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Justice News

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

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

San Miguel County Man Charged With Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition

ALBUQUERQUE – Earl Thomas Romo, 27, of Las Vegas, N.M., made his initial appearance in federal court this morning on an indictment charging him with being a felon in possession.  The federal prosecution against Romo was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, 4th Judicial District Attorney Richard Flores, and 8th Judicial District Attorney Donald Gallegos announced

The federal indictment, which was filed on July 10, 2014, alleges that Romo violated the federal firearms laws by unlawfully possessing a firearm and ammunition in San Miguel County, N.M., on Aug. 19, 2013.  At the time, Romo was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of first degree murder in the 8th Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico (Taos County).

According to court filings, Romo was arrested on state charges by officers of the Las Vegas Police Department on Aug. 19, 2013.  At the time, Romo was under the supervision of probation officers of the Probation and Parole Division of the New Mexico Corrections Department following his release from custody on his prior conviction.  As a condition of his probation, Romo was required to permit the probation officers to search him, his vehicle, his residence and his property if the officers believed that such searches would reveal evidence that Romo was in violation of the conditions of his probation.  

Court filings allege that on Aug. 19, 2013, state probation officers conducted searches of Romo’s vehicle and residence after obtaining information that Romo had violated the conditions of his probation.  The probation officers allegedly found ammunition in Romo’s vehicle and a firearm and 8.65 grams of cocaine in a safe they allegedly seized from Romo’s residence.  Romo subsequently was charged with state firearms and drug charges by the 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  The state charges were subsequently dismissed in favor of federal prosecution, and Romo remained in state custody based on a probation violation until he was transferred to federal custody based on the federal indictment.

If convicted, Romo faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in prison.  Charges in indictments are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless convicted in a court of law.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Las Vegas Police Department and the Las Vegas Office of the Probation and Patrol Division of the New Mexico Corrections Department, with assistance from the 4th and 8th Judicial District Attorneys’ Offices.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Louis E. Valencia is prosecuting the case.

This case 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 January 26, 2015