MEMPHIS – After three years, the owners of two Latino businesses in Memphis feel justice is served. Both businesses were violently robbed by gun-toting men back in December 2009.
Not only were the owners and employees robbed, so were their customers.
"It's ugly when you get a gun at your head," said Carlos Suarez, owner of La Herradura Western Wear.
When the crooks, now convicted and looking at up to 18 years in federal prison, hit Suarez's business on summer near Whitestation, they took his merchandise, cash and his truck.
"They were smacking the display windows," said Suarez.
David Cuadrado, who also goes by David Cortez, and Tobey Becton have also been sentenced, along with two other men in the armed robbery of El Ranchito grocery store on Macon near Graham. United States Attorney Ed Stanton wants their case to serve as an example.
"When you're preying upon certain individuals because of their ethnic background or national origin, it will not be tolerated," Stanton said.
Stanton wants more people in the Latino community to be comfortable enough to report problems to police. He says a lack of reporting in the past has made closing cases more difficult, so he's encouraging Suarez and other Latino leaders in the community to go out and help stop the cycle.
"Tell them you're got to report this, otherwise there will be a repeated effort of individuals being victimized solely because of their national origin," he said.
With an estimated 100,000 Latinos living in Memphis, community advocate group "Latino Memphis" says law enforcement is working to bridge the gap. Some law enforcement agencies are already sending representatives out to make connections, which it says is leading to progress.
"I can tell everyone in my community now that it's really a way to get to this point where you get justice. Get criminals in jail," Suarez said.
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