Virgal Malott of Albuquerque will spend the next 15 or so years in federal prison for his conviction last year on charges of armed robbery of a commercial business, carjacking and discharge of a firearm.
Notorious armed robber Paul Salas is serving a sentence of 24 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to interfering with interstate commerce, using a firearm during a crime of violence and failing to register as a sex offender.
After a state district court judge initially refused to hold Salas pending trial – this for a defendant accused of nearly 50 armed robberies of Albuquerque stores and restaurants over a seven-month period – the case was moved to U.S. District Court, where a magistrate judge ordered him held in custody. Salas didn’t get a chance to go back on the street before pleading guilty and heading to federal prison.
Malott and Salas are just two of several hundred dangerous defendants who have been prosecuted in federal court rather than the state system in recent years as state and federal prosecutors have worked together to take hardcore felons off the streets.