Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Hobbs Act
Robbery of Albuquerque Business
ALBUQUERQUE – Joel Rodriguez, 37, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon to robbing a business engaged in interstate commerce under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Rodriguez will be sentenced to ten years in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.
Rodriguez was arrested in Nov. 2011 in a two-count indictment charging him with (1) violating the Hobbs Act by robbing a business engaged in interstate commerce, and (2) being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to the indictment, Rodriguez robbed a business engaged in payday and short term loans at gunpoint on May 17, 2011. At the time, Rodriguez was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of three felony offenses in the Second Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico, including trafficking in controlled substances and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Yesterday, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to Count 1 of the indictment charging him with a Hobbs Act robbery at a Check ‘n Go, located at 2810 Coors Blvd. NW in Albuquerque on May 17, 2011. In entering his guilty plea, Rodriguez admitted entering the business, threatening an employee with violence, and demanding money.
Rodriguez has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be set. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Count 2 of the indictment, charging Rodriguez with unlawful possession of a firearm, will be dismissed after Rodriguez is sentenced.
This case was brought as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution. Under this anti-violence initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.
The case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Raul Torrez and Jon K. Stanford.