Federal Jury Finds Prior Felon from Albuquerque Guilty of Unlawfully Possessing a Firearm
ALBUQUERQUE – A federal jury sitting in Albuquerque, N.M., returned a verdict this afternoon finding Joshua Metts, 35, of Albuquerque, guilty of unlawfully possessing a firearm after a two-day trial. The verdict was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Kari E. Brandenburg, Special Agent in Charge Thomas G. Atteberry of the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Chief Gorden E. Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).
Metts originally was federally charged with violating the Hobbs Act and federal firearms laws in an indictment filed in April 2015. In June 2016, a superseding indictment was filed that charged Metts with violating the Hobbs Act on Sept. 12, 2014, and being a felon in possession of a firearm on Oct. 2, 2014. According to the indictment, Metts was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his prior felony convictions for aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer and trafficking a controlled substance.
Metts was arrested on the federal charges in June 2015, after he was transferred to federal custody from state custody where he was detained on related state charges. The state charges were dismissed in favor of federal prosecution. In July 2016, the court granted Metts’ motion to try the Hobbs Act charge separate from the felon in possession charge.
Metts’ trial on the felon in possession charge began yesterday and concluded this afternoon when the jury returned a guilty verdict. The evidence at trial established that APD officers arrested Metts on an outstanding state warrant on Oct. 2, 2014. After arresting Metts, the officers found a firearm in Metts’ vehicle; the firearm was wedged between the driver’s door and the driver’s seat. Because of his status as a convicted felon, Metts was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
At sentencing for his conviction on the felon in possession charge, Metts faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison.
Metts has entered a not guilty plea to the Hobbs Act charge and a trial date on that charge has yet to be set. Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
The case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of ATF and APD with assistance from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samuel A. Hurtado and Paul Mysliwiec are prosecuting the case.