PEORIA, IL—A man charged by a federal grand jury with stealing more than $8 million in cigarettes from an East Peoria, Illinois warehouse in January 2010 was arrested this morning in Miami, Florida. The grand jury in Peoria charged Amed Villa, 46, a citizen of Cuba residing in Miami, in October 2010; however, the indictment had remained sealed pending the defendant’s arrest.
The indictment alleges that on January 24, 2010, Amed Villa took more than 3,500 cases of cigarettes, valued at more than $8 million, from a warehouse operated by Federal Warehouse in Tazewell County, Illinois.
In a separate case, Amed Villa is also charged with his brother, Amaury Villa, 37, in an indictment unsealed today in the District of Connecticut, with conspiracy and theft charges related to their alleged participation in the theft of approximately $80 million in pharmaceuticals from an Eli Lilly Company warehouse and storage facility in Enfield, Connecticut in March 2010. Amaury Villa has been indicted in the Southern District of Florida with 10 others related to the sale and distribution of goods stolen from warehouses and tractor-trailers across the United States.
Amed Villa is scheduled to appear in federal court in Miami next week. A removal hearing is scheduled on May 17 to determine whether the defendant may be removed to the Central District of Illinois.
If convicted, theft from an interstate shipment carries a statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.
The charges in the Central District of Illinois were investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the East Peoria Police Department, Morton Police Department, and the Illinois State Police. In the Central District of Illinois, the government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Tate Chambers.