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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Armed Career Criminal from Albuquerque Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Possession of Firearm

ALBUQUERQUE – Anthony Barela, 56, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty today to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Barela will be sentenced to 15 years in federal prison due to his status as an armed career criminal.

Barela is being prosecuted as part 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 work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.

Barela was arrested in Nov. 2013, on a criminal complaint alleging that he unlawfully possessed a firearm and ammunition on Nov. 9, 2013, in Bernalillo County, N.M.  According to the criminal complaint, officers of the Albuquerque Police Department apprehended Barela at a home in northwest Albuquerque when they responded to a call reporting a residential burglary.  When the officers arrived at the residence and encountered Barela, he indicated that he had a pistol in his pocket which he admitted taking from the residence.  At the time, Barela was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of armed bank robbery in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico and armed robbery with a deadly weapon in the 2nd Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico.  

Barela was indicted for unlawfully possessing a firearm and ammunition on Dec. 4, 2013.  During today’s proceedings, Barela admitted that he possessed a pistol and ammunition Nov. 9, 2013, and that he was prohibited from doing so because he was a convicted felon.

Barela has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque offices of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Albuquerque Police Department with assistance from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Burkhead is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 26, 2015