A Texas woman has been found guilty of leading a gang of six members that carried out targeted robberies of Indian-American homes across the United States. Chaka Castro, 44, and her accomplices committed a string of home invasions in Georgia, New York, Ohio, Michigan and Texas from 2011 to 2014, according to the evidence presented at the trial.
Her sentencing is scheduled for September 2019 before a District Court in Michigan. The leader of the gang was Castro, who would generate lists of robbery targets in various states around the country, specifically families of Asian and Indian ancestry, and then assign her accomplices to carry out the armed robberies of these families within their homes, the Department of Justice said.
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 utilised a particular modus operandi in each of the robberies, it said, adding that they disguised their appearance with clothing and bandanas so that victims of their robberies would have difficulty identifying them.
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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, according to the evidence presented during the trial.
At least one robber would then restrain the victims with duct tape and threats of violence while a partner would ransack the home in search of cash, jewellery and electronics to steal. The group organised their trips to involve multiple home invasion robberies over a series of days, it added.