A Roswell man pleaded guilty in Las Cruces Federal Court on Friday to the charge of felon in possession of a firearm. According to the criminal complaint, Gary Montoya, 27, was pulled over for a traffic stop June 23, 2010, by Roswell Police Detective Michael Stanton.
The detective reported that Montoya appeared nervous. A driverâ€™s license check revealed that Montoyaâ€™s driverâ€˜s license was suspended. Stanton arrested Montoya for disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a license. During an inventory check before the vehicle was towed, Stanton observed the handgrip of a gun. Montoya, a convicted felon, refused to answer questions about the gun, saying they could not search the vehicle since it was not his.
Stanton obtained a search warrant. The subsequent search yielded a Walter P99 .40-caliber pistol and ammunition. Officials contacted the owner of the vehicle who denied ownership of the gun. A National Criminal Investigation Center check revealed that the gun had been reported as stolen by the Hobbs Police Department. The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Roswell Police Department.
Further investigation revealed that Montoya had previous arrests for aggravated assault on a police officer, aggravated burglary and possession of marijuana with intent to sell in December 2004. The sentence was suspended except for one year to be served in the Department of Corrections. In addition, he pleaded no contest to the charges of aggravated burglary and was sentenced to nine years.
That sentence, too, was suspended, except for one year to be served in the Department of Corrections. In October 2007, Montoya was charged with possession of cocaine. The 30-month sentence was suspended except for one year to be served in the Department of Corrections.
In federal court, Montoya admitted that he possessed a .40-caliber pistol and ammunition during the June 23 traffic stop in Roswell. As a result of the federal charges, Montoya could receive a sentence of up to 10 years in jail and three yearsâ€™ probation.