Four Men Federally Indicted for Retaliating Against a Cooperating Witness
United States Attorney Gregory J. Haanstad announced today that a federal grand jury had indicted the following four men for retaliating against an individual they believed to be a federal informant: Jose E. Lazcon (22) and Rashawn T. Bumpus (22) of Racine, Wisconsin, Derrick L. Harris (26) of Chicago, Illinois, and Michael A. Bonds (29) of Dolton, Illinois.
Each defendant is charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice by retaliating against a witness in a federal case. Harris and Lazcon are also charged with obstruction of justice by attempting to kill the witness in August 2017 and with discharging a firearm during that crime. If convicted of the conspiracy to obstruct justice by retaliating against the witness, each man faces up to 20 years in prison. If convicted of attempting to kill the witness, Lazcon and Harris each would face a maximum of 30 years in prison. Finally, if convicted of discharging a firearm, Lazcon and Harris each would face a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison, terms which must run consecutively to any other sentence.
All four men are in custody and awaiting trial before United States District Judge J.P. Stadtmueller. At their detention hearings, United States Magistrate Judge Nancy Joseph discussed the severity of an attempted attack on a suspected cooperating witness and noted how these types of crimes can impede the entire justice system, particularly if people are fearful of testifying or cooperating with law enforcement.
“Conduct like that alleged in the indictment strikes at the foundation of our criminal justice system,” said United States Attorney Haanstad. “That system depends on the ability of witnesses to provide truthful information about criminal activity without fear of retribution.”
Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Milwaukee Division, Justin Tolomeo said, “We take any threats to witnesses seriously. Those who seek to retaliate by intimidating or harming individuals who cooperate with law enforcement will be investigated, arrested and referred to prosecutors without delay.”
The matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) South Eastern Wisconsin Regional Gang Task Force, the Racine Police Department, and the Mount Pleasant Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Margaret B. Honrath and Bridget J. Domaszek.
An indictment is merely the formal method of charging an individual and does not constitute inference of his or her guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until such time, if ever, that the government establishes his or her guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
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