Tuesday, April 5, 2016



NOTE: Those interested in the issue of weapons smuggled into Mexico may want to pay particular attention to the "harsh sentences" imposed. Story relevant to crime and "punishment" overall, including the restitution farce. Federal weapons charges?

Three sentenced, two missing in car theft case involving AK-47, drugs
Nogales International 10 hrs ago


Cecily Abed
Richard Junior Estrada
Quiana Workman
Larry Harris

Two men and a woman from Avondale, Ariz. were sentenced at Santa Cruz County Superior Court for their roles in a car theft that ended at the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales with the discovery of an assault rifle and narcotics.

Two additional suspects have warrants for their arrest after they skipped out on court proceedings.

On Aug. 4, 2015, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer assigned to stolen vehicle interdiction duty at the port stopped a Kia Optima driven by 19-year-old Cecily Abed of Sun City, Ariz. as she tried to drive into Mexico. When Abed appeared nervous and couldn't produce a vehicle registration, she was sent for a secondary inspection, court records show.

During the inspection, officers reportedly found an AK-47 assault rifle hidden under the rear passenger seat. When they searched the spare tire compartment, they found four AK-47 magazines, two .308 rounds, three baggies of heroin and a baggie of methamphetamine. In addition, a records check showed that the vehicle had been reported stolen in Avondale.

Abed reportedly told investigators that Richard Junior Estrada, 18, had given her the car after she arrived in Nogales, Ariz., and that he had then boarded another car with other members of their group. She said the stolen vehicle had been sold for $3,000 to someone in Mexico and she expected to be paid an unspecified amount of cash to drive it across the border.

The next day, 20-year-old Larry Lamar Harris of Avondale tried to enter the United States through the DeConcini port, accompanied by 22-year-old Quiana Workman, also of Avondale, and a juvenile male. The three were detained and questioned regarding their involvement in the stolen Optima case, and Harris allegedly said that Estrada had organized the theft to pay off his girlfriend Workman's expenses from a prior stolen car arrest.

Harris and the juvenile told investigators that the AK-47 belonged to Estrada, and that he wanted to take it to Mexico to sell. Estrada "would sell anything to make money," Harris reportedly said. He also said he expected to be paid $500 for his own role in the operation.

On Aug. 7, 2015, Estrada and Alexis Alfredo Armenta Castro, both 18 and residents of Avondale, were arrested as they tried to re-enter the United States from Mexico. Estrada reportedly admitted that he knew about the rifle, but said it belonged to Abed's boyfriend, not him.

As for the stolen Optima, Estrada said Harris orchestrated the theft from a neighbor who lived three houses away from Harris. Harris denied the allegation, telling a probation officer: "Do I look like the kind of fool that would steal a vehicle from right next door to where he lives?"

Harris was sentenced March 28 by Judge Thomas Fink to three years of probation after pleading guilty to a Class 6, open-ended attempted car theft charge. He was also sentenced to 15 days in jail, with credit for 15 days already served.

Estrada was sentenced Feb. 8, also to three years of probation, including 56 days in jail with 56 days already served.

Abed failed to show up for a sentencing hearing on Feb. 22 and the judge issued a warrant for her arrest.

Armenta disappeared while his case was still pending at Nogales Justice Court. Justice of the Peace Emilio Velasquez issued a warrant for his arrest on Jan. 29.

The juvenile arrested at the port with Harris and Workman had his case transferred to Maricopa County.

Workman was sentenced March 14 for her role in this incident, as well as the previous arrest that Harris alluded to. In that earlier case, she was arrested June 9, 2015 when she tried to drive a stolen Nissan Titan pickup into Mexico through the DeConcini port.

Workman was convicted of single Class 6 felony count of attempted vehicle theft as part of a plea agreement combining the two cases. Judge Fink sentenced her to three years probation including 30 days in jail, with no credit for time served.

The co-defendants in the Optima theft were ordered to pay $6,399 in restitution to Allstate insurance. Workman must also pay $2,370 to Liberty Mutual insurance as restitution in the truck-theft case.

(Note: The Sheriff's Office did not have a mug shot available for Armenta.)


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