Police Impersonators Sentenced for Carjacking

Police Impersonators Sentenced for Carjacking

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Two brothers who impersonated police, carjacked a van in southeastern Utah and drove it to Colorado have been sentenced to more than 12 years in federal prison.

Juan Vera-Vargas, 35, a Mexican national, and Arturo Vera-Vargas, 28, of Grand Junction, Colo., were sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball. Juan Vera-Vargas was sentenced to 184 months and his brother to 154 months.

The men originally were charged with kidnapping, armed carjacking and brandishing a firearm during a violent crime. They pleaded guilty on March 21 to the armed carjacking and firearm charges.

San Juan County Sheriff Mike Lacy said that on Feb. 9, a man found walking at 1 a.m. on the main highway north of Monticello, Utah, reported his van had been stolen at gunpoint by men driving a supposed police vehicle with red and blue lights in the vehicle's grille.

The victim said he was en route from Phoenix to Chicago when the armed men took $500 in cash, the van and the van's nine passengers, leaving the victim stranded on the side of a dirt road.

The brothers were arrested later that morning near Grand Junction.

The van passengers, illegal aliens, were held by immigration officials for deportation and the driver, Silvano Calvillo-Rodriguez was charged with transporting illegal aliens. He was sentenced last week to time served and turned over to immigration authorities for deportation.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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