ATF

Sample Block


Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Northern District of Iowa

http://www.justice.gov/usao/ia

For Immediate Release

October 21, 2013

Sean R. Berry, United States Attorney

Peter Deegan
(319) 363-6333
peter.deegan@USDOJ.gov

Prosecution of Violent Group That Committed Armed Robberies in Iowa and Nebraska Concluded with a Combined Sentence of More than 139 Years in Federal Prison

The Sarg’s Mini Mart and Seoul Foods Robberies Investigations have been completed. Sioux City Police Chief Doug Young and United States Attorney’s Office Sioux City Branch Chief Tim Duax reported the results of the investigation at a press conference held at the Sioux City Police Department on Friday October 18, 2013.

On October 11, 2013 the last of the conspirators responsible for the June 19, 2012 Hobbs Act robbery of Seoul Foods in South Sioux City, Nebraska, the July 13, 2012 Hobbs Act robbery of Sarg’s Mini Mart in Sioux City, Iowa and other crimes as well (e.g., a large gun–burglary, a drive–by shooting, and an aborted robbery) was sentenced in federal court to 312–months in prison. This dangerous interstate criminal conspiracy was brought to justice by a strong interagency and intergovernmental partnership. The community can be proud of how its governments (city, county, state, and federal) worked together to quickly mitigate this threat and solve these crimes even as members of the conspiracy counted on state lines to interrupt and complicate the investigation and protect them from justice.

Summary of Facts

At trial, the change of plea hearings, and the sentencings of the defendants the United States revealed the following:

Sometime before June 19, 2012, David Johnson, Rudy Johnson, and other men committed a home burglary in Sioux City, Iowa and stole a semi–automatic rifle with two magazines (each capable of carrying 24 rounds of ammunition) and 17 other firearms.

Rudy Johnson kept this weapon at his home until sometime after June 19, 2012 when he unwittingly sold it (and the 16 other weapons) to law enforcement. Subsequently, law enforcement covertly bought another short–barreled shotgun, a semi–automatic assault rifle, and a pistol from Rudy Johnson and discovered Rudy Johnson’s firearms and drug supplier in Omaha, Nebraska.

This supplier was Troy Gee. Eventually law enforcement bought another 14 firearms, 346 rounds of ammunition, 2 bullet proof vests and two ounces of crack from Troy Gee.

Meanwhile, on two other occasions, also before June 19, 2012, David Johnson, Joshua Fields, Rudy Johnson, Austin Peters, and perhaps other associates, participated in an aborted robbery and a completed drive–by shooting. Defendant acknowledges he knew of the completed drive–by shooting before he joined the robbery conspiracies.

On June 19, 2012, Christopher Bailey, Joshua Fields, David Johnson, Rudy Johnson, Terrence Miles, and Austin Peters entered, surveilled and later used the (now shortened) stolen semi–automatic rifle to rob the clerks at Seoul Foods in South Sioux City, Iowa (a business then engaged in interstate commerce). The clerks and their children (ages 4, 10, 12, and 14) were inside the store at the time. Video surveillance of Seoul Foods revealed the victims were all forced to the floor at gun–point. Christopher Bailey pumped (i.e., readied for firing) and aimed a bb–gun rifle (that looked like a semi–automatic rifle) and robbed the clerks Seoul Foods. David Johnson carried the shortened semiautomatic rifle during the robbery. Josh Fields carried a pistol–styled bb–gun. Terence Miles had a bar or club and Rudy Johnson had a knife. Austin Peters was the "look–out and getaway driver."

The men escaped to Sioux City, Iowa after the robbery (which is also where the men had earlier planned the robbery and acquired weapons for the robbery). As they fled, one of the confederates explained they would be safe in Iowa because different states had different laws and cops. The money was put into equal piles, by denominations, and dealt out like cards equally to all participants in Josh Fields’ Kitchen.

During all the above, Paige Mathison and David Johnson were romantically involved and cohabitating. After the Seoul Foods Robbery, Austin Peters who had been the look–out and getaway driver for that robbery, left Sioux City, Iowa, and Rudy Johnson, who had provided the shortened–rifle for the Seoul Foods Robbery, withdrew it from the group’s possession. Paige and Dustin Mathison, however, were both still in Sioux City, and Ms. Mathison had a car.

Mathison knew David Johnson, Joshua Fields, Christopher Bailey, Terrence Miles, and Austin Peters (at least) robbed the Seoul Foods in South Sioux, City, Nebraska, on June 19, 2012, and that – after this – Johnson, Fields, and Bailey had a "hit list" of businesses they were considering robbing.

On a handful of occasions, Mathison drove Josh Fields and David Johnson around scouting "licks" (i.e., businesses they might rob) and discussing how to conduct the various robberies. During these trips the hunting party was armed with a sawed–off shotgun with an obliterated serial number, that she had acquired from her brother, Dustin Mathison.

Mathison, Johnson and Fields discussed robbing and scouted (1) a bank in Correctionville (where Mathison and Johnson had once lived); (2) a bank and (3) a Pump ’N Pack in the Morningside area of Sioux City, Iowa and, of course, (4) Sarg’s Mini Mart.

