Hogsett Announces Federal Charges Against Two Men After Indianapolis-Area Bank Robbery
Pair Arrested After Car Chase, Charged as Part of Violent Crime Initiative
|U.S. Attorney’s Office April 22, 2013|
INDIANAPOLIS—Joseph H. Hogsett, the United States Attorney, announced today the arrest of Ashton C. Tuggle, age 22, and Julius D. Hunt, age 25, both of Indianapolis. The pair are alleged to have committed an armed robbery of the Huntington National Bank in the 2600 block of West 86th Street last week and were arrested after leading law enforcement on a chase both in an automobile and on foot.
“These two men are alleged to have engaged in a brazen armed robbery in a busy commercial shopping center,” Hogsett said. “This kind of potentially deadly lawlessness has no place here in Indianapolis, and these are exactly the types of cases that our Violent Crime Initiative was designed to address.”
According to a criminal complaint unsealed today, the vehicle allegedly used by the two men had been under surveillance by federal and local agents after it was reported stolen roughly two weeks ago. As part of this surveillance, the car was allegedly observed in the Nora Pines Apartment Complex in Indianapolis. On the morning of April 19, both defendants were allegedly seen entering the vehicle, which was observed by law enforcement driving in and around a shopping complex containing multiple bank branches.
Federal agents then allegedly observed both men enter the Huntington National Bank branch, at which point other law enforcement officers were notified that a robbery was in progress. Inside the bank, the two men allegedly threatened the bank employees with firearms and were given approximately $7,258 in cash by the tellers before leaving the building.
The men were allegedly seen running from the bank, and they quickly fled in the automobile. Law enforcement pursued and allegedly observed the two defendants throw materials out of the car window, including money and a dye pack that exploded. The two men allegedly abandoned the car and fled on foot in the direction of a second automobile that was already known to law enforcement.
An arrest team observed the two men enter the second automobile and proceeded to block off the exit routes for this car. The two men allegedly rammed a police van with the vehicle in an attempt to escape but were ultimately arrested at gunpoint. Law enforcement allegedly found two white plastic bags filled with currency inside the vehicle, as well as multiple firearms.
The criminal histories of both men include prior convictions for bank robbery. This prosecution comes as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Violent Crime Initiative and is the result of a collaborative investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Carmel Police Department, Zionsville Police Department, the Avon Police Department, and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
Announced in March 2011, the Violent Crime Initiative represents a district-wide strategy to work with local law enforcement and county prosecutors to combat drug traffickers and criminals that use and carry firearms in their illegal activities. The VCI has produced a dramatic increase in the number of gun-related charges brought federally. In the year preceding the initiative, there were just 14 defendants charged with federal gun crimes by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In the nearly two years since, more than 200 defendants have been charged.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Ridgeway, who is prosecuting the case for the government, both men could face lengthy periods in federal prison if they are convicted, as well as terms of federally supervised release.
A criminal complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.