Two Immokalee men were sentenced to 45 years in prison Wednesday for their roles in a string of violent home-invasion robberies in Collier County and the City of Naples, while a third suspect is heading to trial.
At a hearing in Collier County Circuit Court, Henry Adam “Ricky” Contreras, 53, and his son Johnathan Contreras, 32, both pleaded guilty to dozens of felony charges brought forth by the Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecutor.
Circuit Judge Joseph G. Foster accepted their pleas and sentenced each to 45 years in prison as part of a plea bargain agreement.
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The agreement calls for the pair to serve their 45-year sentences concurrent, or at the same time, to the 25-year sentences they received last year for their roles in separate home invasions in Orange County.
They could have faced life in prison had they been convicted at trial.
Co-defendant Andres Perez, 49, passed on the same plea and will stand trial instead. Perez is scheduled to return to court April 18 at which time a trial date could be set.
A fourth defendant, Frank Bower, who was not involved in any of the Collier cases, had previously struck a plea deal that will send him to prison for 25 years. Together Perez, Bower, Johnathan Contreras and Ricky Contreras faced 113 felonies ranging from home invasion robbery to kidnapping and from racketeering to dealing in stolen property.
In spring 2014 Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk directed the creation of a multi-jurisdictional task force to investigate as similarities in home invasions emerged. The task force was made up of representatives from CCSO, Naples Police Department, Marco Island Police Department, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI.
Through the investigation, the task force determined that nine robberies were interrelated and committed by a criminal enterprise that included Perez, Bower, Johnathan Contreras and Ricky Contreras and that the group engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity from Dec. 10, 2013, through May 12, 2014.
The suspects operated during the evening hours targeting upscale homes where no forced entry was required. They were armed with guns, wore dark clothing and gloves and covered their heads with masks. They entered the homes, bound their victims, disabled cell and house phones and made off with jewelry and cash. In many of the incidents, they stole the victims’ vehicles to leave the communities.
Task force members linked the suspects to the crimes after conducting interviews and analyzing evidence, including cell phone data, bank records, pawn transaction receipts, jail phone calls, security video, and shoe impressions found at the scenes of some of the robberies. For example, the investigation found the suspects pawned numerous pieces of stolen jewelry and watches at a Miami pawn shop in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars. Google Earth searches of some of the communities where the robberies had taken place were also discovered on some of the suspects’ cell phones.