U.S. Attorney's Office
District of New Mexico
(505) 346-7274
November 16, 2015

El Paso Man Arraigned in New Mexico on Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

ALBUQUERQUE—An El Paso, Texas, man was arraigned this morning in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., on a 45-count indictment charging a total of 20 defendants with drug trafficking, money laundering and immigration offenses. During this morning’s proceedings, Pablo Alberto Arana-Delgado, 34, a naturalized citizen of the United States, entered a not guilty plea to the indictment and was ordered detained pending trial.

The indictment, which was filed on Oct. 14, 2015, alleges that Arana-Delgado and his 19 co-defendants were members of a major drug trafficking organization that imported large amounts of cocaine, marijuana and heroin from Mexico into the United States. It alleges that members of the conspiracy distributed the cocaine, marijuana and heroin in Albuquerque and other places in the United States, and smuggled drug proceeds from the United States to Mexico. According to the indictment, the conspiracy operated in Doña Ana, Luna and Bernalillo Counties from Oct. 2014 through Oct. 2015. The indictment also includes forfeiture provisions seeking a money judgment of $1,100,000, which represents the amount of money allegedly derived from the offenses charged in the indictment.

The indictment is the result of an investigation by the DEA, FBI and U.S. Border Patrol that was designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program. The OCDETF program 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. During the course of the investigation, law enforcement officers seized and purchased 6.2 kilograms of cocaine, 2.9 kilograms of methamphetamine, 1039.9 kilograms of marijuana and 351 grams of heroin. They also seized $267,030.00 in alleged drug proceeds and other assets valued at approximately $153,000.00.

To date, nine of the 20 defendants are in federal custody. The remaining 11 defendants are fugitives and presumed to be in Mexico.

The case was investigated by the Las Cruces offices of the DEA and FBI, and the U.S. Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Selesia L. Winston and Renee L. Camacho of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office are prosecuting the case.

Indictment in United States v. Estopellan-Torres, et al., 15-CR-33648-RB

Summary of the Charges

Count 1 of the Indictment charges all 20 defendants with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, marijuana and heroin in Doña Ana, Luna and Bernalillo Counties, N.M., and elsewhere between Oct. 2014 and Oct. 2015. For five of the defendants, the maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on this count is imprisonment for not less than ten years or more than life. For seven defendants, the maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on this count is imprisonment for not less than five years or more than 40 years. For eight of the defendants, the maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on this count is not more than 20 years of imprisonment.

Count 2 charges 14 of the defendants with conspiracy to launder money. The statutory penalty for a conviction on this count is imprisonment for 20 years.

Count 3 charges one defendant with distributing cocaine in Doña Ana County, N.M., on Oct. 9, 2014. The maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on this count is imprisonment for not less than five years and not more than 40 years.

Counts 4, 15, 22, 26-28, 33, 35 and 40-41 charge certain defendants with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute between Jan. 16, 2015 and Aug. 2015, in Luna and Bernalillo Counties, N.M. The maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on each of these counts is imprisonment for not more than five years.

Count 5 charges two defendants with possession of more than 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute on Jan. 16, 2015, in Luna County, N.M. The maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on this count is imprisonment for not less than five years or more than 40 years.

Counts 6-7, 25, 29, 31, 37, 39 and 43 charge certain defendants with using communications devices (telephone) to facilitate drug trafficking crimes. The maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on each of these counts is imprisonment for not more than four years.

Counts 8, 11-12, 14, 17-20, 23, 30, 34 and 38 charge certain defendants with international money laundering. The maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on each of these counts is imprisonment for 20 years.

Count 9 charges three defendants with possession of more than five kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute in Bernalillo County, N.M., on Jan. 2, 2015. The maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on this count is imprisonment for not less than ten years or more than life.

Counts 10, 16 and 24 charge certain defendants with distribution of marijuana in Bernalillo County, N.M., on Feb. 2, 2015, March 27, 2015, and June 24, 2015. The maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on each of these counts is imprisonment for not more than five years.

Counts 13, 21, 32 and 36 charge certain defendants with possession of more than 50 kilograms of marijuana with intent distribute in Luna, Bernalillo and Doña Ana Counties, N.M., on Feb. 24, 2015, May 20, 2015, July 17, 2015, and Aug. 12, 2015. The maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on each of these counts is imprisonment for 20 years.

