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Guilty Plea in Littlefield Methamphetamine Trafficking Investigation

JULY 10 (LUBBOCK, Texas) - Arnoldo Mendoza Lepez, 44, of Littlefield, Texas appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge D. Gordon Bryant, Jr. this afternoon and pled guilty to his role in a methamphetamine distribution conspiracy, announced Special Agent-in-Charge Clyde E. Shelley, Jr. and U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

Lepez pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of methamphetamine. He faces not less than 10 years and up to life in federal prison and a $10,000,000 fine. A sentencing date has not been set.

Co-defendants Joseph Raymond Jaramillo, Jr., 30, and Zahir Rivera-Pineda, 27, pled guilty earlier this month to their role in the conspiracy and are awaiting sentencing.

According to plea documents filed in the case, on May 5, 2017, New Mexico State Police stopped a vehicle being driven by Rivera-Pineda that was found to contain approximately 20 pounds of suspected methamphetamine near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) were able to determine that the methamphetamine was destined for a specific residence located in Littlefield, Texas. HSI agents coordinated with agents from the Lubbock County, Texas Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) and the DEA to complete the delivery of the methamphetamine to the residence in an attempt to identify the individuals receiving the narcotics.

Shortly after the methamphetamine was delivered to the residence in Littlefield, agents
executed a search warrant. Inside the residence, agents located Jaramillo, Jr. and Lepez. Inside the
room with Jaramillo and Lepez, agents located in plain view several of the bundles containing the methamphetamine that had just been delivered to the house. Inside a hidden compartment located in the closet of the same room, agents discovered the remainder of the bundles containing the recently delivered methamphetamine. Also in the room were two firearms, and agents also located several other firearms throughout the residence. The methamphetamine located in the residence weighed a total of 8,833 grams.

The DEA, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations, Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office, and New Mexico State Police are conducting the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Long is in charge of the prosecution.

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