News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Hugo man sentenced for the armed robbery of Falcon Heights liquor store

February 15, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS – Late yesterday in federal court in St. Paul, a 19-year-old Hugo man was
sentenced in connection with the February 23, 2011, armed robbery of J’s Liquors in Falcon
Heights. United States District Court Judge Paul A. Magnuson sentenced Cody Joseph Diaz to
120 months in prison on one count of use of a firearm during a crime of violence, specifically
during a Hobbs Act robbery. Diaz was indicted on May 11, 2011, and pleaded guilty on August
2, 2011.

In his plea agreement, Diaz admitted that on February 23, he entered the liquor store with a
12-gauge shotgun, intending to rob it. While the robbery was in progress, he discharged one
round. According to law enforcement documents filed in the case, the gunshot resulted in a
round penetrating the wall and entering the neighboring business.

Upon responding to the robbery, officers observed Diaz drop a duffle bag and flee the scene.
The duffle bag contained money. Diaz was apprehended a short time later, after he was spotted
on the roof of a nearby home. At the time, he was wearing only a t-shirt and jeans despite the
cold weather. Outside another residence, also located close to the crime scene, police recovered a
shotgun similar to the one used in the robbery, along with gloves and other clothing that matched
what had been worn by the robber.

The Hobbs Act, passed by Congress in 1946, allows federal prosecutors to prosecute
individuals who commit armed robbery in places of business that participate in interstate
commerce. Federal prosecution of these cases sometimes is beneficial since the penalties are
often tougher than under state law. Furthermore, because the federal system has no parole, those
who receive federal sentences serve virtually the entire time imposed.

This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the White Bear Lake Police Department; the South St. Paul Police
Department; the St. Paul Police Department; the Eden Prairie Police Department; the
Maplewood Police Department; the Roseville Police Department; the St. Anthony Police
Department; the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office; the Wyoming Police Department; and the
Forest Lake Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney LeeAnn K. Bell.

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