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New Mexico Corruption
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--6 New Mexico residents arrested in conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine
2016/05/13 Alleged meth traffickers arrested New Mexico during ICE HSI led
operation one fugitive at large
NM investigation targeted methamphetamine traffickers on the Navajo Reservation
2014/02/27 HSI Investigation results 27 arrests accused NM drug traffickers
2013/09/27 Albuquerque really is like Breaking Bad By Madeleine Carey
2015/02/12 Tracing Heroin Trafficking in New Mexico. By Kyra Gurney.
2019 DEA Amtrak passenger search Albuquerque. By Amy Martyn.
Excerpt: There are “a lot of people traveling on the train with something they don’t want the government knowing
about,” McKenzie said in an interview with The Intercept, and law enforcement all along the route are aware of this
fact as well.
A previous International Narcotics Interdiction Association’s Agent/Officer of the Year, Special Agent Perry with the
Drug Enforcement Administration is behind as many as 1,600 criminal cases against drug couriers, according to court
documents touting his credibility as a star government witness. His secret weapons are a train and bus depot in his
district that seem to attract an inordinate amount of drug trafficking, and a capacious interpretation of the
Constitution’s tolerance for stops and searches.
2013/05/15 [Anthony/cocaine, heroin/laundering] Last of Nine Defendants Charged With Participation in Anthony,
N.M., Drug Trafficking Ring Sentenced
Excerpt: In Jan. 2012, the owners and operators of a pecan farm in Anthony, N.M., their two sons and four others were
arrested on a 24-count indictment alleging federal drug trafficking and money laundering offenses. A ninth
defendant, who was separately charged, also was arrested. By Aug. 2012, all nine defendants had pleaded guilty
either to drug trafficking or money laundering charges, or both. Today, the case concluded with the sentencing of
Sandra L. Portillo…Count 1 of the indictment charged all eight defendants with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and
heroin. Count 2 charged certain defendants with maintaining a place for storing and distributing drugs. Counts 3, 5,
9 and 21 charged certain defendants with distributing cocaine and aiding and abetting the distribution of cocaine.
Count 11 charged certain defendants with conspiracy to launder money…
2020/02/28 Six defendants charged in conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine in Northern New Mexico
Excerpt: Jose Mendoza, 32, and Natalie Mendoza, 35, of Medanales, New Mexico, Ryan Rodriguez, 27, of Chamita, New
Mexico, Andrea Rodriguez, 28, and Edvardo Carlson, 39, of Espanola, New Mexico, and Bridget Archuleta, 31, of San
Juan Pueblo, New Mexico appeared in federal court today for arraignment on an indictment charging them with
various drug trafficking offenses involving crack cocaine (cocaine base) in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico from Oct. 2,
2019, to Feb. 25, 2020.
2020/02/20 [Cimarron/Trafficking] Former Deputy Sheriff in Colfax County sentenced to 87 months in federal prison
for drug trafficking and theft of government property
Excerpt: The Honorable Judith C. Herrera, Senior United States District Judge, sentenced Vidal Sandoval, 50, of
Cimarron, New Mexico, to 87 months in federal prison today for drug trafficking and theft of government property
committed while Sandoval was a deputy sheriff in Colfax County, New Mexico. “When law enforcement officers
betray the communities they swore to protect, it overshadows the heroic work the majority of police, deputies, and
agents perform on a daily basis,” said Special Agent in Charge James C. Langenberg of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division.
“The FBI, working with partners like the New Mexico State Police and Colfax County Sheriff's Office, will pursue
anyone who dishonors the badge and puts the public at risk.” Sandoval pleaded guilty on July 13, 2016, to one
count of attempted possession with intent to distribute cocaine and two counts of theft of government property.
