Defendants sentenced to decades in prison for large auto theft rings

Published on April 25, 2024

Mugshots of defendants

GREELEY, Colo. (Weld County D.A.) – Three co-defendants involved in multiple large-scale auto theft rings have been sentenced to several decades behind bars. Another defendant has pled guilty for her role and faces more than four decades in prison.

In July of 2022, the Weld County Statutory Grand Jury issued an indictment against Amanda Johnson and Jose Luis Pizarro who were accused of stealing 10 cars from several auto dealerships in Weld and Larimer Counties in 2021.

Johnson and Pizarro were both charged with more than 50 felony charges related to the auto theft scheme, including one count each of Violation of Colorado Organized Crime Control Act (COCCA.)

During the scheme, the defendants would use fake driver’s licenses to “test drive” vehicles at car dealerships in northern Colorado, never return the vehicles and then sell them online for a few hundred bucks. The stolen vehicles totaled nearly $180K.

In March, Pizzaro pled guilty to his role in the scheme and was sentenced to 21 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections.

In September of 2022, Hector Rivera, Amanda Johnson and Ryan Yarwood were then indicted on nearly 150 counts for stealing 50 cars from victims in Weld County in 2021. All three defendants were also charged with one count each of Violation of Colorado Organized Crime Control Act (COCCA.)   

They did this as a part of a large-scale drug distribution ring and sold vehicles for as little as $200 a piece. All but several vehicles were Kia and Hyundai models.

Earlier this month, both Rivera and Yarwood were sentenced to the Colorado Department of Corrections after agreeing to plead guilty for their roles. Rivera was sentenced to 18 years and Yarwood was sentenced to 20 years.

Johnson, who led both rings, pled guilty to 47 counts for her role and faces up to 48 years in DOC.

A sentencing hearing for Johnson has been scheduled for May 31st at 1:30 p.m. in Division 12.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Patrick Roche and Deputy District Attorneys Ash McCuaig and Mikaela Fatzinger prosecuted these two cases. 

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