Four Facing Federal Robbery, Prescription Opioid and Firearms Charges Arising Out of Armed Robbery of Pharmacy in Raton
Prosecuted Under the HOPE Initiative which Seeks to Reduce Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – Four men made their initial appearances in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., this morning on a criminal complaint charging them with crimes arising out of the Dec. 3, 2016, armed robbery of a pharmacy in Raton, N.M. The four men, who were arrested on the federal charges on Dec. 16, 2016, remain in custody pending preliminary and detention hearings scheduled for later this week.
The federal charges against Antoine Mitchell, 28, Moses Dickens, 30, and Justin Harris, 25, all of Albuquerque, and Christopher Dominguez, 26, of Mountainair, N.M., were announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, 8th Judicial District Attorney Donald Gallegos, Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of DEA’s El Paso Division, Chief John Garcia of the Raton Police Department and Colfax County Sheriff Rick Sinclair.
The criminal complaint charges Mitchell, Dickens, Dominguez and Harris with conspiring to rob a business engaged in interstate commerce, possessing Oxycodone with intent to distribute, and brandishing firearms during a crime of violence. According to the criminal complaint, which is attached, the four defendants committed the offenses by robbing the Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy located at 1275 S. 2nd Street in Raton, at gunpoint on Dec. 3, 2016.
The four defendants were charged with local charges by the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office following their arrests on Dec. 3, 2016. The state charges will be dismissed in favor of federal prosecution.
The federal charges in the criminal complaint carry the following statutory maximum penalties on conviction: 20 years of imprisonment for conspiracy to rob a business engaged in interstate commerce, and 20 years of imprisonment for possession of Oxycodone with intent to distribute. The penalty for a conviction for brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence is a mandatory minimum of seven years in prison to be served consecutive to any prison sentence imposed on the other charges.
Charges in complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Tactical Diversion Squad of the DEA in Albuquerque, Raton Police Department, Colfax County Sheriff’s Office and the Trinidad (Colorado) Police Department, with assistance from the 8th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. 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. Attorneys Joel R. Meyers and Shaheen P. Torgoley are 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.