Albuquerque Man Facing Federal Armed Robbery Charges
Prosecuted Under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative
ALBUQUERQUE – This morning a U.S. Magistrate Judge sitting in Albuquerque, N.M., found probable cause to support a criminal complaint charging Paul Salas, 46, of Albuquerque, with violating the Hobbs Act by robbing the Verizon store located at 8060 Academy Rd NE in Albuquerque. The Magistrate Judge also entered an order requiring Salas to remain in custody pending trial based on findings that Salas poses a risk of flight and danger to the community.
Salas was arrested on March 28, 2017, on a criminal complaint charging him with violating the Hobbs Act on March 16, 2017, in Bernalillo County, N.M. According to the complaint, Salas allegedly brandished a firearm as he entered the Verizon store located at 8060 Academy Rd NE in Albuquerque and demanded money from the store’s safe. The complaint further alleges that Salas ordered a store employee to empty a cash register and the store safe, which contained approximately 22 new cellphones into Salas’ bag. Salas fled the store and was apprehended a short time later.
If convicted of the Hobbs Act robbery charge, Salas faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. 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 the Albuquerque Police Department, with assistance from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers is prosecuting the case 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 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.