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United States v. Acuna

United States District Court, D. New Mexico

March 18, 2019

BRIAN ACUNA, Defendant.


         THIS MATTER comes before the Court upon a Petition for Revocation of Defendant's Supervised Release, filed January 28, 2019 (Doc. 214). The Court held an evidentiary revocation hearing on March 4, 2019 and received written closing arguments from the parties.

         In the petition, the United States Probation office alleges that Defendant violated conditions of his supervised release by (1) possessing firearms and ammunition, and (2) committing a state crime, specifically, Felon in Possession. Doc. 214.


         On January 25, 2019, at around 8:33 p.m., Deputy Castaneda was behind a blue Ford Expedition. He ran the license plates and found that they belonged to a 1985 gray sedan. He pulled over the Ford Expedition. The driver, Gabriel Salas, stopped and got out of the vehicle, ran northbound and jumped a gate to an apartment complex. Deputy Castaneda chased him on foot and fired his taser, but the probes detached when the Salas made it over a fence. Salas got away. Because Deputy Castaneda was focused on the driver, he did not notice whether the Ford Expedition had other occupants.

         Deputy Castaneda turned his attention back to the car, in which he found a (1) Ruger revolver, (2) syringes with heroin, and (3) ammunition. He also found a purse in the front passenger seat, as well as a white laptop with a black cover marked with the letters A-N-G-E. He also found a receipt for a hotel room at the Extend-A-Suites, 2108 Menaul, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The deputies later confirmed there was a room registered to the suspect, Gabriel Salas.

         Deputy Bartram arrived at the Extend-A-Suites hotel at 9:30 p.m. Doc. 231, p. 10. After getting a key card from the front desk, the deputies announced themselves and opened the door to room 224. Angelique Herrera, Defendant, and a third person, Mr. Quinones were in the room.

         Angelique Herrera exited the room and said that the hotel room belonged to her friend's boyfriend and that she was there to pick up baby formula for her friend. She stated she did not know Gabriel Salas. She stated that she owned a white Apple Macbook that was stolen a week prior. She stated it had a black cover. Doc. 231, p. 53-54. This appears to match the description of the laptop found in the vehicle. Deputy Bartram took Defendant out of the room and placed him into custody at around 9:50 p.m. Doc. 231, p. 82.

         In an open closet deputies found 3 rifles and 2 shotguns in cases. Doc. 231, p. 55. The cases were “standing up” and leaning against a wall in the closet. One shotgun was reported stolen. There was also a green ammunition box on the floor of the closet. There is no evidence in the record that the cases were locked. The firearms themselves were not visible.

         Deputies found jewelry and collectible coins in both the Ford Expedition and the hotel room. In the hotel room, there was a jewelry stand on one of the desks, more jewelry on another desk, and some on the nightstand. Deputy Castaneda testified he suspected they were stolen because there were also coins and jewelry in the Ford Expedition. Doc. 231, p. 79-81. Other than that, he testified there was no evidence they were stolen. Doc. 231, p. 80. Deputy Jessen believed that the jewelry was stolen and they were keeping it in that room for safekeeping before moving it. Doc. 231, p. 85.

         Defendant told Deputy Jessen that he was giving Angelique Herrera a ride to the hotel room to pick up baby formula. Neither Angelique Herrera nor Defendant knew the other's name. Angelique Herrera apparently entered the Quality Inn Suites where he was working and asked for a ride. Doc. 231, p. 75. She testified she had only met him once before. Doc. 231, p. 132. Defendant was scheduled to work at the Quality Inn Suites until 9:00 p.m., and at approximately that time he left to give Angelique Herrera a ride to Extend-A-Suites. The distance was ¾ of a mile. Angelique Herrera did not have a key to the room. When they arrived, she recognized a car she had previously seen at her friend's house. She asked Mr. Quinones, who was working on the car, if he had a key. He subsequently let her in to the room. Doc. 231, p. 125-26.


         The petition alleges Defendant violated two conditions of his supervised release:

(1) you must not own, possess, or have access to a firearm, ammunition, destructive ...

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