FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
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Maryland Man Sentenced to Eight Years in Prison
For His Role in Series of Attacks Against Taxicab Drivers
-Alleged Ringleader Sentenced Last Month to Nearly 14 Years in Prison-
WASHINGTON - Quinard Jones, 20, of Capitol Heights, Md., was sentenced today to eight years in prison on charges stemming from a series of attacks against taxicab drivers, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Jones pled guilty in May 2013, in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, to one count each of armed robbery and one count of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. He was sentenced by the Honorable Heidi M. Pasichow. Upon completion of his prison term, Jones will be placed on five years of supervised release.
The charges were filed in an investigation into the carjacking, assault, and robbery of taxicab drivers that took place in October and November of 2011. Jones and other individuals, including another defendant, Tony Copeland, were involved in several incidents in which they went to the Union Station taxicab line posing as paying customers, soliciting cab fares to the area of 44th Street NE. Once at the destination, Jones, Copeland, and their accomplices would choke the drivers from behind, or simply demand money. Among the items stolen from the several victims were hundreds of dollars in cash, cell phones, GPS devices, and a Rolex watch.
The armed robbery charge stemmed from a crime that took place on Nov. 19, 2011. That day, at about 10 p.m., Jones, Copeland, and three others all went to Union Station together in a collective plan to rob taxicab drivers. Jones, Copeland, and another individual solicited a taxicab there, and asked the driver to take them to the intersection of 45th and Eads Streets NE. When the driver arrived at the destination, Copeland reached around from the rear driver’s side seat and choked the driver from behind by placing his arms around the driver’s throat. Meanwhile, Jones and the other individual went through the driver’s belongings, stealing almost $400 in cash and a Rolex watch. Jones and Copeland ordered the cabdriver out of the taxi. One of the individuals got into the driver’s seat and drove away with the cab. The victim was able to flag down a neighbor, who gave the victim a phone to call 911. The taxicab was recovered days later by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), a few houses from Copeland’s residence.
The other charge stemmed from an incident on Oct. 18, 2011, also starting at Union Station. Four individuals solicited a taxicab ride and asked the driver to take them to the area of the 4700 block of Foote Street NE. Once there, one of the individuals put the driver in a choke-hold. The individuals stole $200 in cash, and a cell phone. The driver was ordered out of the vehicle, where the individuals threatened to shoot him. One of the individuals got into the taxicab and drove away. Later that day, Jones was seen driving the taxicab. MPD officers recognized the taxi as a stolen vehicle, and pursued Jones. Jones fled, leading officers from MPD and Prince George’s County on a chase that ended with Jones crashing the taxicab in Capitol Heights. The taxicab was totaled.
Copeland, 22, of Washington, D.C., was sentenced by Judge Pasichow on Aug. 16, 2013 to 13 years and 360 days of incarceration on charges of carjacking and robbery.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department. He also commended the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists Antoinette Sakamsa and Tony Griffith, Victim/Witness Advocate Jim Brennan, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard E. DiZinno, who prosecuted the matter.13-303