April 9, 2019
Authorities announced that 11 gang members have been charged in connection with 41 armed robberies, most at local meat markets that catered to Latinos.
According to charging documents filed by the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Gangs and Organized Crime Division, crews of masked men would hit the establishments, mostly La Michoacana meat markets.
They would fire guns into the air, then snatch cash from the registers and check cashing booths.
Although they were usually out in less than two minutes, in at least one instance, an attacker held a customer at gunpoint in order to force a cashier to unlock the check cashing booth, which was protected by ballistic glass.
“The evidence shows these 0crews robbed everywhere but their own neighborhoods, as they preyed on businesses and terrified innocent people,” District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “Now they will have to stand in court and face judgement.”
More arrests and charges are possible as an investigation continues in coordination with the ATF Crime Gun Strike Force, which consists of local and federal agencies.
“Through the newly established ATF Crime Gun Strike Force, we are working with our partners, including police, prosecutors, and crime labs,” ATF Special Agent in Charge Fred Milanowski said. “ATF uses our Crime Gun Intelligence capabilities to link violent gun crimes and disrupt the shooting cycle.
All of the individuals charged in recent weeks and months are tied to the rash of robberies carried out between July 2018 and February 2019 by a loose-knit coalition of members from multiple Houston-area gangs.
Among those charged are defendants who entered the locations and carried out the robberies, as well as the so-called “shot callers” who scouted the locations and planned the crimes.
Defendants Charles Johnson, 19, in the 208th District Court and Keondrick Scyrus, 17, in the 180th District Court are scheduled to appear Wednesday for arraignments.
The meat markets targeted by this crew were mostly located in Harris County, but also included locations in the Galveston and Beaumont areas.
Agencies involved in the effort include: the Houston Police Department; the Harris County Sheriff’s Office; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas; the Galveston Police Department; the Beaumont Police Department and the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.
Those charged include:
Merrick West (4-10-1997) (federal firearms charge)
Bryant West (1-6-1999) (federal firearms charge)
Eric West (1-19-1993) (federal firearms charge)
Tom Grant (12-5-2000) charged in Harris County and Galveston County (agg rob)
Jacquez Keli (5-26-2001) charged in Harris and Galveston County.(agg rob)
Jamaris Hayes (7-22-1999) charged in Harris County (agg rob)
Keondrick Scyrus (4-29-2001) charged in Harris County. (agg rob)
Anthony Watterson (09-09-1998) charged in Harris County(agg assault)
Devonte Ransom (2-23-2000) is charged in Harris County. (agg rob)
Brandon Johnson (3-6-1999) charged in Harris County (agg rob)
Charles Johnson (3-21-2000) charged in Harris County (agg rob)
Aggravated Robbery is five years to life in prison
Aggravated Assault is two to 20 years in prison.