Investigators In Rx Drug, Immigration Cases Receive Guardian Of Justice Awards
WICHITA, KAN. - Three investigators who worked on a federal prescription drug trafficking prosecution involving a user who died from an overdose, and another investigator whose mastery of facial recognition software and other digital tools helped build federal immigration cases are this year’s winners of Guardian of Justice Awards, U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom said today.
Grissom presented the awards Monday. Honored during a ceremony at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas City, Kan., were:
Jeremi Thompson, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
Traci Allen, Kansas Bureau of Investigation.
Jeff Thomas, Internal Revenue Service.
Miguel Arellano-Hernandez, special agent in charge of the Kansas Department of Revenue’s Office of Special Investigations.
Thompson, Allen and Thomas investigated a trafficking organization whose business peddling prescription drugs on the streets of Franklin County accounted for at least one overdose death. The other winner, Arellano-Hernandez, used facial recognition software and other tools to investigate several federal criminal immigration cases.
“These are law enforcement professionals who stand out,” said U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom. “They are dedicated and talented individuals who we can depend on to safeguard our neighborhoods and protect the people of Kansas from crime and violence.”
The Guardian of Justice Awards recognizes law enforcement officers who did outstanding work on cases that were successfully prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office. Since 2002, the award has been given to state and local law enforcement officers, as well as federal agents, who were nominated by federal prosecutors for their outstanding work.
Thompson, Allen and Thomas
Thompson, Allen and Thomas uncovered a drug trafficking ring that was distributing oxycodone, morphine and other prescription drugs throughout Franklin County. The case they helped build resulted in the ring leader, Connie Edwards, being convicted and sentenced to federal prison for 25 years. Thompson worked long hours, holidays and weekends on the investigation, following leads, interviewing witnesses and providing prosecutors with sharp, accurate reports. Allen worked as an undercover officer and co-case agent with Thompson. Thomas of the IRS followed the money trail to bring down the traffickers’ money laundering and tax evasion scheme. The investigation also identified Medicare and Medicaid fraud at a local pharmacy.
Miguel Arellano-Hernandez is the special agent in charge of the Kansas Department of Revenue’s Office of Special Investigations. In the past three years, he has worked on a series of cases successfully prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office. In addition to his work ethic and dedication, his expertise in using facial recognition tools and motor vehicle and financial records, have proven to be invaluable assets during investigations. He and his agents received national attention, for instance, in the prosecution of Benita Cardona Gonzalez, a case in which the defendant stole a Texas school teacher’s identity in order to buy a house and pay hospital bills for the birth of her own children.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brent Anderson nominated Arellano-Hernandez. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri McCracken nominated Thompson, Allen and Thomas.