DOJ – NM

DOJ - Department of Justice
DOJ - Department of Justice
  • FEDERAL JURY CONVICTS ARTHUR PERRAULT ON FEDERAL CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE CHARGES
    Former Priest Extradited from Morocco in September 2018 Found Guilty of Sexually Abusing Child on Kirtland Air Force Base and Santa Fe National Cemetery in 1991-1992; Prosecuted Under Project Safe Childhood ALBUQUERQUE – A federal jury sitting in Santa Fe, N.M., returned a guilty verdict against Arthur Perrault on federal child sexual abuse charges today after an eight-day trial before the U.S. District Judge Martha Vazquez.  The verdict was announced by U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson for the District of New Mexico, Special Agent in Charge James C. Langenberg of the FBI Albuquerque Division, and Special Agent in Charge Nicholas J. Dorval of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), Detachment 814.      The jury convicted Perrault, 81, a former Catholic priest who served in New Mexico under the Archdiocese of Santa Fe from 1973 to 1992, on an indictment charging him with six counts of aggravated sexual abuse and one count of abusive sexual contact with a minor under the age of 12.  Perrault was found guilty of repeatedly sexually abusing the minor victim in 1991 and 1992 while on federally-protected land, Kirtland Air Force Base in Bernalillo County, N.M., and the Santa Fe National Cemetery in Santa Fe County, N.M.      In announcing the guilty verdict, U.S. Attorney Anderson said, “Though the quest for justice can sometimes be long and difficult, today’s jury verdict makes clear that courageous victims and the relentless efforts of law enforcement can, together, make justice a reality.  Despite the passage of many ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2019-04-09
    1 week ago
  • NAVAJO MAN FROM BREADSPRINGS, N.M., ARRESTED ON FEDERAL MURDER CHARGE
    ALBUQUERQUE – Troy Livingston, 18, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Breadsprings, N.M., made his initial appearance in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., this morning on a criminal complaint charging him with murdering a Navajo woman with malice aforethought.  Livingston remains in custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, both of which are scheduled for April 9, 2019.             The criminal complaint alleges that Livingston beat the victim to death with a flashlight and his feet at a residence Breadsprings, which is located in the Navajo Indian Reservation, on April 6, 2019.  According to the criminal complaint, the victim was Livingston’s girlfriend.  If convicted of the charge in the criminal complaint, Livingston faces a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment.  Charges in criminal complaints are only accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.  The case was investigated by the Gallup office of the FBI and the Crownpoint office of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.  Assistant U.S. Attorney David P. Cowen is prosecuting the case. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2019-04-07
    2 weeks ago
  • LAS CRUCES MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL ARRESTED
    ALBUQUERQUE – Joel Aguilar Villanueva, 42, of Las Cruces, N.M., made his initial appearances in federal court in Las Cruces this morning on a criminal complaint charging him with transporting child pornography in interstate or foreign commerce and possession of child pornography.  According to the criminal complaint, Villanueva is the principal of a middle school in Las Cruces public school system.  Villanueva remains in custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, both of which are scheduled for April 9, 2019.           The investigation resulting in the charges against Villanueva began in Oct. 2018, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip that a certain Twitter account was being used to share videos of suspected child pornography.  The investigation revealed that the Twitter account allegedly was subscribed to Villanueva, who listed a Las Cruces-area apartment as his residence.  On April 3, 2019, law enforcement officers executed a state search warrant at the apartment, and seized an external hard drive that contained suspected child pornography.  Villanueva was arrested while the officers were executing the search warrant.              If convicted of the charges in the criminal complaint, Villanueva faces a statutory mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment on the transportation of child pornography charge, and a maximum 20 years of imprisonment on the possession of child pornography charge.           Charges in criminal complaints are only accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2019-04-03
    2 weeks ago
  • LAS CRUCES MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPAL ARRESTED ON FEDERAL CHILD PORNOGRAPHY CHARGES
    ALBUQUERQUE – Joel Aguilar Villanueva, 42, of Las Cruces, N.M., made his initial appearances in federal court in Las Cruces this morning on a criminal complaint charging him with transporting child pornography in interstate or foreign commerce and possession of child pornography.  According to the criminal complaint, Villanueva is the principal of a middle school in Las Cruces public school system.  Villanueva remains in custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, both of which are scheduled for April 9, 2019.           The investigation resulting in the charges against Villanueva began in Oct. 2018, when the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip that a certain Twitter account was being used to share videos of suspected child pornography.  The investigation revealed that the Twitter account allegedly was subscribed to Villanueva, who listed a Las Cruces-area apartment as his residence.  On April 3, 2019, law enforcement officers executed a state search warrant at the apartment, and seized an external hard drive that contained suspected child pornography.  Villanueva was arrested while the officers were executing the search warrant.              If convicted of the charges in the criminal complaint, Villanueva faces a statutory mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 20 years of imprisonment on the transportation of child pornography charge, and a maximum 20 years of imprisonment on the possession of child pornography charge.           Charges in criminal complaints are only accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2019-04-03
    2 weeks ago
  • FORMER YOUTH MINISTER FROM LAS CRUCES SENTENCED TO 71 MONTHS
    ALBUQUERQUE – Stephen Mendoza Arellano, 31, of Las Cruces, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court to a 71 month term of imprisonment followed by 15 years of supervised release based on his previously entered guilty plea to the offense of traveling in interstate commerce for the purpose of engaging in sexual contact with a minor.            Arellano pled guilty on April 9, 2018, and admitted that in the early summer of 2017, he began to pursue a romantic relationship with the 15-year-old minor victim, whom he knew through the Apostolic Assembly Church and their families’ relationship.  He further admitted that in June 2017, he traveled from Las Cruces to El Paso, Texas, with the intent to engage in illicit sexual contact with the victim.             According to court records, at the time he committed the offense, Arellano was an ordained minister of the Apostolic Assembly Church and was serving as the Church’s District of New Mexico Youth President.  He was also a National Ordained Minister for the Apostolic Assembly Church, at the time, held the title of District of New Mexico Youth President, and was a member of the same church as the victim.  The child victim who was 15-years-old when he began contacting her.  HSI initiated the investigation into Arellano after receiving a report from the parents of Arellano’s victim.            This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of HSI and the Las Cruces Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marisa A. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2019-03-27
    3 weeks ago
  • TEXAS WOMAN SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS IN PRISON FOR FEDERAL
    ALBUQUERQUE – Selma Morales, 55, of Lubbock, Tex., was sentenced today in federal court in Santa Fe, NM, to 24 months of imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release for her conviction on a wire fraud charge arising from a scheme to defraud her employer.  Morales also was ordered to pay $924,311 in restitution to her former employer.             According to court records, from May 2009 through May 2015, Morales engaged in a scheme to defraud her former employer, a law firm headquartered in Lubbock with offices in Albuquerque, Hobbs and Las Cruces, NM, of more than $550,000, which she used for unauthorized personal charges and expenditures.  At the time, Morales was the law firm’s financial manager and bookkeeper.             Morales pleaded guilty in Sept. 2017, and admitted abusing her position as a trusted, high-level employee who managed the law firm’s day-to-day finances to perpetuate her fraudulent scheme.  She acknowledged having access to the law firm’s bank accounts and credit cards in connection with her employment, and using the law firm’s credit cards to pay for personal expenses, including meals, groceries, car repairs, car and home insurance, property taxes, funeral expenses for a relative, clothing, sports apparel and equipment, designer products, jewelry, and plastic surgery.  She also used the law firm’s credit cards to pay for family vacations and travel (including trips to San Francisco, Calif., Seattle, Wash., and Las Vegas, Nev.), entertainment (including season tickets to college athletic events, concerts and NBA playoff tickets), apartment rental payments, and ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2019-03-27
