LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A federal judge ruled that one lawyer cannot represent an entire family accused of selling guns to Mexican cartel members.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert C. Brack ruled the proposed joint representation raises serious potential conflicts of interest, The Las Cruces Sun News (http://bit.ly/rwN0U4 ) reported Monday.
New Deal Shooting Sports owner Rick Reese, 55, his wife Terri Reese, 48, and their sons Ryin Reese, 24, and Remington Reese, 19, are accused of selling 34 weapons and ammunition to undercover agents and a Mexican cartel member-turned-government informant from 2010 to July.
Authorities said the Reeses fudged firearms purchasing forms during the transactions — many captured on hidden audio and video feeds — and laundered the proceeds.
The Reeses were arrested during Aug. 30 raids of their properties in Deming and Las Cruces. All have pleaded not guilty to the charges and remain in federal custody at separate facilities.
The family wanted former prosecutor Sam Bregman to represent them.
Federal prosecutors argued that one attorney representing all four could be perilous, possibly ending up with the entire case being re-tried after years of legal wrangling.
In his ruling last week, Brack noted several possible conflicts. He said Bregman wouldn’t be able to advise an individual member of the family to cooperate with the government, plead guilty, or continue onward to trial.
If convicted, Rick Reese, who is charged in five counts in a federal indictment, could face 60 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines. Terri Reese, who is charged in seven counts of the indictment, could face 80 years in prison and $2 million in fines.
Ryin Reese, who is charged in 18 counts of the indictment, could face 160 years in prison and $4 million in fines. And Remington Reese, who is charged in nine counts of the indictment, could face 105 years in prison and $2.5 million in fines.
Trial has not been scheduled.