SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) – A man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison after admitting to recruiting groups of people from the East Coast to commit a series of home invasion robberies that took place in Sonoma County in 2018.

According to the office of Northern California acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Hinds, 31-year-old Aaron McArthur of Virginia admitted to recruiting two groups of co-conspirators to travel from his home state to commit the robberies more than 2,000 miles away. Prosecutors said the object of the robberies was to steal marijuana and cash proceeds from marijuana sales.

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On February 8, 2018, prosecutors said four of McArthur’s recruits along with a California-based co-conspirator broke into two homes in Santa Rosa. In the first robbery, one of the suspects struck a resident with a pistol, shot another resident in the arm and stole several pounds of marijuana. During the second robbery, officials said 54-year-old Jose Luis Torres of Santa Rosa was shot and killed and several firearms were stolen.

All five suspects were arrested and were charged with multiple counts, including murder. The suspects hailed from places including Mississippi, New York and Virginia.

Prosecutors said McArthur recruited another set of co-conspirators that broke into two homes in Petaluma on March 12, 2018. In both instances, the suspects tied up people inside the homes and searched for marijuana and cash.

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Authorities search for Petaluma home-invasion suspects in Novato, March 12, 2018. (CBS)

Authorities search for Petaluma home-invasion suspects in Novato, March 12, 2018. (CBS)

The suspects in the Petaluma robberies, who hailed from Virginia and North Carolina, were arrested several days later. McArthur was arrested in 2019.

Prosecutors said McArthur, a reputed gang member, pleaded guilty in April to conspiracy to commit armed home invasion robberies. Along with his prison sentence, McArthur was ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution.

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McArthur was ordered by a judge to begin serving his prison term immediately.