Home Courts Pair Found Guilty Of Moraga Home Invasion Robbery

Pair Found Guilty Of Moraga Home Invasion Robbery

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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.


  1. I cringe every time I hear of these break-ins, robbery’s, etc in Lamorinda and remember when this one happened in particular. However, is there more to the story of the 40lbs of pot which was at the residence and supposedly available for sale?

    • Mark – On what grounds could a California prosecutor file a criminal complaint for possession of 40 pounds of cannabis?

      Storing and selling that much agricultural product out of a residence is probably a zoning violation. The victims were presumably not in full compliance with sales or business tax obligations, but such matters are typically addressed at the administrative level and only rise to a criminal offense if the business owner willfully fails to comply with administrative remedies (e.g., moving the business operation to an appropriately zoned facility, paying back taxes, penalties, interest and fines).

      • My understanding is that marijuana was only decriminalized for small amounts and personal use.

        Forty pounds far, far exceeds that threshold. That amount denotes distribution, not dealing. That’s why the heavy-handed break-in and heavy weapons.

  2. So the perp had been taking business classes at St. Mary’s college….. Gee what kind of business are they teaching now?

  3. Wow. There’s a lot to unpack in this one – out of character crime for little Moraga, second one with some connection to the local college, sheds some light on marijuana operations in our suburban envirnonment, connection to local buisness community, raises questions about prosecution of some local crimes and about bail – one suspect out and about while another sat in a cell. Thats a lot for one trip to a house on Donald Drive.

  4. They didn’t batter their way into the house. They opened the unlocked patio door and walked in. These idiots were anything but criminal masterminds and there’s far more to this story than you’re reading in this short article. What they were charged with was overkill and the way the laws are written we had no choice and they had no chance. We all agreed that they should face some punishment, but this is essentially ending their lives. It’s wrong. I was one of the jurors.

    • Thank you for your contribution. Brandishing a weapon, and zip tying residents (kidnapping?) is no picnic. Threatening an infant? Frightening in many ways. They may only serve 50% or less of their actual sentences, and repeat criminals.

      But a mid-level drug dealer walks free??

      • You’re making assumptions that aren’t true. And yes, he walked away without so much as a slap on the wrist.

        • He isn’t making assumptions. He is reacting to what is reported on this website. You are suggesting that much of the reporting is inaccurate. How so? Either a door was battered or it wasn’t. Either zip ties were employed as restraints or they weren’t. Either a gun was produced or it wasn’t.. These are matters of evidence not opinion. Other than the “battering”, what else are you suggesting is not as reported here?

        • No slap on the wrist ? But he was a victim of a violent felony was he not holding a infant while at gun point , is that not punishment enough

          • The answer is an obvious no. Points aren’t given for being the victim of a crime at your home while running a criminal drug enterprise there…where your wife and infant live. I suspect the apparent lack of charges for the drug dealer is more complicated than the simple fact that 40 lbs of dope was found on the attackers. The armed attackers aren’t credible witnesses. Still, it would be nice to get the guns and dealers out of my back yard…so to speak. Hopefully this will be watched more closely now.

    • I don’t think anyone is implying that they are masterminds… pretty much on the other end of the spectrum.

    • This article is ridiculously biased. They didn’t “batter” their way into a house, they opened an unlocked door. The jury didn’t “opt” not to convict on the gun pointing; the jury found the witness (the drug dealer who currently has rape charges against him, btw) to not be credible. It’s interesting that the drug dealer’s brother who was in the house, and who is charged with stabbing a woman (his words: She “wanted to be stabbed” and “I chopped her arm like salad”) is walking free. Then again, those two “victims” are white; the pot stealers aren’t. So maybe that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

      • Several people here alleging inside information, or more information than what we have at hand.

        Maybe some of the crimmnals or alleged criminals are poor witnesses, lack credibility, changed their story, or lied.

        The rapper recently killed in Dublin had only two potential murderers, two young ladies. They both walked free.

  5. We’re they shortchanged on the deal? Being a business student didn’t he know about the Better Business Bureau or Channel 7 to make a complaint? All things should be settled through the complaint system and then if all else fails.

  6. I’m curious about the lack of charges for the drug dealer. I thought selling drugs was illegal. Is it tied into legalization of marijuana?

    • Legalization allegedly only applies to small amounts for personal use. So here we’re seeing the slippery permissive slope many anticipated.

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