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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Virgin Islands

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 21, 2016

Three Individuals Indicted on Hobbs Act Robbery and Related Gun Charges

St. Thomas, USVI – On November 17, 2016, a federal grand jury returned a 10-count indictment against Aracelis N. Ayala aka Gordita aka Fluff, 34, Turrel Thomas, 21, and Raheem Miller aka Caesar, 24, charging them with two Hobbs Act robberies, conspiracy, related gun charges, and territorial offenses, United States Attorney Ronald W. Sharpe announced.

On November 18, 2016, Ayala and Thomas made their initial appearances before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cannon on St. Croix, Virgin Islands, and Miller made his initial appearance before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The 10-count indictment is the result of an investigation into Hobbs Act robberies of two jewelry stores on St. Thomas: Signature Jewelers on August 19, 2015, and 3G’s Jewelry and Repair on September 14, 2015. According to the Indictment, these individuals conspired to rob the stores and brandished weapons to threaten and intimidate store employees. The robbers used duct tape to bind and gag the victims and then fled the store with cash and merchandise.

If convicted, these individuals face up to 20 years on each of the Hobbs Act robbery and local robbery charges; mandatory 7- and 25-year consecutive sentences for each brandishing of a firearm charge; and a mandatory minimum of 15 years on each of the territorial firearms charge.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony Scarpelli, Criminal Chief Christian A. Fisanick, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna A. Vlasova.

United States Attorney Sharpe reminds the public that an indictment is merely a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Topic: 
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated November 22, 2016