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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Five Individuals Indicted for Involvement in Armed Robberies of Des Moines Businesses and Distribution of Dilaudid

Indictment alleges defendants participated in string of Git-N-Go robberies and used robbery proceeds to purchase and distribute controlled substances

DES MOINES, IA - On November 22, 2016, United States Attorney Kevin E. VanderSchel announced the return of an indictment stemming from an eight month investigation into a series of robberies occurring at businesses in Des Moines, Iowa. The indictment charges Alexander Ray Hamilton with Conspiracy to Interfere with Commerce by Robbery; Conspiracy to Distribute Dilaudid; fifteen counts of Interference with Commerce by Robbery; two counts of Distribution of a Controlled Substance; Attempted Interference with Interstate Commerce by Robbery; Bank Robbery; and Use of a Communication Facility to Facilitate Distribution of Dilaudid.

Sarah Victoria Coe is charged with Conspiracy to Interfere with Commerce by Robbery; Interference of Commerce by Robbery; and Bank Robbery.

Shelly Shannon Avery is charged with Conspiracy to Interfere with Commerce by Robbery; and two counts of Interference of Commerce by Robbery.

Chris Brian Avery is charged with Conspiracy to Interfere with Commerce by Robbery; Use of a Communication Facility to Facilitate Distribution of Dilaudid; and Interference with Commerce by Robbery.

Luke Martin, Jr. is charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Dilaudid and two counts of Distribution of Dilaudid.

The Indictment alleges Defendants Hamilton, Coe, Shelly Avery, and Chris Avery conspired from as early as March 21, 2016, to April 20, 2016, to interfere with commerce by robbery and to commit bank robbery. One or more of the defendants would identify locations to rob, which included various locations of Git-N-Go, Kum & Go, Hy-Vee, and U.S. Bank in Des Moines. As part of the conspiracy, one or more defendants would obtain transportation to and from the robbery, surveil the robbery locations, and ultimately commit the robbery. Defendant Hamilton used some of the proceeds of the robberies to purchase and distribute controlled substances.

An indictment is only an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The joint investigation was conducted by the Des Moines Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated November 22, 2016