Feds take control of Homestead woman’s deadly carjacking probe. More arrests expected

With four people arrested in the three weeks since a Homestead woman was carjacked and later shot to death in Central Florida, federal prosecutors on Monday warned that anyone associated with the individuals jailed so far could find themselves charged in connection with the murder.

“If we can find evidence of a violation of a federal violation in the course of our investigation, we are going to pursue it,” Roger Handberg, United Sates Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, told reporters during a briefing about the probe into the April 11 murder of 31-year-old Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas.

The press conference served as not only an update on the case, but also an official transfer of jurisdiction from Seminole County to the federal government. A spectrum of agencies are taking the lead, including the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

READ MORE: Drugs, money and murder: A look at the probe into Homestead woman’s deadly carjacking

That’s because the probe involves not only Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ murder, but also another fatal shooting in Orange County. There’s two other cases under investigation, too: cocaine and fentanyl trafficking that spans from Puerto Rico to multiple counties in Florida.

“The arrest of these four individuals does not mark the end of this investigation,” Handberg said. “Far from it.”

Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma had been handling the probe and said Monday that some of his detectives will remain on the case as part of a federal task force.

While Lemma held several press conferences and provided specific details to reporters concerning the complex investigation, Handberg said not to expect the same level of immediate transparency now that the federal government has taken the lead

“We speak through what happens in the federal docket,” he noted at Monday’s briefing.

Armed carjacking in Central Florida

Guerrero De Aguasvivas, a mother of two young children who worked at a Florida City hair salon, was carjacked at gunpoint at a Seminole County intersection.

Cell phone video shot from a witness stopped at the red light at East Lake Drive and Tuskawilla Road reveals a masked man getting out of a green Acura holding a semiautomatic rifle and hopping into the backseat of Gurrero De Aguasvivas’ white Durango.

The Durango, with the Acura following, makes a U-turn and drives off.

The torched Durango was found hours later at an Osceola County construction site with the body — who authorities say is Guerrero De Aguasvivas — inside.

She had been shot with multiple 10-mm bullets. The same ammunition was used the day before to kill Orange County tow truck driver Juan Luis Cintron Garcia.

Handberg said agents are investigating possible links to both murders. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office hasn’t released the incident report for Cintron Garcia’s slaying. He was shot in the Taft neighborhood of Orange County.

There detectives found more than 100 spent 10-mm casings at the scene, Lemma said earlier this month. Cintron Garcia towed the same 2002 green Acura from an Orange County apartment complex on March 11. Investigators detailed that was the same car used in Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ armed kidnapping.

A green Acura, AR-15 and $1,500?

One of the men expected to be federally charged with carjacking and killing Guerrero De Aguasvivas is Kevin Omar Ocasio-Justiniano. Investigators say the 28-year-old Puerto Rican man was likely driving the Acura that tailed her Durango. Lemma said last week that his Toyota Corolla was also seen in Taft the night Cintron Garcia was killed.

A photo of Kevin Omar Ocasio-Justiniano.
A photo of Kevin Omar Ocasio-Justiniano.

Ocasio-Justiniano, also known as “Kevo,” is being held in Puerto Rico on an unrelated automatic weapons possession and drug trafficking warrant. Lemma said he is expected to be charged with the carjacking resulting in death.

READ MORE: Two facing federal charges in connection to Homestead woman’s carjacking, murder, cops say

Investigators believe that a 28-year-old man named Jordanish Torres-Garcia is the masked gunman wearing a hooded sweatshirt seen on video kidnapping Guerrero De Aguasvivas.

He was arrested April 19 in Orange County on an unrelated federal weapons charge.

Jordanish Torres-Garcia
Jordanish Torres-Garcia

Torres-Garcia, also from Puerto Rico, admitted to FBI agents that he kidnapped Guerrero De Aguasvivas but said he way paid $1,500 to deliver her to another person, who wasn’t named in an April 24 criminal complaint filed in federal court.

