Final Defendant Sentenced to Prison for Violent Uber and Lyft Carjacking Conspiracy, Assaulting a Federal Officer
MINNEAPOLIS – A Minneapolis woman was sentenced to 100 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $13,323.53 in restitution, for her role in a string of violent carjackings throughout the Twin Cities. Acting U.S. Attorney Charles J. Kovats made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Patrick J. Schiltz sentenced the defendant.
“The staggering increase in carjackings throughout the Twin Cities metro has not gone unnoticed by federal law enforcement,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Charles J. Kovats. “In partnership with local and federal law enforcement, we will not hesitate to prosecute individuals who perpetrate this type of violence in our communities. Today’s sentence highlights the seriousness of these crimes and the significant penalties facing those who commit them.”
“The recent spike in carjackings has spread a sense of terror and fear across our communities, and we are pleased that this sentence sends a strong message of deterrence to those seeking to victimize our neighbors,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Paul. “The FBI is committed to doing all we can to work with our partners to stop this menace and bring back a sense of peace and calm throughout our metropolitan neighborhoods.”
According to court documents, on August 28, 2020, Krisanne Marie Benjamin, 25, and her co-defendant Jeremiah Lee Ironrope, 25, drove a maroon SUV to a parking lot in Richfield, where they parked near a 2017 Audi. Ironrope approached the driver of the Audi and pointed a Remington 870 l2-gauge shotgun, with a sawed-off barrel, at the driver and demanded the car keys. Benjamin kept watch from the maroon SUV as Ironrope started the Audi and drove away. Benjamin followed in the maroon SUV.
According to court documents, in the early morning hours of August 29, 2020, the Minnesota State Patrol used GPS data to track and locate the stolen Audi, which was driven by Ironrope and occupied by Benjamin. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but Ironrope drove away at a high rate of speed, while cutting across multiple lanes of traffic, swerving between cars, and driving through red lights. During the flight from law enforcement, Benjamin got out of the vehicle and fled on foot while Ironrope continued fleeing in the Audi. Law enforcement found the vehicle running and unoccupied in Minneapolis. The vehicle had been partially spray-painted black. Inside officers found a stolen wallet, bottles of spray paint, a hat, gloves, and receipts. Law enforcement also found a used l2-gauge shotgun shell under the driver's seat.
On September 7, 2021, Benjamin pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and abetting carjacking. On September 9, 2021, Co-defendant Ironrope pleaded guilty to one count of carjacking and one count of using, carrying, and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 7, 2022 by U.S. District Court Judge Patrick J. Schiltz.
As part of their guilty pleas, Ironrope and Benjamin admitted to two additional carjackings that occurred on July 26, 2020, in Maple Grove and August 7, 2020, in St. Paul. In both instances, the defendants physically assaulted the victims before stealing their vehicles. Ironrope also admitted to two December 2020 carjackings occurring in St. Louis Park and St. Paul. In both instances, Ironrope pointed a handgun at the victims before stealing their vehicles.
This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Minneapolis Police Department, the St. Paul Police Department, the Maple Grove Police Department, the Richfield Police Department, the Edina Police Department, the Roseville Police Department, and the Minnesota State Patrol.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathan H. Nelson.