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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 17, 2021

Las Cruces man convicted of federal firearms, narcotics offenses

            ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A federal jury returned a guilty verdict on Dec. 16 in the trial of Paul Michael Astorga, 35, of Las Cruces, New Mexico, on one count each of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Astorga will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

            According to an indictment and other court records, on Nov. 3, 2020, Astorga was found in possession of a firearm and fentanyl. At the time of his arrest, Astorga was subject to an active warrant for his arrest for a violation of the terms of his supervised release for a 2014 conviction of being a felon in possession of a firearm. A search of his residence resulted in the recovery of a loaded 9mm handgun and 66 pills containing fentanyl.

            Astorga was previously convicted of multiple felonies, including robbery, possession of a controlled substance, tampering with evidence, trafficking by possession with intent to distribute, and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. As a previously convicted felon, Astorga could not legally possess a firearm or ammunition.

            Astorga faces an anticipated sentencing range of 1 to 12 and a half years in prison with a mandatory five-year sentence to be served consecutively for possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

            The FBI, United States Marshals Service and Las Cruces Police Department Metro Narcotics Taskforce investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorneys Maria Y. Armijo and Joni Autrey Stahl are prosecuting the case.

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Prescription Drugs
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 
21-245
Updated December 17, 2021