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Justice News

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Get Away Driver In Armed Robbery Spree Exiled To Over 15 Years In Prison

Gun Brandished In Each of the 22 Robberies and a Customer Shot In One of the Robberies

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge Ellen L. Hollander sentenced Rico Bias, age 34, of Baltimore, Maryland, today to 185 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for a series of armed commercial robberies committed from January through June, 2012.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Baltimore City State’s Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein; Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department; and Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts.

According to Bias' plea agreement, from January 22, 2012 through June 11, 2012, Bias conspired with Hatratico Smith, Monzell Lee and others, to commit 22 robberies of convenience stores, fast food restaurants, and other businesses. Smith brandished a gun during the robberies, and on two occasions fired the gun, with one resulting in the shooting of a customer on February 21, 2012. Bias admitted that in addition to checking out the stores prior to his codefendants entering the businesses to commit the robberies, he obtained and drove the get away car in each of the robberies. The defendants have been in federal custody since their arrests.

Hatratico Smith, age 48, and Monzell Lee, age 20, both of Baltimore, pleaded guilty to their roles in the robberies. Lee was sentenced to nine years in prison for the four robberies in which he participated. Smith is scheduled to be sentenced on January 14, 2014, at 10:00 a.m.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore County Police Department and Baltimore City State’s Attorney's Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorney A. David Copperthite, who prosecuted the case.

Updated January 26, 2015