Dutch National, Melvin Henrillien Sentenced for Malbis Chevron Robbery and High-Speed Flight from Border Patrol Agents in Texas
A Dutch national was sentenced to 27 months in prison for robbing a gas station in Daphne in March 2020 and engaging in high-speed flight from a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Texas in June 2021.
According to court documents, Melvin Henrillien, 32, of Baytown, Texas, threatened a cashier as he robbed the Malbis Chevron gas station on March 24, 2020. As depicted on surveillance video, Henrillien kept his right hand in his waistband during the robbery and told the cashier that he “didn’t want to hurt” him. The cashier believed Henrillien was concealing a weapon and emptied $280 from the cash register into a plastic bag, which Henrillien took before fleeing the store.
A short time later, Daphne police caught Henrillien, who had called 911 from his cell phone to report the robbery, walking along State Highway 181 two miles south of the Chevron. As part of his guilty plea, Henrillien admitted that he committed the robbery, that he took the victim’s property by threatening force and violence, and that his actions obstructed, delayed, and affected interstate commerce in violation of the Hobbs Act.
On June 21, 2021, while on conditions of release and awaiting trial in his robbery case, Henrillien approached a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint near Sarita, Texas. A drug-detection dog alerted for the presence of contraband in Henrillien’s car. A Border Patrol agent asked Henrillien to open the trunk of his car, which he did. As the agent began to search the trunk, however, Henrillien sped away from the checkpoint on U.S. Highway 77 toward Sarita.
Henrillien fled for nine miles, reaching speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. Agents eventually took Henrillien into custody at a highway rest area. Henrillien admitted to the agents that he ran because he knew he had a pending arrest warrant for absconding from supervision in his federal robbery case. Agents found two metal grinders containing a small amount of marijuana in Henrillien’s car.
United States District Judge Kristi K. DuBose ordered Henrillien to serve a three-year term of supervised release upon his release from prison, during which time he will undergo testing and treatment for substance abuse and will receive mental health treatment. The court did not impose a fine, but Judge DuBose ordered Henrillien to pay $280 in restitution to the robbery victim and $200 in special assessments.
U.S. Attorney Sean P. Costello of the Southern District of Alabama made the announcement.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Daphne Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Border Patrol investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Justin Roller (Southern District of Alabama) and Christopher Marin (Southern District of Texas) prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.