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

LAWFUEL – Press Release Service – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Police Commissioner Elton Lewis, Virgin Islands Police Department, and Special Agent in Charge Luis Fraticelli, San Juan Division, Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced today that on Tuesday, June 6, 2006, defendant Felix Cruz, a/k/a “Pipon,” a/k/a “Bugsy,” was arrested in Sunrise Florida, in Broward County, by members of the FBI’s Violent Crime Squad, the Sunrise Police Department, and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department’s Fugitive Unit.

Cruz was arrested based upon an arrest warrant issued by United States Magistrate Judge Geoffrey W. Barnard following the return of an eleven-count Third Superseding Indictment on May 31, 2006 by a federal grand jury sitting in the Virgin Islands. The case will continue to be assigned to the Honorable Raymond L. Finch, United States District Court Judge.

The new indictment charges defendants Reinaldo Berrios, Jr., a/k/a “Rey,” a/k/a “Little Rey,” Troy Moore, a/k/a “C Murder,” a/k/a “Murder,” Angel Rodriguez, a/k/a “Malungo,” a/k/a “Dungo,” and Felix Cruz with: (1) conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats or violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951(a); (2) attempted interference with commerce by threats or violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1951(a) and 2; (3) carjacking, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2119(1) and 2; (4) use of a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A)(i) and (ii) and 2; (5) first degree – felony murder, in violation of Title 14, Virgin Islands Code, Sections 922(a)(2) and 11; (6) causing the death of a person through the use of a firearm, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(j) and 2; (7) unauthorized use of a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of Title 14, Virgin Islands Code, Section 2253(a) and 11; (8) attempted carjacking, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2119(1) and 2; (9) use of a firearm during a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A)(i) and (ii) and 2; (10) carjacking, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2119(1) and 2; and (11) use of a firearm during a crime of violence. The maximum penalties for each of these crimes, respectively, is: (1) 20 years’ imprisonment; (2) 20 years’ imprisonment; (3) 15 years’ imprisonment; (4) life imprisonment; (5) life imprisonment; (6) life imprisonment; (7) 20 years’ imprisonment; (8) 15 years’ imprisonment; (9) life imprisonment; (10) 15 years’ imprisonment; and (11) life imprisonment. In other words, each defendant faces a possible maximum sentence, if convicted on all counts, of 105 years’ imprisonment and four consecutive life sentences.

The aforementioned charges arise from a crime spree by the defendants on April 17, 2004, which included the attempted armed robbery of a Wendy’s Restaurant in the Sunny Isle Shopping Center on St. Croix. Officer Cuthbert Chapman, a 12-year veteran of the Virgin Islands Police Department, was working off-duty providing security at the restaurant when the attempted robbery occurred. During an exchange of gun fire, Officer Chapman was shot multiple times, and following his transfer to a hospital in Puerto Rico, he eventually died as a result of his wounds on April 26, 2004.

According to court records, a late model Chevrolet Cavalier was carjacked by the defendants, and it was driven to the Wendy’s Restaurant where the defendants attempted to rob the Wendy’s at gunpoint. The Wendy’s was occupied by numerous customers and employees at the time. After the shoot out with Officer Chapman, the defendants fled in the Chevrolet Cavalier, which they abandoned in the Clifton Hill area after crashing the car and blowing out the tire.

The defendants eventually carjacked another victim and stole the victim’s late model Toyota Echo. A few days later, the Toyota Echo was found abandoned near Fredensborg in a brush-covered area. Close to the Toyota Echo was found a license plate registered to the Chevrolet Cavalier. In other words, the license plates that had been on the Chevrolet Cavalier had been removed after the first carjacking (and before the armed robbery) and was left there. According to statements made in court, a latent fingerprint of Rodriguez was recovered from the back of the license plate found on the crashed Chevrolet Cavalier.

On or about May 10, 2004 and June 9, 2004, defendants Reinaldo Berrios, Jr. and Troy Moore, respectively, were arrested in St. Croix in connection with this case. On December 2, 2005, Angel Rodriguez was arrested by the FBI and United States Marshals Service, assisted by a VIPD Homicide Detective in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Berrios, Moore, and Rodriguez have all been ordered detained pending trial. Trial is currently scheduled to take place beginning in early September. Cruz is scheduled to appear tomorrow before United States Magistrate Judge Barry S. Seltzer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, located in the Southern District of Florida.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, particularly the St. Croix Resident Agency and the Virgin Islands Police Department. In addition, Mr. Acosta commended the fugitive apprehension abilities demonstrated by the members of the FBI Miami Field Division’s Violent Crime Squad, the Sunrise Police Department, and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department’s Fugitive Unit. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Harry C. Wallace, Jr. and Charles E. Duross from the Southern District of Florida, who have been specially designated by the Department of Justice to handle this matter in the Virgin Islands.

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 .

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