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Justice News

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

Monday, October 27, 2014

Armed Career Criminal Pleads Guilty to Unlawful Possession of Firearm

ALBUQUERQUE – Paul Anthony Turrieta, 36, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  Turrieta will be sentenced to 15 years in federal prison due to his status as an armed career criminal.

U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez said that Turrieta was 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.

“Keeping guns out of the hands of trigger pullers is our top priority,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Thomas G. Atteberry.  “I want to commend the enforcement efforts of the Albuquerque Police Department and the United States Attorney’s Office for their diligence.”

Turrieta was arrested in Feb. 2014, on an indictment charging him with unlawfully possessing a firearm and ammunition on Oct. 24, 2013, in Bernalillo County, N.M.  According to court filings, Turrieta was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of numerous felony offenses, including three residential burglaries.

During today’s proceedings, Turrieta admitted possessing a revolver and ammunition which were discovered in the vehicle he was driving when an officer pulled him over on a traffic stop on Oct. 24, 2013.  Turrieta acknowledged that he was prohibited from possessing the firearm and ammunition because he was a convicted felon.

Turrieta 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 office of 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 Presiliano A. Torrez is prosecuting the case.

Updated January 26, 2015