Alleged Robber of Jewelry and Gemstones Arrested and Extradited from Colombia to United States
PITTSBURGH - U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady announced today that a Colombian national made his initial appearance in federal court in Pittsburgh today on charges related to his alleged role in the robbery of a traveling jewelry salesmen outside a jewelry store in Wexford, Pennsylvania.
The indictment against Oscar Javier Rodriguez Roa, 35, of Bogota, Colombia, was unsealed today, following a lengthy extradition process. Roa is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery and one count of Hobbs Act Robbery.
The indictment alleges that on May 8, 2013, in the Western District of Pennsylvania, Roa and others robbed a salesman that sold jewelry and gemstones to jewelry stores across the country. Roa and others allegedly took jewelry and gemstones from the employee against his will by force.
According to information presented to the court, Roa is alleged to be part of an organized South American theft group that targeted a salesman delivering jewelry and gemstones to a Wexford jewelry store. He and other members of the ring smashed the window of the victim’s car, which was parked in the jewelry store parking lot, forcefully grabbed a shoulder bag from the victim containing $500,000 worth of jewelry, and fled the scene. Shortly thereafter, Roa fled the country.
"The extradition of Roa to the U.S. to face these charges demonstrates our enduring commitment to prosecute and bring to justice violent criminals, regardless of where they hide," said U.S. Attorney Brady. "I want to commend the work of the Northern Regional Police Department and the FBI in investigating this case."
"This case goes to show that no matter how long it takes, the FBI will work to get justice for the victims," said Robert Jones, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Office. "The FBI has well-connected resources and intelligence around the world. The cooperation with our local, national and international partners should send a message to those committing crimes that we will find you."
"As police chief, I appreciate the assistance and the cooperation between our local police department and all of the federal agencies who worked to identify this defendant and return him to the United States," added Northern Regional Police Chief T. Robert Amann.
This was a joint investigation between the FBI’s Pittsburgh Field Division and the Northern Regional Police Department. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant support with the defendant’s extradition.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles A. Eberle of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania and Trial Attorney Leshia Lee-Dixon of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section in the Justice Department are prosecuting the case.
The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offense and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
The charges in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.