DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico

For Immediate Release

Thursday, June 4, 2015
Damon P. Martinez
, United States Attorney
Contact: Elizabeth Martinez

Prior Felon from Albuquerque Pleads Guilty to Federal Carjacking and Firearms Charges

Defendant Prosecuted under Federal "Worst of the Worst" Anti-Violence Initiative


ALBUQUERQUE – Jose Rios, 32, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning in federal court to federal carjacking and firearms charges.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Rios will be sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.


The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Kari E. Brandenburg, Special Agent Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Chief Gorden Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department.


Rios was indicted on Dec. 17, 2013, and charged with three counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition (May 9, 2013, July 23, 2013, and Aug. 15, 2013); one count of carjacking on Aug. 14, 2013; and one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence on Aug. 14, 2013.  According to the indictment, Rios committed the five crimes in Bernalillo County, N.M.  At the time, Rios was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of several felony offenses, including the unlawful taking of a vehicle, aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer, and conspiracy to unlawfully take a vehicle.


Rios was arrested on the federal charges on May 9, 2014, after he was transferred to federal custody from state custody where he was facing related state charges.  The state charges were dismissed in favor of federal prosecution.


During today’s proceedings, Rios pled guilty to Counts 1, 3 and 4 of the indictment which charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, carjacking and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.  In entering the guilty plea, Rios admitted that on May 9, 2013, he unlawfully possessed a revolver and ammunition in Bernalillo County.  Rios further admitted that on Aug. 14, 2013, he committed a carjacking when he brandished a firearm at another person so that he could take the person’s vehicle. 


Rios has been in custody since his arrest and remains detained pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.


This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Albuquerque Police Department, with assistance from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel A. Hurtado 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.


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