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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Thursday, February 9, 2006

WILMINGTON - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced that a jury in Wilmington, N. C. has convicted CARLOS JAVIER MEDINA-CASTELLANOS, 30, of Elkridge, Maryland, MAHMOUD BASSAR, a.k.a. “Mack”, 27, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and JOSE FRANCISCO ORLANDO, a.k.a. Erick Galindo, a.k.a. Carlos Bindel, 19, also of Elkridge, Maryland on charges of interstate transportation of stolen property and conspiracy to commit interstate transport of stolen property. After a two-week trial, the jury returned its verdict on February 7, 2006. MEDINA-CASTELLANOS, BASSAR and ORLANDO have been detained and will remain in custody pending sentencing.

The evidence presented at trial showed that MEDINA-CASTELLANOS was involved in two violent home invasions in the Raleigh area as part of an internal power struggle to control a large scale interstate stolen property operation centered in the Raleigh area. The value of the stolen property was reported to be in excess of $14 million. MEDINA-CASTELLANOS, BASSAR and ORLANDO were intricately involved in the stealing and fencing of infant formula, over-the-counter medication and personal hygiene products which were subsequently sold to distributors in Kentucky, Wisconsin and Ohio for resale.

Senior U. S. District Judge James C. Fox has scheduled sentencing for the May 2006 term of court. MEDINA-CASTELLANOS, having been convicted on one count of a violent crime in aid of racketeering and one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property, could receive a maximum sentence of 25 years imprisonment; BASSAR, convicted on one count of interstate transportation of stolen property and one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property, could receive a maximum sentence of 15 years imprisonment; and ORLANDO, convicted on one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property, could receive a maximum sentence of 5 years.

During the course of the trial, an additional complaint was sworn out on ORLANDO for witness tampering. These charges are still pending against ORLANDO.

Primary responsibility for the investigation was led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Cary Police Department, with assistance from the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, Raleigh Police Department, Morrisville Police Department, Durham Police Department and the Howard County, Maryland Police Department. Assistant U. S. Attorney John S. Bowler prosecuted the case for the United States.

 

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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