A Florida man has been indicted on charges of lying to a federal grand jury in Boston that was investigating alleged interstate gun trafficking in a case linked to Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriot charged with murdering a Dorchester man.
Oscar “Papoo” Hernandez Jr., 23, of Orlando, is charged with lying to the grand jury in December, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday in US District Court in Boston. The panel was investigating the “transportation of firearms” from Florida to Massachusetts.
Oscar and Aaron Hernandez are not related.
The grand jury probe was prompted, in part, by a federal review of three firearms that Massachusetts State Police recovered during an investigation into “a June 17, 2013 homicide in North Attleboro,” the indictment said. The only homicide in North Attleborough that day was the early morning shooting of Odin L. Lloyd, 27. His body was found in an industrial yard near Aaron Hernandez’s home.
Aaron Hernandez, 24, has pleaded not guilty to murder and weapons charges in connection with Lloyd’s death and is being held without bail.
On Thursday, a federal judge in Florida ordered Oscar Hernandez detained until his transfer to Massachusetts to face the indictment. A lawyer who represented him did not respond to inquiries seeking comment.
The indictment accuses Oscar Hernandez of lying to the Boston grand jury on Dec. 4, when he testified that he did not purchase a Toyota Camry last April in Florida or have it shipped to Massachusetts.
State Police investigators in Massachusetts executed a search warrant on the Camry on June 22 at the North Attleborough residence of a man identified only as John Doe #3, and they recovered a rifle from the vehicle, according to the indictment. A law enforcement official briefed on the investigation said that John Doe #3 is Aaron Hernandez.
Massachusetts troopers investigating the athlete also recovered two other firearms referenced in the Oscar Hernandez indictment: .22 -caliber pistols that two unnamed people purchased several days apart last April in Belle Glade, Fla., according to court records and authorities. The indictment does not specify where the two guns were found.
Oscar Hernandez had been living in Belle Glade until roughly mid-September, court records show. However, the buyers of the pistols are identified in his indictment only as John Doe #1 and John Doe #2.
Oscar Hernandez’s testimony in December in Boston about the Camry was relevant “because the grand jury was investigating the interstate transportation of firearms from Florida to Massachusetts in, among other things, the Toyota Camry,” the indictment said.
Oscar Hernandez is also accused of trying to influence the testimony of a person, identified as KS, who authorities say sold him the Camry that later ended up in Aaron Hernandez’s garage.
Attorneys for Aaron Hernandez could not be reached for comment Thursday.
They had previously written in court documents that Oscar Hernandez “may be an important witness” in the murder case and requested notes on statements that he made to investigators in June.
The weapon used to kill Lloyd in North Attleborough, which authorities believe was a .45-caliber firearm, has not been recovered.
The indictment against Oscar Hernandez comes after two associates of Aaron Hernandez, Carlos Ortiz, 28, and Ernest Wallace, 42, both of Bristol, Conn., were indicted last week on murder charges in Lloyd’s death.
Prosecutors say the two men and Aaron Hernandez picked Lloyd up at his Dorchester home and drove him to the North Attleborough industrial yard where he was killed. Ortiz and Wallace had previously been charged as accessories after the fact of Lloyd’s murder.
Ortiz and Wallace’s arraignments on the murder counts have not been set.
Gerard T. Leone Jr., a former state and federal prosecutor now working in private practice at Nixon Peabody, said that Oscar Hernandez, if he has any knowledge of Lloyd’s slaying, “certainly would have reason to cooperate,” since he faces up to 45 years if convicted on all counts in the federal indictment.
He is charged with lying to a grand jury, obstructing justice, and witness tampering. No date had been set Thursday night for his initial appearance in federal court in Boston.