Nearly four years after Loomis armored truck driver Hector Trochez was fatally shot during an elaborately planned holdup outside a Carrollton-area bank, federal prosecutors have secured an indictment charging five men and one woman in the case.
A federal grand jury in New Orleans returned a four-count indictment Thursday accusing Chukwudi "Chuck" Ofomata, LilBear George, Jeremy "Pipe" Esteves, Curtis "Blow" Johnson Jr., Robert "Lil Rob" Brumfield III and Jasmine Theophile of various roles in the robbery that left Trochez dead in late 2013.
Ofomata, 30; George, 28; Esteves, 31; Johnson, 25, and Brumfield, 24, were all charged with plotting to obstruct interstate commerce by robbing Trochez's truck and with the deadly stick-up itself, as well as using guns to commit the crime.
The indictment also accuses George and Theophile, his 24-year-old girlfriend, of obstructing a grand jury proceeding by destroying a cellphone.
All of the defendants except Brumfield, who may be in the Houston area, have been arrested. Theophile was released on $10,000 bail Friday, court records show.
The 11-page indictment, unsealed late Monday afternoon, capped a four-year investigation into one of the most publicized unsolved killings in recent New Orleans history.
And it came just a week after acting U.S. Attorney Duane Evans' office unfurled a separate indictment charging three other men in a similar deadly caper this year: the May 31 robbery attempt that left Loomis truck driver James McBride fatally wounded outside a Mid-City bank.
Last week's indictment also linked those three suspects — Armstead Kieffer, his son Jerome Kieffer and Deltoine Scott — to a 2015 holdup of a Brinks armored truck outside a bank near Bayou St. John.
The three men charged in the killing of a Loomis armored truck driver earlier this year have now been linked to the robbery of another armored…
Taken together, the indictments mean all of the major armored truck heists reported in New Orleans since 2013 have resulted in criminal charges.
All of the defendants charged with having a hand in the deaths of Trochez and McBride face the possibility of the death penalty, though prosecutors can decline pursuing that option. Obstructing a grand jury proceeding can carry up to 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.
A prosecution team led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael McMahon obtained Thursday's indictment. The case has been allotted to U.S. District Judge Lance Africk, records show.
The slaying of Kenner resident Trochez shocked the New Orleans area, occurring one week before Christmas in broad daylight outside the Chase Bank at South Carrollton and South Claiborne avenues.
The 45-year-old native of Honduras was gunned down after three masked riflemen approached him while he was delivering money to the bank's drive-through automated teller machines. The indictment did not say who the government believes those riflemen were.
It was several months after Trochez's slaying before the names of two suspects, George and Theophile, became public.
An April 2014 federal court filing reported that George's DNA was detected on a screwdriver found in a stolen SUV used to carry out the attack on Trochez. It also accused George of fleeing Louisiana with a group of men, driving another car belonging to Theophile.
George later allegedly bought Theophile a new car after the robbery.
George has been in federal custody for more than a year, awaiting trial alongside several other defendants on gun and drug charges in connection with an alleged drug deal in the French Quarter in February 2016.
Meanwhile, the indictment in the Trochez case marks only the latest of several legal problems for Ofomata.
At some point, two informants told the FBI that Ofomata had fatally shot a woman and a man who owed money to a friend of Ofomata's named Timothy Webb. The shootings took place at Webb's 7th Ward "chop shop" in April 2008, and the victims' badly burned bodies later turned up in the back of a car that had been torched, authorities said.
According to multiple sources, those informants were speaking with federal investigators who apparently were probing the Trochez killing. The feds forwarded the allegations about the chop shop killings to New Orleans police.
Ofomata and Webb were arrested in May, and they are awaiting trial on state charges of second-degree murder in the chop shop killings. Both have pleaded not guilty to the slayings of Jarnell Sanders and Candice Gillard.
Earlier, in 2016, a federal grand jury charged Ofomata and yet another man, Lydell Hinton, with being involved in the sex trafficking of a minor. Hinton pleaded guilty in late September to a reduced charge of transporting an individual across state lines to engage in prostitution and is awaiting sentencing.
Ofomata, meanwhile, awaits trial in that case as well. It is not clear to what extent Hinton is cooperating in the trafficking case or if he will factor into the Trochez prosecution.
Trochez's loved ones couldn't be reached for comment Monday. However, on a Facebook page set up in Trochez's memory, they described their hope that investigators would eventually charge someone in the case.
"Hector (is) never forgotten," the post said. "Wishing authorities ... find the heartless bastards that did this."
A 30-year-old 7th Ward man implicated earlier this year in a 2008 double murder is also strongly suspected of having participated in the 2013 …