Department of Justice
For Immediate Release
Albuquerque Man Sentenced to Fifteen Years for Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking and Firearms Conviction
Chavez Prosecuted Under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative
ALBUQUERQUE – Manuel Chavez, 33, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced this afternoon in federal court to 180 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for his methamphetamine trafficking and firearms conviction.
The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Kari E. Brandenburg, Special Agent in Charge Thomas G. Atteberry of the Phoenix Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Chief Gorden Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department, and Bernalillo County Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III.
U.S. Attorney Martinez said that Chavez was prosecuted as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution. Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.
Chavez was arrested on April 29, 2014, on a four-count indictment charging him with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and one count of using a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. The indictment alleged that Chavez committed the crimes on Sept. 30, 2013 and Oct. 24, 2013, in Bernalillo County, N.M. According to court filings, Chavez was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of numerous felony offenses, including conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, aggravated assault against a household member, possession of a controlled substance, attempting to bring contraband into a prison, and aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer.
On Dec. 19, 2014, Chavez pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. In entering his guilty plea, Chavez admitted that on Oct. 24, 2013, he possessed more than 50 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Chavez also admitted that on the same day, he used and carried two semiautomatic pistols and a semiautomatic rifle in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
The case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, with assistance from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly A. Brawley and Sarah Jane Mease prosecuted the case.