More Than a Dozen Charged in a Violent Crime Conspiracy That Includes Armed Carjacking, Armed Robbery

More Than a Dozen Charged in a Violent Crime Conspiracy That Includes Armed Carjacking, Armed Robbery

Defendants Charged With Multiple Counts of Hobbs Act Robbery and Firearms Offenses

            WASHINGTON – A superseding indictment was unsealed today charging 16 alleged members (named below) of a violent crime ring that committed multiple armed carjackings, armed robberies, money laundering, and firearms offenses. Federal law enforcement arrested eight defendants this morning; the remaining defendants were previously arrested. Charges include conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce (known as Hobbs Act) robbery, interference with interstate commerce by robbery, using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, conspiracy to commit carjacking, and conspiracy to engage in monetary transaction in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

            The case was announced by United States Attorney Matthew M. Graves, Special Agent in Charge Craig Kailimai with the Washington Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg, of the FBI Washington Field Office’s (Criminal and Cyber Division), Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy, of the FBI’s Newark Field Office, Marshal Peter Marketos, of the United States Marshals Service, and Acting Chief Pamela Smith, of the Metropolitan Police Department.

            According to the indictment, between January 7, 2022, through January 27, 2023, the defendants conspired in the District of Columbia to commit robberies in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida. The robberies targeted jewelry stores owned by Asian Americans. Disguised in dark clothing, masks, and gloves, armed with a gun, one or more of the defendants used various vehicles, including stolen vehicles, to commit and flee from the robberies, including:

            January 7, 2022: Yasini Jewelers in E. Falls Church, VA;

            June 10, 2022: Virani Jewelers in Iselin, NJ;

            September 20, 2022: Sonia Jewelers & Boutique, in Springfield, VA;

            October 25, 2022: Paradise Jewelry Store, in Paterson, NJ;

            November 10, 2022: Baral Jewelers & Gifts, in Harrisburg, PA;

            November 27, 2022: Sara Emporium Jewelry & Boutique, in Springfield, VA;

            December 6, 2022: Kishek Jewelers, in Jacksonville, FL;

            December 22, 2022: Chintamanis Inc., in Franklin Park, NJ;

            January 27, 2023: Princess Diamonds, in Falls Church, VA.

            The indictment further alleges that William Hunter, a/k/a “Ill Will,” conspired to commit carjackings between September 11, 2022 and October 22, 2022, with others. Defendants Wright, Avery Fuller, a/k/a “Deavry Cordell Fuller,” William Hunter, and Franklin Hunter, a/k/a “Gino,” conspired to launder the proceeds of the stolen property.

            “This indictment alleges a conspiracy to engage in a violent armed robbery spree involving commercial establishments throughout the Eastern Seaboard,” said U.S. Attorney Graves. “One defendant is also charged with conspiracy to commit carjacking as part of the spree, and others are charged with laundering the proceeds from the robberies. With an increasing number of robbery schemes that cross state lines, collaborative operations like this one are critical to holding accountable those who threaten the safety of our communities.”

            “It is devastating that firearm-related violence such as the crimes committed throughout this investigation have become so prevalent within our communities,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Craig Kailimai. “We will continue collaborating with our law enforcement partners by holding those individuals who seek to harm innocent people accountable for their actions.”

            “The defendants targeted small businesses along the East Coast, stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry from hardworking families,” said Assistant Director in Charge David Sundberg. “For the past 20 months, the FBI worked with our partners across state lines to connect the defendants to these heists. Today’s indictment is a testament to the strength of our partnerships and the commitment we all share to eradicating violent crime.”

            “We allege these suspects took part in take-over style armed robberies meant to terrify and overwhelm store owners and employees,” said FBI-Newark Special Agent in Charge James Dennehy. “Many of the victim businesses are family owned and operated and lost large sums of inventory. The alleged violent and reckless actions of the subjects are astounding; they gave no thought to the people who could have been seriously injured or even killed. We have a message for criminals out there right now who believe these smash and grab robberies work in their favor because they mistakenly believe no one will hold them accountable. That’s not the case here – and it won’t be the case in the future. FBI Newark and our law enforcement partners will make sure if we can charge something federally, we will make that happen.”

