DULUTH - Two men arrested by Gwinnett Sheriff's deputies in connection with robbing drug traffickers while posing as police officers are a part of a larger network that uses surveillance and torture to net millions in ill-gotten gains, according to the U.S. government.
According to a May 6 detention memorandum filed by the Justice Department, the 11-man robbery crew - which includes Sergio Antonio Alejo and Alfredo Antonio Acosta, Dominican Republic Nationals arrested by Sheriff's deputies Thursday in Duluth and Atlanta - has robbed and injured more than 100 drug traffickers in five states. In turn, the crew netted 750 kilograms of cocaine - a street value of $20 million - and $4 million in drug proceeds.
The alleged robberies occurred in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Florida and North Carolina, the filing states. Stacey Bourbonnais, spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Department, confirmed Friday that some robberies occurred in Georgia, though it is unknown if they occurred in Gwinnett.
Alejo, 47, who has been indicted in the Eastern District of New York, was wanted for the Hobbs Act Robbery Conspiracy, unlawful use of firearms conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute cocaine and distribution and possession with intent to distribute cocaine. Acosta, 23, has not yet been indicted, according to a Justice Department spokesperson.
According to the memorandum, the crew used police-like surveillance and a vast intelligence gathering network throughout the named states to locate potential targets. Once identified, they'd carry out the hits in two-distinct ways: pulling over their marks in cars equipped with police blue lights or through home invasions disguised as police raids. Once handcuffed or bound, the victims were tortured or threatened until they gave up the location of their drugs and cash.
The government filing said authorities have been able to recover a portion of the stolen drugs and cash.
Bourbonnais said Sheriff's deputies initially learned of Alejo and Acosta after an unrelated aggravated assault arrest several weeks ago.
"As Gwinnett deputies investigated these two men and their activities further, they learned they were wanted on indictments from the Eastern District of New York," Bourbonnais said.
Acosta was taken into custody in the 500 block of Paces Common Drive in Duluth. Alejo was located in Atlanta.