ICE Agent Valentino Johnson Busted for Robbing Drug Dealers

In his first year on the job rookie ICE agent Valentino Johnson endeavored to make a little extra on the side by robbing drug dealers in Newark.  He’s now serving ten years in prison.

U.S. Department of Justice Press Release:  Immigration Enforcement Officer, Two others Arrested in Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy (Sept 11 2009)

A federal immigration agent from New York was arrested early this morning with two co-conspirators after they arrived at a Newark garage to pick up a large quantity of what they thought was genuine cocaine that they intended to steal from a purported drug dealer, Acting U.S. Attorney Ralph J. Marra, Jr., announced.

The arrests were part of an undercover  investigation by Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Investigations, in Newark.   As part of the investigation, agents learned that Valentino Johnson, 25, of Brooklyn, an Immigration Enforcement Agent, was involved with others in robberies of drug dealers, according to a criminal Complaint filed in court this afternoon.

(Johnson is an employee of the Detention and Removal Operations within the Department of Homeland Security in Manhattan. He is not an ICE Special Agent.)

Arrested in addition to Johnson were Ernie Doyle, 27, of Queens, N.Y. and Kareem Middleton, 28, of Kissimmee, Fla. All three defendants made initial appearances this afternoon before U.S.
Magistrate Judge Mark Falk, who ordered each of them  detained without bail.

Each of the defendants is charged with conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, which carries a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in prison.

A confidential informant (CI) working with ICE agents met with Doyle and Johnson in August, at which time an impending cocaine shipment to Newark of between 40 and 60 kilograms was allegedly discussed. At a subsequent meeting on Sept. 7, Johnson told the CI and Middleton that he could sell 10 kilos of cocaine a week, and they discussed that kilos sold for between $26,000 and $30,000, according to the Complaint.

The defendants were under surveillance by agents when they first arrived at the garage Thursday night to “case” the garage. Agents were again watching inside and outside of the building when the defendants returned at approximately 3:50 a.m. today to allegedly steal what they believed would be genuine cocaine from a truck inside the garage.

After Johnson and Middleton took possession of approximately 50 kilos of what was in reality sham cocaine, they attempted to leave the garage, saw law enforcement officers moving in on
them and retreated back into the garage, according to the Complaint. Johnson then allegedly removed his government-issued service weapon and placed it in the garage before exiting the garage with Middleton and being arrested. The gun was immediately recovered. Doyle and another woman who were waiting in a car outside the garage were also arrested. The woman has not been charged.

U.S. District Court, State of New Jersey:  Criminal Complaint (Sept 11 2009)

The complete text of the criminal complaint is present at the end of this post.

NJ:  N.Y. federal immigration agent is charged in Newark cocaine shipment drug sting (Sept 2009)

A federal immigration agent suspected of robbing drug dealers, was arrested today during a pre-dawn sting at a Newark warehouse where he allegedly tried to steal what he believed was a 110-pound shipment of cocaine, authorities said.

Valentino Johnson, a 25-year-old rookie agent, was surrounded by federal agents and a State Police SWAT team after he and two others grabbed the fake narcotics from the sleeping compartment of a truck, authorities said  …  He and his co-defendants — Ernie Doyle, 27, of Queens, N.Y., and Kareem Middleton, 28, of Kissimmee, Fla. — were charged with conspiring to possess and distribute cocaine.

North Jersey:  Federal immigration agent charged in NJ drug sting (Sept 12 2009)

Valentino Johnson of Brooklyn, N.Y., works in the detention and removal operations unit of the Department of Homeland Security in Manhattan. His job status was unclear as of Friday night.  A federal magistrate ordered Johnson and co-defendants Ernie Doyle of Queens, N.Y., and Kareem Middleton of Kissimmee, Fla., held without bail. If convicted, they face at least 10 years in prison.

New York Post:  Fed nailed in drug plot (Sept 12 2009)

Valentino Johnson, 25, who works in the detention and removal operations unit of the Department of Homeland Security in Manhattan, was nabbed in a Newark parking garage.  There, he and two cohorts allegedly tried to steal what they thought was a shipment of cocaine from a truck.

U.S. Department of Justice Press Release:  Federal Immigration Officer Pleads Guilty to Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy  (June 16 2010)

A former federal Immigration Enforcement Agent pleaded guilty today to conspiring to steal a large quantity of cocaine from a purported drug dealer with the intent to distribute it, United States Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Valentino Johnson, 26, of Brooklyn, New York – who at the time of the offense was an agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Detention and Removal Operations in Manhattan – pleaded guilty to an Indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.

The hearing was held before United States District Judge William J. Martini. Johnson was permitted to continue on bail pending his sentencing, which is scheduled for October 13, 2010.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in Newark federal court:
Johnson admitted to entering into a conspiracy with Ernie Doyle and Kareem Middleton, who are also charged in the Indictment, and another individual who was an ICE confidential informant (the Informant), to steal what he believed to be a large quantity of cocaine from a Newark, New Jersey warehouse. Johnson admitted that, once he obtained the cocaine, he planned to sell or cause the drugs to be sold and the profits divided among the co-conspirators.

