From ICE agents testimony of blackmail and “Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law” against Kulla
ICE agents testimony of blackmail and “Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law” against Kulla
I, James Panos, being duly sword depose, say and provide the following information (obtained by me unless otherwise noted):
I am a Special Agent employed with the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Legacy U.S. Customs Service) since June, 1987 and currently assigned to the Office of Professional Responsibility. I have received extensive training in the interpretation and application of federal statutes, federal court proceedings and techniques to insure the admissibility of evidence at the time of trial. I am familiar with the information contained in this affidavit from information provided to me in the form of written and oral reports and discussions with other agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), computer experts, and public source information available on the Internet.
This affidavit is offered in support of:
1) A criminal complaint and arrest warrant for BEDRI KULLA for violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242, Deprivation of Civil Rights under Color of Law, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 873, Blackmail;
2) An application for a search warrant for the person and cellular telephone (assigned telephone number 703/400-2343) of KULLA;
3) An application for a search warrant for the residence (403 Adelaide Drive, Morrisville, Durham County, North Carolina) of KULLA;
4) An application for a search warrant for the contents of the Univision.com accounts of KULLA (user names bogota9772, b9772, and bedri9772);
5) An application for a search warrant for the contents of the MyWay.com account of KULLA (user name b9772); and
6) An application for a search warrant for the contents of the Inbox.com account of KULLA (user name puravida9772).
As set forth herein, there is probable cause to believe that Bedri KULLA has committed violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242, Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 873, Blackmail, and that there is probably cause to believe that, on his person and in his cellular telephone, residence, and accounts at Univision.com, MyWay.com, and Inbox.com, there is evidence of and property designed for use, intended for use, and used in committing such violations.
Relevant Legal Authority
Background Regarding Computers, the Internet, and E-Mail
For the reasons forth below, Affiant submits that there is probable cause to believe that Bedri KULLA has, under color of law, threatened and blackmailed an alien with deportation if she would not engage in a relationship with him, including spending the night at his apartment, and followed through on the threat by attempting to cause a deportation officer to take action against the alien, in violation of the above-cited statutes. Moreover, because KULLA committed these offenses by using his cellular telephone and by using a computer in his residence to send e-mails, Affiant submits that there is probable cause to believe that KULLA’s person, cellular telephone, residence, and accounts with Univision.com, MyWay.com, and Inbox.com contain evidence of and property used in committing the violations.
On April 16, 2009, Senior Special Agent (SSA) Elizabeth Fernandez, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Raleigh, North Carolina, learned that Ms. Xiomara Blanco had reported to local law enforcement officials that she was being harassed by an individual known to her only as “Bedri.”
On April 22, 2009, SSA Fernandez conducted an interview with Ms. Blanco, who stated she initially began corresponding with “Bedri” via the Univision.com social networking website sometime in January 2009.
During the course of this investigation, I have learned the following information about Unvisions.com:
Ms. Blanco provided SSA Fernandez printed screen copies of messages sent to her by “Bedri” through Univision.com. Affiant has reviewed those messages, which all contain an embedded photograph of a male (later identified as KULLA) above the words “Sterling, VA / Raleigh, NC,” the user name “b9772”, and the date and time of the message. In addition, Ms. Blanco permitted agents to examine the contents of her cellular telephone, which examination confirmed information Ms. Blanco provided about text message sent to her by “Bedri.”
On January 16, 2009, “Bedri” sent Ms. Blanco a message via Univision.com with the message “please send me your foto to my email email@example.com did you see my profile and my fotos I wait Bedri”.
On January 29, 2009, “Bedri” sent Ms. Blanco an e-mail message viaUnivision.com providing his cellular telephone number, 703/400-2343, and requesting that they meet for coffee. Ms. Blanco responded that she would call and indicated she spoke little English.
Between January 30, 2009, and February 21, 2009, “Bedri” sent Ms. Blanco seven additional e-mail messages via Univision.com requesting that she call him and asking why she had not called.
On or about Wednesday, March 4, 200, Ms. Blanco met “Bedri” for the first time face to face at the Streets at Southpointe Mall in Durham, North Carolina. According to Ms. Blanco, when they met, “Bedri” displayed a wallet containing a badge and told her he worked for “Immigration.”