2019/09/20 DEA-LED MULTI-AGENCY INVESTIGATION DISMANTLES MAJOR NEW MEXICO POLY-DRUG TRAFFICKING
DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION
Excerpt: Twelve individuals are facing federal drug trafficking and firearms charges as the result of a two-year DEA-led
multi-agency investigation into a major New Mexico-based poly-drug trafficking organization allegedly operating
between Las Vegas, N.M., and Albuquerque, N.M., under the alleged leadership of Robert Padilla, 42, of Albuquerque
2018/10/11 [Hobbs/Meth, Cocaine, Marijuana/Trafficking] Hobbs Man Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Drug
Trafficking and Firearms Laws
Plea Agreement Recommends 15-Year Prison Sentence
Excerpt: Robert Pena, 38, of Hobbs, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to violating the federal drug
trafficking and firearms laws. Pena’s plea agreement recommends a prison sentence of 15 years followed by a term of
supervised release to be determined by the court. According to the criminal complaint, Hobbs Police Department (HPD)
officers arrested Pena in Jan. 2018, after finding a firearm and ammunition, approximately 152 grams (5.3 ounces) of
methamphetamine, a small amount of cocaine and marijuana, and drug paraphernalia in Pena’s vehicle while
executing a search warrant following a routine traffic stop.
2018/10/04 [Carlsbad/Meth/Trafficking/Firearms] Eighth Member of Southeastern New Mexico Drug Trafficking
Organization Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking and Firearms Offenses
Excerpt: Robert C. Ponce, 43, of Carlsbad, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to drug
trafficking and firearms offenses. Ponce is the eighth of the ten defendants charged as the result of a multi-agency
investigation into a criminal organization that was trafficking large quantities of methamphetamine and firearms in
southeastern New Mexico to plead guilty.
2017/12/14 [Meth, Heroin Trafficking] Last Member of Taos County-Based Drug Trafficking and Money Laundering
Ring Pleads Guilty: Defendants Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative Which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-
Related Deaths in New Mexico
Excerpt: Jason Duran, 43, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty yesterday afternoon in federal court in Santa Fe, N.M., to a
drug trafficking charge as the result of a 15-month DEA-led multi-agency investigation into a Taos County-based drug
trafficking organization led by Ivan Romero, 41, of El Prado, N.M. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Duran will
be sentenced to a maximum of 100 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be
determined by the court. Duran, Ivan Romero and six co-defendants initially were charged with methamphetamine
trafficking, heroin trafficking and money laundering offenses in an eight-count indictment filed in Dec. 2015. The
indictment was superseded in Feb. 2016 to add a ninth defendant, Elena Carabajal, 27, of El Prado, and five additional
charges. The superseding indictment charged Ivan Romero, Duran and his seven co-defendants with conspiring to
distribute heroin and methamphetamine from at least June 2012 through Dec. 2015. It also charged Ivan Romero,
Ricco Romero, 28, of Taos, Melissa Romero, 38, of El Prado, and Wilma Romero, 67, of Taos, with conspiring to launder
heroin trafficking proceeds.
2017/09/01 Federal prosecution into Ayudando Alpha, Inc., d/b/a “Ayudando Guardians, Inc.” (Ayudando Guardians).
Excerpt: According to the indictment, Ayudando – which means “helping” in Spanish – receives government benefit
payments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Social Security Administration on behalf of many of
its clients, and acts as a fiduciary or representative payee for these clients by paying their expenses and maintaining
the balances for the benefit of the clients. The indictment alleges that Harris and Moore, the primary owners and
operators of Ayudando, have embezzled millions of dollars from their special needs clients to support lavish lifestyles
for themselves and their families. The charges against Ayudando, Harris and Moore are the result of an ongoing
multi-agency investigation by the FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service , Veterans Affairs Office of
Inspector General and Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General.
