Two men were found guilty for their roles in a chaotic 2019 home invasion-style robbery on Donald Drive in Moraga – an incident apparently prompted when one of the men felt shorted in a marijuana deal made at the residence the evening before.
A jury found Azrael Vargas, 20, guilty on five counts and four special allegations including use of a semi-automatic pistol during commission of the robbery of the home, first reported here Nov. 3, 2019. An accomplice, Emarieay Prescott, 22, was found guilty of first-degree burglary and conspiracy, with a gun enhancement.
The men heard the verdicts Tuesday in a Martinez courtroom. Vargas faces up to 31 years in state prison while Prescott could serve a maximum of 16 years. Of the four men who took part in the robbery, two pled guilty to home invasion robbery, agreeing to testify against Prescott and Vargas.
Jurors hearing the case learned of a frantic Sunday evening where three friends accompanied Vargas to the home on Donald Drive where Vargas bought two pounds of marijuana the previous evening. He argued he went to the home seeking compensation after he was shorted.
According to our story and subsequent testimony, the three men battered their way into the home, Vargas brandishing a gun at a female resident while another intruder zip-tied her hands behind her back. Vargas then confronted the male resident, the man he said cheated him out of marijuana the night before, pointing the gun at him and at his infant daughter although the jury opted not to convict him of those charges.
Instead, they found Vargas guilty of taking 40 pounds of marijuana from the homeowner, the three men retreating to a waiting car and speeding off down Moraga Road in an effort to get out of town.
A Moraga police officer stopped the vehicle at the Chevron station on Moraga Road at Moraga Way, holding the occupants at gunpoint until backup could arrive. The gun and marijuana were found during a search of the vehicle.
Vargas, a San Francisco man who had been free on bail before Tuesday’s verdict was delivered, was remanded to custody shortly afterward. Prescott, who could not afford bail and who has been in jail for the past 18 months, was taken back to his cell.
He had been taking business classes at St. Mary’s College and working sales jobs prior to taking part in the Donald Drive robbery.