Mescalero man charged with federal firearms violation

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            ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Wallace Reid Rice, 29, of Mescalero, New Mexico, and an enrolled member of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, appeared in federal court today for a preliminary hearing where he was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Rice will remain detained pending trial.

            According to a criminal complaint, on July 25, Rice allegedly was found in possession of a loaded 9mm handgun on the Mescalero Apache Reservation. In 2016, Rice was convicted of possession with intent to distribute a substance containing methamphetamine. As a previously convicted felon, Rice cannot legally possess a firearm or ammunition.

            A complaint is only an allegation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, Rice faces up to 10 years in prison.

            The Mescalero Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs is investigating this case with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Assistant United States Attorney Matilda McCarthy Villalobos is prosecuting the case.

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