A group of men allegedly involved in an attempted robbery in Malden that was thwarted by a multi-agency law enforcement investigation were indicted Tuesday.
Antonio Correia, Sr., 43, who law enforcement officials identified as the alleged ring leader, told investigators that he wanted to pull off a big score in order to pay off over $90,000 in alimony he owed his ex-wife, according to court documents. He allegedly conducted the attempted robbery with his two sons, who also were indicted.
Correia sought to identify and rob a large-scale drug dealer in the Boston area in July, and asked a man to whom he previously allegedly sold illegal firearms for help identifying a good subject for the robbery, according to a federal affidavit.
It turned out the man he turned to for help was a confidential informant for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the eventual target of his robbery attempt would be fictional.
Correia had been under surveillance by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives since last August for allegedly selling illegal firearms in the Boston area that he obtained from a connection in New Jersey, according to an affidavit written by Special Agent John Mercer. Using the confidential informant, the ATF conducted five gun purchases from Correia between last August and July of this year, the affidavit said.
In mid-July, Correia met with the informant inside a Somerville Dunkin' Donuts, where he told the informant he needed to find a quick score in order to bail out his son, who was charged with murder in New Jersey, the affidavit said.
Using a story provided by law enforcement, the informant told Correia he knew of a diamond wholesaler who kept uncut diamonds and large amounts of cash in an office on Commercial Street in Malden, the affidavit said. Correia told the informant he and his sons would restrain the diamond wholesaler and intimidate him into opening the safe by firing blanks into the air, the affidavit said.
The informant later called Correia and told him the robbery should be done on Aug. 2. The informant, Correia, Marquis Simmons, 23, Julio Rodriguez, 21, Jokarly Fernandez, 21 and Correia's sons, Branden, 20, and Antonio, Jr., 21, met at a Somerville Dunkin' Donuts parking lot that day and drove to Malden, according to the affidavit.
In an alley behind 245 Commercial St., the men were swarmed by law enforcement officers and arrested. They found two loaded guns, a .380 and a semi-automatic .45, near the men, as well as a starter pistol, pepper spray, a knife, gloves, and masks, the affidavit said.
In an interview with law inforcement officials after being arrested, Correia Sr. admitted his son was not charged with murder, and that he actually needed the money because he owed his ex-wife $90,000 in child support and alimony, the affidavit said.
All of the men involved were charged with conspiracy to commit robbery. Correia Sr., Simmons and Rodriguez were also charged with possession of a firearm in furtherance of a violent crime.
A grand jury in US District Court in Boston handed up the indictments Tuesday. The suspects are scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.