Albuquerque Man Charged with Robbing Pharmacy at Gunpoint to Obtain Prescription Painkillers
Defendant Charged with Violating Safe Doses Act
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 30, 2013|
ALBUQUERQUE—James Phillip Tafoya, 42, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, made his initial appearance in federal court this morning 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. Tafoya remains in custody pending his arraignment and detention hearing, which are scheduled for January 31, 2013.
Count one of the indictment alleges that Tafoya robbed an employee of an Albuquerque-area CVS Pharmacy at gunpoint on November 3, 2012, and stole Oxycodone and Oxycontin. Count two alleges that Tafoya used a firearm to perpetuate the robbery, and Count three alleges that Tafoya violated the Safe Doses Act by using violence and the threat of violence to unlawfully take pre-retail medical products.
The Safe Doses Act was enacted in October 2012, to fight medical theft and protect patients from unknowingly using stolen and mishandled drugs. The act provides for enhanced sentences for individuals who rob pharmacies of controlled substances; individuals who steal medical products; and “fences” who knowingly obtain stolen medical products for resale in the supply chain.
If convicted, Tafoya faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on the Hobbs Act charge and 30 years in prison on for theft of medical products charge. If convicted on the firearms charge, Tafoya will be sentenced to a mandatory seven-year term of imprisonment to be served consecutive to any prison term imposed on the other two charges.
U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that this 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.
The case was investigated by the Albuquerque Field Office of the FBI and the Albuquerque Police Department, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon K. Stanford.
Charges in indictments are only accusations. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.