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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

Monday, October 17, 2016

Border Brothers Gang Member Sentenced To 12 Years’ Imprisonment Following Convictions For Forced Labor, Robbery, And Firearms-Related Offense

SAN FRANCISCO – Michael “Guantes” Acosta was sentenced this morning to twelve years’ imprisonment for his role in a 2013 jewelry robbery, a high-speed chase and crash that ended in Oakland, Calif., and a scheme to prostitute an underage female victim against her will for 30 days, announced United States Attorney Brian J. Stretch and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin.  The sentence was handed down by Honorable Jon S. Tigar, U.S. District Judge.

The sentence follows a guilty plea entered June 10, 2016.  According to the plea agreement, Acosta, 23, of Oakland, admitted that in January of 2013, he conspired with three other people to rob a jewelry store owner at gunpoint.  The owner was transporting a briefcase full of jewelry from his home to the store when Acosta, with the help of other Border Brothers members and associates, robbed him in the driveway of the storeowner’s home.  Acosta further admitted that after the stolen jewelry was sold, he obtained $15,000 for his share of the robbery proceeds and used the funds to purchase a black Mercedes.  In late March of 2013, Acosta used the Mercedes to transport an underage victim to a residence of another Border Brothers member where Acosta and others forced the underage female to stay at the co-conspirator’s residence for over 30 days. Acosta also assisted others with prostituting the victim and keeping her against her will at the residence.  In addition, in August of 2013, Acosta led police on a high speed chase through residential streets in Oakland.  Acosta crashed the black Mercedes into the front yard of a home and his car landed on top of another vehicle.  At the time of his arrest, Acosta was in possession of a loaded semi-automatic pistol and several balloons containing heroin.  Acosta was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a); carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c); possession of a controlled substance, in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 844; and forced labor, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1589(a) and 2.  Pursuant to his plea agreement, Acosta pleaded guilty to all the charges except carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, which was dismissed.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Tigar sentenced Acosta to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $86,570 in restitution.  Acosta has been in custody since his arrest in 2013 and will begin serving his sentence immediately. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cynthia Frey is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Daniel Charlier-Smith and Elise Etter.  The prosecution is the result of an investigation by HSI and the Oakland Police Department.  

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Human Trafficking
Violent Crime
Updated December 27, 2016