Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey announced that a man from Perth Amboy was sentenced yesterday to serve 47 years in prison for multiple convenience store robberies in the city.
According to authorities, Raul Zarco, 42, of Perth Amboy, was sentenced on July 10th to serve an aggregate sentence of 47 years in a New Jersey state prison. This term is subject to the No Early Release Act. As such, Zarco will have to serve 85 percent of his prison term before becoming eligible for parole.
Superior Court Judge Lorraine Pullen, sitting in New Brunswick sentenced Zarco to this extended term due to his prior convictions. He received two consecutive terms; 40 years for the armed robberies and 7 years for the attempted armed robbery. The others eight counts were merged with the sentence he received.
The sentence was imposed after Zarco was found guilty by a jury on March 23rd of three counts of armed robbery in the first degree, one count of attempted armed robbery in the second degree, one count of possession of an imitation firearm in the fourth degree, three counts of conspiracy to commit armed robbery in the second degree, two counts of theft by unlawful taking in the third degree, and two counts of making terroristic threats in the third degree.
During a trial that began on February 13, 2018, Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Kristen Pridgen presented testimony and evidence showing that between January 31, 2015, and March 13, 2015, Zarco robbed two convenience stores and attempted to rob a third store.
Officials say on January 31, 2015, Zarco, and co-defendant Pedro Ortiz, entered a mini market on Catalpa Street in Perth Amboy at closing time, ordered the owner to his knees while brandishing a gun and robbed him of approximately $3,500. Then on February 9, 2015, Zarco and Ortiz robbed a mini market on Cortlandt Street in the same fashion and stole approximately $4,000.
In addition, on March 13, 2015 police were dispatched to a convenience store on Smith Street in Perth Amboy when the two were seen casing the location. Zarco and Ortiz were apprehended before they attempted to rob the store, while in possession of a gun.
According to authorities, Pedro Ortiz previously pleaded guilty to multiple counts of armed robbery and is facing a prison term of up to 10 years, subject to the No Early Release Act, when he is sentenced on July 30, 2018 before Judge Joseph Rea.
Authorities charged Zarco and Ortiz following an investigation by Detectives Jessica DeJesus, Mohamed Mohamed, and Liza Capo of the Perth Amboy Police Department and Detective Tammy Colonna of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.