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05/22/2014

Indianapolis man indicted for armed carjacking

INDIANAPOLIS — A local man was charged Thursday with carjacking an Indianapolis man and discharging a firearm into the dashboard of the vehicle, announced Joseph H. Hogsett, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana.

Jaime Martinez-Elvir, 32, of Indianapolis, was charged May 22 with carjacking and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

This indictment resulted from a collaborative investigation by the FBI, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

"The revolving door of justice has closed for Mr. Martinez today," said Hogsett. "Those individuals who choose to view federal firearms laws as mere 'suggestions' will spend a long time in prison contemplating their actions."

Court documents recently unsealed allege that during the early morning hours of March 31, 2013, Martinez invaded a home in the 800 block of North Sherman Drive. He allegedly robbed a husband and wife at gunpoint of jewelry and cash, then forced the couple to drive him to a bar on the east side of Indianapolis. During the incident, Martinez fired the gun, although neither of the victims was hit.

Later that same day, documents allege Martinez committed a second carjacking near Washington and Belmont. During that incident, it is alleged that Martinez forced the victim at gunpoint to drive to an ATM to withdraw money from the victim's account. When no money was available from the ATM, Martinez allegedly fired a shot into the dashboard of the victim's car.

Based on that incident, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Martinez with carjacking and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence.

This prosecution comes as part of the U.S. Attorney's Violent Crime Initiative (VCI), a districtwide strategy initiated in March 2011 to work with local law enforcement and county prosecutors to combat drug traffickers and criminals that use and carry firearms in their illegal activities. The VCI has produced a dramatic increase in the number of gun-related charges brought federally. In the year preceding the initiative, there were just 14 defendants charged with federal gun crimes by the U.S. Attorney's Office. In the nearly three years since, more than 325 defendants have been charged.

"Through our Violent Crime Initiative, and in working with our law enforcement partners here in Central Indiana, we're sending a united message that violent criminals will not be tolerated and will face the full force of federal law," Hogsett added.

According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Rinka, who is prosecuting the case for the government, Martinez faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of the carjacking, and 10 years to life if convicted of the gun charge. He remains in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.