Armored car robbers indicted
Malinda Cruz, 35, Houston, is expected to make her initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Bray at 2 p.m. today. Law enforcement took her into custody April 22 following a federal indictment returned April 20.
Previously arrested via criminal complaint were Randy Long, 30, and Carl Johnson, 34, both also of Houston. They have been in custody and are expected to make an appearance on the new charges in the near future.
All are charged with aiding and abetting interference with commerce by robbery. Long and Johnson also face charges of aiding and abetting the discharge of firearm.
The charges stem from an armored car robbery that occurred in late March.
“After the armored car robbery and shoot-out occurred, the FBI Violent Crime Task Force and our law enforcement partners worked nonstop to arrest all three alleged suspects demonstrating the critical role that continuous law enforcement collaboration plays in restoring peace in our communities in a concise manner,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge James Smith. “The FBI appreciates our law enforcement partners, especially those at the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), Houston Police Department (HPD), Texas Department of Public Safety and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who are equally committed to combating violent crime.”
On March 23, a Brinks armored car courier was servicing the ATM of the Comerica Bank located at 855 FM 1960 in Houston, according to the charges . Long was allegedly carrying a firearm and approached the courier along with Johnson. The charges allege an exchange of gun fire occurred between the three men, during which time the courier shot Johnson in the thigh. Long and Johnson were able to get away, according to the allegations.
During the robbery, Cruz allegedly acted as a look-out and scout during the robbery and was the get-away driver.
The indictment further alleges Johnson aided and abetted interference with commerce by robbery and aided and abetted the brandishing of a firearm in relation to the robbery of an armored car Jan. 7. The courier had been servicing an ATM located at a Bank of America in Houston according to the charges. Johnson allegedly brandished a firearm and stole the cassettes and money bags from him as he was completing his job.
Aiding and abetting interference with commerce by robbery carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Aiding and abetting the discharge of a firearm and aiding and abetting the brandishing of a firearm carry minimums of 10 and seven years, respectively, and up to life which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed.
FBI, HCSO and HPD conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill Stotts is prosecuting the case.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.