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Five Men Charged With Murder In Connection With Failed Robbery Attempt That Left Two Dead

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; James Smith, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”); and David Gibson, the Commissioner of the Mount Vernon Police Department, announced the arrest of ILARIO CONTRERAS, JERPI DIAZ-FELIZ, a/k/a “Jorge Diaz-Feliz,” JHOAN DIAZ-FELIZ, VICTOR JIMENEZ, and JOSEPH PEREZ.  The defendants are charged with murder in connection with an attempted gunpoint robbery of a Mount Vernon warehouse that sells various unlicensed marijuana and nicotine products.  Two individuals — one employee of the warehouse and one member of the robbery crew — were shot and killed during the failed robbery attempt.  The defendants were arrested and will be presented later today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Victoria Reznik.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged in the Complaint, these five defendants carried out a violent armed robbery that left two dead in Mount Vernon.  The dedication, bravery, and expertise of our law enforcement partners led to the swift arrest of this dangerous crew.  This was an outstanding coordinated effort to uphold the law and keep the public safe.  This Office is determined to ensure that these defendants now face justice.”

FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said: “These five subjects allegedly orchestrated an attempted armed robbery of a warehouse that sells to smoke shops, which quickly turned deadly as a shootout ensued, culminating in the death of both an employee and one robbery crew affiliate.  The defendants’ alleged brazen actions demonstrated extreme disregard for public safety and posed a significant threat to the community.  The FBI will not cease its relentless pursuit of those who choose violence, especially using firearms, to further their criminal behavior.  We urge the public to contact us at 1-800-Call-FBI or at tips.fbi.gov with any additional information related to this case.” 

Mount Vernon Police Commissioner David Gibson said: “I would like to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the FBI’s Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, and the New York Police Department for their partnership, assistance, and continued support in this investigation.  I would also like to thank the Westchester County Police Department and the Westchester Real Time Crime Center for their vital assistance and teamwork.  The Mount Vernon Police Department and the Patterson-Howard administration takes crime in our City seriously.  We want to send a message to those who seek to commit heinous crimes in our community.  We will partner with local, state, and federal partners to prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. ”

As alleged in the Complaint filed today in White Plains federal court:[1] 

On or about March 19, 2024, ILARIO CONTRERAS, JERPI DIAZ-FELIZ, JHOAN DIAZ-FELIZ, VICTOR JIMENEZ, JOSEPH PEREZ, and others known and unknown attempted to rob at gunpoint a warehouse in Mount Vernon that sells various unlicensed marijuana and nicotine products.  As employees of the warehouse were assisting customers, approximately 10 to 15 people, including the defendants, approached the employees and customers with weapons and forced them back into the warehouse at gunpoint.  A still image from video surveillance outside the warehouse is depicted below:

Shortly after the defendants and others approached the employees and customers with firearms, a gunfight between the warehouse employees and defendants broke out.  As a result, one of the employees and one of the robbers were killed.

If you have any information about this case, please contact the FBI at 1-800-Call-FBI or tips.fbi.gov.

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CONTRERAS, 23; JERPI DIAZ-FELIZ, 25; JHOAN DIAZ-FELIZ, 23; JIMENEZ, 35; and PEREZ, 26, are each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, one count of conspiracy to engage in drug trafficking, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, one count of possessing and discharging a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking activity, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, and murder through the use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, which carries a maximum sentence of the death penalty or life imprisonment.

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as the sentencing of the defendants will be determined by a judge.

Mr. Williams praised the work of the FBI’s Westchester County Safe Streets Task Force and the Mount Vernon Police Department.  Mr. Williams also thanked the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, the Westchester County Police Department, the New York City Police Department, and the Westchester Real Time Crime Center for their invaluable assistance.  

This case is being handled by the Office’s White Plains Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jared D. Hoffman and Justin L. Brooke are in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint and the description of the Complaint set forth herein constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Contact

Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff(212) 637-2600

Updated March 20, 2024

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