FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. – Two men were convicted today in Newark federal court on all counts related to the robberies of seven businesses from March 2010 through May 2010 and the shooting of a Wayne, N.J., police officer, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
The jury returned guilty verdicts against Nelson Otero, 48, of Fort Lee, N.J., and Maxcime Cagan, 47, of Floral Park, N.Y., following a two-and-a-half-week trial before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler. Otero and Cagan were convicted on all 15 counts charged in the Superseding Indictment on which they were tried: one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robberies; seven counts of Hobbs Act robberies; and seven counts of possessing and using firearms in connection with those robberies.
According to documents filed in this case and the evidence at trial:
From March 2010 through May 2010, Otero and Cagan robbed at gunpoint convenience stores, gas stations and liquor stores in Bergen, Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, Passaic, and Union counties. They were also involved in the shooting of Wayne Police Officer Brian Worell during the robbery of the Exxon/ Tiger Mart in Wayne on May 10, 2010. Otero and Cagan encountered Worell and both shot at him, striking the officer in the head. Worell survived the shooting and testified at the trial.
Otero and Cagan each face a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison on the Hobbs Act conspiracy charge and a maximum of 20 years for each of the Hobbs Act robbery charges. On the conviction on the first count of possession and use of firearms in furtherance of the first Hobbs Act robbery, they face a mandatory minimum penalty of seven years in prison and a maximum potential penalty of life in prison, which must be consecutive to any Hobbs Act robbery prison term. They face a mandatory minimum penalty of 25 years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison for each of the subsequent counts of conviction for the possession and use of firearms in furtherance of the other Hobbs Act robberies, consecutive to any Hobbs Act robbery prison term. Each count also carries a maximum $250,000 fine. Sentencing is currently scheduled for July 24, 2012.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark, for the investigation leading to today’s guilty verdict. He credited the outstanding collaborative efforts of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department, the Wayne Police Department, and the Passaic County Prosecutor’s office for the arrest of the defendants. He also thanked the N.J. State Police for their work on the case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jacques S. Pierre and Lisa M. Colone of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.
Cagan: Thomas Ambrosio Esq., Lyndhurst, N.J.
Otero, defendant pro se