Albuquerque Felon Facing Federal Commercial Robbery and Firearms Charges Arising Out of Aug. 29, 2017 Crime Spree
Defendant Prosecuted Under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative
ALBUQUERQUE – Martin Garcia, 37, of Albuquerque, N.M., made his initial appearance in federal court this morning on a criminal complaint charging him with violating the Hobbs Act and federal firearms laws. The charges against Garcia arise out of an Aug. 29, 2017 crime spree, during which Garcia allegedly robbed two commercial businesses at gunpoint, attempted to run over an officer, and shot a firearm in the direction of an officer who was trying to apprehend him. Garcia remains in federal custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, both of which are scheduled for Sept. 12, 2017.
Garcia is being prosecuted under a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution. Under this 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 primarily based on their prior criminal convictions for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.
The criminal complaint alleges that on Aug. 29, 2017, Garcia robbed two employees of a wireless communications service provider in Albuquerque at gunpoint. Before departing from the store with cash from the cash registers, Garcia allegedly ordered the employees to the store’s back room and threatened to kill them if they left the room. Later that day, Garcia allegedly robbed two employees at a pizza restaurant in Albuquerque at gunpoint. As Garcia departed from the restaurant, he was followed by a third employee who provided information on Garcia’s path of travel to law enforcement authorities.
According to the criminal complaint, a high-speed pursuit occurred as officers attempted to apprehend Garcia. During the pursuit, Garcia allegedly rear-ended a civilian vehicle, attempted to run over an officer who was deploying a spike strip across the road, and fired a shot at an officer of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) who was pursuing him. APD officers arrested Garcia in northeast Albuquerque after crashing his vehicle and running into an abandoned residence. Officers allegedly seized a loaded firearm from a closet in the abandoned residence, a shell casing on the floorboard of the vehicle Garcia had been driving, and a second shell casing on the ground near the driver’s side door of the vehicle.
Court records reflect that on Aug. 29, 2017, Garcia was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his status as a convicted felon.
Garcia has been in state custody since his arrest on Aug. 29, 2017. The FBI arrested Garcia on the charges in the federal criminal complaint today after he was transferred to federal custody from state custody. The related state charges will be dismissed in favor of federal prosecution.
If convicted on the charges in the criminal complaint, Garcia faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the Hobbs Act charge and ten years in prison on the felon in possession of a firearms charge. Garcia also faces up a mandatory minimum of ten years of imprisonment for discharging a firearm, which must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on the other two charges. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and APD, with assistance from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Niki Tapia-Brito is prosecuting the case.