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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Prior Felon from Las Cruces Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Firearms Laws

ALBUQUERQUE – Christopher Alex Ruiz, 26, of Las Cruces, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  The guilty plea was entered without the benefit of a plea agreement.

Ruiz is being prosecuted 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.

Ruiz was charged in March 2014, in a criminal complaint alleging that he unlawfully possessed a firearm and ammunition on Jan. 6, 2014, in Doña Ana County, N.M.  Ruiz subsequently was indicted on that same charge.  In Jan. 2014, Ruiz was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because he previously had been convicted of the following felony offenses:  aggravated burglary, forgery, unlawful carrying of a deadly weapon on school premises, larceny and of burglary of a vehicle on two occasions.

Ruiz has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing, Ruiz faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in prison.  If adjudged to be a career criminal, Ruiz faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Fugitive Apprehension Unit of the New Mexico Corrections Department, the Las Cruces Police Department, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office and the New Mexico State University Police Department with assistance from the 3rd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Y. Armijo of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 26, 2015