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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Kentucky

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 13, 2017

Final Miami Resident Sentenced For Participating In A Conspiracy To Burglarize A Kentucky Cigarette Warehouse

Defendants ordered to pay $1,486,164.45 in restitution for theft of cigarettes from Leitchfield, Kentucky warehouse. Stolen cigarettes were driven to New Jersey/New York area for sale

Owensboro, KY – The final Miami resident from Cuba, charged in a multi-state conspiracy was sentenced in United States District Court yesterday, by Chief Judge Joseph H. McKinley Jr., to 41 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $1,486,164.45 - for the defendant’s participation in a warehouse burglary in Leitchfield, Kentucky, announced United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr.

“Working together, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies dismantled this far-flung network of criminality,” stated United States Attorney John Kuhn. “As they serve their well-deserved extended sentences without the prospect of parole, these thieves will come to understand the ultimate reward for criminal conduct is the pen, not pelf."

"This case demonstrates the importance of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and our prosecutors collaborating to investigate criminals whose activities are not bound by city or state lines. Our partnerships solve major crimes and promote public safety," said Stuart Lowrey, Special Agent in Charge for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Louisville Field Division.

Rodriguez-Hernandez, 41, admitted to his role in stealing nearly $1.5 million in cigarettes from the Coremark Cigarette Warehouse in Leitchfield, Kentucky, in March 2011, and that he and others possessed the stolen cigarettes (which constitute an interstate and foreign shipment of property valued at over $1,000) with the intent to convert the property to their own use.

During the theft, co-defendants Rodriguez-Hernandez, Amuary Villa, 41, his brother Amed Villa (charged separately), and Ivan Romero, gained entry into the warehouse through the roof, disabled the alarm system, and loaded the stolen goods into a stolen tractor trailer. Specifically, between March 18, 2011, to March 20, 2011, defendant Rodriguez-Hernandez rented three hotel rooms in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where the co-conspirators, who traveled to Kentucky from Miami, Florida, resided during the burglary and theft. Between March 19, 2011, and March 20, 2011, Amuary Villa, Romero (a/k/a El Negro), Amed Villa and other co-conspirators unloaded a stolen tractor trailer and loaded it with cigarettes. Defendant Romero admitted to providing transportation for the stolen cigarettes and driving them to the New Jersey/New York area. Defendant Amuary Villa admitted to “casing” the warehouse location, cutting a hole in the warehouse roof, then entering the warehouse and disabling the alarm system. Defendant Rodriguez-Hernandez acted as a lookout providing surveillance outside the warehouse while the others breached the warehouse, unloaded a stolen tractor trailer, and loaded it with cigarettes.

Amuary Villa will serve a 77-month prison term consecutive to a 140-month sentence from the Southern District of Florida and the District of Connecticut, for his role in the theft of approximately $90 million in pharmaceuticals from the Eli Lilly Company warehouse and storage facility in Enfield, Connecticut.

Romero, also a legal permanent resident from Cuba who last resided in Miami, will finish serving a six-year state sentence from Florida, before being transferred to federal custody to serve 57 months.

Amed Villa, was sentenced on December 5, 2016, in the District of Connecticut to 84 months in prison for his role in the theft of $90 million in pharmaceuticals, stolen from the Eli Lilly Company warehouse and storage facility in Enfield, Conn., and several other warehouse thefts including the Coremark Cigarette Warehouse in Leitchfield.

Restitution will be paid to Coremark and the insurance company for Coremark.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Judd and the investigation of the Kentucky theft was led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) with assistance from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Leitchfield and Elizabethtown Police Departments, New Jersey and Kentucky State Police Departments, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (Connecticut).

Updated January 13, 2017