Count 42 charges two defendants with possession of more than 100 grams of heroin with intent to distribute in Bernalillo County, N.M., on Aug. 18, 2015. The maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on each of these counts is imprisonment for not less than five years or more than 40 years.

Counts 44 and 45 each charge a defendant with illegal reenter into the United States after having been deported. The maximum statutory penalty for a conviction on each of these counts is imprisonment for ten years.

Charges against Defendants

  • Edgar Estoppellan-Torres, a Mexican national, is charged in Counts 1, 2, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 30 and 32. Estoppellan-Torres has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
  • Ignacio Villalobos-Salinas, 29, a Mexican national, is charged in Counts 1 through 12 and 16 through 20. Villalobos-Salinas has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
  • Angel Daniel Silva-Silva, 30, a Mexican national, is charged in Counts 1, 10, 15, and 31. Silva-Silva has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
  • Rene Amaya-Rivas, 26, a Mexican national who was residing in Odessa, Texas, is charged in Counts 1, 2, 5, 8, 14 and 15. Amaya-Rivas was arrested in Oct. 2015, in Amarillo, Texas.
  • Rigoberto Estoppellan-Torres, 34, a Mexican national, is charged in Counts 1 and 4. Estoppellan-Torres has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
  • Jesus Muñoz-Lechuga, 35, a Mexican national, is charged in Counts 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 16 through 23, 25, 27 through 32, 34 and 44. Muñoz-Lechuga has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
  • Emilio Delgado-Olivas, 42, a Mexican national, is charged in Counts 1, 2, 22, 24, 25, 26, 33, 34, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43 and 45. Delgado-Olivas has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
  • Pablo Alberto Arana-Delgado, 34, a Mexican national who was residing in El Paso, Texas, is charged in Counts 1, 9, 21, 27, 32 and 36. Arana- Delgado was arrested on Oct. 23, 2015, and has been in federal custody since that time.
  • Elier Gabriel Jaime-Castillo, 34, a Mexican national illegally present in the United States, is charged in Counts 1, 2, 20, 21, 30 and 39 through 43. Jaime-Castillo was arrested on Sept. 1, 2015, on a criminal complaint and has been in federal custody since that time.
  • Amado Acevedo-Gonzalez, 35, a Mexican national illegally in the United States, is charged in Counts 1, 28 and 29. Acevedo-Gonzalez was arrested on Oct. 15, 2015, and has been in federal custody since that time.
  • Mauricio Ledezma, 22, of Albuquerque, N.M., is charged in Counts 1, 2 and 8. Ledezma was arrested on Oct. 15, 2015, and has been in federal custody since that time.
  • Cerbando Carbajal, 19, of Columbus, N.M., is charged in Counts 1, 2 and 14. Carbajal was arrested on Oct. 23, 2015, and has been in federal custody since that time.
  • Emilia Quezada, 30, a U.S. citizen who was residing in Chihuahua, Mexico, is charged in Counts1, 2, 12, 17 through 20 and 23. Quezada was arrested on Oct. 23, 2015, and has been in federal custody since that time.
  • George A. Taylor, 54, of Deming, N.M., is charged in Counts 1, 2 and 33 through 35. Taylor was arrested on was arrested on Oct. 20, 2015, and has been in federal custody since that time.
  • Grisel H. Majalca, 31, of Columbus, N.M. is charged in Counts 1, 2, 37 and 38. Majalca was arrested on was arrested on Oct. 25, 2015, and is on conditions of release and under pretrial supervision.
  • Jesus Gilberto Varela-Sanchez, 27, a Mexican national, is charged in Counts 1 and 15. Varela-Sanchez has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
  • Leonardo Martinez-Olivas, 48, a Mexican national, is charged in Counts 1, 2 and 11. Martinez-Olivas has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
  • Carlos Adrian Ortega-Acevedes, 24, a Mexican national, is charged in Counts 1, 2 and 11. Ortega-Acevedes has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
  • Neftali Garcia-Torres, 19 a Mexican national, is charged in Counts 1 and 13. Garcia-Torres has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.

Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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