            “I want to thank the detectives from MPD and the other agencies involved for their tireless work on this case. This is a prime example of how we, as law enforcement partners, come together as one to hold people accountable for committing crimes in the District of Columbia,” said Acting Chief of Police Pamela A. Smith of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia. “While this investigation took time, the message is clear: If you choose to recklessly disregard public safety in D.C., we, collectively as law enforcement partners, will do everything to find you and hold you accountable.”

NAME

AGE

ADDRESS

CHARGES

Andrew Smith aka “Drewso” or “Drew”

 

29

Maryland

Hobbs Act Robbery;

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery;

Firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence

Antonio Tate, aka “Motion” or “T-Motion”

 

20

Washington, D.C.

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery

Avery Fuller, aka “Ace”, “Fully”, or “Fully Ace”

 

28

Washington, D.C.

Hobbs Act Robbery;

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery;

Firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence

Davon Johnson, aka “Yb”

30

Washington, D.C.

Hobbs Act Robbery;

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery;

Firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence

Decarlos Hill, aka “Los”

29

Maryland

Hobbs Act Robbery;

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery;

Firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence

Delonte Martin, aka “DD”

25

Washington, D.C.

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery

Franklin Hunter, aka “Gino”

 

29

Washington, D.C.

Hobbs Act Robbery;

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery;

Firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence

Hesham Gomaa

45

Virginia

Hobbs Act Robbery;

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery;

Firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence

Jameise Christian, aka “Safe Play”, “Safety”, or “Safe”

 

32

Washington, D.C.

Hobbs Act Robbery;

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery;

Firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence;

Conspiracy to commit carjacking

Jaylaun Brown, aka “Lil Launy”

21

Washington, D.C.

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery

Keith McDuffie

26

California

Hobbs Act Robbery;

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery;

Firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence

Robert Sheffield, aka “Real Lifaa”

32

Washington, D.C.

Hobbs Act Robbery;

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery;

Firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence

Timothy Conrad, aka “Twin”

32

Washington, D.C.

Hobbs Act Robbery;

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery;

Firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence

Trevor Wright, aka “Taliban Glizzy”

 

32

Washington, D.C.

Hobbs Act Robbery;

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery;

Firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence

William Hunter, aka “Ill Will”

28

Washington, D.C.

Hobbs Act Robbery;

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery;

Firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence;

Conspiracy to commit carjacking

Lamont Marable

27

Washington, D.C.

Hobbs Act Robbery;

Conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act Robbery;

Firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence

            Federal agents and local law enforcement arrested Smith, Johnson, Hill, Gomaa, Brown, McDuffie, Sheffield, and Conrad this morning; Wright, Hunter, Fuller, Tate, Martin, Brown, Christian, and Marable were already in custody. Search warrants were also executed resulting in the seizure of multiple guns and approximately $300,000 from a safe in one of the residences.

            The superseding indictment also contains a notice of forfeiture and seeks the proceeds of the illegal activities.

            The statutory maximum sentence for conspiracy to interfere with interstate commerce (known as Hobbs Act) robbery is 20 years; the statutory maximum sentence of Hobbs Act robbery is 20 years in prison; the crime of using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years with a maximum possible sentence of life; the statutory maximum sentence for conspiracy to commit carjacking is five years in prison; the statutory maximum sentence for money laundering is 20 years. A federal judge will determine the appropriate sentence after considering the appropriate sentencing guidelines and other factors.

            This case was investigated by the ATF’s Washington Field Division, the FBI’s Washington and Newark Field Offices, the United States Marshal Service, and the Metropolitan Police Department, with substantial assistance from the police departments of: Fairfax County (VA), Falls Church (VA), Franklin Township (NJ), Jersey City (NJ), Paterson (NJ), Middlesex County (NJ), South Brunswick (NJ), Somerset County (NJ), Woodbridge (NJ), Swatara Twp. (PA), the United States Secret Service-Uniformed Division, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service-Washington Division. Additional assistance was provided by multiple U.S. Attorney’s Offices including: the District of New Jersey, Eastern District of Virginia, the District of Maryland, the Central District of California, and the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida.

            The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sitara Witanachchi and Andy Wang, of the Violence Reduction and Trafficking Offenses Section in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

            An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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