Four members of a robbery crew that targeted jewelry couriers were sentenced to federal prison for their roles in conspiracy to commit a Hobbs Act robbery and related offenses.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates of the Northern District of Georgia made the announcement.
Honorio Sanchez-Valenica, 46, of Gwinnett, Georgia, John Rodriguez, 37, of Los Angeles, Ali Alejandro Godoy-Maximo, 25, of Los Angeles, and Michael Alejandro Tovar-Vargas, 37, of Los Angeles, were sentenced to serve 137 months in prison, 63 months in prison, 68 months in prison and 87 months in prison respectively for their involvement in the Jan. 31, 2013, robbery of a jewelry courier at a gas station in Buford, Georgia. In addition to the prison sentences, the defendants were ordered to pay $122,398 in restitution. U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones of the Northern District of Georgia imposed the sentences. Jose Vicente Ramirez-Rodriguez, 38, of Los Angeles, also pleaded guilty for his role in the robbery and will be sentenced on Dec. 10, 2014.
Court records show that on Jan. 31, 2013, the defendants robbed a jewelry courier while he was putting gas in his car. Two of the defendants approached the victim, one restrained him with a knife, and the other smashed the car’s window and took a briefcase containing over $125,000 in assorted jewelry.
In his plea agreement, Sanchez-Valencia also admitted to his involvement in a similar robbery in Dallas on Aug. 27, 2012. In that robbery, Sanchez-Valencia conducted surveillance of two jewelry couriers at a restaurant. Within minutes after Sanchez-Valencia left, three masked men with a gun came into the restaurant and robbed the jewelry couriers, taking two briefcases containing over $500,000 in jewelry. Some of that jewelry was later recovered by law enforcement during the execution of a search warrant at a storage unit rented by Sanchez-Valencia.
This case was investigated by the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Gwinnett County Police Department, with assistance from the Dallas Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Laura Gwinn of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim Dammers of the Northern District of Georgia.