U.S. Department of Justice
United States Attorney
District of Minnesota
District of Minnesota
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
B. Todd Jones, United States Attorney
Contact: Jeanne F. Cooney, Director of Community Relations
Hugo Man Sentenced for the Armed Robbery of Falcon Heights Liquor Store
MINNEAPOLIS — Late yesterday in federal court in St. Paul, a 19–year–old Hugo man was sentenced in connection with the February 23, 2011, armed robbery of J’s Liquors in Falcon Heights. United States District Court Judge Paul A. Magnuson sentenced Cody Joseph Diaz to 120 months in prison on one count of use of a firearm during a crime of violence, specifically during a Hobbs Act robbery. Diaz was indicted on May 11, 2011, and pleaded guilty on August 2, 2011.
In his plea agreement, Diaz admitted that on February 23, he entered the liquor store with a 12–gauge shotgun, intending to rob it. While the robbery was in progress, he discharged one round. According to law enforcement documents filed in the case, the gunshot resulted in a round penetrating the wall and entering the neighboring business.
Upon responding to the robbery, officers observed Diaz drop a duffle bag and flee the scene. The duffle bag contained money. Diaz was apprehended a short time later, after he was spotted on the roof of a nearby home. At the time, he was wearing only a t–shirt and jeans despite the cold weather. Outside another residence, also located close to the crime scene, police recovered a shotgun similar to the one used in the robbery, along with gloves and other clothing that matched what had been worn by the robber.
The Hobbs Act, passed by Congress in 1946, allows federal prosecutors to prosecute individuals who commit armed robbery in places of business that participate in interstate commerce. Federal prosecution of these cases sometimes is beneficial since the penalties are often tougher than under state law. Furthermore, because the federal system has no parole, those who receive federal sentences serve virtually the entire time imposed.
This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the White Bear Lake Police Department; the South St. Paul Police Department; the St. Paul Police Department; the Eden Prairie Police Department; the Maplewood Police Department; the Roseville Police Department; the St. Anthony Police Department; the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office; the Wyoming Police Department; and the Forest Lake Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney LeeAnn K. Bell.