Two Albuquerque Men Plead Guilty and Two Others Sentenced for Violating Federal Firearms and Drug Trafficking Laws
Defendants Four of 104 Individuals Federally Charged as the Result of ATF-Led Investigation Pursued in Support of Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative
ALBUQUERQUE – Two Albuquerque men pled guilty and two others were sentenced today in federal court for violating federal drug trafficking and firearms laws. Simon Shields, 37, pled guilty to a methamphetamine trafficking charge, and Adrian Hammond, 30, pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. Jovas Brown, 30, was sentenced to 36 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for his methamphetamine trafficking conviction, and Andrew Kyle, 36, was sentenced to time served followed by three years of supervised release for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Shields, Hammond, Brown and Kyle were arrested during an ATF-led investigation that resulted in the filing of 59 federal indictments and a federal criminal complaint charging 104 Bernalillo County residents with federal firearms and narcotics trafficking offenses. The investigation began in mid-April 2016, when ATF personnel from throughout the country joined forces with federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies in New Mexico to combat the high rate of violent crime in the Albuquerque metropolitan area. The investigators utilized a number of investigative techniques, including undercover operations, historical investigation and targeting of multi-convicted felons in possession of firearms.
The investigation was undertaken in support 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 collaborate with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution primarily based on their prior criminal convictions with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.
Shields and his co-defendant Ray Martinez, 45, were charged in an indictment with conspiracy and methamphetamine trafficking offenses. The indictment was subsequently superseded on July 28, 2016, to include David Corral-Valenzuela, 45. The superseding indictment charged Martinez and Shields with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine on June 13, 2016, Shields and Corral-Valenzuela with conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine on June 21, 2016, and Corral-Valenzuela with being an alien in possession of a firearm and illegal reentry into the United States on July 6, 2016. The superseding indictment included forfeiture provisions requiring the co-defendants to forfeit $6,550 to the United States. During today’s proceedings, Shields pled guilty to Count 2 of the superseding indictment charging him with distribution of methamphetamine and admitted that on June 13, 2016, he aided and abetted his co-defendant by transporting approximately 56.8 grams of methamphetamine, which was later sold to an undercover law enforcement agent. Shields further admitted that he assisted another co-defendant in selling methamphetamine on June 21, 2016. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Shields will be sentenced within the range of 87 to 108 months in prison.
Hammond was charged in a criminal complaint on June 27, 2016, with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition on June 26, 2016, in Bernalillo County. Hammond was subsequently indicted on the same charge on July 12, 2016. According to the indictment, Hammond was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his prior felony convictions for theft by taking, obstruction of law enforcement officer, being a felon in possession of a firearm, false imprisonment and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. During today’s proceedings, Hammond pled guilty to the indictment and admitted that he was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition on June 26, 2016, because of his status as a convicted felon. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Hammond will be sentenced within the range of 36 to 40 months in prison.
Brown and his co-defendant Brent Williams, 35, were charged in an indictment with conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine on May 16, 2016, distribution of crack cocaine on May 26, 2016, and Williams individually with distribution of methamphetamine on May 23, 2016 and June 7, 2016. On Dec. 7, 2016, Brown pled guilty to a felony information and admitted that on May 16, 2016, he distributed approximately 58.8 grams of methamphetamine.
Kyle was charged by indictment on July 28, 2016, with being a felon in possession of a firearm on June 22, 2016, in Bernalillo County, N.M. Kyle was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his prior conviction of possession of a controlled substance. Kyle pled guilty to the indictment on Nov. 4, 2016, without the benefit of a plea agreement.
To date, 42 of the 104 defendants have entered guilty pleas and 15 have been sentenced. The remaining defendants have entered not guilty pleas. Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
These cases were investigated by the Albuquerque office of ATF. Shields is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kimberly A. Brawley and Paul Mysliwiec; Hammond is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Presiliano Torrez; Brown was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David M. Walsh and Norman Cairns; and Kyle was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Rumaldo R. Armijo.