DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                     CONTACT:  Donna Krise
TUESDAY, MAY 27, 2008                                       ACTING PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
www.usdoj.gov/usao/txe                                                                                PHONE: (936) 639-4003

NEWTON MEN PLEAD GUILTY TO BANK ROBBERY CHARGES

(BEAUMONT, TX)   United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory announced today that two Newton, Texas men have pleaded guilty to conspiring to rob and robbing a bank in the Eastern District of Texas.

            EDDIE WAYNE LEVIAS, 43, and FREDERICO JOHNSON, JR., 20, admitted to their involvement in the robbery of an Orange, Texas Bank in an appearance before United States Magistrate Judge Earl Hines earlier today.

            According to information presented in court, on February 21, 2008, Levias went to the Orange Savings Bank located on Highway 62 in Orange and inquired about opening a business account.  Levais' demeanor was so suspicious that the teller watched Levias as he left the bank and saw him enter a blue Jeep Cherokee.  On February 22, 2008, three individuals, including JOHNSON entered the bank wearing ski masks and bandanas.  Tellers were able to lock themselves in offices, leaving the teller area empty.  Two of the masked men jumped the teller counter, but were unable to access any of the cash drawers.  Surveillance video of the robbery clearly showed that two of the defendants, including Johnson, were carrying firearms.  Deputies and Constables from the Orange County Sheriff's Office were able to quickly apprehend Johnson and two other individuals at a truck stop located a short distance from the bank.  Levias later 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 Johnson and the two other individuals to the bank, with the intention of picking them up at a nearby location after the robbery.  At sentencing, Levias is facing imprisonment of not more than five years, a fine not to exceed $250,000, or both, and a term of supervised release of not more than three years for his involvement in conspiring to commit bank robbery.  Johnson, 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.  Sentencing dates for Levias and Johnson have 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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