Suspects allegedly threatened victim with knife, handgun

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FARMINGTON — Two suspects are accused of armed robbery and burglary outside a Farmington gas station last week, allegedly threatening the victim with a knife and firearm.

Sterling Bedah, 30, and Diatra Smith, 33, are facing charges in connection to an alleged armed robbery on Sept. 20 at the 7-2-11 gas station at 1700 Murray Drive, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Bedah is accused of five charges, including armed robbery, aggravated burglary and possession of a firearm by a felon, according to court records. Mark Curnutt, Bedah's attorney, did not respond to requests for comment.

Smith is accused of three charges, including aggravated burglary and armed robbery. Smith did not have legal representation today.

Officers for the Farmington Police Department were dispatched around 12:45 a.m. on Sept. 20 to the 7-2-11 on reports of a robbery.

The female victim identified the alleged suspects in the incident as Smith and Bedah, explaining that she had known them both for a long time. She told an officer that Smith had wanted to meet her at the gas station near the intersection of N.M. Highway 371 and U.S. Highway 64. The victim told Smith to meet her at the 7-2-11.

Shortly after the victim arrived at the gas station, the suspects arrived at the gas station and parked nearby. Smith exited her vehicle and sat in the front passenger seat of the victim's car. She then allegedly pulled out a pocket knife and threatened the victim.

The female suspect followed by allegedly taking the vehicle keys out of the ignition. The victim and Smith briefly fought over the keys before Smith allegedly took them.

The victim stated Bedah walked to the side of her car and told her she better do as she was told, according to court documents.

The male suspect was described as wearing a white mask with the hood of his blue sweater over his head.

The victim told police Bedah opened the door of the vehicle and demanded money from her. Bedah allegedly pulled a black handgun and cocked it after the victim stated she didn't have any money, according to court documents. He allegedly took the victim's cellphone as she tried to call for help.

The victim stated the suspects searched her car for other property, then left the scene in their vehicle. The suspects reportedly headed eastbound on Murray Drive, but responding officers were unable to locate their vehicle.

A vehicle Bedah was a passenger in was pulled for a traffic stop around 3:09 am. in the area of East Main Street and Cochiti Avenue, the affidavit states.

Officers found a black handgun and a white mask located in the vehicle after the driver gave consent for a search.

Bedah was transported to the Farmington Police Department for questioning. He told officers he didn't know anything about the alleged robbery and that he had not seen Smith that day.

Smith was arrested Wednesday morning, according to Farmington police spokesperson Georgette Allen.

The San Juan County District Attorney's Office filed a motion to hold Bedah with no bond pending trial. A hearing regarding the motion is set for Monday afternoon in Aztec District Court.

The preliminary hearings for Smith and Bedah are set for Wednesday morning in Farmington Magistrate Court.

The suspects were incarcerated on a no-bond hold Thursday afternoon at the San Juan County Adult Detention Center.

Joshua Kellogg covers crime, courts and social issues for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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