A key leader in a home invasion ring that struck homes around North Texas in 2014 was sentenced to 40 years in prison last week.

Juan Olaya of Houston was convicted in March of 2020 by a federal jury of four counts of brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, four counts of assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and one count of racketeering conspiracy.

According to evidence presented at the trial Olaya, 41, was the road boss for the ring that conducted home invasions across the country from August through December 2014. The ring struck homes in Allen, Coppell, Flower Mound and Southlake in December of that year, authorities said. It also invaded homes in Michigan, Georgia, New York and New Jersey.

Jolene DeVito, spokeswoman for the Carrollton Police Department, said Carrollton police broke the case open in December 2014 when they caught and arrested some of the ring’s participants after robberies in Allen and Flower Mound. Carrollton police arrested Olaya, as well as leader Chaka Castro and member Rodney Granger. DeVito said they were operating out of a house in the Arbor Creek area.

A press release from the Department of Justice states Olaya recruited other crew members and assigned roles to them. It states Olaya and crew members traveled to specific locations, conducted surveillance and robbed the homes.

Records state the crew chose homes with homeowner last names that were common to certain Indian and Asian decent and robbed the home while the residents were home so the victims could point out valuable items.

“Members disguised their appearance with clothing and bandanas so that victims would have difficulty identifying them,” the release states. “They openly carried and brandished firearms to gain control of the victims and then immediately corralled the victims, including children, into one location in the home.  At least one crew member then restrained the victims using duct tape and threats of violence, as one or more others ransacked the home in search of cash, jewelry, and electronics. The crew organized their trips to involve multiple home invasion robberies over a series of days.”

“Juan Olaya and his robbery crews committed a host of violent crimes that terrorized innocent victims across the United States,” said Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office. “His crimes are made more disturbing because the victims were chosen based on their ethnicity or race. The FBI will continue to work with our federal, state and local partners to investigate and hold accountable predators like Olaya who threaten the safety of our communities.”

According to an indictment, the suspects that carried out the robberies were Olaya, Granger, Johnisha Ann-Marie Williams, who was 19 at the time, and Octavious Dejon Scott, 22.

Williams was arrested Dec. 7 at the scene of the Flower Mound invasion. Scott was arrested by the U.S. Marshals East Texas Fugitive Task Force on Dec. 11.

In 2019, Castro, the gang’s organizer, was sentenced to 37 years in prison after being found guilty of one count of racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations (RICO) 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.

Police believe multiple suspects were involved with the Coppell home invasion, which occurred Dec. 5, 2014 in the 500 block of Abbey Court; three invasions in Allen on Dec. 6 – the 1400 block of Rio Grande Drive, the 300 block of Wrotham Lane and the 1200 block of Phillip Drive – and the Flower Mound robbery, which took place Dec. 7 in the 5600 block of Suncrest Drive.

Authorities say Castro ran the enterprise from 2011 to 2014.

Follow Chris Roark on Twitter!

@Reporter_Chris

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