Five Defendants Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Rob Chase Bank in Modesto
FRESNO, Calif. — Robert Zavala Jr., 24, and Moises Garcia DeLeon, 27, both of Soledad, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott announced.
On Nov. 16, 2018, six Monterey County men were arrested as they were preparing to rob a bank in Modesto. Zavala and Garcia DeLeon are the fourth and fifth defendants to plead guilty to in this case. Soledad residents Victor Bravo, 24; Enrique Lopez, 28; and Cesar Lemus, 21, all previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit armed bank robbery. Charges are pending against co‑defendant Jesus Robledo.
According to court documents, a deputy sheriff noticed a Nissan Altima parked in a parking lot at an apartment complex in Modesto that had been reported stolen from Salinas. Officers set up surveillance on the stolen Nissan and watched four cars leave the apartment complex together.
The cars traveled close to each other to a shopping area in Modesto that contained a Chase Bank. Lemus, who drove one of the cars, drove back and forth past the Chase Bank, talking to his co-conspirators on the phone.
The stolen Nissan, driven by Bravo, parked in a loading area behind the shopping center next to a car driven by Lopez. Lopez got out of his car and started loading items into the stolen Nissan. The stolen Nissan then left the loading area, drove through an alley, and parked in a parking lot near Chase Bank, at which time officers stopped the car and detained all four occupants. Inside the stolen Nissan, officers found two assault rifle-style firearms, a handgun, a revolver, masks, gloves, and a large duffel bag.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Office, the Modesto Police Department, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, and Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ross Pearson is prosecuting the case.
Jesus Robledo is scheduled for a status conference on May 11. The charges are only allegations; he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
All remaining defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd on May 11. The defendants face a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.