Rafael Acosta-Urcino of Sunnyside was charged last week with two counts of first degree robbery and a count of car theft after being accused of tricking two men into an ambush in late November 2012 in which wallets, cell phones and a car were stolen from the victims.
Acosta-Urcino is set to be arraigned on Monday, Dec. 24.
The charges stem from an incident on Nov. 24. The victim, an old friend of Acosta-Urcino who had known him for 12 years, claimed to have received a call from the suspect asking to be picked up along Emerald Road near Sunnyside.
The victim and a friend went to the location in a 2004 Infiniti, worth about $15,000, belonging to the victim's girlfriend. When they stopped to pick up Acosta-Urcino, the victims claim a white Ford Crown Victoria pulled up behind them and two men armed with rifles approached. The victims also said Acosta-Urcino went to the Ford and picked up a rifle as well.
The victims said they were forced to turn over wallets and cell phones worth about $900 and the attackers drove off in the Infiniti. Police requested a warrant for Acosta-Urcino and took him into custody on Dec. 8.
Acosta-Urcino initially denied any involvement in a robbery. He claimed the victims wanted him to drive the Infiniti to Wapato to abandon it for insurance purposes. He also claimed he had witnesses, but they were all in Mexico.
Acosta-Urcino then changed his story and poilice say he claimed the incident was a drug deal gone sour. He said he had been asked to set up a marijuana buy and said the victim was a dealer. He claimed the purchaser was upset by the amount of marijuana and that Acosta-Urcino was forced to drive the victim's car away from the scene and told not to tell anyone what happened.
The alleged accomplices to the crime remain at large.