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Press Release

Las Cruces Man Sentenced to Twenty Years in Prison for Conviction on Federal Conspiracy and Firearms Charges

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Conrad Vasquez Salazar 43, of Las Cruces, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court to 20 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction on conspiracy and firearms charges.  Salazar also was ordered to pay $111,018.05 in restitution to the victim of his criminal conduct.

Salazar’s sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, and Las Cruces Police Chief Jaime Montoya.

Conrad Vazquez Salazar (Salazar) and co-defendants Clifford Raymond Salas, 38, and Andres Linares-Baca, 32, both of Las Cruces, and Thomas Vazquez Salazar (Vazquez Salazar), 39, of Odessa, Tex., were charged in a series of complaints and indictments, the first of which was filed in Sept. 2012, with violating the federal conspiracy, explosives and narcotics laws.  Salas, Salazar and Vazquez Salazar were charged with conspiracy and explosives charges that arose out of the firebombing of a tattoo parlor in Las Cruces on Aug. 31, 2012. 

On Aug. 17, 2015, Salazar pled guilty to conspiracy and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  In entering the guilty plea, Salazar admitted that on Aug. 31, 2012, he conspired with other individuals to firebomb a tattoo parlor in Las Cruces.  Salazar also admitted producing two Molotov cocktails at his residence and instructing two co-conspirators on how to use them to set fire to the tattoo parlor.  Salazar also admitted that on Sept. 22, 2012, he possessed a handgun and ammunition even though he previously had been convicted of residential burglary, conspiracy to commit first degree murder and aggravated battery on a peace officer and was thus prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.

In Sept. 2013, Linares-Baca pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute heroin and a heroin distribution charge and was sentenced on Jan. 22, 2014, to 15 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release.  Although Vazquez Salazar entered a guilty plea to the conspiracy and an explosives charge in Sept. 2013, further proceedings against him were delayed by competency proceedings.  In Oct. 2014, the court found Vazquez Salazar to be incompetent to stand trial and committed him to hospitalization to determine whether he can be restored to competency.

On March 9, 2015, Salas proceeded to trial on a superseding indictment charging him with participating in a conspiracy between July 15, 2012 and Aug. 31, 2012, to commit arson by maliciously damaging and destroying a tattoo parlor located at 2245 South Main Street in Las Cruces.  The indictment also charged Salas with maliciously damaging and destroying the tattoo parlor on Aug. 31, 2012, by throwing at least one Molotov cocktail into the building, using a destructive device in furtherance of an act of violence; and being a felon in possession of an explosive.   Trial against Salas concluded on March 11, 2015, when the jury returned a verdict of guilty on all four counts of the superseding indictment.  He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and the Las Cruces Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aaron O. Jordan and Marisa A. Lizarraga of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office are prosecuting the case.


Updated November 24, 2015