FRESNO, Calif. — Today, U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill sentenced Javier Beltran, 25, of Strathmore, to 23 years in prison for his conviction for two counts of use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, and he sentenced Ulises Medina, 25, of Earlimart, to 15 years in prison for his conviction for conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott and Tulare County District Attorney Tim Ward announced.
U.S. Attorney Scott said, “Today’s sentences are the result of our commitment to work with our federal, state and local partners to identify and prosecute cases that will help to reduce violent crime in our communities. We are confident that these efforts will continue to reduce crime, save lives, and restore safety to our communities.”
District Attorney Ward stated: “When we began this relationship with U.S. Attorney Scott and his office, our intent was to make Tulare County a safer place. The resolution of this case is a direct and powerful example of why this relationship with our federal partners is important. Under current California law, the defendants in this case would have been eligible for youthful offender parole in California far earlier than when their federal sentences will end. We will stop at nothing to protect the communities we call home. To that end, I commend the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and local law enforcement, and I pledge our continued support of Project Safe Neighborhoods.”
According to court documents, Beltran and Medina conspired to commit a series of armed robberies of gas stations, convenience stores, and liquor stores. Beltran, Medina, and their associates committed at least seven armed robberies in Tulare and Kern Counties between May 2016 and January 2017. In February, Beltran, Medina, and their associates and their associates travelled to Nebraska, where they committed two more robberies. They then returned to California, where they committed three more armed robberies.
Beltran and Medina both admitted that they robbed Joe’s Westside in Porterville, California on January 18, 2017. Prior to the robbery, Beltran, Medina, and other conspirators stole a 2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer by pushing a hole in the driver’s side lock, cracking the steering shaft, and starting the vehicle without a key. They drove the vehicle to Joe’s Westside where they entered the store wearing masks and carrying guns.
Inside the store, Beltran, Medina, and another co-conspirator ordered the store clerk to the ground at gunpoint, forced the clerk to open the cash register, and stole over $8,000. Beltran, Medina, and their associates then fled in the stolen Chevrolet Trailblazer, which they abandoned approximately half a mile away with the engine still running.
Beltran also admitted that on July 22, 2017, he and other co-conspirators robbed Woodville Liquor in Woodville. Beltran and his associates stole a 2006 Chevrolet Silverado by cracking the steering shaft and starting the vehicle without a key, then drove it to Woodville Liquor. Beltran entered the store along with two other suspects, each carrying a firearm. They ordered the customers in the store to the ground at gunpoint and used zip ties to tie up one of the store employees. They then stole approximately $2,000 in cash, $4,000 in checks, bottles of whiskey, and cartons of cigarettes before fleeing in the stolen vehicle.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Porterville Police Department, Lindsay Police Department, Bakersfield Police Department, Fremont (Nebraska) Police Department, and Dodge County (Nebraska) Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ross Pearson and Kathleen Servatius prosecuted the case.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts. PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.