Last of Five Charged with Conspiring to Rob an Armored Truck Convicted
|Sept. 30, 2011|
HOUSTON – A federal jury has found the last of five Houston area men charged with offenses arising from a conspiracy to rob an armored truck guilty of all counts alleged in a three-count indictment, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Kaleem Jamie Stephens, 30, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit robbery under the Hobbs Act, carrying a weapon during the commission of a violent offense and conspiracy to carrying a weapon during the commission of a violent offense yesterday afternoon.
Stephens was charged along with Nicholas Dushon Price, 31, Victor Tyrone Bruno, 31, Jermaine McNeal, 28, and Ervin Clark, 23, for their roles in a conspiracy to rob an armored car. Price, Bruno, McNeal and Clark pleaded guilty to various charges in advance of Stephens trial. They are all pending sentencing.
During trial, the jury heard testimony that Stephens and all of his co-conspirators were arrested on Sept. 10, 2010, as a result of an undercover operation conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). The investigation began on July 2, 2010, when the DPS received information that Price wanted to rob an armored car of Garda Armored Services. Shortly thereafter, undercover agents (UC) from DPS and ATF, posing as employees of the company, met with Price. During this meeting, Price discussed getting approximately $250,000 in the robbery while working alongside the undercover agents and co-conspirators. On Aug. 19, 2010, the UCs met with Price and co-conspirators Bruno and Stephens and discussed the details of the robbery as well as the roles of each defendant. Stephens was to use a "Bin Laden style gun" to hold down the driver of the armored truck while his co-conspirators robbed collected the cash in the vehicle. At the time of the arrests, agents found Clark had stolen a Dodge Durango for the co-conspirators to use as the getaway car, while McNeal was on standby to be Bruno’s getaway driver.
On Sept. 10, 2011, the date of the planned robbery, agents conducting surveillance of the defendants arrested Stephens and his co-conspirators before the robbery, thereby thwarting their plan. Investigating agents found a loaded SKS rifle and two loaded pistols in the cars carrying the defendants as well as a pistol in Stephens' car. Judge Miller, who presided over the trial has set sentencing for Stephens for Jan. 6, 2011.
Convictions for conspiracy to commit robbery under the Hobbs Act and conspiracy to carrying a weapon during the commission of a violent offense both carry a maximum 20-year-term of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine, while the conviction for carrying a weapon during the commission of a violent offense carries a five-year consecutive sentence.
Assistant United States Attorney Kebharu Smith and Suzanne Elmilady prosecuted this case.