2017/04/28 Twenty-Eight Alleged Members of Mexican Drug Trafficking Organization Charged with Federal Drug
Trafficking and International Money Laundering Offenses DTO Allegedly Imported Large Quantities of Heroin,
Methamphetamine and Cocaine from Mexico, which were Distributed in New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Kentucky and
Illinois. DEA-Led Investigation Included Seizures of 30 Kilograms of Heroin, 64 Kilograms of Methamphetamine, 17
Kilograms of Cocaine, 20 Kilograms of Marijuana, 24 Firearms, $102,000 in Currency and Three Vehicle
2017/03/30 [Mescalero Apache/Meth/Trafficking] Mescalero Apache Man Sentenced for Federal Methamphetamine
Defendant is One of 34 Individuals Charged as Part of Investigation into Methamphetamine Trafficking on the
Mescalero Apache Reservation
Glen Joel Lester, 39, a member of the Mescalero Apache Nation who resides in Mescalero, N.M., was sentenced today
in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 24 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his
methamphetamine trafficking conviction.Lester was one of 34 individuals charged in Dec. 2015 with federal and tribal
drug offenses as the result of an 18-month multi-agency investigation led by the DEA and BIA into methamphetamine
trafficking on the Mescalero Apache Reservation. Eighteen defendants, including five members of the Mescalero
Apache Tribe and 13 non-Natives were charged in six federal indictments and a federal criminal complaint
2017/03/29 [Socorro/Meth/Trafficking] Socorro Man Sentenced to Prison for Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking
Conviction. Defendant is One of 34 Individuals Charged as Part of Investigation into Methamphetamine Trafficking on
the Mescalero Apache Reservation
Carlos Tafoya, Jr., 35, of Socorro, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 13 years in prison
for his conviction on methamphetamine trafficking charges. Tafoya will be on supervised release for five years after
completing his prison sentence. Tafoya was one of 34 individuals charged in December 2015, with federal and tribal
drug offenses as the result of an 18-month multi-agency investigation led by the DEA and BIA into methamphetamine
trafficking on the Mescalero Apache Reservation.
2016/11/09 [Raton woman/Bernalillo County area of crimes/Meth/Heroin/Trafficking] Raton Woman Sentenced to 66
Months for Federal Drug Trafficking Conviction. Defendant Prosecuted Under “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence
Initiative and HOPE Initiative, which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
2015/11/20 [New Mexico & beyond inc. Tijeras/Marijuana/Trafficking] Federal Indictment Charges Eight with
Participating in Major Marijuana Trafficking and Money Laundering Ring
Drug Trafficking Organization Allegedly Distributed High-Grade Marijuana
2015/04/24 [San Juan County/Meth Trafficking Leader] Ring Leader of Methamphetamine Trafficking Ring in San
Juan County Sentenced to 114 Months in Federal Prison. Defendant is One of Twenty-Nine Charged in February 2014
with Trafficking Methamphetamine in San Juan County
Excerpt: Isaac Anaya, 31, of Farmington, N.M., was sentenced yesterday afternoon in federal court in Albuquerque,
N.M., for trafficking methamphetamine in San Juan County, N.M. Anaya will serve a 114 month prison sentence
followed by three years of supervised release. Anaya is one of 29 individuals charged in Feb. 2014, with drug
trafficking offenses as the result of a multi-agency investigation targeting drug trafficking in northwestern New
Mexico. The investigation culminated on Feb. 26, 2014, when 26 of the defendants were arrested during a law
enforcement operation led by Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) and the HIDTA Region II Narcotics Task Force.
Two other defendants were arrested during the course of the investigation and the final defendant was arrested on
March 3, 2014. The 29 defendants were charged as a result of Operation “Brown Ice,” a year-long investigation that
initially targeted a methamphetamine trafficking organization led by Anaya that distributed quantities of
methamphetamine throughout San Juan County and expanded to include other drug trafficking activity in the area.
The investigation was designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, a
nationwide Department of Justice program that combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies,
along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated effort to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking
2014/04/02 [Chimayo/heroin/trafficking] Chimayo Woman Sentenced to Three Years in Federal Prison for Heroin
Excerpt: Dora Martinez, 50, of Chimayo, N.M., was sentenced in federal court this afternoon to three years in federal
prison followed by three years of supervised release for her heroin trafficking conviction. Martinez was arrested on
Aug. 5, 2013, on an indictment charging her with possession of heroin with intent to distribute. According to the
indictment, Martinez unlawfully possessed more than 100 grams of heroin on April 22, 2013 in Rio Arriba County, N.M.
