A Moreno Valley man who perpetrated a three-month robbery spree with two others, targeting Auto Zone stores throughout the Inland Empire, was sentenced Monday to nine years in federal prison.

Daeon Raishawn Cox, 22, pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to commit robbery and brandishing a firearm in a crime of violence. In exchange for his admissions, federal prosecutors dropped 11 related charges.

U.S. District Judge Jesus Bernal in Riverside imposed the sentence stipulated under the plea agreement.

One of Cox’s two co-defendants, 26-year-old Dashon Raymond White of Moreno Valley, pleaded guilty to the same counts and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 15.

The third defendant, 20-year-old Jada Shardae Allen of Perris, is expected to be tried in January. She and Cox remain in federal custody.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Cox led the trio in a series of holdups at Auto Zone outlets in Fontana, Moreno Valley, Redlands, Riverside and San Bernardino between Sept. 5 and Dec. 12, 2018.

Handguns and sometimes an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle were used to perpetrate the robberies, prosecutors said.

“Cox’s actions placed innocent lives in grave danger and inflicted immeasurable emotional trauma on the tens of employee victims whom he and his co-conspirators robbed — victims who were just trying to make an honest living,” according to the prosecution’s sentencing brief.

The government said at least 15 stores were held up, netting the bandits over $11,000 in cash.

On Dec. 12, 2018, the robbery series came to an end in Fontana when police officers watching an Auto Zone on a hunch it might be targeted spotted an AR-15 being carried into the business, prompting the officers to confront the trio, culminating in a pursuit that ended with a crash on Interstate 15, prosecutors said.

The defendants ran away from the crash scene, but all were located — Cox hiding inside a dumpster — within hours and taken into custody without further incident, according to court papers.

No one was shot during the robberies.

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