ELIZABETH, NJ - A federal grand jury on Monday indicted two Elizabeth, New Jersey, men for allegedly committing multiple armed robberies from August 2018 through February 2019, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Jaime Fontanez, 43, and Vincent Chan-Guillen, 30, both of Elizabeth, New Jersey, 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:

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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.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Joe Denahan in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges. He also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, under Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, for their assistance with this case and the Elizabeth Police Department, under the direction of Chief Giacomo Sacca; the Rahway Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Rodger; the Woodbridge Police Department, under the direction of Director Robert Hubner; the Bloomfield Police Department, under the direction of Public Safety Director Samuel A. DeMaio; the Linden Police Department, under the direction of Chief David Hart; the Kenilworth Police Department, under the direction of Chief John Zimmerman; the Township of Union Police Department, under the direction of Director Dan Zieser; the N.J. State Police, under the direction of Col. Patrick J. Callahan; and the New York City Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Dermot Shea for their work on this case.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracey Agnew and Shawn Barnes of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Criminal Division in Newark.

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