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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of New Mexico

For Immediate Release

June 27, 2011

Kenneth J. Gonzales, United States Attorney

Contact: Elizabeth Martinez, Public Affairs Officer
(505) 224-1469

Armed Career Criminal Receives 15–Year Sentence for Unlawful Possession of Firearms

ALBUQUERQUE — United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales announced that, today in federal court in Albuquerque, Charles Antonio Gutierrez, a 33–year–old Albuquerque resident, was sentenced to 180–months in prison to be followed by a three–year term of supervised release based on his conviction for being a felon in possession of firearms.

Gutierrez was one of 32 defendants indicted on federal and state firearms offenses in June 2010 as part of Operation Jokerz Traderz, a long–term investigation designed to remove unlawfully possessed firearms from the streets of Albuquerque, and to target and prosecute felons in possession of such firearms. During the investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) operated an undercover store–front in Albuquerque, also aptly named Jokerz Traderz. ATF operated Jokerz Traderz as a thrift store at 1309 San Mateo Blvd. NE. Undercover agents purchased a variety of firearms from a substantial number of individuals, most of whom were later arrested as part of the operation. In total, 230 firearms were removed from the streets of Albuquerque never to be used again for any unlawful purpose.

Gutierrez was charged as a felon in possession of three firearms in an indictment filed in the case on June 10, 2010. According to the indictment, Gutierrez unlawfully possessed the firearms on October 2, 2009, despite having previously been convicted of three felony offenses in the Second Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico in Bernalillo County. Specifically, the indictment stated that Gutierrez previously had been convicted of (i) distribution of cocaine; (ii) aggravated armed burglary; and (iii) residential burglary and battery on a peace officer.

Gutierrez was arrested on June 29, 2010, and has been in federal custody since that time. On April 4, 2011, Gutierrez entered a guilty plea to the indictment under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office which indicated that Gutierrez faced a maximum sentence of ten years’ imprisonment unless he was deemed to be an armed career criminal. When he entered his guilty his plea, Gutierrez admitted that, in addition to the three felony offenses identified in the indictment, he also previously had been convicted of a fourth felony offense, another residential burglary, in the Second Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico in Bernalillo County.

During today’s sentencing hearing, a United States District Judge concluded that Gutierrez was an armed career criminal and thus subject to a sentencing enhancement. Accordingly, the Judge sentenced Gutierrez to a fifteen year term of imprisonment.

Assistant United States Attorney Lynn W. Y. Wang prosecuted the case, which was investigated by ATF.