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Press Release

Felon from Roswell Sentenced to Ten Years for Illegally Possessing Firearms and Ammunition

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Michael Dalton, 34, of Roswell, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 120 months in prison for unlawfully possessing firearms and ammunition. Dalton will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence.


Dalton, who has seven prior felony convictions, was prosecuted as part of 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 for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.


The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) arrested Dalton was arrested on June 7, 2016, on a federal criminal complaint after he was transferred to federal custody from state custody where he was detained on related state charges. The state charges subsequently were dismissed in favor of federal prosecution.


The criminal complaint charged Dalton with illegally possessing firearms and ammunition on Aug. 28, 2015, in Chaves County, N.M. Dalton was indicted on the same charge on June 30, 2016. The indictment was superseded on Oct. 25, 2016, to add a second offense charging Dalton with being a drug addict unlawfully in possession of firearms and ammunition on Aug. 28, 2015, in Chaves County. According to court documents, Dalton was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he had prior felony convictions for burglary, breaking and entering, forgery, aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer, possessing burglary tools, tampering with evidence, larceny, and possession of a controlled substance.


Dalton proceeded to trial on the two-count superseding indictment on Jan. 23, 2017, and the jury returned a guilty verdict on both counts on Jan. 25, 2017. The evidence at trial established that on Aug. 28, 2015, officers of the Roswell Police Department responded to Dalton’s residence in response to a call from Dalton’s neighbor. The neighbor testified that she called the police after hearing Dalton threaten to shoot his girlfriend in the head during a fight between the couple that occurred outside Dalton’s residence. The neighbor also testified that Dalton attempted to run over his girlfriend with his car before going into his residence with his three-year-old child. The neighbor then heard gunshots coming from Dalton’s residence.


Dalton barricaded himself in his residence, requiring a SWAT team to be dispatched to coax Dalton out of the residence. After an hour-long standoff, came out of the residence and he was identified as a convicted felon, leading the officers to obtain a search warrant for his residence. While executing the search warrant, the officers seized two rifles, a handgun and approximately 240 rounds of ammunition from ’s residence. The evidence at trial also established that in addition to being a convicted felon, was a methamphetamine addict.


This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the ATF and the Roswell Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alexander B. Shapiro and Marisa A. Ong of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office prosecuted the case.

Updated September 7, 2017

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime