California woman arraigned on federal firearms charges


            ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Laura Swanquist-Chavez, 35, of the area of El Centro, California, was arraigned today in federal court on a two-count indictment charging her with making a false and fictitious statement to a licensed dealer of firearms and knowingly transferring a firearm to a convicted felon. Swanquist-Chavez has been released on pre-trial conditions pending trial.

            According to the indictment, on or about Aug. 26, 2020, in Luna County, New Mexico, Swanquist-Chavez allegedly answered falsely and knowingly on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Form 4473 Firearms Transaction Record that she was the actual buyer of a firearm. As alleged in the indictment, Swanquist-Chavez was acquiring the firearm on behalf of another person, and made the statement to mislead the dealer about the lawfulness of the transaction.

            At some point between Aug. 29, 2020, and Feb. 4, 2021, Swanquist-Chavez allegedly transferred possession of a firearm to Omar Cueva-Felix knowing that he had been convicted previously of a felony. As a convicted felon, Cueva-Felix could not legally possess a firearm or ammunition.

            An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Swanquist-Chavez faces up to 10 years in prison.

            The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated this case.

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