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Press Release

Three Waterbury Residents Face Federal Carjacking Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, and Robert Fuller, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, today announced that a federal grand jury in New Haven has returned an indictment charging EMILY RODRIGUEZ, also known as “Emy,” 28; RICARDO VERDEJO, also known as “Risk” and “Ricky,” 26; and LUIS CRUZ, also known as “Goldo,” 26, all of Waterbury, with offenses stemming from a violent carjacking last year.

As alleged in court documents and statements made in court, in the early morning hours of June 18, 2023, two all-terrain vehicles (“ATVs”) were stolen from Rodriguez’s Waterbury residence.  After the theft, Rodriguez, Verdejo, Cruz, and others identified an individual (“Victim 1”) who they believed was involved in the theft.  Later that night, Victim 1’s friend, (“Victim 2”), picked up Victim 1 from work and drove him home.  As they arrived at Victim 1’s residence, three vehicles followed them and surrounded the victims.  Verdejo, Cruz, and others exited the vehicles.  Verdejo carried an assault-style rifle.  Verdejo, Cruz, and others demanded the return of the stolen ATVs, threatened both victims, and physically assaulted them.  They then stole Victim’s 2 vehicle, which was owned by Victim 2’s relative, and other items and cash belonging to the victims.

It is further alleged that Rodriguez and others continued to threaten and harass the victims, and their friends and relatives, after the carjacking.  There is no indication that Victim 1 was, in fact, involved in the theft of the ATVs.

The indictment, which was returned on April 10, 2024, charges Rodriguez, Verdejo, and Cruz, with carjacking resulting in serious bodily injury, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 25 years, and with conspiracy, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years.  The indictment also charges Verdejo with carrying, using, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, an offense that carries a mandatory consecutive term of imprisonment of at least seven years.

Rodriguez was arrested on a federal criminal complaint on March 21, 2024.  She appeared today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Spector in New Haven, pleaded not guilty, and is released on a $100,000 bond.

Verdejo and Cruz are currently detained in federal custody on unrelated charges.

U.S. Attorney Avery stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This ongoing investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Northern Connecticut Gang Task Force with the assistance of the Waterbury Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David T. Huang and Nathan J. Guevremont.

Individuals with information that may be helpful to the investigation and prosecution of this matter are encouraged to contact the FBI’s New Haven Division at 203-777-6311.

Updated April 15, 2024

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime