U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of California
(415) 436-7200
November 18, 2015

Humboldt County Resident Sentenced to 15 Years’ Imprisonment for Murder

SAN FRANCISCO—Ryan Carroll was sentenced to 15 years in prison for aiding and abetting the use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence and thus causing murder, announced Acting United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson. Carroll’s codefendant, Robert Lee, received a sentence of seven years for being an accessory after the fact and destruction of a vehicle by means of fire. The sentences follow guilty pleas entered by the codefendants in which they acknowledged their respective roles in an attempt to rob a Humboldt resident who asked for help in purchasing marijuana.

Carroll, 31, of no fixed residence, pleaded guilty on July 30, 2015, to being one of the people who robbed and killed Reetpaul Rana in a drug deal gone bad. According to the plea agreement, Carroll told Rana in August of 2008 that he would help Rana purchase 8 or 9 pounds of marijuana. In September of 2008, rather than help Rana purchase the marijuana, Carroll and three other people decided to rob Rana. Rana was shot and killed during the robbery. On August 22, 2013, a federal grand jury indicted Carroll; he was charged with robbery affecting interstate commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a); use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); use of a firearm causing murder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j); conspiracy to destroy an object to obstruct an investigation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; destruction of an object to obstruct an investigation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519; and use of fire in the commission of a federal felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(h). Pursuant to the plea agreement, Carroll pleaded guilty to using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence causing murder. Today, Carroll was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for the conduct to which he admitted in the plea agreement.

On July 17, 2015, Lee, 30, of no fixed residence, pleaded guilty to criminal conduct that followed the murder of Rana in September 2008. According to the plea agreement, Lee agreed with two other people to “torch” Rana’s car in a suitable location. Lee admitted that he knew the car belonged to Rana and that Rana recently had been robbed and killed with a firearm during the course of the robbery. Lee acknowledged assisting in transporting the car to an access road near a lagoon in Arcata, Calif., spraying the inside of Rana’s car with WD-40, and igniting the car for the purpose of preventing the apprehension, trial, and punishment of the person responsible for robbing and killing Rana. On August 22, 2003, Lee was charged with use of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); use of a firearm causing murder, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(j); conspiracy to destroy an object to obstruct investigation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371; destruction of an object to obstruct investigation, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1519; and use of fire in the commission of a federal felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844(h); accessory after the fact, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 3; and manufacture and possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841. In May of 2015, a grand jury amended the charges against Lee to add malicious destruction and conspiracy to maliciously destroy a vehicle by means of fire, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 844. Pursuant to the plea agreement, Lee pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact to the use of a firearm causing murder, and to the malicious destruction of a vehicle by means of fire.

The sentence was handed down by the Honorable Edward Chen, U.S. District Judge. Carroll has been in custody since June 2010, and Lee has been in custody since October 2011. Both defendants will begin serving their respective sentences immediately. Judge Chen also sentenced each of the defendants to a five-year period of supervised release and ordered defendants to pay $6,000 in restitution to Rana’s parents. Both defendants are liable for the $6,000 jointly and severally and the court set a date of January 20, 2016, to consider any further restitution claims that may be made by Rana’s parents.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew M. Scoble and Scott D. Joiner are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Kurt Kosek, Lance Libatique, and Ponly Tu. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

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