MIAMI—Three Miami males have been discovered responsible by a Fort Lauderdale jury on all counts of a 21-count indictment—together with theft and homicide.
Jonathan Cruz (“Cruz”), 36, Eric Ortiz Melendez (“Ortiz Melendez”), 28, and Jorge Aponte Figueroa (“Aponte Figueroa”), 25, have been charged with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robberies and the precise finishing up of committing Hobbs Act robberies of 9 pawn outlets in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Seaside Counties. The boys brandished and discharged firearms in furtherance of these robberies and murdered a pawn store buyer in Little Havana. Moreover, Cruz was discovered responsible of being a felon in possession of ammunition.
In line with trial proof, starting in October 2016, Cruz, Ortiz Melendez, and Aponte Figueroa, together with their 5 beforehand convicted co-conspirators, agreed to commit armed robberies of pawn outlets all through South Florida to be able to acquire jewellery to illicitly promote. Cruz organized and directed the groups of robbers after scouting the specified places. Cruz supplied the weapons and instruments wanted for the robberies.
The boys would journey from Cruz’s residence, rob the shops, then return to Cruz’s place. Cruz would then promote the stolen jewellery to an unknown particular person and provides every defendant his reduce of the earnings. Trial proof additionally confirmed that in robberies in Pembroke Park, West Park, and Miami, the robberies resulted in a number of shootings—one among which resulted within the homicide of an aged pawn store buyer in Little Havana.
The theft spree started to unravel as soon as three of the defendants have been caught throughout a high-speed chase by the Hialeah Police Division after an armed theft in that metropolis. In line with proof, the remaining members of the group have been planning their subsequent heist in Miami Gardens by the point Cruz was arrested.
Sentencing for all three has been set for February 9, 2023. A]ponte Figueroa additionally was convicted after trial in March of 2022 of carjacking and homicide. The sentencing in that matter has been set for January 4, 2023.
Juan Antonio Gonzalez, U.S. Legal professional for the Southern District of Florida, and appearing Particular Agent in Cost Robert M. Dewitt, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Miami Subject Workplace, made the announcement.
FBI, Miami Subject Workplace, investigated the case with help from Broward County Sheriff’s Workplace; the Miami-Dade Police Division; the Metropolis of Miami Police Division; the Hialeah Police Division; the Metropolis of Hollywood Police Division; the Metropolis of Miami Gardens Police Division; the Metropolis of Palm Springs Police Division; and the Fort Lauderdale Police Division. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alejandra L. López and Jodi Anton.
Anybody with info associated to potential gun crimes is requested to name Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
It’s possible you’ll discover a copy of this press launch (and any updates) on the web site of the USA Legal professional’s Workplace for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.
Associated courtroom paperwork and knowledge could also be discovered on the web site of the District Court docket for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov beneath case quantity 17-cr-20487.