LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – R. Alexander Acosta, Uni…

LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, Miami-Dade County State Attorney, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Linda M. Loizzo, Chief of the North Miami Beach Police Department, announced the unsealing of the July 11, 2006 Indictment of defendants, Celafoi Doly, a/k/a Leo Pierre, 35, and Jean Bertrang Casimir, a/k/a Compa, 27. Celafoi Doly and Jean Bertrnag Casimir were indicted on charges that they conspired to seize and detain Frantz Muller and threatened to kill, injure and continue to detain him until Muller’s family paid a ransom, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1203. Both defendants made their initial appearance in federal court this afternoon before Magistrate Judge William Turnoff. A detention hearing is scheduled for Friday, July 21, 2006 at 10 a.m. If convicted on the hostage taking charges, the defendants face a maximum of life imprisonment.

During the early morning hours of June 10, 2006, Muller was abducted at gunpoint in front of his house. Muller’s family received several calls from the kidnapers threatening to kill Muller if the family did not pay them $100,000. The kidnapers subsequently reduced their demand to $5,000. The kidnapers instructed the family to bring the money to a gas station at the corner149th Street and 6th Avenue, and to put the money in a blue garbage can next to the gas station. Muller’s family placed several thousand dollars inside a shoe box, which they then put into a pillow case. Members of the North Miami Beach Police Department gang unit and special response team were at the gas station and conducted surveillance of the ransom drop.

The money was delivered to the gas station and, as instructed, placed inside a blue trash can next to the gas station. Officers then observed Casimir remove the pillow case from the garbage can and get into a red Dodge Charger driven by Doly. Officers followed the Charger and later saw Casimir throw a shoe box and a pillow case out the window of the car. Officers stopped the car and arrested Casimir and Doly. At the time of his arrest, Casimir had several thousand dollars in his pocket. Officers also recovered the victim’s cell phone from the car.

Officers then went to a house located at 1750 NW 62nd Terrace, and found Muller in an abandoned house next to this address. Muller was found bound, gagged, and hooded. The kidnapers had tortured Muller. Officers took Muller to the hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

United States Attorney Acosta stated, “The level of intimidation and violence these defendants used to extort money from this family was shocking. They tortured and burned the victim while hoping to collect a big pay-off from his family. Thanks to the hard work of many law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation, the pay-off for their crimes will not be what they expected. Instead of big bucks, they are facing federal prosecution and substantial jail time for their crimes.”

Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle stated, “These criminals brazenly sought to terrorize a man and his family in an effort to get rich quick. I’m proud of the work of the FBI, the North Miami Beach Police Department and prosecutors from the SAO and USAO to help bring these criminals to justice. We can never tolerate these unspeakable acts of retaliation.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Solomon stated, “Our success in rescuing Mr. Muller and arresting the defendants is a direct result of the exemplary working relationship we have with the North Miami Beach Police Department. The dedicated men and women of the FBI and the NMBPD are to be commended for their steadfast resolve and swift actions which ensured Mr. Muller’s safe return to his family.”

“We are thrilled to see these individuals brought to justice. This case demonstrates the hard work of the men and women of the North Miami Beach Police Department along with the other law enforcement agencies that have worked together on this case to bring forward this indictment. As a result of law enforcements hard work and dedication to preserve life and property, a man’s life was saved and should send a strong message to the community that law enforcement will work together to get rid of these violent criminals that plague our society,” said Linda M. Loizzo, Chief of the North Miami Beach Police Department.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the North Miami Beach Police Department, the Aventura Police Department, and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Todd W. Mestepey and Jeff Tsai, with the assistance of Miami-Dade County Assistant State Attorney John Priovolos.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.