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Monday, April 13, 2015

Christopher Blattner Pleads Guilty to Violating the Federal Firearms Laws



Blattner Prosecuted as Part of “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative; Plea Agreement Requires Imposition of Thirty-Year Federal Prison Sentence

ALBUQUERQUE – Christopher Blattner, 35, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty earlier today to violating the federal firearms laws.  Under the terms of the plea agreement, Blattner will be sentenced to 30 years in federal prison to be followed by up to five years of supervised release.  The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Thomas G. Atteberry of the Phoenix Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Chief Gorden Eden, Jr., of the Albuquerque Police Department (APD).

U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez said that Blattner was prosecuted as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” 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 for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.

Noting that Blattner’s prior criminal history includes four prior narcotics trafficking convictions in the 2nd and 13th Judicial District Courts for the State of New Mexico, U.S. Attorney Martinez said, “Blattner is the precisely the type of offender targeted by this federal initiative.  Our families, friends and neighbors are safer when career criminals like Blattner are removed from our communities.”

            “The streets are safer and people can sleep a little easier knowing that there is one less armed drug dealer poisoning our neighborhoods,” said ATF Special Agent in Charge Thomas G. Atteberry.  “ATF and the Albuquerque Police Department are committed to reducing violent crime and arresting those who seek to reduce the quality of life in our community.  The sentence to be imposed on Christopher Blattner sends the strong message that we will not tolerate the criminal use of firearms.”

“Today’s guilty plea sends a clear message to habitual criminals that the Albuquerque Police Department is working closely with ATF and federal prosecutors to hold them accountable for their crimes in our community,” said APD Police Chief Gorden Eden, Jr.  “This case is a great example of how the Department’s cooperative enforcement efforts with our federal partners enhance public safety in Albuquerque.”

Blattner was charged in Feb. 2013, with violating the federal narcotics and firearms laws in a five-count indictment.  Counts 1 and 5 of the indictment charged Blattner with distributing methamphetamine in Bernalillo County, N.M., on Aug. 6, 2012 and Aug. 17, 2012, respectively.  Count 2 charged Blattner with possessing a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime on Aug. 6, 2012.  Counts 3 and 4 charged Blattner with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition on Aug. 6, 2012 and Aug. 17, 2012.

In Aug. 2014, a federal grand jury filed an eight-count superseding indictment in the case which added Blattner’s wife, Brittany Blattner, 27, as a co-defendant.  The superseding indictment charged Chris Blattner with two counts of methamphetamine distribution; two counts of using and carrying a firearm in relation to a drug trafficking crime; and three counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.  It also charged Blattner and Brittany Blattner with one count of jointly distributing methamphetamine.  According to the indictment, Blattner and his wife committed the crimes charged in Bernalillo County, N.M., in Aug.  2012.

During today’s proceedings, Blattner entered a guilty plea to Counts 2 and 5 of the superseding indictment, each of which charged him with possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  In his plea agreement, Blattner admitted possessing two Glock semi-automatic pistols on Aug. 6, 2012, in furtherance of a methamphetamine trafficking crime.  Blattner also admitted possessing two different Glock semi-automatic pistols on Aug. 17, 2012, in furtherance of another methamphetamine trafficking crime.  Blattner remains in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.

On March 24, 2015, Brittany Blattner entered a guilty plea to a felony information charging her with simple possession of methamphetamine.  In entering the guilty plea, she admitted possessing methamphetamine on Aug. 17, 2012, in Bernalillo County.  Brittany Blattner remains on conditions of release pending her sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing she faces a maximum of two years in federal prison followed by at least one year of supervised release.

This case was investigated by ATF’s Albuquerque office and APD, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Louis E. Valencia and Presiliano A. Torrez.

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