Ms. Blanco advised SSA Fernandez that “Bedri” stated he knew people like her wanted to get married to obtain papers (commonly understood to mean documents authorizing one to remain in the United States) and told her words to the effect that he had worked in Virginia deporting people. He asked her to write her full name on a piece of paper, which she did, and advised that he was going to look her up in the computer. He also asked her if she had papers to be in the United States.
During this meeting, “Bedri” advised Ms. Blanco that he was looking for serious relationship and wanted her to be his girlfriend. She replied she would have to get to know him first, but he claimed that was not the way relationships worked in the United States.
The next day, “Bedri” arrived with flowers at Ms. Blanco’s place of employment, a restaurant in Durham, North Carolina. “Bedri” was aware she worked at the restaurant because she had provided that information to him during their initial online Univision.com e-mail messages. Ms. Blanco reported that “Bedri” showed her pieces of paper which had her name and other identifying information regarding her and her family and references to deportation on it. He also stated they would see each other again the upcoming Sunday.
Afterwards, “Bedri” sent Ms. Blanco a text message asking if she would spend Sunday night at his apartment and then go to work from there on Monday. After Ms. Blanco advised “Bedri” she was not going to his apartment, he began sending her harassing text messages to her telephone and e-mail messages through the Unvision.com website.
On March 30, 2009, at 10:57 A.M., “Bedri” sent Ms. Blanco an e-mail message via Univision.com stating “You need talk with me, why are like this with me? What do you want. You know you have a deportation order you do not have much choice, so talk with me? Bedri”.
On April 2, 2009, at 11:49 P.M., “Bedri” sent Ms. Blanco an e-mail message via Univision.com with the subject line “you need talk to me you have deportation (sic) order do n” and stating in the body of the message “call me and set up a meeting with me. You have deportation (sic) order and you should not avoid talking with me? Think smart Bedri”.
On April 3, 2009, at 9:56 P.M., “Bedri” sent Ms. Blanco an e-mail message via Univision.com with the subject line “contact me or I will send immigration to your work” with only the name “Bedri” in the body of the message.
On April 6, 2009, at 12:25 A.M., “Bedri” sent Ms. Blanco an e-mail message via Univision.com with the subject line “okay you no contact me then I send ICE for you at” with only the name “Bedri” in the body of the message.
ICE is an acronym for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the part of the United States Department of Homeland Security, which is tasked with enforcing immigration laws and regulations.
On April 7, 2009, at 6:55 A.A., “Bedri” sent Ms. Blanco an e-mail message via Univision.com with the subject line “XIOMARA contact me i give you till Friday for call” and stating the body of the message “or I will send ICE to your work, you need contact me as your situation is serious. Do not ignore my message and contact me. If you no want ICE come to your work contact me soon by Friday.”
On April 11, 2009, at 10:00 A.M., “Bedri” sent Ms. Blanco an e-mail message via Univision.com with the subject line “Read Careful” and stating in the body of the message that they will come today but one day they will come and you will be send (sic) back to your country deported. Take this serious and call me if you do not want that this happens to you. Think serious as I am not lying to you but it is the truth. You have my number call”.
Between April 11, 2009, and April 17, 2009, “Bedri” sent three more e-mail messages via Univision.com indicating that Ms. Blanco should take his messages seriously.
On April 17, 2009 at 12:05 A.M., “Bedri” sent Ms. Blanco an email message via Univision.com with the subject line “I gave you chance Xiomara now its too late” and stating in the body of the message “enjoy your trip to your country”.
On April 22, 2009, at the direction of SSA Fernandez, Ms. Blanco responded via Unvision.com to “Bedri”’s April 17, 2009 message indicating she had not responded to his prior messages because she had been ill and in the hospital. She referred to his statement regarding her deportation and asked what he wanted. “Bedri” responded via Unvision.com that he was in Dallas, Texas, and for Ms. Blanco to plan on meeting with him Sunday, May 10, 2009, when he returned.
Ms. Blanco responded via Univision.com asking again what he wanted; “Bedri” replied he wanted to see her and talk with her. Ms. Blanco responded via Univision.com and again asked what he wanted. “Bedri” replied and reiterated that they would meet face to face and talk. “Bedri” stated “See you Sunday May 10, if you want everything good then you will see me. Bedri”.
Department of Homeland Security database systems revealed that Ms. Blanco is a 23-year-old citizen of El Salvador. She was ordered removed from the United Sates by an Immigration Judge on December 1, 2005, but has not been removed. On July 2, 2008, she was placed on an Order of Supervision, which makes her eligible for employment authorization. No other criminal history records exist for Ms. Blanco.
