Detectives seek victims of 'robbery crew' suspected of targeting cannabis investors
EUGENE, Ore. - Police conducting surveillance Friday thought they were watching a routine drug deal.
But behind the heavily tinted windows of the BMW, an armed robbery was taking place, Detective Rick Lowe said Wednesday.
"The sole intent of them meeting with my victim," Lowe said, "was to rob him of his pounds of marijuana."
The victim ran from the car.
The car took off.
And a marked patrol car gave chase. The pursuit ended in a crash on River Road, just north of the Chambers connector.
Police set up a perimeter and took Shawn Dunaway and Marcus Cox into custody.
Two more members of what police described as a "robbery crew" - Jorge Rubio and Antonio Vizcaino - were taken into custody in Grants Pass on Monday.
The men face a variety of charges in a trio of heists dating back to March
The "robbery crew were specifically targeting people who were interested in investing in the cannabis industry," Lowe said.
Now Eugene Police hope anyone who fell prey to a similar robbery to come forward.
"We are not looking to prosecute people who have been the victims of a violent armed robbery," Lowe said.
The investigation started in March with a report of "suspcious circumstances" at a hotel on Franklin Boulevard, Detective Jed McGuire said.
"They discovered zip ties, duct tape that were covered in blood, and an apparent crime scene," McGuire said.
No one had reported a crime to police.
Investigators tracked down two possible victims: Texans who had flown in to Eugene from Austin to buy marijuana, McGuire said.
Instead of buying drugs, they were robbed at gunpoint, bound - and beaten.
"One of the victims had been severely beaten over the head," McGuire said. The victim's injuries required he be flown to a higher level of care at a Portland hospital, McGuire said.
"We learned this was going to be a nationwide case due to the Austin, Texas, connection," McGuire said. The FBI joined the investigation, helping local police gather evidence and conduct surveillance.
The detectives said police are aware of a third incident in August, where victims from Texas arrived in Eugene with a cash down payment to invest in a cannabis grow.
The victims had dinner with Dunaway, then followed him to a West Eugene location, Lowe said.
When they got out of their car, two masked gunman emerged from a hiding place, Lowe said - and Dunaway started digging through the pockets of the victms. Over $10,000 was stolen, Lowe said.
Ongoing surveillance of Dunaway led to police being on scene as the drug deal turned into an armed robbery, Lowe said.