Central Islip, NY (SmithtownRadio.com) – Five armed robbery suspects believed responsible for a series of violent holdups pleaded not guilty Monday morning at their arraignment in Suffolk County court, District Attorney Thomas Spota’s office says.
Between December 27 and February 28, the men are accused of wielding loaded semi-automatic handguns at robberies across the county. At several robberies, the men are also accused of tying up and beating victims.
“It was critical to find the perpetrators of these increasingly violent robberies and the police did so by detecting the pattern of holdups and the similarities in the methods used by these five defendants,” Spota says.
The grand jury indictment charged Edwin Acosta-Martinez, 23, of Huntington Station, with seven counts of Robbery 1st Degree; Carlos Velasquez, 17, of Bay Shore, with eight counts of Robbery 1st Degree and three counts of Criminal Possession of a Weapon second degree; Wilmer Velasquez-Cruz, 27, of Brentwood, with six counts Robbery 1st Degree; Mario Chincilla Rodriguez, 23, of Huntington Station, with three counts of Robbery 1st Degree; and Jonathan Portillo, 16, of of Brentwood, with three counts of Robbery 1st Degree.
The five were taken into custody by Third Squad detectives on February 29 shortly after the robbery of the Health Mart Pharmacy in Bay Shore where they tied up five women using plastic zip ties.
Rodriguez was ordered held without bail, Carlos Velasquez is being held in lieu of $750,000 cash bail, and the three remaining defendants; Portillo, Martinez and Cruz are incarcerated in the county jail in lieu of $500,000 cash bail.