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Published On: Sun, Oct 14th, 2018

Gabriel Stephens pleads guility to Mountain America and Rio Grande Credit Unions armed robbery

Gabriel Stephens, 37, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to bank robbery and firearms charges.

The FBI, with assistance from the Rio Rancho Police Department, arrested Stephens in Feb. 2018, on a criminal complaint charging him with robbing the Mountain America Credit Union located at 9200 Golf Course Rd. NW in Albuquerque on Feb. 7, 2018, and the Rio Grande Credit Union located at 1526 Unser Blvd., in Rio Rancho, N.M., on Feb. 17, 2018.  During both robberies, Stephens gave bank tellers a note demanding money and the bank tellers responded by placing money into Stephens’ backpack.  During the Feb. 7, 2018, bank robbery, Stephens motioned as though he was holding a firearm inside his backpack, and during the Feb. 17, 2018, bank robbery he showed the bank teller a firearm located inside his backpack.

Stephens was indicted on March 13, 2018, and was charged with armed bank robbery and with using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.  The indictment was superseded on April 24, 2018, and charged Stephens with bank robbery of the Mountain America Credit Union on Feb. 7, 2018, in Bernalillo County, N.M.; armed bank robbery of the Rio Grande Credit Union on Feb. 17, 2018, in Sandoval County, N.M.; and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence on Feb. 17, 2018, in Sandoval County.

Photo/Stefan Schweihofer

During today’s proceedings, Stephens pled guilty to armed bank robbery and using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.  In entering the guilty plea, Stephens admitted that on Feb. 17, 2018, he entered the Rio Grande Credit Union and gave the teller a note, which demanded money.  Stephens further admitted that as the teller was handing him money, Stephens opened his bag so the teller could see the firearm that was inside the bag.

At sentencing, Stephens faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in federal prison on the armed bank robbery charge and a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in federal prison for using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, which must be served consecutive to the sentence imposed on the bank robbery charge.  Stephens remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Rio Rancho Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney James D. Tierney is prosecuting the case.

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