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FARMINGTON — Richard Allen Buckner pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to a felony offense in the March 20 robbery of a Farmington bank, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

On March 18, a man wearing a blue surgical mask and wrap-around sunglasses allegedly entered the First Convenience Bank inside Walmart, 4600 E. Main St. in Farmington, and handed a teller a note demanding money, according to the criminal complaint.

The teller handed the man $4,000 in cash and he fled the scene in a four-door Nissan Sentra, the complaint states.

Buckner, 22, of Farmington, was arrested the next day in Flora Vista after two unidentified witnesses told FBI agents he exhibited suspicious behavior on the day of the robbery.

Buckner admitted in a statement to detectives that he committed the robbery, the complaint states, and said he used some of the money to make a down payment on a vehicle.

Buckner was indicted April 14 for bank robbery and pleaded guilty to the offense Tuesday morning without the benefit of a plea agreement, the department press release states.

Buckner's defense attorney requested in a motion filed Aug. 24 that a judge allow his client's continued release from jail pending his sentencing hearing.

In the motion, the attorney said Buckner's alleged commission of the offense was "devoid of good judgment," but he did not use a firearm and was polite to the bank teller.

The U.S. Attorney's Office did not take a position on Buckner's motion.

At sentencing, Buckner faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and three years supervised release, according to the department's press release.

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and stgarrison@daily-times.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.

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