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Press Release

Two Mexican Citizens Sentenced For Robbery Spree

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – On February 3, 2021, Juan Sanchez, 24, a citizen of Mexico, was sentenced by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville. Emanuel Trejo, 22, also of Mexico, Sanchez’s co-defendant, was sentenced on November 12, 2020 by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan.

As part of their plea agreements, Juan Sanchez and Emmanuel Trejo agreed to plead guilty to an indictment charging them with three counts of Hobbs Act Robbery and three counts of brandishing and discharging a firearm in relation to those robberies. Juan Sanchez was sentenced to 288 months in prison. Emmanuel Trejo was sentenced to 192 months in prison. Both Sanchez and Trejo are subject to deportation following their terms of incarceration.

The federal Hobbs Act Robbery statute encompasses robberies of businesses or people engaged in interstate commerce. Sanchez and Trejo committed three armed robberies of three businesses in Knox, Loudon and Blount Counties in 2019.

One of those robberies was of the La Lupita store in Maryville, Tennessee. During that robbery, Sanchez fired multiple shots from his firearm. Fortunately, no one was injured.

“The lengthy sentence in this case strongly reflects the continued positive impact our federal, state, and local law enforcement partnerships have on stopping and prosecuting armed robberies within our communities. Our office will continue to aggressively prosecute those who commit armed robbery,” said U.S. Attorney J. Douglas Overbey.

This robbery had a major impact on the family who owns La Lupita as well as the customers who shop there, "Sheriff James Lee Berrong said. "Mr. Sanchez and Mr. Trejo committed a violent crime against citizen of our community, and our investigators took that to heart and worked extremely hard to solve this case. We are grateful to the FBI for taking the case to the federal level, equating to stiffer penalties. We are also proud of our working relationships with law enforcement agencies at all levels of government, and thankful our partnership worked so well in this case."

The criminal indictment was the result of an investigation by the Blount Count Sherriff’s Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Safe Streets Task Force. This investigation was led by FBI Special Agent Wesley Latham.

Assistant United States Attorney Cynthia F. Davidson represented the United States.



Rachelle Barnes
Public Information Officer
(865) 545-4167

Updated February 18, 2021

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime