Six Charged with Attempted Robbery of Jeweler
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 09, 2009|
HOUSTON—A federal complaint charging six people with the attempted robbery of a jewelry salesman and his guard on Sept. 11, 2009, has been unsealed, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today. Hugo Ortiz, 25, Santos Diaz-Soto, 23, Marcela Osorio Pemberthy, 22, Bryan Blanco, 25, Juan Carlos Valencia, 26, and Gabriel Ocampo-Mayorquin, 24, are charged by criminal complaint with the offense of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by threats or violence in violation of the Hobbs act.
Three of the six defendants have been in state custody following their arrest on state charges since mid-September. They have been transferred to federal custody and made their initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frances H. Stacy this afternoon. All three have been ordered temporarily detained and will have their preliminary and detention hearing tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. The other three defendants—Valencia, Ocampo-Mayorquin and Diaz-Soto—are fugitives and warrants remain outstanding for their arrests. Ocampo-Mayorquin is believed to have been shot in the arm during the attempted robbery and may have sought medical treatment. Carlos-Valencia’s whereabouts are unknown. Diaz-Soto was released on bond while on state charges and his whereabouts are also presently unknown. Anyone having information regarding the whereabouts of Ocampo-Mayorquin, Valencia or Diaz-Soto is urged to contact the Houston office of the FBI at (713) 693-5000 or the Houston Police Department or, if outside Houston, their local FBI office.
According to the allegations in the criminal complaint, the victimized jewelry salesman traveled from Louisiana to Houston to meet with local jewelers when he and his guard—an off-duty Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission (TABC) officer—were approached in their car by two Hispanic males, one with a firearm and the other with a glass punch which was used to break a window. The jeweler’s guard fired several shots wounding Santos-Diaz and Ocampo-Mayorquin who sustained gunshot wounds during the exchange. During the robbery, the other defendants acted as lookout and get-away drivers.
Immediately after the robbery, witnesses observed three vehicles race into the back parking lot of an apartment complex located across the street from the robbery scene. Several of the defendants were seen entering and exiting the vehicles and removing temporary license plates from at least one vehicle. Through further investigation, including a visit to an area hospital, task force officers ultimately identified all six of the named defendants and four were taken into custody. The six were initially charged by the State of Texas with aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery after the botched robbery.
A conviction for violating the Hobbs Act carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, without parole, and a $250,00 fine.
This matter was investigated by members of the FBI’s Houston Violent Crimes Task Force which includes officers of the Houston Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kebharu H. Smith and Joe Magliolo.
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.