Felon from Socorro Arraigned on Federal Commercial Robbery and Firearms Charges Arising Out of Aug. 29, 2017 Crime Spree
Defendant Prosecuted Under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative
ALBUQUERQUE – Martin Garcia, 37, of Socorro, N.M., was arraigned this morning on a five-count indictment charging him with violating the Hobbs Act and federal firearms laws. The charges in the indictment arise out of an Aug. 29, 2017 crime spree during which Garcia allegedly robbed two commercial businesses at gunpoint, attempted to run over an officer, and shot a firearm in the direction of an officer who was trying to apprehend him. Garcia entered a not guilty plea to the indictment.
The indictment, which was filed on Sept. 21, 2017, charges Garcia with violating the Hobbs Act by robbing two Albuquerque-area businesses engaged in interstate commerce, a wireless communications service provider and a pizza restaurant, at gunpoint on Aug. 29, 2017. It also charges Garcia with brandishing a firearm during the first robbery and discharging a firearm during the second robbery, and with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The indictment alleges that Garcia committed the five crimes in Bernalillo County.
According to court filings, Garcia robbed two employees of a wireless communications service provider at gunpoint on Aug. 29, 2017, and robbed two employees at a pizza restaurant at gunpoint later that same day. Following the second robbery, a high-speed pursuit occurred as officers of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) attempted to apprehend Garcia. During the pursuit, Garcia allegedly rear-ended a civilian vehicle, attempted to run over an officer who was deploying a spike strip across the road, and discharged a firearm. Officers arrested Garcia after he crashed his vehicle and ran into an abandoned residence. Following the arrest, officers allegedly seized a loaded firearm from a closet in the abandoned residence, a shell casing on the floorboard of the vehicle Garcia had been driving, and a second shell casing on the ground near the driver’s side door of the vehicle.
The FBI arrested Garcia on a federal criminal complaint on Sept. 8, 2017, and the related state charges subsequently were dismissed in favor of federal prosecution. Garcia remains in federal custody pending trial based on judicial findings that he poses a risk of flight and a danger to the community.
If convicted on the Hobbs Act robbery charges, Garcia faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years of imprisonment. If convicted on the felon in possession of a firearms charge, Garcia faces a statutory maximum sentence of ten years of imprisonment unless he is deemed to be an armed career criminal, in which case, he faces an enhanced sentence of not less than 15 years of imprisonment. Garcia also faces up a mandatory minimum of seven years of imprisonment for brandishing a firearm in relation to the first robbery and a mandatory minimum of 25 years of imprisonment for discharging a firearm in relation to and during the flight from the commission of the second robbery; these sentences must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on the other charges.
Charges in criminal complaints and indictments 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 APD, with assistance from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Niki Tapia-Brito is prosecuting the case under 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.