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Press Release

Albuquerque Man Arraigned on Federal Firearms Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Chavez Prosecuted as Part of “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – Pete Pasqual Chavez, 36, of Albuquerque, N.M., was arraigned this morning in federal court on an indictment charging him with being felon in possession of a firearm.  Chavez entered a not guilty plea to the indictment and was ordered detained pending trial.

The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Thomas G. Atteberry of the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Chief Gorden Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

Chavez was arrested on Sept. 16, 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition on Sept. 14, 2015, in Bernalillo County, N.M.  The complaint alleges that on Sept. 14, 2015, officers of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) responded to the La Quinta Inn on San Antonio Blvd. in Albuquerque after Chavez allegedly told hotel personnel that he had just shot a person who was breaking into his vehicle.  Upon arrival, the APD officers found a firearm under Chavez’s vehicle.  Thereafter the officers executed search warrants for Chavez’s hotel room and vehicle.  In the vehicle, the officers allegedly found a single projectile that was removed from the inside of the passenger door and a box of Perfecta .45 caliber ammunition.  In Chavez’s hotel room, the officers allegedly found four rounds of Perfecta .45 caliber ammunition.  In the bushes outside Chavez’s room, the officers allegedly found a firearm loaded with ten rounds of Perfecta .45 caliber ammunition.

Chavez was indicted on Oct. 7, 2015, and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

At the time of his arrest, Chavez was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition, because he previously had been convicted of attempting to traffic a controlled substance with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence, shooting from or into a vehicle and use of a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking crime.      

If convicted of the crime charged in the indictment, Chavez faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison.  If the court determines that Chavez is an armed career criminal, he faces an enhanced sentence of a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison to a maximum of life imprisonment. Charges in indictments are merely accusations.  All criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and APD.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Cairns is prosecuting the case.

This case 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.  Because New Mexico’s violent crime rates, on a per capita basis, are amongst the highest in the nation, New Mexico’s law enforcement community is collaborating to target repeat offenders from counties with the highest violent crime rates, including Bernalillo County, under this initiative.

Updated October 14, 2015