NEWARK, N.J. – Two Passaic County, New Jersey, men arrested in connection with three armed robberies committed in August 2022 made their initial appearances in Newark federal court, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Carlos Diaz, 30, and Edward Porter, 30, both of Paterson, are each charged by criminal complaint with one count of conspiracy to obstruct commerce by robbery and one count of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. Diaz and Porter appeared on Dec. 5, 2022, before U.S. Magistrate Judge José R. Almonte and were detained.
Diaz and Porter were arrested on Sept. 9, 2022, and have been in custody in Passaic County since that time; they were taken into federal custody today to face these charges.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On the evening of Aug. 22, 2022, Diaz, Porter, and a third individual robbed a Passaic bodega of several thousand dollars while menacing customers with handguns and ordering them to lie on the ground. On the evening of Aug. 23, 2022, Diaz and Porter robbed a Passaic liquor store of several thousand dollars at gunpoint. While inside the store, Porter pistol-whipped a victim. Later that evening, Diaz and Porter committed a gunpoint robbery of a business in Paterson. While inside the store, Porter pushed one victim and wrestled with a different victim, dragging the victim to the floor while attempting to take the victim’s handbag.
The count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison, which must be imposed consecutive to any other sentence imposed. Conspiracy to obstruct commerce by robbery carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Newark Field Division, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Bryan Miller; the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office, under the direction of Sheriff Richard Berdnik; the Paterson Police Department, under the direction of Acting Police Chief Engelbert Ribeiro; and the Passaic Police Department, under the direction of Police Chief Luis A. Guzman, with the investigation leading to the charges.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Garrett Schuman of the General Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.