Albuquerque man is sentenced for Socorro crime
A man who robbed a gas station on U.S. 85 at knifepoint last summer appeared at the 7th Judicial District Court on Thursday for sentencing.
Joseph Chavez, 44, of Albuquerque, was found guilty by a jury in April of armed robbery, a second-degree felony, and two misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest, after holding up the Pump ‘N Save on U.S. 85 last July 1.
On Thursday, Judge Matthew Reynolds sentenced Chavez to the maximum allowable penalty for armed robbery — nine years — and an additional one year in prison for each of the misdemeanors charges. The prison term is to be followed by two years on parole.
Assistant District Attorney Bob Cates said armed robbery is a crime that only qualifies for 15 percent time off for good behavior, so Chavez will be incarcerated for at least 85 percent of the nine years he was sentenced to for that offense. Cates also said he plans to file a motion for the court to impose an additional year of “habitual offender” time to be added to the prison term already given to Chavez.
“I’m very proud of the police work in this case,” Cates said. “Local law enforcement worked together and had him within hours of the incident taking place. They really came through on this one.”
Cates said the evidence was so well-handled by the police that the jury in this case only deliberated for about seven minutes.
According to the criminal charges filed last July, Chavez entered the Pump ‘N Save on N.M. 85 a year ago, held a knife on the gas station clerk, demanded all the money in the cash drawer, helped himself to cigarettes and candy, and took off in a white Dodge pickup truck. He then led law enforcement officers from three agencies on a chase through Socorro’s back streets and onto I-25, where he was finally taken into custody by Sheriff’s Deputy Shorty Vaiza. Chavez reportedly assaulted officers twice during the arrest, once when he was initially apprehended, and once at the police station when he was being re-handcuffed.
A second person, Eileen Vargas, 41, also of Albuquerque, was also in the white Dodge pickup, and was also initially arrested in connection with the robbery. Vargas was charged with a second-degree felony count of robbery and a third-degree felony count of conspiracy to commit a felony, however those charges were dismissed in Magistrate Court after a preliminary hearing.
Contact Suzanne Barteau