For Immediate Release
Armed Career Criminal from Roswell Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearms and Drug Trafficking Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Raymond Lariva, 30, of Roswell, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to federal firearms and drug trafficking charges. The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, 5th Judicial District Attorney Janetta B. Hicks, Special Agent in Charge Bernard J. Zapor of the Phoenix Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Chief Phil Smith of the Roswell Police Department.
U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez said that Lariva 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.
"We are pleased to join our federal partners in removing these violent offenders from our community," said 5th Judicial District Attorney Janetta B. Hicks.
ATF Special Agent in Charge Bernard J. Zapor said taking violent criminals off the streets and putting them behind bars has always been a focus of ATF. “We commend the agents and officers who repeatedly risk their lives to remove these violent offenders from our communities. I wish to recognize the leadership of U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez and his office for their relentless prosecution of these violent offenders.”
Court records reflect that Lariva was arrested in Roswell on state charges in Dec. 31, 2012, after he attempted to avoid capture on an outstanding state warrant. On Oct. 15, 2013, Lariva was transferred to federal custody to face related federal charges in a criminal complaint that had been filed in Jan. 2013. The state charges subsequently were dismissed in favor of federal prosecution.
According to court filings, on Dec. 31, 2012, an officer of the Roswell Police Department came upon Lariva while responding to a call. The officer, who recognized Lariva and was aware of a pending warrant for his arrest, attempted to make contact with Lariva. Lariva took off running and a foot chase ensued. During the chase, Lariva threw a small black pouch over his shoulder followed by a phone case, identification card and other items. After Lariva was arrested, officers retrieved the black pouch which contained numerous small baggies containing methamphetamine. On Jan. 3, 2013, after reviewing recorded telephone calls made by Lariva while in state custody, officers found a loaded pistol and Lariva’s cellphone on the rooftop of a building in the area in which the pursuit had taken place.
Lariva was indicted on Jan. 15, 2014, and charged with (1) being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition; (2) using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime; and (3) possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The indictment alleged that Lariva committed the offenses charged in Chaves County, N.M., on Dec. 31, 2012. At the time, Lariva was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of robbery, possession of a controlled substance, conspiracy to commit burglary and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
During today’s proceedings, Lariva entered a guilty plea to the three-count indictment without the benefit of a plea agreement.
Lariva has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. Lariva faces an enhanced sentence of not less than 15 years to life in prison on the felon in possession and methamphetamine charges based on his status as an armed career offender. He also will be sentenced to a mandatory five years in prison for using a firearm during a drug trafficking crime which must be served consecutive to the prison sentence imposed on the other two charges.
This case was investigated by the Roswell office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Roswell Police Department with assistance from the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Y. Armijo of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case.