2014/02/26 Multi-agency investigation leads charges against 29 indiv’ trafficking in San Juan County, NM
2013/06/24 [Belen/Meth/Trafficking] Mexican National Sentenced to 17.5 Years in Federal Prison for
Methamphetamine Trafficking and Firearms Conviction
Excerpt: Jesus Lopez-Valle, his brother Hector Manuel Lopez-Valle, 24, a Mexican national also from Culiacan, Sinaloa,
Mexico, and Adaucto Chavez-Meza, 20, a legal permanent resident from Chihuahua, Mexico, were arrested on
criminal complaints in March 2012, after they attempted to sell approximately four pounds of methamphetamine to
an undercover officer. At the time, the three men were living in Belen, N.M., and the Lopez-Valle brothers were
illegally in the United States. The three men were indicted on March 28, 2012, and charged with conspiracy and
possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.
2013/05/15 Last of Nine Defendants Charged With Participation in Anthony, N.M., Drug Trafficking Ring Sentenced
2012/12/17 [Albuquerque & likely beyond/Cocaine, Marijuana/Trafficking/Laundering] Nineteen members of New
Mexico Drug Trafficking Organization Indicted ON DRUG TRAFFICKING AND MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES
The investigation, code-named “Operation Rain Check,” was designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug
Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) program….According to the indictment, Christopher Roybal and ten others
conspired to distribute
quantities of cocaine in New Mexico between Aug. 2011 and Dec. 2012. The indictment alleges that certain
defendants distributed cocaine on four occasions between Aug. 2011 and April 2012. It further alleges that
Christopher Roybal and nine others conspired to distribute marijuana between Oct. 2011 and Dec. 2012, and charges
certain defendants with distributing marijuana on nine occasions between Oct. 2011 and April 2012. The indictment
three separate money laundering conspiracies, 22 money laundering offenses, and 18 “telephone…
2018/07/20 [Near T or C/Heroin/Fentanyl/Trafficking] Mexican man pleads guilty to drug trafficking heroin, fentanyl. By
Excerpt: A man arrested after Border Patrol agents found heroin and fentanyl hidden in his vehicle pleaded guilty to the
trafficking charges. Roberto Esmerardo Lopez-Gaxiola, 35, of Mexico, pleaded guilty in a federal courtroom in Las Cruces on
Thursday. Lopez-Gaziola was arrested on March 14 when he drove to the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint north of Las Cruces,
near Truth or Consequences, federal officials said.
2019/12/20 [Fentanyl] NMSP seize massive amount of fentanyl. By Sasha Lenninger
2012 [San Juan County/Drug Trafficking Ring] Police: Major drug trafficking ring busted. By Alana Grimstad.
Excerpt: SANTA FE, N.M. —Federal and local police agencies said they've been working for three years to take down a huge
drug operation run out of Santa Fe County. Fourteen men have been indicted by a federal grand jury, and all but one are in
custody. Eight of the men were arrested Thursday with the help of SWAT teams. One of the men arrested was a civil
engineering technician with the New Mexico Transportation Department.
2012/06/08 Large drug bust made in East Mountains
Two arrested after bust in Moriarty
2019/07/24 Authorities make massive drug bust near Gallup
2019/08/03 Suspect connected to Albuquerque drug bust arrested in Utah . By KRQE MEDIA
Excerpt: ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Another suspect connected to a massive drug bust in Albuquerque has been picked
up in Utah. Back in January, investigators uncovered the operation at an apartment complex near Central and Juan Tabo.
That’s where they found more than half a million dollars worth of meth, and thousands of counterfeit prescription pills
laced with fentanyl.
2020/03/03 Roswell man arrested on drug trafficking charges. [Roswell/Meth] By KRQE Media
A Roswell man is facing charges for trafficking meth. A narcotics task force was called out to a residence on the 300 block of
East Poe Street over the weekend.When officers arrived, they found more than 470 grams of methamphetamine and a gun.
Officers arrested 61-year-old Jerry Louis Matta.
2018/12/13 Man accused of running meth distribution center out of Albuquerque business. By Brittany Bade.
Excerpt: A local business was really just a front for a meth distribution center, according to the Drug Enforcement
Administration. Now, the Albuquerque man who runs that company and one of his dealers are facing federal charges.