Johnson and his co-conspirators traveled to Newark on September 10, 2009, the day before the planned burglary, to inspect the warehouse, and returned on September 11, 2009, to steal the cocaine. Once they arrived at the warehouse, Middleton used bolt cutters to cut a lock on the gate leading to the premises and then to cut a lock on the door leading into the warehouse. Johnson and Middleton then entered the warehouse and unloaded what they believed to be kilograms of cocaine from a truck parked inside, while Doyle stood watch nearby.

Johnson, Middleton, and Doyle were arrested as part of an undercover investigation by Special Agents of ICE’s Office of Investigations in Newark. The Informant met with Doyle and Johnson in August, at which time an impending cocaine shipment to Newark of between 40 and 60 kilograms was discussed. At a subsequent meeting on Sept. 7, it was discussed that Johnson and Middleton could sell 10 kilos of cocaine a week and that kilograms of cocaine sold for between $26,000 and $30,000.

The charge to which Johnson pleaded guilty carries a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison, a statutory mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison, and a fine of up to $4 million. In determining an actual sentence, Judge Martini will consult the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, which provide appropriate sentencing ranges that take into account the severity and characteristics of the offense, the defendant’s criminal history, if any, and other factors, including acceptance of responsibility. The judge has discretion and is not bound by those guidelines in determining a sentence. Parole has been abolished in the federal system. Defendants who are given custodial terms must serve nearly all that time.

The charges against Middleton and Doyle are pending.

NJ:  Ex-N.Y. federal immigration agent admits plot to rob N.J. drug dealer (June 16 2010)

Valentino Johnson of Brooklyn pleaded guilty today in Newark to a federal charge of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.  Johnson, who worked in the detention and removal operations unit of the Department of Homeland Security in Manhattan, was arrested in September 2009 in a sting operation at a Newark garage.  He and two others allegedly tried to steal what they thought was a large cocaine shipment.

NJ:  Ex-immigration agent is sentenced to 10 years for Newark drug sting (Feb 2 2011)

A former federal immigration enforcement officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison today for conspiring to steal a shipment of cocaine that he planned to sell.  The sentencing of Valentino Johnson, 27, of Brooklyn, came two days after his co-conspirators were sentenced in a federal sting, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.  Johnson, a former agent with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, admitted he conspired with two other men to steal what they thought was 50 kilograms of cocaine from a Newark warehouse Sept. 11, 2009, authorities said. He also said he planned to sell the drug.

U.S. Department of Justice Press Release:  Former federal immigration enforcement officer sentenced to ten years in prison for cocaine trafficking conspiracy (Feb 2 2011)

A former federal agent was sentenced today to 120 months in prison for conspiring to steal 50 kilograms of cocaine from a purported drug dealer, with the intent to distribute the drugs, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Valentino Johnson, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was a former Immigration Enforcement Agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Detention and Removal Operations in Manhattan. His co-conspirators, Kareem Middleton, 30, a/k/a “Raymond,” of Kissimmee, Fla.; and Ernie Doyle, 29, a/k/a “Diz,” of Queens, N.Y., were each sentenced on January 31, 2011, to 51 months in prison. U.S. District Judge William J. Martini imposed the sentences in Newark federal court.

All three defendants previously pleaded guilty before Judge Martini to an Indictment charging them with conspiracy to distribute and to posses with intent to distribute cocaine.

According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Johnson, Middleton and Doyle admitted to agreeing with someone whom they now know to be an ICE confidential informant to steal what they believed to be 50 kilograms of cocaine from a Newark warehouse. They admitted that once the cocaine was obtained, it was to be sold and the profits divided between the co-conspirators.

Johnson, his co-conspirators and the informant traveled to Newark on Sept. 10, 2009, the day before the planned burglary, to inspect the warehouse. They returned the next day to steal the cocaine. Once they arrived at the warehouse, Middleton used bolt cutters to cut a lock on the gate leading to the premises and also cut a lock on the door leading into the warehouse. Johnson and Middleton entered the warehouse and unloaded what they believed to be 50 kilograms of cocaine from a truck parked inside while Doyle stood watch nearby. Authorities arrested the defendants at the scene.

In addition to the prison terms, Judge Martini sentenced each of the defendants to five years of supervised release.

Examiner:  A Previous Officer of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency was Jailed (Feb 2 2011)

A pervious agent of Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency was charged with planning a scheme in order to steal and sell “a shipment of cocaine.” Valentino Johnson, a young individual from Brooklyn, and a former officer was sent to prison for 10 years because of his involvement in the plot.

