Miami Residents Sentenced for Producing, Possessing and Trafficking in Device Making Equipment


From:  News Release   3/16/18   GCN


Hattiesburg, Miss. – Yadian Alfonse Valdes and Juan Karel Merrero Barja, residents of Miami, were sentenced today before U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett for trafficking in device making equipment, announced U.S. Attorney Mike Hurst.


Yadian Alfonse Valdes pleaded guilty to the charge on October 17, 2017, and Juan Karel Merrero Barja pleaded guilty on December 19, 2017. Yadian Alfonse Valdes received a sentence of incarceration of 120 months in the Bureau of Prisons and a $50,000.00 fine.


Juan Karel Merrero Barja received a sentence of incarceration of 46 months in the Bureau of Prisons and a $3,000.00 fine. Upon release from prison, each defendant was ordered to be placed in removal proceedings and if removed to remain out of the country as a condition of supervised release.


On July 8, 2017, Hattiesburg officer David Wynn II saw suspicious activity occurring at a gas pump in Hattiesburg Mississippi. The officer saw a black Cadillac Escalade pull up very close to a gas pump 6 at a minimart located on West 4th in Hattiesburg. He then saw a man standing behind the rear driver’s side door placing a skimming device on the pump.

Hattiesburg police pulled the Escalade over. Police found Valdes and Barja in the vehicle along with tools and keys for getting into gas pump panels.


U.S. Attorney Hurst praised the cooperation exhibited between the Hattiesburg Police Department and the United States Secret Service.