Charges have been filed against 23 suspects in an organized crime ring following a multi-agency investigation that began in July last year. Twenty-two suspects are in jail, one remains at large and there could be more charges coming.
In July 2014, Houston police received a Crime Stoppers tip about a robbery at a Chase bank branch in Katy. Three masked men entered the bank, robbed it, and fired shots on the way out of the building.
That tip led to the formation of a multi-agency task force that determined the suspects were involved in 19 "extremely violent" bank robberies, bank juggings, and other crimes in Houston, Katy, Pasadena, Brenham, Lufkin, Nacogdoches amd Livingston. The robberies fit the same pattern of multiple armed suspects using stolen vehicles.
"They were extremely sophisticated; utilizing multiple vehicles for lookouts,stolen vehicles, and switching cars. They had leaders amongst the group for different tasks," officer Adam Bock with the HPD Northeast Tactical Squad said.
A joint multi-agency investigation involved the Houston Police Department's Westside and Northeast Tactical Units, Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, Pasadena Police Department, FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, Texas Department of Public Safety Texas Rangers and the Harris County district attorney's office.
Investigators determined that the organized crime ring operated from the Homestead and Tidwell area in northeast Houston. It's members according to police, young career criminals who'd grown up together on the north side of Houston, and were bound by friendship, family, and gang affiliations.
"They worked with each other on new crimes. One would figure one out and he recruited another," Bock said.
All but one suspect charged in the investigation has been arrested. Investigators are still searching for Keith McGee, 24. McGee is charged in the armed robbery of the Shared Resources Credit Union in Pasadena which occurred July 28, 2014. Police are asking for help from the public to locate him.
"It really makes a diff in these cases. And we thank the citizens for their help and assistance," Bock said.
The U.S. attorney's office and the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force have also begun assisting in the ongoing investigation, with other possible suspects being sought. Many of the suspects have multiple felony charges pending. Keith McGee, 24, is still at large.
Anyone with information regard these incidents or other possible suspects is urged to contact local law enforcement or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS (8477).