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Press Release

Group Charged in Forty-Count Indictment with Fourteen Armed Carjackings, One Attempted Carjacking, and Five Armed Robberies of Businesses

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

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – On August 24, 2023, a federal grand jury returned a forty-count indictment charging Ángel Mercado-Aquino, Ferdinand Escobar-Castillo, Ismael Reyes-Rivas and Andro Bianchi-Montalvo with a series of armed carjackings and robberies of businesses, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

According to the Government’s allegations, between January 31 and March 6, 2023, the four defendants (acting together or as part of a smaller group) committed a series of armed robberies in Río Piedras, Río Grande, Guaynabo, Caguas, Canóvanas, Puerto Nuevo, Toa Baja, and Bayamón, Puerto Rico.  The businesses that were targeted included Burger King and Shell gas stations.  Most of the carjackings occurred early in the morning at gas stations, including a Gulf Gas Station in Río Grande, a Mobil Gas Station in Guaynabo, the Any Time Gas Río Cañas in Caguas, the Total Energies Gas Station in Canóvanas, and a Gulf Gas Station located at La Virgencita, Toa Baja.

“Violent criminal street gangs are a constant threat to our communities. These arrests will not only make our neighborhoods safer but send a message to other gang members that the Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue efforts to disrupt and dismantle organized crime groups such as these,” said U.S. Attorney Muldrow.

Christopher A. Robinson, Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, commented: “This investigation is a testament to the commitment of the ATF San Juan Field Office in the fight against armed criminals who terrorize our communities with the plague of violent crime.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Julian Radzinschi of the Violent Crimes Section is in charge of the prosecution of the case.  Special Agent Ivys Rosado-Díaz of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is in charge of the investigation.  If convicted on all counts, the defendants face over 100 years in prison.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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Updated August 25, 2023

Topics
Violent Crime
Firearms Offenses