Fellsmere teen charged in Vero Lake Estates double homicide


INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — A Fellsmere teen was held at the Juvenile Detention Center after deputies said he fatally shot two Brevard County men in a botched drug deal over marijuana vape pens Monday. Jaime C. Mosqueda and an unidentified witness traveled to the Vero Lake Estates area to buy 1,300 THC vape pens for $3,000 from the men.

“These two kids lost their lives over THC vape pens. It’s crazy. It’s unfortunate,” Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers said during a news conference Tuesday at the sheriff’s office. “We’ve seen multiple deaths over marijuana with young kids. This continues to be a thing.”

Flowers said Mosqueda lured the victims to the area with bad intentions.

“We had our suspect in custody in 12 hours,” Flowers said. “This was incredible work from our team. Some of our folks have been working all night and had little sleep.”

Flowers said a witness came forward, leading deputies to the location of the gun used in the shooting and detailing the events that led to gunfire. Flowers commended the witness for coming forward to detectives.

“It’s a very tragic situation,” Flowers said. “The witness showed us a map of where the gun was at. Our drug dog found the gun within two minutes.”

Mosqueda, 17, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, sheriff’s officials said. Mosqueda was taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Fort Pierce.

Flowers said Mosqueda showed up to the drug transaction and “started firing off rounds.”

“He eventually tells his family that it was in self-defense. There were no weapons on either one of the victims or in their car,” Flowers said. “His story fell apart pretty fast.”

Flowers identified the victims as Joseph Mitchel Cardella and Logan James Thomspon, both 19. The age and town of residence for the witness were not released.

License plate reader cameras showed it was the first time Cardella and Thompson had traveled to Indian River County. Cardella and Thomspon were best friends, Flowers said. It was unclear how Mosqueda knew the Brevard County men.

Indian River County deputies responded to the gunfire about 3 p.m. Monday in the 7700 block of 105th Court, east of Interstate 95 in Vero Lake Estates. The large neighborhood is a mostly quiet, tree-lined community.

Flowers previously said that deadly shootings were out of the norm for the area. The sheriff said Mosqueda and the victims may have picked Vero Lake Estates for the drug deal because it’s close to I-95.

“We know many rounds were fired out there,” Flowers said of Monday’s incident. “This is not a product of Vero Lake Estates and should not reflect on that community in any way.”

Sgt. Kevin Jaworski, a spokesperson with the sheriff’s office, said deputies found several shell casings at the scene.

Deputies found the men’s bodies lying in a yard and in front of a Chrysler vehicle, which they later learned belonged to Cardella. Deputies also found about $1,000 in bills on the ground, Flowers said.

Flowers previously said there were bullet holes in the Chrysler, broken glass and cash scattered in the roadway. Deputies canvassed the large neighborhood and spoke with witnesses, including the other person who traveled with Mosqueda to the area in a separate vehicle.

Flowers said the Chrysler was next to a wooded lot. There was a house yards away.

Mosqueda stood next to the Chrysler during the drug deal, Jaworski said.

Flowers said it appears Cardella was running away from the vehicle and collapsed in the yard, where he died from gunshot wounds. Thompson’s body was found on the roadway in front of the Chrysler.

The witness told deputies that after the shooting, he and Mosqueda left the area in their vehicle and went to an undisclosed residence. Mosqueda threw the gun in the woods, got back in the vehicle, dropped off the witness and drove back to his home in Fellsmere, Flowers said.

The witness told his family what happened, and the family brought him to the sheriff’s office to be questioned, Flowers said. The sheriff’s SWAT team then went to Mosqueda’s residence.

“Our team immediately set up on that residence. We obtained a search warrant and executed the search warrant about 1 a.m.,” Flowers said. “Mosqueda was in the home with a number of family members. All of those folks were brought down to the station.”

Deputies arrested Mosqueda and were working to get a search warrant for his vehicle. Flowers said deputies continue to speak with the cooperating witness, along with Mosqueda’s family.

“We still have a lot of questions about what happened out there,” Flowers said.

Photos by Joshua Kodis

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