San Antonio Husband and Wife Sentenced for Tire Theft Conspiracy
BEAUMONT, Texas - A San Antonio man and his wife have been sentenced to federal prison for violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.
Joel Vargas, 34, and Angelica Vargas, 39, were found guilty by a jury of federal violations following a five-day trial in March 2019 and were sentenced by U.S. District Judge Marcia A. Crone on Jan. 8, 2020. Joel Vargas was convicted of two counts of interstate transportation of stolen property, conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce, and tampering with a witness. He was sentenced to a total of 235 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,278,580.27. Angelica Vargas was convicted of conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce and was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,071,344.38.
According to information presented in court, on Dec. 17, 2017, over $38,000 in automotive tires were stolen during a burglary of the Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Center on Cardinal Drive in Beaumont, Texas. The investigation of the burglary led to Joel and Angelica Vargas, who were part of a multi-participant conspiracy. The conspiracy targeted commercial tire businesses, resulting in the theft, trafficking and sale of commercial tires, specifically 18-wheeler truck tires. Over a 15-year period, the conspiracy targeted over 100 tire stores or concrete/gravel yards, where they would force entry into the premises, disable surveillance equipment, steal tires, and then remove the tires in rental moving van type vehicles. Over 50 rental moving vehicles were stolen to facilitate the crimes. Joel Vargas was also found guilty of threatening a trial witness. In all, seven individuals were convicted as part of this investigation.
“This was a major theft ring that cost businesses a very large amount of money,” said U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown. “They operated all over the state of Texas.”
“I’m very proud of the work our officer did to clear this case,” said Beaumont Police Chief Jimmy Singletary. “It just goes to show how much law enforcement can accomplish when working across jurisdictional lines.”
This case was investigated by the Beaumont Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Anderson, Chris Rapp, and Christopher T. Tortorice.