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United States Attorney
Southern District of New York
LawFuel.com – New York Law Newswire –
LEV L. DASSIN, the Acting United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced that ANGEL DIAZ, JORGE
CEDENO, and RAFAEL RODRIGUEZ were sentenced today by United States
District Judge COLLEEN MCMAHON for their roles in a series of armed
truck highjackings in the tri-state area in fall 2006, during which
the defendants kidnaped the truck drivers and stole the contents of
their trucks. DIAZ, who participated in one kidnaping and armed
truck hijacking, received a sentence of 37 years’ imprisonment.
CEDENO, who participated in two kidnapings and armed truck
highjackings, received a sentence of 26 years and 7 months’
imprisonment. RODRIGUEZ, who participated in three kidnapings and
armed truck highjackings, received a sentence of 55 years’
The sentences followed a five-week jury trial in June and
July 2008 before Judge MCMAHON in White Plains, New York.
Evidence presented at trial showed that between September
2006 and January 2007, the defendants operated an armed robbery
crew, which targeted and hijacked tractor-trailers containing
valuable cargo, including perfumes, cosmetic products, and cellular
phones. During the robberies, the defendants brandished firearms,
pistol-whipped truck drivers, tied the drivers up with plastic
flex-ties, and restrained them in the sleeper cabins of their
trucks while the robberies took place and the trucks were
Specifically, on September 13, 2006, members of the crew
hijacked a tractor-trailer containing more than half a million
dollars worth of perfume products. Armed with guns, RODRIGUEZ and
DIAZ stormed the truck while it was parked outside a warehouse in
Blauvelt, New York. RODRIGUEZ and DIAZ pistol-whipped the two
drivers and forced them to the back of the cab, where they were
held and restrained with plastic flex-ties. An accomplice drove the
truck to a warehouse in New Jersey, where DIAZ and others unloaded
the truck, after which it was abandoned in Clifton, New Jersey,
with the kidnaped drivers still restrained inside. Eventually, the
drivers called out for help from the truck window to passersby, who
called the police.
Two months later, on November 13, 2006, the crew hijacked
a tractor-trailer with a load of Verizon cellular phones at a rest
area. RODRIGUEZ and CEDENO pistol-whipped the driver of the truck,
restrained him plastic flex-ties, and held him in the back of the
truck’s sleeper cab. Another cohort then drove the truck to the
Bronx where several of the robbers left to negotiate a deal to sell
the hijacked goods. The remaining crew members watched the truck
from a distance. The driver, who was restrained in the back of the
cab, succeeded in breaking free and drove away until he was able to
flag down a New York City police officer.
The evidence also showed that CEDENO and RODRIGUEZ had
been involved in a third armed hijacking, of a tractor-trailer
containing more than $150,000 worth of Elizabeth Arden cosmetic
products, in Pine Grove, Pennsylvania.
RODRIGUEZ was found guilty after trial of eight counts:
conspiracy to commit kidnaping, conspiracy to commit armed robbery,
two kidnaping counts, two armed robbery counts, and two firearms
charges. DIAZ was found guilty of five counts: conspiracy to commit
kidnaping, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, kidnaping, armed
robbery, and a firearms charge. CEDENO was also found guilty of
five counts: conspiracy to commit kidnaping, conspiracy to commit
armed robbery, kidnaping, armed robbery, and a firearms charge.
Six other defendants — German Cuadrado, Plutarco Angulo-
Aguirre, Jorge Flores, Victor Diaz, Saile Parra, and Juan Camacho
— were charged as members of the crew, pleaded guilty, and will be
sentenced in the coming months. Each of those defendants is
subject to a maximum term of life imprisonment except for CAMACHO,
who is subject to a maximum term of 25 years’ imprisonment.
Mr. DASSIN praised the outstanding efforts of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation and the Orangetown Police Department in the
investigation of this case.
Assistant United States Attorneys NOLA B. HELLER and
MICHAEL A. LEVY are in charge of the prosecution.