READ MORE: Man admits he was paid to kidnap Homestead woman in Central Florida, FBI says

He told agents that he met with someone about a half-hour before the carjacking near the area of Lake Drive in Seminole County, and that person gave him an AR-15 rifle “to be used in the carjacking,” according to the complaint. He then received a phone call that Guerrero De Aguasvivas was on her way, according to the report.

It remains unclear whether Torres-Garcia named anyone.

Torres-Garcia said he and another man in the Acura located Guerrero De Aguasvivas at a stop sign on Lake Drive and tried to get her to pull over by bumping her Durango, but they were “unsuccessful,” the complaint states.

Lemma said last week that investigators believe Guerrero De Aguasvivas traveled to Central Florida to meet with Giovany Crespo Hernandez, another person of interest in the case.

A photo of Miguel Angel Aguasvivas, the husband of Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas.
A photo of Miguel Angel Aguasvivas, the husband of Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas.

Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ husband, Miguel Angel Aguasvivas, had initially told detectives that his wife drove to the area to meet with family. But the Homestead woman’s brother, Luis Fernando Abreu, told detectives his sister was there to “deliver money and other stuff.”

Lemma said his detectives located some of Guerrero De Aguasvivas’ relatives in the area, but they said they weren’t expecting a visit from her.

Aguasvivas initially cooperated with the investigation, but Lemma said he’s since reneged. Miami Herald reporters went to Aguasvivas’ Florida City barber shop last week, but a man sitting outside said he wasn’t there.

Giovany Joel Crespo Hernandez
Giovany Joel Crespo Hernandez

Bricks of cocaine and a deputy

Detectives say Crespo-Hernandez, 27, was likely the last person Guerrero De Aguasvivas spoke to on the phone as she was driving on Interstate 4 in the downtown Orlando area before she was kidnapped.

Seminole County detectives served an unrelated search warrant on Crespo-Hernandez’s Casselberry home on April 17 and discovered fentanyl, guns, marijuana, digital scales and cash. He turned himself in to police on April 23.

He’s being held on drug trafficking and marijuana with intent to sell charges.

Meanwhile, Crespo-Hernandez’s girlfriend, 28-year-old Monicsabel Romero Soto, was arrested by U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents the same day of the search warrant after they say she picked up three bricks of cocaine that were found in a lamp in a package sent from Puerto Rico to a St. Cloud home in Osceola County.

Monicsabel Romero Soto
Monicsabel Romero Soto

Last Thursday, Orlando federal magistrate Judge Robert Norway ordered Romero Soto, who lives with Crespo-Hernandez in Casselberry, released from detention despite evidence of her involvement in “a substantial, long-running criminal enterprise.”

At left, a firearm and money were found in a pouch in the Casselberry, Florida, home of Monicsabel Romero Soto and Giovany Joel Crespo Hernandez, federal agents say. At right, a trap space was found inside the Toyota found in the home’s driveway, agents say. Investigators believe the couple may be connected to the deadly carjacking of 31-year-old Katherine Altagracia Guerrero De Aguasvivas, a Homestead woman.

Romero Soto’s two children are in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families. Her defense attorney said the Puerto Rican native is likely to comply with court orders to get the children back into her custody.

READ MORE: Arrest of woman found with cocaine stuffed in lamp linked to carjacking. She’s released

In a twist that played out when the probe commenced, Seminole County detectives arrested Orange County Deputy Francisco Estrella Chicon, who investigators say illegally accessed the personal and professional profile information of the lead Seminole County detective on the case.

Detectives say he then shared that information with Aguasvivas the night of the murder as he drove to Seminole County to speak with investigators in person.

Estrella Chicon’s wife is his childhood friend. Estrella Chicon was arrested on April 14 and released on a total bond of $15,000 five days later.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has since relieved him of all law enforcement duties. He’s suspended without pay pending the criminal investigation.