Federal Jury in New Mexico Convicts Arizona Man on Methamphetamine Trafficking and Firearms Charges
ALBUQUERQUE—This afternoon a federal jury sitting in Las Cruces, N.M., found Matthew Maley, 46, of Tucson, Ariz., guilty on methamphetamine trafficking and firearms charges after a four-day trial. The guilty verdict was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Lt. Bobby Holden of the Las Cruces/ Doña Ana County Metro Narcotics Agency.
Maley and his four co-defendants Jennifer Sanders, 42, Jose Luis Niño, 40, and Aubrey Savage, 34, all of Las Cruces, and Candice Marie Carpenter, 35, of Tucson, were charged in an 14-count superseding indictment filed on March 19, 2014. Count 1 charged Sanders, Savage and Maley with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Doña Ana County, N.M., from June 2013 through Aug. 2013. Count 11 charged Maley, Nino and Carpenter with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Doña Ana County in Dec. 2013. The indictment also charged the defendants with various substantive methamphetamine distribution offenses, and Maley and Niño with being felons in possession of firearms and ammunition.
Maley’s four co-defendants entered guilty pleas to various counts of the superseding indictment while Maley elected to exercise his right to a jury trial. Maley proceeded to trial on two counts of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, two counts of methamphetamine distribution, one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Maley’s trial began on Sept. 22, 2014. Before the case was submitted to the jury, the court entered a directed verdict of acquittal on one of the two methamphetamine distribution counts. The trial concluded today when the jury returned a verdict of guilty against Maley on the five counts it considered.
The evidence established that Maley was the head of a drug trafficking organization that distributed significant quantities of methamphetamine in New Mexico and Arizona. According to the testimony at trial, during July and Aug. 2013, undercover officers made several controlled purchases of methamphetamine from Maley, Sanders and Savage, including the purchase of a pound of methamphetamine on Aug. 21, 2013. From Oct. through Dec. 2013, an informant purchased methamphetamine from Niño, who obtained the methamphetamine from Maley, and on Dec. 4, 2013, officers seized approximately 274 grams of methamphetamine when they executed a search warrant at Niño’s residence in Las Cruces.
Maley has been in federal custody since his arrest on Dec. 4, 2013, and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Maley faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in prison and a maximum of life in prison on the methamphetamine trafficking charges, and a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in prison on the firearms charge. Maley faces the enhanced penalty of a mandatory minimum 20 years in prison on the drug charges because he has a prior drug trafficking felony conviction.
On June 11, 2014, co-defendant Savage pled guilty to a conspiracy count on June 11, 2014, and admitted distributing methamphetamine on seven separate occasions between June 7, 2013 and July 11, 2013. The quantities involved in those transactions ranged from .97 grams to 97.3 grams. Savage faces a mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 40 years in prison when she is sentenced.
On July 16, 2014, co-defendant Niño pled guilty to one count of conspiracy, one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition. Niño admitted possessing 274 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute in his home on Dec. 4, 2013. He also admitted unlawfully possessing 30 rounds of ammunition on that day. Niño was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of a felony drug trafficking offense. Niño faces a mandatory minimum of ten years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.
On July 18, 2014, co-defendant Sanders pled guilty to one count of conspiracy and seven counts of distribution of methamphetamine, and admitted selling methamphetamine to a person who turned out to be an undercover officer on seven separate occasions between June 12, 2013 and Aug. 21, 2013. Sanders acknowledged that the quantities of methamphetamine involved in the sales ranged from 5.4 grams in the first transaction to more than 250 grams in the last two transactions. At sentencing, Sanders faces a mandatory minimum of ten years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.
Co-defendant Carpenter entered a guilty plea on Sept. 18, 2014, to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine, and admitted transporting 270 grams of methamphetamine from Arizona to New Mexico at Maley’s direction. At sentencing, Carpenter faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The four co-defendants remain in custody pending sentencing hearing, which have yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and Las Cruces/ Doña Ana County Metro Narcotics Agency, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maria Y. Armijo and E. Garreth Winstead, III, of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.