Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Armed Robbery of Eight Albuquerque-Area Businesses in Summer 2014
Defendant Prosecuted as Part of Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative
ALBUQUERQUE – Jose Rodriguez, 23, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court to violating the Hobbs Act and firearms laws by robbing eight businesses involved in interstate commerce at gunpoint. The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Kari E. Brandenburg, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Chief Gorden Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department.
Rodriguez was charged in March 2014, in a four-count indictment alleging that he robbed two Albuquerque-area businesses that were engaged in interstate commerce. It further alleged that Rodriguez brandished firearms during each of the two robberies. Rodriguez was arrested on April 22, 2015, after he was transferred to federal custody from state custody where he was being held on related state charges which were later dismissed in favor of federal prosecution.
During today’s proceedings, Rodriguez entered a guilty plea to a nine-count felony information charging him with violating the Hobbs Act and federal firearms laws. The first eight counts of the information charged Rodriguez with interfering with interstate commerce by robbing the following eight businesses between June 2014 and Aug. 2014:
- Papa John’s Pizza on Gibson Blvd. SE in Albuquerque on June 29, 2014;
- Twisters on Gibson Blvd SW in Albuquerque on July 5, 2014;
- Flowers Bakery on Gibson Blvd. SE in Albuquerque on July 14, 2014;
- Pump-N-Save gas station on Menaul Blvd. NE in Albuquerque on July 17, 2014;
- Krispy Kreme on Wyoming Blvd NE in Albuquerque on July 30, 2014;
- M&M Gas Station on Coors Blvd. NW in Albuquerque on Aug. 5, 2014;
- Phillips 66 Gas Station on Coors Blvd. NW in Albuquerque on Aug. 6, 2014;
- Church’s Chicken on Central Ave NW in Albuquerque on Aug. 7, 2014.
The ninth count of the information charged Rodriguez with brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, specifically, the robbery of the Church’s Chicken on Aug. 7, 2014. In addition, in his plea agreement, Rodriguez admitted that he used a firearm, which he brandished at employees of the businesses he robbed, during seven of the eight robberies.
Under the terms of his plea agreement, Rodriguez will be sentenced to a prison term within the range of 36 to 60 months on Counts 1 through 8, the Hobbs Act charges, of the information, and to 84 months on Count 9, the firearms charge. The 84 months must be served consecutive to the sentence imposed on the Hobbs Acts counts for a prison sentence of not less than 120 months and not more than 144 months. Rodriguez has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
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.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Jon Ganjei 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. Because New Mexico’s violent crime rates, on a per capita basis, are amongst 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, under this initiative.