A Columbian man, accused of robbing Indian Americans, has been found guilty of all charges in a nine-count indictment, March 9. Juan Olaya, 39, of Buenaventura, Colombia, is charged with Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) conspiracy and other violent crimes.
According to a Department of Justice press release, Olaya, was a leader of an armed robbery crew that traveled across the country, committing a string of home invasions in Georgia, New York, Michigan and Texas in 2014. The organizer of the crew, Chaka Castro, ran the enterprise from 2011 through 2014. Castro generated lists of robbery targets in various states around the county, specifically families of Asian and Indian ancestry, and assigned crews to carry out the armed robberies of these families within their homes. She was indicted by a federal grand jury in Michigan on June 4, 2019.
The DoJ press release says Castro led the groups and would generate lists of robbery targets in various states around the county, specifically families of Asian and Indian ancestry, and then assign crews to carry out the armed robberies of these families within their homes.
Once Castro assigned a crew to a particular area, members of the group would travel to that location, conduct surveillance, and execute the robberies.
The crews disguised their appearance with clothing and bandanas so that victims of their robberies would have difficulty identifying them. They would openly carry and brandish firearms to gain control of the victims and then immediately corral the victims, including children, into one location in the home.
At least one robber would then restrain the victims with duct tape and threats of violence while a partner would ransack the home in search of cash, jewelry, and electronics to steal, the Justice Department said. The group organized their trips to involve multiple home invasion robberies over a series of days.
Sentencing was Olaya is scheduled for July 23, 2020, before U.S. District Court Judge Laurie J. Michelson of the Eastern District of Michigan, who presided over the trial.