A Texas man was sentenced Friday to 6 years, 4 months in prison for a Feb. 13 robbery of a Central Point marijuana dealer.
Erick Yair Cervantes Molinero, 22, of Fort Worth, Texas, pleaded no contest to charges of second-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, fourth-degree assault, coercion and fleeing or attempting to elude a police officer.
Although he did not admit guilt with the no contest plea, he conceded the prosecution could likely prove its case at trial.
Co-defendant Ashton Shamar Garrett, 21, of Fort Worth is scheduled to go to trial in June on charges of robbery, burglary, assault, unlawful use of a weapon, coercion and unauthorized use of a vehicle, according to Jackson County Circuit Court records.
The victim told police he was in his garage, which contained multiple pounds of marijuana, when he was approached by three men with a handgun and an AR-15 rifle, according to an affidavit by Central Point police.
He said the men pointed the guns at him, punched him in the face several times, tied him up with rope and duct tape and began loading the marijuana into their car, the affidavit said.
The victim told a detective he had planned to meet with the men to sell them marijuana, but they stole it instead, the affidavit said.
A friend of the victim drove up to the scene during the robbery and inadvertently blocked the robbers’ car. The robbers allegedly grabbed the friend, told him to sit down next to the victim in the garage, took the friend’s car keys and moved his car out of the way, the affidavit said.
After the men drove away, the friend called 9-1-1 and gave dispatchers a description of the men’s Honda car, including its Texas license plate number.
An Oregon State Police trooper spotted the Honda heading south on I-5 and tried to stop it, but the Honda fled. Another trooper joined the pursuit, according to an affidavit by OSP.
The Honda left I-5 via Exit 27, driving on the curb and shoulder of the road to get around traffic stopped at the top of the exit ramp, the OSP affidavit said.
The Honda continued to elude the troopers through Medford, at one point driving up onto the sidewalk to go around other cars stopped at a red light, then driving through the red light, the OSP affidavit said.
One of the troopers used his vehicle to nudge the Honda, causing it to spin out of control, cross a median and hit an oncoming pick-up truck, the OSP affidavit said.
Only two men were in the Honda, and they were taken into custody. Multiple bags of marijuana were found in the trunk of the crashed Honda, according to the Central Point police affidavit.
Garrett, the suspect scheduled for trial, allegedly told police only he and Cervantes Molinero were involved and there was no third man, the Central Point police affidavit said.
In their search for a third suspect, Central Point police said Garrett and Cervantes Molinero were captured on surveillance video with a third man wearing a Texas fighting gym sweatshirt at a local NAPA auto parts store about an hour before the robbery.
Court records do not list a third co-defendant in the case.
Garrett allegedly said he and Cervantes Molinero had a Glock pistol, an AR-15 and an AK-47, the Central Point police affidavit said.
Garrett allegedly told police he had been talking on the phone to the marijuana dealer about coming to Oregon to buy weed, but when he and Cervantes Molinero met the victim at his house, they decided to rob him of his marijuana instead of buying it, the Central Point police affidavit said.
Garrett denied pointing a gun at the victim, tying him up or hitting him. He said Cervantes Molinero was driving while they fled from police, the affidavit said.
Court records show no charges have been brought against the marijuana dealer.