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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
District of Colorado
Cole Finegan, United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Friday, April 8, 2022

Denver Man Sentenced to 20 years in Prison in Armed Carjacking Case

DENVER – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces that Joseph Wesley Avila, age 30, of Denver, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for carjacking and possession of a firearm by a felon.

According to facts presented at trial, Avila and an unidentified man carjacked a woman. One week later, Avila was found to be in possession of a loaded firearm. Avila and the unidentified man beat the carjacking victim with their fists and a skateboard while Avila threatened to kill her. Avila then stole her purse and the car she was driving. When Avila was located a week later, he was driving the stolen vehicle and had armed himself with a pistol and several rounds of ammunition, both loaded into the firearm and in his backpack.

“I hope the idea of spending 20 years in prison makes violent criminals think twice before using a gun in Colorado,” said Cole Finegan, U.S. Attorney for the District of Colorado. “We are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to take violent criminals off the streets for a long time.”

“Avila’s violent criminal past has left a trail of victims for nearly two decades in Colorado,” said Special Agent in Charge David S. Booth. “Due to the strong investigative work and subsequent prosecution, his violence has come to an end.”

On December 6, 2021, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado started a jury trial. On December 8, 2021, the jury returned a guilty verdict.

United States District Court Judge Raymond P. Moore sentenced Joseph Wesley Avila on March 14, 2022.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, with assistance from the FAST Unit of the Denver Police Department, conducted the investigation. Assistant United States Attorneys Celeste Rangel and Conor Flanigan handled the prosecution of the case.

PSN programs are led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in collaboration with local public safety agencies, community stakeholders and other agencies and organizations that work to reduce violent crime.

Case number 20-cr-00229-RM

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