Saturday, September 06, 2008

Federal Officer Charged with Trafficking in Exchange for Sexual Device

A federal officer was arrested Friday and charged with trafficking in undocumented immigrants in exchange for a sexual device, Cialis pills - used to treat erectile dysfunction - and $2,150 in cash.

A federal grand jury indicted U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection officer Guadalupe Garza, 64, on Sept. 2.

The indictment charges Garza with 13 counts of conspiracy to transport aliens, transporting them within the United States, bringing them into the country, and bribery.

Officials believe Garza was part of a conspiracy that moved the undocumented immigrants by vehicle or guided them on foot.

Court records show that another or other defendants might have been charged, but those documents remained sealed Friday.

The indictment notes that the activity took place from May 2007 through February 2008.

Garza appeared Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge B. Janice Ellington. She set a $25,000 cash bond.

Arraignment is set for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

At a glance:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection officer Guadalupe Garza, 64, indicted Sept. 2 by a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas.

>Count 1: conspiracy to transport aliens

>Counts 2-3: transporting aliens in the U.S.

>Counts 4-8: bringing aliens into the U.S.

>Counts 9-13: bribery

Penalty: For counts 1-3, up to five years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine: counts 4-8, from three to 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine; and for counts 9-13, up to 15 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine.

Source: U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas

Correction Officer James Gallichio Charged with Having Sex with Inmate


A corrections officer accused of having a five-month sexual relationship with an inmate at a Hunterdon County women's prison has been indicted on sexual assault and official misconduct charges, according to authorities.

James Gallichio, 24, of Clifton, a corrections officer at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Union Township, Hunterdon, is facing the second-degree charges after an unidentified inmate told investigators that she and Gallichio had a "mutual sexual relationship'' inside the prison, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Court papers state Gallichio got a cell phone so that the inmate could call him "numerous times throughout the day'' from her cottage, or unit, inside the facility. In all, police said they captured 894 phone calls between the two from November 2007 to March 2008.

Because the conversations were done over a recorded line, investigators said they heard the pair professing their love for one another and also taped Gallichio mentioning that he brought the inmate a "wand'' that "tells you something,'' according to court papers.

The inmate said Gallichio had brought the "wand,'' a code name for a pregnancy test, because she thought she was pregnant, according to investigators.

Gallichio was hired as a corrections officer in July 2006 and his yearly salary is $52,553, according to a state Department of Corrections spokesman.

As of today, Gallichio was listed as actively employed, although that could change pending his legal status, said the spokesman, Matthew Schuman.

Wrongly Accused Man May Sue


Jean Chery, the Polk County School bus driver who was mistaken by police for a fugitive with the same name, will meet with Florida Civil Rights Association lawyers Monday in Orlando, FCRA announced Saturday.

Chery said Saturday he was unsure whether to pursue legal action.

Haines City police officer Daniel Barnard arrested Chery on Aug. 26 after Chery approached him to ask a question.

Barnard ran Chery's name and discovered a warrant for Chery's arrest from New York City police. Chery spent a day and a half in jail before authorities determined he was not the New York Jean Chery and released him.

"The arrest and imprisonment of Jean Georges Chery of Polk County, Florida demostrates [sic] a clear and reckless act of sloppy police work," wrote FCRA president J. Willie David III in a news release.

David said Haines City police and the Polk County Sheriff's Office "deliberately ignored" facts about Chery that would have shown they had the wrong person.

Chery is a 45-year-old Haitian-born man with a wife and three children who has claimed to have never been to New York. He's lived in Florida for 17 years without a single arrest or traffic violation, Chery said, and passed an FBI background check before he was hired by the Polk County School Board in August 2007.

According to David, the Chery of New York is a white female wanted on a felony assault charge from Manhattan in 1997.

He said law enforcement could have avoided arresting Jean Chery of Haines City based on any number of comparisons, including the differences between each Chery's middle name, national origin, race/color, sex, age, birthdate, and address.

A Haines City police representative said Saturday no one would be available to speak to a reporter until Monday.

According to Donna Wood of the Polk County Sheriff's Office, the mistake originated from the national crime database, which listed Jean Chery of New York as a male.

Chery's arrest was questioned at book-in because another document out of New York City listed Chery as female, Wood said, but NYPD requested that Chery be held because the charge was a violent felony, and they wanted a fingerprint comparison.

After two attempts to get fingerprints from NYPD, Wood said, the Sheriff's Office determined Chery of Polk County was not their man, and released him from jail.

The problem had started Aug. 20, David said. After applying for a security guard license, Chery received a letter from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services explaining that they had conducted a background check and found criminal justice information that made Chery ineligible for licensure, David said. Chery said he learned about the warrant when he inquired about the letter, and was told to get copies of his fingerprints to clear his name.

When Chery stopped Barnard in the parking lot of Publix on 17-92 in Haines City on Aug. 26, he explained his situation and asked if it would be possible to get his fingerprints taken at the police station.

Barnard's incident report reads: "On the above date time and location I was flagged down by the suspect in reference to a legal question about a warrant he was told he has out of New York City, I then ran the suspect through FCIC/NCIC via dispatch and was advised that he did have a warrant and they wanted me to hold the suspect ... [sic]"

According to the report, Barnard noted that Chery's birth date was different from the birth date on the warrant. Nevertheless, NYPD wanted police to hold Chery until they could confirm his identity with fingerprints, the report said. Barnard arrested Chery.

In the FCRA news release, David described three more incidents after Chery's arrest.

On Aug. 29, David said, the Sheriff's Office charged Chery $39 to perform a fingerprint comparison with NYPD. Wood said the $39 was not for a comparison but was a standard book-in fee, and that Chery was reimbursed.

On Sept. 4, two deputies went to Chery's home and asked him to sign an agreement releasing the Sheriff's Office from liability.

David said Chery, whose first language is not English, was pressured to sign the document and accept a $500 check on behalf of Haines City police, the Sheriff's Office, Polk County commissioners and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. One of the deputies told Chery he needed to sign the form so the sheriff wouldn't think they took the check for themselves, David said.

Wood said David's statement is not true. The Sheriff's Office called Chery and asked to meet with him at his house. The two lieutenants who went to the house offered Chery an apology and a $500 settlement for his missed wages and the inconvenience of having been held. Chery declined the money, Wood said, but agreed to sign the waiver stating that he and the Sheriff's Office had reached an agreement. The School Board paid Chery his missed wages.

At 10 p.m. that night, another deputy went to Chery's home to deliver a letter stating Chery's prints were not the same as the fugitive Jean Chery from New York, David said. The deputy told Chery to keep the letter in case he was stopped by police.

"Mr. Chery told Lt. Henry and Lt. Williams that he was not upset with the Polk County Sheriff's Office and he was pleased with the extra phone calls and the fact that we treated him graciously. This settlement offer was made in good faith, and is standard agency policy - it was not deceptive, misleading, or coercive," Wood said in a statement.

Reached at home Saturday, Chery said he had not yet decided whether to file a lawsuit.

"I think they discriminated against me," Chery said.