News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2006

Over 20 Arrested After a 6 Month Drug Enforcement Administration/Mobile Enforcement Team and Region II Narcotics Task Force Operation that Focused on Methamphetamine Traffickers in the San Juan County Area

On January 23, 2006, the San Juan County Region II Narcotics Task Force, Farmington Police Department, Bloomfield Police Department, Aztec Police Department, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)/Mobile Enforcement Team (MET) concluded a six month state and federal drug investigation that targeted violent domestic and international narcotics traffickers in the San Juan County, New Mexico area. This cooperative multi-agency operation resulted in the arrest of over 20 individuals that are or will be indicted for federal narcotics violations.

This investigation was initiated in response to increased gang and drug related violence due to drug trafficking activity which has beleaguered Farmington, New Mexico and the San Juan County community in recent years.

Arrest and search warrants effected throughout the course of the joint investigation led to the seizure of money, weapons, vehicles, recovery of stolen property, and the arrest of other defendants on outstanding state warrants and other drug related state charges.

Through the multilateral exertion put forth by San Juan County Region II Narcotics Task Force, Farmington Police Department, Bloomfield Police Department, Aztec Police Department, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, New Mexico State Police and the Drug Enforcement Administration DEA/MET disrupted several local narcotics trafficking organizations importing and distributing cocaine and methamphetamine in the San Juan County area.

During the operation, the Region II Narcotics Task Force and DEA/MET team identified two separate and significant drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) operating in the greater San Juan County area that were headed and directed by Mexican Nationals.

These two DTOs were directing and facilitating the transportation and distribution of multi-pound quantities of methamphetamine from the Republic of Mexico via Phoenix, Arizona, into San Juan County on a weekly basis. As a result of this operation, these two DTOs were severely disrupted and their distribution network was dismantled.

“The number of suspects charged and state/local law enforcement agencies involved in this operation is an indicator of the hard work and long hours spent on this investigation. All officers and agents who took part are to be commended for their dedicated service to the public, and their communities,” said Zoran B. Yankovich, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA’s El Paso Field Division.

This joint investigation resulted in the seizure of approximately 19 pounds of methamphetamine, 4 ½ pounds of cocaine, 60 pounds of marijuana, $10,010 dollars in U.S. Currency, 5 vehicles and 15 firearms. The Albuquerque, New Mexico United State’s Attorney’s Office is preparing to prosecute the federal defendants. The investigation into other identified DTOs continues.

If found guilty; defendants will face a minimum/mandatory sentence of 5-40 or 10 years to life in Federal Prison. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through due process of the law.

For additional information contact Ken Christesen, Director of Region II Narcotics Task Force at 505-566-2222 or DEA Demand Reduction Coordinator and Public Information Officer, Special Agent David Monnette at 915-832-6000.