Guzman, Miami Laundering Pesos: Operation Neymar

And so it continues the underworld of the cartels with money laundering through Miami.


22 face charges in Miami drug money-laundering ring involving ‘El Chapo’ cartel

Police say the sophisticated schemes moved millions of illegal profits to Colombia

The large-scale probe into the “black market peso exchange” is a first for state prosecutors

The arrests come amid global scrutiny on financial transactions, including in South Florida

MiamiHerald: A sophisticated ring of money launderers — with an array of pop cultural nicknames like “Tony Montana,” “Pitbull” and “Neymar” — has been busted on charges of sending untold millions in illegal cocaine profits to Colombia using nearly a dozen businesses in Miami-Dade.

Miami-Dade authorities announced arrest warrants for 22 people believed to have worked in a scheme that included the suspected chief money launderer for the Mexican drug cartel headed by notorious kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

The wide-reaching probe into the so-called “black market peso exchange” — which involved monitoring deals in 17 countries — is the first such case to be filed in Miami-Dade state court, and offers the most recent window into the drug-fueled underground lending system that law enforcement authorities believe props up hundreds of South Florida businesses.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle talks about the disruption of an international money-laundering ring during a press conference, Thursday on Operation Neymar.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle talks about the disruption of an international money-laundering ring during a press conference, Thursday on Operation Neymar. DANIEL BOCK FOR THE MIAMI HERALD
A chart from the press conference held by Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle showing how an international money-laundering ring works.

A chart from the press conference held by Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle showing how an international money-laundering ring works. DANIEL BOCK FOR THE MIAMI HERALD

“They use Miami’s strong international economy as the actual funnel of all of their international money-laundering operations,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told reporters at a press conference on Thursday. ‘We are surely the global hub for money laundering.”

Three people were arrested in Miami this week, while another major player has been jailed in Cali, Colombia, to await extradition to the United States. One more was arrested in Boston. In all, 18 people — most remain fugitives — will be tried in Miami-Dade, with the rest being tried in other U.S. cities.

The two-year probe — dubbed Operation Neymar because one suspect used the name of the Brazilian soccer star and other players as his aliases — was conducted by agents from the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, Miami-Dade police and state prosecutors. As part of the investigation, undercover agents laundered a “small fraction” of drug proceeds to build evidence against the group, prosecutors said.

The operation stands in stark contrast to the now disgraced and disbanded money-laundering sting unit run by Bal Harbour Police, which by 2012 had laundered millions for cartels but never made any arrests.

The arrests also come as the “Panama Papers” and other investigations have put intense scrutiny on financial shenanigans in South Florida real estate — leading the County Commission to pass a resolution this week asking the federal government to stop singling out Miami as a hub for money laundering.

Prosecutors say Operation Neymar — which netted more than $1 million in seized drug cash — proves that major drug money laundering is still thriving in Miami.

According to them, one of the major players in the group was Mexican Sinaloa Cartel member Juan Manuel Alvarez Inzunza, 34, who was arrested by Mexican authorities last month. He is suspected of laundering billions of dollars of drug proceeds.

He is now awaiting extradition to the United States, where he will first stand trial on federal charges in San Diego. For now, he has not been charged in the Miami-Dade case.

The two big players being charged are suspected money-laundering brokers for the cartel in Cali, Colombia: Ivan Alfredo Castro Santana and Ivan Andres Lizarazo Mendoza, who was nearly kidnapped and killed by the Colombian cartel after police in Miami seized $200,000 in drug money.

They are being charged with racketeering and money laundering. Lizarazo’s sister in Miami, Sidia Milady Lizarazo Mendoza, is also accused of money laundering and is now being held on a $1 million bond in a Miami-Dade jail.

Prosecutors say the group used throwaway Blackberry phones, employing ever-changing pass codes that, in English, seem nonsensical. One example: “Con mollo departe del panzon” – or “with the dark-skinned one, on behalf of the potbellied.”

To unravel the money-laundering operation — which was washing about $1 million a month — investigators used wiretaps, surveillance, reviews of thousands of financial transactions and cooperation from informants, according to an arrest warrant by HSI agent Charles Thomas, Miami-Dade Detective Jonathan Santana and prosecutor Jared Nixon.

Money laundering, of course, is nothing new in South Florida. And while drugs don’t flow into the United States through Florida in the volume they did in the 1980s, Miami remains the main hub for laundering the illicit profits.

