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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of California

For Immediate Release

Thursday, February 2, 2017
Phillip A. Talbert
, United States Attorney
Contact: Lauren Horwood

Central Valley Serial Robber Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison

FRESNO, Calif. — On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd sentenced Ronald Castanon, 21, of Pinedale, to 20 years in prison for three counts of interference with commerce by robbery, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Castanon robbed three businesses at gunpoint: the Valero gas station at 10480 California 41 Business Route in Madera on October 3, 2015; the Arco gas station at 4149 N. Clovis Avenue in Fresno on October 4, 2015; and the Yo-Town Yogurt shop at 29424 Auberry Road in Prather on October 4, 2015.

At the Yo-Town Yogurt shop, Castanon entered the store, pointed a silver, long-barreled revolver at the 16-year-old clerk and demanded money. On October 5, 2015, a Fresno County Sheriff’s deputy saw the Chevy Impala that had been involved in the robberies. After Castanon got into the vehicle and drove away, the deputy followed him for several minutes and saw him throw a gun out of the window, which was later recovered. Castanon continued for 130 miles was later arrested with the assistance of air support.

“Project Safe Neighborhoods is a program that spans nationwide. The program is committed to reducing gun and gang crime. ATF has been a part of Project Safe Neighborhood for several years,” said Special Agent in Charge Jill Snyder. “The successful results that stem from partnerships between law enforcement agencies, like the one seen in this case, help to make our streets a safer place.”

This case was the product of an investigations by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Fresno County and Madera County Sheriffs’ Offices. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), an initiative that brings together federal, state and local law enforcement to combat gun and gang crime. At the core of PSN is increased federal prosecution to incapacitate chronic violent offenders as well as to communicate a credible deterrent threat to potential gun offenders. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly Sanchez prosecuted the case.

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San Francisco Field Division