Jennifer Marissa Miera, 23, of El Rito north of Questa pled guilty Tuesday (March 14) in federal court in Albuquerque to a federal bank robbery charge.
Miera and co-defendants Troy Montoya, 24, of Espanola and Shawn Michael Goodrum, Jr., 20, of Pima, Arizona, were arrested in Oct. 2016, on a criminal complaint charging them with offenses arising out of the robbery of the People’s Bank located at 121 East Main Street in Red River on Oct. 6, 2016.
According to the complaint, Miera conspired with Montoya to rob the bank by planning the robbery and purchasing items used to carry out the robbery, including gloves and medical masks, on Oct. 5, 2016. It further alleged that Miera and Montoya robbed the bank on Oct. 6, 2016. At the time, Miera was employed as a personal banker by the bank. The complaint alleged that Miera had attempted unsuccessfully to solicit Goodrum’s participation in the bank robbery conspiracy. Instead, Goodrum allegedly blackmailed Miera into giving him part of the proceeds from the robbery by threatening to report her role in the robbery to the police.
Miera, Montoya and Goodrum were indicted on Nov. 1, 2016. The three-count indictment charged Miera and Montoya with conspiracy to rob the bank and with bank robbery, and Goodrum with receiving proceeds from the bank robbery.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Miera pled guilty to Counts 1 and 2 of the indictment charging her with conspiracy and bank robbery without the benefit of a plea agreement. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Miera faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison.
Montoya and Goodrum have entered pleas of not guilty to the charges in the indictment and are pending trial, which currently is scheduled for April 7, 2017 in Santa Fe. Charges in criminal complaints and indictment are merely accusations. Criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Robbery investigation was a joint effort
Red River Marshal David Smith initially announced there had been an armed robbery at the People’s Bank location in Red River at about 9:45 a.m. Thursday (Oct. 6, 2016). The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) even offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest or arrests, however, by Tuesday (Oct. 11) the Red River Marshal’s Office had announced the arrests of Miera and Montoya.
Marshal David Smith, working with Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe, began focusing on the two suspects based on preliminary statements and evidence presented at the beginning of the investigation. The Marshal’s Office investigated the crime along with the Taos County Sheriff’s Office and FBI.
In an email to Red River Mayor Linda Calhoun, Smith wrote, “Lots of hard work in a very short time led to these arrests and I couldn’t have done it without my guys and the help of Jerry Hogrefe.”
Goodrum, Jr., was arrested Tuesday afternoon (Oct. 11, 2016) in connection with the offense.
FBI agents assisted Marshal David Smith, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe and his Sheriff’s Response Team (SRT) team in the execution of a search warrant at a residence in Questa, in which Goodrum had been staying, as well as the vehicle Goodrum was driving when he was stopped pursuant to the warrant. Questa Police Chief Nick Lamendola assisted with the stopping and arrest of Goodrum.
Goodrum was found in possession of money taken during the robbery.
The FBI charged all three in federal court.
Smith stated that the level of cooperation among all the agencies involved was “tremendous” and that led to a quick resolution of the incident.