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Press Release

Anthony, N.M., Man Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Firearms Laws

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Candelario Ayala, Jr., 40 of Anthony, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to violating the federal firearms laws under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Ayala was arrested in Nov. 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition on Oct. 23, 2015, in Doña Ana County, N.M.  According to the complaint, on Oct. 23 and 24, 2015, Ayala was allegedly involved in the armed kidnapping of an adult.  During a confrontation preceding the kidnapping, Ayala allegedly was armed with a firearm which he discharged into the floor of the residence in which he and the victim were located.  At the time, Ayala was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because he had previously been convicted of aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm, conspiracy to commit aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and bribery of a witness. 

During today’s proceedings, Ayala pleaded guilty to a felony information charging him with unlawfully possessing a firearm on Nov. 3, 2015.  Ayala admitted that on that day in Doña Ana County, he possessed a semi-automatic rifle.  Ayala further admitted that he was prohibited from possessing firearms because he of his status as a convicted felon.

At sentencing, Ayala faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison.  Ayala remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has not yet been scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Lizarraga of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case.

Updated March 14, 2016