DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     CONTACT:  Donna Krise
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 4, 2008                                  ACTING PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER                                                                               PHONE: (936) 639-4003


(BEAUMONT, TX)   United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory announced today that a Burkeville, Texas man has pleaded guilty to bank robbery charges in the Eastern District of Texas.

            JOSE FEDERICO CRUZ, 18, admitted to his involvement in the robbery of an Orange, Texas bank in an appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Keith Giblin earlier today.

            According to information presented in court, on February 22, 2008, three individuals, including Cruz, co-defendant Frederico Johnson, Jr., and an unindicted juvenile, entered the Orange Savings Bank, in Orange, Texas, wearing ski masks and bandanas.  Tellers were able to lock themselves in offices, leaving the teller area empty.  Cruz and Johnson jumped the teller counter, but were unable to access any of the cash drawers.  Surveillance video of the robbery clearly showed that both Cruz and Johnson were carrying firearms.  Deputies and Constables from the Orange County Sheriff's Office were able to quickly apprehend Cruz, Johnson and the juvenile at a truck stop located a short distance from the bank.  Another co-defendant, Eddie Levias admitted that he planned the robbery, and made a visit to the bank the day before the robbery to reconnoiter the bank for personnel and security systems.  Levias also admitted driving Cruz and the two other individuals to the bank, with the intention of picking them up at a nearby location after the robbery.  At sentencing, Cruz, who was charged with using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence, namely bank robbery, is facing imprisonment of not less than five years, a fine not to exceed $250,000 or both, and a term of supervised release of least three years, but not more than five years.  A sentencing date has not been set.       

            This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Orange Police Department, Newton County Sheriff's Office, Newton Police Department, Pinehurst Police Department, West Orange Police Department, Orange County Constables Keith Merritt, Weldon Peveto, and Dee Avin, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Texas Rangers.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Rawls.

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