Press release: Melrose bank robber sentenced

Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matthew Chandler announced today that Santos Preciado, age 19, was sentenced to serve twelve (12) years in prison for one (1) count of Armed Robbery, one (1) count of Conspiracy to Commit Armed Robbery, and one (1) count of Tampering with Evidence.

The charges stem from April 12, 2010 when Curry County Sheriff’s Office responded to an armed robbery call at American Heritage Bank in Melrose, New Mexico. On the morning of April 12th, Santos Preciado, along with three other people, left Tucumcari, New Mexico intending to rob the Melrose bank.

After canvassing the area, three of the four robbers entered the bank armed with a machete, a gun, and a baseball bat. The robbers placed a “closed” sign on the front door of the bank and began threatening employees to give them money. The robbers left with nearly $30,000 in cash while the bank manager notified authorities. With the help of witnesses, officers were able to locate the suspects’ vehicle traveling down the highway towards Tucumcari, New Mexico. Witnesses and officers observed items of clothing, weapons, and money being discarded out of the vehicle. Through the help of New Mexico State Police, the Curry County Sheriff’s Office was able to set a roadblock and safely apprehend all four defendants shortly after the robbery.

District Judge Stephen Quinn presided over the proceedings and Assistant District Attorney Camille Chavez prosecuted the case for the State. Following Santos’ twelve (12) year prison term, he must serve an additional two (2) years of an intensively supervised parole period. The three remaining co-defendants are awaiting trial for their part in the Melrose bank robbery.