Tuesday, December 7, 2021

“Island Runners” bring indictment in boat theft ring

A federal indictment of twelve people has been unsealed after local, state, and federal agencies pooled resources and worked together for the past two years to investigate a dramatic increase in boat thefts in Southwest Florida. The multi-agency agencies who formed the “Island Runners” Task Force included personnel from Collier County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Coast Guard Investigative Services (CGIS), Homeland Security Investigation (HIS), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The twelve individuals, all from Southwest Florida are charged with Conspiracy to Transport Stolen Vehicles in Foreign Commerce and nine counts of Transporting Stolen Vessels. They are: Rene Blanco Nunez (age 42, of Naples); Remberto Blanco Martinez (age 33, of Naples); Jacqueline Galiano Anesto (age 43, of Naples); Heriberto Paez Reyes (age 34, of Naples); Mayque Aguilera Pulido (age30, of Naples); Angel Alverez Esquijarosa (age 35, of Naples); Francisco Munoz Cabrera (age 29, of Naples); Douglas Gainza Cespedes (age 35, of Naples); Darinet Molina-Mata (age 32, of Naples); Reinier Pereda Montesino (age 26, of Hialeah); and Javier Guevara Fernandez (age 36, of Homestead).

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison on the conspiracy count, and ten years on each of the remaining counts, for a total of 95 years. All made their initial appearances in court and been arraigned in late September, except for Paez Reyes and Pereda Montesino, who remain fugitives.

The indictment alleges that, between June 2007 and August 2010, the defendants conspired to transport stolen vessels worth a total of at least $1.5 million from Collier, Lee, Manatee, and Pinellas counties, to Mexico. The vessels included a 34’ 2009 Sea Vee stolen from Marco Island, a 36’ 2005 Yellowfin from Naples, and other luxury vessels from locations all across Southwest Florida.

The multi-agency investigative task force, ”Island Runners”, that was formed in 2007, not only gathered information leading to this indictment, but also successfully disrupted the intended theft of numerous additional vessels. United States Attorney A. Brian Albritton commended the members of “Island Runners” and gave credit to the “high level of cooperation among federal, state and local agencies” in responding to the problem.

ICE- Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge in Tampa, Susan McCormick said, “ICE agents and our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners dismantled a Naples-based criminal organization and prevented them from conducting additional criminal activities.”

Collier County Sheriff Kevin J. Rambosk thanked “our partners in public safety” and listed the agencies with whom his department had worked on the case. The case was investigated by ICE, FDLE, CGIS, and CCSO, which were assisted by Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Service, United States Customs and Border Protection, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Sheriff’s Offices of Charlotte, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties, and the Police Departments of Cape Coral, Clearwater, Longboat Key, Marco Island, Miami-Dade, Naples, Punta Gorda, and St. Petersburg Beach. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant Unitede States Attorney Jesus M. Casa.

The Island Runners Investigation is ongoing.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed a violation of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proved guilty.

[The above is taken from a statement released by the United States Department of Justice, United States Attorney A. Brian Albritton, Middle District of Florida, on September 28, 2010. The statement is titled: 12 Indicted as Part of Southwest Florida Boat Theft Ring Following Major Investigation by “Island Runners” task Force.]

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