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Press Release

Prior Felon from Albuquerque Sentenced to 15 Years for Federal Carjacking and Firearms Conviction

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Defendant Prosecuted under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – Jose Rios, 23, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court to 15 years in prison for his conviction on federal carjacking and firearms charges.  Rios will be on supervised release for five years after he completes his prison sentence.

The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Kari E. Brandenburg, Special Agent in Charge Thomas G. Atteberry of the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Chief Gorden Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department.

Rios was indicted in Dec. 2013, and was charged with illegally possessing a firearm and ammunition in May 2013, July 2013, and Aug. 2013.  The indictment also charged Rios with committing a carjacking on Aug. 14, 2013, and brandishing a firearm during that crime of violence.  Rios committed the five crimes in Bernalillo County, N.M.  At the time, Rios was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of several felony offenses, including the unlawful taking of a vehicle, aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer, and conspiracy to unlawfully take a vehicle.

Rios was arrested on the federal charges on May 9, 2014, after he was transferred to federal custody from state custody where he was facing related state charges.  The state charges were later dismissed in favor of federal prosecution.

On June 4, 2015, Rios pled guilty to Counts 1, 3 and 4 of the indictment which charged him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, carjacking and brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence.  In entering the guilty plea, Rios admitted that on May 9, 2013, he unlawfully possessed a revolver and ammunition in Bernalillo County.  Rios further admitted that he brandished a firearm on Aug. 14, 2013, while committing a carjacking. 

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Albuquerque Police Department, with assistance from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel A. Hurtado under 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 primarily based on their prior criminal convictions for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.  Because New Mexico’s violent crime rate, on a per capita basis, is one of the highest in the nation, New Mexico’s law enforcement community is collaborating to target repeat offenders from counties with the highest violent crime rates, including Bernalillo County, N.M., under this initiative.

Updated October 4, 2016

Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime