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          RIVERSIDE, California – A Riverside County man who led a crew that committed at least 15 armed robberies of Inland Empire AutoZone stores, sometimes using an AR-15-style rifle, was sentenced today to 108 months in federal prison.

          Daeon Raishawn Cox, 22, of Moreno Valley, was sentenced by United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal. Cox pleaded guilty in July 2019 to one count of conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, and one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

          From September 5, 2018 until December 13, 2018, when he was arrested after leading police officers on a high-speed pursuit, Cox and his co-conspirators robbed at least 15 AutoZone stores at gunpoint, making off with more than $11,000 in cash.

          In many of the robberies, Cox or a co-conspirator brandished or pointed a gun at the AutoZone employees in order to gain compliance. These firearms included at least two handguns, and in some instances, an AR-15-style rifle. Cox directly participated in at least eight of the armed robberies, plus one additional attempted robbery.

          “[Cox’s] actions placed innocent lives in grave danger, and inflicted immeasurable emotional trauma on the tens of employee victims whom he and his coconspirators robbed – victims who were just trying to make an honest living,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing memorandum.

          One of Cox’s co-defendants, Dashon Raymond White, 26, of Moreno Valley, pleaded guilty in July 2019 to conspiracy to one count of interfere with commerce by robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 15, 2021.

          Cox, White, and co-defendant Jada Shardae Allen, 20, of Perris, were caught after their attempt to use an AR-15-style rifle to rob an AutoZone on December 12, 2018 was interrupted by Fontana police, who had been conducting surveillance at the AutoZone store in that city after learning about the string of AutoZone robberies in the Inland Empire, according to an affidavit filed with a criminal complaint in the case.

          The suspects led police on a high-speed chase on Interstate 15 and threw the rifle out of the car. The chase ended when they crashed and tried to run away. Cox was found hiding in a garbage can. All three suspects were eventually apprehended by officers. Officers recovered the firearm on the side of the freeway. Allen’s trial is scheduled for January 26, 2021.

          This case was investigated by the FBI, the Fontana Police Department, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the Riverside Police Department, the Hemet Police Department, the Redlands Police Department, the Moreno Valley Police Department, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.

          This matter was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jerry C. Yang, Chief of the Riverside Branch Office.

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