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Numerous Individuals Arrested in Multi-Agency Operation

FBI Omaha November 18, 2010
  • Public Affairs Specialist Sandy Breault (402) 492-3720

Weysan Dun, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Omaha Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced that 12 individuals are in custody as of the early morning hours today.

All of those arrested today were taken into custody at various locations in Grand Island, without incident, by members of the FBI Safe Streets Task Force. Federal charges include narcotics trafficking and firearms violations. State charges have also been filed, utilizing, for the first time, a new Nebraska state law intended to combat gang recruitment and association. The individuals arrested were:

Jose Espinoza, age 31, 1405 W. North Front Street, Grand Island
Luis Cruz, age 30, 417 E 5th Street, Grand Island
Joseph Pecor, age 24, 319 S. Walnut, #209, Grand Island
Hugo Galaviz, age 22, 518 E. Capital Avenue, Grand Island
Anthony Holroyd, age 20, 111 North Madison Street, Grand Island
Herman Pacheco, age 26, 409 E. 5th Street, Grand Island
Raymond Caseres, age 18, 1110 E. 6th Street, Grand Island
Gilbert Ontivernos, age 33, of Hall County
Jose Hernandez, age 32, 1204 N. Vine Street, Grand Island
Eddy Cervantes, age 24, 416 N. Wheeler, Grand Island
Ricky Amador, age 18, 519 E. 12th Street, Grand Island
Jose Alcorta, age 20, 415 South Cherry Street, #J54, Grand Island

Two of the charged individuals remain at large:

Adrian Casares, age 18, 1110 E. 6th Street, Grand Island
Andrew Esquitin, age 22, 139 Melody Lane, Grand Island

SAC Dun emphasized that it is important to remember that a subject is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due to process of law.

A total of 120 law enforcement officers participated in the arrests today to include the Federal Bureau of Investigation, ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Grand Island Police Department, Nebraska State Patrol, Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Aurora Police Department, Adams County Sheriff’s Office, Buffalo County Sheriff’s Office, Holdrege Police Department, Dawson County Sheriff’s Office, Hastings Police Department, Columbus Police Department, Kearney Police Department and Phelps County Sheriff’s Office.

SAC Weysan Dun praised today’s operation and the Safe Streets Task Force. “Thanks to the cooperation of the many federal, state and local law enforcement officers involved in this operation, today’s takedown has struck a significant blow against the drugs and violence in Grand Island. As a result of today’s takedown, and the accompanying seizure of drugs and firearms, Grand Island is a little bit safer. The arrests represent the FBI's pledge to combat violent gangs by applying federal resources to help clean up the drug trafficking and criminal activity in the Grand Island area. This coordinated effort is but one more solid step in the process of taking back our communities and giving young people the chance to make important life altering choices; alternatives to the often temporary gratification that membership in a gang offers.”

“Transnational gangs overrun some communities through fear, intimidation and ruthless acts of violence,” said Mike Feinberg, acting Special Agent in Charge of the ICE HSI. “The criminal enterprises these gangs represent destabilize our communities and our everyday lives. By working closely with our law enforcement partners, ICE targets these gang members to make communities safer nationwide.”

Steve Lamken, Grand Island’s Chief of Police thanked the FBI, HSI, Hall County, and the other agencies that have taken part in this effort. “This is something that the Grand Island Police Department would not have accomplished alone. This is an ongoing effort that has been a priority of our department and the Hall County Attorney’s Office for quite some time. We are fortunate to have the resources of HSI and the FBI as well as local and state agencies to continue to pursue criminal gangs. We are raising the stakes and will continue to pursue and prosecute criminal gang members.”

“I am extremely proud of the concerted effort, the tenacity and the diligence of those involved with the successful investigations and multiple arrests of those who wish to bring harm to our community. Let this be a message for those who may choose this path to keep looking over their shoulder. It is just a matter of time.” said Hall County Sheriff Jerry Watson.

Neil Miller, Buffalo County Sheriff acknowledged that “this operation was successful because all of the law enforcement agencies involved in this mission, worked together as a team to take these dangerous criminals off the street. This mission was excellent and the entire team deserves to be commended for a job well done and the impact it will have on a safer community.