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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Owner of Hobbs Gun Shop Sentenced to Twelve Months for Federal Firearms Conviction

Carlos Jonathon Cruz and his Co-Defendants to Forfeit 165 Firearms, More than 25,000 Rounds of Ammunition and 6 Silencers

ALBUQUERQUE – The owner of a gun shop in Hobbs, N.M., was sentenced this morning in in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., twelve months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for violating the federal firearms laws, announced U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez and Special Agent in Charge Thomas G. Atteberry of the Phoenix Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Carlos Jonathan Cruz, 32, the owner of Hobbs Satellite Company Guns & Ammo, and his parents who assisted their son in operating the gun shop, Carlos Carlon Cruz, 61, and Norma M. Cruz, 57, were indicted in June 2013.  The three defendants were charged with violating federal firearms laws by making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms by an individual who was acting as a “straw purchaser” and buying firearms on behalf of others.  Carlos Jonathan Cruz also was charged with unlawfully selling thousands of rounds of ammunition to an alien illegally in the United States, unlawfully possessing an unregistered sawed-off shotgun, and unlawfully possessing firearms with obliterated serial numbers.

On Jan. 7, 2014, Carlos Jonathan Cruz pled guilty to a felony information charging him with (1) making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms by an individual who was acting as a “straw purchaser,” and (2) unlawfully possessing firearms with obliterated serial numbers.  In entering his guilty plea, Carlos Jonathan Cruz admitted that on April 23, 2013, he knowingly aided and abetted the making of a false statement by a straw purchaser who bought two firearms at his gun shop for an individual who was working as a confidential informant for the ATF.  Cruz also admitted possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number on May 29, 2013.

Carlos Jonathan Cruz’s parents each pled guilty to a felony information charging them with (1) making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms by an individual who was acting as a “straw purchaser,” and (2) unlawfully selling ammunition to a prohibited person.  In entering their guilty pleas, Carlos Carlon Cruz and Norma Cruz admitted that on April 9, 2013, they sold 2,500 rounds of ammunition to an alien who was illegally in the United States.  They also admitted that on April 23, 2013, they knowingly aided and abetted the making of a false statement by a straw purchaser who bought two firearms at his gun shop for an individual who was working as a confidential informant for the ATF.

Under the terms of his plea agreement, Carlos Carlon Cruz will be sentenced to a prison term not to exceed 41 months of imprisonment and Norma Cruz will be sentenced to a prison term not to exceed 30 months of imprisonment.  They also are required, along with Carlos Jonathon Cruz, to forfeit approximately 165 firearms, 25,703 rounds of ammunition and six silencers.  Their sentencing hearings have yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with assistance from the DEA and the Hobbs Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Y. Armijo of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Kotz is handling the related forfeiture proceedings.

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Updated February 5, 2015