BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WTVQ) – Federal officials have charged 13 people in connection to the violent robberies of 15 commercial businesses located in North Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, and Kentucky; including La Placita market, located in Warren County, Kentucky, where five of them were charged in the shooting death of a Bowling Green resident.
The superseding indictment charges all 13 defendants with conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery – targeting primarily Hispanic owned convenience stores and markets in the four states.
The defendants include:
- Jorge Santos Caballero-Melgar, age 34, from Nashville, TN
- Jonny Alexander Reyes-Martinez, age 29, from Nashville, TN
- Jose Adan Mejia Varela, age 31, from Nashville, TN
- Lillian Yamileth Duron, age 24, from Nashville, TN
- Estrellita Soto, age 35, from Nashville, TN
- Elmer Manuel Ordonez Sanchez, age 25, from Nashville, TN
- Elvin Fernando Lopez Sanchez, age 26, from Nashville, TN
- Javier Alexis Mejia Varela, age 27, from Nashville, TN
- Brandon Michael Maldonado-Caro, age 25, from Nashville, TN
- Alex Antonio Maldonado-Rodriguez, age 34, from Nashville, TN
- Junior Esteban Bueso, age 39, from Nashville, TN
- Jose Javier Cedillo-Sales, age 28, from Nashville, TN
- Jamie Cedillo-Sales, age 23, from Snow Hill, NC
According to the indictment, the defendants planned and robbed businesses, including Beat the Clock Tax Service in Lexington, Kentucky, taking approximately $67,000 in cash and La Placita in Bowling Green, Kentucky taking about $23,500 in cash. The charge carries a penalty of no more than 20 years in federal prison. There is no parole in the federal system.
Eleven of the defendants (Caballero-Melgar, Reyes-Martinez, Jose Varela, Elmer Sanchez, Elvin Sanchez, Javier Varela, Maldonado-Caro, Maldonado-Rodriguez, Bueso, Jose Cedillo-Sales, Jaime Cedillo-Sales) are charged with carrying or possessing a firearm during a crime of violence; the charge carries a penalty of no more than 20 years imprisonment.
The five original defendants (Caballero-Melgar, Reyes-Martinez, Jose Varela, Duron, and Soto) are charged in the indictment with interference of commerce by robbery for the March 17, 2017, robbery of La Placita in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The charge carries a term of imprisonment of no more than 20 years.
The Grand Jury further charged Caballero-Melgar, Reyes-Martinez, and Jose Varela with murder through the use of a firearm during a crime of violence for the death of J.C. during the robbery of La Placita in Warren County; the charge carries a maximum penalty of death or a term of life in prison.
Caballero-Melgar faces an additional charge of illegal entry after deportation. Reyes-Martinez and Jose Varela are also charged with being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.