U.S. Attorney Presents Law Enforcement “Awards of Excellence”
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas
Last week, U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox presented the 2020 United States Attorney’s Awards of Excellence, honoring law enforcement officers and agents who exceed the call of duty to keep their communities safe.
“Collectively, this room has thwarted terrorists, taken aim at white supremacists, apprehended violent criminals, brought to justice corrupt medical professionals, and exposed greedy public servants. This room is the very definition of excellence,” U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox said during a socially-distanced ceremony at the Belo in Dallas on Thursday. “We are proud to stand behind you and beside you.”
Awardees worked the following cases:
U.S. v Michael Kyle Sewell
Federal Bureau of Investigation with Arlington Police Department
This undercover investigation resulted in the prosecution of an 18-year-old who conspired to recruit individuals to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a Pakistani-based foreign terrorist organization. More here.
Operation Diamond Blaster
Federal Bureau of Investigation with Dallas Police Department
This multi-year investigation resulted in the prosecution of 15 members of a violent transnational criminal enterprise who routinely robbed traveling diamond salesman. More here.
U.S. v Jose Garcia-Lizanaga et al
Drug Enforcement Administration
This investigation led to the prosecution of high-level cocaine dealers in Lubbock and the seizure of more than 60 kg of cocaine, 8 firearms, and more than $500,000 cash.
Operation Vanilla Ice
Texas Department of Public Safety and Dallas Police Department
This multi-year investigation led to the nation’s largest prosecution of individuals connected to white supremacist gangs. More than 150 gang members, most with violent criminal records, were sentenced to a combined 2,000+ years in federal prison. More here.
U.S. v Donnie Ferrell
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
This investigation into the murder of U.S. Postal worker Tony Mosby relied on tips from two individuals inside the car with the defendant, who shot Mr. Mosby in a fit of road rage. More here.
U.S. v Nelson Pabon et al
Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS- Criminal Investigation Division with Dallas Police Department
This multi-year OCEDTF investigation revealed that several DFW Airport baggage handlers were using their positions to circumvent security in order to ship drugs and other contraband across the nation. More here.
Dallas County Schools Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS-Criminal Investigation Division
This public corruption investigation uncovered a bribery scheme at Dallas City Hall, in which the owner of school bus stop arm camera company funneled nearly half a million dollars in bribes to former Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, who resigned after charges were filed. More here.
U.S. v Michael Webb
Homeland Security Investigations, Fort Worth Police Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigations
Following the abduction of an 8-year-old girl off the streets of Fort Worth, agents sprang into action to find her. The following morning, they recovered the child – alive – in a Forest Hills hotel room. The investigation led to the prosecution of the kidnapper, who received a life sentence. More here.
U.S. v Darius Fields et al
Federal Bureau of Investigation
This investigation focused on those involved in the murder of an innocent 13-year-old kidnapped during a drug dispute and resulted in firearms charges against two defendants, both of whom were convicted at trial. More here.
Operation Bruised Thumb
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives with Dallas Police Department
This investigation led to the prosecution of 17 members of the “Bruised Thumb” gang on gun and drug charges, all while safeguarding the safety of a confidential informant.
U.S. v Carlos Vengas et al
Drug Enforcement Administration with Commerce Police Department
This investigation revealed a network of sham clinics, fake patients, and complicit pharmacies working together to facilitate the illegal distribution of opiates like hydrocodone. The leader of the pill mill, who was convicted at trial, oversaw the unlawful prescription of nearly a million units of narcotics with no medical purpose. More here.
U.S. v Said Rahim
Federal Bureau of Investigation and NOAA Office of Law Enforcement
This investigation revealed that a U.S. citizen was using a push-to-talk application to promote violence in the name of ISIS. The defendant was arrested at DFW Airport, where he was attempting to board a flight to Amman, Jordan, and later convicted at trial. More here.
U.S. v Terrence Smith et al
Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General
This investigation led to charges against three former executives of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas, who submitted more than 100 fraudulent expense reports for personal travel they falsely claimed was business-related, submitted cash-out requests for dozens of used vacation days, and sought reimbursement for personal holiday gifts. More here.
The U.S. Attorney and Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynna also presented the “Administration of Justice” award, recognizing a staff member who consistently provides outstanding support, to Fort Worth Supervisory Legal Assistant Liuva Ruiz, and the “Barefoot Sanders Prosecutor of the Year” award to Amarillo-based Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Frausto.
Photos from the Awards Ceremony can be found here. The staff of the United States Attorney’s Office is grateful for law enforcement officers’ sacrifices, dedication, and skill.
Updated November 2, 2020
Office and Personnel Updates