Three Men Handed Massive Sentences In Attempted Cocaine Robbery
HOUSTON – Three Colombian nationals have been ordered to prison for lengthy terms following multiple convictions including drug conspiracy, firearms charges, identity theft and false claims of citizenship, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. The jury returned its verdicts against Carlos Manuel Boria, Francisco Javier Rodriguez, and Edwin Rivera-Otero, on Monday, Oct. 1, 2012, following a five-day trial.
Today, Boria was handed nearly a 41-year-term of federal imprisonment, while Rodriguez and Rivera-Otero will serve nearly 18 and more than 34 years in federal prison, respectively.
All were convicted of aiding and abetting the possession with the intent to distribute cocaine, aiding and abetting the use of a firearm during the commission of a drug trafficking crime, conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to use a firearm. Boria and Rivera-Otero were also convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. In the midst of trial, Boria and Rivera-Otero also entered guilty pleas to aggravated identity theft and false claims to United States citizenship.
Today, U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon handed down the sentences. Boria, aka Luis German Rodriguez or Victor, was ordered to serve a total of 405 months in federal prison for all but the aggravated identity theft and the aiding and abetting use of a fireams charges. Those charges resulted in respective terms of 24 and 60 months in federal prison, which must be served consecutively for a total sentence of 489 months. Edwin Rivera-Otero, aka Luis Angel Maldonado Barroso, received a 327-month-term in addition to the mandatory 24 months for the identity theft and 60 months for the firearms charge for a total sentence of 411 months, while Francisco Javier Rodriguez, aka Siver Jesus Cundumi-Bonilla, will serve a total of 211 months in prison – 151 months for all but the aiding the use of a firearm charge which added an additional 60 months.
As illegal aliens, all are expected to face deportation proceedings following release from prison.
In handing down the sentences, Judge Harmon noted that Boria was the organizer who brought others into the conspiracy and that he had been in Houston illegally since 1998. She added that Rivera-Otero occupied a managerial role, was found with a false identification and was arrested less than nine months after release from prison on previous drug conspiracy charges in the Western District of Texas.
At trial, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) testified that they interdicted a group of seven individuals who were preparing to rob a cocaine stash house of multiple kilograms of cocaine. The group was dressed in clothing identifying them as police and planned to use firearms to subdue any occupants of the stash house. Testimony further revealed agents recovered five firearms, four of which were reported as stolen, as well as multiple zip-ties and additional police clothing.
Testimony revealed insight into the planning stages of the robbery. The robbery crew met at an apartment before the planned robbery and displayed their police clothing, commenting about who looked the most official. Assignments for the home invasion were doled out and the crew was prepared to forcibly rob the stash house for cocaine. It was then, according to agents, that law enforcement intervened and arrested the crew.
Upon pleading guilty to the other charges, Boria and Rivera-Otero admitted that at the time of their arrest, they were in possession of fraudulently obtained identification cards and Social Security numbers.
All will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
This case was investigated by the ATF, United States Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Houston Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Mark E. Donnelly and Richard J. Magness prosecuted the case.