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August 24, 2009

FIVE ARRESTED AND CHARGED IN CONNECTION WITH ATTEMPTED ARMORED CAR ROBBERY

(HOUSTON) — Five men have been arrested in connection with the attempted robbery of an armored car, United States Attorney Tim Johnson and FBI Houston Special Agent in Charge Richard C. Powers announced today.

Rafael Richarte, 27, Israel Gonzales, 44, David Zavala Jr., 37, Ramon Liberato-Ancelmo, 21, and William Leesean Wade, 38, were arrested on Satuday, Aug. 22, 2009, by FBI agents and their alleged plan to rob an armored car was thwarted. Richarte, Gonzales and Zavala are all residents of Houston. Wade resides in Monroe, La. Liberato-Ancelmo is a Mexican national without lawful status in the United States.

According to a criminal complaint filed against the five on Sunday, the men conspired to rob an armored car operated by Garda Cash Logistics on the morning of Saturday, Aug. 22. Gonzales, Richarte’s brother, worked for Garda and was driving the targeted armored car at the time of the arrests. The FBI was alerted about the planned robbery on August 21 by a cooperating witness who reportedly told the FBI that he was contacted by Richarte and asked to assist with the robbery. Later in the morning on Aug. 21, following an FBI monitored call by the cooperating witness to Richarte, FBI agents followed Richarte and the cooperating witness as they watched a Garda armored car making its rounds. Richarte told the cooperating witness that his brother, Israel Gonzales, was driving the armored car and would be doing so at the time of the robbery along with a female guard, who would be unaware of the robbery. Richarte and Gonzales would communicate by text message concerning the armored car’s whereabouts and when to execute the robbery, according to allegations in the complaint.

Early on the morning of Aug. 22, while under FBI surveillance, the cooperating witness arrived at Richarte’s residence to find Zavala, Liberato-Ancelmo and Wade, all of whom were also allegedly recruited by Richarte. The complaint alleges Liberato-Ancelmo gave the cooperating witness a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, which Richarte directed the cooperating witness to use to handle the female armed guard while Wade took the money. The five men, including the cooperating witness, left Richarte’s residence to locate the armored car driven by Gonzales. Upon arriving at a parking lot located at the corner of the Interstate 45 south feeder and Cullen Boulevard, law enforcement authorities intervened and arrested the men. Gonzales was arrested a short time later.    

All five defendants made their initial appearances before United States Magistrate Judge Calvin Botley today at 2:00 p.m. and have been ordered temporarily detained pending a preliminary and detention hearing set for Monday, Aug. 31, 2009.

This case is being investigated by a Houston Area Bank Robbery Task Force, which is comprised of agents from the FBI, the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Department. This case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jay Hileman and David Searle.

A criminal complaint is an accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. 
A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of law.

 

 

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