You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Colorado

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 24, 2020

Colorado Springs Gang Member Sentenced To 5 Years In Federal Prison For Bank Robbery And Attempted Bank Robbery

Defendant ensured a 16-year-old robbed a second bank as part of a gang initiation

DENVER – United States Attorney Jason R. Dunn today announced that Elijah Nathanial Salazar, age 22, of Colorado Springs, and a Rolling 60s gang member, was sentenced to serve 60 months (5 years) in federal prison followed by 3 years on supervised release for possession of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.  The Denver Division of the FBI joined in this announcement. 

According to facts contained in the plea agreement, on the morning of March 14, 2018, Salazar walked into the ENT Federal Credit Union on Jet Drive in Colorado Springs.  Salazar confronted a bank teller saying he had a weapon and demanding cash.  The teller handed Salazar cash.  Salazar then quickly left the premises.  The teller later told officers that the robber appeared to have a substantial amount of makeup on his face in order to alter his appearance. 

During a March 23, 2018 robbery of the ANB Bank on Briargate Boulevard in Colorado Springs, a 16-year-old male, who was being initiated into the gang, approached a teller demanding money.  The suspect wore makeup in an attempt to make his complexion lighter.  The 16-year-old fled with cash the teller provided him.  Immediately after the robbery, bank officials locked the doors, keeping witnesses inside. 

The bank manager became suspicious that one individual inside the bank, later identified as Salazar, had tried to distract her during the robbery, thus acting in concert with the robber.  She instructed Salazar to be seated in the lobby and to wait for the police.  When contacted by law enforcement, Salazar also had makeup on.  After being searched, he was arrested for possessing cocaine.  Further investigation revealed that Salazar had accompanied the 16-year-old during the robbery and that Salazar’s role was to make sure the minor robbed the bank.  

“If there was ever a crime that fit the expression ‘crime doesn’t pay’, bank robbery is it: robbers get very little cash, almost always get caught, and are sentenced to substantial federal prison time as a result,” said U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn.  “Unfortunately, this defendant is learning that lesson the hard way.  Hopefully the next would-be-robber sees this result and thinks twice.”  

“Elijah Nathanial Salazar will now face the consequences of his actions with a lengthy prison sentence,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. “We will continue to investigate violent offenders who target commercial institutions for robbery. FBI Denver and our Southern Colorado Safe Streets Task Force are grateful for the hard work and efforts of the Colorado Springs Police Department, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, as well as that of the United States Attorney’s Office throughout this investigation.”

Salazar was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kurt Bohn.  The sentence was pronounced by U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez on September 23, 2020.  The case was investigated by the Denver Division of the FBI, the Colorado Springs Police Department and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. 

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado.  Related court documents can be found on PACER.  The defendant’s case number is 18-cr-360. 

This case is part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities.  For more information about Project Guardian, please see: https://www.justice.gov/projectguardian.            

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

Topic(s): 
Project Guardian
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Jeff Dorschner Spokesman, Public Affairs Officer U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado 303-454-0243 direct; 303-489-2047 cell
Press Release Number: 
Case number 18-cr-360
Updated September 24, 2020