ALBUQUERQUE ― Richard Ruiz Leyva, 36, of Las Cruces, pled guilty March 22 in Federal Court to assaulting federal and local law enforcement officers. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Leyva will be sentenced to 82 months in prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court.
Leyva was arrested in August 2016 and charged by a criminal complaint with assaulting and resisting federally commissioned officers of the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS). According to the complaint, Leyva assaulted the officers by using his vehicle as a weapon by repeatedly running into law enforcement vehicles as the law enforcement officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on Leyva. Leyva also drove his vehicle directly at a USMS Federally Deputized Task Force Officer (TFO) who had exited his vehicle after Leyva had rendered the TFO’s vehicle inoperable by crashing into the law enforcement vehicle.
During the court proceedings, Leyva pled guilty to a felony information charging him with two counts of assaulting, resisting and interfering with federal officers and other law enforcement officers engaged in the performance of their official duties. In entering the guilty plea, Leyva admitted that Aug. 19, 2016, he used his vehicle as a deadly weapon in an attempt to flee from federal and local law enforcement officers because of an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Leyva further admitted that he drove directly at a TFO who had exited his law enforcement vehicle, but turned when the TFO fired his weapon at Leyva in an attempt to stop Leyva.
Leyva remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces offices of the FBI and the USMS and the Las Cruces Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah M. Davenport of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case.