Tucumcari woman sentenced in bank robbery

Freedom New Mexico

A Tucumcari woman convicted in a 2010 daylight robbery of American Heritage Bank in Melrose was sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison.

Juana Griego, 20, must serve at least 85 percent of the time behind bars and will be subject to two years of intense supervised parole on release, said Andrea Reeb, chief deputy district attorney for the 9th Judicial District. Griego was convicted of armed robbery and tampering with evidence.

Griego and three others were charged with robbing the bank of almost $30,000 shortly after it opened for business the morning of April 12. Wearing baseball caps and bandanas to hide their faces, they scrawled a misspelled note on the back of a Spider Man comic book and stuck it to the front door of the bank, police said.

The note read: “closed intill further notice.”

Police said after threatening bank employees with a gun, a machete and a baseball bat, the four fled the bank in a car, tossing their disguises out the window of the vehicle. The bank’s chief executive officer, Gordon Morris of Melrose, pursued the four, giving police directions on a cell phone in a chase that at times exceeded 95 mph.

Police said they were able to force the car to stop and arrested the four on State Road 209 based on directions from Morris.

The other three charged, all from Tucumcari, are Marcos Maestas, 20, Patrick Quintana, 25, and Santos Preciado, 18.

Preciado pleaded guilty to bank robbery Dec. 1 and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Maestas and Quintana are awaiting trial.