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Gang member threatens DA, witness’ lives

On Monday, June 27, 2017, a Victoria County jury convicted 23 year old Luz Albert Hernandez, of engaging in organized crime activity to commit aggravated robbery and/ or aggravated assault and two counts of the aggravated robbery of the J.P. Game Room. This conviction was 8 weeks after Luz Albert Hernandez previous felony convictions for engaging in organized criminal activity and aggravated assault[1]. During a week-long jury trial presided over by 267th District Judge Bobby Bell, testimony of crime victims established that the robbery of the game room at gun point netted $7,000 to $8,000. According to victims and co-defendants who testified, the two masked robbers were aided by the game room security guard , all of whom belonged to the Surenos 13 street gang. After finding Hernandez guilty on all counts on Friday, the jury heard evidence in the punishment phase of the trial yesterday that included Hernandez s criminal history as a member of both the 18th Street Gang and the Surenos 13, as well as a robbery conviction where a couple was viciously beaten for a cigarette lighter. Recurring evidence demonstrated his crimes were fueled by drugs, alcohol and greed.

Jurors also heard that after Hernandez s April 26th conviction for Aggravated Assault in the beating of a patron at a local boot shop, Hernandez became upset and sought to hire someone to kill a witness, and also began plotting to murder the District Attorney. A cellmate testified that Hernandez obsessed about attacking District Attorney Steve Tyler. Hernandez through associates learned where Tyler lives, what he drives, and his daily routines. Testimony in the case showed Hernandez planned to have gang members smoke or gun down the District Attorney as he walked his daughter to school in the morning. A witness also said Hernandez planned to retaliate against the judge who presided over his April trial. Victoria County District Attorney Steve Tyler, who personally tried this case, argued that there could be no greater evidence that Hernandez was a hardened criminal who would not accept responsibility and had no interest in reform.

The jury deliberated three hours and sentenced Luz Albert Hernandez to 50 years in prison and a $5000 fine in each of the three counts (Engaging in Organized Crime, Aggravated Robbery & Aggravated Robbery). The defendant will serve these sentences concurrently or the same time. The presiding judge stacked these sentences so that the defendant must first serve his sentence in the prior conviction before these new sentences. The presiding judge also made an affirmative finding that these crimes were the activities of the criminal street gang Surenos 13 and involved the use of deadly weapons, namely firearms. With these findings, Luz Albert Hernandez will be housed in administrative segregation (isolation) and must serve at least half of the sentences before becoming eligible for parole.

We at the D.A. s office, in law enforcement and citizens have continued to rid our community of violent offenders and criminal street gangs. We no longer have double digit murders each year from openly warring gangs. However, we will continue this fight so long as there are neighborhoods where people are endangered, kids recruited and poisoned, drugs peddled, and property damaged or stolen by thugs and gangs. These jurors, representative of our whole community and justice; they determined the facts and decided the punishment. I could not be any prouder my boss, the good folks of Victoria.

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References

  1. ^ aggravated assault (www.victoriaadvocate.com)

Another hack of Idaho state websites, but no data taken

The weekend hacking of Idaho state treasurer websites was part of a much broader and apparently continuing mischief attack that probed websites for security holes to deface pages. But the intruders who attacked the sites in Idaho and elsewhere did not otherwise compromise site security, and did not get access to databases with user information. Nor would visitors to the four affected treasurer sites actually have seen the hacked pages unless they called them up by exact name. Those pages, intended to replace each site s home page, were uploaded via a security exploit, but other security settings prevented users from being automatically redirected to them, the office said Tuesday.

The group known as Team System Dz hijacks webpages to post pro-Islamic State messages. It publicized its most recent successful hacks on a Facebook page, until the page was taken down Tuesday afternoon, and on a site that tracks website defacements[1]. Besides Idaho, government sites in Washington, Maryland, Ohio, California and New York have had their home pages hijacked. The defacements began over the weekend and new ones were still being reported Tuesday afternoon.

It looks like it was a distributed attack. It wasn t focused on one specific entity, said Lance Wyatt, the state s chief information security officer. The exploit used by the hackers wasn t specific to a weakness as it was to particular technology that is being used. Wyatt said threat intelligence services coordinated through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified the state Sunday of the hacker activity. That information was relayed to information technology personnel at the Treasurer s Office, who removed the intruder pages Monday. One security patch has been applied and another is pending.

This was considered a web defacement, which in itself is low-risk, Wyatt said, describing it as the digital equivalent of graffiti.

There was no information, no data that was exposed, he said.

The Idaho Supreme Court s website was similarly defaced in 2014. More seriously, a hacker last August accessed personal data for 6.5 million users in Idaho[2] and three other states via a third-party licensing system used to issue fishing and hunting permits. Idaho s system was taken down for three months while security was strengthened.[3] No one was charged in that data breach. In March, another attack on an outside vendor contracted by the state resulted in 170,000 Department of Labor job-seeker accounts being compromised[4]. That investigation is continuing.

Gov. Butch Otter named the state s first information security director for cybersecurity earlier this month. The appointee, Jeffrey Weak, starts Aug. 1.

References

  1. ^ site that tracks website defacements (www.zone-h.org)
  2. ^ hacker last August accessed personal data for 6.5 million users in Idaho (www.idahostatesman.com)
  3. ^ while security was strengthened. (www.idahostatesman.com)
  4. ^ resulted in 170,000 Department of Labor job-seeker accounts being compromised (www.idahostatesman.com)