The reason: So many businesses here, particularly in Doral, do business with Colombia. In April 2015, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a warning to 700 Miami businesses believed to be involved in laundering drug money.

According to law enforcement, the black-market peso exchange requires a number of steps to launder drug proceeds.

The Mexican cartels use credit to buy loads of cocaine from their counterparts in Colombia. The drugs are smuggled into the United States, then routed to cities across the country where they are sold to dealers who peddle them to users.

The resulting millions in drug dollars, temporarily stored in “stash houses,” must then be converted to pesos for the Colombian cartel.

So the cartel employs a money broker know as the primera mano, or first hand, who arranges to buy U.S. dollars in exchange for a cut of the proceeds. He, in turn, puts out a “bid” — all arranged through covert Blackberry text messages — for sub-brokers willing to buy the dollars.

Sub-brokers then turn to Colombian businesses that need U.S. dollars to buy goods or services from the United States. For those businesses — say a Bogotá electronics store needing to buy U.S. cellphones — it’s way cheaper to buy dollars from the black market than through official Colombian channels that charge high exchange rates, plus hefty taxes and fees.

A Bogotá business might place an order with a Miami distributor for a load of phones, makeup or textiles, telling them their payment will arrive via a wire transfer from an unnamed “third party.”

“If as a business you are receiving funds or interacting with third parties that are alien to your business transaction, you’re in the middle of a black-market scheme,” said John Tobon, South Florida’s HSI Deputy Special Agent in Charge.

Investigators believe most Miami companies involved in the black-market peso exchange have a general idea of what’s going on — but ask no questions. In Operation Neymar, prosecutors identified, but did not charge, 11 local businesses, including M2 Wireless of Doral, Dis Cells Corporation of Miami Beach and Hair and Accessories of Opa-locka.

“Pick-up crews” are hired to get the cash from couriers, always in mundane public spots, the money stuffed in shopping bags, backpacks or shoe boxes. In the newly charged case, some of the pick-up spots included a Starbucks in Doral, a  parking lot at the Dolphin Mall and a Dunkin’ Donuts in New Jersey, prosecutors said.

The next step: The pick-up crew begins depositing the cash into a “funnel” bank account, all in small increments to avoid attention from law enforcement. Those accounts then wire the money to the Miami business, which in turn sends its goods such as cellphones to the Colombian business.

Back in Colombia, that legitimate business pays back its pesos to the brokers, who can finally pass the money to the cartel.


Facebook’s Selective Censorship? Closed Groups….

Primer: Facebook owns WhatsApp.

Even more curious the New York Times did the study and provided the results to Facebook…Zuckerberg, what say you?

Facebook Groups Act as Weapons Bazaars for Militias

NYT: A terrorist hoping to buy an antiaircraft weapon in recent years needed to look no further than Facebook, which has been hosting sprawling online arms bazaars, offering weapons ranging from handguns and grenades to heavy machine guns and guided missiles.

The Facebook posts suggest evidence of large-scale efforts to sell military weapons coveted by terrorists and militants. The weapons include many distributed by the United States to security forces and their proxies in the Middle East. These online bazaars, which violate Facebook’s recent ban on the private sales of weapons, have been appearing in regions where the Islamic State has its strongest presence.

This week, after The New York Times provided Facebook with seven examples of suspicious groups, the company shut down six of them.

The findings were based on a study by the private consultancy Armament Research Services about arms trafficking on social media in Libya, along with reporting by The Times on similar trafficking in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

A seller based in Tripoli, Libya, offered components of a man-portable antiaircraft defense system, or Manpads, in a closed Facebook group. Credit Armament Research Services

1. The Weapons Have Included Heavy Machine Guns and Heat-Seeking Missiles

Many sales are arranged after Facebook users post photographs in closed and secret groups; the posts act roughly like digital classified ads on weapons-specific boards. Among the weapons displayed have been heavy machine guns on mounts that are designed for antiaircraft roles and that can be bolted to pickup trucks, and more sophisticated and menacing systems, including guided anti-tank missiles and an early generation of shoulder-fired heat-seeking antiaircraft missiles.