Text of the criminal indictment:

CRIMINAL COMPLAINT

Mag. No. 09-3695

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA v. VALENTINO JOHNSON, KAREEM MIDDLETON, and a/k/a “RAYMOND” ERNIE DOYLE a/k/a “DIZ”

I, the undersigned complainant, being duly sworn, state that the following is true and correct to the best of  my knowledge and belief. From at least in or about June 2009 through on or about September 11, 2009, in Essex  County, in the District of New Jersey and elsewhere, defendants VALENTINO JOHNSON, KAREEM  MIDDLETON, and ERNIE DOYLE did:

knowingly and intentionally conspire and agree with each other, and with others, to distribute and to possess with the intent to distribute 5 kilograms or more of cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance, contrary to Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(A).

In violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 846.

I further state that I am a Special Agent of the Department of Homeland Security, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and that this complaint is based on the following facts:

SEE ATTACHMENT A

continued on the attached page and made a part hereof

Michael Riley, Special Agent
United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Sworn to before me and subscribed in my presence,
September 11, 2009, at Newark, New Jersey
HONORABLE MARK FALK
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Signature of Judicial Officer

ATTACHMENT A

I, Michael Riley, a Special Agent of the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”), following an investigation, am aware of the following facts pertinent to this charge:

1. In or about June 2009, defendant ERNIE DOYLE approached an ICE confidential
informant (“CI”) and asked the CI in substance and in part whether the CI knew of anyone who had significant quantities of narcotics. DOYLE stated in substance and in part that he had associates who would pose as law enforcement agents and rob narcotics dealers. In coordination with law enforcement, the CI told DOYLE in substance and in part that the CI was aware of an impending shipment of narcotics to Newark, New Jersey.

2. On or about August 18, 2009, the CI met with DOYLE and defendant VALENTINO JOHNSON. During the meeting, JOHNSON identified himself as a law enforcement officer, showed the CI law enforcement credentials, passed a radio frequency transmission device over the CI’s person, and made the CI take the battery out of the CI’s mobile telephone. JOHNSON, DOYLE, and the CI then discussed an impending narcotics shipment to Newark, New Jersey.

[Note:  There is no paragraph #3.]

4. On September 7, 2009, in coordination with law enforcement, the CI met with
JOHNSON and defendant KAREEM MIDDLETON. During that meeting, the CI, JOHNSON and MIDDLETON discussed in substance and in part that a shipment of between 40 and 60 kilograms of cocaine would be arriving at a garage in Newark, New Jersey in the near future, that the narcotics would be hidden in a compartment within the sleeper cab of a truck, the possibility of using bolt cutters to gain entry to the garage, that JOHNSON could sell ten kilograms of cocaine per week, and that kilograms of cocaine were selling for between $26,000 and $30,000 per kilogram.

5. On September 10, 2009 at approximately 10:30 p.m., the CI, JOHNSON, MIDDLETON, and DOYLE drove in a silver Nissan Maxima to the Newark, New Jersey
garage. Law enforcement observed JOHNSON exit the Maxima, squeeze through a gap in the gate located near the garage, approach the garage, and inspect the lock on the side door to the garage. JOHNSON returned to the car and he, the CI, MIDDLETON, and DOYLE drove away.

6. On September 11, 2009, at approximately 3:50 a.m., law enforcement observed
JOHNSON and MIDDLETON drive up to the gate located near the garage in a silver Nissan Maxima driven by JOHNSON. Law enforcement observed a silver Lexus driven by an uncharged individual (the “UI”) with DOYLE in the passenger seat park nearby. Law enforcement observed MIDDLETON exit the Maxima, approach the gate, cut a padlock on the gate with bolt cutters, and get back into the car. Law enforcement observed JOHNSON and MIDDLETON drive through the gate and park the Maxima in an alley adjacent to the garage. Law enforcement observed JOHNSON walk back to the gate, close it, and lock it using a different padlock. Law enforcement observed JOHNSON and MIDDLETON approach the side door to the garage. Law enforcement observed MIDDLETON use the bolt cutters to cut a padlock on the side door, and JOHNSON and MIDDLETON enter the garage.

7. Once in the garage, law enforcement observed MIDDLETON open the door to
the truck and enter its sleeper cab. MIDDLETON opened a compartment within the sleeper cab and JOHNSON and MIDDLETON removed 50 kilograms of sham cocaine that was within the compartment.

8. Law enforcement approached the gate to the garage. Law enforcement observed
JOHNSON and MIDDLETON approach the interior side door to the garage, see law
enforcement at the gate, and go back inside the garage. Law enforcement observed JOHNSON remove his government issued firearm from its holster and place it next to the side door of the garage. JOHNSON and MIDDLETON exited the garage and were arrested. Law enforcement also took DOYLE and the UI into custody.

10. A search of the garage revealed JOHNSON’s government issued firearm. A
search of JOHNSON revealed a padlock and a receipt reflecting the purchase of two padlocks on September 11, 2009 at 12:45 a.m. on his person.

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