Four Members of Jewelry Theft Ring Plead Guilty
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 16, 2014|
WASHINGTON—Four men have pleaded guilty for their roles in a highly sophisticated and violent organization that targeted jewelry couriers in Georgia and Texas. The defendants were caught as part of a national effort to find and prosecute roving groups of robbers who travel around the country targeting jewelry couriers and other business people.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman and U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates of the Northern District of Georgia made the announcement.
Honorio Sanchez-Valencia, 46, of Gwinnett, Georgia; Jose Vicente Ramirez-Rodriguez, 38; John Rodriguez, 37; and Ali Alejandro Godoy-Maximo, 25, each of Los Angeles, California, pleaded guilty this week in the Northern District of Georgia to Hobbs Act robbery for participating in the robbery of a jewelry courier on January 31, 2013, at a QuikTrip gas station in Buford, Georgia. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. In addition, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to being an illegal alien in possession of a handgun, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Sentencing has not been scheduled.
Court records show that on January 31, 2013, as part of a plan to identify and rob a jewelry courier, the courier-victim was followed by Ramirez-Rodriguez to a QuikTrip gas station. As he was following the courier, Ramirez-Rodriguez contacted Sanchez-Valencia to help him with the robbery. Sanchez-Valencia, in turn, contacted the other defendants, all of whom came to the gas station together. When the courier was putting gas in his vehicle, two of the defendants approached him, with one restraining him with a knife while another smashed the vehicle window and took a briefcase containing more than $125,000 in assorted jewelry.
Sanchez-Valencia also admitted his involvement in a similar robbery that occurred in Dallas on August 27, 2012. In that robbery, two jewelry couriers were at a restaurant when Sanchez-Valencia briefly came into the restaurant to conduct surveillance on them and to determine the layout of the restaurant. Within a few minutes after Sanchez-Valencia left, three masked men with a gun came into the restaurant and robbed the jewelry couriers of two briefcases containing over $500,000 of jewelry. Some of that jewelry was recovered during the execution of a search warrant at a storage unit rented by Sanchez-Valencia.
This case was investigated by the FBI, ICE, 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.