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Press Release

Carlsbad Man Sentenced to Thirteen Years in Federal Prison for Unlawfully Possessing Firearms and Ammunition

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Prosecution Brought under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – Mia Coy Campbell, 34, of Carlsbad, N.M., was sentenced yesterday afternoon in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., in two cases to a total of 156 months of imprisonment for violating the federal firearms laws by unlawfully possessing firearms and ammunition.  Campbell will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence. 

Campbell’s sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney James D. Tierney, Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, Special Agent in Charge John J. Durastanti, Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Chief Kent Waller of the Carlsbad Police Department, and Commander James McCormick of the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force (PVDTF).

Campbell 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.

Campbell was prosecuted in two separate criminal cases for unlawfully possessing firearms in July 2015 and Sept. 2015.  According to court records, Campbell was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his prior felony convictions for possession of methamphetamine and escaping from a correctional institution.

In the first case, Campbell was arrested on a criminal complaint in Sept. 2015, after law enforcement officers found an assault rifle, which Campbell allegedly used to shoot at an occupied residence in Carlsbad, when they executed a search warrant at a residence in Roswell, N.M.  Campbell subsequently was indicted in the case in Oct. 2015, and was charged with unlawfully possessing a firearm in Eddy County on Aug. 4, 2015.  The indictment in the first case was superseded in Feb. 2016, to charge Campbell with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm based on his possession of firearms on July 31, 2015 and Aug. 4, 2015, and one count of unlawfully possessing a machinegun on July 31, 2015. 

On Aug. 8, 2016, Campbell entered a guilty plea to the superseding indictment in the first case.  In entering the guilty plea, Campbell admitted that on July 30 and 31, 2015, he possessed an assault rifle, which is considered a machinegun under federal law.  Campbell also admitted that on Aug. 4, 2015, he unlawfully possessed a pistol.  Campbell acknowledged that he was prohibited from possessing firearms as the result of his status as a convicted felon.  During yesterday’s sentencing hearing, Campbell was sentenced to 60 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction in the first case.

With respect to the second case, Campbell was arrested in Oct. 2015, for unlawfully possessing a firearm based on investigation conducted by the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force (PVDTF) and FBI agents on Sept. 24, 2015.  According to the criminal complaint, on that day, the PVDTF and FBI arrested Campbell on the federal arrest warrant issued in the first case as Campbell was walking away from a canopy that covered a partially disassembled go-cart at his residence.  When arrested, Campbell’s hands were dirty and greasy and it appeared as if he had been working on the go-cart.  A smoldering cigarette near a tool bag by the go-cart drew an officer’s attention where the officer found a firearm.  A search of Campbell incident to arrest revealed that he had a pack of cigarettes in his pocket containing the same type of cigarette that was smoldering on the ground near the go-cart.  On Nov. 5, 2015, Campbell was indicted and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm on Sept. 24, 2015.

On March 24, 2016, a federal jury convicted Campbell of being a felon in possession of a firearm in the second case.  During yesterday’s sentencing hearing, Campbell was sentenced to 96 months of imprisonment for his conviction in the second case, which is to run consecutive to the 60 months of imprisonment imposed on the conviction in the first case.  Campbell also was sentenced to a three-year term of supervised release, which is to run concurrent to the supervised release term imposed in the first case.

These cases were investigated by the Las Cruces and Roswell offices of the FBI, the Carlsbad Police Department and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force with assistance from the Las Cruces office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy M. Castellano and John Andrew Balla 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.

Updated February 21, 2018

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime