Miami, Florida – Two South Florida residents have been charged with federal conspiracy, armed robbery, and firearms offenses in connection with a series of convenience store robberies in Miami-Dade, Florida.
The criminal complaint charges Floyd Ellis Wyche, 53, of Lauderhill, Florida and Willie Lee Smith, 48, of Hialeah, Florida, with conspiring to rob several convenience stores at gunpoint. According to the affidavit, on August 29, September 2, September 12, and October 13, robbers used firearms to steal approximately $8,000 in total from four convenience stores. During one of the robberies, a firearm was stolen from a store clerk.
As to the October 13 robbery, in addition to conspiracy, the complaint charges Wyche and Smith with substantive armed robbery and firearms counts. The complaint affidavit alleges the following against Wynch and Smith: On October 13, Wynch and Smith drove to a gas station in Miami, Florida. Wynch was behind the wheel. Once there, Smith exited the vehicle and entered the gas station. He pointed a firearm at the gas station clerk and demanded money. Smith then grabbed money from the cash register, left the store, and returned to the vehicle.
According to the affidavit, officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but Wyche refused to pull over, leading law enforcement on a vehicle chase into Broward County. It is alleged that during the pursuit, Smith exited the vehicle. Law enforcement ultimately stopped the vehicle and arrested Wyche. Officers located and arrested Smith. They also located the firearm stolen from a store clerk during one of the robberies.
Wynch and Smith had their initial appearances in federal court today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John J. O’Sullivan. Smith’s detention hearing is set for October 15. Wynch’s detention hearing is set for October 19. Both hearings will occur in federal magistrate court in Miami.
U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Robert Cekada of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Director Alfredo Ramirez III of the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), Chief of Police Jorge R. Colina of the City of Miami Police Department, and Chief of Police Sergio Velazquez of the Hialeah Police Department, made the announcement.
ATF, MDPD, City of Miami PD, and City of Hialeah PD investigated this case, with assistance from Florida Highway Patrol and Miramar Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Elena Smukler is prosecuting this case.
This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a program that brings together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. In 2017, PSN was reinvigorated as part of the Department’s renewed focus on targeting violent criminals, directing all U.S. Attorney’s Offices to work in partnership with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the local community to develop effective, locally-based strategies to reduce violent crime.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing to address when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see www.justice.gov/projectguardian.
A criminal complaint is merely an accusation that contains allegations. A defendant is innocent unless and until found guilty in a court of law.
You may find a copy of this press release on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. You may find related court documents and information on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case number 20-mj-03812.