Prior Felon from Carlsbad Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Firearms Laws
ALBUQUERQUE – Eduardo Lerma, Jr., 32, of Carlsbad, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Lerma was arrested in Aug. 2014, by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on a criminal complaint alleging that he unlawfully possessed a firearm on Aug. 14, 2014, in Eddy County, N.M. Lerma subsequently was indicted on that same charge on Nov. 12, 2014. According to court filings, Lerma was prohibited from possessing firearms because he previously had been convicted of two drug trafficking crimes and receiving stolen property.
Today Lerma entered a plea of guilty to the indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm; he also admitted violating the conditions of his supervised release. In entering his guilty plea, Lerma admitted being in possession of two rifles on Aug. 14, 2014. Lerma also acknowledged that he was prohibited from possessing firearms because he was a convicted felon and by the conditions of his supervised release.
Lerma has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. Lerma faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm
At the time of his arrest, Lerma was under supervised release for a prior federal previous conviction. A petition against Lerma for violating the conditions of supervision release is pending.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the HITDA Region VI Pecos Valley Drug Task Force, the Carlsbad Police Department, and the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Y. Armijo of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.
The HITDA Region VI Pecos Valley Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, Carlsbad Police Department, Artesia Police Department, New Mexico Probation and Parole, and the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.