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Eddy County Resident Sentenced to 168 Months for Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Conviction
Defendant prosecuted under federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

JAN 21 (ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) – Rodrigo Ivan Cazares, 34, a legal permanent resident from Zamora, Michoacan, Mexico who resides in Artesia, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., for a narcotics trafficking conviction involving more than 4.5 kilograms (ten pounds) of pure methamphetamine.  Cazares was sentenced to 168 months in prison, and will be deported after he completes his term of incarceration.  Cazares was also ordered to forfeit the $48,389 seized from him during the investigation leading to his conviction.

The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of the DEA’s El Paso Division, and Commander James McCormick of the HIDTA Pecos Valley Drug Task Force.

U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez said that Cazares was prosecuted as part of the federal “worst of the worst” anti-violence initiative.  Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders primarily based on their prior felony convictions for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.  U.S. Attorney Martinez said that Cazares was prosecuted under the initiative even though he has no prior criminal convictions because the significant quantities and the purity of the methamphetamine trafficked by Cazares demonstrated that he posed a serious danger to residents of Eddy County.

“Taking drug dealers like Mr. Cazares off the streets is DEA’s top priority, and our partnership with the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force demonstrates our ongoing commitment to investigating and prosecuting those who sell these dangerous and addictive drugs in our local communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy. 

“This case is a perfect example of the mission and goals of the HIDTA program coming to fruition; local, state and federal agencies working together to remove the ‘worst of the worst’ criminals like Cazares from our community for as long as possible,” said Commander James McCormick of the HIDTA Pecos Valley Drug Task Force.  “The incarceration of Cazares and others involved in his criminal enterprise will have a direct impact on the residents of Eddy County, in a positive light.  Basically this is a ‘win-win’ for not only the residents of Eddy County but for all New Mexicans.”

Cazares was arrested in Oct. 2013, on a criminal complaint charging him with distribution of approximately 2.8 kilograms of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement officer on Oct. 15, 2013, in Eddy County, N.M.  He subsequently was charged in a five-count indictment with distributing large quantities of methamphetamine on four occasions between Aug. 2013 and Oct. 2013, and possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute on Oct. 15, 2013.  The indictment alleged that Cazares committed the five methamphetamine trafficking offenses in Eddy County.

On May 28, 2014, Cazares pleaded guilty to all five-counts of the indictment and admitted that he committed the following crimes:

  • Distribution of an ounce of methamphetamine to a confidential source working with law enforcement on Aug. 15, 2013;
  • Distribution of eight ounces of methamphetamine to the confidential source on Sept. 9, 2013;
  • Distribution of five pounds of methamphetamine to the confidential source and an undercover law enforcement agent on Oct. 8, 2013;
  • Distribution of five pounds of methamphetamine to the undercover law enforcement agent on Oct. 15, 2013; and
  • Possession of two ounces of methamphetamine and an ounce of cocaine on Oct. 15, 2013.

In entering his guilty plea, Cazares admitted that law enforcement officers seized $48,389 in cash from Cazares and his residence when he was arrested on Oct. 15, 2013.  Cazares admitted that the cash and two vehicles seized by law enforcement agents on Oct. 15, 2013 were proceeds of his drug trafficking activities.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Renee L. Camacho of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office prosecuted the case. 

The Pecos Valley Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, Carlsbad Police Department and Artesia Police Department and is part of the HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force.  The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.  HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.
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