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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Albuquerque defendant back in court after absconding while on pre-trial release

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced that a federal court has revoked the conditions of pre-trial release for Jason Smeltzer, 40, of Albuquerque.

Smeltzer originally was arrested for and charged with five bank robberies. From Jan. 20 to Feb. 23, Smeltzer allegedly robbed four Albuquerque banks, one of which was robbed twice. On Jan. 21, the FBI received a tip through the National Threat Operation Center identifying Smeltzer as a possible suspect. Smeltzer was taken into custody on Feb. 23. A federal grand jury indicted Smeltzer on April 12.

Smeltzer was conditionally released to La Pasada Halfway House pending trial. Among the conditions of his release was his submission to location monitoring by a GPS device. However, on May 6, Smeltzer removed his GPS device and absconded from La Pasada. He was arrested on Nov. 18.

A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Smeltzer faces up to 20 years in prison.

The FBI Albuquerque Violent Crimes and Gangs Task Force investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Nelson and Niki Tapia-Brito are prosecuting the case.

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Press Release Number: 
22-264
Updated November 23, 2022