News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 31, 2010

FEDERAL CHARGES FILED IN LIBERAL ARSON

WICHITA, KAN. – Shivantha Kulatunga, 26, Liberal, Kan., has been indicted on one count of arson, U.S. Attorney Lanny Welch said today.

According to the indictment, on Jan. 4, 2010, Kulatunga set fire to the Rent-A-Center store at 200 E. Parkway Boulevard in Liberal, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of not less than 5 years and not more than 20 years and a fine up to $250,000. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Lind is prosecuting.

OTHER INDICTMENTS

A federal grand jury meeting in Wichita, also returned the following indictments:

Richard Allan Bratt, 57, Diamond, Mo., is charged with one count of bank robbery. According to the indictment, on June 5, 2009, Bratt robbed Commercial Bank, 616 N. Pennsylvania Ave., in Independence, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000. The FBI investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Blair Watson is prosecuting.

Craig Dicus, 44, is charged with one count of producing counterfeit $50 bills and three counts of passing counterfeit $50 bills. According to the indictment, Dicus passed counterfeit bills in November 2009 at Taco Shop, 1652 S. Webb Road; Conoco #600, 433 S. Greenwich; and Dillons, 5500 E. Harry, all in Wichita, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000 on each count. The U.S. Secret Service investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney David Lind is prosecuting.

Fredy Avilez-Hernandez, 33, a citizen of Mexico, is charged with one count of unlawfully transporting illegal aliens in the United States, one count of unlawfully re-entering the United States after being convicted of an aggravated felony and deported, and one count of aggravated identity theft. The crimes are alleged to have occurred March 13, 2010, in Seward County, Kan.

According to the indictment, Avilez-Hernandez was driving a 2006 Toyota minivan carrying 10 illegal aliens from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru and Eritrea when he was arrested.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000 on the unlawful re-entry charge, a maximum penalty of 5 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the illegal transportation charge and a mandatory 2 years consecutive to other sentences and a fine up to $250,000 on the identity theft charge. The Kansas Highway Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.

Jose Alberto Orozco-Larios, 32, a citizen of Mexico, is charged with one count of unlawfully transporting illegal aliens in the United States, one count of unlawfully re-entering the United States after being convicted of an aggravated felony and deported, and one count of aggravated identity theft. The crimes are alleged to have occurred March 9, 2010, in Seward County, Kan.

According to the indictment, he was driving a 1998 Pontiac minivan carrying eight illegal aliens from Mexico when he was arrested.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000 on the unlawful re-entry charge, a maximum penalty of 20 years and a fine up to $250,000 on the unlawful transportation charge, and a mandatory two years consecutive to other sentences and a fine up to $250,000 on the identity theft charge. The Seward County Sheriff’s Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.

Alexis Alejandro Rodriguez, 34, a citizen of Honduras, is charged with unlawfully re-entering the United States after being deported. He was found March 13, 2010, in Sedgwick County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 2 years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.

Rigoberto Hernandez-Cervantes, 25, a citizen of Mexico, is charged with unlawfully re-entering the United States after being convicted of a felony and deported. He was arrested in Saline County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.

Abel Angel Rodriguez-Puga, 44, a citizen of Mexico, is charged with unlawfully re-entering the United States after being convicted of a felony and deported. He was arrested in Kingman County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000. Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.

Samuel Ekombo Ndoumbe, 48, is charged with one count of misusing a Social Security number, one count of using a fraudulently obtained Social Security card to work in the United States, and one count of making a false statement to a special agent of the Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General. The crimes are alleged to have occurred in 2008 and 2010 in Sedgwick County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison without parole and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of using a fraudulently obtained Social Security card, a maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of misusing a Social Security number, and a maximum penalty of five years and a fine up to $250,000 on the charge of making a false statement to a federal investigator. The Social Security Administration - Office of Inspector General investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson is prosecuting.

Zachary W. Stout, 26, Wichita, Kan., is charged with one count of stealing a rifle from Money Town Pawn, which is a federally licensed firearms dealer, and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm by a user of controlled substances. The crimes are alleged to have occurred Feb. 4, 2010, in Sedgwick County, Kan.

If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Blair Watson is prosecuting.

In all cases, defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The indictments merely contain allegations of criminal conduct.


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