Mexican National Pleads Guilty to Violating the Federal Firearms and Immigration Laws
ALBUQUERQUE – Luis Anthony Tobanche, 34, a Mexican national illegally present in the United States, pleaded guilty this afternoon to violating the federal firearms and immigration laws.
Tobanche was arrested in March 2013, based on a criminal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Tobanche was indicted in Aug. 2013 and charged with unlawfully possessing firearms and ammunition on March 5, 2013, and unlawful reentry by a previously deported alien. At the time, Tobanche was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of aggravated battery and assault with a deadly weapon, cocaine trafficking and heroin trafficking in 2006, and battery on a peace officer in 2010.
According to court filings, Tobanche unlawfully possessed firearms and ammunition on March 5, 2013, while on the grounds of the Sandia Casino on Sandia Pueblo, N.M. The Casino’s video surveillance cameras recorded a shooting episode in a parking garage during which Tobanche ran towards the elevators after being shot in the neck. Video-footage reveals that Tobanche pointed a firearm towards the vehicle from which the shot was fired. After the vehicle drove away, Tobanche entered the elevator and handed a silver handgun to another person. Deputies of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office subsequently recovered the firearm from that person.
In entering his guilty plea, Tobanche admitted possessing a pistol, a shotgun and ammunition on March 5, 2013, despite his status as a convicted felon. Tobanche also admitted that he previously was deported from the United States in June 2010 and had not obtained authorization to reenter the United States.
Tobanche has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Tobanche faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in prison.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI, the Sandia Pueblo Tribal Police Department and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jon K. Stanford. The case is being prosecuted as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution. Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.