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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 21, 2016

Gallup Man Pleads Guilty to Unlawfully Possessing an Unregistered Sawed-Off Shotgun

ALBUQUERQUE – Billie Cotten, 59, of Gallup, N.M., pled guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque. N.M., to violating the federal firearms laws by unlawfully possessing an unregistered sawed-off shotgun.

Cotten was arrested on Oct. 13, 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of unregistered sawed-off shotguns on July 1, 2015, in McKinley County, N.M.  According to the complaint, Cotten sold 24 OxyContin pills and a sawed-off shotgun to individuals working with law enforcement on June 19, 2015.  It also charged Cotten with selling a second sawed-off shotgun to the same individual on July 1, 2015.  A search of the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR) confirmed that neither sawed-off shotgun was registered with the NFRTR.

Cotten was indicted on Nov. 5, 2015, and charged with distributing OxyContin on June 19, 2015, and unlawfully possessing unregistered sawed-off shotguns on June 19, 2015 and July 1, 2015. 

During today’s proceedings, Cotten pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of an unregistered sawed-off shotgun.  In entering the guilty plea, Cotten admitted that on July 1, 2015, he possessed and sold an operable sawed-off shotgun that was not registered to him in the NFRTR.

At sentencing, Cotten faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison.  A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Han.

Updated July 21, 2016