For Immediate Release
Prior Felon from Carlsbad Sentenced To Federal Prison for Violating Federal Firearms Laws
ALBUQUERQUE – Travis Hayslip, 34, of Carlsbad, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 30 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for violating the federal firearms laws when he ignited the fire that destroyed the Quality Inn Hotel in Carlsbad on March 9, 2016. Hayslip also was ordered to pay $2.4 million in restitution to Choice Hotels for the damage he caused to the hotel.
Hayslip was arrested on March 31, 2016, by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) on a federal arson charge. According to the criminal complaint, on March 9, 2016, a fire was ignited and caused more than $2 million in damages to the Quality Inn, a hotel that was under construction at 4106 National Parks Highway in Carlsbad in Eddy County, N.M. The complaint alleged that Hayslip walked through a part of the hotel that was under construction and lit a piece of debris with a lighter. Hayslip subsequently was indicted on April 26, 2016, on the charge of maliciously damaging and destroying the hotel by means of a fire.
On June 29, 2016, Hayslip pled guilty to a felony information charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm. In entering the guilty plea, Hayslip admitted that on March 16, 2016, in Eddy County, he possessed a firearm despite his prior felony conviction for theft in Arizona. Hayslip also acknowledged that he was responsible for the arson that occurred on March 9, 2016, at Choice Hotels in Carlsbad, and was therefore liable for $2.4 million in damages caused by the fire.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa A. Ong of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office prosecuted the case which was investigated by Special Agents from the Las Cruces office and the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and members of ATF’s National Response Team who worked jointly with the Carlsbad Fire Department, the Carlsbad Police Department, the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force, the Office of New Mexico Fire Marshal, the Office of the New Mexico State Fire Investigator, and Gilbert Police Department K9 Handler, to follow leads, investigate the fire scene, interview witnesses and suspects, and analyze available surveillance footage.
ATF’s National Response Team is composed of veteran special agents having post blast and fire origin-and-cause expertise; forensic chemists; explosives enforcement officers; fire protection engineers; accelerant detection canines; intelligence support; and audit support. The team also has technical, legal, and intelligence advisors and a fleet of fully equipped response vehicles strategically located throughout the United States to provide logistical support. The National Response Team, federal, state and local investigators work together to reconstruct the scene, identify the seat of the blast or origin of the fire, and determine the cause. In the case of bombings and arson fires, NRT members gather evidence to support criminal prosecutions.