Six people, including a Houston woman feds allege to be the gang's ringleader, have been indicted in Michigan for allegedly being part of a conspiracy that led to a string of home invasion robberies in that state and North Texas.
Chaka Castro, 40, used public data software to identify potential targets for her crew, the Department of Justice says. Chiefly, she identified families with Asian or Indian ancestry through Internet research, before sending along addresses to Juan Olaya, who led the team that feds say carried out the home invasions.
The DFW robberies began December 5, 2014. Castro and her crew had just completed a string of Thanksgiving-week robberies in Michigan, according to investigators, and drove to North Texas, a list of further targets in hand.
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That day, Olaya, Octavius Scott and Johnisha Williams, all charged as part of the conspiracy, forced their way into a house on Abbey Court in Coppell, feds say. Once inside, they held the family living in the house at gunpoint and bound them with duct tape. Olaya, Scott and Williams allegedly stole cash, jewelry, purses and electronics from the house and shared the proceeds with Castro later that day.
The next day, December 6, the group is accused of committing three additional robberies, all in Allen. The day after that, they hit a house in Southlake, another in Flower Mound and committed a carjacking when Williams, acting as a lookout, told the others that cops were coming to the house in Flower Mound.
"The armed robberies allegedly committed by this organized criminal group were horrific home invasions that spread fear through Asian and Indian communities across multiple states," Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a press release. "This indictment is the first step in holding responsible those accused of carrying out armed robberies that were both life threatening and ethnically targeted."
Castro, Olaya, Scott and Jakeyra Augustus -- another alleged home invasion participant -- have been charged with four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and four counts of use and carrying of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in addition to other charges under federal anti-racketeering law. Williams and Rodney Granger face only charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. Castro, Olaya, Scott and Williams have also been charged in connection with five October 2014 home invasion robberies of Asian-Indian families in New Jersey.