Albuquerque Man Arraigned on Federal Conspiracy, Hobbs Act and Firearms Charges
Case Brought under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative; Raymond Castillo Faces Mandatory Life Sentence if Convicted
ALBUQUERQUE – Raymond Castillo, 25, of Albuquerque, N.M., was arraigned this morning on an indictment charging him with violating the Hobbs Act and the federal firearms laws. Castillo entered a not guilty plea to the charges against him. Castillo will remain in federal custody pending trial of this case which has yet to be scheduled.
Castillo was arrested on Dec. 12, 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy to rob a business involved in interstate commerce at gunpoint in violation of the Hobbs Act. The criminal complaint alleged that Castillo and an unidentified co-conspirator robbed a convenience store located at 1111 Lomas Blvd. NW in Albuquerque at gunpoint on Dec. 7, 2014. It further alleges that the co-conspirator, who was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a bandana that covered his face, shot and injured the store clerk during the robbery, and that Castillo drove the co-conspirator away from the scene of the robbery.
On Jan. 21, 2015, a federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment charging Castillo and five co-defendants with commercial armed robbery and firearms charges. The charges in the indictment are unrelated to the charges in the criminal complaint.
Count 1 of the indictment charges Castillo, Daniel Maestas, 34, Johnny Ramirez, 30, Frank Gallegos, 29, Reyes Lujan, 26, and Henry Lujan, 21, with conspiracy to violate the Hobbs Act. Count 2 alleges that the six men interfered with interstate commerce by robbing a Wal-Mart Store located in Bernalillo County, N.M., on Oct. 29, 2014. Count 3 charges Castillo with discharging a firearm during the robbery of the Wal-Mart store, and Count 4 charges Maestas with using and carrying a firearm during that robbery. Count 5 charges Ramirez, Gallegos, Reyes Lujan and Henry Lujan with aiding and abetting the use of firearms during the robbery.
Gallegos was arraigned on the indictment on Feb. 3, 2015, after he was transferred from state custody to federal custody to face the charges in this case. Gallegos entered a not guilty plea to the indictment and was ordered detained pending trial. The remaining four defendants are in state custody and will be transferred to federal custody to face the charges in the indictment.
With the exception of Castillo, the defendants each face a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if convicted on Counts 1 and 2, the conspiracy and Hobbs Act charges. With the exception of Castillo, the defendants each face a mandatory five-year prison sentence if convicted of using and carrying a firearm or aiding and abetting that crime. The five-year sentence must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on the conspiracy and Hobbs Act charges.
On Feb. 1, 2015, the United States filed a prior felony information against Castillo under 18 U.S.C. § 3559(c), the federal “three strikes” law, based on Castillo’s prior serious felony convictions. Consequently, if convicted of any of the three charges against him, Castillo faces the enhanced sentence of mandatory life imprisonment. If convicted of the crimes charged in the criminal complaint, Castillo faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on the Hobbs Act count and a mandatory ten year prison sentence for aiding and abetting the discharge of a firearm during a crime of violence. The ten-year sentence must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on the Hobbs Act charges.
Charges in indictments are merely accusations. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Albuquerque Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Norman Cairns and Samuel A. Hurtado are prosecuting this case.
This case is being prosecuted as part of 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 for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.