Last week Houston, four people were arrested and charged in connection with a recent series of New Jersey home invasion robberies that targeted Indian American families in Middlesex County.
4 charged in Middlesex County home invasions
Chaka Castro, 39, Juan Olaya, 34, Octavius Scott, 22, and Johnisha Williams, 19 -- all from Houston -- were charged in connection with five home invasions in which families were restrained, robbed at gunpoint and assaulted. They were arrested last week for robberies in Texas, and are believed to be involved in home invasions -- also targeting Asians -- in Georgia, Michigan and New York.
Castro is charged with five counts of conspiracy to commit robbery for allegedly taking part in orchestrating the robberies. She allegedly picked the victims and then directed the others to commit the crimes, Carey said.
The three others are facing a number of charges, including first-degree robbery and kidnapping, second-degree conspiracy, burglary, assault, terroristic threats and hindering their apprehension.
According to the prosecutor, Scott and Olaya entered the homes at gunpoint while Williams waited outside in a getaway car. Scott and Olaya smashed cellphones and threatened homeowners after duct taping them, punching them and kicking them.
The kidnapping charges carry penalties of up to 30 years. The robbery charges count for 20-year terms.
Authorities are working on extraditing the four suspects to New Jersey, but since the crew faces charges in multiple states, jurisdiction is still being sorted out. It's also yet to be determined whether the suspects will face hate crime charges, since it has become clear they they were targeting people based on ethnicity.
More here: After Middlesex County home invasion charges, relief but questions of hate crimes remain