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Press Release

Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Using a Firearm to Rob a Pharmacy of Prescription Painkillers

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – James Phillip Tafoya, 43, of Albuquerque, N.M., entered a guilty plea this morning to using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.  Under the terms of the plea agreement, Tafoya will be sentenced to seven years in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court. 

Tafoya was arrested in Jan. 2013 on a three-count indictment charging him with (1) violating the Hobbs Act by robbing a business involved in interstate commerce, (2) using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, and (3) theft of medical products.  Count 1 of the indictment alleged that Tafoya robbed an employee of an Albuquerque-area CVS Pharmacy at gunpoint on Nov. 3, 2012, and stole Oxycodone and Oxycontin.  Count 2 alleged that Tafoya used a firearm to perpetuate the robbery, and Count 3 alleged that Tafoya used violence and the threat of violence to unlawfully take pre-retail medical products.

This morning, Tafoya pleaded guilty to Count 2 of the indictment.  In entering his guilty plea, Tafoya admitted that on Nov. 3, 2012, he committed armed robbery of the CVS store located at 9640 Menual Blvd NE, in Albuquerque.  Tafoya stated that he entered the store, displayed and brandished a firearm in order to intimidate the clerk, and demanded that the clerk give him Oxycodone and Oxycontin.  He also admitted knowing that CVS is a business engaged in interstate commerce, and that he used a firearm to knowingly and unlawfully take pre-retail medical products through the threat of violence or force.

Tafoya has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  Under the terms of the plea agreement, Counts 1 and 3 of the indictment will be dismissed after Tafoya is sentenced.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Albuquerque Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon K. Stanford.  The case was brought as part of a new 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.  This new initiative is part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution.  Under the 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 our communities for as long as possible.

Updated January 26, 2015