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Suspects in violent Payson casino robbery were employees, FBI says

(FBI photo)

PHOENIX — The two suspects who were accused of violently robbing a casino in central Arizona back in July were employees at the casino, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Tuesday.

The FBI said 31-year-old Ryan Pearson and 32-year-old Armando Ochoa were arrested in connection to the robbery on Monday. They were arrested in Payson without incident.

Pearson and Ochoa were accused of robbing the Mazatzal Casino on the Tonto Apache Indian Reservation in Payson, Arizona, around 12:30 a.m. on July 17.

The pair allegedly brandished a long gun and pistols, fired rounds inside the casino and threatened casino employees.

They were believed to have fled the casino with an undisclosed amount of money and crossed Highway 87 to a waiting car. The description of the car was unknown.

No one was injured during the incident.

Pearson and Ochoa were charged with one count of a Hobbs Act robbery, which was defined by the Justice Department as an “attempted robbery or extortion affecting interstate or foreign commerce,” and one count of using a weapon in a crime of violence.

The Payson, Tonto Apache, Phoenix, Mesa and Salt River police departments also assisted in the investigation, as well as the Gila County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

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