Mexican National Sentenced to More Than 17 Years in Federal Prison for Methamphetamine Trafficking and Firearms Convictions
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 24, 2013|
ALBUQUERQUE—Jesus Omar Lopez-Valle, 28, a Mexican national from Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico, was sentenced this morning to 210 months in federal prison, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and Carol K.O. Lee, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division. Lopez-Valle will be deported after he completes his prison sentence.
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, New Mexico, 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. Jesus Lopez-Valle also was charged with being an illegal alien unlawfully in possession of a firearm. Jesus Lopez-Valle entered a guilty plea to all three charges on March 8, 2013.
According to court filings, on February 21, 2012, Chavez-Meza and the undercover officer discussed the prospect of a methamphetamine deal. Thereafter, on February 23, 2012, Chavez-Meza met the undercover officer at the Sandia Resort and Casino and agreed to sell the officer three pounds of methamphetamine at a price of $14,500 per pound. Chavez-Meza arrived at the meeting site with Jesus Lopez-Valle, who did not participate in the meeting. On March 1, 2013, Chavez-Meza met the undercover officer at a gas station in the vicinity of Montgomery Blvd. NE and Interstate 25 in Albuquerque with the intention of selling four pounds of methamphetamine to the officer. Chavez-Meza arrived in a vehicle driven by Hector Lopez-Valle and Jesus Lopez-Valle arrived at the meeting site in a separate vehicle. After retrieving a package containing methamphetamine from the truck, Chavez-Meza entered the undercover officer’s vehicle, and the officer drove to a nearby apartment complex, followed by Jesus Lopez-Valle and Hector Lopez-Valle. Shortly thereafter, FBI agents arrested Jesus Lopez-Valle, Chavez-Meza, and Hector Lopez-Valle.
On February 25, 2013, Chavez-Meza pleaded guilty to conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute; he is scheduled for sentencing on July 8, 2013. Hector Lopez-Valle pleaded guilty to the same two charges on March 8, 2013, and is scheduled for sentencing on July 22, 2013. Each faces a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison. They remain in custody pending their sentencing hearings.
This case was investigated by the Cross Border Drug Violence Squad of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division and the Las Cruces Metro Narcotics Agency, and it is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Samuel A. Hurtado and Nicholas Jon Ganjei.
The FBI’s Cross Border Drug Violence Squad is a hybrid squad composed of agents with various investigative backgrounds, including narcotics, white-collar, public corruption, and gang expertise, to promote more comprehensive investigations. The FBI created hybrid squads along the Southwest Border that are dedicated to combating Mexican drug cartels and the violent crime threat along the border after Congress passed the Border Security Appropriations Bill in August 2010, which directed and funded the FBI to create these squads. The Albuquerque Division’s Cross Border Violence Squad focuses its investigative efforts on Mexican drug cartels and the major Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations in New Mexico that support the cartels.