Union County Men Indicted for Violent Robbery Spree

A federal grand jury today indicted two Union County men for allegedly committing multiple armed robberies from August 2018 through February 2019, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Federal officials said Jaime Fontanez, 43, and Vincent Chan-Guillen, 30, both of Elizabeth, are charged in a 13-count indictment with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, multiple counts of Hobbs Act robbery, as well as brandishing and discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.

Fontanez and Chan-Guillen will be arraigned at a date to be determined.

Both men were previously arrested on a criminal complaint for this conduct on February 21, 2019.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From August 2018 through February 2019, Fontanez and Chan-Guillen conspired with each other, and others, to commit robberies in Bronx and New York counties in New York and Union, Middlesex, and Essex counties in New Jersey.

The conspirators targeted convenience and liquor stores.

After entering the business, one of the conspirators pointed a firearm at the store clerk while another conspirator went behind the counter to steal money from the cash register.

On one occasion, Chan-Guillen discharged a firearm into the liquor store. That firearm was subsequently discovered in Chan-Guillen’s possession.

The Hobbs Act charges each carry a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison.

The brandishing of a firearm during a crime of violence carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must run consecutively to any other prison term.

The discharging of a firearm during a crime of violence carries a maximum potential penalty of life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, which must run consecutively to any other prison term.

Each count also carries a potential $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.