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Press Release

Steve Casaus Sentenced to Ten Years in Federal Prison for Unlawful Possession of Firearm

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Steve Casaus, 44, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced today to ten years in federal prison for his conviction on a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition charge.  Casaus will serve his federal sentence consecutive to the 39-year state prison sentence Casaus already is serving for his convictions on state child abuse and drug trafficking charges.

The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, 2nd Judicial District Attorney Kari E. Brandenburg, Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas, and Chief Gorden Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

U.S. Attorney Martinez said that Casaus’ federal prosecution was pursued under the federal “worst of the worst” anti-violence initiative.  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 felony convictions for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.  According to court records, Casaus has been committing crimes since he was 19, and his convictions include DUI, disarming an officer, aggravated assault on a peace officer, receiving stolen property, credit card fraud, cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking, receiving stolen property, and worthless checks.  His convictions also include the child abuse conviction arising out of the death of nine-year-old Omaree Varela for which Casaus received a 30-year state sentence and the consecutive nine-year sentence on a drug trafficking conviction .

Casaus was charged in a criminal complaint on April 25, 2014, with unlawfully possessing a firearm and ammunition on April 21, 2014, in Bernalillo County, N.M.  Casaus was arrested after APD officers after they observed what they believed to be a drug deal, and based on an outstanding arrest warrant for failing to appear on a pending state court case.  At the time of his arrest, Casaus was in possession of $20,790.00 in cash, 1.3 grams of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and a firearm loaded with six rounds of ammunition. 

Casaus was indicted on June 11, 2014, and charged with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition on April 21, 2014, in Bernalillo County.  Casaus was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his status as a convicted felon.

 The federal prosecution of Casaus was stayed during the pendency of state court proceedings.  Casaus was arrested on the federal charge in Jan. 2016, after he was transferred into federal custody from state custody.

On Feb. 24, 2016, Casaus pled guilty to the federal indictment.  The guilty plea was entered without the benefit of a plea agreement.

The case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of Homeland Security Investigations and APD, with assistance from the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney David M. Walsh prosecuted the case.

Updated August 22, 2016