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Press Release

Albuquerque Man Sentenced for Federal Firearms Offense

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – An Albuquerque man was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. This case was adopted from state prosecution in cooperation with the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

According to court documents, on November 13, 2022, a husband and wife were waiting for food at a Church's Chicken drive-thru on Broadway Blvd SE. Joseph Dino Lopez, 59, approached their car, banged on the window, and yelled at them while appearing under the influence.

Surveillance footage shows Lopez retrieving a blue bag containing a shotgun and approaching the victims' parked car. After an altercation where the male victim pepper sprayed him, Lopez pulled out the shotgun, loaded it, and pointed it at the couple before they fled. Lopez briefly left the scene to wash the pepper spray out of his eyes, but returned, and APD arrested him as he exited the Church's Chicken restaurant. The loaded shotgun was recovered from the blue bag he had left behind, and additional ammunition was discovered in his shirt pocket.

At the time of the offense, Lopez had previously been convicted of a total of nine felonies.

After completing his term of imprisonment, Lopez will be required to serve 3 years of supervised release.

There is no parole in the federal system.

U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez and Bernalillo County District Attorney Sam Bregman made the announcement today.

The Albuquerque Police Department investigated this case with assistance from the FBI Albuquerque Field Office. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter Haynes prosecuted the case as part of an agreement with the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Through the agreement, Assistant District Attorneys are designated Special Assistant United States Attorneys (SAUSAs) in the United States Attorney’s Office. The SAUSA from the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office screens felony criminal complaints filed in Bernalillo County for federal criminal offenses, prioritizing federal charges against those who drive violence in the Albuquerque metropolitan area. Since 2020, the United States Attorney’s Office has reviewed almost 3,000 cases and has charged more than 300 criminal cases pursuant to this program.

The United States Attorney’s Office has similar agreements with the New Mexico Department of Justice and the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office and plans to expand the program throughout the state.

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Updated May 20, 2024

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 24-182