GARDEN CITY, GA (WTOC) - In a shocking twist, federal prosecutors say three men conspired to kill a co-worker who was ready to turn them in.
The three men indicted are all living in the U.S. illegally. Garden City officers found Eliud Montoya shot to death outside his home in August of last year. They’ve remained quiet about the investigation until the indictment was unsealed Thursday.
Prosecutors say Montoya, a naturalized citizen, turned in his bosses for profiting off undocumented workers and running a scheme to hire them.
The indictment accuses the men of going to any means necessary to silence Montoya, even to the point of killing him. The U.S. attorney says Montoya was killed for doing the right thing.
Eliud Montoya was a naturalized U.S. citizen who worked for a Savannah-area tree service known as Wolfe Tree.
“Eliud Montoya followed the rules, worked hard, and raised a family. When he saw what he believed was illegal activity, he went to the proper authorities and reported it," said U.S. Attorney, Bobby L. Christine.
Two days before his death, Montoya filed a formal complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission saying that the tree service supervisor, Pablo Rangel-Rubio, ran a scheme to employ what he called "illegal aliens" at the company. Prosecutors say Pablo was profiting from the company while also skimming pay from the undocumented workers.
“This was not the first time Montoya reported this scheme. He also filed a complaint with the company officials four months earlier.”
When Pablo found out Montoya had blown the whistle on what he was doing, authorities say he got his brother, Juan Rangel-Rubio, and another undocumented worker, Higinio Perez-Bravo, to help plot the murder.
“Authorities allege Pablo Rangel-Rubio paid Perez-Bravo to assist Juan Rangel-Rubio in killing Mr. Montoya in retaliation for reporting the conspiracy.”
This conspiracy is believed to have netted the brothers more than $3.5 million during the 10 years the scheme went on.
At the news conference Thursday, the Garden City police chief explained how agencies working together helped with this case.
“This is a prime example of the excellent working relationship that we are committed to, and we have with not only all local agencies within this region, but state agencies and federal agencies, and for that we thank you for your assistance and we look forward to the day justice is severed within the courts," said Chief Gilbert Ballard, Garden City PD.
The two Rubio brothers are faceing several charges including conspiracy to kill a witness and money laundering conspiracy.
Pablo and Bravo are charged with conspiracy to commit murder for hire.
See the indictment below: