NEW BRUNSWICK,NJ—Authorities say that a group of Texas-based robbers responsible for the string of home invasions against Asian-Indian families in Middlesex County made it all the way back to Houston, Texas before being captured by police last week.
The alleged robbers, identified as Chaka Castro, 39, Juan Olaya, 34, Octavius Scott, 22, and Johnisha Williams, 19, will be extradited to New Jersey where they will each be held on $1.25 million bail.
Agent John Selesky and Detective John Marotta, of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office (MCPO), determined that Castro was the ringleader, targeting which Asian-Indian homes to invade and orchestrating the execution of the crimes.
“Scott and Olaya entered each of the homes at gunpoint, restrained the families, and fled with stolen items in each of the five home invasions,” reads a press release from the MCPO.
“They also threatened homeowners and smashed cell phones to prevent victims from calling police. In all but the home invasion in Old Bridge on November 29, 2014, Williams waited outside the homes and drove Scott and Olaya from the crime scenes.”
The MCPO said they believe the group also committed similar crimes in Michigan, New York, Georgia, and their home state of Texas.
Castro is being charged with five counts of conspiracy to commit murder, one count from each home invasion.
The rest of the group have been charged with a series of counts arising from each of the home invasions, including:
- first-degree robbery
- first-degree kidnapping
- second-degree conspiracy
- second-degree burglary
- second-degree aggravated assault
- terroristic threats (third-degree)
- theft (third-degree)
- criminal mischief (third-degree)
- hindering their apprehension (third-degree)
- pointing firearms at victims (fourth-degree)
If found guilty, the four individuals will face a lifetime in prison, serving the following amounts of time per charge:
- 30 years for first-degree kidnapping
- 20 years for first-degree robbery
- 10 years for each second-degree charge
- 5 years for each third-degree charge
- 18 months for each fourth-degree charge
The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office will charge the four individuals for the crimes that occurred during the home invasions on:
- October 20 in Old Bridge
- October 26 in Old Bridge
- October 28 in South Plainfield
- October 30 in Edison
- November 29 in Old Bridge
As Prosecutor Andrew Carey mentioned during his address about the home invasions on TV Asia, several government agencies who contributed to this investigation.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey thanked the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the New Jersey State Police, members of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Old Bridge, South Plainfield and Edison police departments and law enforcement authorities in Georgia, Michigan, New York and Texas for their collaboration on this case.
He also thanked members of the Asian-Indian community for their patience, support and co-operation, thanked the Indian Business Association and TV Asia for helping keep the community informed and thanked Crime Stoppers of Middlesex County Inc. for offering rewards.
The investigation is still ongoing. Police are asking anyone with information to call their local police, or Agent Selesky of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-3439, or Detective Marotta of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745- 3331.