Federal Indictment Prompts Arrests of Drug Traffickers
NOV 16 -- EL PASO – Joseph M. Arabit, Special Agent in Charge of the El Paso Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Kenneth J. Gonzales, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico announce that earlier today, as a result of a year-long Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) investigation, a seven-count indictment was unsealed charging 23 alleged members of a cocaine trafficking organization operating in Southern New Mexico and El Paso, Texas with federal drug trafficking and money laundering offenses. The investigation was designated as an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) case. OCDETF is a nationwide program that combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated attack against major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. Earlier today, more than 100 members of law enforcement, from numerous federal, state and local agencies, participated in executing the court ordered arrests of many of the defendants named in the indictment, as well as the execution of 7 early morning court ordered search warrants at various locations in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Canutillo, Horizon City and El Paso, Texas. The indictment alleges that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, between May 2010 and November 7, 2010. The indictment also includes two counts which allege money laundering. According to the indictment, Pablo Fernando Fuentes, along with others named in the indictment, distributed cocaine from a compound on Applewood Road in Canutillo, Texas. The indictment alleges that Fuentes also stored cocaine and drug proceeds at a residence on Charter Park in El Paso, Texas. According to the indictment, the group’s operations in New Mexico included delivering cocaine to Las Cruces, and picking up drug proceeds in Las Cruces and Sunland Park, New Mexico. The indictment further alleges that the cocaine distributed by the group came from a Mexican source, and that proceeds from the drug sales were delivered to individuals in El Paso, Texas, and Mexico.
All of the defendants are charged in the drug trafficking conspiracy and, if convicted of that charge, face a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment and up to life imprisonment. They also are subject to a $4,000,000 fine, and five years of supervised release. This case was investigated primarily by the DEA, but also with substantial assistance from the Internal Revenue Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Marshal’s Service, United States Border Patrol, the New Mexico National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department, the New Mexico State University Police Department, New Mexico State Police Department, Otero County Sheriff’s Department, the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Motor Transportation Division and other federal, state and local agencies.
United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales praised the coordinated efforts that led
DEA Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit said:
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sarah M.
The DEA El Paso Division encourages parents, and their children to visit the following interactive websites at www.justthinktwice.com, www.GetSmartAboutDrugs.com and www.dea.gov.