By Robert E. Kessler
Three members of a Queens-based motorcycle club were sentenced Wednesday to lengthy prison terns for their roles in the theft of $510,000 from an armored car two years ago.
The three included the driver of the GardaWorld armored car from which the money was taken in November 2018, and a son and father who also were fellow members of the Unknown Bikers Motorcycle Club, according to officials.
The armored car had been left parked and unlocked in front of a Valley Stream HSBC branch in the early morning while the driver and an accompanying GardaWorld employee, known as a messenger, went into the branch to replenish ATMs, officials said.
The son, Raymond Soto, Jr., 29, of Richmond Hill, who uses the nickname “Rambo,” was driven near to the site by his father Raymond Soto, Sr., 49, also of Richmond Hill, entered the unlocked armored car, drove it several blocks away, and removed three bags containing a total of $510,00, officials said.
Soto Jr. has been described by officials as the enforcer for the Unknown Bikers. The messenger was not involved in the crime officials said.
The son, then “carrying a large duffel bag over his shoulder in the manner of Santa Claus,” according to officials, met his father in a getaway car and left the scene.
Soto, who also dealt cocaine and marijuana, wanted to stage the theft in order to get money to repay the unnamed suppliers of $200,000 worth of drugs which had been stolen from him, according to court papers filed by his attorneys and officials.
Soto was sentenced to 33 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Sandra Feuerstein in federal court in Central Islip. Feuerstein also sentenced him, as well as the other two defendants to two years of supervised release, $510,000 in restitution to GardaWorld, and $300,00 forfeiture.
The judge sentenced the driver of the armored car, Alexis Laguerra, 32, of Brooklyn, to 30 months in prison, and Soto’s father, Raymond Soto, Sr., the president of the motorcycle club, who uses the nickname “Razor,” to 18 months in prison.
Before he was sentenced, Raymond Soto Jr., said: “I take full responsibility for what has happened. I was not in my right mind. I was working a lot of hours. I apologize.”
Peter Brill, the attorney for the elder Soto, said his client went along with, what he called a “harebrained” scheme, out of fear of what might happen if is his son didn’t repay his suppliers.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles Kelly, said in court that only $130,000 of the stolen money was recovered by investigators at the home the Sotos shared.
Kelly said none of the defendants would reveal what happened to the rest of the stolen money, but the assumption was a good part of it went to the drug supplier of Raymond Soto Jr.
Eastern District U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in April of the defendants’ plea to bank larceny: “This inside job will now land these three defendants inside prison for long enough time for them to realize, over and over, what a stupid idea this was.”