DOJ Seal Department of Justice  

United States Attorney John M. Bales
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
THURSDAY, MAY 7, 2009                                                  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 involving federal violations in the Eastern District of Texas.
 
            RAUL GARZA, JR., 30, of Tyler, was indicted on a charge of Escape.  If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in federal prison.

            According to the Indictment, on Apr. 4, 2009, Garza unlawfully escaped from custody of the County Rehabilitation Center, an institutional facility in which he was lawfully confined.

            This case is being investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Noble.

            FREDDY LEE CRISS, 46 of Dallas, was indicted on charges of bank robbery.  If convicted, he faces up to20 years in federal prison.

            According to the Indictment, on Apr. 30, 2009, Criss robbed the First National Bank of Emory, located on East Quitman Street, in Emory, Texas.

            This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Moore.

            TERRACE RAYNARD SHELBY, 37, Converse, Texas, was indicted on a charge of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.  If convicted, he faces up to Life in federal prison.

            According to the Indictment, on Dec. 18, 2008 Shelby was found in possession of approximately 1.89 kilograms of cocaine in Bowie County, Texas. 

            This case is being investigated by Texas Department of Public Safety and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise O. Simpson.

            PAUL DEMARCO BREWER, 32, Texarkana, Texas, was indicted on a charge of possession of contraband in prison.  If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in federal prison.

            According to the Indictment, on Jan. 4, 2009, Brewer was found in possession of marijuana while he was an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Texarkana. 

            This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise O. Simpson.

            JAMES STEEN, 67, of Mount Pleasant, Texas, was indicted on charges of theft of public money.  If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

            According to the Indictment, Steen is alleged to have stolen and converted to his own use, United States Veterans Affairs benefits in excess of $1,000 which were deposited into the bank account of a Veterans Affairs beneficiary.

            This case is being investigated by the Department of Veteran Affairs and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise O. Simpson.
                                                                                                                

            JULIAN LOPEZ, 32, of Mexico has been indicted for Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine.   If convicted, he faces up to Life in federal prison.

            This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen Smith.

            BYRON BERNARD BILLUPS, 25, and JUSTIN SMITH, 29, both of Palestine, Texas, were indicted on charges of conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  If convicted, they each face up to Life in federal prison .

            According to the Indictment, on Jan. 29, 2009, Billups and others possessed more than 50 grams of crack cocaine which they intended to distribute.  The Indictment also alleges that on Sep. 1, 2007, Billups and Smith possessed a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.  Billups is also charged with two additional counts of possession with intent to distribute cocaine and two counts of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

            This case is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Baldwin.

            IVAN MARSHAN VENEGAS, 28,  of Mexico, was indicted on charges of being a Criminal Alien Found Unlawfully present in the United States after Previous Deportation.  If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
 
            According to the Indictment, on Mar. 23, 2009, the defendant was found illegally in the United States after having been previously deported after being convicted for the commission of an aggravated felony. 

            This case is being investigated by ICE and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Hurst.

            GILBERTO CORTEZ-GARCIA, 26, of Mexico, was indicted on charges of being a Criminal Alien Found Unlawfully present in the United States after Previous Deportation.  If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

            According to the Indictment, on Apr. 23, 2009, the defendant was found illegally in the United States after having been previously deported after being convicted for the commission of an aggravated felony. 
           
            This case is being investigated by ICE and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Hurst.

            MARIO PASSOW-DUBAN, 44, and MARINA PASSOW-DUBAN, 36,  both of Tyler, Texas, were indicted on charges of conspiracy, possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  If convicted, they each face up to Life in federal prison .

            According to the Indictment, on Feb. 27, 2009, the defendants possessed a firearm as they conspired to distribute more than 50 grams of crack cocaine.

            This case is being investigated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold A. Spencer.

            TAHMEANE ELROD, 47, of Tyler, was indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud.  If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in federal prison .

            According to the Indictment, from September 2007 to December 2008, the defendant conspired with others to commit wire fraud by means of producing a false and fraudulent Request for Verification of Employment form as part of a loan application.

            This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold A. Spencer.

            A grand jury indictment is not evidence of guilt.  All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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