    3 weeks ago
  • NAVAJO MAN FROM SHIPROCK SENTENCED TO
    ALBUQUERQUE – This morning a federal judge in Albuquerque, NM, sentenced Thomas M. Navaho, 26, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock, NM, to 51 months of imprisonment based on his previously entered guilty plea to an assault charge.           Navaho was convicted of assaulting a Navajo man on April 27, 2018, on the Navajo Indian Reservation in San Juan County, N.M.  Court documents reflect that Navaho punched, kicked, choked, and threatening to kill the victim because he believed the victim called the police regarding a fight Navaho previously had with another person.  The victim sustained serious bodily injuries, including bleeding on the brain, a broken rib, lacerations requiring stitches and a wound to his left hand which became infected and required surgery, as the result of the assault.            This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Marshall. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2019-03-27
    3 weeks ago
  • MULTI-AGENCY INVESTIGATION DISMANTLES MAJOR DRUG TRAFFICKING ORGANIZATION IN SOUTHEASTERN NEW MEXICO
    ALBUQUERQUE – Ten people are facing federal drug trafficking charges in New Mexico following an 11-month investigation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Lea County Drug Task Force.       Teams of federal, state, county, and local law enforcement officers conducted a major law enforcement operation on Thursday leading to the arrest of 5 defendants from New Mexico, Arizona, California, and Texas, and the execution of federal search warrants at residences in La Luz and Hobbs, New Mexico.  Officers arrested another defendant on February 5, 2019, and two defendants on February 6, 2019.  A grand jury previously indicted all of the defendants.  During the course of the investigation, law enforcement authorities seized approximately 53 kilograms of methamphetamine, 354 grams of heroin, and 20 firearms.        “This investigation exemplifies the cooperation among law enforcement agencies necessary to combat large-scale drug traffickers in our state,” said U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson.  “We are committed to dismantling these criminal organizations from the highest levels down.”       “The trafficking and abuse of methamphetamine destroys lives,” said Special Agent in Charge Kyle W. Williamson of DEA’s El Paso Division.  “Through this investigation, DEA and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners have dismantled an organization responsible for trafficking significant quantities of methamphetamine, other dangerous drugs, and firearms in Hobbs and other communities. With these arrests and seizures, we are sending a strong, unified message that such criminal activity will not be tolerated, and that those who threaten the health and safety of our communities ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2019-02-06
    2 months ago
  • WOMAN FROM ALBUQUERQUE CHARGED WITH SETTING FIRE TO FBI PROPERTY
    ALBUQUERQUE –Josephine Gervais, 39, of Albuquerque, N.M., appeared in federal court today on a charge of malicious damage by fire to federal property.       According to court documents, Gervais committed the offense on January 31, 2019, by setting fire to a sign and vegetation outside the FBI office in Albuquerque.  Albuquerque Fire and Rescue responded to the scene and put out the fire.  Gervais fled the scene.  Agents arrested her at her home later the same day.      Gervais faces from 5 to 20 years in prison if convicted.   Allegations in indictments are only accusations. A criminal defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.       The Albuquerque office of the FBI investigated the case with assistance from Albuquerque Fire and Rescue.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard R. Thomas is prosecuting the case. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2019-02-04
    2 months ago
  • MAN FROM TOHATCHI, N.M. PLEADS GUILTY TO KIDNAPPING
                ALBUQUERQUE – Ryan Thompson, 32, of Tohatchi, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court to charges of kidnapping and aggravated sexual abuse in Indian Country.             According to court documents, Thompson, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, kidnapped a woman and child from a gas station in Gallup on November 15, 2017.  He drove them to another location and forced the woman to drink alcohol. When Thompson briefly left the area, the woman tried to escape by driving way.  Thompson stopped her, pulled her out of the car, and beat her.              Thompson sexually abused the woman in front of the child.  He also threatened to kill the woman and child.  Thompson held them in his car overnight before taking them to a home where they stayed another night.  On November 17, 2017, Thompson stole property from another residence.  At that time, the woman drove away in her car with the child.  She encountered police a short time later.  Emergency responders took her to the hospital for treatment of her injuries, including a broken nose.             At sentencing, Thompson faces from 15 to 20 years in prison.  The Gallup Resident Agency of the FBI investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Nation Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph Spindle is prosecuting the case.          ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2019-02-04
    2 months ago
  • ALBUQUERQUE WOMAN SENTENCED TO 36 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR METHAMPHETAMINE TRAFFICKING
    ALBUQUERQUE – Cordelia Louisa Espinosa, 52, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced in federal court today to 36 months in prison for conspiracy and distribution of at least 50 grams of methamphetamine.              According to court documents, Espinosa participated in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy from the beginning of April 2015 to February 9, 2017.  As part of the conspiracy, she participated in a drug transaction in Albuquerque on December 7, 2016.  Espinosa gave a gift bag containing approximately 553 grams of methamphetamine to another drug trafficker, who then gave the bag to an undercover law enforcement officer posing as a drug purchaser.  On February 9, 2017, Espinosa participated further in the conspiracy by coordinating a drug transaction by telephone involving more than 14 kilograms of methamphetamine.              The indictment against Espinosa also charged three co-defendants.  On January 3, 2019, Hector Hugo Magana, 35, of Redwood City, California, received a sentence of 70 months in prison after pleading guilty to distribution of 500 grams or more of methamphetamine.                On July 3, 2018, Efrain Espinoza-Pena, 45, of Mexico, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, distribution of at least 50 grams of methamphetamine, and possession with intent to distribute at least 50 grams of methamphetamine.    On September 13, 2018, Edgar Madrid-Rascon, 33, of Mexico, pleaded guilty to distribution of 500 grams or more of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  Both of these co-defendants are awaiting sentencing.             The Albuquerque office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2019-01-29
    3 months ago
  • ALBUQUERQUE WOMAN SENTENCED TO 24 MONTHS IN PRISON
                ALBUQUERQUE – Jackie Herron, 25, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced in federal court today to 24 months in prison on three counts of assault on a federal employee involving the use of a deadly weapon.                According to court documents, Herron was involved in a confrontation with postal service workers in a gated, restricted parking lot for employees only.  When postal workers told her to leave, she revved the engine of her automobile and threatened to run them over.  When one of the postal workers went behind her car to take photographs of Herron’s license plate, she pulled out a gun and pointed it at them in a threatening manner.             The Albuquerque office of the United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul J. Mysliwiec and Eva Mae Fontanez prosecuted the case.        ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2019-01-29
    3 months ago
  • ALAMO, N.M. MAN CHARGED WITH SEXUAL ABUSE IN INDIAN COUNTRY
