Sophisticated Heist Crew Caught After Failed Marijuana Farm Robbery Near Midland

November 22nd, 2023 Legal & Crime
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A sophisticated group of six individuals equipped with advanced surveillance tools and burglary equipment attempted an ill-fated robbery at an illegal marijuana farm, resulting in a violent confrontation, according to recent federal court records.

This dramatic incident, unfolding in the heart of America's largest marijuana market, took place on July 16th at a secluded property in Coleman, Michigan, a small city located 19 miles northwest of Midland. The botched robbery attempt left behind a scene reminiscent of a crime thriller: a bullet-riddled barn, an exchange of gunfire, and the perpetrators donned in camouflage, carrying high-tech gear such as two-way radios, handheld surveillance cameras, cell phone jammers, and pry bars.

The individuals charged in this case are Addiel Torres, 49; Yoany Alvarez-Antuna, 40; Yuan Biart-Gonzalez, 39; Andy Gomez-Niebla, 38; Robert Padron Alvarez, 45; and Jorge Garcia-Santiago. Their respective hometowns and Garcia-Santiago's age were not disclosed at the time of reporting.

In the absence of defense lawyers listed in the federal court records, each of these men faces the possibility of up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted on charges of attempted interference with commerce by robbery. They also face additional charges in state court connected to this attempted heist.

Members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) task force spearheaded the investigation into this case. On the day of the incident, ATF investigators responded to a reported shooting at a rural residence and adjacent pole barn located in the 3000 block of W. Shaffer Road in Coleman. According to ATF Task Force Officer Mitchell Eddy's affidavit, Addiel Torres was shot by the property owner during the attempted robbery and was later found recuperating in a local hospital.

The homeowner, alerted by a security camera, confronted Torres outside. In the ensuing scuffle, where Torres reportedly wielded a firearm and tackled the homeowner, the homeowner inadvertently shot Torres in self-defense.

A subsequent search of the property unveiled an illegal marijuana cultivation operation. Investigators found approximately 40 marijuana plants outside the barn, which bore signs of gunfire. Inside, they discovered an expansive grow operation with 227 marijuana plants, 137 pounds of processed marijuana flower, and 10 pounds of other marijuana plant material. According to the ATF, none of the individuals at the farm possessed valid credentials to cultivate marijuana.

A Michigan State Police K-9 unit later located Alvarez-Antuna and Biart-Gonzalez, clad in camouflage and gloves, half a mile from the farm, alongside a two-way radio. Gomez-Niebla and Padron Alvarez were found three miles west of the farm, following a tip about backpacks discovered less than three miles from where they were apprehended. These backpacks contained an array of burglary tools including pry bars, a ski mask, a cell phone jammer, various hand tools, work gloves, a snake camera, water bottles, and an inhaler, providing further evidence of the premeditated nature of their operation.

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