Last year ARES said it had documented an offer on Facebook to sell an SA-7 gripstock (pictured above), the reusable centerpiece of a man-portable antiaircraft defense system, or Manpads, a weapon of the Stinger class. Many of these left Libyan state custody in 2011, as depots were raided by rebels and looters. ARES said it documented Libyan sellers claiming to have two complete SA-7s for sale, two additional missiles and three gripstocks. An old system, SA-7s are a greater threat to helicopters and commercial aircraft than to modern military jets.

Machine guns, rifles and a shotgun advertised on Facebook groups in Libya.

2. Others Are the Standard Arms of Militant and Terrorist Groups

Machine guns and missiles form a small fraction of the apparent arms trafficking on Facebook and other social media apps, according to Nic R. Jenzen-Jones, the director of ARES and an author of the report. Examinations by The Times of Facebook groups in Libya dedicated to arms sales showed that sellers sought customers for a much larger assortment of handguns and infantry weapons. The rifles have predominantly been Kalashnikov assault rifles, which are used by many militants in the region, and many FN FAL rifles, which are common in Libya.

All of these solicitations violate Facebook’s policies, which since January has forbidden the facilitation of private sales of firearms and other weapons, according to Monika Bickert, a former federal prosecutor who is responsible for developing and enforcing the company’s content standards.

Images from Facebook groups selling weapons in Iraq.

3. Weapons Sales Greased by Social Media Sites Have Become a Feature of Many Conflicts

The use of social media for arms sales is relatively new to Libya. Until a Western-backed uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011, which ended in his death at the hands of an armed mob, the country had a tightly restricted arms market and limited Internet access. But social media-based weapons markets in Libya are not unique. Similar markets exist in other countries plagued in recent years by conflict, militant groups and terrorism, including arms-sales Facebook groups in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

On Monday, The Times shared links for seven such groups with Facebook to check whether they violated the rules. By Tuesday, Facebook had taken down six of the groups. Ms. Bickert said that one Facebook group — which displayed photographs of weapons but only discussed them and expressly forbade sales — had survived the company’s scrutiny.


Online weapons markets in Iraq and Libya.

4. Facebook’s Rules on Arms Sales Are Related to Changes in How Facebook Is Used.

Ms. Bickert described the company’s policies as evolutionary, reflecting shifts in its social media ecosystem.

“When Facebook began, there was no way to really engage in commerce on Facebook,” she said. But in the past year, she noted, the company has allowed users to process payments through its Messenger service, and has added other features to aid sales. “Since we were offering features like that, we thought we wanted to make clear that this is not a site that wants to facilitate the private sales of firearms.”


A Facebook user in Syria shared an image of Islamic State fighters.

5. Facebook Relies on Users to Report the Arms Trafficking It Bans

Ms. Bickert said the most important part of Facebook’s effort “to keep people safe” was to make it easy for users to notify the company of suspected violations, which can be done with a click on the “Report” feature on every Facebook post.

In this way so-called Community Operations teams — Facebook employees who review the reports in dozens of languages — can examine and remove offending content. How effective the policy is, in practice, is unclear. Several groups from which the photographs for this article were downloaded operated on Facebook for two years or more, accumulating thousands of members before Facebook announced its ban on arms sales.

This trafficking occurred in countries where the Islamic State is at its most active and where armed militias or other designated terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda, have a persistent presence. In all four countries, government forces do not control large areas of territory and civil society is under intense pressure. Christine Chen, a Facebook spokeswoman, said the company relied on the nearly 1.6 billion people who visit the site every month to flag offenders. “We urge everyone who sees violations to report them to us,” she said.

Pistols have been widely sold and sought on Facebook in Libya.

6. In Libya, Widespread Pistol Sales on Facebook

ARES has documented many types of buyers and sellers. These include private citizens seeking handguns as well as representatives of armed groups buying weapons that require crews to be operated effectively, or appearing to offload weapons that the militias no longer wanted. Different markets have different characteristics. In Libya, fear of crime seemed to drive many people to buy pistols, Mr. Jenzen-Jones said. “Handguns are disproportionately represented,” he said. “They are widely sought after — primarily for self-defense and particularly to protect against carjackings — with many prospective buyers placing ‘wanted’ posts.” They were also expensive, ranging from about $2,200 to more than $7,000 — a sign that demand outstrips supply.

Military weapons originating in the United States have been sold through Facebook groups in Iraq.

