DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Maria Chapa Lopez

For Immediate Release

Monday, March 16, 2020
Maria Chapa Lopez
, United States Attorney
Contact: William Daniels

Arsonists Sentenced to 12 Years in Federal Prison

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge William F. Jung has sentenced Raymy Escoto (24, Bradenton) and Phillip Uscanga (25, Bradenton) each to 12 years in federal prison for arson. Escoto and Uscanga had pleaded guilty on September 25, 2019.

According to court documents, Escoto and Uscanga were part of an ongoing criminal enterprise in Manatee County through which they and others conspired to control a geographic territory around 11th Street East in Oneco; specifically with a heavily-armed trap house that doubled as a gang headquarters and prostitute and narcotics market.

On January 1, 2016, Uscanga and a co-conspirator drove a red Mustang by the home of Julio Tellez, and the co-conspirator shot at the home but did not hit anyone. Another co-conspirator, Jordan Rodriguez, followed in another vehicle, stopped, shot again at the home, and killed Tellez. Rodriguez also shot another man in the head, but that individual survived. Shortly thereafter, Uscanga and Escoto set fire to the red Mustang. They considered the car as evidence of the shooting and sought to destroy it.

Rodriguez was sentenced to three terms of life imprisonment for his role in this case.

This is another case prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s “Project Safe Neighborhoods” Program (PSN), which is a nationwide, crime reduction strategy aimed at decreasing violent crime in communities. It involves a comprehensive approach to public safety — one that includes investigating and prosecuting crimes, along with prevention and reentry efforts. In the Middle District of Florida, U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez coordinates PSN efforts in cooperation with various federal, state, and local law enforcement officials.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, and the State Attorney’s Office (Twelfth Judicial Circuit). It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Natalie Hirt Adams and Christopher F. Murray.

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Tampa Field Division