DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

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

For Immediate Release

Friday, May 23, 2014
Benjamin B. Wagner
, United States Attorney
Contact: Lauren Horwood

Stockton Man Is Sentenced To More Than 11 Years In Prison For Conspiring To Rob A “Stash House”

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Rathanak Van, 28, of Stockton, was sentenced on Thursday by United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to 11 years and three months in prison for conspiring to commit a robbery and conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.

According to court documents, from December 4, 2012 through February 13, 2013, Van agreed to lead in the planning of robbery of a “stash house”— a residence in Stockton where he and other members of the conspiracy believed that individuals were holding a large quantity of cocaine. Van was arrested before he could follow through with the planned robbery.

This case was the product of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Stockton Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Paul Hemesath prosecuted the case.

"As the federal agency charged with fighting violent crime ATF is committed to working with our local partner the Stockton Police Department to bring to justice those who commit these violent acts," said Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Riehl. "Today’s sentencing removes another criminal who was willing to participate in committing an armed robbery and subject the public to danger.”

Two of Van’s alleged co-conspirators have been sentenced, and another co-defendant is awaiting further court proceedings.

This case is the product of “Operation Gideon IV,” an ATF initiative targeting violent criminals and criminal organizations operating in Stockton. Experienced undercover ATF special agents from throughout the U.S. were deployed with local ATF agents and Stockton police officers to conduct covert investigations into some of the most violent criminals in Stockton and surrounding areas. As a result of this partnership, 52 federal defendants were charged and 19 state prosecutions. The operation also resulted in the seizure of 84 firearms, 36 pounds of methamphetamine, and 21 pounds of marijuana.


San Francisco Field Division