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July 13, 2022Houston, TX, United StatesTransnational Gangs

Leader of robbery “rip crew” sentenced to 26 years in prison following investigation by HSI Houston, HPD

HOUSTON – The leader of a robbery “rip crew” that targeted game rooms, human smugglers and drug traffickers was sentenced to 26 years in federal prison July 12 following an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Houston and the Houston Police Department (HPD).

Jose Salomon Madrid-Paz, a 59-year-old unlawfully present Honduran national, was sentenced in the Southern District of Texas to 26 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $30,400 in restitution for interference of commerce by robbery and using a firearm during a crime of violence. He pleaded guilty to the charges Jan. 10.

Following his release from prison, Madrid-Paz is expected to be placed in removal proceedings.

During the hearing, the court heard how Madrid-Paz and his rip crew known as “the tumbadores” had been orchestrating robberies for over a decade. They would spend several days or weeks casing game rooms by pretending to be players. On the day of each robbery, Madrid-Paz would assign each member of the robbery crew specific duties such as disarming security guards and tying them up, identifying those with access to the safe or cash drawer, carrying the cash out of the location and acting as the getaway driver. Madrid-Paz himself would act as a lookout and oversee dividing the money.

The court also heard evidence detailing how Madrid-Paz and others were planning on committing three other robberies in addition to those related to their convictions. Madrid-Paz also made comments detailing the arrest of others and how a security guard had been killed in other robberies because his co-defendants did not follow his instructions. In addition to the robbery involving the death of a security guard, several others included the kidnapping of illegal aliens who were held for ransom.

A “rip crew” is a group of individuals that engages in robberies of businesses and individuals that are unlikely to report the incident to law enforcement. This group was. They were comprised of undocumented migrants from Central America who committed dozens of armed robberies in the Houston vicinity of game rooms, drug dealers and human smugglers.

Madrid-Paz will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined soon.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adam Laurence Goldman and Lisa Marie Collins prosecuted the case.

For more news and information on HSI Houston’s efforts to keep Southeast Texas communities safe from transnational gangs and other violent criminal activity follow us on Twitter @HSIHouston.

Updated: 07/13/2022