Men arrested in armored truck robbery sting linked to deaths of 2 drivers, officials say
HOUSTON – A group of men who were arrested in an armored truck robbery sting Wednesday are believed to be connected to the deaths of two armored truck couriers earlier this year, according to court documents released Thursday.
Police killed Redrick Batiste and arrested Marc Hill, Nelson Polk, John Scott and Trayvees Duncan-Bush during the operation in north Houston on Wednesday morning.
According to Houston police Chief Art Acevedo, authorities used an armored truck filled with undercover officers at Amegy Bank at North Sam Houston Parkway East and Imperial Valley Drive to lure the crew to the scene.
When the truck arrived at the bank, Acevedo said, two armed men also arrived and tried to rob the truck. A police sniper fired at the men, allowing ground officers to arrest them.
At the same time, Acevedo said, police moved in on a man inside a vehicle at a nearby apartment complex. The man, which federal court documents identified as Batiste, pulled out a gun and fired at officers. They returned fire and killed Batiste.
According to federal court documents, Batiste headed the crew and recruited the other men to join.
The documents also stated that the crew is believed to be responsible for the March 18 death of Melvin Moore and the Aug. 29 death of David Guzman. Both men were replenishing bank ATMs when they were killed.
Hill, Polk, Scott and Duncan-Bush appeared in federal court Thursday morning on charges of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery and aiding and abetting use and carrying of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
The first charge carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison with a $250,000 fine. The second charge has a minimum of 10 years in prison to life, with a $250,000 fine.
All men are expected back in court on Wednesday at 11 a.m.
Family members of Moore are finally feeling closure after nearly a year of nothing.
"When we buried him, I cried every night because he was my baby, he was my baby boy," Melvin's mother, Pat Moore said.
Melvin had been an armored truck courier for four years.
"He liked it, we cant help what we love, sometimes we love stuff that's dangerous, and we put up with what comes with it," Melvin's sister, Regina Poullard said.
But no one expected this to come with it.
Back in March, Melvin was shot and killed just doing his job, but now, FBI agents believe they have the men who did it, and who they say also killed another courier in August.
Since March, they have been following a robbery crew led by Batiste.
But Wednesday, it all came to an end.
Undercover officers were lying in wait inside an armored truck when the crew tried to ambush them. Four were arrested. They were in court Thursday.
But Batiste was killed in a shootout with police.
Moore's sister Regina says she still can't believe her brother may soon have justice.
"I cried, I cried, because it was just a wave of relief. It was comforting almost because they caught the right guys," Poullard said.
It's the closure the family says they've needed to grieve their tragic loss.
"You know what. God do answer pray," Pat Moore said.
Moore leaves behind a wife and four small children.
Stay with KPRC 2 and Click2Houston.com for the latest on this developing story.