Three Men Sentenced To Decades In Federal Prison For A Robbery On The Big Cypress Reservation Resulting In The Death Of A Victim

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FILE PHOTO: American flag waves outside the U.S. Department of Justice Building in Washington

Fort Myers, Florida – U.S. District Judge Thomas P. Barber has sentenced Johan Holder (26, Clewiston) to 40 years, Sylvanis Brice (31, Clewiston) to 40 years, and Uriah Waggerby (25, Clewiston) to 18 years in federal prison, respectively, for their roles in an attempted robbery that resulted in the killing of a victim on the Big Cypress Indian Reservation in Clewiston. The Big Cypress Indian Reservation is one of the reservations of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. On July 20, 2022, following an eight-day trial, a jury found Holder and Brice guilty of conspiracy and robbery. The jury found Waggerby guilty of conspiracy.    

According to testimony and evidence presented at trial, shortly before midnight on November 1, 2016, men wearing hoodies, masks and gloves, and brandishing firearms attempted to commit a robbery at a residence on the Big Cypress Reservation. During the robbery attempt, one of the masked men fired a shot that struck and killed a young man who had been visiting the targeted residence.  Immediately after the shooting, the masked assailants fled the area. As the assailants had concealed their identities during the robbery attempt, no one at the scene was able to identify the perpetrators. Subsequent efforts to identify the assailants through fingerprint and DNA evidence were also unsuccessful.  

Waggerby later admitted to his involvement in the robbery, telling investigators that he had met with men in the Harlem area of Clewiston prior to the robbery and directed them to rob a particular house on the reservation because a resident there was a marijuana dealer. As a result of an exhaustive law enforcement investigation, Brice and Holder were identified as perpetrators who had committed the attempted armed robbery on the reservation. 

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Seminole Police Department, as part of the joint Federal Bureau of Investigation/Seminole Police Department Safe Trails Task Force, which has been in existence since 2010. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michael Sinacore and Simon Eth.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.