Three men have pleaded guilty to federal charges stemming from a brazen armed robbery outside a Beverly Hills restaurant earlier this year in which a woman was shot, officials announced Wednesday.
Malik Lamont Powell, 21, and Khai McGhee, a.k.a. “Cameron Smith,” 18, each pleaded guilty to three felony counts: conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, interference with commerce by robbery, and using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
A third suspect who participated in the robbery – 41-year-old Marquise Anthony Gardon – pleaded guilty on Sept. 10 to interference with commerce by robbery and using and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, officials said.
The men are from South Los Angeles and were described by authorities as members of the Rollin’ 30s Crips gang.
They were accused of driving to Beverly Hills on the afternoon on March 4 to commit the robbery. They had scouted the area for potential victims and decided to target a man wearing a Richard Mille watch who was sitting outside the Il Pastaio restaurant at 400 N. Canon Drive, according to court documents.
The victim was held at gunpoint and at least two rounds were fired from a gun during a struggle, officials said. One round struck another patron in the leg. During the chaos that ensued, the men got away with the watch, which was worth about $500,000, officials said.
The gun, however, was left at the scene.
Surveillance video captured the robbery as well as the scouting that took place before hand.
Surveillance video apparently also showed Gardon getting out of the rear passenger seat and into the driver’s seat of the getaway car just before the robbery, and his cellphone was also present near the restaurant at the time of the robbery, officials said.
All three men were arrested in May, after an investigation by the Beverly Hills Police Department and the FBI.
Powell and McGhee will be sentenced on Feb. 14. Gardon’s sentencing hearing was scheduled for Nov. 29.
As a result of their guilty pleas, the defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison for each of the robbery-related offenses.
Additionally, the firearms charge carries a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison, officials explained.