Prince Georges County Felon Sentenced to 12 Years in Federal Prison for Armed Robbery and Gun Offenses

January 26, 2017

U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang sentenced Oswaldo Jariel Bonilla, age 29, of Adelphi, on Tuesday, January 24, 2017, to 12 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit an armed commercial robbery, attempted armed robbery, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Judge Chuang also ordered Bonilla to pay restitution of $1,038.99 to the company he attempted to rob.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Chief Stephen E. Walker of the Edmonston Police Department; and Chief Henry P. Stawinski of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

According to his plea agreement, Bonilla conspired to rob a towing business. Late on January 5, 2016, Bonilla and an accomplice went to the business with the intent to rob it. Bonilla was armed with a loaded .45 caliber silver revolver. Bonilla and the accomplice first attempted to sneak into the rear door of the facility, but it was locked. An employee who was in the building heard the activity and opened it to look outside. Bonilla and the accomplice attempted to rush inside, but the employee managed to close and lock the door and scramble to a phone.

Bonilla ran to the front door of the towing company and kicked in the door. Bonilla pointed the revolver at the employee’s head and demanded to know where the cash registers and safe were located. The employee told Bonilla that there were no cash registers or safe, but Bonilla did not believe the employee. Bonilla then forced the employee at gunpoint to escort him throughout the facility looking for the safe and other valuables, as well as tools that Bonilla could use to break into a safe. Bonilla used a “smartwatch” to call his accomplice and told the accomplice to join him by coming in the front door. However, when Bonilla and the employee reached the main office they saw the accomplice running away. Bonilla then ran from the towing business, still brandishing the firearm.

Another towing company employee, who was driving toward the towing business, saw Bonilla and his accomplice running away and followed them. Bonilla realized the second employee was following them and shot his revolver. Moments later, a marked Edmonston Police Department cruiser arrived on the scene with lights and siren activated. Bonilla then shot the revolver a second time in the direction of the police cruiser and the second employee.

Bonilla was arrested several blocks away while attempting to break into a residence. In an attempt to conceal evidence of his crime, Bonilla covertly swallowed two bullets. However, Bonilla became afraid that the bullets might discharge in his stomach and asked to be taken to the hospital. While in the hospital, Bonilla wrote a note on a tea bag asking his girlfriend to remove firearms and ammunition from his residence. Bonilla gave the note to a nurse and asked her to call his girlfriend to convey the message, but the nurse gave the note to police. Police subsequently searched the area where Bonilla was arrested and located clothing Bonilla work during the robbery as well as the revolver, which contained two spent rounds and several live rounds.

Bonilla had previous felony convictions, including a 2009 robbery conviction in Prince George’s County Circuit Court, and was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI, Edmonston Police Department and Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Michael T. Packard and Thomas M. Sullivan, who prosecuted the case.