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Firearms, Ammunition and Explosives
03/21/2018

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Federal grand jury indicts Guatemalan man who used a suspected pipe bomb in West Texas bank robbery

LUBBOCK, Texas — A federal grand jury returned an indictment Wednesday charging with one count of bank robbery for the Nov. 20, 2017, robbery of Happy State Bank in Lubbock.

This indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox of the Northern District of Texas.  This case was investigated by the following agencies:  Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); Lubbock Police Department; FBI; U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Texas Department of Public Safety; Texas Tech University Police Department; and Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office.

Eddie Estuardo Galindo-Mendez, 43, a Guatemalan citizen, was charged last week in a related federal criminal complaint with one count of bank robbery. He was in federal custody on other charges at the time the complaint was filed.

According to the affidavit filed with the criminal complaint and the indictment, on Nov. 20, 2017, law enforcement responded to a call for two suspected improvised explosive devices (IED). One IED was located on the campus of Texas Tech University and one was used in the robbery at Happy State Bank. The IEDs were described as pipe bombs. Law enforcement reviewed surveillance video captured from Texas Tech University and Happy State Bank’s interior video systems. The videos show that around 1:27 p.m. the suspected IED was placed on a student’s truck at Texas Tech University and at around 3 p.m. an individual robbed the Happy State Bank using a note and a suspected IED.

Employees at the bank advised that Galindo-Mendez entered the bank, approached the teller, and handed the teller a note that stated he had a bomb and requested money. Galindo-Mendez also placed what appeared to be a pipe bomb on the counter. The employees provided Galindo-Mendez with about $2,553 and he left the bank on a bicycle and took the note, but left behind the IED. Bomb technicians examined the IED and determined it to be inert.

“Prosecuting violent crimes is a top priority for my office and the Department of Justice,” said U.S. Attorney Nealy Cox.  “Prosecuting those violent crimes that touch upon the safety and security of our schools, universities and financial institutions is of paramount importance.  To those who commit violent crimes and threaten these institutions, know that law enforcement will relentlessly pursue bringing you to justice.”

ATF Dallas Field Division Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey C. Boshek stated “Today’s indictment is an example of ATF’s commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to pursue federal criminal charges against those that use firearms, explosives or arson to victimize businesses and endanger the public that patronizes them.”

“This is yet another example of the cooperative efforts that federal, state and local agencies do on a regular basis for the citizens in Lubbock and the surrounding communities,” said Assistant Chief Jerry Brewer, Lubbock Police Department Investigations Services Bureau.

An indictment is an accusation by a federal grand jury, and a defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty.  However, the maximum statutory penalty for conviction of this offenses is 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Haag, Northern District of Texas, is in charge of the prosecution.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 10/16/2018