According to a year-long investigation outlined in a federal search warrant, Javier Jaquez was using his business, Jaquez
Brothers Trucking, as a front for a major meth operation.
2017/02/01 Police Chief: Families crying out for help. By Ed Williams [Opioids Espanola]
Excerpt: When a public health crisis gets out of control, it can overwhelm law enforcement agencies. That’s what’s happened
with the Española Police Department as it deals with a decades-old opioid epidemic and all the crime that goes with it. To
understand just how big of a drug problem Española has, just ask Officer Anthony Armijo.
“It’s the norm. For everyone, it’s the norm that drugs are here, drugs are being used, you have family that grew up with it,”
he said. “For example, I have family that live here, you know, they’re addicts. I’ve arrested them before.”
If there’s any police department that understands what an opioid epidemic means for a community, it’s this one. Even the
chief of police has had addiction struggles within his own family.
This town of 10,000 people has one of the highest opioid overdose rates in America. Heroin addiction has gone on out of
control here year after year. It’s a crisis that’s torn families apart, strained the health system, and stretched the police
department to its limit.
2017/07/04 [Jemez Springs/meth] Woman in possession of meth arrested June 20. By Sarah von Sternberg
Las Cruces Sun
2018/04/26 [Las Cruces/trafficking] 16 snared in Las Cruces drug trafficking investigation
2019/06/15 Hatch Police stop SUV carrying drugs, stolen gun, undocumented migrants. Bethany Freudenthal
Hatch Police pulled over a Chevy Trailblazer on Wednesday. Inside were seven people — five of them who said they were in
the country illegally — heroin, a stolen pistol and a glass pipe, court documents state. El Paso man Nikolai Colunga, 26, was
driving the SUV. Passengers included his girlfriend Brenda Jimenez, authorities said, and five others who had only one form
of identification among them all — a Honduran passport.
Las Vegas Optic
2019/09/24 [Las Vegas/Trafficking/Meth/Cocaine/Heroin] Federal agency alleges someone within LVPD aided drug
trafficker. By Ryan Lowery
For more than a year, the Drug Enforcement Administration has been investigating, and attempting to disrupt, the flow of
illegal drugs into Las Vegas, a search warrant affidavit filed in U.S. District Court shows. The lengthy investigation focused
on a drug trafficking organization led by Robert Corbin Padilla, who the DEA alleges is responsible for trafficking the
majority of drugs into Las Vegas, but according to the affidavit, agents believe one or more people working for the Las Vegas
Police Department had been alerting Padilla to details of the investigation against him. Federal agents from the DEA and
FBI — along with officers from Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Marshals Service and New Mexico State Police —
swarmed Las Vegas last week as a joint task force executed multiple search warrants. While the FBI investigation focused
primarily on members and associates of the Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico prison gang, the target of the DEA investigation was
Padilla and those working with him. The recently-unsealed search warrant affidavit details DEA agent’s monthslong
investigation of Padilla, and alleges he was responsible for 70 percent of the cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine coming
into Las Vegas. Though Padilla resided in Albuquerque, authorities allege he often traveled to Las Vegas to “store, retrieve
and distribute (drugs), as well as collect drug proceeds.”
2009/12/21 N.M. police raid upscale homes in meth bust. By T.J. Wilham.
Updates:2021/01/22 PAGE STARTED--Articles-3, editing; response to overage on pages; 2020/05/14: ICE-2020/02/28 added; 2020/05/13: Santa Fe Reporter-
2019/08/05 added; 2020/04/27 Brief Links/created separate page; created separate page Areas; added articles: Deming Headlight-2020/02/14 Alamagordo News-
2020/01/13; Alb. Jrnl-2013/04/04; NewsChannel 10-2019/12/03 and 2019/04/04; DEA-2019/09/20; info on DEA/Task Force; Structural/organizational corrections and
additions made; 2020/03/27-ICE 2014/02/27; Daily Times-2019/07/26; 2020/02/22 two drug pages merged-policefactor nm drugs and rivergold nm drugs; 10/07/2017
Justice dot gov 29 San Juan Co; police factor page started 2016/06/04
NEW MEXICO DRUGS-3
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