FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUESDAY - October 27, 2009
ROBBER PLEADS GUILTY
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on October 21, 2009, EVER JOSE CONTRERAS, 22, an illegal alien from Honduras and a known and confirmed gang member, pled guilty before United States District Judge James C. Dever, III, to conspiring to commit Hobbs Act robbery, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951, and aiding and abetting the use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c).
A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on August 6, 2009.
On November 15, 2008, CONTRERAS and co-defendant Humberto Diaz entered the Your Convenience Store #3 in Wallace, North Carolina. Approaching the counter, Diaz pulled a knife, demanding all the money from the register. CONTRERAS took $320 from the register drawer. Both men then fled.
On November 23, 2008, CONTRERAS, along with co-defendants Humberto Diaz, Jose Leonel Matute, and Daniel Edgardo Rodriguez, entered the Your Convenience Store #755 in Burgaw, North Carolina. While the fourth co-defendant, Axel Contreras, waited in the car performing look-out, CONTRERAS and Diaz went to the back of the store where they encountered a patron of the store. Diaz removing a .22 caliber revolver from his pocket pointed it at the customer demanding his wallet. CONTRERAS also held a knife on the customer. Diaz fired one round from the gun in the direction of the customer’s head. While this was occurring in the rear of the store, Rodriguez and Matute were at the front of the store demanding the clerk remove all the money from the register. After taking $50 from the register, the defendants fled the store, hopping into the car and speeding away.
The maximum penalty for the conspiracy charge is up to 20 years imprisonment followed by up to three years supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. For the charge of aiding and abetting the use of a firearm during a crime of violence, the maximum penalty is up to life imprisonment consecutive to any other term of imprisonment imposed, followed by up to five years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods(PSN) which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.
Investigation of this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Wilmington Office, the Pender County Sheriff’s Office and the Wallace Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes represented the government.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.