DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                          CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 2008                            PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe                                        PHONE: (409) 839-2538
                                                                                                 CELL: (409) 553-9881

FEDERAL GRAND JURY RETURNS INDICTMENTS
 IN THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS

 

            TYLER, TX – A federal grand jury returned several indictments this week on cases of federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas.
 
RIGOBERO MERCADO TORRES, 47, of Selma, California, was indicted on charges of theft of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute.  If convicted, he could receive imprisonment of not less than 10 years and a fine of not more than $250,000.

The indictment alleges that on January 13, 2008, the Nacogdoches Police Department stopped a tractor trailer for a traffic violation, received consent to search, and discovered approximately 4,000 pounds of marijuana in the trailer.

This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Nacogdoches Police Department.  Assistant United States Attorney Lisa Flournoy is prosecuting the case.

            HAROLD EARL SCALLON, 60, of Jacksonville, was indicted on charges of distribution of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors and possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors.  If convicted, he could receive imprisonment for up to 20 years and a fine not to exceed $250,000.00 for each count. 

            The indictment alleges that on July 6, 2007, at his residence in Jacksonville, Texas, Scallon possessed a personal computer that contained visual depictions involving minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.  On that date, the computer was seized by law enforcement officers pursuant to a federal search warrant.  A forensic analysis of the computer by law enforcement officers revealed visual depictions of more than 150 images involving minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

            This case is part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC).  In February 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.  For information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/ .

This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Longview Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bill Baldwin.

            BILLY JOE HUFF, 36, of Phoenix, Arizona, was indicted on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 100 kilograms of marijuana and possession with intent to distribute and distribution of more than 100 kilograms of marijuana.  If convicted, he could receive imprisonment of up to 40 years and a fine of up to $2 million.

            The indictment alleges that on January 24, 2008, Huff was stopped by a Smith County Sheriff's Deputy on Interstate 20 near 849 for a traffic violation.  A search of Huff's vehicle led to the recovery of approximately 242 pounds of suspected marijuana which was secreted within the legitimate load of lettuce.

This case is being investigated by the Smith County Sheriff's Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bill Baldwin.

            STEVEN BRENT LEMONS, 51, of Arlington, was indicted on charges of bank fraud, wire fraud, misapplication of funds, interstate transportation of stolen funds, and conducting transactions with criminally derived funds.  If convicted, he could receive imprisonment of 30 years and a fine of $1 million.

            The indictment alleges that from May 2005 through March 2007 Mr. Lemons abused his position as the Senior Vice President of Investments and Financial Advisor at Banc of America Investment Services and President of the Tyler Market of Bank of America by misapplying a client's funds without their knowledge or consent.

This case is being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant United States Attorney Jim Noble is prosecuting the case.

            DENISE WARD, 50, of Overland Park, Kansas, was indicted on charges of sexual exploitation of children.  If convicted, she could receive imprisonment of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

            The indictment alleges that in January and May of 2007, in Upshur and Harrison counties, respectively, Ward provided children for another person to use in the production of sexually explicit videos.  The indictment further alleges that she failed to report the sexual exploitation to the minors' parents or federal law enforcement authorities.

This case is being investigated by the Longview Police Department Cyber Crimes Unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jim Noble.

            This case is part of Project Safe Childhood (PSC).  In February 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.  For information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/ .
           
            It is important to note that an indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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