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Press Release

Los Lunas Man Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison for Firearms and Drug Offenses

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

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Alexander M.M. Uballez, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico, and Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, announced today that Russell Wheeler was sentenced to 110 months in prison followed by 3 years of supervised release. Wheeler, 51, of Los Lunas, New Mexico, pled guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and one count of attempt to manufacture methamphetamine on May 26, 2022.

According to court records, on May 22, 2021, following an argument, Wheeler shot a man in the head, at close range, with a revolver before fleeing the scene on foot. The victim was taken to an urgent care clinic and later to the University of New Mexico Hospital for treatment. He survived his injuries and Wheeler was identified as the shooter by a witness. Wheeler was convicted of possession of a controlled substance in 2005 and aggravated fleeing from law enforcement in 2007, both felonies. As a previously convicted felon, Wheeler cannot legally possess firearms or ammunition.

Following the incident, the FBI sought and executed a search warrant on Wheeler’s home. Inside, the FBI recovered two firearms - a 12-gauge shotgun and a black semi-automatic pistol -and ammunition and discovered an active methamphetamine lab in the bathroom of the residence. Wheeler admitted that he was in the process of cooking methamphetamine when agents knocked on his door and he had flushed much of what he was making down the toilet.

            The FBI Violent Crime Task Force investigated this case with assistance from the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office and New Mexico State Police. Assistant United States Attorney Jaymie L. Roybal is prosecuting the case.

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Updated July 6, 2023

Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 23-144