Albuquerque Felon Sentenced to Federal Prison for Violating Firearms Laws
Defendant is One of 104 Individuals Federally Charged as a Result of ATF-Led Investigation Pursued in Support of Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative
ALBUQUERQUE – Adrian Banks, 28, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court to 64 months in prison for unlawfully possessing a firearm. Banks will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence.
Banks and his codefendants Marcus Sowell, 20, Damon Giles, 23, Michael Borrego, 25, and Marcus Lewis, 27, were arrested during an ATF-led investigation that resulted in the filing of 59 federal indictments and one federal criminal complaint charging 104 Bernalillo County residents with federal firearms and narcotics trafficking offenses. The investigation began in mid-April 2016, when ATF personnel from throughout the country joined forces with federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies in New Mexico to combat the high rate of violent crime in the Albuquerque metropolitan area. The investigators utilized a number of investigative techniques, including undercover operations, historical investigation and targeting of multi-convicted felons in possession of firearms.
The investigation was undertaken in support 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 collaborate with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution primarily based on their prior criminal convictions with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.
Banks and his codefendants were charged in a 12-count indictment filed on June 30, 2016. The indictment charged the following:
Sowell with possession of a firearm not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR) and engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license on May 19, 2016;
Giles with being a felon in possession of a firearm on May 19, 2016;
Giles and Borrego with engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license on May 31, 2016;
Giles and Banks with engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license on June 7, 2016;
Banks with being a felon in possession of firearms on June 7, 2016;
Borrego with engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license on June 7, 2016 and June 10, 2016;
Giles and Lewis with distribution of cocaine on June 9, 2016;
Borrego with possession of a firearm not registered to him in the NFRTR on June 10, 2016;
Giles with engaging in the business of dealing firearms without a license and being a felon in possession of firearms on June 13, 2016.
According to the indictment, the offenses were committed in Bernalillo County, N.M.\
On Nov. 4, 2016, Banks pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and admitted that on June 7, 2016, he was in possession of three firearms despite his status as a convicted felon. Banks was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his felony convictions for kidnapping in the second degree and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
To date, 25 of the 104 defendants including Sowell, Giles, Borrego and Lewis have entered guilty pleas and two have been sentenced. The remaining defendants have entered not guilty pleas. Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
The case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of ATF. Assistant U.S. Attorney James D. Tierney is prosecuting the case.