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Press Release

Previously convicted felon pleads guilty to firearms charge

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, announced that Lionel Vallo, 39, of Albuquerque, pleaded guilty on Nov. 14 to being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition and failure to update his sex offender registration. Vallo will remain in custody pending sentencing, which has not been scheduled.

According to the plea agreement and other court records, Vallo, who previously was convicted of aggravated sexual abuse in Indian Country in 2003, failed to update his sex offender registration after moving to a new address in Albuquerque. Vallo also failed to update his quarterly registration on July 1, 2020.

On July 26 in Albuquerque, members of the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) Southwest Investigative Fugitive Team (SWIFT) Task Force initiated a traffic stop on Vallo, who was subject to an arrest warrant for absconding from supervised release. Vallo did not stop immediately, and once stopped, initially was non-compliant with commands to exit the vehicle. After Vallo eventually exited the vehicle and was taken into custody, SWIFT members located loaded firearms in the vehicle.

On August 1, 2020, Vallo was arrested for and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, for which he was on pretrial conditions of release at the time of the July 26 arrest. As a previously convicted felon, Vallo cannot legally possess a firearm or ammunition.

Vallo faces up to 15 years in prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and 10 years for failing to update his sex offender registration.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Marshals Service investigated this case. Assistant United States Attorney Nick Marshall is prosecuting the case.

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Updated November 15, 2022

Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 22-255