Investigation, including a review of records of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), the part of the United States Department of Homeland Security that assists foreign national seeking lawful status and/or citizenship in the United States, revealed that Bedri KULLA is employed with said agency as an Immigration Services Officer (ISO) based in Durham, North Carolina. CIS records confirm that, in 2008, KULLA was administratively discipline because while performing his official duties, he provided his cellular telephone number (703/400-2343) on a stick note to a female foreign nation who was involved in immigration proceedings.
CIS records list KULLA’s date of birth as October 29, 1960, and his current mailing address as 403 Adelaide Circle, Morrisville, North Carolina 27560. This address has been confirmed as being located in Durham County, North Carolina. Database checks conducted by SSA Fernandez indicate that KULLA previously resided in Sterling Virginia, until September, 2008. Investigation also has confirmed that “9772” are the last four digits of KULLA’s Social Security number.
SSA Fernandez obtained a copy of KULLA’s Univision.com home page, which listed his user names as “bogota9772” and “b9772” and included an “About Me” section in which KULLA stated that he was born and raised in Canada, his parents are Albanian, he is 48 years old and resides in Sterling, Virginia, and Raleigh, North Carolina. The home page also indicates he registered the account on January 1, 2008.
SSA Fernandez presented a photographic lineup containing KULLA’s photograph to Ms. Blanco who positively identified KULLA as “Bedri,” who she recognized from their meeting.
Subscriber information […]
On April 16, 2009, SSA Fernandez issued a summons to Univision.com for account information on “b9772”. SSA Fernandez also submitted a written request to Unvision.com to preserve the account, so that upon obtaining a search warrant, agents could retrieve data stored for this account. Univision.com responded with the following information:
On April 17, 2009, SSA Fernandez received a report from ICE Supervisory Detention and Deportation Officer Sean Connelly, who advised that, on April 13, 2009, KULLA had contacted ICE Deportation Officer Ronald Dorman to report that, during the performance of KULLA’s official duties with CIS, KULLA had encountered a woman named “Xiomara” and learned that she had a final order of deportation. KULLA stated that he only had a telephone number for “Xiomara” and suggested that Dorman conduct database checks to identify the subject. Dorman asked KULLA to forward an e-mail with the information. KULLA then sent an e-mail to Dorman containing the name “Xiomara” (Ms. Blanco’s name), as well as Ms. Blanco’s Cellular telephone number. SSA Fernandez later confirmed this information with Dorman.
Connelly also reported that KULLA had made a similar, unusual referral to deportation officers as to another young female from Latin America. SSA Fernandez confirmed that this second individual also was of record with the Department of Homeland Security. Attempts to make contact with this individual have not succeeded to date.
On May 5, 2009, SSA Fernandez issued a summons to Inbox.com (an e-mail account provider with data storage characteristics like that of Univision.com) for information related to e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org (which was identified as an e-mail account used by KULLA through messages sent to Ms. Blanco. SSA Fernandez also submitted a written request to Inbox.com to preserve the account, so that upon obtaining a search warrant, agents could retrieve data stored for this account. Inbox.com responded to the summons and provided the following information:
On May 28, 2009, a controlled undercover meeting was conducted between Ms. Blanco and KULLA at the Caribou Coffee shop, located at 8201 Brier Creek Parkway, Raleigh, North Carolina. Ms. Blanco maintained a digital recording device on her person during the meeting, which was monitored and observed by ICE Special Agents. Photographs were taken of KULLA as came to and departed from the meeting.
During the meeting, Ms. Blanco asked: “Why you, you send a message tell me you send immigration to my work?” KULLA replied: “Because I think you’re playing games with me.”
During June 2009, Ms. Blanco received several e-mails from KULLA’s email@example.com e-mail address, in which he asked her to respond to his text messages and e-mails. In addition, during the month of June 2009, Ms. Blanco continued to receive text messages from KULLA’s cellular telephone. During these communications, KULLA advised that he had created a new Univision.com account of “bedri9772”.
For all the foregoing reasons, Affiant respectfully submits that there is probably cause to believe that Bedri KULLA has committed violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242, Deprivation of Rights under Color of Law, and Title 18, United States Code, Section 873, Blackmail, and that there is probable cause to believe that, on his person and in his cellular telephone, residence, and accounts at Univision.com, MyWay.com, and Inbox.com, there is evidence of and property designed for use, intended for use, and used in committing said violations.