Federal Investigation Dismantles Deming-Based Methamphetamine Trafficking Organization
|U.S. Attorney’s Office October 18, 2012|
ALBUQUERQUE—Nine individuals who allegedly participated in a Deming, New Mexico-based conspiracy to distribute large quantities of methamphetamine have been charged with narcotics trafficking offenses in a federal indictment that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico in Las Cruces.
The indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales; Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) El Paso Field Division; Dennis A. Ulrich, II, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Carol K.O. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the Albuquerque Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The indictment charges the defendants with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine between April 2012 and October 2012. The indictment, which also includes seven substantive drug trafficking charges, alleges that members of the conspiracy distributed large quantities of methamphetamine in southern New Mexico communities, including Deming, Las Cruces, and Sunland Park. The eight-count indictment seeks forfeiture of property and proceeds derived from or involved in the defendants’ illegal activities.
The indictment is the result of a multi-agency investigation led by the DEA office in Las Cruces, the Homeland Security Investigations office in Las Cruces, the FBI resident agency in Roswell, and the Las Cruces Metro Narcotics Agency that was designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. OCDETF is a nationwide Department of Justice initiative 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 organizations.
This morning, federal, state, and local law enforcement officers executed a coordinated series of law enforcement operations that resulted in the arrests of six of the defendants charged in the indictment. They also executed three search warrants at residences in Deming, Las Cruces, and Albuquerque. Two defendants were arrested in Odessa, Texas; one in Deming; one in Las Cruces; one in Albuquerque; and one in Tucson, Ariz. One defendant is already in federal custody on related charges. Two defendants have yet to be apprehended and are considered fugitives. The six defendants arrested today will make their initial appearances in Las Cruces federal court on October 19, 2012.
Two additional defendants were arrested outside of Las Cruces in possession of three ounces of methamphetamine. They will be charged with conspiracy and possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine and will make their initial appearance in Las Cruces federal court on October 19, 2012.
The investigation was initiated early in 2012, when DEA and HSI agents, who were acting in undercover capacities, were able to infiltrate the conspiracy. The indictment alleges that for a seven-month period, the undercover agents had a series of meetings with members of the conspiracy during which they negotiated numerous transactions involving large quantities of methamphetamine. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers seized and purchased approximately two gross kilograms of methamphetamine and seized approximately $235,206 in cash. During today’s law enforcement operations, officers seized three ounces of methamphetamine, two handguns, six vehicles, and $3,300 in cash.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Renee L. Camacho and Terri J. Abernathy and was investigated by DEA, HSI, FBI, and Las Cruces Metro Narcotics Agency. The U.S. Marshals Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; the U.S. Border Patrol; the New Mexico State Police; the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office; the Sunland Park Police Department; and the Hatch Police Department assisted in today’s law enforcement operations.
Summary of Charges in United States v. Majalca-Aguilar, et al.
Count one of the indictment charges all nine defendants with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. A conviction on this count carries a maximum penalty of 10 years to life imprisonment and a $10 million fine.
Counts two through eight each charge certain defendants with distribution of quantities of methamphetamine. A conviction on counts two, three, five, six, seven, and eight each carries a maximum penalty of 10 years to life imprisonment and a $10 million fine. A conviction on count four carries a maximum penalty of five years to 40 years of imprisonment and a $5 million fine.
Defendants in United States v. Majalca-Aguilar, et al.
Gildardo Majalca-Aguilar, 44, a Mexican national who is a legal permanent resident and resides in Albuquerque, is charged in counts one, two, four, six, seven, and eight of the indictment. Majalca-Aguilar was arrested in Albuquerque.
Ivan Jesus Majalca, 26, of Deming, is charged in counts one, three, and eight of the indictment. Molinar was arrested in Deming.
Ricardo Rodriguez-Magallanes, 36, a Mexican national who is a legal permanent resident and resides in Deming, is charged in counts one, three, and five of the indictment. Rodriguez-Magallanes was arrested in Odessa, Texas.
Eleazar Olivas-Mendoza, 44, a Mexican national who is a legal permanent resident and resides in Las Cruces, is charged in counts one, four, and six of the indictment. Olivas-Mendoza was arrested in Las Cruces.
Adam Galindo, 47, of Deming, is charged in counts one and two of the indictment. Galindo was arrested in Tucson, Arizona.
Jose Angel Morales, 22, of Deming, is charged in counts one and five of the indictment. Morales was arrested in Odessa.
Leonard Jesus Rico, 25, is charged in counts one and seven of the indictment. Rico is in federal custody on a criminal complaint alleging charges related to charges in the indictment.
Carolina Gonzales-Hermosillo, 18, a Mexican national who is a legal permanent resident, is charged in counts one, six, and seven of the indictment. Gonzales-Hermosillo has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
Karla Iveth Nunez-Ortega, 30, a Mexican national, is charged in counts one and eight of the indictment. Nunez-Ortega has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
Defendants in U.S. v. Aguirre, et al.
Mayra Aguirre, 26, of Las Cruces, and Mario Serrano, 31, of El Paso, Texas, will be charged by criminal complaint with conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. A conviction on each of these offenses carries a maximum penalty of maximum penalty of five years to 40 years of imprisonment and a $5 million fine.
Charges in indictments and criminal complaints are only accusations. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.