A former Dunbar Armored employee is due in court Wednesday afternoon on federal charges alleging he smuggled $300,000 in cash out of the armored truck company’s storage facility in Vernon.
Eric Miranda, 37, of East Los Angeles is scheduled to appear in downtown Los Angeles before a U.S. magistrate judge, who will consider a motion by prosecutors to raise his bond to $200,000 in order to keep him behind bars prior to trial.
Miranda was arrested on Oct. 21 as he entered the United States from Mexico and subsequently made his first appearance in federal court in San Diego. He was arraigned after being transported to Los Angeles by the U.S. Marshals Service.
Miranda is named in a four-count federal indictment filed in Los Angeles charging him with conspiracy to commit bank theft from the Dunbar cash storage facility. He also is charged with three counts of bank theft.
The indictment alleges that Miranda stole cash from the Dunbar vault by using dummy stacks of $100 bills that he switched out for genuine stacks.
Miranda allegedly created the phony stacks of $100,000 by taking hundreds of $1 bills and sandwiching them between $100 bills in order to make them appear to be stacks of $100 bills totaling $100,000, according to the indictment.
Miranda allegedly then smuggled the dummy stacks into the Dunbar vault, where he and an alleged co-conspirator switched them for real stacks of $100,000. Miranda and his co-conspirator then marked the dummy stacks to ensure they were not placed into circulation, prosecutors contend.
Finally, Miranda smuggled the real stacks of money out of the vault room by hiding them in a postal box, the indictment alleges. On more than three occasions in late 2017 and early 2018, Miranda smuggled a total of $300,000 out of the Dunbar facility, federal prosecutors allege.
None of the cash has been recovered, according to the U.S. Attorneys Office.
Prosecutors said in court papers that photos allegedly found on Miranda’s cell phone depict large sums of bundled cash and images of firearms. In recommending that the judge increase Miranda’s bail, prosecutors wrote that the defendant should be considered a flight risk due to his ties to Mexico.
If convicted of the charges in the indictment, Miranda would face up to 35 years in federal prison.
Miranda’s alleged co-conspirator — Monique Castruita, 35, of Maywood — has also been charged in the case and is scheduled to be arraigned later this month.
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