Two Individuals Arrested For Carjacking, Hobbs Act, And Firearms Offenses
On February 7, a federal grand jury returned an 18-count indictment against two individuals for carjacking, kidnapping, interference with commerce by robbery (Hobbs Act), and possessing and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, announced United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.
The indictment alleges that on January 21, in the District of Puerto Rico, Miguel Ángel Rivera-Rivera and Chris Joanny Goenaga-Ortiz, aiding and abetting each other, possessing and brandishing firearms, took a Ponce taxi, that is a red 2002 Toyota Corolla, from an adult male victim, a taxi driver, by force, violence, and intimidation, with the intent to cause death and serious bodily harm. The defendants kidnapped the victim and held him against his will for hours. On January 25, the same defendants robbed fast food restaurant Little Caesars in Bairoa Shopping Center in Caguas. The defendants were arrested by Puerto Rico Police officers in the carjacked taxi while fleeing from the Little Caesar’s robbery.
Defendant Miguel Ángel Rivera-Rivera is also charged with several robberies while carrying and brandishing a firearm, on the following dates: January 11, Burger King at Las Americas Avenue in Ponce; January 14, Burger King in Villalba; January 15, Chinese fast food restaurant Mr. Wu’s in Juana Diaz; January 16, Burger King in Juana Diaz and KFC-Kentucky Fried Chicken in La Rambla in Ponce; and January 18, Toral Gas Station in Calle Comercio, Ponce. Rivera-Rivera is also facing a charge for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jenifer Y. Hernández-Vega. The FBI and Puerto Rico Police Department are in charge of the investigation. If convicted, the defendants face up to life in prison. Indictments contain only charges and are not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.
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