                ALBUQUERQUE – Thomas Abeyta, 35, of Alamo, N.M., made an initial appearance in federal court today on charges of aggravated sexual abuse in Indian Country.              According to a criminal complaint, Abeyta physically assaulted the victim at a residence on January 25, 2019.  Abeyta injected the victim with a substance and sexually abused her over the course of several hours.  The victim later went to the hospital for treatment of her injuries.  Hospital staff reported the matter to law enforcement.  Investigators have not confirmed the nature of the substance Abeyta injected into the victim.             If convicted, Abeyta faces up to life in prison.  Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations.  Defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.             The Albuquerque office of the FBI investigated this case with assistance from the Navajo Nation Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick Mendenhall is prosecuting the case.           ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2019-01-28
    3 months ago
  • Albuquerque Man Sentenced to Prison for Federal Heroin Trafficking and Firearms Conviction
    ALBUQUERQUE – Lawrence Marquez, 39, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court to 88 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for heroin trafficking and firearms charges.  Marquez pled guilty on Aug. 28, 2018 to one count of distribution of heroin and one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a drug trafficking crime.  He admitted that he possessed a firearm when he sold heroin on Feb. 23, 2017, in Albuquerque. This case was investigated by the Albuquerque offices of the DEA and Homeland Security Investigations.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Elaine Y. Ramirez prosecuted the case as part of the Department of Justice’s commitment, in partnership with other law enforcement agencies, to combat the illegal manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine, heroin and prescription opioids and to establish new programs to provide services to victims of the opioid crisis.  ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-12-06
    4 months ago
  • Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Interstate Travel to Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct with a Minor, Child Exploitation and Child Pornography Charges
    ALBUQUERQUE – Bentley Streett, 42, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty this morning in federal court to interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, child exploitation and child pornography charges.  According to court documents, Streett was arrested in Oct. 2014, by the FBI and the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) on federal child exploitation charges.  The investigation into Streett began in Oct. 2013, after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children forwarded a tip to the New Mexico Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force.  During today’s proceedings, Streett pled guilty to interstate travel to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, two counts of production of visual depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct also known as child pornography, three counts of attempted production of child pornography, distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography. In entering the guilty plea, Streett admitted that between July 31, 2013, and Aug. 4, 2013, he traveled from Albuquerque to Sycamore, Ill., for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with a 14-year- old victim.  Streett also admitted that from May 2013 through at least Feb. 2014, he attempted to persuade minors to produce child pornography and send the images to him and sent one of those minors different images of child pornography.  Streett admitted that he saved multiple images of child pornography on his laptop. At sentencing, Streett faces a statutory mandatory minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison.  ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-12-06
    4 months ago
  • Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Bank Robbery Charges
    ALBUQUERQUE – Ryan Schorr, 28, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to robbing two branches of US Bank in New Mexico in Sept. and Oct. 2017. The FBI arrested Schorr in April 2018, for robbing the US Bank located at 2015 Eubank Blvd on Sept. 21, 2017, and robbing the US Bank located at 3801 Isleta Blvd on Oct. 3, 2017.  According to court documents, Schorr robbed both banks by giving a handwritten note to the bank teller stating that he had a gun and was demanding money.  FBI agents located Schorr with the help of witnesses who were able to identify Schorr in security camera footage taken at both bank robberies. Schorr will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing, Schorr faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.  This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Niki Tapia-Brito is prosecuting the case. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-12-05
    5 months ago
  • Farmington Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Bank Robbery Charge
    ALBUQUERQUE – Justin Jr Watchman, 26, of Farmington, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to bank robbery.  Watchman entered the guilty plea without the benefit of a plea agreement. The FBI arrested Watchman in Aug. 2018, for robbing the First Convenience Bank located inside the Walmart at 4600 East Main Street in Farmington on Aug. 17, 2018, by handing the bank teller a note demanding money.  Farmington Police Department (FPD) officers located Watchman later that same day.    At the time of arrest, he possessed a video game system still in the manufacturer’s box and a one-way bus ticket.   Watchman will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.  At sentencing, Watchman faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.  This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the FPD. Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard Thomas is prosecuting the case. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-12-05
    5 months ago
  • Navajo Man from Gallup Sentenced to Prison for Assault with Dangerous Weapon
    ALBUQUERQUE – Junior Cornfield, 34, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Gallup, N.M., was sentenced today in Albuquerque, N.M., federal court to 63 months in prison for assaulting a woman with a hammer intending to cause bodily injury.  Cornfield will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence. On June 14, 2018, Cornfield pled guilty to a felony information charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon.  He admitted that on Nov. 25, 2017, he struck the victim with a hammer, causing her to become unconscious.  Cornfield acknowledged that the victim suffered bruises and needed medical attention because of the assault.  This case was investigated by the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa Dimas pursuant to the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna.  The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project seeks to train tribal prosecutors in federal law, procedure and investigative techniques to increase the likelihood that every viable violent offense against Native women is prosecuted in either federal court or tribal court, or both. The Tribal SAUSA Pilot Project was driven largely by input gathered from annual tribal consultations on violence against women, and is another step in the Justice Department's on-going efforts to increase engagement, coordination and action on public safety in tribal communities. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-12-03
    5 months ago
  • Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Trafficking Heroin in New Mexico
    ALBUQUERQUE – Irving Daniel Ramirez, 25, of El Paso, Texas, pled guilty yesterday in Las Cruces, N.M., federal court to trafficking nearly ten pounds of heroin in New Mexico. New Mexico State Police (NMSP) officers and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents arrested Ramirez in Aug. 2018, after locating approximately 4.4 kilograms (9.7 pounds) of heroin concealed in Ramirez’s vehicle following a traffic stop on Highway 26 in Dona Ana County, N.M. During yesterday’s proceedings, Ramirez pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of heroin with intent to distribute.  He admitted that on Aug. 25, 2018, law enforcement agents located seven bundles of heroin weighing a total of approximately 4.4 kilograms, hidden in his vehicle.  Ramirez also admitted that he was hired to transport the drugs, and intended to deliver the heroin to another individual in Albuquerque. At sentencing, Ramirez faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum of life in federal prison.  Ramirez remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled. This case was investigated by HSI and the NMSP and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah M. Davenport as part of the Department of Justice’s commitment, in partnership with other law enforcement agencies, to combat the illegal manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine, heroin and prescription opioids and to establish new programs to provide services to victims of the opioid crisis.  ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-12-03
    5 months ago
  • Arizona Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Charge in New Mexico
