FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUESDAY - October 5, 2010
CONVENIENCE STORE ROBBER SENTENCED
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today United States District Judge James C. Dever III, sentenced EVER JOSE CONTRERAS, 23, an illegal alien residing in Wallace, North Carolina, to 72 months’ imprisonment. Restitution of $370.00 was ordered.
On August 6, 2009, CONTRERAS was charged by a Criminal Indictment. On October 21, 2009, he pled guilty to conspiring to commit Hobbs Act robbery and use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
According to the Indictment, 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.
According to evidence presented at trial and in court documents, on November 23, 2008, CONTRERAS along with co-defendants Humberto Diaz, Jose Leonel Matute, and Daniel Eduardo Pineda-Zelaya, entered the Your Convenience Store #755 in Burgaw, North Carolina. While co-defendant Jose Martinez-Alvarado waited in the car performing look-out, Diaz and CONTRERAS went to the back of the store where they encountered a patron of the store. Diaz removed a .22 caliber revolver from his pocket and 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, Pineda-Zelaya 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 being driven by Martinez-Alvarado and sped away.
On September 28, 2010, Martinez-Alvarado was sentenced to 54 months’ imprisonment. On August 18, 2010, Diaz and Matute were sentenced to 90 and 72 months’ imprisonment, respectively. Earlier in August, Pineda-Zelaya was found guilty by a jury and is awaiting sentencing. 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.