Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing
This week I announced the conviction of two members of the Ku Klux Klan for plotting the murder of a black inmate recently released from a Florida prison. A Columbia County jury found David Elliot Moran, 49, and Charles Thomas Newcomb, 45, guilty of one count each for conspiracy to commit first degree murder.
The convicted were arrested in 2015 along with defendant Thomas Jordan Driver, 27, following an investigation by members of the North Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force, led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Homeland Security Investigation, with assistance from additional federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The joint investigation revealed that the men unknowingly enlisted an FBI informant to kill a former inmate as retaliation for a prison fight. The murder plot was captured on recorded conversations between the subjects and the FBI informant.
At the time of the murder conspiracy, Driver and Moran were correctional officers for the Florida Department of Corrections, and Newcomb was a former correctional officer. In March 2017, Driver pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit murder and was sentenced to four years in prison. Moran and Newcomb will be sentenced in September. Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Cass Castillo and Chief Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Kelsey Bledsoe with Attorney General Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution prosecuted this case.
These Klansmen plotted to murder a black inmate after he was released from prison, but swift action and clever investigative tactics on behalf of investigators foiled their plot and may have saved a life. Hatred and violence have no place in civilized society. It is sickening that groups like this still exist in our state. I will continue to work with federal, state and local law enforcement to ensure Floridians and our visitors are safe.
Attorney General Bondi Leads Nationwide Effort to Amend Sex Trafficking Law
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and the District of Columbia Attorney General are leading a bi-partisan coalition of 50 attorneys general urging Congress to affirm that all law enforcement agencies retain their traditional authority to fight sex trafficking. In a letter to members of Congress, Attorney General Bondi called for an amendment of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 to clarify that states, localities and territories retain authority to investigate and prosecute online facilitators of child sex trafficking. The simple addition this letter proposes will help to ensure that citizens and children are effectively protected throughout the entire country, in all courts.
“Florida is a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking and we cannot let anything stop our pursuit of justice for victims of this horrific crime. That is why I am asking Congress to make this simple change to the Communications Decency Act and ensure local law enforcement and prosecutors have the tools they need to lock up human traffickers and save lives,” said Attorney General Bondi. More.
Fugitive Facing 375 Years in Prison Arrested After Years on the Run
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution announced the arrest of a man wanted in connection to drug diversion schemes after five years on the run. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Gil Hevia, 47, this week in Orlando.
Hevia is involved in a drug diversion enterprise operating in Florida, Puerto Rico and Texas, involving the buying and selling of more than $40 million in black market pharmaceuticals. These drugs included anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and HIV medications.
Additionally, Hevia is involved in a separate but similar multistate drug diversion ring that orchestrated the purchase of millions of dollars of medications on the black market. This criminal enterprise operated from Florida to Tennessee, Michigan, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey. The defendant purchased the black market drugs primarily from Medicaid recipients in Florida and New Jersey, and then resold the drugs to pharmacies in the Northeastern United States. More.
On Wednesday, Attorney General Pam Bondi joined Governor Rick Scott and fellow Cabinet members, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, for a the meeting of the Florida Governor and Cabinet in Tallahassee.
Attorney General Bondi, Governor Scott and Commissioner Putnam welcoming CFO Patronis to his first Cabinet meeting.
Attorney General Bondi introducing Benz, at the Florida Cabinet meeting. For more information on Benz and other rescue animals in the Tallahassee area, visit TalGov.com/Animals.
Attorney General Bondi bringing CFO Patronis a cake to welcome him the the Florida Cabinet.
Attorney General Bondi visiting with Reilly Stoner, an intern with Senator Marco Rubio’s Office who shadowed Attorney General Bondi during Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.
Attorney General Bondi presenting Craig Evan Rothburd with the 2017 Florida Bar Consumer Protection Lawyer of the Year award and thanking Craig for his commitment to serving and protecting consumers.