    ALBUQUERQUE – Toni Baldonado, 25, of Tucson, Ariz., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to methamphetamine trafficking.  Baldonado entered her guilty plea without the benefit of a plea agreement. The Drug Enforcement Administration arrested Baldonado after seizing approximately 1.55 kilograms (3.42 pounds) of methamphetamine from her luggage during an interdiction investigation in Albuquerque on June 17, 2016.  Baldonado was indicted on July 12, 2016, and charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. According to court documents, Baldonado admitted that she was transporting the methamphetamine from Phoenix, Ariz., to Denver, Colo., in exchange for payment.  At sentencing, Baldonado faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum of life in federal prison.  A sentencing has yet to be scheduled. This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. Spiers. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-12-02
    5 months ago
  • Previously Convicted Felon from Gallup Sentenced for Illegally Possessing Firearms and Ammunition
    ALBUQUERQUE – Ricardo A. Teran, 39, of Gallup, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Santa Fe, N.M., to 34 months in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.  Teran will be on supervised release for three years. Teran pled guilty to this offense on Aug. 30, 2017.  According to court documents, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the McKinley County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) executed a search warrant at Teran’s home on Feb. 5, 2016.  Law enforcement agents seized firearms, ammunition, bullet-resistant vests, drugs, and drug paraphernalia from the residence.  This included a loaded pistol, revolver, shot gun, methamphetamine pipe, and syringes in a two-year-old child’s bedroom.  Teran was prohibited from possessing firearms, ammunition, or body armor because of his prior felony convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, receiving a stolen firearm, and aggravated assault against a household member.  This case was investigated by HSI and the MCSO with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel A. Hurtado prosecuted the case under Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-29
    5 months ago
  • Grant County, N.M., Man Pleads Guilty to Illegally Possessing Firearm and Ammunition as a Convicted Felon
    ALBUQUERQUE – Rudy Portillo Sepulveda, Jr., 28, of Grant County, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to violating the federal firearms laws by being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.  During today’s proceedings, Sepulveda pled guilty to an indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.  Sepulveda admitted that on March 30, 2018, a New Mexico State Police (NMSP) officer pulled him over because of an outstanding warrant for his arrest, and located a firearm and multiple rounds of ammunition in his vehicle.  In entering his guilty plea, Sepulveda acknowledged that he was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because of his prior felony convictions for aggravated assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon, aggravated fleeing from a law enforcement officer, possession of a controlled substance, and criminal damage to property. Sepulveda faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison.  He remains in custody awaiting sentencing at a later date.  This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI, the NMSP, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office and the Silver City Police Department with assistance from the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa A. Ong is prosecuting the case. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-29
    5 months ago
  • Drug Addict from Grant County, N.M., Sentenced to Prison for Illegally Possessing Firearms and Ammunition
    ALBUQUERQUE – Richard Dinwiddie, 58, of Cliff, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M, to 15 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release for being a drug addict in possession of firearms and ammunition. Dinwiddie pled guilty on June 28, 2018.  He admitted that federal and local law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at his residence on Feb. 5, 2018, and found approximately six firearms, approximately 1,000 rounds of ammunition, 4.5 grams of methamphetamine, and drug paraphernalia.  Dinwiddie also admitted that he had been a methamphetamine user for approximately two years.  This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI, the New Mexico State Police, the Grant County Sheriff’s Office, the Catron County Sheriff’s Office, and the Silver City Police Department with assistance from the 6th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa A. Ong of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office prosecuted the case. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-28
    5 months ago
  • Armed Career Criminal from Rio Rancho Sentenced to 15 Years for Violating Federal Firearms Laws
    ALBUQUERQUE – U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge James C. Langenberg of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Chief Stewart Steele of the Rio Rancho Police Department (RRPD) announced today that Nathan Corley, 38, of Rio Rancho, N.M., was sentenced to 15 years in prison for violating the federal firearms laws.  Corley will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence. Corley pled guilty on April 19, 2018, to an indictment charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  According to court documents, on Sept. 27, 2016, Corley approached a home in Rio Rancho with a rifle in hand.  He used the barrel of the rifle to knock on the front door and spoke to the homeowner with the rifle barrel sticking out of his sweatshirt.  Corley then left the home in his car, striking a mailbox while speeding away.  He drove to a store nearby where he went inside and shoplifted almost $2000 in merchandise.  RRPD arrested Corley as he was leaving the store and walking back to his car.   Corley was carrying a knife in his pocket when police arrested him.  Officers also found an AK-47 rifle, ammunition, and open bottles of alcohol in Corley’s vehicle. At today’s sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Judith C. Herrera found that Corley is an armed career criminal based on his criminal history, including prior convictions for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.  This case was investigated by the FBI and ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-28
    5 months ago
  • Tesuque Pueblo Man Sentenced for Child Abuse Conviction
    ALBUQUERQUE – Agoyo Vigil, 42, an enrolled member and resident of Tesuque Pueblo, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to two years of probation for his conviction on a felony child abuse charge.  On Aug. 31, 2018, Vigil pled guilty to an information charging him with child abuse.  In entering the guilty plea, Vigil admitted that on Dec. 31, 2015, on the San Ildefonso Pueblo, in Santa Fe County, N.M., he became involved in a family argument after consuming beer.   During this argument, Vigil grabbed and pushed the 13-year-old victim up against a wall with his hand on the victim’s throat.  This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI, BIA’s Office of Justice Services and the Tesuque Pueblo Tribal Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Marshall. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-28
    5 months ago
  • Navajo Man from Shiprock Facing Aggravated Sexual Abuse Charge
    ALBUQUERQUE – Wilfred Garcia, 53, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Shiprock, N.M., appeared in federal court today in Albuquerque, N.M., on a criminal complaint charging him with aggravated sexual abuse.  Trial has yet to be scheduled. Agents from the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety arrested Garcia in Shiprock on November 22, 2018.  According to the criminal complaint, Garcia pulled up to the victim while driving his truck.   He got out, put his arms around the victim, and held a hard object to her back while telling her, “Don’t move.”  Garcia then forcibly placed the victim in his truck and drove to a dirt road where he sexually assaulted her.  The victim eventually got away from Garcia, flagged down a motorist for help, and reported the incident to police, who arrested Garcia later that day.  The maximum penalty upon conviction for aggravated sexual abuse charge is life in federal prison.  Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law. This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety.  Assistant U.S. Assistant U.S. Attorney Frederick T. Mendenhall, III, is prosecuting the case as part of the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico which is sponsored by the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women under a grant administered by the Pueblo of Laguna.  The Tribal SAUSA ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-27
    5 months ago
  • Albuquerque Man Sentenced for Mail Theft
    ALBUQUERQUE – Eric R. Powell, 33, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Santa Fe, N.M., to five years of probation including eight months of home confinement for mail theft.  Powell pled guilty on May 3, 2017, to a charge of theft or receipt of stolen mail.  According to court documents, he possessed stolen mail from more than 1,300 victims and caused his victim’s more than $13,000 in financial losses.  In pleading guilty, Powell admitted that he stole mail from numerous mailboxes in Albuquerque using a counterfeit U.S. Postal Service Arrow Key.  Powell also admitted that he paid for a hotel room using a credit card he found in stolen mail.   He also admitted buying various items with credit and debit cards, checks, and gift cards he obtained from stolen mail. This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Rio Rancho Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fyffe prosecuted the case. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-27
