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Press Release

Artesia Man Sentenced to 92 Months for Violating Federal Firearms Laws

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Castillo Prosecuted Pursuant to Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – Victor R. Castillo, 37, of Artesia, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 92 months in prison for violating the federal firearms laws.  Castillo will be on supervised release for three years following his incarceration.

Castillo was arrested on Sept. 1, 2015, on an indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition and possession of an unregistered firearm on Jan. 28, 2015, in Eddy County, N.M.  Castillo was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because he previously had been convicted of importation of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, aggravated fleeing a law enforcement officer, and possession of a controlled substance.

On Dec. 18, 2015, Castillo pled guilty to the indictment without the benefit of a plea agreement.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Y. Armijo of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.

The Pecos Valley Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, Carlsbad Police Department and Artesia Police Department and is part of the HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force.  The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.  HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.

This case was prosecuted under 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 primarily based on their prior criminal convictions for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.  Because New Mexico’s violent crime rate, on a per capita basis, is one of the highest in the nation, New Mexico’s law enforcement community is collaborating to target repeat offenders from counties with the highest violent crime rates, including Eddy County, N.M., under this initiative.

Updated March 22, 2016