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Press Release

Amarillo Man Sentenced To A Total Of 35 Years In Federal Prison For Committing Armed Bank Robbery And Other Firearms Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Texas

AMARILLO, Texas — Donald Joseph West, 49, of Amarillo, Texas, an armed career criminal, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Mary Lou Robinson to a total of 35 years in federal prison following his conviction at trial in March 2013 on all counts of a superseding indictment charging felony offenses in connection with the November 5, 2012, armed robbery of FirstBank Southwest in Amarillo. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.

U.S. Attorney Saldaña said, “In short, Donald West, a violent career criminal, presented a clear danger to the Amarillo community and, in particular, to the brave and dedicated law enforcement officers who serve it. Because of their extraordinary work on this case, all can rest easier tonight knowing that he will spend the next 35 years in prison.”

Diego G. Rodriguez, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Dallas Field Division, said, “Combined efforts of the public’s assistance and a joint investigation by the Amarillo Police Department, Potter and Randall County Sheriff’s Offices and the FBI led to Donald West’s successful conviction and subsequent sentencing that reflects law enforcement’s commitment to protecting communities from dangerous career criminals.”

Donald West was convicted on one count of aggravated bank robbery, one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one count of using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence (the bank robbery). During the same trial, his nephew, David West, 43, who remains on bond, was convicted on one count of the unlawful sale and disposition of a firearm. His sentencing is set for June 26, 2013.

The government presented evidence at trial that on Monday, November 5, 2012, Donald West, wearing a mask, entered the FirstBank Southwest, located at 5701 Southwest 34th Street, in Amarillo, pointed a gun at a teller and demanded cash. The teller placed money in a bag and Donald West left the bank. He was arrested the next evening by officers with the Amarillo Police Department and special agents with the FBI and has been in custody since that time.

The government presented further evidence that during the robbery, Donald West used a semiautomatic pistol. When he was arrested, a firearm, that was given to him by David West shortly before the robbery, was recovered. Donald West is a convicted felon, having been convicted 1) in Randall County, Texas, of committing aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon in 1988; 2) in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, with conspiracy to commit bank robbery and bank robbery in 1987; and 3) in Randall County for evading detention in 2011. The government presented further evidence that David West knowingly gave the 9mm caliber pistol to his uncle, well knowing that he was a convicted felon.

The investigation was conducted by the FBI, the Amarillo Police Department and the Potter and Randall County Sheriff’s Offices. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeff Haag, Justin Cunningham and Christy Drake prosecuted.

Updated June 22, 2015