LAS CRUCES, N.M. — A New Mexico man pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to being a felon illegally possessing firearms.
This case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents.
Jose Valladolid, 44, from Columbus, New Mexico, was arrested Aug. 6 at the Columbus International Port of Entry in Luna County, New Mexico, for illegally possessing firearms, and attempting to export those firearms out of the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and U.S. Border Patrol agents at the Columbus Port of Entry arrested Valladolid after they found two firearms in his vehicle. Valladolid is prohibited from possessing firearms because he has a felony conviction for marijuana trafficking.
Valladolid was indicted in November on a two-count indictment charging him with being a felon possessing a firearm, and fraudulently attempting to smuggle two rifles out of the United States.
During Thursday’s proceedings, Valladolid pleaded guilty and admitted possessing the firearms discovered in his vehicle Aug. 6. He also admitted that he was prohibited from possessing the firearms because he was a convicted felon.
Valladolid has been in federal custody since his arrest and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Valladolid faces a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Drug Enforcement Administration assisted in this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brock E. Taylor, District of New Mexico, is prosecuting this case.