A former Dunbar Armored employee accused of smuggling $300,000 in cash out of the armored truck company’s storage facility in Vernon was granted bond Wednesday pending trial.
Eric Miranda, 37, of East Los Angeles agreed to post a $150,000 bond — $50,000 in cash and a $100,000 property deed — and will be released under stringent pretrial conditions, including location monitoring, according to U.S. Magistrate Judge Rozella A. Oliver.
The judge also restricted Miranda’s travel to the Los Angeles area and ordered that he have no contact with former or current Dunbar employees, or any potential witnesses in the case.
The bond amount was set following a discussion between prosecutors and Miranda’s federal public defense attorney. The U.S. Attorney’s Office had initially moved to raise Miranda’s bond to $200,000.
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 indictment filed in Los Angeles federal court 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.
Prosecutors allege Miranda then smuggled the dummy stacks into the Dunbar vault, where he and an alleged co-conspirator switched them for real stacks of $100,000. The two then allegedly marked the dummy stacks to ensure they were not placed into circulation.
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. Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors allege in court papers that photos found on Miranda’s cell phone depict large sums of bundled cash and images of firearms. In recommending that the judge set Miranda’s bond at $200,000, 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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