LOS ANGELES – Two South Bay men and one Harbor-area woman are expected to appear today in federal court after being charged in a complaint with allegedly committing 10 armed robberies of chain pharmacy stores over a six-week span, sometimes assaulting and injuring their victims.
The following defendants have been charged via a criminal complaint filed on October 6 with Hobbs Act robbery, and using and carrying a firearm during an in relation to a crime of violence:
- Makai Yusef Sanders, 22, of Hawthorne;
- Kenyatta Kamar Jones, 22, of Hawthorne; and
- Diavion Deshawna Mouton, 22, of Carson.
The defendants are expected to make their initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, the defendants committed 10 armed robberies from August 9 to September 19 of Rite Aid and Walgreens stores in Long Beach, Bellflower, South Los Angeles, Pasadena, Whittier, Lakewood, Monterey Park, Burbank, and Glendale. Mouton allegedly served as the driver while Sanders and Jones allegedly robbed the stores, typically one hour before closing, used handguns, stole victims’ cellphones, then went to the stores’ staffing offices and took money from their safes.
Specifically, on September 19, two armed men believed to be Sanders and Jones – one wearing a black balaclava mask and the other wearing a black mask with a red logo – robbed a Walgreens store in Glendale. The suspects robbed a store customer who was at a register attempting to purchase some items, held the victim at gunpoint, and stole the victim’s iPhone.
One of the defendants allegedly then robbed a store employee, pointing a handgun at her back, telling her to take him to the store’s safe and using the barrel of the gun to push her to get her to move faster. In fear for her life, the employee began walking to the back of the store where the safe was located. Once at the back of the store, the employee noticed the robber was distracted talking to the other robber. The employee then locked herself inside the store’s staffing office and called 911.
In total, the robbers stole approximately $776 from the Walgreens cash registers, along with four iPhones belonging to the victims. The suspects then exited the store and drove away in a white Honda Civic, which law enforcement later discovered had been booked via a peer-to-peer carsharing company, and allegedly was driven by Mouton.
Using phone records and GPS data, law enforcement tracked the defendants down and arrested them on September 26. At the time of their arrests, Jones and Sanders allegedly possessed handguns consistent with the firearms used in the Walgreens robbery. Law enforcement also found clothing – including the black mask with a red logo – consistent with what one of the suspects wore during that robbery.
The defendants were in state custody until being transferred to federal custody today.
A criminal complaint contains allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
If convicted of both charges, each defendant would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison for the Hobbs Act robbery count and up to life in federal prison for the firearm count.
The FBI, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the Glendale Police Department are investigating this matter. The Long Beach Police Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Pasadena Police Department, and the Whittier Police Department provided assistance.
Assistant United States Attorneys Kevin J. Butler and Jena A. MacCabe of the Violent and Organized Crime Section are prosecuting this case.