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Woman Sentenced to 37 Years in Prison in Armed Home Invasions Targeting Indian Americans
HOUSTON, TX- The U.S. Department of Justice Oct. 28 announced that a Texas woman was sentenced to 37 years in prison for her role as the leader of several robbery crews that traveled across the United States in order to conduct armed home invasions of families of Indian and Asian descent.
Chaka Castro, 44, of Houston, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Laurie J. Michelson of the Eastern District of Michigan, a news release said.
After a five-week trial, Castro was convicted of one count of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations conspiracy; four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering; and four counts of use of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, it said.
According to evidence presented at trial, from 2011 to 2014, Castro and her robbery crews committed a string of home invasions in Georgia, New York, Ohio, Michigan and Texas.
The leader of the robbery crews was Castro, who 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, the release notes.
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 utilized a particular modus operandi in each of the robberies. They 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, as another partner would ransack the home in search of cash, jewelry and electronics to steal, it added.
The group organized their trips to carry out multiple home invasion robberies over a series of days.