Columbus Man Pleads Guilty to Violating the Federal Firearms Laws
ALBUQUERQUE – Jose Valladolid, 44, of Columbus, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to being a felon in possession of firearms under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Valladolid was arrested on Aug. 6, 2014, at the Columbus International Port of Entry in Luna County, N.M., for being a felon in possession of firearms, and attempting to export those firearms out of the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers at the Columbus Port of Entry together with U.S. Border Patrol Agents assisting them with vehicle inspections arrested Valladolid after they found two firearms in his vehicle. At the time, Valladolid was prohibited from possessing firearms because he previously had been convicted of a marijuana trafficking crime.
Valladolid was indicted in Nov. 2014, on a two-count indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm, and fraudulently attempting to smuggle two rifles out of the United States.
During today’s proceedings, Valladolid pled guilty to Count 1 of the indictment and admitted possessing the firearms discovered in his vehicle on Aug. 6, 2014. He also admitted that he was prohibited from possessing the firearms because he was a convicted felon.
Valladolid has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Valladolid faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison.
This case was investigated by the Deming office of Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Las Cruces office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives, and the Las Cruces office of the DEA. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brock E. Taylor of the Las Cruces branch office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office is prosecuting this case.