Swap Meet robber pleads guilty

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One of seven men accused of participating in the 2010 robbery of the Swap Meet, on the North Side, pleaded guilty today and likely faces at least seven years in prison.

Rayshaun Jones, 26, of the North Side, pleaded guilty to conspiring to sell marijuana, conspiring to commit a robbery that obstructed interstate commerce, and using or carrying a gun in connection with a crime of violence or drug trafficking. That last crimes carries a seven-year mandatory minimum sentence because he brandished the weapon.

Mr. Jones and his six co-conspirators were after marijuana that was being sold out of the Swap Meet, which also marketed clothes, cigarettes, electronics and other items, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Troy Rivetti.

"They were holding firearms, large firearms, including semi-assault rifles," Mr. Rivetti said.

When police responded from the nearby Zone 1 station, the men "grabbed some marijuana and fled," Mr. Rivetti said. They got away with about a kilogram of marijuana -- leaving more than 11 kilograms behind, he said -- and also took more than $300, cigarettes, cell phones and the wallets of some Swap Meet employees and customers.

Mr. Jones is set to be sentenced June 19.

One officer who responded to the robbery was injured when a getaway van struck her.

Just one of the accused robbers, Dejarnette Blanchard, has been sentenced, to 30 months in prison.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord


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