A scheme to rob marijuana growers around the state of their crop and cash, including one in Turlock, led to a federal conviction for a Waterford man.
Jose Jesus Carbajal, 33, of Waterford was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce, one count of interference with commerce by robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The verdict was reached on Aug. 1, by a federal jury at the conclusion of a three-day trial.
Carbajal and his robbery crew often gained access to the homes and property by posing as law enforcement and announcing they had a search and seizure warrant.
The robberies transpired between October 2014 to December 2017 and stretched through the Central Valley.
Carbajal first came to the notice of the Federal Bureau of Investigations after receiving information from the Turlock Police Department and confidential informants about a home invasion robbery and a shooting that happened in the 800 block of Angelus Street on Nov. 6, 2014.
The shooting victim, a 32-year-old man, and his friend were walking toward the front door of the home on Angelus when they noticed the door was ajar. The victim stood outside the home while the other man started to enter the home, but was confronted by a man armed with a handgun. There was a second suspect inside the house. He ran out of the house and jumped over a fence and landed near the 32-year-old. The second suspect and the 32-year-old were struggling with one another when several gunshots rang out.
The first suspect fired multiple shots, striking the 32-year-old once. He sustained a non-life-threatening injury to his abdomen and leg.
On Dec. 4, 2016, Carbajal and his crew robbed and terrorized an Arbuckle family, according to the criminal complaint filed by the FBI. Carbajal and three other suspects were wearing law enforcement uniforms and forced their way into the home. They tied up the residents and held them at gunpoint. Carbajal pistol-whipped one man and told him he would kill the entire family if the man didn’t tell him where the money and marijuana was hidden. Carbajal threatened to get a machete and cut off the fingers of a child at the residence and then threatened to douse them in gasoline and set them on fire. The man complied with Carbajal’s orders and the robbers left with marijuana, money and other personal property.
During the robbery, Carbajal removed his mask, which ultimately led to his arrest. The mask was left at the scene and was sent off for DNA testing, which came back to Carbajal. The family also was able to identify Carbajal as one of the robbers.
Carbajal is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. O’Neill on Oct. 28. Carbajal faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on counts one and two, and mandatory consecutive sentence of seven years to life on count three. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Colusa County Sheriff’s Department, the Central Valley Gang Impact Task Force, the Turlock Police Department, the Rio Dell Police Department, and the Hollywood Division of the Los Angeles Police Department. Forensic expertise and investigative assistance were provided by the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Forensic Services and the FBI Laboratory in Quantico, Virginia. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Melanie L. Alsworth and Geoffrey D. Wilson are prosecuting the case.