Lennox Credit Union robbers plead guilty to federal charges

Two Marshalltown men involved in a bank robbery last November have pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Abel Alejandro Ramirez, 23, was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison on July 12 after he pleaded guilty in April to armed bank robbery and use and carry of a firearm in relation to crime of violence.

Benjamin Joseph Crisantos, 23, pleaded guilty to the same charges June 27 and he is awaiting sentencing.

Assistant Marshall County Attorney Paul Crawford said his office would pursue state charges against the two gunmen once Crisantos’ sentencing is completed.

Crisantos faces a charge of attempted murder for allegedly shooting Marshalltown Police Officer Vern Jefferson during the incident.

Ramirez and Crisantos, each carrying a gun, entered the Lennox Employee’s Credit Union on East Main Street on the morning of Nov. 2. While fleeing the scene, Crisantos allegedly shot Jefferson who returned fire and hit Crisantos. Each was later treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Ramirez was able to briefly get away but was found minutes later.

Jefferson was able to recover and return to work. In June he was named the Iowa Police Chiefs Association Officer of the Year for his actions during the robbery.