Finally, on July 13, 2012, Mathison, Johnson, Fields, and Bailey armed themselves with Dustin Mathison’s sawed–off shotgun and loaded into Paige Mathison’s car. They prowled Sioux City, Iowa looking for targets until they selected Sarg’s: a site they had staked out the night before. Paige Mathison dropped off Johnson, Fields, and Bailey in an alley about a block from the store, so they could enter Sarg’s Mini Mart with the sawed–off shotgun. She then relocated her car from the insertion point to the predetermined extraction point (much nearer the store).

Inside Sarg’s the three men entered and waited to rob the store–clerk with the firearm (then secreted in the sleeve of Josh Field’s shirt). When the store proved too busy, the men stepped outside, waited, passed the weapon around, and finally reentered. Christopher Bailey aimed the sawed–off shotgun directly at the clerk’s face. He told police he thought the shotgun was loaded with a yellow shotgun shell at the time.

After the robbery, Paige Mathison picked up her confederates and drove them away while they ducked down at times to avoid detection.

Later that day, Mathison attempted to conceal the crime by returning the sawed–off shotgun to her brother (from whom she had acquired it), and checking one of her confederates into a hotel room registered in her name.

Results

The investigation resulted in the following convictions and sentences:

Joshua Fields pled guilty on February 26, 2013, and on August 15, 2013, Joshua Fields was sentenced to 300 months’ imprisonment for Conspiracy to Commit Robbery; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; Possession of a Short–Barreled Rifle; Conspiracy to Commit Robbery; Robbery; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; and Possession of a Short–Barreled Shotgun, to be followed by 5–years supervised release. A special assessment of $700 was imposed.

David Johnson pled guilty on January 14, 2013, and on August 15, 2013, Johnson was sentenced to 343 months’ imprisonment for Conspiracy to Commit Robbery; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; Possession of a Short–Barreled Rifle; Conspiracy to Commit Robbery; Robbery; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; and Possession of a Short–Barreled Shotgun, to be followed by 5–years supervised release. A special assessment of $700 was imposed.

Rudy Johnson pled guilty on February 20, 2013, and on August 15, 2013, was sentenced to 194 months’ imprisonment for Conspiracy to Commit Robbery; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; and Possession of a Short–Barreled Rifle, to be followed by 5–years supervised release. A special assessment of $400 was imposed.

Dustin Mathison pled guilty on May 2, 2013, and on May 30, 2013, was sentenced to 60 months’ imprisonment for Possession of a Short–Barreled Shotgun, to be followed by two–years supervised release. A special assessment of $100 was imposed.

Paige Mathison was convicted by jury at trial on June 19, 2013, and on August 21, 2013, was sentenced to 147 months’ imprisonment for Conspiracy to Commit Robbery; Robbery; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; and Possession of a Short–Barreled Shotgun, to be followed by 5–years supervised release. A special assessment of $400 was imposed.

Terrence Miles pled guilty on March 13, 2013, and on August 15, 2013, was sentenced to 118 months’ imprisonment for Conspiracy to Commit Robbery; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; and Possession of a Short–Barreled Rifle, to be followed by five–years supervised release. A special assessment of $300 was imposed.

Austin Peters pled guilty on March 26, 2013, and on August 15, 2013, was sentenced to 118 months’ imprisonment for Conspiracy to Commit Robbery; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; and Possession of a Short–Barreled Rifle, to be followed by five–years supervised release. A special assessment of $300 was imposed.

Christopher Bailey pled guilty on February 26, 2013, and on October 11, 2013, was sentenced to 312 months’ imprisonment for Conspiracy to Commit Robbery; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; Possession of a Short–Barreled Rifle; Conspiracy to Commit Robbery; Robbery; Possession of a Firearm in Furtherance of a Crime of Violence; and Possession of a Short–Barreled Shotgun, to be followed by 5–years supervised release. A special assessment of $700 was imposed.

Additionally, in the District of Nebraska, on October 7, 2013, Troy Gee was sentenced to 84 months’ imprisonment, for the firearms and drug trafficking offenses discovered during this investigation, to be followed by 5–years supervised release. A special assessment of $500 was imposed.

Restitution obligation of $9000 payable to Northeast Nebraska Insurance shall be joint and several with the following co–defendants: Austin Peters; Joshua Fields; Christopher Bailey; Rudy Johnson; Terrence Miles; and David Johnson.

Restitution obligation of $600 payable to Sarg’s Mini Mart shall be joint and several with the following co–defendants: Joshua Fields; David Johnson; Christopher Bailey; and Paige Mathison.

There is no parole in the federal system.

"This dangerous criminal conspiracy was brought to justice as a result of excellent cooperation among federal, state and local law enforcement," said United States Attorney Sean R. Berry. "The community can be proud of how its law enforcement agencies worked together to quickly solve these crimes and prevent further violence."

Fields, Johnson, Johnson, Mathison, Mathison, Miles, Peters, and Bailey are being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until they can be transported to a federal prison.
Court file information is available at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl. The case file number is No. CR12–4083–MWB.

The case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a cooperative local, state, and federal program aimed at the enhanced prosecution of gun and violent crimes. The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, The Iowa Department of Public Safety, the Sioux City, Iowa Police Department, the South Sioux City, Nebraska Police Department, the Woodbury County Iowa Attorney’s Office, and the Dakota County Nebraska Attorney’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert Sigler (in Omaha Nebraska) and Forde Fairchild.

###