BELLEVUE, Wash. — Two suspects were charged related to a robbery at a Bellevue pot shop on Wednesday. A third suspect in the crime was shot and killed after a standoff with police.
Anthony Barajas Robledo, 20, and Rex Eckman, 19, were both charged with first-degree robbery. Eckman who allegedly served as the getaway driver for the other two suspects faces one charge of attempting to elude a pursuing police vehicle. Barajas Robledo faces an additional charge of unlawful possession of a firearm in the first degree.
Prosecutors requested bail be set at $500,000 for Barajas Robledo, who allegedly helped rob Green-Theory Marijuana Factoria in the Factoria neighborhood of Bellevue on Wednesday afternoon. Prosecutors requested Eckman's bail be set at $100,000.
During the robbery, Barajas Robledo allegedly jumped the counter of the store and held a female employee at gunpoint, leading her to the manager's office. Police say the suspect then forced the manager to open the store's safe and empty out the cash. In the meantime, Barajas Robledo's accomplice, later identified as 19-year-old Martin Yanez, was forcing an employee to empty cash from the registers, according to charging documents.
Both suspects then fled the store and got into a silver Nissan sedan allegedly driven by Eckman.
Eckman led officers on a "lengthy and very dangerous pursuit" involving multiple agencies from Bellevue to Seattle, court documents allege. He is accused of driving over 80 miles per hour, running multiple red lights, traveling via the center turn lane and speeding through a construction zone where people were working.
Eckman then allegedly abandoned the car near the intersection of South Orcas Street and 39th Avenue South in Seattle. He was found approximately 900 feet away from the vehicle where he was arrested.
Barajas Robledo and Yanez were tracked to a shed near the 3600 block of South Findlay Street in Seattle. Yanez was killed during an exchange of gunfire with SWAT officers. Barajas Robledo then exited the shed and surrendered, according to court documents.
Barajas Robledo was previously convicted of attempted robbery, attempted burglary, eluding police and possession of a stolen vehicle in 2017. He also has pending cases for robbery in the first degree and unlawful possession of a firearm in King County Superior Court.
A suspect was shot and killed during an attempted robbery at a Covington pot shop just one day later. Dozens of marijuana stores have been robbed in western Washington within the past few months.
Pot shop owners are lobbying the state and federal regulators to do more to curb robberies at their stores.
The Washington state treasurer recently visited Washington D.C. to lobby congress to pass the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking (SAFE) Act, which would allow banks to work with cannabis-related businesses, although the substance is still federally illegal. In the meantime, many cannabis businesses are forced to do business solely in cash, making them a common target for robberies.