ALBUQUERQUE ― Fabian I. Sanchez, 38, of Albuquerque, pled guilty Thursday in Federal Court to violating the federal firearms laws by unlawfully possessing a firearm and ammunition.
Sanchez, whose criminal history includes convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a controlled substance and burglary of a dwelling, is being prosecuted as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets violent, repeat 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 for federal prosecution violent or repeat offenders with the goal of making communities in New Mexico safer places for people to live and work.
Sanchez was charged May 9, 2017, with violating the federal firearms laws by being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. The indictment was superseded Aug. 14, 2018, to charge Sanchez with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and included forfeiture allegations requiring Sanchez to forfeit two firearms and ammunition to the United States. According to the superseding indictment, the offense took place Nov. 30, 2016, in Sandoval County.
During Thursday’s proceedings, Sanchez pled guilty to the superseding indictment and admitted that Nov. 30, 2016, he was in possession of a firearm and approximately five rounds of ammunition. Sanchez acknowledged that he was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his status as a convicted felon.
At sentencing, Sanchez faces a maximum statutory penalty of ten years of imprisonment. However, if the court determines that Sanchez is an armed career criminal, he faces an enhanced sentence of a mandatory minimum 15 years to a maximum of life imprisonment. Sanchez remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Rio Rancho Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eva Fontanez and Niki Tapia-Brito are prosecuting the case.