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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 – A federal judge sentenced an Albuquerque man to 36 months in prison for the illegal sale of firearms, including machineguns, and the illegal possession and transfer of machineguns. Some of these firearms ended up in the wrong hands.

Marquez Martinez, 24, came to the attention of the Albuquerque Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on January 10, 2023, when a fifteen-year-old West Mesa High School student was found on campus with two firearms. One of the firearms was a Glock modified with machine gun conversion device also known as a “switch,” a device that converts ordinary handguns into fully automatic weapons and are by themselves considered machineguns under federal law. The possession of machineguns, but for narrow exceptions, is illegal under federal law. The Glock was traced back to Martinez. Martinez was further identified via his Instagram account where he advertised handguns and machineguns for sale.

Later, on March 2, 2023, a Texas State Ranger conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle occupied by an individual suspected of a homicide. Officers searched the vehicle and recovered a Glock which was modified with a switch. The Glock was traced back to Martinez.

Then, on March 8, 2023, the APD Gun Violence Suppression Unit stopped a vehicle in Albuquerque. Officers searched the vehicle and recovered a Glock. The Glock was traced back to Martinez.

In addition to the recovered firearms, between February and March of 2023, law enforcement purchased the following items from Martinez through his Instagram account:

  • 4 machineguns
  • 3 firearms
  • 6 strips of LSD
  • 500 fentanyl pills

On May 11, 2023, a search warrant was executed on Martinez’s residence. Inside, agents recovered a silencer, ammunition, and 13 additional firearms.

During a subsequent interview, Martinez admitted to buying and selling “hundreds” of firearms and at least fifty in the six months prior to his arrest.

Upon his release, Martinez will be subject to 36 months of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez and Brendan Iber, Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), made the announcement today.

This case was prosecuted, in part, under the new criminal provisions of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Congress enacted, and the President signed in June 2022.  The Act is the first federal statute specifically designed to target the unlawful trafficking and straw-purchasing of firearms.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated this case with assistance from the Albuquerque Police Department. Assistant United States Attorney Patrick E. Cordova prosecuted the case.

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Front of a machine gun conversion device

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Back of a machine gun conversion device

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Updated April 11, 2024

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 24-141