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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Thomas Martinez Charged with Violating the Federal Carjacking and Firearms Laws

Prosecution Brought Pursuant to Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Thomas G. Atteberry of the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Chief Gorden Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) announced that Thomas Martinez, 26, of Albuquerque, N.M., has been charged with violating the federal carjacking and firearms laws in a criminal complaint filed earlier today.  Martinez’s initial appearance in federal court has yet to be scheduled.

The criminal complaint charges Martinez with two counts of carjacking and two counts of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.  The criminal complaint alleges that Martinez committed all four crimes in Albuquerque on July 22, 2015, as he allegedly attempted to evade APD officers who were seeking to arrest him on a warrant arising out of an unrelated state court case.

According to the criminal complaint, Martinez allegedly committed the first carjacking as he attempted to flee from officers conducting surveillance in the vicinity of a hotel in northeast Albuquerque.  Martinez allegedly ran to a Chevrolet sedan occupied by a driver and three children as the driver was entering a ramp to Interstate 40.  Martinez allegedly brandished a firearm at the driver, pushed the driver into the passenger seat of the Chevrolet, and used the Chevrolet to continue his flight from the officers.  The children were able to get out of the vehicle before Martinez drove away with the driver in tow.  An APD detective who was attempting to prevent the carjacking was dragged by the Chevrolet as Martinez drove away.  As Martinez continued his flight, the driver of the Chevrolet began to fight with Martinez in an effort to get him to stop the vehicle.  Martinez allegedly responded by discharging a firearm in an attempt to shoot the driver.  When Martinez slowed down, the driver was able to jump out of the Chevrolet.

The complaint further alleges that Martinez continued his flight in the Chevrolet and abandoned the vehicle in a neighborhood in southeast Albuquerque.  There Martinez allegedly forced his way into a Cadillac sedan occupied by an older man seated in the front passenger seat of the vehicle.  As Martinez began to drive away, another man confronted Martinez, got into the Cadillac, and began fighting with Martinez.  During the fight, Martinez allegedly attempted to discharge his gun at the man.  Shortly thereafter, the man was able to disarm Martinez, and Martinez was arrested by APD officers.

If convicted, Martinez faces a statutory maximum penalty of 15 years in federal prison on each of the carjacking charges.  Martinez faces a statutory mandatory minimum of seven years if he is convicted of brandishing a firearm during a carjacking, and a statutory mandatory minimum of ten years if convicted of discharging a firearm during a carjacking.  The sentences imposed on the firearms charges must be served consecutive to any sentence imposed on the carjacking charges.  Defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.

This case was investigated by the ATF office in Albuquerque and APD.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Mysliwiec is prosecuting the case as part of 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 for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.  Because New Mexico’s violent crime rates, on a per capita basis, are amongst the highest in the nation, New Mexico’s law enforcement community is collaborating to target repeat offenders from counties with the highest violent crime rates, including Bernalillo County, under this initiative.

martinez_complaint.pdf (162.28 KB)

Updated September 14, 2015