    5 months ago
  • Former Las Cruces U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer Sentenced to 12 Months in Prison for Obstruction of Justice
    ALBUQUERQUE – Christopher Holbrook, 32, a former U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer, was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, New Mexico, to 12 months and a day in prison followed by two years of supervised release for obstruction of justice, announced Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson of the District of New Mexico, and Hector Mancha, CBP Director of Field Operation, El Paso.  According to the defendant’s guilty plea, Holbrook falsified an official report regarding his use of force against an individual, referred to as R.A.M., on March 23, 2015.  Holbrook’s report falsely claimed that he used the minimum amount of force necessary to control R.A.M.; in pleading guilty, Holbrook admitted that he intentionally swept R.A.M.’s legs out from under him and caused R.A.M.’s head to hit the floor.  At the time of the incident, Holbrook was working as a CBP officer in Las Cruces.  “The defendant’s intentional falsification of a report to cover up his misconduct undermines the oath that all federal law enforcement take to uphold and fairly enforce the law,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “The Justice Department will continue to prosecute such violations vigorously.” “We depend on law enforcement officers to carry out their duties in a way that respects their positions of authority, the law and the communities they serve,” said U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson.  “When those who are sworn to uphold the law and protect others instead ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-26
    5 months ago
  • Navajo Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for First-Degree Murder and Witness Tampering
    ALBUQUERQUE – Brian Tony, 47, of Gallup, N.M., was sentenced to life imprisonment today in federal court in Santa Fe, N.M., following his previous conviction at trial for first-degree murder and witness tampering, announced U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge James C. Langenberg of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Director Jesse Delmar of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety (NNDPS). A jury found Tony, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, guilty of these offenses on September 30, 2017.  The evidence at trial established that on May 8, 2016, Tony drove his girlfriend’s Jeep to a home in Gallup with his brother and his girlfriend.  Tony picked up the victim and the victim’s friend from this location.  Tony also retrieved a hammer and placed it in his Jeep. According to testimony from the victim’s friend, Tony drove them to a place called “Superman Canyon,” where Tony ordered the victim out of the Jeep and led him to an area out of sight from the vehicle.  The victim’s friend heard the victim yell, but stayed in the Jeep because Tony’s brother threatened him.  A short time later, the victim called “911” and told the operator he was in a ditch and bleeding.  The victim reported that Tony had hit him in the head with a hammer.  The victim told the operator, “Hurry, here he comes now!  Hurry!”  The next day, the victim’s body was found in a ravine by Rock Flats Road near Churchrock, N.M.  There was ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-26
    5 months ago
  • California Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Charge in New Mexico
    ALBUQUERQUE – Gwendolyn Alcazar, 36, of Pasadena, Calif., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to a methamphetamine trafficking charge. The Drug Enforcement Administration arrested Alcazar on Feb. 8, 2018, on an indictment charging her with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  According to the indictment, Alcazar committed the crime on July 11, 2017, in Bernalillo County, N.M.  During today’s proceedings, Alcazar admitted that she received a one-way train ticket from Los Angeles to Atlanta.  She boarded the train with approximately 900.4 grams (1.99 pounds) of methamphetamine concealed in her luggage.  Alcazar intended to transport the methamphetamine to Atlanta and expected to receive payment at the end of her trip.  However, law enforcement officers confronted her in Albuquerque.  Alcazar gave them a false name and tried to abandon her luggage and flee before the officers arrested her.  At sentencing, Alcazar faces a mandatory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum of life in federal prison.  She remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled. This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Niki Tapia-Brito and Eva Fontanez. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-26
    5 months ago
  • Albuquerque Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Possessing Firearm while Trafficking Fentanyl
    ALBUQUERQUE – Jeremy Brown, 27, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court to 60 months in prison for possessing a firearm while trafficking fentanyl.  Brown will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence.  On July 16, 2018, Brown pled guilty to possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  In entering his guilty plea, Brown admitted that on May 1, 2017, he arranged a meeting to sell fentanyl pills to a customer.  DEA agents arrested Brown during this meeting and searched his truck, where they found a canister of fentanyl pills and a .45 caliber pistol in the center console.  Brown admitted that he intended to sell these pills and possessed the pistol to protect himself while selling drugs.     Brown’s co-defendant, Crystal Campos, 34, also of Albuquerque, pled guilty on Oct. 4, 2018, to charges of conspiracy and distribution of a controlled substance.  This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter J. Eicker as part of the Department of Justice’s commitment, in partnership with other law enforcement agencies, to combat the illegal manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine, heroin and prescription opioids and to establish new programs to provide services to victims of the opioid crisis.  ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-26
    5 months ago
  • Felon from Albuquerque Sentenced to Prison for Violating Federal Firearms Laws
    ALBUQUERQUE – Adam Sadlowski, 40, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court to 51 months in prison for being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.  Sadlowski will be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison sentence. Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) deputies arrested Sadlowski at his home on Feb. 22, 2016.  According to court records, they found 13 firearms at Sadlowski’s residence, including two previously reported stolen.  Deputies also found assorted ammunition.  Sadlowski was prohibited from possession any firearms or ammunition at this time because of his previous criminal convictions for trafficking a controlled substance, receiving or transferring a stolen vehicle, and tampering with evidence.  Sadlowski pled guilty to the indictment on April 5, 2018.  He admitted possessing two handguns and ammunition despite being a convicted felon. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated this case with the BCSO.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel A. Hurtado prosecuted the case under Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-26
    5 months ago
  • Federal Jury Convicts Navajo Man on Federal Child Sexual Abuse Charges
    ALBUQUERQUE – A federal jury sitting in Albuquerque, N.M., returned a verdict today finding Brian Adrian Sloan guilty on aggravated child sexual abuse charges following a five-day trial.  The guilty verdict was announced by U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson and Special Agent in Charge James C. Langenberg of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division. The FBI arrested Sloan, 33, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Newcomb, N.M., in Aug. 2016, on an indictment filed on Aug. 23, 2016, alleging child sexual abuse offenses.  The indictment was superseded on Jan. 24, 2017, and charged Sloan with sexually abusing a child under the age of 12 years on two occasions between May 2007 and Dec. 2007, and between May 2008 and Aug. 2008, and sexually abusing a second child under the age of 12 years between June 2003 and Aug. 2003.  According to the superseding indictment, Sloan committed the crimes on the Navajo Indian Reservation in McKinley County, N.M. Trial on the superseding indictment commenced on Nov. 13, 2018, and concluded this morning when the jury returned a guilty verdict against Sloan on all four counts of the superseding indictment. Testimony at trial established that Sloan began sexually abusing the victim referenced in Counts 1, 2 and 3 of the superseding indictment during the summer of 2007.  The victim, who was 11-years old when the sexual abuse began, testified being repeatedly sexually abused by Sloan from the beginning of the summer of 2007 through at least Aug. 2008.  According to ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-18
