For Immediate Release
Armed Career Criminal From Albuquerque Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
Thomas Prosecuted Under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative
ALBUQUERQUE – Kristian Thomas, 35, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning in federal court to unlawfully possessing a firearm. Thomas entered his guilty plea under an agreement that permits him to appeal from a court order denying his motion to suppress evidence. He will be permitted to withdraw his guilty plea if he prevails on his appeal.
Thomas, whose criminal record includes convictions for armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and attempted residential burglary, is being prosecuted under 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 primarily based on their prior criminal convictions with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible. Because New Mexico’s violent crime rate, on a per capita basis, is one of the highest in the nation, New Mexico’s law enforcement community is collaborating to target repeat offenders from counties with the highest violent crime rates, including Bernalillo County, N.M., under this initiative.
Thomas was charged by criminal complaint on March 27, 2015, with being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to the complaint, on March 26, 2015, Albuquerque Police Department (APD) officers arrested Thomas at a pawnshop on Bridge SW in Albuquerque on an outstanding warrant. The officers found a revolver in Thomas’ pants pocket during a search incident to arrest. Thomas was subsequently indicted on April 28, 2015, and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
During today’s proceedings, Thomas pled guilty to the indictment, and admitted that on March 26, 2015, he possessed a revolver, which he was not permitted to possess because of his status as a convicted felon.
Thomas remains in federal custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. If deemed an armed career criminal, Thomas faces an enhanced sentence of a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and APD and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Cairns.