News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

MONDAY - July 13, 2009

THREE SENTENCED FOR ACTS OF ROBBERY

NEW BERN - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court on Friday, July 10, 2009, three defendants charged in Hobbs Act robberies from July 22, 2008, to August 24, 2008, were sentenced before Chief United States District Judge Louise W. Flanagan. AHMAD BANKS, 20, received 207 months imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release and had restitution imposed in the amount of $3,248.00; JOSHUA WAGNER, 20, received 171 months imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release and imposed restitution of $3,164.00; and DARYL MPONGO, 22, received 84 months imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release and imposed restitution of $2,600.00. All three men are from Raleigh, North Carolina.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on November 6, 2008. On January 5, 2009, all three pled guilty to aiding and abetting the use of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Additionally, BANKS, and WAGNER pled to conspiring to commit Hobbs Act robbery.

On July 22, 2008, co-defendant Ronnie Donte Rand entered the Kangaroo gas station on Pleasant Valley Road in Raleigh, under the ruse of a legitimate customer, posed as the look-out. BANKS, entering the store armed with a hammer and wearing a ski mask, proceeded to the counter, raised the hammer and demanded the cashier open the register and give him all of the cash. BANKS was given $60 and then fled. Much like the previous robbery, on August 18, 2008, WAGNER entered the 612 Convenience Store on Avent Road in Raleigh, posing as a legitimate customer to “case” the store. BANKS and Rand approached the store wearing masks and gloves. Rand, brandishing a .380 handgun, demanded that the employees open the safe, robbed the store of $200. The next day, WAGNER “cased” Krogers grocery store on Creedmoor Road in Raleigh. Rand and BANKS entered the store, ordering all of the employees to the front of the store where they were held at gunpoint. Rand and BANKS escaped with $324.43. Finally, on August 24, 2008, WAGNER, BANKS, MPONGO and Rand robbed the McDonalds restaurant on Six Forks Road in Raleigh, of $2,600. On August 28, 2008, officers with the Raleigh Police Department located and performed a traffic stop of the get-away car. A search of the vehicle uncovered a 9mm handgun. The following day a search warrant was executed of Rand’s residence and a .380 Bersa handgun and a box of Winchester ammunition were found.

Rand, sentenced April 10, 2009, received 207 months imprisonment.

Mr. Holding commented: “The pairing of federal, state and local authorities to address the increase in violent crime and robberies in Raleigh and Wake County brought this case to the attention of my office. We will continue to work with authorities in this area in an effort to bring this problem under control.”

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods which encourages federal, state, and local agencies to cooperate in a unified “team effort” against gun crime, targeting repeat offenders who continually plague their communities.

Investigation of the case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Raleigh Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Ethan Ontjes served as prosecutor for the government.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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