    5 months ago
  • Laguna Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting an Intimate Partner by Strangulation
    ALBUQUERQUE – William E. Valencia, 28, an enrolled member of Laguna Pueblo who resides in Paguete, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to assaulting his girlfriend by strangling or suffocating. Valencia was arrested in Aug. 2018, on a criminal complaint charging him with assaulting a Laguna Pueblo woman by strangling her on July 17, 2018, in Cibola County, N.M.  According to the complaint, Valencia assaulted the victim by stabbing her right arm with keys, punching and kicking her, and strangling her until she could not breathe and had blurry vision.  The complaint alleged that the victim suffered punctures, bruising and red marks to both sides of her arms and her chest, and bruising and bumps to her head and legs as result of the assault. During today’s proceedings, Valencia pled guilty to assault of an intimate partner by strangling or suffocating.  In entering the guilty plea, Valencia admitted that on July 17, 2018, he assaulted his girlfriend by grabbing her by the throat and strangling her so she could not breathe. At sentencing, Valencia faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison.  He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. This case was investigated by the Laguna/Acoma Agency of the BIA Office of Justice Services.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa C. Dimas is prosecuting the case as part of the Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (Tribal SAUSA) Pilot Project in the District of New Mexico which is sponsored ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-14
    5 months ago
  • Kewa Pueblo Man Pleads Guilty to Assaulting a Federal Officer
    ALBUQUERQUE – Avery Cate, 27, an enrolled member of the Kewa Pueblo who resides in Bernalillo, N.M., pled guilty this morning in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to assaulting a federal officer. Cate was arrested in June 2018, on an indictment charging him with assaulting a federal officer.  According to the indictment, Cate assaulted a Bureau of Indian Affairs officer on Jan. 30, 2015, on Kewa Pueblo in Sandoval County, N.M., while the officer was engaged in the performance of his official duties. During today’s proceedings, Cate pled guilty to the indictment.  In entering the guilty plea, Cate admitted that on Jan. 30, 2015, on Kewa Pueblo, he cursed, threatened, and approached the officers in a threatening manner.  Cate further admitted resisting arrest and kicking a federal officer in the leg, causing the officer to fall.  The officer obtained medical care for his leg and was diagnosed with a sprain as the result of Cate’s assault.  At sentencing, Cate faces a statutory maximum penalty of eight years in federal prison.  Cate remains in federal custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Southern Pueblos Agency of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elisa C. Dimas. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-11-14
    5 months ago
  • Two Men Charged with Trafficking Methamphetamine in Eddy County
    ALBUQUERQUE – A federal grand jury sitting in Las Cruces, N.M., indicted two men, Kenny Sanchez, 53, a former resident of Carlsbad, N.M., who currently resides in Balch Springs, Tex., and Joseph Hernandez, 41, a resident of Carlsbad, charging them with trafficking methamphetamine in Eddy County, N.M.  The charges against Sanchez and Hernandez, which are contained in separate indictments that were filed in Sept. 2018, are the result of investigation by the DEA and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force into methamphetamine trafficking in Carlsbad.  Sanchez’s indictment was announced this week after he was transferred from Texas to New Mexico to face the charges against him.  Sanchez is charged in a four-count indictment that was filed on Sept. 19, 2018, and charges him with participating in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy in April 2018, and with distributing methamphetamine on April 18, 2018, April 27, 2018 and May 9, 2018.  The indictment alleges that Sanchez committed the four offenses in Eddy County. The Abilene Police Department arrested Sanchez on a federal arrest warrant issued based on the federal indictment in Abilene, Tex., on Sept. 21, 2018.  Sanchez was transferred from Texas to New Mexico on Oct. 26, 2018, and he made his initial appearance in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., on Oct. 29, 2018.  Sanchez was ordered detained pending trial, which has yet to be scheduled. If convicted, Sanchez faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years of imprisonment on the conspiracy charge and one ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-31
    6 months ago
  • Bernalillo County Man Sentenced to Prison for Federal Fraud, Identity Theft and Theft of Mail Conviction
    ALBUQUERQUE – Jesse Tucker, 36, of Tijeras, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 48 months in prison for his conviction on fraud, identity theft, and theft of mail charges.  Tucker will be on supervised release for two years after completing his prison sentence.  Tucker also was ordered to pay $42,600.42 in restitution to the victims of his crimes. Tucker was charged in an indictment filed on Feb. 14, 2018, with eight counts of bank fraud, six counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of theft or receipt of stolen mail.  The bank fraud counts alleged that between Nov. 2016 and May 2017, Tucker fraudulently obtained almost $70,000 through a scheme to defraud that involved the use of stolen personal identifiers, checks, and other financial instruments obtained from stolen mail.  The aggravated identity theft counts alleged that Tucker used the identities of others without lawful authority between Nov. 2016 and May 2017, and the theft or receipt of stolen mail count alleged that in June 2017, Tucker unlawfully possessed stolen mail, including checks and financial instruments, taken from a U.S. Postal depository in June 2017.  The indictment charged Tucker with committing these crimes in Bernalillo and Valencia Counties, N.M. On June 20, 2018, Tucker pled guilty to the eight bank fraud charges, two of the aggravated identity theft charges, and the theft or receipt of stolen mail charge.  In entering the guilty plea, Tucker admitted that between Nov. 2016 and May 2017, he used the ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-31
    6 months ago
  • Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Drug Trafficking and Immigration Laws in New Mexico
    ALBUQUERQUE – Ruben Adrian Rubalcava, 36, of Dunedin, Fla., pled guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to methamphetamine trafficking and conspiracy to transport illegal aliens charges. Rubalcava was arrested in Sept. 2018, and was charged in two separate federal criminal complaints.  The first complaint, filed on Sept. 18, 2018, charged Rubalcava with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  The second complaint, filed on Sept. 19, 2018, charged Rubalcava and co-defendant Keith Anthony Cummings, 35, of El Paso, Texas, with conspiracy to transport illegal aliens.  Both complaints alleged that Rubalcava committed the crimes in Dona Ana County, N.M. According to court filings, on Sept. 16, 2018, while responding to a sensor activation during routine patrol, U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered three individuals sitting in a parking lot in Sunland Park, N.M.  Subsequent immigration inspections of the individuals established that two of the individuals were aliens illegally present in the United States.  The agents arrested the third individual, Cummings, on alien smuggling charges.  The agents arrested Rubalcava on alien smuggling charges after he approached them and said the individuals were his friends.  During a search incident to arrest, the agents found 408 grams of methamphetamine inside Rubalcava’s backpack. During today’s proceedings, Rubalcava pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to transport illegal aliens.  In entering the guilty plea, Rubalcava admitted conspiring with another individual on Sept. 16, 2018, to drive to Sunland Park with the intention of ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-30
    6 months ago
  • Lea County Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Charge
