Final Man Handed Significant Sentence in Robbery Conspiracy
HOUSTON – The final member of a crew responsible for more than 30 armed robberies throughout Houston is now headed to federal prison for nearly 48 years, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson. Rodney Ford, 19, of Houston, pleaded guilty Nov. 4, 2015, to conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and two counts each of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Today, U.S. District Judge David Hittner handed Ford 188 months for the robbery conspiracy in addition to 84 and 300 months for the first and second firearm charges which must be served consecutively to each other and to the underlying conspiracy. The total 572-month sentence will be immediately followed by five years of supervised release.
Earlier this month, Ford’s co-conspirators Jerrol Bluford, 22, Calvin Smith, 20, and Jamone Jones, 21, all of Houston, received sentences of 41-49 years in federal prison. Jones received 588 months, while Bluford and Smith were ordered to serve total sentences of 553 and 492 months, respectively.
Between Jan. 9, 2015, and Jan. 25, 2015, the four men committed approximately 31 armed robberies of a variety of establishments, including restaurants, stores and phone companies. Each robbery was a take-over style robbery during which a member of the robbery crew brandished a firearm and demanded money from employees at gunpoint, taking cash from the cash registers and safes through threat of force. On multiple occasions, the crew members sole merchandise such as cellular phones from the business and cash from the customers who were present during the robberies. Some of the robberies were even committed in the presence of children. In one instance, the robbery crew attempted to steal the store owner’s vehicle.
All of the defendants have been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
These charges arose from an investigation conducted by the FBI Violent Crime Task Force, Harris County Sheriff’s Office Robbery Division and Houston Police Department North Robbery Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Searle is prosecuting the case.