Alleged Rapist Under Federal Custody
SAN JUAN, P.R. – Today, United States Magistrate Judge Camille Vélez-Rivé authorized a criminal complaint charging Carlos Cruz-Rivera with two counts of carjacking, two counts of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, announced United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. FBI is in charge of the investigation.
According to the information contained in the affidavit submitted in support of the criminal complaint, on July 21, 2015, Cruz-Rivera was detained by the Puerto Rico Police Department (PRPD) pursuant to an ongoing investigation concerning several incidents of rape, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery that occurred during the months of May through July of 2015.
The investigation conducted by the PRPD revealed that on June 30, 2015, at approximately 9:30 PM, the defendant carjacked an adult woman (hereinafter referred to as Victim 1). That night Victim 1 arrived to her home in the Santurce area and as she exited she felt someone press against her back and shoulder. When she turned to look at the person, she saw Cruz-Rivera standing beside her vehicle, holding a medium sized silver revolver. Cruz-Rivera instructed her to move over to the passenger side of the vehicle.
Cruz-Rivera then drove Victim 1’s vehicle to a Bank located in the Isla Verde area. While driving there, Victim 1 asked Cruz-Rivera where they were going and expressed concerns to him about being raped because she was six months pregnant. Cruz-Rivera simply told her that they were going “somewhere” and that she did not need to worry about the details. Once they arrived at the bank, Cruz-Rivera took Victim 1’s ATM card and pin number and withdrew $500 in cash. Video from the ATM footage obtained in the investigation reveals CRUZ-RIVERA driving Victim 1’s vehicle through the ATM drive-through.
After making the withdrawal, Cruz-Rivera drove Victim 1 to a secluded area in Villa Palmera and stopped the vehicle. Once there, he committed lascivious acts while she pleaded with him not to rape her. Cruz-Rivera then got out of the car and left the area.
The investigation also revealed that on July 11, 2015, Cruz-Rivera committed another carjacking in the Santurce area of San Juan. At approximately 11:00 PM, an adult female, hereinafter referred to as Victim 2 stopped at a Shell gas station on the corner of Calle Loíza and San Jorge. Cruz-Rivera approached her and announced that this was a hold up. He then pointed a black pistol at Victim 2 and ordered her to open the front passenger side door of her vehicle.
After Victim 2 unlocked the vehicle door, Cruz-Rivera instructed her to drive to the same bank located in the Isla Verde area where he had taken Victim 1. Upon arriving at the Bank, Cruz-Rivera placed the pistol against her right side and instructed her to drive through the ATM drive-through and withdraw $60 from the ATM. Upon doing so, Cruz-Rivera took the money and again instructed Victim 2 to drive to a secluded area in Villa Palmera, which was within walking distance of his home. Upon arriving at the location, Cruz-Rivera instructed Victim 2 to stop the vehicle and he got out.
On July 21, 2015 PRPD officers recovered a black .40 caliber Glock 22 pistol with three magazines from the Llorens Torres Apartment where Cruz-Rivera was arrested. On July 22, both victims positively identified Cruz-Rivera in a line-up as their assailant.
“I commend the PRPD agents and detectives for their persistence and efforts in solving these crimes,” said Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. “We will zealously protect the victims who are coming forward in order to seek justice and, will prosecute this defendant to the fullest extent of the law.”
“This sexual predator will no longer be able to roam the streets of Puerto Rico looking for defenseless and innocent victims to attack at will. The FBI, along with the United States Attorney’s Office, will continue to use all its resources and tools to investigate, charge, and prosecute individuals like Cruz-Rivera,” said Carlos Cases, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI, San Juan Field Office.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jenifer Hernández-Vega, Supervisor of the Violent Crimes Unit. If convicted defendant faces a maximum penalty of up life in prison. A criminal complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.