Criminal Justice News

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Third Roommate Pleads Guilty to Inside Job Bank Heist and Admits to Two Other Bank Robberies


SAN DIEGO – Aldo De Jesus Gomez today became the last of three roommates to plead guilty to bank robbery and other related charges, admitting that in one instance, the trio staged a robbery at a San Diego Bank where one of the roomates worked as a teller.

Gomez pleaded guilty in federal court before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill Burkhardt to an information charging him with Bank Robbery and Entering a Bank to Commit Larceny. Gomez and his roommates were convicted of stealing $23,070 from the Chase Bank in Mission Valley, where they pulled off an inside job with the roommate as teller. Gomez is scheduled to be sentenced on November 19 at 10:30 a.m. by U.S. District Judge Barry Ted Moskowitz.

Gomez admitted in his plea agreement that he, Jesus Ramon Garcia-Lopez, and Joe Anthony Mares  researched, planned, and entered into an agreement to steal money from the Chase Bank located at 5111 Mission Center Road in San Diego, where Garcia was a teller. They recruited a fourth individual, known to them as “Spill Will,” to serve as the getaway driver. Pursuant to their plan, Mares wrote a demand note, which read, “Give me all the money in both top and bottom drawer or someone in the lobby dies give me 30 mins before alerting anyone or I will be back and shoot people right away,” and provided it along with his clothing to Gomez.

On June 6, 2018, at approximately 10:00 a.m., Gomez entered the Chase Bank branch wearing Mares’ clothing, approached Garcia’s teller window, and passed him the demand note Mares had written, all pursuant to the plan. Garcia took the demand note and passed Gomez approximately $23,070 in cash. Gomez took the cash, left the bank, and was driven away by Spill Will. Afterwards, Gomez admitted he provided Mares and Garcia with a portion of the stolen cash and kept more than $10,000 for himself. The weekend after the theft, Gomez, Mares, and Garcia went to clubs in Mexicali, Mexico and partied together, with Gomez paying their expenses.

Gomez further admitted that, on July 13, 2018, he entered a Chase Bank in Fairfield, California, a city in Northern California, midway between Sacramento and San Francisco, and approached a teller. Gomez handed her a demand note that instructed the teller to hand him money and took $5,000 in cash from her.

Gomez also admitted that, on September 15, 2018, he entered the Chase Bank located at 2303 N. Cottonwood Drive in Imperial, California, and approached a teller. He handed her a demand note that instructed the teller to hand him money in $100, $50, and $20 denominations, and warned the teller not to alert anyone or she would get hurt. The teller provided the defendant with $3,100 in cash and Gomez fled the bank.

“We are always working with federal and local law enforcement agencies, from San Diego to Imperial Valley to the Bay Area and points beyond, to bring serial criminals to justice,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “There was no place this defendant could have fled to escape our coordinated efforts and now his cross-state crime spree has come to an end.”

“Since June 2018, the defendant embarked on a crime spree to fund his lifestyle,” said FBI Special Agent-In-Charge Scott Brunner. “Despite the distance between these individual crimes, investigators connected the cases.  Today, Gomez has been brought to justice and is off the streets as a result of significant teamwork between the San Diego FBI Violent Crime Task Force and our law enforcement partners.”

“The successful conclusion of this case was due to coordinated and ongoing teamwork between the SDPD Robbery Unit, the FBI, and the Violent Crime and Human Trafficking Section (VCHT),
said San Diego Police Lt. Julie Epperson. “Collaboration with our law enforcement partners creates a stronger defense against criminals who prey on the public.”

“This case is a testament to the collaboration and incredible working relationship of all the involved law enforcement agencies and the United States Attorney’s Office that worked together to help bring those responsible in this case to justice,” said El Centro Police Chief Brian Johnson.  “Our communities are safer because of the great work of the VCHT and local law enforcement agencies that worked tirelessly to solve these cases.  A tremendous thank you goes out to all involved.”

Garcia-Lopez and Mares were sentenced earlier this year for their roles in the Mission Valley Chase Bank theft.

This case is the result of the ongoing efforts of the Violent Crime and Human Trafficking (VCHT) Section.  Formed in 2019, by U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer, the VCHT is tasked with leading collaborations between federal and local law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of cases involving violent crimes, firearms and gang cases; sex trafficking and child exploitation; civil rights, and labor trafficking. The VCHT Section oversees the Southern District of California Coordinators for Project Safe Neighborhoods, Human Trafficking, and Project Safe Childhood.

DEFENDANTS                                            Case Number 19cr1321-BTM                                 

Aldo De Jesus Gomez                                     Age: 22                                   San Diego, CA

Related Case - Case Number 18cr4349-BTM

Joe Anthony Mares                                         Age: 22                                   El Cajon, CA

Jesus Ramon Garcia-Lopez                            Age: 21                                   Yuma, AZ

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Bank Robbery – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 2113(a)

Maximum penalty: 20 years’ imprisonment and $250,000 fine

Entering a Bank to Commit Larceny – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 2113(a)

Maximum penalty: 20 years’ imprisonment and $250,000 fine

AGENCY

Federal Bureau of Investigations

San Diego Police Department

El Centro Police Department

Imperial Police Department

Fairfield Police Department

Defendants sentenced for violent takeover robberies of metro Atlanta business and bank


ATLANTA – Lenard Gibbs, Kyre Campbell, and Benita Alveranga have been sentenced for their roles in the violent take-over robberies of two metro-Atlanta businesses - a Loan Max store and a PNC Bank branch.

“The takeover-style robberies were designed to terrify employees and customers,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “These violent criminals are off the streets – in Gibbs’ case for decades to come.  We are committed to keep our communities safe from violence and seek justice for the victims of these crimes.”