    ALBUQUERQUE – Marco Quiroga, 37, of Lovington, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to a methamphetamine trafficking charge.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Quiroga will be sentenced to 70 months in federal prison followed by a term of supervised release to be determined by the court. Quiroga was arrested in June 2018, on a criminal complaint charging him with distributing methamphetamine to undercover law enforcement agents on Feb. 1, 2018, in Lea County, N.M. During today’s proceedings, Quiroga pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  In entering the guilty plea, Quiroga admitted that on Feb. 1, 2018, he distributed approximately 112.9 grams of pure methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent. Quiroga remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled. This case was investigated by the DEA and the Lea County Drug Task Force and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Terri J. Abernathy of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office. The Lea County Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Lea County Sheriff’s Office, Hobbs Police Department, Lovington Police Department, Eunice Police Department the Tatum Police Department and the Jal Police Department, and is part of the NM HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force.  The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.  HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-30
    6 months ago
  • U.S. Attorney Designates District Election Officer
    ALBUQUERQUE – U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson announced today that Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Jeremy Peña will lead the efforts of his Office in connection with the Justice Department’s nationwide Election Day Program for the upcoming November 6, 2018, general election.  AUSA Peña has been appointed to serve as the District Election Officer (DEO) for the District of New Mexico and in that capacity is responsible for overseeing the District’s handling of complaints of election fraud and voting rights abuses in consultation with Justice Department Headquarters in Washington. U.S. Attorney Anderson said, “For our democracy to function as intended, every qualified citizen must have the right to cast a ballot free from interference, discrimination or fraud.  In partnership with federal law enforcement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico will be vigilant in ensuring that the right to vote is properly protected.” The Department of Justice has an important role in deterring election fraud and discrimination at the polls, and combating these violations whenever and wherever they occur.  The Department’s long-standing Election Day Program furthers these goals, and also seeks to ensure public confidence in the integrity of the election process by providing local points of contact within the Department for the public to report possible election fraud and voting rights violations while the polls are open on election day. Federal law protects against such crimes as intimidating or bribing voters, buying and selling votes, impersonating voters, altering vote tallies, stuffing ballot boxes, and marking ballots for ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-29
    6 months ago
  • Former Member of the U.S. Air Force Arrested on Federal Computer Fraud Charges
    ALBUQUERQUE – Michael Weber, 22, of Alamogordo, N.M, made his initial appearance this afternoon in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., on a criminal complaint charging him with a computer fraud offense.   Weber remains in federal custody pending a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, both of which are scheduled for tomorrow. FBI agents arrested Weber early this morning at a residence in Alamogordo.  According to the criminal complaint, Weber allegedly placed a program, information, code, or command known as a “spam bot” onto a government-issued cellular phone assigned to Weber’s supervisor on Jan. 16, 2018.  The “spam bot” allegedly caused the cellular phone to receive a long string of messages allegedly intended to cause damage to the cellular phone.  At the time he allegedly committed the offense, Weber was an Airman with the U.S. Air Force and was stationed at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.  The statutory penalty for a conviction on the computer fraud offense is a maximum of ten years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.  Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.  This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean J. Sullivan.  Weber Complaint ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-29
    6 months ago
  • Roswell Man Sentenced to Five Years for Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Conviction
    ALBUQUERQUE – Eric J.D. Contreras, 33, of Roswell, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 60 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for his methamphetamine trafficking conviction. Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force (CCMNTF) agents arrested Contreras in Nov. 2017, after finding approximately 100.8 grams of methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia, on Contreras and in his vehicle while executing a state search warrant.  Contreras subsequently was indicted on April 18, 2018, and was charged with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and with being a felon in possession of a firearm.  According to the indictment, Contreras committed the offenses on Nov. 29, 2017, in Chaves County, N.M.  At the time, Contreras was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his prior felony convictions for possession of an unregistered firearm made from a shotgun and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.  On June 19, 2018, Contreras pled guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  In entering the guilty plea, Contreras admitted that on Nov. 29, 2017, CCMNTF agents executed a state search warrant on his vehicle and found methamphetamine concealed in the engine compartment.  Contreras admitted that he intended to distribute the methamphetamine to others.  This case was investigated by the DEA and the Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joni Autrey of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office. The HIDTA Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-28
    6 months ago
  • Navajo Man from Pinedale Pleads Guilty to Assault on a Federal Officer Charge
    ALBUQUERQUE – Elvis Lee Tom, 39, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Pinedale, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to an assault on a federal officer charge. Tom was arrested on April 23, 2018, on a criminal complaint charging him with assault with a dangerous weapon resulting in serious bodily injury.  The complaint charged Tom with attacking a tribal officer of the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety (NNDPS), on April 14, 2018, on the Navajo Indian Reservation by taking a Taser gun away from the officer and using the Taser gun on the officer while attempting to avoid arrest.  According to the complaint, after the officer used the Taser gun on Tom, Tom struggled with the officer, gained control of the Taser gun, and deployed the Taser gun on the shoulder of the officer. Tom was indicted on May 9, 2018, and was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, a Taser, with intent to do bodily harm and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.  The incitement charged Tom with committing the crimes on April 15, 2018, on the Navajo Indian Reservation in McKinley County, N.M.    During today’s proceedings, Tom pled guilty to a felony information charging him with assaulting a federal officer.  In entering the guilty plea, Tom admitted that on April 15, 2018, he assaulted an NNDPS officer while the officer was attempting to arrest him.  Tom further admitted that he physically struggled with the officer as he ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-25
    6 months ago
  • Albuquerque Man Sentenced to 137 Months for Federal Mail Theft, Drug Trafficking and Firearms Conviction
    ALBUQUERQUE – Nathan Berke, 38, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court to 137 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for his conviction on drug trafficking, firearms and mail theft charges.  The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson and Inspector in Charge Melisa Llosa of the Phoenix Division of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  Berke and co-defendant Joann Bell, 38, also of Albuquerque, were charged on May 24, 2017, in a 14-count indictment with drug trafficking, firearms, mail theft, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft offenses.  Bell pled guilty in Dec. 2017, and on Dec. 5, 2017, a superseding indictment charging Berke individually, was filed. The 13-count superseding indictment charged Berke with the following offenses:  participation in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy in July 2016, in Bernalillo County; possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on July 28, 2016, in Bernalillo County; using a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on July 28, 2016, in Bernalillo County; possession of stolen mail on July 28, 2016, in Bernalillo County; possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on Aug. 9, 2016, in San Juan County; being a felon in possession of a firearm on July 28, 2016, in Bernalillo County; possession of stolen mail on Aug. 9, 2016, in San Juan County; and three counts of bank fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft from July 23, 2016 through July 25, 2016, in New Mexico. On Sept. 25, 2018, Berke pled ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-24
    6 months ago
  • Carlsbad Man Sentenced to 151 Months for Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Conviction
