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Jewelry theft ring leader pleads guilty in Va.

Friday - 3/29/2013, 5:08pm  ET

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) -- The leader of a violent jewelry theft ring has pleaded guilty to taking part in a racketeering conspiracy.

Alexander Cuadros-Garcia entered his plea Friday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Tommy Miller.

Court documents say Cuadros-Garcia led an organized criminal group that stole more than $4.6 million in jewelry from victims in Virginia and at least six other states. The theft ring was based out of Richmond and members of it conducted lengthy surveillance on jewelry stores to identify vulnerable targets. The ring would then follow targets back to their hotel or home, and then rob them.

At sentencing in July, Cuadros-Garcia faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

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