The most recent arrest took place on Sept. 2.

Fifteen defendants who were wanted by the FBI for their suspected involvement in a series of violent robberies against traveling jewelry salesmen across the U.S.

The most recent arrest was made on Sept. 2, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Indictments charge the defendants, all Colombian nationals, with a variety of offenses related to the 11 robberies or attempted robberies. Charges include RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) conspiracy, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and interference with commerce by robbery.

The crimes occurred from 2014 through 2016 in Florida, Indiana, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia.

“These individuals painstakingly surveilled, menaced, and violently robbed salespeople in the Northern District of Texas and elsewhere,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox. “My office is committed to rooting out these kinds of criminal conspiracies. I thank our law enforcement partners – both here in the United States and in Colombia – for helping us bring these defendants to justice.”

The series of indictments charged that the members and associates of the robbery enterprise allegedly:

  • Obtained rental vehicles, airline tickets and hotel rooms and other short-term housing, and opened bank accounts and obtained bank cards and credit cards using fraudulent identification documents to facilitate the robberies and surveillance operations.
  • Conducted surveillance on diamond and jewelry stores and traveling diamond and jewelry salesmen in order to identify prospective robbery victims, using teams of individuals to watch the stores from their vehicles and on foot.
  • Blocked in the vehicles of traveling diamond and jewelry salesmen and often disabled the vehicles by, among other means, flattening tires and breaking windows.
  • Used violence, threats of violence and weapons, including BB guns, knives, blades and center punches.
  • Sold the stolen diamonds, jewels, jewelry and other goods to individuals who buy and sell stolen goods, including an individual who traveled from Colombia to the U.S. to purchase the stolen goods, and then split the proceeds.

These are the indviduals who have been charged:

  • Jonathan David Malpica, 33: RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, interference with commerce by robbery.
  • Tito Andres Vargas Urbina, 31: RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, interference with commerce by robbery.
  • Roger Zamora, aka Jaime Alba Juarez, 40: RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, interference with commerce by robbery.
  • Camila Andrea Espitia, 23: Conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, interference with commerce by robbery.
  • Mohammed Natour, 32: RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, interference with commerce by robbery.
  • Omar Gonzalez, 38: RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.
  • Fabrizia Cavanna Sarmiento, aka Fabrizia Cavanna, 41: RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.
  • Andres Felipe Henao, 32: Conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, interference with commerce by robbery.
  • Brayan David Vargas Londono, aka Brayan Vargas, Brayan David Vargas Gonzalez, Mario Steven Cuellar, Joshua Steven Cavarez, Blanco, Elizanoro Recioachach, 25: Conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.
  • Rodolfo Vargas Londono, aka Christian Vargas, 30: Conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.
  • Luis Garcia, 31: Conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.
  • Catherine Salas, 34: Conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.
  • Erika Gutierrez Machado, aka Angela Cuebas, 45: Conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.
  • James Jeanphier Tobar Ramon, aka Panda, Jonathan Tapia, Jhonatan Vasquez Toloza, 27: RICO conspiracy, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, interference with commerce by robbery.
  • Jesus Jean Pool Tovar, aka Yakusa, 24: Conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery.

To date, nine defendants in total pleaded guilty to charges related to the robberies.

  • Gonzalez pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy on July 27, 2017. Gonzalez was sentenced to 66 months in prison on Feb. 20.
  • Urbina pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy on Aug. 29, 2017, and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Malpica pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy on Sept. 5, 2017, and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Machado pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery on Sept. 5, 2017. Machado was sentenced to 40 months in prison on Jan. 22.
  • Salas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery on Oct. 31, 2017, and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Henao pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery on Jan. 9, and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Natour pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy on March 13, and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Zamora pleaded guilty to RICO conspiracy on March 20, and is awaiting sentencing.
  • Garcia pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery on March 27, and is awaiting sentencing.
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