Press release: Tucumcari woman sentenced to five years in bank robbery

Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matthew Chandler announced today that Juana Griego, 20, was sentenced to serve five years in prison for one count of Armed Robbery and one 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, Juana Griego, along with three other people, left Tucumcari, New Mexico intending to rob the Melrose bank. The investigation uncovered that Griego was the driver of the getaway vehicle.

After canvassing the area, three of the four robbers entered the bank, 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 Chief Deputy District Attorney Andrea Reeb prosecuted the case for the State.

The State argued for the maximum sentence of seven years, but Judge Stephen Quinn ultimately sentenced Juana Griego to five years imprisonment, followed by two years of intensively supervised parole. The Court also found Griego’s crime is considered a serious violent offense and must serve a mandatory 85 percent of her total sentence.

Co-defendant Santos Preciado pled guilty to the bank robbery and received a 12-year sentence on December 1, 2010. Two remaining co-defendants are also awaiting trial for their parts in the crime.