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Press Release

Attorney General Recognizes District Of Az Employees

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Arizona

United States Attorney John S. Leonardo

WASHINGTON –Seven current and former members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona, along with four special agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), were among those recognized by Attorney General Eric Holder and Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) Director Monty Wilkinson at the 30th annual Director’s Awards Ceremony today in Washington D.C.

The District of Arizona was one of 44 districts represented at the ceremony, where they were the recipients of two distinguished awards.  This event was held in the Great Hall at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building.

In his remarks to awardees, Attorney General Holder said, “Locally, nationally, and internationally, you represent the very best that this Department has to offer.  Your work embodies our ongoing commitment – not merely to win cases, but to do justice; to protect our fellow citizens from crime, violence, and terrorism; to empower the most vulnerable among us; and to uphold the rule of law.”
EOUSA Director Monty Wilkinson echoed those sentiments, saying to the recipients, “You have persevered, and remained focused and motivated – achieving remarkable results in work that makes a difference in the lives of citizens across our great country. The vast scope of your collective accomplishments is nothing short of exceptional.”

 “I am very proud of this recognition by the Attorney General of the efforts and accomplishments of those in our office who work very hard every day to accomplish our mission of serving the American people,” said U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo. 

 First, the award for “Superior Performance by a Litigative Team” recognizes the outstanding work of our office and Homeland Security Investigations in “Operation In Plain Sight,” a complex investigation which resulted in the convictions of 73 defendants for their roles in an extensive human smuggling operation.  The defendants had been responsible for transporting and harboring thousands of illegal aliens using licensed shuttle companies operating in Nogales and Tucson.  The individual award recipients include:  current team members of our office - Alexis Ball, Lisa Jennis, Joseph Koehler, and Sandy Solis; former members of our office - Jeff Martino, Brian Sardelli, and Munish Sharda; and our law enforcement partners from HSI - Carolyn Callahan, Adam Carpenter, Christopher Frazier, and Liza Lugo.

The second award was given to Dimitra Sampson for “Superior Performance in Indian Country.”  Dimitra was recognized for her extraordinary accomplishments in advancing programmatic goals of the District’s Indian Country Public Safety Initiative and in prosecuting cases under the Major Crimes Act.  In addition to trying a high volume of cases involving homicide, sexual assault and child abuse, in her role as trial liaison she developed tribal-federal task forces, which conducted very successful community drug sweeps.  These operations were very well received and there is now a demand from other Tribal communities to replicate them.

Updated January 7, 2015