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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Hosts the 66th Annual Attorney General Awards Honoring Department Employees and Others for their Service

Six Individuals Honored in the Southern District of Florida

WASHINGTON – Attorney General Jeff Sessions recognized 244 Department of Justice employees for their distinguished public service today at the 66th Annual Attorney General’s Awards Ceremony.  Thirty-six other individuals, outside of the Department of Justice, were also honored for their work.  This annual ceremony recognizes employees and other individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievements, leadership, and service to the Department of Justice and the American people.  This year’s award includes an award for exceptional heroism to U.S. Marshal Senior Inspector Basilio S. Perez, Jr., for his courageous actions to protect and aid victims of the October 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada.                                                

“Service in the Department of Justice is more than a normal job; it is a calling to the highest standards of professionalism,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “That is true for all of the 115,000 Department of Justice employees.  But it is especially true for these award winners. And so I want to thank them and their families for their exemplary service to this Department and to the American people. They have made this Department proud.”

“The extraordinary team that handled the prosecution of a man who violated the Espionage Act and sexually exploited minors is most-deserving of the Department’s highest honors,” stated U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan.  “These individuals, including five representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, worked tirelessly to obtain justice for the defendant’s victims and protect our nation’s security.  The domestic and international impact of their dedicated efforts epitomizes the Department’s public service mission.”

This year’s program honors individuals across the Department and our federal, state, local, and tribal partners for their self-less efforts, protecting our national security and our civil rights, addressing rising violent crime in our communities, going after gangs and those trafficking in dangerous narcotics and human beings.  The awards also honor the work of civil and environmental litigation, which enforces the rule of law and upholds our Constitution.  They also recognize employees whose ideas and efforts save taxpayer dollars and help our government operate more effectively and efficiently, among other contributions to public safety and good governance.

The awards ceremony included the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service.  This is the Department’s second highest award for employee performance.  Fourteen Distinguished Service Awards were presented this year.  Six employees of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida were honored, along with other team members, with this award.  The South Florida honorees are Assistant U.S. Attorney Ricardo A. Del Toro, Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara A. Martinez, Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa S. Johannes, Supervisory Intelligence Research Specialist Angel L. Martinez, Intelligence Research Specialist Erik M. Tisthammer, and Paralegal Specialist Lilian Cruz.

This team received the award for its successful prosecution of Christopher Glenn who committed cyber-espionage, theft of classified materials, sex trafficking, and sexually assaulted minors. Glenn’s arrest in 2014 was the culmination of outstanding investigative work revealing that Glenn, a computer systems administrator for the U.S. Army at the Joint Task Force Bravo-Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras, had obtained unauthorized access to the base commander’s classified email system and disabled the system’s security restrictions. He copied highly-sensitive classified military plans and intelligence reports onto a disk that he removed from the base, and then downloaded the information onto an encrypted, Internet-accessible computer storage device at his Honduran residence. Furthermore, it was discovered that, for years, Glenn had been obtaining young girls between the ages of 12 and 16 from poor, remote villages in Honduras, taking them to his home, and sexually assaulting them, sometimes using date rape drugs.

Glenn was indicted in two separate cases. In 2015, he pled guilty in the counterintelligence case and was sentenced to the statutory maximum of 10 years in prison for the willful retention of classified national defense information under the Espionage Act and for computer intrusion under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.  In March 2017, Glenn was convicted in the child exploitation case following a six-week jury trial. He was sentenced to life in prison on July 21, 2017.  This child exploitation case is one of the first in the U.S. to rely on extraterritorial jurisdiction under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act for conduct that occurred entirely abroad.

The success of these two related cases was due to the collaborative teamwork of the award recipients and their law enforcement partners.  Together, they brought Glenn to justice while protecting U.S. national security interests and preventing any further sexual abuse of children.

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Updated October 24, 2018