Six men indicted for robbery of Calaveras marijuana distributor

Six people have been charged federally with robbery affecting interstate commerce and conspiracy to commit robbery affecting interstate commerce for the robbery of a Calaveras County marijuana distributor in June.

Talia Khio, 42, of Chicago, Ill.; Dontia Arrington, 38, of Skokie, Ill.; Roddy Aundre Johnson Jr., 30, of San Diego; Mark Noble, 32, of Willamette, Ill.; Jimmy Khio, 41, of Morton Grove, Ill.; and Carlos Merkhai, 42, of Phoenix, Ariz., were each charged with the two counts in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury and unsealed Wednesday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Another suspect died during a pursuit that followed the robbery.

According to court documents, on June 24, the six defendants robbed a distributor on the 4000 block of French Gulch Road . The defendants allegedly bound and blindfolded several victims and tortured one victim with a stun gun. One victim was beaten with a baseball bat, which caused multiple injuries.

The defendants allegedly took more than 100 pounds of processed marijuana and $30,000 in cash.

After the robbery, a deputy patrolling Valley Springs spotted a group of vehicles that matched the descriptions of those used in the robbery. He tried to pull over a black Range Rover, but the driver sped off.

While the Range Rover still was at high speed, a black male adult “exited the vehicle,” according to a news release from the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office at the time. Information about whether the man jumped or was pushed was not available. He died at the scene.

After the chase, officers arrested Talia Khio, Arrington, Johnson and Noble. Jimmy Khio and Merkhai were apprehended months later.

The case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office; the California Highway Patrol and the Skokie Police Department, with special assistance from the Calaveras County District Attorney’s Office.

If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count.

U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott said in a press release, “This indictment demonstrates our office’s commitment to working with and supporting our local law enforcement partners. We are proud to have answered the call when Calaveras County District Attorney Barbara Yook reached out to us for assistance in prosecuting this case involving individuals who crossed state lines to commit violent crimes in our district. It is through partnerships like these that we can work together to keep our communities safe.”