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Police: 5 gunmen tied to heist

NORCROSS -- Three more suspects have been implicated in a Wednesday night robbery and kidnapping at a Norcross area apartment complex, upping the number of arrestees to five.

Further investigation has revealed the crimes revolved around a soured cocaine deal in the parking lot of apartments on Hillandale Drive, police said Monday.

Police on Friday arrested three men -- Juan Tobar, Luis Cruz Garcia and Luis Castillo Rodriguez -- on armed robbery charges at the Terrace Court apartment they shared.

During a search of the apartment, investigators confiscated unspecified amounts of cocaine and marijuana, along with a pistol, a shotgun and packaging materials for illegal drugs, police said.

The men join two suspects arrested last week, Omar Villeda-Tobar and Anthony Conyers, at the Gwinnett County Jail. None have been granted bond. Juan Tobar, a native of El Salvador, is being held for immigration authorities, according to jail records.

The two robbery victims have not been charged, though police say they initially lied about their involvement.

One victim told police he was pistol-whipped, robbed of his wallet and kidnapped by strangers in a Toyota 4Runner, then forced to ring the doorbell of the second victim's apartment while the robbers lay in wait. The crooks then rushed the residence, stealing $300 and a cell phone, the victims initially told police, said Gwinnett police Officer Christian Robertson, a robbery investigator assigned to the case.

Officers later arrested Villeda-Tobar and Conyers driving in the same complex. Inside their vehicle, police found a pistol, marijuana, about $300 in cash and one victim's cell phone, Robertson said.

But the case took an unexpected turn when investigators ran criminal history checks on the alleged victims.

"It was found that they were arrested together in September by Roswell (police) for trafficking cocaine," Robertson said.

Confronted again, the victim who first contacted police "explained he had gotten into the 4Runner of his own will for a prearranged cocaine deal," Robertson said.

The victim then led police to the Terrace Court apartment, where they arrested the other three suspects Friday, Robertson said.

The case remains under investigation.