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Justice News

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

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Prior Felon from Rio Rancho Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Firearms Laws

Defendant Prosecuted Under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – Nicholas Ray Leyba, 35, of Rio Rancho, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to violating the federal firearms laws. The guilty plea was entered without the benefit of a plea agreement.

Leyba was arrested on Feb. 5, 2015, by the Albuquerque Police Department following a SWAT operation involving another crime allegedly committed by Leyba.  At the time of his arrest, Leyba had a loaded firearm next to him.

Leyba was transferred into federal custody on Feb. 25, 2015, based on a criminal complaint alleging that he was a felon in possession of a firearm.  Leyba subsequently was indicted on Feb. 25, 2015, on that same charge.  At the time of his arrest, Leyba was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of the felony offenses of false imprisonment and aggravated assault against a household member with a firearm.

During today’s proceedings, Leyba pled guilty to the indictment and admitted possessing a firearm and ammunition on Feb. 5, 2015.

 At sentencing, Leyba faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years in federal prison.    He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Albuquerque Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Lynn Wei-Yu Wang is prosecuting this case.

Leyba 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.

Updated May 27, 2015