Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Theft of Medical Products Charge Arising Out of Pharmacy Robbery
Case Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – Abraham Martinez, 36, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty this morning in federal court to theft of medical products charge arising out of the robbery of an Albuquerque-area pharmacy on Oct. 13, 2017.
Martinez was arrested in Oct. 2017, on a criminal complaint charging him with violating the Hobbs Act by robbing a business engaged in interstate commerce and possession of Xanax with intent to distribute. According to the criminal complaint, Martinez committed the offenses by robbing the Walgreens pharmacy located at 2625 San Pedro Dr. NE in Albuquerque, and threatening the pharmacist with a knife while demanding Xanax.
Martinez subsequently was charged in a two-count indictment on Nov. 1, 2017, with violating the Hobbs Act by interfering with interstate commerce by robbery and violence, and theft of medical products.
During today’s proceedings, Martinez pled guilty to the theft of medical products charge. In entering the guilty plea, Martinez admitted that on Oct. 13, 2017, he robbed the Walgreens pharmacy in Albuquerque by approaching the pharmacist’s consultation window, holding out a knife, and demanding Xanax from the pharmacist. Martinez acknowledged that the bottles of Xanax he stole from the pharmacist were not available to the public and thus were considered pre-retail medical products.
At sentencing, Martinez faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. Martinez remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Tactical Diversion Squad of the DEA in Albuquerque and the Albuquerque Police Department. DEA’s Tactical Diversion Squads combine DEA resources with those of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in an innovative effort to investigate, disrupt and dismantle those suspected of violating the Controlled Substances Act or other appropriate federal, state or local statutes pertaining to the diversion of licit pharmaceutical controlled substances or listed chemicals.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel R. Meyers is prosecuting the case as part of the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative. The HOPE Initiative was launched in January 2015 by the UNM Health Sciences Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in response to the national opioid epidemic, which has had a disproportionately devastating impact on New Mexico. Opioid addiction has taken a toll on public safety, public health and the economic viability of our communities. Working in partnership with the DEA, the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative, Healing Addiction in our Community (HAC), the Albuquerque Public Schools and other community stakeholders, HOPE’s principal goals are to protect our communities from the dangers associated with heroin and opioid painkillers and reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in New Mexico.
The HOPE Initiative is comprised of five components: (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning. HOPE’s law enforcement component is led by the Organized Crime Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA in conjunction with their federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners. Targeting members of major heroin and opioid trafficking organizations for investigation and prosecution is a priority of the HOPE Initiative. Learn more about the New Mexico HOPE Initiative at http://www.HopeInitiativeNM.org.