Five Men Charged in String of Armed Robberies of Latino Small Businesses
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Five men have been indicted by a federal grand jury of engaging in a string of armed robberies of small businesses that primarily service the Latino community in Prince William and Fairfax counties. The men are also charged with conspiracy to commit the armed robberies in Virginia as well as an armed robbery of a Wachovia Bank branch in Horsham, Penn.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office; Charlie T. Deane, Prince William County Chief of Police; and Colonel David Rohrer, Fairfax County Chief of Police made the announcement.
“These men are accused of spreading fear and violence through armed robberies of Latino businesses throughout Prince William and Fairfax counties,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride. “Armed robbery is a very traumatic experience. The threat of violence is real, and in several instances the weapons were allegedly used to subdue employees or ensure the conspirators’ escape. We are grateful to the excellent work of our local and federal partners in putting together the evidence that made today’s charges possible.”
“This is another outstanding example of cooperation between law enforcement agencies across jurisdictional and state lines,” said Chief Deane of the Prince William County Police Department. “With the use of technology and communication between agencies our ability to apprehend suspects is even greater than before.”
“Violent crime directed at our neighborhood business community endangers lives,” said FBI ADIC McJunkin. “This case was successful because of the hard work and dedication of multiple law enforcement agencies who acted as a cohesive team to intervene against those who threaten our communities.”
According to the indictment and other court records, the five men are accused of participating in a conspiracy that targeted at least six businesses and stole approximately $238,000 in cash and jewelry from August 2010 through February 2011. At each location, conspirators allegedly carried handguns, either brandished a firearm or put a handgun at employees’ heads, and demanded money and other valuables.
Those charged include the following:
- Jesus Garcia-Guinea, 38, of Washington, D.C., who is charged with conspiracy, robbery, use of a firearm during a crime of violence, and being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.
- Edgar Geovani Zuniga-Perez, a/k/a “Edgar Geovani Suniga-Perez” and “Edgar Geovani Perez-Suniga,” 30, of Woodbridge, Va., who is charged with conspiracy, multiple counts of robbery and use of a firearm during a crime of violence, and also with being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm.
- Vahelo Alay Escobar, 21, of Riverdale, Md., who is charged with conspiracy, robbery, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.
- Serfido Trinidad Perez Florian, 41, of Riverdale, Md., who is charged with conspiracy, robbery, and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.
- Estanislao Ramos Perez, 28, of Riverdale, Md., who is charged with conspiracy.
A related affidavit details the alleged robbery at Plantanillos Grocery in Prince William County on Dec. 19, 2010. According to the affidavit, three Hispanic males wearing black masks entered the store armed with a firearm. The men allegedly brandished their weapons at the store employees, stole the cash from the registers, and shattered a jewelry case to retrieve the jewelry. One employee was allegedly struck several times on the face and head with a gun. After the robbers’ exited the store, they allegedly fired shots that hit an employee’s vehicle’s front windshield.
The indictment states that on Feb. 24, 2011, conspirators also allegedly shot at the owner of Sabina’s Joyeria in Fairfax County, Va., as they were fleeing the scene after stealing approximately $5,450 in cash.
The indictment also accuses Zuniga-Perez, Escobar, and Perez Florian and other conspirators of working with individuals later revealed as undercover officers to commit an armed robbery of a Wachovia Bank branch in Horsham, Penn. They allegedly met at a car dealership to select the vehicles to be used in the robbery attempt, conducted surveillance on the bank, and inspected multiple firearms and bullet proof vests they would allegedly use in committing the armed robbery. The undercover officers involved in the investigation were with the Metropolitan Police Department.
This case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office, Prince William County Police Department, Fairfax County Police Department, and the Metropolitan Police Department, with assistance from Takoma Park Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys Patricia Giles and Justin Fairfax are prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
Criminal indictments are only charges and not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty.