Albuquerque Felon Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Firearms Laws and the Hobbs Act
Defendant Prosecuted under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative; Plea Agreement Requires 139 Month Prison Sentence
ALBUQUERQUE – Vincent Steven Martinez, 38, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty late yesterday afternoon in federal court to violating the Hobbs Act by robbing a commercial business involved in interstate commerce and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. He also acknowledged violating the terms of his supervised release on a previous felony conviction. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Martinez will be sentenced to 139 months in federal prison followed a term of supervised release to be determine by the court.
The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales, III.
Martinez was arrested on Dec. 4, 2015, on an indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition on Sept. 15, 2015, in Bernalillo County, N.M. The indictment was subsequently superseded on Jan. 14, 2016, to include charging Martinez with violating the Hobbs Act on Sept. 12, 2015, by robbing a business engaged in interstate commerce in Bernalillo County. At the time, Martinez was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of aggravated battery, armed bank robbery and bank robbery.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Martinez pled guilty to the superseding indictment. Martinez also entered a guilty plea a petition charging him with violating the terms of his supervised release on a prior felony conviction for use of a controlled substance and possession of a firearm. In pleading guilty to the superseding indictment, Martinez admitted robbing three businesses in addition to the business identified in the superseding indictment. To that end, Martinez admitted the following criminal conduct:
On Aug. 14, 2015, Martinez entered the Valero gas station at 1715 Moon Street in Albuquerque, pointed a gun at and threatened the cashier and stole cash and cigarettes before fleeing the store.
On Sept. 5, 2015, Martinez entered the Holiday Inn at 4501 Alameda Blvd. in Albuquerque, showed the hotel employee a knife and demanded money, stole cash and a camera and fled.
On Sept. 10, 2015, Martinez entered the La Quinta Inn at 5241 San Antonio Dr. in Albuquerque, pointed a gun at and threatened a hotel employee, took money and fled.
On Sept. 12, 2015, Martinez entered the Family Dollar at 7900 Second St. in Albuquerque, showed the cashier a gun and demanded money.Martinez admitted that, as he was grabbing money from the cash register at the Family Dollar, he dropped his wallet which had his driver’s license in it.
Martinez was arrested on Sept. 15, 2015, for the Family Dollar robbery. At the time of his arrest, Martinez possessed a firearm and multiple rounds of ammunition. Martinez admitted that prior to his arrest he had been convicted of aggravated battery, armed bank robbery and bank robbery. He admitted violating the conditions of his supervised release by committing the aforementioned robberies and by possessing the firearm and ammunition.
In entering his guilty plea to the supervised release violation, Martinez admitted that on April 28, 2010, he was convicted of armed bank robbery and was sentenced to 71 months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release which commenced on June 13, 2014. Martinez admitted that by Jan. 2015, he had failed to submit to drug testing and counseling sessions as required under the conditions of his supervised release and the United States Probation Office filed a petition seeking to revoke his supervised release.
Martinez remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana B. Long is prosecuting the case 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. Because New Mexico’s violent crime rate, on a per capita basis, is one of the highest in the nation, New Mexico’s law enforcement community is collaborating to target repeat offenders from counties with the highest violent crime rates, including Bernalillo County, N.M., under this initiative.