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Minnesota man pleads guilty in violent federal auto theft case

St. Paul (KROC-AM News) – A Minneapolis man has pleaded guilty to pulling a gun on an FBI agent and playing a part in a violent carjacking ring.

Prosecutors say 20-year-old Williams Saffold engaged in violent carjackings and armed robberies targeting Uber and Lyft drivers between September and October 2021. As part of the program, Saffold and others lured drivers to particular locations under the guise of picking up or dropping off passengers.

Once the drivers arrived, the conspiracy members brandished firearms and demanded the drivers’ mobile phones and wallets. The members also held the drivers at gunpoint and forced them to unlock their phones and provide passwords.

William Saffold – Sherburne County Jail
William Saffold – Sherburne County Jail

The members then transferred money via cash apps from the drivers to their own accounts and hijacked the drivers at gunpoint. The members forced respect by hitting, whipping and threatening to kill the drivers.

Court documents say that on May 11, 2022, while attempting to execute a warrant for his arrest, an FBI agent approached Saffold, who immediately drew a gun and pointed it at the agent. before fleeing on foot.

Saffold pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of conspiring to use, carry and brandish firearms during and in connection with violent crimes and to one count of assaulting a federal officer.

A sentencing hearing will be scheduled for a later date.

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