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Justice News

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

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Chaves County Man Sentenced to Prison for Violating Federal Firearms Laws

ALBUQUERQUE – Abel Montoya, 53, of Lake Arthur, N.M., was sentenced today in Las Cruces, N.M., federal court to 33 months in prison for violating the federal firearms laws.  Montoya will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence.

Montoya was arrested on Oct. 21, 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm on Feb. 27, 2014.  On that day, the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force (PVDTF) executed a search warrant at Montoya’s residence and seized two firearms. 

Montoya was subsequently indicted on Jan. 20, 2016, and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  At the time, Montoya was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of cocaine trafficking and possession of methamphetamine.

On May 25, 2016, Montoya pled guilty to the indictment and admitted that on Feb. 27, 2014, he possessed two firearms, one of which had an obliterated serial number.  Montoya acknowledged that he was prohibited from possessing firearms because of his status as a convicted felon.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the PVDTF with assistance from the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy M. Castellano prosecuted the case.

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.

Firearms Offenses
Updated November 8, 2016