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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Wisconsin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 15, 2018

Grand Jury Returns Indictments

MADISON, WIS. -- A federal grand jury in the Western District of Wisconsin, sitting in Madison, has returned the following indictments.  You are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The indictments charging Paul Doucet, Mark Bartz, and Juan Carlos Perez were returned today, and the other indictments were returned yesterday.

The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes.  If convicted, the sentencing of a defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

Three Men Charged with Armed Robbery of Madison Business

Steven Gayden, 23, Aurora, Ill., William Thomas, 18, South Bend, Ind., and Doran Skanes, 24, State of Indiana, are charged with conspiring to rob the T-Mobile Celluar store in Madison, Wis., with carrying out the robbery on January 12, 2018, and with brandishing a firearm during this crime of violence.  The indictment alleges that a .380 caliber pistol was brandished during the robbery.

If convicted, Gayden, Thomas and Skanes face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on the conspiracy charge and the robbery charge.  The charge of brandishing a firearm during the robbery has a mandatory minimum penalty of seven years and a maximum of life in federal prison.  Federal law requires that any penalty imposed for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on the robbery charge.

The charges against the three men are the result of an investigation by the Madison Police Department, Dane County Sheriff’s Office, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rita Rumbelow.

Florida Man Charged with Armed Robberies of Madison Businesses

Christian Dejesus Rodriguez, 18, Seminole County, Fla., is charged with the robbery of three businesses in Madison, Wis. and with brandishing a firearm during these crimes of violence.  The indictment alleges that Rodriguez robbed the Mobil Gas Station on Cottage Grove Road on December 6, 2017, the 7-Eleven on the Beltline Highway on December 13, 2017, and the BP Gas Station on Pflaum Road on December 18, 2017.  The indictment also alleges that Rodriguez brandished a firearm during each of the robberies.

Rodriguez was arrested in Florida on January 18 and will be returned to Wisconsin.  No date has been set for his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Madison. 

If convicted, Rodriguez faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison on each robbery charge.  He also faces a mandatory minimum penalty of seven years on the first charge of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, and a mandatory minimum penalty of 25 years in federal prison on each successive charge of brandishing a firearm.  Federal law requires that any penalty imposed for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence be served consecutive to any charge imposed on the robbery charges.

The charges against Rodriguez are the result of an investigation by the Madison Police Department and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rita Rumbelow.

Rusk County Man Faces Additional Charges

James W. Unser, 59, Ladysmith, is charged in a superseding indictment with being a felon in possession of firearms, and three counts of possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  The superseding indictment alleges that two of the methamphetamine counts involve the possession of 50 grams or more of the drug. 

The superseding indictment alleges that on a date between July and November 2016, Unser possessed two 30-30 caliber level action rifles and a 22 caliber lever action single shot rifle, and that he possessed methamphetamine on November 30 and December 1, 2016 and on December 30, 2017. 

Unser was charged in an indictment returned by the grand jury on January 24, 2018, with one count of possessing 50 grams or more of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. 

If convicted, Unser faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison on the two counts alleging 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, a maximum of 20 years on the other methamphetamine count, and a maximum of 10 years on the felon in possession of firearms count.  The charges against him are the result of an investigation by the Rusk, Dunn, Taylor and Chippewa County Sheriffs’ Departments and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Altman.

The cases against Steven Gayden, William Thomas, Doran Skanes, Christian Dejesus Rodriguez, and James W. Unser were brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program that has been historically successful in bringing together all levels of law enforcement to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone.   Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made turning the tide of rising violent crime in America a top priority.   In October 2017, as part of a series of actions to address this crime trend, Attorney General Sessions announced the reinvigoration of PSN and directed all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to develop a district crime reduction strategy that incorporates the lessons learned since PSN launched in 2001.

Hudson Man Charged with Failing to Update Sex Offender Registration

 Nicholas Edwards, 37, Hudson, Wis., is charged with failing to update his registration as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.  The indictment alleges that between November 2016 and February 2017, Edwards traveled from Minnesota to Wisconsin and failed to update his registration.

If convicted, Edwards faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.  The charge against him is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Marshals Service. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Pfluger.

Two Mexican Citizens Charged with Illegally Reentering U.S.

In separate and unrelated indictments, two citizens of Mexico are charged with illegally reentering the United States after previously being deported.  The first indictment alleges that Rodolfo Benigno-Dolores, 33, Colby, Wis., was found on January 28, 2018.  The second indictment alleges that Fredi Garcia-Romero, 22, Sheldon, Wis., was found on January 29, 2018.

If convicted, each man faces a maximum penalty of two years in federal prison.  The charges against them are the result of investigations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  The prosecution of these cases is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Graber.

Marshfield Man Charged with Producing Child Pornography

Mark E. Bartz, 49, Marshfield, Wis., is charged with three counts of producing child pornography.  The indictment alleges that on three occasions in June, July and September 2017, he used a cellular phone to produce a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. 

If convicted, Bartz faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison on each count.  The charges against him are the result of an investigation by the Marshfield Police Department, Clark County Sheriff’s Office, and the Milwaukee FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes the Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, West Allis Police Department, and Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office.  The prosecution of this case is being handled by Elizabeth Altman.

La Crosse Man Charged with Possessing Child Pornography

Paul Doucet, 36, Holmen, Wis., is charged with one count of possessing child pornography.  The indictment alleges that on May 17, 2017, he possessed two thumb drives, a hard drive, and an external hard drive that contained visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.  The indictment alleges that at least one of the depictions involved a minor who had not attained 12 years of age.

If convicted, Doucet faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.  The charge against him is the result of an investigation by members of the Coulee Region Children Internet Protection Task Force and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Members of the task force include the Campbell, Holmen, La Crosse and Town of Shelby Police Departments, and the La Crosse County Sheriff's Department.  The Wisconsin Department of Corrections also assisted with the investigation.  The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth Altman. 

Beloit Man Charged with Distributing Heroin

Juan Carlos Perez, 37, Beloit, Wis., is charged with distributing heroin.  The indictment alleges that he distributed heroin on December 5, 2016.

If convicted, Perez faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.  The charge against him is the result of an investigation by G-ROC, a task force formed through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Violent Crime Initiative, to address gang and drug-related violence through the coordination of investigations among local and federal law enforcement agencies.  Its members include the FBI; Rock County Sheriff’s Office; Rock County District Attorney’s Office; Beloit Police Department; and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.   The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney David Reinhard.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Opioids
Immigration
Project Safe Childhood
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Updated February 15, 2018