7. Weapons Provided to Allies in Iraq Have Filled Facebook Sales Pages

In Iraq, the Facebook arms bazaars can resemble inside looks at the failures of American train-and-equip programs, with sellers displaying a seemingly bottomless assortment of weapons provided to Iraq’s government forces by the Pentagon during the long American occupation. Those include M4 carbines, M16 rifles, M249 squad automatic weapons, MP5 submachine guns and Glock semiautomatic pistols. Many of the weapons shown still bear inventory stickers and aftermarket add-ons favored by American forces and troops.

Such weapons have long been available on black markets in Iraq, with or without advertising on social media. But Facebook and other social media companies seem to provide new opportunities for sellers and buyers to find one other easily; for sellers to display items to more customers; and for customers to peruse and haggle over a larger assortment of weapons than what is available in smaller, physical markets.

A TOW launcher, a wire-guided anti-tank missile system, was advertised on a Facebook group in Syria with this message: “There is a TOW launcher, brand new, whoever wants it should contact us via private messages or WhatsApp.”

8. In Syria, Weapons Identical to Those Distributed to Rebels by the United States Are Offered for Sale

Similarly, weapons identical to those provided by the United States to Syrian rebels have also been traded on Facebook and other social media or messaging apps. In one recent example, a seller in northern Syria — who identified himself as a student, photographer and sniper — offered a pristine-looking Kalashnikov assault rifle that he said came from the Hazm Movement, which received weapons from the United States before the movement was defeated by the Nusra Front, a Qaeda affiliate. He noted on Facebook that the rifle was new and had “never fired a shot,” and hinted of either a bonus gift or a discount.


Obama Claims a New Power, Illegals Benefit

Obama Claims Power to Make Illegal Immigrants Eligible for Social Security, Disability

Jeffrey/CNS: Does the president of the United States have the power to unilaterally tell millions of individuals who are violating federal law that he will not enforce that law against them now, that they may continue to violate that law in the future and that he will take action that makes them eligible for federal benefit programs for which they are not currently eligible due to their unlawful status?

Through Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, President Barack Obama is telling the Supreme Court exactly this right now.

The solicitor general calls what Obama is doing “prosecutorial discretion.”

He argues that under this particular type of “prosecutorial discretion,” the executive can make millions of people in this country illegally eligible for Social Security, disability and Medicare.

On April 18, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case. Entitled United States v. Texas, it pits President Obama against not only the Lone Star State, but also a majority of the states, which have joined in the litigation against the administration.

At issue is the policy the administration calls Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, which would allow aliens in this country illegally who are parents of citizens or lawful permanent residents to stay in the United States.

“The Executive Branch unilaterally created a program — known as DAPA — that contravenes Congress’s complex statutory framework for determining when an alien may lawfully enter, remain in, and work in the country,” the attorney general and solicitor general of Texas explained in a brief submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of the states seeking to block the policy.

“DAPA would deem over four million unlawfully present aliens as ‘lawfully present’ and eligible for work authorization,” says the Texas brief. “And ‘lawful presence’ is an immigration classification established by Congress that is necessary for valuable benefits, such as Medicare and Social Security.”

In the administration’s brief, the solicitor general admits that the president’s DAPA program does not convert people illegally in the United States into legal immigrants. He further asserts that the administration at any time can decide to go ahead and remove these aliens from the country.

“Deferred action does not confer lawful immigration status or provide any defense to removal,” he says. “An alien with deferred action remains removable at any time and DHS has absolute discretion to revoke deferred action unilaterally, without notice or process.”

Despite this, he argues, the administration can authorize aliens here illegally on “deferred action” to legally work in the United States.

“Without the ability to work lawfully, individuals with deferred action would have no way to lawfully make ends meet while present here,” says the administration’s brief.

Nonetheless, the solicitor general stresses that “deferred action” does not make an illegal immigrant eligible for federal welfare.

“In general,” he says, “only ‘qualified’ aliens are eligible to participate in federal public benefit programs, and deferred action does not make an alien ‘qualified.’… Aliens with deferred action thus cannot receive food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, temporary aid for needy families, and many other federal benefits.”

But, he says, aliens here illegally with deferred action will be eligible for “earned-benefit programs.”

“A non-qualified alien is not categorically barred, however, from participating in certain federal earned-benefit programs associated with lawfully working in the United States — the Social Security retirement and disability, Medicare, and railroad-worker programs — so long as the alien is ‘lawfully present in the United States as determined by the (Secretary),'” says the solicitor general.

The “secretary” here is the secretary of Homeland Security.

