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West Valley police seeking man in home invasion case

Published: Thursday, Sept. 3 2015 1:31 a.m. MDT

Police want to question this man, Michael Gaines Caldwell, 25, in connection with an Oct. 30 home invasion robbery at a West Valley City home. (Salt Lake County Jail) Police want to question this man, Michael Gaines Caldwell, 25, in connection with an Oct. 30 home invasion robbery at a West Valley City home. (Salt Lake County Jail)

WEST VALLEY CITY — Police are asking for the public's help in finding a man they believe could have information regarding a recent home invasion.

On Oct. 30, three armed men looking for drugs entered a home at 7133 W. Chula Drive (3705 South), according to police. Four children and five adults were home at the time. One jumped out a second story window to escape. Another was held at gunpoint by one of the intruders, 29-year-old Robert Ebere.

The homeowner, however, put a choke hold on Ebere and squeezed until the man passed out. Ebere later died from his injuries. The other two gunmen fled from the house.

Prosecutors declined to file criminal charges against the homeowner in Ebere's death.

West Valley police on Tuesday announced that they were looking to question Michael Gaines Caldwell, 25, but did not say whether they believe he is one of the other two intruders. West Valley Police Sgt. Jason Hauer said, however, that Caldwell should be considered armed and dangerous.

Inside the house, investigators also found about 3.5 kilograms of cocaine and about $48,000 in cash, according to court documents.

The homeowner, Javier Mendoza-Trujillo, was indicted in federal court last week on a charge of drug possession with intent to distribute. According to the indictment, investigators found a "hidden compartment under the floor in the home." Inside the compartment, police said they found drugs and money.

"Mr. Mendoza-Trujillo told officers he is in the business of selling cocaine and has been selling approximately 2 kilos per month since December of 2012," according to the indictment.

Another half-pound of cocaine and more cash was found in a hidden compartment in his van, the charges state.

Anyone with information on Caldwell can call police at 801-840-4000.

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