Otero County Corrections Officer Charged in Narcotics Smuggling Scheme
ALBUQUERQUE—A corrections officer at the Otero County Prison Facility (OCFP) in Chaparral, New Mexico has been charged with violating the federal narcotics laws, Acting U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, and Department Secretary Gregg Marcantel of the New Mexico Corrections Department announced.
The correction officer, Luis Delgadillo, 37, of El Paso, Texas, is one of six individuals charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to violate the federal narcotics laws by smuggling controlled substances into the OCPF. The criminal complaint also charges Nancy Salas, 35, of Alamogordo, New Mexico; Ana Lopez, 24, of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and three OCPF inmates—Eric Lovato, 30, of Boles Acres, New Mexico, and Armando Lopez, 27, and Gary Borja, 26, both of Albuquerque—with participating in the conspiracy.
Delgadillo and Ana Lopez were arrested by the FBI on April 26, 2014. During court proceedings this morning, a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Las Cruces ordered Delgadillo detained pending trial while Ana Lopez was released on conditions of release and under pretrial supervision. Salas, who was arrested on April 28, 2014, made her initial appearance in federal court this morning and remains in custody pending a detention hearing which has yet to be scheduled. The three inmates, who remain in state custody, will be transferred to federal custody to face the charges in the criminal complaint.
According to the criminal complaint, the FBI initiated its investigation into the case in January 2014, after receiving information from the New Mexico Corrections Department allegedly showing that Delgadillo was smuggling heroin and methamphetamine into the OCPF. The investigation, which included a review of recorded inmate telephone calls and OCPF surveillance video, physical surveillance and the results of inmate drug testing, identified the six defendants as members of a conspiracy that allegedly smuggled narcotics into the OCPF between January 2014 and April 2014.
The criminal complaint generally alleges that Ana Lopez and Salas purchased narcotics at the behest of the inmate defendants and transferred the narcotics to Delgadillo, who was paid to smuggle the narcotics to the inmate defendants. In late January and early February 2014, Ana Lopez, Armando Lopez, Salas, and Lovato allegedly participated in a series of telephone calls during which they arranged for Salas to purchase narcotics that would be smuggled into the OCPF by Delgadillo.
The criminal complaint further alleges that in February and March 2014, Salas, Borja, and Lovato participated in a series of telephone calls during which they arranged for Salas to purchase narcotics and to transfer the narcotics to Delgadillo so that he could smuggle the narcotics into the OCPF. On March 14, 2014, the FBI conducted surveillance of a meeting between Salas and Delgadillo. On March 15, 2014, OCPF video surveillance cameras allegedly recorded an interaction during which Delgadillo handed a package to Borja which Borja took to his bunk area where he was joined by Armando Lopez. During a telephone call later that day, Armando Lopez allegedly told Ana Lopez that Delgadillo had smuggled the narcotics into the OCPF. On March 18, 2014, the OCFP performed inmate drug tests which allegedly revealed that Borja, Armando Lopez, and another inmate tested positive for opiates.
According to the criminal complaint, in April 2014, Borja participated in in a series of telephone calls with Ana Lopez during which they made plans for Ana Lopez to purchase narcotics and to transfer the narcotics to Delgadillo. On April 26, 2014, the FBI conducted surveillance of a meeting between Delgadillo and Ana Lopez. Shortly thereafter, the FBI arrested Delgadillo and Ana Lopez. During a search of Delgadillo’s vehicle, the FBI allegedly found a box containing 38.9 grams of a substance that tested positive for methamphetamine, 12.5 grams of a substance that appeared to be heroin, and 10 Suboxone pills.
If convicted of the offense charged in the criminal complaint, each of the six defendants faces a prison sentence of not less than five years and not more than 40 years. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless convicted in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and the New Mexico Corrections Department and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark A. Saltman of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.