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Cocaine, kidnapping, murder, and a dirty cop? Florida sheriff reveals details after making arrest

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David Goodhue
Miami Herald

The Seminole County Sheriff’s Office on Friday arrested a man they are calling a person of interest in the carjacking and murder of a Homestead woman in Central Florida last week.

Authorities have also arrested a woman who is the girlfriend of one of the last people investigators believe the victim, Katherine Altagracia De Aguasvivas, spoke to before she was killed.

The sprawling investigation into the bizarre murder spans several counties and now includes detectives with several sheriff’s offices and federal agents with the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Homeland Security Investigations.

Jordanish Torres-Garcia, 28, was taken into custody Friday in Orange County on an existing federal weapons possession warrant.

Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, whose agency is leading the investigation into the April 11 murder of Aguasvivas, told reporters on Friday that Torres-Garcia owns the green 2002 Acura that is connected to her killing and that is connected to the murder of a tow truck driver in Orange County the day before.

Lemma said that Torres-Garcia bought the car from a dealership called Buy Here, Pay Here through Facebook Marketplace, and that the clothes he’s photographed wearing in his profile picture match ones worn by the masked gunman seen in a cellphone video getting out of the Acura and into Aguasvivas’ Durango last Thursday at an intersection in unincorporated Seminole County.

That Durango was found later that day in a construction site, torched, with a woman’s body burned inside. Police believe the woman is Aguasvivas, who was 31. Witnesses said they heard multiple gunshots before the grisly scene was discovered and spent bullet casings were found on the ground.

Police and U.S. Marshals arrested Torres-Garcia as he was walking into an Orange County business, Lemma said.

“He’s not going to be released,” Lemma said, noting the federal charges. Investigators still don’t know who the other person was in the Acura, Lemma said.

When Aguasvivas was killed last week, her husband, Miguel Aguasvivas, told investigators that she traveled to Central Florida to visit relatives. However, her brother, Luis Fernando Abreu, told investigators this week that he discovered she was in the area to “deliver money and other stuff for a friend,” Lemma said.

Cocaine arrest may be connected

The other arrest in the case this week was the result of Abreu doing his own digging, Lemma said. Through an iCloud account, Abreu was able to contact a man named Giovany Joel Crespo Hernandez, 27, who appears to be one of the last people Katherine Aguasvivas spoke to on the phone as she was driving on I-4 through the downtown Orlando area, Lemma said.

Abreu called the person through Facetime and screen-shotted his image and sent it to Seminole County detectives, Lemma said, adding Abreu does not know Crespo Hernandez.

Detectives ran that photo through a police database, and it almost 100% matched a mugshot of Crespo Hernandez for a 2019 arrest in Orange County.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for the Casselberry home where Crespo Hernandez lives with his girlfriend, Monicsabel Romero Soto. No one was home when investigators searched the home. Inside, detectives found fentanyl and a gun, Lemma said.

While detectives were serving the warrant, Homeland Security Investigation agents called them and said that Soto and another person who lives in the Casselberry home took delivery through the mail of three kilograms of cocaine in Osceola County, Lemma said.

Soto is now in federal custody on cocaine charges, said Lemma. As of Friday evening, detectives were still looking for Crespo Hernandez, who faces fentanyl trafficking charges.

So far, three people have been arrested over the course of the week-long investigation into Katherine Aguasvivas’ murder.

Deputy arrested

On Sunday, Seminole County detectives arrested Orange County Deputy Francisco Estrella Chicon. He’s accused of illegally accessing the personal and professional profile information belonging to the lead Seminole County detective on the case and sending that information to Miguel Aguasvivas.

Investigators say Miguel is childhood friends with Estrella Chicon’s wife and called her when he was driving from Homestead to Seminole County with Abreu to answer questions about his wife’s death.

Lemma said Miguel is not a suspect or person of interest in the case, but he believes he knows more than he’s told investigators so far.

“He and her brother, Luis, are cooperating, but I am incredibly skeptical of their cooperation,” Lemma said Friday.

Estrella Chicon was arrested on charges of use of a two-way device in the commission of a felony, eavesdropping, invasion of privacy and accessing a computer or electronic device without authorization. He has entered a written plea of not guilty and was released on a total bond of $15,000 Thursday.

The murder

Katherine Aguasvivas was kidnapped shortly before 6 p.m. on April 11 at the intersection of East Lake Drive and Tuskawilla Road in unincorporated Seminole County near Winter Springs, investigators say.

Tuskawilla is a large suburban community with fountains gracing its entrance off Tuskawilla Road. Before stopping at the red light, she called Miguel, saying she was being followed by a green Acura that was repeatedly ramming the back of her Durango.

While she was stopped at the intersection, a man armed with a semiautomatic rifle and wearing a black hoodie and a Halloween mask got out of the Acura behind her, walked up to her window, pointed the gun at her and hopped into the back seat of the Durango.

The Durango, with the Acura in tow, then drove away from the intersection when the light turned green. A person in a vehicle behind the Acura filmed what they presumed to be a carjacking in progress on cellphone video widely shared online.

Investigators maintain Katherine Aguasvivas was targeted, but still do not have a motive.

Same car, same ammunition

The green Acura is also connected to the shooting death of Juan Luis Cintron Garcia, 39, in Orange County the day before Katherine Aguasvivas was killed.

Cintron Garcia was a tow truck driver who towed the Acura from an apartment complex, where it was illegally parked, on March 19, investigators said. He was shot dead at his home, and detectives say the scene was littered with spent 10-millimeter bullet casings — the same type of ammunition found where Aguasvivas’ body was discovered, investigators say.

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