“An alien with deferred action is considered ‘lawfully present’ for these purposes,” says the solicitor general.

So, as explained to the Supreme Court by Obama’s solicitor general, when DHS grants an alien here illegally “deferred action” under the president’s DAPA policy, that alien is not given “lawful immigration status” and can be removed from the country “at any time.” However, according to the solicitor general, that alien will be authorized to work in the United States and will be “considered ‘lawfully present'” for purposes of being eligible for “the Social Security retirement and disability, Medicare, and railroad-worker programs.”

The U.S. Constitution imposes this straightforward mandate on the president: “(H)e shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

When the Supreme Court agreed in January to hear U.S. v. Texas, it made a telling request. It asked the parties to argue whether Obama’s DAPA policy “violates the Take Care Clause of the Constitution.”

The Obama administration has taken care of just one thing here: It has constructed a convoluted — and unconvincing argument — it hopes will provide the activists on the Supreme Court with a cover story to explain why this president need not faithfully execute the nation’s immigration laws.


Obama Commuting Sentences, Take Away his Pen

I am not too sure we should be surprised, this is a global mission of Barack Obama for terrorists and state sponsors of terror like Cuba and Iran. There are no consequences and following law much less treaties is something Obama is loathe to do. He simply uses his pen to sign clemency notifications or waivers.

BaltimoreSun: President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of 61 drug offenders on Wednesday including more than a third serving life sentences, working to give new energy to calls for overhauling the U.S. criminal justice system.

All of the inmates are serving time for drug possession, intent to sell or related crimes. Most are nonviolent offenders, although a few were also charged with firearms violations. Obama’s commutation shortens their sentences, with most of the inmates set to be released on July 28.

Obama, in a letter to the inmates receiving commutations, said the presidential power to grand commutations and pardons “embodies the basic belief in our democracy that people deserve a second chance after having made a mistake in their lives that led to a conviction under our laws.”

In a bid to call further attention to the issue, Obama planned to meet Wednesday with people whose sentences were previously commuted under Obama or Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The White House said the former inmates would share their experiences about the challenges of re-entering society after incarceration.

One of the inmates, Jesse Webster of Chicago, is serving a life term for intent to sell cocaine and filing false tax returns. Another, Byron McDade of Bowie, Md., got 27 years for cocaine-related charges as well. In both cases, judges in the cases later said publicly it was too harsh, though sentencing guidelines often prevent judges from being more lenient. Webster and McDade will both be released later this year.


He is not stopping either.

Politico: White House promises to speed up clemency program

White House Counsel Neil Eggleston rebutted critics who’ve questioned whether the administration is truly committed to its clemency initiative.

Obama has commuted the sentences of 248 federal prisoners, mostly low-level drug offenders affected by mandatory minimum drug sentences, including 61 on Wednesday. While that’s more than the past six presidents combined, the pace of commutations since the Justice Department announced its clemency initiative two years ago has disappointed advocates. The White House has promised to pick up the pace, but so far, acceleration has been halting. That’s about to change, Eggleston said on Friday at a POLITICO Playbook Breakfast.

“No more eating, sleeping or drinking until we get all these commutations done,” Eggleston recalled telling his staff after Obama met on Wednesday with people who’d had their sentences commuted in the past.

So far, Obama’s commutations have come in batches released every few months. December’s was the biggest set to date, at 95. At that time, too, administration officials promised more speed. On Friday, Eggleston said he believes the “infrastructure is now very much in place” to file and process clemency petitions.

“You’re going to start seeing a lot more very quickly,” Eggleston said. “I think you’re going to start seeing them on a more regular basis. I did want to get a little out of the notion that each one had to be more than the one before because that’s sort of an artificial floor.”

Despite interest from tens of thousands of prisoners, it has turned out there aren’t so many federal prisoners who meet the initiative’s strict criteria for clemency, which include serving for at least 10 years and strong standards for nonviolence.

The Clemency Project 2014, a coalition of volunteer lawyers, said it has reviewed 30,000 requests for clemency and filed nearly 600 petitions, with another 100 nearing completion. (So far, most of Obama’s commutations did not originate with the Clemency Project, but their petitions are making up an increasingly substantial percentage of the total, and Eggleston praised their efforts on Friday.)

Eggleston also directly responded to complaints lodged by former Pardon Attorney, Deborah Leff, whose January resignation letter was obtained by USA Today.

