FBI digs up $600,000 from California yard of former armored truck driver

By Victoria Cavaliere

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Federal agents dug up about $600,000 buried in the backyard of a Los Angeles-area home once occupied by a former armored truck driver who has admitted to helping steal more than $1 million, federal law enforcement said on Wednesday.

The money, in denominations of $100 and $20 and contained in plastic containers, was excavated from beneath a patch of trees in the former home of Cesar Yanez, in Fontana, east of Los Angeles, the FBI said.

Yanez pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bank robbery in connection with the 2014 heist of an armored car, the FBI said. He was sentenced to nearly five years in federal prison.

Yanez and another armored truck driver, Aldo Esquivel Vega, of Pomona, California, were transporting a large shipment of cash for Bank of America in June, 2014, when they stopped in a Los Angeles parking lot and electronically opened the doors, according to federal officials.

More than $1 million was removed and ferried off in a trash can, authorities have said.

About $85,000 was recovered at the same Fontana home after Yanez's arrest, the FBI said. The bulk of the money has been missing for the past year.

An FBI spokeswoman said an investigation by agents and information from a source led authorities to the backyard site.

She said authorities were still working to uncover where the remainder of the missing money, some $400,000, had been spent or hidden.

Vega is awaiting sentencing for his role in the heist. Two other people, including Yanez's wife, are awaiting trial for helping to facilitate the crime.

(Editing by Paul Tait)

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