The leader of a violent and highly sophisticated jewelry theft ring pleaded guilty today for his participation in a racketeering conspiracy, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Neil H. MacBride; and James Newman, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division.
Alexander Cuadros-Garcia, aka “Alex,” “Brujo,” “Aleto” and “Manuel Gonzalez”, 37, of Richmond, Va., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tommy Miller in the Eastern District of Virginia, Newport News Division, to racketeering conspiracy.
According to court documents, Cuadros-Garcia led an organized criminal group that stole more than $4.6 million in jewelry from victims in Virginia and at least six other states. In March 2012, Cuadros-Garcia was charged along with seven other individuals who were members of the Richmond-based ring that regularly conducted lengthy surveillance on jewelry stores to identify vulnerable individuals and then follow their targets back to the individuals’ hotel or home.
In most of the robberies, several men would suddenly appear as the victims approached or entered their car, punch out the car’s windows, threaten the victims at knife-point and steal the victims’ merchandise. In addition, the robbers would puncture the victims’ car tires and steal their cell phone to reduce the chance of pursuit or apprehension. After a successful robbery, members of the ring would travel to New York to sell the merchandise to businessmen, who coordinated re-selling the stolen property or melting it down for future use.
At sentencing, scheduled for June 19, 2013, Cuadros-Garcia faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Cuadros-Garcia’s co-defendants Raul Antonio Escobar-Martinez, William Leandro Herrera-Bohorquez and Juanita Diaz previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the theft ring. Escobar-Martinez and Herrera-Bohorquez were sentenced on March 7 and March 14, 2013, respectively, to serve 87 months in prison.
The investigation of this case was led by the ATF’s Washington Field Division, with the assistance of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; the police departments in Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Henrico County, Chesterfield, Prince William County and Fairfax County in Virginia, along with the Virginia State Police; the Baltimore County, Md., Police Department; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; the New York City Police Department; and the police departments in Rutherford, N.J., and Gwinnett County, Ga.; and the Morris County, N.J. Prosecutor’s Office.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric M. Hurt of the Eastern District of Virginia and Trial Attorney Jerome M. Maiatico of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.