Albuquerque Resident Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Firearms Laws
Defendant is One of 104 Individuals Federally Charged as a Result of ATF-Led
ALBUQUERQUE - Jesus Ramirez, 26, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to violating the federal firearms laws by unlawfully possessing a firearm.
Ramirez and his co-defendants Richard Porras, 30, and Jonathan Griego, 27, both of Albuquerque, 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.
Ramirez, Griego and Porras were arrested in Aug. 2016, on separate criminal complaints charging them with drug trafficking and firearms offenses. The three were subsequently charged together in a nine-count indictment filed on Aug. 9, 2016. The indictment charged Porras and Griego with conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. It also charged Porras with distributing methamphetamine on three occasions, carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm; and Ramirez with possession of methamphetamine and heroin with intent to distribute, carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
During today’s proceedings, Ramirez pled guilty to carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime. In entering the guilty plea, Ramirez admitted that on Aug. 4, 2016, he carried and used a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Ramirez further admitted that he was carrying a firearm loaded with ammunition while in the process of distributing methamphetamine and heroin. At sentencing, Ramirez faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
To date, 23 of the 104 defendants have entered guilty pleas and one been sentenced. The remaining defendants including Porras and Griego, 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 Paul H. Spiers is prosecuting the case.