News and Press Releases

Albuquerque Felons Sentenced to Federal
Prison for Violating Firearms Laws

Two Defendants Prosecuted as Part of Federal Anti-Violence
Initiative Targeting “Worst of the Worst” Offenders

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 12, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE – Two prior felons who reside in Albuquerque were sentenced this morning to lengthy federal prison terms for violating the federal firearms laws.  Isaac Aragon, 32, was sentenced to 77 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  In a separate case, Joseph Rael, 40, was sentenced to 88 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for unlawfully possessing a firearm and ammunition.

Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough said that both men were prosecuted as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution.  Under this anti-violence 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.

“Arresting armed violent criminals is a priority of our office.  Taking the “worst of the worst” off our streets sends a message that violent behavior will not be tolerated.  I am pleased with the investigative efforts of ATF, the Albuquerque Police Department and the leadership of the U.S. Attorney's Office,” stated Special Agent in Charge Bernard J. Zapor of the Phoenix Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Aragon was arrested in Jan. 2013 based on a criminal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  He subsequently was indicted on that same charge.  According to the indictment, Aragon committed this offense in Oct. 2012, in Bernalillo County, N.M.  At the time, Aragon was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of the following felony offenses in New Mexico state courts:  two convictions of receiving and transferring a stolen motor vehicle; involuntary manslaughter; and aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer.

According to court filings, Aragon was arrested on state charges on Oct. 26, 2012, after officers responded to a call reporting drug trafficking activity at an Albuquerque residence.  When the officers arrived at the residence, they arrested Aragon on outstanding state arrest warrants.  Thereafter the officers executed a search warrant at the residence and seized a backpack that belonged to Aragon.  The backpack contained a .22 caliber revolver, 76 rounds of ammunition, several baggies of methamphetamine, and narcotics paraphernalia.  The state firearms charges were dismissed after Aragon was arrested on federal charges.  Aragon entered a guilty plea to the federal indictment on Sept. 5, 2013, and admitted possessing a revolver and ammunition on Oct. 26, 2012.
           
Rael was arrested in June 2013 based on an indictment charging him with unlawfully possessing a firearm and ammunition on Nov. 2, 2012, in Bernalillo County, N.M.  At the time, Rael was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of seven felony offenses including attempt to commit forgery, larceny, breaking and entering, false imprisonment, conspiracy to unlawfully take of a vehicle, possession of cocaine and burglary. 

Rael was charged based on an incident arising out of a traffic stop on Nov. 2, 2012 in Albuquerque.  Rael fled in his vehicle from the scene of the traffic stop and later struck another vehicle in an intersection.  After Rael was extracted from his vehicle, law enforcement officers discovered a loaded firearm on the driver’s side floorboard.  In Aug. 2013, Rael pled guilty to the indictment pursuant to a plea agreement and admitted possessing a firearm and ammunition on Nov. 2, 2012. 

These cases were investigated by the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Albuquerque Police Department, with assistance from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  The Aragon case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly A. Brawley and the Rael case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Walsh.

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