Illegal immigrants among those arrested in string of violent robberies in Martin County

Posted at 11:52 PM, Feb 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-04 09:38:20-05

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. -- As President Donald Trump pushes for stricter immigration laws, the Martin County sheriff announced his deputies arrested potential illegal immigrants for crimes in Martin County.

Five men, including two teenagers, were arrested for violent robberies in the Golden Gate neighborhood in East Stuart.

At least six people reported being violently attacked, robbed and beater by the men.

One of the victims, Diego Matias Andres, says he was walking along the sidewalk near his house. A group of men confronted him, grabbed him by the neck, and stole hundreds of dollars from his wallet.

Joel Perez says one of his friends was also a victim. "They pushed him to the ground and hit him in the back… now he's very very nervous."

Sheriff William Snyder says another victim was pistol whipped with a BB gun.

The victims told deputies that their attackers threatened them, and told them they would retaliate against their families if the victims called police.

Snyder says the suspects claimed they all live in Stuart.

The two juveniles are here legally, according to Snyder.

Two of the adults, 18-year-old Gerson Garcia-Hernandez and 26-year-old Hector Garcia- Godoy, could not provide social security numbers.

19-year-old Carlos Garcia-Paguada, from Honduras, was found already wearing an ankle monitor from the Department of Homeland Security.

“His explanation was that when he came across the border illegally, he was given the bracelet and a court date.” said Sheriff William Snyder.

Snyder says Martin County is not a sanctuary county. He reported the three men with questionable immigration statuses to federal authorities. Immigration and Customs officials will ultimately be the ones to determine the fate of the three men, and whether their actions will effect their Martin County residency.

“It will be up them to do an investigation to tell us whether or not to hold them prior to letting them go for bond,” Snyder said.

Snyder says it is not uncommon to come across people without proper documentation. That is something he says he would like to see decrease overtime.

“When we have people who are not anchored in the community, who’s names and date of birth and social security numbers are just not known, it makes it that much more difficult to investigate and solve crimes.”

Snyder says a sixth arrest is likely coming shortly.

All five people arrested are facing robbery charges. The three men are also facing grand theft charges.