ALBUQUERQUE – Michael Scott Freeman, 42, of Silver City made his initial appearance Tuesday in federal court in Las Cruces on a criminal complaint charging him with violating the federal firearms laws by unlawfully possessing firearms.
The firearms at issue allegedly were stolen during a home burglary in Aug. 2017. Freeman remains in custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing both of which have yet to be scheduled.
According to the criminal complaint, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) responded to a home burglary in August 2017, during which a number of firearms were stolen from a large gun safe. In Oct. 2017, an individual reported purchasing two firearms and additional cylinders from Freeman. The individual subsequently surrendered the firearms and cylinders to the GCSO, suspecting that the firearms and cylinders were stolen. The serial numbers and descriptions of the firearms matched the serial numbers and descriptions of two of the firearms allegedly stolen during the Aug. 2017, home burglary.
Freeman was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition in August 2017 and October 2017, because of his prior convictions for felony offenses including convictions for unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, escape, and use of a phone to terrify, intimidate or threaten.
If convicted of the crime charged in the criminal complaint, Freeman faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. Charges in criminal complaints are mere accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and the Grant County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the Silver City Police Department, New Mexico State Police and the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa A. Ong of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting this case 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 violent or repeat offenders primarily based on their prior criminal convictions for federal prosecution offenders with the goal of making communities in New Mexico safer places for people to live and work.