Federal authorities say a man from Union County has admitted participating in a conspiracy to commit multiple armed robberies during a span of seven months in 2018 and 2019.

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45-year-old Jaime Fontanez of Elizabeth pleaded guilty on Wednesday to eight counts of an indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit a Hobbs Act robbery, five substantive counts of Hobbs Act robbery, and two counts of brandishing a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence.

U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger's office says,

From August 2018 through February 2019, Fontanez conspired with a number of other individuals to commit 13 armed robberies in Bronx and New York counties in New York and Union, Middlesex, and Essex counties in New Jersey. The conspirators targeted convenience and liquor stores. After entering the business, one of the conspirators pointed a firearm at the store clerk while another conspirator went behind the counter to steal money from the cash register.

On one occasion, one of the conspirators fired a gun into a liquor store.

The Hobbs Act charges each carries up to 20 years in prison. The brandishing of a firearm during a crime of violence charge carries seven years to life behind bars. Each count also carries a potential $250,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 26th.

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