Members of Jewelry Theft Ring Sentenced
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – William Leandro Herrera-Bohorquez, 33, of Colombia, was sentenced today to 87 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for his role in a highly sophisticated jewelry theft ring. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $891,441 and to forfeit $4,435,500.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Mythili Raman, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division; and James Newman, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) Washington Field Division, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Arenda Wright-Allen.
Herrera-Bohorquez pleaded guilty on Dec. 6, 2012, to conspiring to commit robberies affecting interstate commerce. According to court records, Herrera-Bohorquez was a member of an organized criminal group that stole more than $4.6 million in jewelry from victims in Virginia and at least six other states. He was charged along with seven other individuals who were members of the Richmond-based ring that regularly conducted lengthy surveillance on jewelry stores to identify vulnerable individuals and then follow their targets back to the individuals’ hotel or home. In most of the robberies, several men would suddenly appear as the victims approached or entered their car, punch out the car’s windows, threaten the victims at knife-point and steal the victims’ merchandise. In addition, the thieves would puncture the victims’ car tires and steal their cell phone to reduce the chance of pursuit or apprehension.
After a successful robbery, members of the ring allegedly traveled to New York to sell the merchandise to businessmen, who acted as “fences” and coordinated re-selling the stolen property or melting it down for future use.
Today’s sentencing follows the sentencing of Raul Antonio Escobar-Martinez, 37, aka “Tony,” of Richmond, Va., on March 7, 2013. Escobar-Martinez was sentenced to 87 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,268,696 and to forfeit $4,435,500.
The investigation of this case was led by the ATF’s Washington Field Division, with the assistance of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; the police departments in Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Henrico County, Chesterfield, Prince William County and Fairfax County in Virginia, along with the Virginia State Police; the Baltimore County, Md., Police Department; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; the New York City Police Department; and the police departments in Rutherford, N.J., and Gwinnett County, Ga.; and the Morris County, N.J. Prosecutor’s Office.
Assistant United States Attorney Eric M. Hurt and Trial Attorney Jerome Maiatico of the Organized Crime and Gang Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.