5 Colombian Citizens Charged In North Texas Jewelry Thefts

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Texas officials said that five people have been arrested for their suspected involvement in a number of violent robberies targeting traveling jewelry salesmen in Texas, one of which resulted in a death.

The five Colombian citizens are charged with multiple counts of robbery and brandishing a firearm to further a crime. Federal officials identified the suspects as 35-year-old Johnnattan Ramirez, 32-year-old Pedro Louis Alvarez, 28-year-old Catherine Contreras-Beltran, 27-year-old Eslevy Vargas-Avila and 25-year-old Robert Riveros.

Authorities believe the five suspects were involved in three robberies in 2016, in Garland, Arlington and Euless. A victim was beaten to death in the Euless robbery after he tried to stop one suspect from getting away.

Alvarez was arrested in New York City in June of last year. The other four suspects were all taken into custody in Colombia between December and July.

U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas said that the group was part of a larger organized theft group from South America. They were wanted by the FBI, the DFW International Airport Department of Public Safety, the Garland Police Department and the Arlington Police Department.

“I commend the extraordinary efforts of the FBI and our local and international law enforcement partners in apprehending these brazenly violent fugitives,” Parker said. “Our community is safer as a result of getting these people off our streets.”

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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