INDIO (CNS) – A 37-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday to perpetrating an armed carjacking of a motorist in Desert Hot Springs with two others and was immediately sentenced to 16 years in state prison.
Johnny Artis, 37, of Desert Hot Springs pleaded guilty Thursday at the Larson Justice Center in Indio to one felony count each of kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, according to court records. He additionally admitted to sentence-enhancing firearm allegations.
Artis was immediately sentenced to 16 years in state prison, according to court records.
Co-defendants Christian Salas and Stephanie Dierkes, both 30 and of Desert Hot Springs, pleaded guilty earlier this year to the same charges and admitted to a sentence-enhancing allegation of carrying out a crime for the benefit of a gang, according to court records. Salas pleaded guilty Feb. 1 and was immediately sentenced to six years in state prison while Dierkes pleaded guilty March 6 and was immediately sentenced to 13 years in state prison.
The armed carjacking occurred at around 5 a.m. May 3, 2018 in the 66800 block of Ironwood Drive.
“Officers contacted the victim who was not injured, but told officers he was robbed at gunpoint by several suspects,” Desert Hot Springs detective Sgt. Christopher Saucier said in a statement. “The suspects were armed with firearms and took the victim’s vehicle and other valuables.”
Several people of interest were tracked down to a nearby residence where several people tried to flee on foot, but were subsequently detained, according to Saucier. Investigators then served search warrants at several locations, made arrests and seized firearms.
The searches were conducted with assistance from the Post-Release Accountability Team and the Coachella Valley Violent Crime Gang Task Force.
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