For Immediate Release
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
, United States Attorney
James D. Tierney
Contact: Elizabeth M. Martinez
Roswell Felon Pleads Guilty to Federal Kidnapping and Firearms Charges
Phoenix Field Division
ALBUQUERQUE – Acting U.S. Attorney James D. Tierney, Special Agent in Charge John J. Durastanti of the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Chief Kent Waller of the Carlsbad Police Department (CPD) announced that Richard Fierro, 43, of Roswell, N.M., pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to kidnapping and firearms charges. Fierro’s plea agreement recommends a sentence of 15 years in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.
Fierro 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 primarily based on their prior criminal convictions for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.
Fierro was arrested in Nov. 2016, on a criminal complaint charging him violating the federal firearms laws on Oct. 28, 2016, in Eddy County, N.M. According to the complaint, Fierro forced two children into his vehicle at gunpoint, crashed the vehicle, and attempted to flee the scene before being arrested by CPD officers. Officers found a firearm, ammunition, and marijuana in Fierro’s vehicle during a search incident to arrest. During a subsequent search of Fierro’s residence pursuant to a search warrant, officers seized ammunition, suspected quantities of cocaine and heroin, and drug paraphernalia.
Fierro was indicted on Feb. 15, 2017, and was charged with kidnapping two victims and with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition on Oct. 28, 2016, in Eddy County. According to the indictment, Fierro was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted on cocaine trafficking, aggravated battery, possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Fierro pled guilty to the indictment. In entering the guilty plea, Fierro admitted that on Oct. 28, 2016, he forced the two juvenile victims into his vehicle based on his mistaken belief that he needed to kidnap them to protect his daughter from harm. Fierro further admitted kidnapping the two victims he drove around Carlsbad until he crashed into another vehicle and fled the scene. Fierro acknowledged possessing a firearm and ammunition during the kidnapping although he was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition due to his status as a convicted felon. Fierro 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 and the Carlsbad Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark A. Saltman of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and DOJ’s Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc/.