LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Robert Parker, Director, Miami-Dade County Police Department, announced the March 3, 2006, Indictment of defendants, Karl’s Monsoon, 34, Jeffrey Boatwright, 32, Cornelio Diaz, 28, and Cinnamon Monsoon, 30. Karl’s Monsoon, Jeffrey Boatwright and Cornelio Diaz are charged with planning and committing the armed robbery of approximately $7.4 million in U.S. currency from a Miami International Airport warehouse. The three men are charged with violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951(a) and 924(c)(1)(A). Cinnamon Monsoon is individually charged with being an accessory after the fact to the robbery, in violation Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1951(a) and 3. If convicted on the robbery charges, the defendants face a maximum of twenty (20) year’s imprisonment for each of the robbery charges and a maximum penalty of life imprisonment for the related firearms charge. Cinnamon Monsoon faces up to ten years’ imprisonment if she is convicted of being an accessory after the fact.
In a separate related Indictment, defendants Michael Sanfiel, 33, Manuel A. Palacio, 28, and Guillermo Del-Regato, 28, were charged with conspiracy to take a hostage, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1203. If convicted, they face a maximum of life imprisonment.
According to a criminal complaint filed in federal court before Indictment, on November 6, 2005, defendants Karl’s Monsoon, Boatwright, and Diaz, stole $7.4 million from an $80 million currency shipment that had arrived at Miami International Airport on board Lufthansa Airlines Flight 462 from Frankfurt, Germany. The cash shipment was to be delivered to the Federal Reserve Bank in Miami. After landing, the cash container was taken to a warehouse until it cleared U.S. Customs. Brinks Security provided security for these cash shipments and guarded warehouse employees as they processed the cash inside the container, which was in individually sealed in canvas bags.
After the cash was processed and counted, the canvas bags were to be transported to a Brinks armored vehicle. According to the complaint affidavit, however, before the bags were moved to the armored vehicle, a pick-up truck pulled into one of the open cargo bays. At least two masked robbers emerged from the truck, and at least one of them brandished a firearm. The robbers ordered the warehouse and security personnel to lie face down on the floor and took five bags of currency, containing $7.4 million cash, before fleeing from the scene.
According to the complaint affidavit, various confidential sources came forward after the robbery and alerted law enforcement to Karl’s Monzon’s and Boatwright’s participation in the airport robbery. The investigation also identified Diaz, a Brinks Security Guard, as an insider that Karl’s Monsoon had mentioned in conversations with, or in front, these sources.
On February 17, 2006, at 7:40 p.m., the FBI Miami SWAT team and ICE agents arrested defendants Karl’s Monsoon and Cinnamon Monsoon as they left South Miami Hospital. During a subsequent search, approximately $80,000 in vacuumed sealed packets was recovered from Monzon’s attic. Defendant Cinnamon Monsoon admitted that she knew of her husband’s participation in the robbery and that she and her husband were planning to purchase a house using some of the proceeds of the robbery.
At 11:30 p.m. the same night, the FBI Miami SWAT team arrested Diaz as he was getting out of his car in front of his residence. At the time of arrest, Diaz carried approximately $5,000 in cash in his pocket and had three vacuum packed bundles of $100 bills, totaling approximately $80,000. The next day, on February 18, 2006, at 4:00 a.m., defendant Boatwright was arrested after being rescued from kidnappers who claimed to know about the robbery and had demanded that Karl’s Monsoon pay a $500,000 ransom for Boatwright’s release.
The kidnapping of defendant Boatwright that led to the separate Indictment of Sanfiel, Palacio and Del-Regato, on charges that they conspired to seize and detain Boatwright and threatened to kill, injure or continue to detain him until Karl’s Monsoon paid a ransom, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1203.
According to the complaint filed prior to the Indictment, during the early morning hours of February 18, 2006, investigating agents and detectives tracked Boatwright to the Miami Princess Hotel, 4251 Northwest 11th Street, Miami, Florida. At the hotel, agents observed an SUV backing out of the parking area at an unusual rate of speed. At the same time, another man was seen running down the stairs.
The complaint affidavit states that an FBI agent and a Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) detective pursued the man, while another MDPD detective followed the SUV in the police car. The agent and detective caught up with the running man, who was later identified as defendant Sanfiel. Sanfiel tried to elude arrest, and ran back up the steps towards the open door of a hotel room. At the top of the stairs, Sanfiel threw his fanny pack inside the open hotel room, and was then arrested. Agents then found Boatwright in the back of a pick-up truck that was parked inside the garage attached to the hotel room. Boatwright had been duct-taped by his captors, and had a black eye.
According to the complaint, detectives successfully stopped the SUV that had left the parking lot, and arrested defendants Palacio and Del-Regato for their participation in the kidnapping scheme. At the time of his arrest, Del-Regato had a note in his wallet with Karl’s and Cinnamon Monzon’s telephone numbers.
United States Attorney Acosta stated, “The brazenness of this crime is the stuff of Hollywood movies. In a classic ending, the good guys – a team of federal agents and local detectives working jointly on the Cargo Theft Task Force – through their hard work and sheer tenacity, unraveled one of the largest heists in our State’s history.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Solomon stated, “The agents and detectives on the Cargo Theft Task Force worked around the clock to solve this case. I commend their dedication and perseverance, which resulted in the arrests and charges being announced today. We also want to thank Brinks Security for their cooperation in helping law enforcement investigate and prosecute this matter. As well, media coverage of this story helped develop leads that led lead directly to the charged defendants.”
“These recent arrests send the clear message that ICE, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Miami-Dade Police Department will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice,” said Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge of ICE in Miami. “Those who think that they can break the law and get away with it are sorely mistaken.”
At present, all the defendants are being held without bond with the exception of Cinnamon Monsoon, who has been awarded a $100,000 Corporate Security Bond.
Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Miami-Dade Police Department, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Anthony W. Lacosta.
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 onList your legal jobs on the LawFuel Network