Houston Men Sentenced for Roles in Attempted Armored Car Robbery
|Feb. 9, 2012|
HOUSTON – Four Houston residents have been sentenced to prison for the attempted robbery of an armored car, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
Kaleem Jamie Stephens, 30, was charged and convicted along with Nicholas Dushon Price, 31, Victor Tyrone Bruno, 29, Jermaine McNeal, 29, 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, while Stephens proceeded to trial. Stephens was found guilty on Sept. 29, 2011. Today, U.S. District Judge Grey Miller, who presided over the trial, sentenced Stephens to a total of 144 months in prison. He will serve 84 months on both of the conspiracy to interfere with robbery and conspiracy to commit a violent offense while possessing a firearm charges which will be served consecutively to an additional 60 months for aiding and abetting the possession of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Bruno and Clark pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and received sentences of 81 and 84 months, respectively, while McNeal will serve three years of probation months for his conviction of misprision of a felony. Price will be sentenced on April 13, 2012.
During Stephens’ 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 DPS received information that Price wanted to rob an armored car of Garda Armored Services. Shortly thereafter, undercover agents 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 agents met with Price, 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.
With the exception of McNeal, all remain in custody.
Assistant United States Attorney Kebharu Smith and Suzanne Elmilady prosecuted this case.