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Press Release

Albuquerque Man Sentenced for Federal Firearms Offenses

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

ALBUQUERQUE – An Albuquerque man was sentenced to 33 months in prison after pleading guilty to being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm and ammunition. This case was adopted from state prosecution in cooperation with the Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

According to court documents, on December 4, 2022, deputies from the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence in the South Valley in reference to a domestic violence incident. The victim told dispatchers that her boyfriend, Leon Ruben Salazar, 42, pointed a firearm at her during an argument. The victim stated that she had been holding her two-year-old child at the time.

Following a 12-hour standoff with law enforcement, Salazar was taken into custody and transported to BCSO’s prisoner transport center. While there, Salazar admitted to smoking fentanyl the prior day and that a rifle was under his bed.

Based on that information, BCSO deputies obtained a search warrant for the residence. Inside, detectives found two handguns, a rifle and ammunition. In addition to the firearms, detectives located three bags of fentanyl pills weighing a total of approximately 20.6 grams, Xanax pills weighing approximately 12.5 grams, a baggie of methamphetamine, 14 Suboxone strips, two Fentanyl patches, and drug paraphernalia.

As a previously convicted felon and an unlawful user of and addict to a controlled substance, Salazar was prohibited from possessing a firearm and ammunition. At sentencing, federal prosecutors successfully argued that Salazar’s conduct and criminal history warranted a sentence at the top end of his guideline sentence of 27 to 33 months.

After completing his term of imprisonment, Salazar will be required to serve three 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 Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office 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 every felony criminal complaint 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 343 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 April 12, 2024

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 24-146