For Immediate Release
Chaves County Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Firearms Charge and Possessing Contraband in Prison
ALBUQUERQUE – Richard Gonzales, 30, of Dexter, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to violating federal firearms laws and possession of contraband in prison.
Gonzales was arrested in Feb. 2016, on a criminal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and possessing contraband in prison. According to the complaint, law enforcement officers found Gonzales, who is a convicted felon, in possession of a firearm and ammunition on Nov. 5, 2015, during a routine traffic stop. Thereafter, on Nov. 23, 2015, corrections officers at the Chaves County Detention Center recovered 14.6 grams of methamphetamine from Gonzales during a strip search after he returned to the detention center following his initial appearance in federal court in Roswell, N.M.
During today’s proceedings, Gonzales pled guilty to a felony information charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of contraband in prison. In entering his guilty plea, Gonzales admitted that he unlawfully possessed a firearm on Nov. 5, 2015, in Chaves County, N.M. He acknowledged that he was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition as a result of his prior convictions for burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Gonzales also admitted possessing 14.6 grams of methamphetamine on Nov. 23, 2015, while he was incarcerated at the Chaves County Detention Center. Gonzales further admitted that he was on supervised release for a prior conviction at the time he committed the two crimes charged in the felony information.
At sentencing, Gonzales faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison followed by up to three years of supervised release. Gonzales remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force and the Roswell Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alfred J. Perez of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case.
The HIDTA Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force is comprised of investigators from the Roswell Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI and the Chaves County Sherriff’s Office. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.
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