News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

WEDNESDAY - January 19, 2011

RALEIGH ROBBERS SENTENCED

WILMINGTON - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding announced that in federal court today two co-defendants were sentenced for their part in robbing Moe’s Southwest Grill in Cameron Village in Raleigh, North Carolina. Senior United States District Judge James C. Fox sentenced TAHJI ANTONIO ELEY, 19, to 244 months’ imprisonment followed by five years’ supervised release. MICHAEL JAVON SPENCER, 20, received 121 months’ imprisonment followed by five years’ supervised release.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Superseding Criminal Indictment on August 11, 2010. On October 4, 2010, ELEY, 19, and SPENCER, 20, pled guilty before United States District Judge James C. Fox to conspiring to rob a business in interstate commerce, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951; aiding and abetting a robbery of a business engaged in interstate commerce, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951; and aiding and abetting the use and carry of a firearm during a federal crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c). Additionally, ELEY pled guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(g)(1) and 924.

According to the Superseding Indictment and statements made during court hearings, on February 11, 2010, police officers were dispatched to an armed robbery at Moe’s Southwest Grill. The restaurant manager had closed and exited the store with two deposit bags. A vehicle carrying co-defendants Shaniqua Shonta Burrell and Dwight Sherrod Taylor, along with ELEY and SPENCER, pulled into the parking lot. One of the co-defendants jumped from the vehicle, pointed a revolver at the manager and said, “Give me the money. Give me the money.” A second co-defendant jumped from the vehicle demanding the manger’s phone and car keys. Both men jumped back into the vehicle and took off. The responding officers spotted the vehicle and tried to stop it. The driver attempted to elude police, but crashed the vehicle with all four occupants jumping out of and running from the vehicle. Taylor was captured and had one of the bank deposit bags in his possession. Officers located the revolver next to the passenger’s side in the vehicle. ELEY, SPENCER, and Burrell were also captured and arrested. ELEY was found with the second deposit bag.

On January 5, 2011, Burrell was sentenced to 98 months’ imprisonment followed by five years’ supervised release. The Court also imposed a fine of $6,400. Taylor’s sentencing is set for March 11, 2011.

This case was part of the Project Safe Neighborhoods(PSN) initiative 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 this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearm, and Explosives and the Raleigh Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Jane Jackson represented 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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