Thursday, July 21, 2016
ALBUQUERQUE – Billie Cotten, 59, of Gallup, N.M., pled guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque. N.M., to violating the federal firearms laws by unlawfully possessing an unregistered sawed-off shotgun.
Cotten was arrested on Oct. 13, 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of unregistered sawed-off shotguns on July 1, 2015, in McKinley County, N.M. According to the complaint, Cotten sold 24 OxyContin pills and a sawed-off shotgun to individuals working with law enforcement on June 19, 2015. It also charged Cotten with selling a second sawed-off shotgun to the same individual on July 1, 2015. A search of the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR) confirmed that neither sawed-off shotgun was registered with the NFRTR.
Cotten was indicted on Nov. 5, 2015, and charged with distributing OxyContin on June 19, 2015, and unlawfully possessing unregistered sawed-off shotguns on June 19, 2015 and July 1, 2015.
During today’s proceedings, Cotten pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of an unregistered sawed-off shotgun. In entering the guilty plea, Cotten admitted that on July 1, 2015, he possessed and sold an operable sawed-off shotgun that was not registered to him in the NFRTR.
At sentencing, Cotten faces a maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Han.