Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Robbing Five Businesses During Three-Month Crime Spree
ALBUQUERQUE – Julio Francia, 22, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty this morning to robbing five Albuquerque-area businesses and to carrying a firearm during a crime of violence under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Francia’s guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Kari E. Brandenburg, Carol K.O. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, and Chief Ray Schultz of the Albuquerque Police Department.
According to court filings, Francia was arrested on state charges on Oct. 17, 2012, on allegations that he committed an armed robbery at a Subway Restaurant located at 8520 Montgomery Blvd. NE in Albuquerque. After Francia admitted committing a number of armed at commercial businesses in Albuquerque, including the Subway Restaurant, between Aug. 2012 and Oct. 2012, the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office charged Francia with numerous armed robbery offenses.
On Nov. 27, 2012, Francia was federally indicted and charged with violating the Hobbs Act by robbing a business engaged in interstate commerce and using a firearm during a crime of violence. The charges in the indictment arose out of the armed robbery of the Subway Restaurant on Oct. 17, 2012. On Feb. 6, 2013, Francia was transferred from state custody to federal custody to face the charges in the federal indictment and the state charges against Francia subsequently were dismissed.
During this morning’s proceedings, Francia pleaded guilty to the indictment charging him with a Hobbs Act robbery at the Subway Restaurant on Oct. 17, 2012, and using a firearm during a crime on violence on that same day. Francia also entered a guilty plea to a four-count felony information charging him with committing Hobbs Act armed robberies at the following Albuquerque businesses: (1) the Auto Zone, located at 12904 Lomas Blvd. NE, on Aug. 15, 2012; (2) the Auto Zone, located at 8820 Montgomery Blvd. NE, on Sept. 21, 2012; (3) the Taco Bell, located at 320 Eubank Blvd. NE, on Oct. 3, 2012; and (4) the Twister’s Restaurant, located at 740 Juan Tabo NE, on Oct. 4, 2012.
Francia has been in federal custody since Feb. 2012, and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be set. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Francia will be sentenced to a federal prison term of 15 to 20 years.
This case was brought as part of a law enforcement initiative launched in July 2012, by the FBI’s Violent Crimes and Major Offender Squad and the Albuquerque Police Department’s Armed Robbery Unit that targets suspects implicated in commercial armed robberies. It is part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution. Under this anti-violence 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.
The 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, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon K. Stanford.