“No one should ever be terrorized physically or emotionally, like the victims in these two violent armed robberies, simply because they work at a business or patronize that business,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Thanks to the assistance from our local law enforcement partners, these three criminals won’t be able to wreak harm on any other innocent citizens for a long time.”

“I’m proud of our department and their work alongside the other law enforcement agencies involved in this case,” said Lilburn Police Chief Bruce Hedley. “This teamwork across agencies resulted in the quick arrest of all three individuals. We support the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia’s firm stance and commitment to reduce violent crimes in our communities.”

“We are appreciative of the cooperative effort of the involved agencies and the successful prosecution of the offenders.  We will continue to work closely with our Federal, State, and local law enforcement partners in our efforts to combat criminal activity,” said Gwinnett County Police Chief Butch Ayers.

“I am proud of the results the Conyers detectives achieved on this armed bank robbery. Their work along with the efforts of our local and federal partners have taken these violent predators off the streets for a substantial amount of time.  I hope this outcome gives the victims some peace of mind,” said Conyers Chief of Police Gene Wilson.

“The Cobb County Police Department remains committed to interagency cooperation to help keep the citizens of Cobb County safe. Law enforcement agencies must continue to work together and share information in cases like this in order to make sure violent criminals who prey upon the public are brought to justice regardless of jurisdictional lines,” said Cobb County Police Chief Tim Cox.

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges and other information presented in court: Gibbs, along with co-defendant Kyre Campbell, robbed at gunpoint a Loan Max store on the morning of November 3, 2016. Gibbs, while pointing the firearm in the faces of two employees, demanded all of the money in the safe. He fled the establishment with the cash.

Later that same afternoon, Gibbs, Campbell and Campbell’s girlfriend, Benita Alveranga, robbed a PNC Bank. During that robbery, Gibbs repeatedly hit a teller with his gun while demanding she move quickly in emptying her drawer.  He stole cash from the bank, and all of the defendants fled.  Lilburn Police Department located them and after a brief police chase, Campbell and Alveranga were captured.  Gibbs was able to flee the scene. A multi-jurisdictional investigation eventually led to his capture three weeks later.

    Lenard Gibbs, 36, of Atlanta, Georgia, has been sentenced to 59 years, seven months in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3,089.  On June 13, 2019, a jury convicted Gibbs of Hobbs Act, and armed bank, robbery charges, and related offenses of brandishing a firearm during the robberies.
    Kyre Campbell, 24, of Lilburn, Georgia, pleaded guilty to brandishing a firearm during the bank robbery of PNC bank on January 4, 2019. He was sentenced to seven years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3,089.00.
    Benita Alveranga, 25, of Lilburn, Georgia, pleaded guilty to Misprision of a Felony on July 2, 2019. She was sentenced to one year, one day in prison to be followed by one years of supervised release and ordered to pay $3,089.00 in restitution.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cobb County Police Department, Conyers Police Department, Lilburn Police Department, and Gwinnett Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Phyllis Clerk and Angela Adams prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). In keeping with the Attorney General’s mission to reduce violent crime, the Northern District of Georgia’s PSN program focuses on prosecuting those individuals who most significantly drive violence in our communities, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct.

Transnational Drug Trafficker Sentenced to 18 Years in Federal Prison for Conspiracy to Distribute Fentanyl, Heroin, Methamphetamine, and Cocaine and for Money Laundering


Pasco, Washington Man Sentenced in Federal Court

Spokane – William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Braulio Jimenez, age 24, based out of Pasco, Washington, was sentenced after having pleaded guilty on May 14, 2019, to Conspiracy to Distribute 50 Grams or More of Actual (Pure) Methamphetamine, 5 Kilograms or More of Cocaine and 1 Kilogram or More of Heroin, two counts of Money Laundering, and Possession with Intent to Distribute 400 Grams or more of Fentanyl. Senior United States District Judge Edward F. Shea sentenced Jimenez to an 18-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 7-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison, and imposed a $10,000 fine.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, this case arose from a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Task Force investigation in Southern California. The Task Force identified a transnational drug trafficking organization (DTO) and worked in an undercover capacity to identify the DTO’s money laundering activities and locations in the United States where the DTO was trafficking narcotics. Jimenez, who delivered $910,000 in cash drug proceeds to undercover agents, and other co-conspirators were identified by FBI as members of the DTO. When investigators executed a warrant to search Jimenez’s residence, he attempted to flee but was apprehended. Inside Jimenez’s residence, investigators seized over 19,000 Fentanyl-laced pills, 40 pounds of heroin, 4 pounds of methamphetamine, 23 pounds of cocaine, $170,000 in U.S. currency, a cache of firearms including an AR 15 rifle, and ledgers recording drug sales exceeding $6 million.

Senior District Judge Shea commented on the stunning amount of narcotics and drug cash proceeds involved in the case and the damage the DTO has done to the community. United States Attorney Hyslop said, “This case highlights the joint commitment, dedication, and partnership between our state and federal partners in combatting drug trafficking in our community. I commend their outstanding work. This investigation made a substantial mark upon a large-scale organization that had chosen Eastern Washington as a point of operation. It is these types of investigations that bring into focus the dangers drug trafficking organizations pose to our community.”

Today’s enforcement action is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) investigation. The OCDETF program provides supplemental federal funding to the federal and state agencies involved in the investigation of drug-related crimes. This OCDETF investigation is being conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force in Tri-Cities Washington, Cross Border Violence Task Force (CBVTF) in San Diego CA, Kennewick Police Department, Richland Police Department, Pasco Police Department, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, and Washington Department of Corrections. This case was prosecuted by Stephanie Van Marter, Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.