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Press Release

Las Cruces Man Pleads Guilty to Unlawfully Possessing Firearm While Being Subject to a Protective Order

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Joseph Torrez, 31, of Las Cruces, N.M., pled guilty yesterday afternoon in federal court to violating federal firearms laws by unlawfully possessing a firearm and ammunition while being subject to a protective order.  Torrez’s plea agreement recommends a sentence within the range of 15 to 18 months in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court. 


Torrez was arrested on June 1, 2017, on a criminal complaint charging him with violating the federal firearms laws on Feb. 7, 2017, in Dona Ana County, N.M.  According to the criminal complaint, on Feb. 11, 2017, a fugitive investigator of the New Mexico Division of Adult Probation and Parole (NMDAPP) observed Torrez carry a gun case containing a rifle into a gun shop in Las Cruces.  Based on that information, an officer of the NMDAPP obtained a state arrest warrant for Torrez, who was prohibited from possessing firearms as a condition of the probationary term he was serving as the result of a misdemeanor conviction for aggravated assault.  On Feb. 13, 2017, Special Agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) assisted the NMDAPP in arresting Torrez and executing a probationary inspection at Torrez’s residence.  During the search, the agents and officers seized a shotgun and boxes of ammunition. 


During yesterday’s proceedings, Torrez pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of a firearm while under a court order of protection.  In entering the guilty plea, Torrez admitted that on Feb. 7, 2017, he possessed an AR-15 rifle and numerous rounds of ammunition.  Torrez further admitted that on Feb. 7, 2017, he was subject to a protective order placed against him on June 8, 2012 that expires on June 8, 2026, and prohibits Torrez from possessing firearms or ammunition.  A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.


The case against Torrez was investigated by the Las Cruces office of ATF and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Y. Armijo of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.

Updated October 18, 2017

Firearms Offenses