Leff complained that her office did not have enough resources to fulfill the goals of the clemency initiative and that she did not have access to the White House counsel’s office.

“The pardon attorney’s office has a little more resources, which is good, and I have regular dealings with the pardon attorney directly, so to the extent that Ms. Leff was complaining about that, that was solved. Actually, it was solved before she left,” Eggleston said. “And so I think that we’re moving forward in a pretty good way here.”

Eggleston also rejected “out of hand” an argument — floated most recently in a New York Times editorial — that there can’t be meaningful pardon reform until that agency is moved out of the Department of Justice, because federal prosecutors are trained to put people in jail, not get them out.

“They’re quite committed to this,” Eggleston said of Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and the acting pardon attorney, Robert Zauzmer.

“I was a prosecutor in the Southern District of New York in the 1980s, prosecuted a lot of drug crimes,” Eggleston said, “and I’m quite committed to this also.”

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Unlicensed Foreign National Drivers Kill, Major Study

There is something called the ‘victims fund’ which Barack Obama and the Department of Justice have distributed funds that will shock you. Bet none of the victims below received a dime much less any recognition.

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC), one of the seven components within the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), administers the Crime Victims Fund established under the 1984 Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) to help victims and victim service providers with program funding in accordance with OVC’s Program Plan for the fiscal year.


After His Son Was Killed by Unlicensed Immigrant Driver, Dad Spent Years Compiling Data. He ‘Was Stunned at What’ He Found. (Hallowell)

Blaze/FNC: Since Drew Rosenberg was run over and killed while riding his motorcycle in San Francisco, California, on Nov. 16, 2010, by an unlicensed immigrant who reportedly came to the U.S. illegally, Drew’s father, Don, has been looking for answers.

Considering the manner in which his 25-year-old son tragically died, Rosenberg, 63, has set out on a mission to try and find out how many people die each year as a result of unlicensed drivers, launching a nonprofit to explore the issue called Unlicensed to Kill.

“I was stunned at what I found,” Rosenberg wrote on his website. “Not only were unlicensed drivers killing people in numbers only exceeded by drunk drivers, but many times they were barely being punished and many times faced no charges at all.”


He continued: “There are two different kinds of unlicensed drivers. There are those who have never been issued a license and those whose licensed has been suspended, revoked or expired. Over 90% of those who have never been issued a license are in this country illegally.”

Rosenberg estimates that 7,500 Americans die each year due to unlicensed drivers and that more than half of those deaths are caused by illegal immigrants. Rosenberg published his findings on his organization’s website.

But tabulating those numbers is quite difficult and ends up yielding mere estimates due to the fact that immigration statuses aren’t reported when it comes to highway deaths. Rosenberg has spent a great deal of time going through the data in an effort to parse out the stats.

Drew Rosenberg was killed by an unlicensed immigrant in 2010 (Unlicensed to Kill/Don Rosenberg)

Drew Rosenberg was killed by an unlicensed immigrant in 2010 (Unlicensed to Kill/Don Rosenberg)

“I’ve learned over time that many jurisdictions do not cite license status or immigration status when reporting these statistics, so if anything, the numbers are understated,” he told Fox News. “For example, San Francisco doesn’t report either criteria, so Drew’s death defaults to having been killed by a licensed driver who was a citizen.”

On the Unlicensed to Kill website, Rosenberg described the circumstances surrounding his son’s tragic death, noting the immediate information that he said authorities gave his family the day after the accident back in 2010.

“The next morning we met with the police inspector on the case. He told us that the driver of the car, Roberto Galo was unlicensed, in the country illegally and after killing Drew tried to flee the scene,” Rosenberg wrote. “A few days later the inspector called to tell us there was a mistake and Galo was in the country legally.”

The Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank, identified Galo as being from Honduras in a 2013 article on the matter, noting that the man was eventually arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs enforcement.


“Galo is an illegal immigrant who has been living here legally since the late 1990s under a grant of Temporary Protected Status (TPS). Beneficiaries of TPS may apply for driver’s licenses; but Galo could not get one because he failed the driving test three times,” wrote Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies.

TPS allows for some immigrants to remain in the U.S. “due to conditions in the country that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.” The status is granted to some nationals of those countries “who are already in the United States.”

The situation surrounding Galo’s purported immigration status was complex, though Fox News reported that he was eventually deported in 2013 following years of legal wrangling.