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April 13, 2010

PLANNED ARMORED CAR ROBBERY YIELDS PRISON TERMS FOR FOUR

(HOUSTON) - Four Houston men convicted of conspiring to rob a Garda Cash Logistics Southwest Inc. armored car have been sentenced to prison terms without parole, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

At a hearing this morning, United States District Judge Keith P. Ellison sentenced Rafael Richarte, 28, to 57 months incarceration. Richarte’s half-brother, Israel Gonzales, 45, and co-defendant David Zavala, 38, were each sentenced to 46 months, while the fourth convicted robber, William Leesean Wade, 38, was sentenced to 70 months in federal prison. All four men were also fined $1,000 and ordered to serve a three-year-term of supervised release upon completion of their prison terms. All four men pleaded guilty in October 2009 to conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce by robbery.    

In or about August 2009, the FBI received information from a confidential source that Richarte had called the source about participating in the robbery of a Garda Cash Logistics armored car.

On Aug. 21, 2009, the source met with Richarte while under FBI surveillance and Richarte explained his plan to the source. Gonzales worked as a driver for a Garda Cash Logistics truck that made cash deliveries and pickups in the Houston area. Richarte and the source went to a location in southwest Houston and observed Gonzales’ truck making deliveries.

Richarte and the source met again early the next morning. Richarte brought in Zavala to act as a lookout, while Zavala brought in Wade to help with the robbery. Richarte and Gonzales chose that particular day to conduct the robbery because Gonzales told them the armed guard traveling with him that day was a female. All four defendants were arrested by the FBI after they left Richarte’s home and stopped in a parking lot used as a staging area for the robbery.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay Hileman.

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