PENSACOLA, Fla. - Three individuals were sentenced Wednesday to federal prison for conspiring to transport more than a half million dollars in property stolen during a series of commercial burglaries, following an investigation by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and numerous other law enforcement partners in northwest Florida.
At the conclusion of a sentencing hearing held in federal district court in Pensacola, Jorge Alberto Ortega, 31, of Destin, Fla., was sentenced to 120 months in prison and ordered to pay $517,000 in restitution. His brother, Rene Ortega Calderon, 29, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., received a sentence of 90 months' imprisonment, and was ordered to pay $514,000 in restitution. Francisco Javier Guillin-Bonilla, 37, also of Fort Walton Beach, was sentenced to 40 months' imprisonment, and ordered to pay $468,000 in restitution.
Between August 2009, and February 2010, members of the conspiracy burglarized businesses in Tallahassee, Fla., Panama City Beach, Fla., Okaloosa County, Fla., Walton County, Fla., and Thomasville, Ga., stealing construction and lawn maintenance equipment, tools and other items, as well as four firearms. The group concealed the stolen property in storage units rented by Jorge Alberto Ortega Calderon, and later used U-Haul trucks to transport the property to locations outside the state of Florida.
The total loss to victims of the crime was more than $517,000. Investigators recovered some of the items stolen during the burglaries from two homes, one of which was a residence shared by the three men in Fort Walton Beach.
On Feb. 12, 2010, Jorge Alberto Ortega Calderon and Guillin-Bonilla were arrested in Mobile, Ala., while attempting to commit another burglary at a commercial equipment rental company. Rene Ortega Calderon was present at the scene of the attempted burglary, but fled on foot. He was later arrested.
In addition to conspiracy, Guillin-Bonilla was also convicted of using a fraudulent resident alien card as evidence of employment in the United States. Rene Ortega Calderon and Francisco Javier Guillin-Bonilla, who were not legally present in the United States, will be precluded from re-entering the United States after service of their sentences.
"The defendants sentenced in this case victimized numerous local business owners throughout northwest Florida. Additionally, Guillin-Bonilla engaged in document fraud, compromising the integrity of our nation's legal immigration system," said Susan McCormick, ICE HSI special agent in charge in Tampa. "Thanks to the collective efforts of state, local and federal agencies working together, we were able to ensure that these individuals were prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
U.S. Attorney Pamela C. Marsh commended the work of the Okaloosa, Walton, Leon and Bay County Sheriffs' Offices, the Tallahassee, Panama City Beach, Thomasville, Georgia and Mobile, Alabama Police Departments, as well as ICE HSI, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
"This investigation owes its success to the cooperative spirit of these agencies and their collective dedication to securing justice for the victims of these crimes," said Marsh. "Had it not been for the hard work of the law enforcement officers, investigators, and analysts in the case, these crimes may very well have gone unsolved and the burglaries would have continued."
The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany H. Eggers.