LOUISVILLE, KY – United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr. on Thursday announced the guilty plea, from a Miami resident, before Chief Judge Joseph H. McKinley, Jr., to federal conspiracy and theft charges stemming from his participation in a warehouse burglary in Leitchfield, Kentucky, in March 2011.
In pleading guilty to the two count federal indictment, Ivan Romero, a/k/a El Negro, 42, admitted that he and others stole more than $1.5 million in cigarettes from the Coremark Cigarette Warehouse in Leitchfield, Kentucky, and that he and others received the stolen cigarettes (which constitute an interstate and foreign shipment of property valued at over $1,000) with the intent to convert the property to their own use.
During the theft, Romero and his co-conspirators gained entry into the warehouse through the roof, disabled the alarm system and loaded the stolen goods into a stolen tractor trailer. Specifically, between March 18, 2011, to March 20, 2011, defendant Camilo Rodriguez-Hernandez rented three hotel rooms in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where the co-conspirators, who traveled to Kentucky from Miami, Florida, resided during the burglary and theft. Between March 19, 2011, and March 20, 2011, Amuary Villa, Ivan Romero, Amed Villa, and other co-conspirators unloaded a stolen tractor trailer and loaded it with cigarettes. Defendant Romero admitted to providing transportation for the stolen cigarettes and driving them to the New Jersey/New York area.
Romero, a legal permanent resident from Cuba who last resided in Miami, has been serving a state sentence from Florida before being transferred to federal custody. If convicted at trial, Romero could have been sentenced to no more than 15 years in prison for both charges, fined $500,000 and been required to serve three years of supervised release. Romero is scheduled for sentencing before Chief Judge McKinley, on April 19, 2016 in Owensboro, Kentucky.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joshua Judd and the investigation of the Kentucky theft is being led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) with assistance from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Leitchfield and Elizabethtown Police Departments, and New Jersey and Kentucky State Police Departments.