    ALBUQUERQUE – Joaquin Hernandez, 41, of Carlsbad, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 151 months in prison for his conviction on a methamphetamine trafficking charge.  Hernandez will be on supervised release for four years after completing his prison sentence.  He also was ordered to forfeit the $11,031 seized from him when he was arrested. Pecos Valley Drug Task Force (PVDTF) agents arrested Hernandez in Jan. 2018, after finding approximately 222.54 grams of methamphetamine, marijuana, and $11,031 in cash on Hernandez’s person and in his vehicle following the execution of a state search warrant.  On May 18, 2018, Hernandez pled guilty to felony information charging him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on Jan. 31, 2018, in Eddy County, N.M.  Hernandez entered the guilty plea without the benefit of a plea agreement. This case was investigated by the DEA and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joni Autrey of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office. The Pecos Valley Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Bureau of Land Management, Eddy County Sheriff’s Office and Carlsbad Police Department and is part of the HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force.  The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.  HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-24
    6 months ago
  • Colorado Man Sentenced to 154 Months for Federal Bank Robbery and Firearms Conviction in New Mexico
    ALBUQUERQUE – Paul Fichera, 29, of Durango, Colo., was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 154 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction on bank robbery and firearms charges.  Fichera was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed on May 12, 2017, with robbing the Four Corners Community Bank located at 1301 West Aztec Blvd., in Aztec, N.M., on May 11, 2017.  According to the complaint, Fichera entered the bank wearing a mask, gloves and sunglasses, brandished a firearm, yelled for everyone in the bank to get on the ground, and directed a bank teller to fill his bag with money.  Fichera exited the bank after receiving money, entered a vehicle, and attempted to flee from law enforcement by driving into Colorado at a high rate of speed.  Fichera subsequently was indicted on May 24, 2017, and was charged with armed robbery of the Four Corners Community Bank in Aztec and with using and brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence on May 11, 2017, in San Juan County, N.M.  Fichera pled guilty to the indictment on June 22, 2018, without the benefit of a plea agreement. This case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Howard R. Thomas. ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-24
    6 months ago
  • Navajo Man from Fruitland, N.M., Sentenced to Nearly 20 Years in Prison for Conviction on Federal Rape Charge
    ALBUQUERQUE – U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson, Special Agent in Charge James C. Langenberg  of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Director Jesse Delmar of the Navajo Nation Department of Public Safety (NNDPS) announced that Melvin Russell, a previously convicted sex offender, was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 235 months in prison for his conviction on an aggravated sexual abuse charge.  Russell will be on supervised release for ten years after completing his prison sentence.  He will also be required to register as a sex offender.  The FBI and NNDPS arrested Russell, 53, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Fruitland, N.M., in July 2014, on a criminal complaint charging him with sexually abusing a Navajo woman on May 20, 2014, on the Navajo Nation in San Juan County, N.M.  Russell subsequently was indicted on July 24, 2014, and was charged with aggravated sexual abuse. Trial on the indictment commenced on May 7, 2018, and concluded on May 11, 2018, when the jury returned a guilty verdict against Russell on the sole count of the indictment. Testimony at trial established that late in the evening on May 19, 2014, until the early morning of May 20, 2014, Russell forced the victim to engage in sexual intercourse with him by threatening her with a large samurai sword.  The victim, a friend, and the friend’s child were at Russell’s residence on the evening of May 19, 2014, where Russell, the victim and the victim’s friend consumed ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-24
    6 months ago
  • Kewa Pueblo Man Sentenced to Prison for Federal Child Sexual Abuse Conviction
    ALBUQUERQUE – Jose Tenorio, 50, an enrolled member and resident of Kewa Pueblo, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 63 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for his conviction on child sexual abuse charges.  Tenorio will also be required to register as a sex offender. Tenorio was arrested on March 21, 2017, on a seven-count indictment charging him with kidnapping and abusive sexual contact offenses.  The indictment charged Tenorio with kidnapping a child under the age of 18 (first victim) on May 18, 2016; engaging in abusive sexual contact with the first victim, who was then under the age of 12, two separate times between Jan. 1, 2015 and Jan 31, 2015, and three separate times on May 18, 2016.  It also charged Tenorio with engaging in abusive sexual contact with a child between the age of 12 and 16 (second victim), two separate times between Aug. 23, 2006 and Aug. 22, 2007.  According to the indictment, Tenorio committed the crimes on Kewa Pueblo in Sandoval County, N.M. On May 11, 2018, Tenorio pled guilty to two counts of abusive sexual contact.  In entering the guilty plea, Tenorio admitted that on May 18, 2016, he engaged in sexual contact with the first victim, who was then under the age of 12.  Tenorio also admitted engaging in sexual contact with the second victim, who was then 13 years old, between Aug. 23, 2006 and Aug. 22, 2007.  Tenorio previously pled guilty to ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-23
    6 months ago
  • Roswell Felon Pleads Guilty to Federal Carjacking and Firearms Charges
    ALBUQUERQUE – Nathan Cole Owens, 36, of Roswell, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to carjacking and firearms charges.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Owens will be sentenced to 100 months in federal prison followed by a period of supervised release to be determined by the court. Owens, whose prior criminal history includes felony convictions for false imprisonment, aggravated battery against a household member resulting in great bodily harm, aggravated battery against a household member with a deadly weapon, tampering with evidence, and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, is being prosecuted as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets violent, repeat offenders for federal prosecution.  Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target for federal prosecution violent or repeat offenders with the goal of making communities in New Mexico safer places for people to live and work. Owens was arrested on April 5, 2018, on a criminal complaint charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm on March 14, 2018.  According to the complaint, Roswell Police Department (RPD) officers responded to a domestic disturbance call at a cellular phone store in Roswell on March 14, 2018, reporting that an armed felon was in the store.  When RPD officers arrived, they found Owens and another individual (victim) who reported that Owens threatened her with a firearm, ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-23
    6 months ago
  • Bloomfield Woman Sentenced to 92 Months for Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Conviction
    ALBUQUERQUE – Season Smith, 41, of Bloomfield, N.M., was sentenced this afternoon in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to 92 months in prison for her conviction on a methamphetamine trafficking charge.  Smith will be on supervised release for four years after completing her prison sentence. Smith and co-defendant Jeffrey Kline, 46, of Farmington, N.M., were charged in a two-count indictment filed on April 11, 2017, with conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  The indictment alleged that the defendants committed the offenses on Feb. 10, 2017, in San Juan County, N.M. On May 30, 2018, Smith pled guilty to possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  In entering the guilty plea, Smith admitted that on Feb. 10, 2017, law enforcement officers stopped Kline and Smith while they were traveling from Arizona to New Mexico after they picked up methamphetamine from a source of supply.  Smith further admitted that the officers seized approximately 511.7 grams of methamphetamine, 13.6 grams of heroin and drug paraphernalia when they executed a lawful search of her purse.  Kline previously pled guilty on July 26, 2017, to possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute, and was sentenced on April 9, 2018, to 120 months in prison followed by six years of supervised release.  The case was investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the Farmington Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Eva Fontanez prosecuted the case as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets violent, repeat offenders for federal prosecution.  Under this ... read more
    Source: DOJ – NMPublished on 2018-10-22
    6 months ago