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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Gunman sentenced to 27 years for armed robberies that targeted Asian-run businesses

ATLANTA – A federal judge has sentenced Tabyron Rashad Smith, the first of two gunmen convicted for robbing nine Asian owned-and-operated businesses in Atlanta, Doraville, Duluth, Roswell, Stone Mountain, and Norcross in October and November 2017, to 27 years in prison. 

“Smith and his fellow gunman, Dravion Sanchez Ware, terrorized, threatened, and injured their innocent victims,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.  “This lengthy prison sentence hopefully provides some peace to the victims by ensuring Smith cannot terrorize anyone for decades to come.”

“Once again, the FBI would like to thank our many state and local law enforcement partners for helping to bring this month-long terror in the Asian business community to an end,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “To the victims, some of whom were shot and some of whom were pistol-whipped, your emotional scars can never be erased. But we can promise you these two men will not threaten you for a long, long time.”

“The GBI Crime Lab was instrumental in this case. Expert analysis and testimony helped lead to a successful prosecution. The GBI is committed to provide the highest quality forensic services in all cases. For over a month, these gang members targeted and terrorized the Asian business community. This sentence is evidence that this behavior will not be tolerated in the state of Georgia,” said Vic Reynolds, Director, Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

“The fact that Tabyron Smith has been sentenced is a win for the victims, metro-Atlanta, law enforcement and the criminal justice system,” City of Atlanta Interim Chief Rodney Bryant.  “The collaborative efforts from multijurisdictional agencies is a testament to the hard work that goes into arresting, prosecuting and keeping hardened criminals off our streets. Additionally, I look forward to continuing collaborations to make our communities safe.”

“This effort highlights the great cooperation between our local and federal law enforcement partners.  As a result of this combined effort this violent predator will no longer be a threat to the community,” said Chief Chuck Atkinson, Doraville Police Department.

“The successful outcome and sentencing of these cases is a testament of the importance of agencies working together. Unlike police departments, criminals are not bound by jurisdictional boundaries and these cases are proof that great things happen when agencies proactively share information, work together, and compare cases. The State of Georgia is now a safer place thanks to the cooperation between local, state, and federal partners that enabled the removal of these dangerous criminals from our communities,” said Chief Kenneth DeSimone. Sandy Springs Police Department.

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: Between October 7 and November 10, 2017, Smith and Ware, both of whom are members of the Bloods, committed multiple armed robberies of Asian-run businesses in Metro-Atlanta. Smith participated in at least nine armed robberies, including robberies of three businesses in Atlanta, two in Doraville, and one business in each of the following cities: Norcross, Duluth, Stone Mountain, and Roswell, Georgia. Ware shot victims in the Doraville robbery and pistol-whipped several other victims in the other robberies.

Smith was captured on November 21, 2017, after the FBI led a multi-jurisdictional investigation that included participation of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the Doraville Police Department, the Fulton County Police Department, the Gwinnett County Police Department, the Atlanta Police Department, the Roswell Police Department, and the Sandy Springs Police Department. 

Smith pled guilty on July 23, 2019, to one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robberies and four counts of discharging or brandishing a firearm during several of the robberies.  The shooter, Ware, was convicted by a jury on August 2, 2019, for conspiracy to commit the Hobbs Act robberies, five counts of Hobbs Act robbery, and five counts of discharging or brandishing a firearm during the robberies.

Tabyron Rashad Smith, 25, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr., to serve 27 years in prison followed by five years on supervised release and to pay restitution in the amount of $135,951.81.

Sentencing for Dravion Sanchez Ware, 25, of Atlanta, Georgia is scheduled for 10:00 a.m., January 7, 2021.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bret R. Hobson and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy H. Lee prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as a part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN). In keeping with the Attorney General’s mission to reduce violent crime, the Northern District of Georgia’s PSN program focuses on prosecuting those individuals who most significantly drive violence in our communities, and supports and fosters partnerships between law enforcement and schools, the faith community, and local community leaders to prevent and deter future criminal conduct.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime
Updated November 17, 2020