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Justice News

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

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Federal Awards Ceremony honors efforts of Federal Law Enforcement partners

INDIANAPOLIS- On Wednesday, June 19, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. the SDIN and Federal law enforcement acknowledged the pursuit of excellence demonstrated by federal Special Agents, Task Force Officers, Analysts, and Victim/Witness Coordinators.  The ceremony and all day training was sponsored by United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler and held at the Indiana War Memorial.

The awards were broken down by three categories: Innovation, Perseverance, and Trailblazer.

The first group of individuals recognized for their perseverance are responsible for the indictment of 17 drug traffickers for drug distribution conspiracy, firearms violations, money laundering and murder for hire. The AUSA and Agent Award recipients are as follows:

  • AUSA Michelle Brady
  • John Grindean, DEA
  • Erik Collins, DEA
  • Derek Root, DEA
  • Barbara Johnson, DEA
  • Noel Kinney, DEA
  • Sam Chandler, DEA
  • Jeff Eig, DEA
  • James Howe, IRS
  • DeMarcus Calhoun, USPIS
  • Amy Ewing, ATF

While their perseverance is eminent, these individuals are not alone in their willingness to persevere. In the US v. Craig Nichols case, AUSA Tiffany Preston among three others were given an award for perseverance. Public corruption matters often require perseverance, patience and dogged determination. The agents nominated below demonstrated these and other remarkable qualities in the matter.

  • Glenn Carlson, FBI
  • Tim Kempf, FBI
  • Brian Monahan, FBI

Just as criminals are determined to commit crimes, the AUSAs and agents in the US v. Warren, ET AL., (“THE MOB”) were determined to reduce the number of pharmacy robberies in Indiana. In 2015, the State of Indiana led the nation in pharmacy robberies, and 10 individuals were driven to reducing that number by using a tremendous amount of resources and time:

  • AUSA Brad Blackington
  • AUSA Peter Blackett
  • Leonard Rothermich (FBI)
  • Steven Secor (FBI)
  • Cassandra Jones (ATF)
  • Brian Taylor (ATF)
  • Billy Lane (DEA)
  • Jeremy Ingram (IMPD)
  • Daniel Cherry (IMPD)

Perseverance and determination is not unheard of in the world of federal agents and AUSAs, but those who display it deserve to be recognized. In the US v. Goelz case, every lead was investigate by interviewing people in a respectful and strategic matter. Through such practice the criminal was found guilty and evidence was recovered which allowed the attorneys and agents on the case to charge Goelz with a federal offense of sexual exploitation of a minor. The AUSA and Agent Perseverance award recipients are as follows:

  • AUSA MaryAnn Mindrum
  • John Pirics, HIS
  • Michael Johnson, HIS

The last perseverance award is attributed to the AUSA and special agent on the US v. Williams case. Special Agent Launa Hunt, ATF took a case where all that was found was one bullet on the Defendant’s person and turned it into a prosecutable case. The AUSA who prosecuted the case is Abhishek Kambli.

Perseverance is significant, but it is not the only characteristic that is appreciated. AUSA Kristina Korobov and FAUSA Cynthia Ridgeway prosecuted the case US v. MAHMOUD, ET AL- Prosecuting ten white collar defendants engaged in a pattern of racketeering yielding the district’s first white collar RICO Conspiracy stemming from activity that spanned several years and three distinct but related fraud schemes as well as money laundering. Korobov and Ridgeway were given a reward for innovation, alongside the following people:

  • Doug Kasper, FBI
  • Charmaine Barfield, FBI
  • Chris Knight, FBI
  • Joseph J. De St. Jean, USPIS
  • Dan Taylor, USPIS
  • Marcy Ralston, US Social Security, OIG
  • Bryan Reed, IMPD

Stories about perseverance and innovation should continue to be told, but stories about those who go the extra mile should become more prominent than what they are currently. Many stories go untold about agents who go the extra mile to blaze trails, from which the light overshadows dark corners where criminals lie in wait. Special Agent Leonard Rothermich showed his willingness to be a trailblazer throughout the US v. Ingram case. Rothermich was able to gather nearly a dozen FBI agents to help him read and listen to any evidence that was uncovered. After reviewing the evidence in its entirety, there was enough to present in court and the witnesses were able to give a truthful and accurate testimony. The other individuals who worked alongside Rothermich was AUSA Nick Linder and AUSA Lawrence Hilton.
These three are not the only trailblazers. The following individuals are a part of the project safe childhood team. These agents and attorneys work to investigate sex trafficking, victim support and have brought several criminals to just since 2015. They treat the victims and witnesses with the utmost respect and are able to connect with the victims who have otherwise been discarded from society. These individuals are as follows.

  • AUSA Kristina Korobov
  • Michelle Bartelson, FBI
  • Gabe Cuevas, FBI
  • Elizabeth Carlson, FBI
  • Sarah Abdullah, Victim Specialist

The Evansville DEA Team, Doug Freyberger and Lauren Wheatley are being given an award for trailblazing characteristics. Freyberger has been leading the EV Branch of DEA for several years, quietly bringing some of the most consequential drug task force matters in the district. This small but mighty unit operates in harmony and their impact on the district is significant. 
All trailblazers are appreciated. Matt Holbrook (DEA), Eric Sills (IRS), and Kristen Schumacker (DEA). These three individuals equate an investigative team with an exceptional example of seamless prosecution who have brought several criminals to justice.

Perseverance, innovation and trailblazer are all awards that have different trait, but what they have in common is the need to be recognized and commended.

Updated June 25, 2019