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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Grants man accused of sending threats to FBI agent

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Matthew James Cerno, 48, of Grants, New Mexico, made an initial appearance in federal court today facing a charge of making threats of violence against a federal law enforcement officer. Cerno will remain in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for May 13.

According to a criminal complaint, on Feb. 23, 2018, Cerno was interviewed by law enforcement officers from the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, as Cerno claimed to have information regarding the West Mesa murders. In early October 2021, Cerno contacted the FBI Albuquerque Field Office by telephone to follow up regarding his prior report and was again interviewed regarding that report.

On Nov. 20, 2021, Cerno once again contacted the FBI Albuquerque Field Office to provide additional information regarding the West Mesa Murders. An agent contacted Cerno from an FBI issued cellphone. Cerno provided statements that were similar to those in his prior interviews. Over the following two-month period, Cerno allegedly made multiple calls to the agent’s cellphone. Each time the Agent directed Cerno to contact the FBI call center rather than contacting the agent directly.

Beginning on Jan. 28, Cerno allegedly left four messages on the agent's voicemail threatening that he would drug, rape, and direct the beating of the agent, and that the agent’s FBI badge would not save him.

A complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Cerno faces up to five years in prison.

The FBI Albuquerque Field Office investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney Tavo Hall is prosecuting the case.

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Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
22-110
Updated May 11, 2022