This week a Houston police officer pleaded guilty to his involvement in a 2013 armored truck robbery that garnered $4 million.
In exchange for being paid by the gun-wielding assailants, officer Joel Quezada monitored police radios and communications during the robbery while he simultaneously tipped off the robbers. Although Quezada wasn’t physically at the scene, he played the role of the “inside man.”
The robbery unfolded on the morning of Dec. 6, 2013 as three armed assailants approached a Loomis armored truck at the University of Houston student center.
Dezmond Lacraig Edwards, a Loomis employee and the other “inside man,” told the robbers beforehand which route would be the most productive. He also told them the armored truck door on that particular route was driven by a pregnant guard with a broken lock on the door.
Neither Edwards nor Quezada were at the scene of the multi-million dollar heist.
The assailants forced their way into the armored truck through the unlocked door while a guard was filling the ATM with cash. Once inside the truck, the robbers over powered the female guard and threw her out of the truck.
The guard who was filling the ATM heard the commotion and fired off shots at the robbers with no success. The robbers then sped away in the armored truck, only to abandon the truck at the university parking deck.
It was then that the thieves jumped in two waiting vehicles with the abundant amount of cash in hand.
Meanwhile, Quezada was using his patrol radio to monitor fellow officers in their search of the robbers, telling his co-conspirators every move police were making.
By the time authorities caught up to the robbers, which was months later, they had already spent $3 million on expensive cars, jewelry and appliances according to court documents.
The FBI says that one of the gunmen was apprehended as he was leaving town, at which time he had cash, a new car, and jewelry and was also carrying a firearm matching the description of the one used during the robbery.
The three on-scene conspirators, James Van-Gerald Johnson, Ronald Dean Richards, and Allen Bernard Roundtree have all pleaded guilty.
Dezmond Lacraig Edwards was convicted by a federal jury in December.
Officials have not said what about their investigation led them to Quezada, but it is likely that one of the first four suspects apprehended linked Quezada to the robbery.
Quezada was originally charged with a three-count indictment alleging he accepted money to monitor police radios during the robbery, making false statements, and concealing materials facts from federal agents.
In a plea deal, the embattled former officer plead guilty to concealing materials facts from federal agents.
The sentencing date for Quezada is set for April 4th. He faces up to five years in prison.
Quezada joined the Houston Police Department in August 2008 and resigned in Feb. 2015 in lieu of being fired by the police chief prior to a disciplinary hearing. He was eventually arrested in August 2015.