HOUSTON, Texas — Two Houston men were federally charged in connection with a sting operation targeting an armored truck robbery ring in the Houston area — the nation's leading city for armored truck robberies.
The arrests come on the heels of a fatal armored truck robbery just last week in Houston which left a Loomis armored truck courier, 68-year-old Francis Hazzard, dead.
The latest sting operation was conducted on November 1, 2019, with Houston Police Department investigators surveilling a stolen white For F-250 and an armored Garda truck on its scheduled daily route. Inside the Garda truck were two Houston Police Department SWAT officers accompanying the Garda employees.
Houston Police Department Executive Assistant Chief Matt Slinkard says investigators observed three black male suspects in the stolen pickup truck place ski masks over their faces as the armored truck stopped at the Walgreens at 16233 Post Oak in Houston.
According to a federal complaint, as soon as the driver side door of the armored truck opened, so did the rear passenger door of the stolen pickup truck. It was at that moment police converged on the stolen pickup truck and the alleged suspects.
Seeing this, the suspects fled the scene in the truck and later bailed on foot. One suspect exited the pickup truck bearing an AR-15 rifle and exchanged gunfire with police. He was struck in the exchange, critically injured, and airlifted to an area hospital.
The two other suspects fled on foot and were apprehended shortly thereafter. They were identified as 31-year-old Corderas Simmons and 28-year-old Jeremy Boniaby, both of Houston, Texas. They are scheduled to appear before a federal judge on Monday.
Simmons and Boniaby, according to the federal complaint, are charged with aiding and abetting attempted interference with commerce by robbery and aiding and abetting discharging a firearm during or in relation to that robbery.
"If convicted, Simmons and Boniaby face up to 20 years in prison for the attempted interference with commerce by robbery charge," read a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Texas. "They would also receive, upon conviction, a mandatory minimum of 10 years and up to life in prison for the discharge of the firearm which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed."
During a press conference on Friday, Slinkard said it was too early to determine if the three suspects were involved in last week's fatal armored truck robbery. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Houston Division, is offering a reward up to $55,000 for information charging and arrest of the individuals involved in that robbery.
FBI Houston is also offering a reward up to $105,000 in connection with the fatal armored truck robbery on February 12, 2015, that resulted in the death of Brinks employee Alvin Kinney.
Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Since 2015, Houston has led the nation in armored truck robberies with nine in 2015, 10 in 2016, six in 2017, nine in 2018, and 10 so far this year.