the new charges arose while he was on bond for an unrelated felony charge, his ability to flee the jurisdiction and that he may try to tamper with evidence or witnesses in an effort to obstruct the government’s case against him.

The Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida opened a Grand Jury indictment on October 10, 2014 and made a new arrest in the Rothstein scam. A now “former” regional vice president of TD Bank, Mr. Frank Spinosa, age 53, was charged in Federal Court with wire fraud and conspiracy. Released on $250,000 bond with an electronic monitor, his attorney Samuel Rabin, negotiated terms of release for his client at the initial appearance hearing held before the US Federal Magistrate in Fort Lauderdale.

rothsteinArraignment has been set for October 24, 2014. The investigation was known to Mr. Spinosa for several years, his attorney stated. The Grand Jury Indictment was unsealed on Friday morning, October 10, 2014, and comes within days of the deadline set by law for arrests in this ongoing case. The indictment of Mr. Spinosa contains charges that can result in a maximum penalty of well over twenty years in federal prison and fines of over $250,000.00. Because each of the five counts can resolve with a twenty year sentence, Mr. Spinosa is facing a possible one hundred years in prison. Scott Rothstein was sentenced to fifty years and is currently serving his sentence at an unknown federal detention facility.

The charges against Mr. Spinosa allege that Spinosa committed fraud by giving a “false sense of security” to potential and actual investors. The indictment goes on to state that as a result of the alleged inducements, hundreds of millions of dollars were invested in Rothstein’s investment scam. Spinosa was fired by TD Bank in October 2009 when the Rothstein scam first came to the attention of the public.

The indictment alleges that Spinosa signed letters known in the financial sector as “lock letters.” Lock letters from banks are the bank’s assurance that money is being “locked” and held separate and apart from other funds for the limited and specific purpose of remission to the beneficiary of the “lock letter.” This assurance, fraudulently relied upon by investors, created the false belief that their invested funds were held separate and apart from other funds and was in effect guaranteed by the bank as segregated and safe. This “guarantee” assures investors that their money is never mixed with other monies and is safe from claims and transfers to others.   Based on these “lock letters” investors sent funds to Rothstein, money which was neither “locked” nor segregated. These funds were allegedly diverted for Rothstein’s personal use and spent on such things as jewelry, watches, expensive cars, boats, houses, and lifestyle excesses of historic proportion.

Rothstein has testified in deposition that Mr. Spinosa lied when he wrote “lock letters.” Rothstein testified further that Spinosa “looked the other way” when it came to suspicious and wrongful banking transfers. Further, that Spinosa acted with full awareness and knowledge both of the wrongfulness of his acts and their criminality. Rothstein testified in depositions, and prosecutors alleged, that Spinosa had “talking points” or scripts that he read to investors which were prepared by Rothstein and that Spinosa participated in conference calls in which investors were defrauded.

Korean Air Lines Shoot Down


Unfortunately, the firing of a missile at Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 is not the first, but one many of such incidents. Here is a list:

  • Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114, a Boeing 727, was shot down on February 21, 1973 when it strayed over Israeli territory, refused to land, and was shot down.
  • Korean Air Lines Flight 902, was shot down on April 20, 1978 by Soviet Su-15 fighters after entering Soviet airspace and it failed to respond to demands to land.
  • Air Rhodesia Flight RH825, was shot down on September 3, 1978 by Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army by using a Strela-2 missile.  After it crashed, the fifty-six survivors were killed by the Revolutionary Army troops.
  • Air Rhodesia Flight RH827, was shot down on February 12, 1979 by the AIPRA guerrilla army, again using a Strela 2 missile, the same as the previous shoot-down of September 3, 1978.
  • Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870, was shot down by NATO jet fighters on June 27, 1980.  This downing is disputed and there is some report that there was a bomb on board, however Italian Prime Minister Francesco Cossiga attributed the downing to French interceptors used in the Gadio “clandestine” operation.
  • Korean Air Lines Flight 007, was shot down on September 1, 1983 by Soviet Su-15TM fighters west of the Soviet “secret” airbase at Sakhalin Island.  Congressman Larry McDonald was on that flight and died.
  • Polar 3, a research airplane, was shot down on February 24, 1985 by the Polisario Front, a guerrilla army operating in West Africa.
  • Air Malawi 7Q-YMB, shot down on November 6, 1987 over Mozambique: a civil war was in progress there and the shoot-down is attributed to participants in the civil war.
  • Iran Air Flight 655, was shot down on July 3, 1988 by U.S. guided missiles fired from the guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes. The U.S. later apologized and attributed it to a “mistake:” the US. said it thought the commercial airliner (an Airbus A300) was an Iranian F-14 giving false signals that it was a commercial flight.
  • T&G Aviation DC-7, was shot down on December 8, 1988 over the western Sahara desert by the Polisario Front.  The aircraft was a DC-7 used to spray insecticide as a public health goodwill gesture to control a locust outbreak.
  • Transair Georgian Airliner shot down in September 1993 by missiles and gunfire from the former Soviet republic Georgia.
  • In September 1993, three airliners belonging to Transair Georgia were shot down by missiles and gunfire in Sukhumi, Abkhazia, Georgia.
  • Lionair Flight LN 602 was shot down in September 29, 1998 off the coast of Sri Lanka.  Although unproven, it is widely believed to have been shot down by the Liberation Tiers of the Tamil Eelam rebel group operating in Sri Lanka.
  • Siberia Airlines Flight 1812, shot down October 4, 2001 by Ukrainian missiles fired from the Crimea peninsula.  The missile was mistakenly fired during a military exercise.  The President of Ukraine, Leonid Kuchma expressed condolences but never confirmed responsibility.
  • DHL freight aircraft, November 22, 2001, damaged by a mid-air missile strike managed to land with wing damage inflicted by a missile.   It had just taken off from Bagdad, Iraq.
  • Mogadishu TransAVIAexport Airlines Il-76, shot down March 23, 2007 over Somalia.  The missile was reportedly fired by a Somalian private army during the battle for Mogadishu, a conflict by private warlords for Somalia.

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Imagine if there was a finite amount of GOLD on the planet and all the world’s currencies were set back to a gold standard. That is what BITCOIN has done: it has set a floor on the number of BITCOINS in existence and set them out there for us to use instead of currencies.

The major opponents of BITCOIN are bankers, governments, large currency based businesses (MasterCard, Visa, etc.). The major boosters of BITCOIN is everyone else on the planet, including this country lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who parks at the Broward County courthouse and pays $8.00 an hour to park his car…in dollars. Hey! Wanna pay for parking in BITCOIN? YEP!!!

Florida State and Federal courts have rules to stop prosecutors from making conclusions and accusations in their questions, opening statements and closings. Smart lawyers watch out for this prosecutor’s trick. If you have an active criminal case, felony or misdemeanor, speak to your criminal defense lawyer about how to defeat this prosecutor’s trick…

I have several “PAIN CLINIC” cases in my office, some in Florida Federal court and some in Florida State courts. Each time the prosecutor uses the words “pill mill” I’m on my feet. My doctor clients are physicians at a pain clinic, not a “pill mill”. Watch for words that make you look bad, like “the accused” (you are a defendant), and object. I do!

Think out of the box and look for ‘dirty words’ and tell your criminal defense lawyer to object. In Florida State criminal courts here in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, attorney Ralph Behr (me) is famous for sending prosecutors to the woodshed for bashing my clients with “dirty words” like “evildoer” and “bad man” and “criminal”. A fair trial means the prosecutor, whether in Palm Beach criminal courts or a court near you.. cannot accuse and abuse a defendant by using words that contain conclusions: that’s for the jury to determine.

After an innocent 17 year old boy was shot by accident by a neighborhood watch volunteer, his mother, Sybrina Fulton and Democratic lawmakers are asking for the repeal of the Stand your Ground law.

The stand your ground law gives a person the right to justifiably use deadly force as long as there is a reasonable belief of an unlawful threat. In Beard v. U.S. (158 U.S. 550 (1895)), the Supreme Court ruled that a man who was on his property when he came under attack, did not provoke the assault, and had reasonable grounds to believe, that the other individual intended to take his life, or do him great bodily harm, did not have a duty to leave and was entitled to stand his ground.

This basically means that if someone enters your home in the middle of the night and you have reasonable belief that this person has a gun and may take your life, you don’t have an obligation to leave your home, but you have the right to self defense and to use deadly force to protect yourself.

The case of Trayvon Martin, the 17 year old boy shot and killed by George Zimmerman, has brought even more criticisms of the stand your ground law and whether it should continue to exist or not.

George Zimmerman is being charged with second-degree murder. He is claiming self-defense and is now awaiting trial.

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