DEC 12 (ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) – Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit of the DEA's El Paso Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough announced the indictment of 15 men on federal drug trafficking charges. The 15-count superseding indictment was unsealed today following an early morning multi-agency law enforcement operation resulting in the arrests of 14 of the 15 defendants and the execution of 13 federal search warrants and five seizure warrants. The 15th defendant, who is on conditions of release in a related federal case, is scheduled to appear in court this afternoon.
The superseding indictment is the result of an 18-month investigation by the DEA and New Mexico DEA Region I HIDTA Task Force into a drug trafficking organization allegedly led by David Reynolds, 31, of Albuquerque, N.M., that distributed large quantities of heroin in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties. The investigation, code-named "Operation Sand Wedge," because of Reynolds' affinity for golf, was designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force ("OCDETF") program. OCDETF is a nationwide Department of Justice program that combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated effort to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations.
The 15-count superseding indictment charges Reynolds and 14 others with conspiracy to distribute heroin in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties from Sept. 2012 to Dec. 2013. It also charges Gene Solis, 19, with distributing heroin on three occasions in fall 2012; Humberto Hernandez, Jr., 37, with distributing methamphetamine on seven occasions between Feb. and Aug. 2013; and Jose Martinez-Encinias, 41, with possession of heroin and cocaine in June 2013 with intent to distribute. Martinez-Encinias also is charged with possessing firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and Reynolds is charged with money laundering. The superseding indictment also includes forfeiture provisions that seek a money judgment of at least $1.3 million and property and assets obtained directly or indirectly from the commission of the crimes alleged in the indictment.
The 15 defendants charged in the superseding indictment are scheduled to make their initial appearances in federal court in Albuquerque this afternoon. If convicted on the drug trafficking charges in the superseding indictment, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of a mandatory minimum ten years to a maximum of life in prison. If convicted on the firearms charge, Martinez-Encinias also faces a mandatory five year prison sentence to be served consecutive to any prison sentence imposed on the drug trafficking charges. Reynolds faces up to ten years in prison if convicted on the money laundering charge.
An additional defendant, arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm during today's operation, also is scheduled to be in court this afternoon. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison on that charge.
Martinez-Encinias was arrested during the course of the investigation on June 4, 2013, after the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office executed a state search warrant at his residence in the west side of Albuquerque and seized approximately four pounds of heroin, a kilogram of cocaine, 17 firearms and ammunition, and more than $19,000. In addition, authorities obtained approximately 415 grams of methamphetamine, including 324 grams of pure methamphetamine and approximately 170 grams of heroin through undercover purchases during the course of the investigation. During today's law enforcement operation, authorities seized approximately two pounds of heroin, approximately $60,000 in cash, three firearms and eleven vehicles.
"Heroin is an insidious drug that is highly addictive, destroys lives and exacts a tremendous toll on society," said Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough. "I commend the DEA and the Region I HIDTA Task Force for their unrelenting commitment to bring to justice individuals who, with total disregard for human life, choose to sell heroin and other drugs in our communities."
"The arrests and seizures in this investigation have dismantled an organization responsible for distributing large quantities of heroin in the Albuquerque area," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit. "Because the trafficking and abuse of these drugs seriously impact public health and safety in our communities, DEA and its law enforcement partners will continue to work together to bring traffickers to justice and shut down their operations."
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and the New Mexico DEA Region I HIDTA Task Force, with assistance from the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas J. Ganjei and Joel R. Meyers. The following agencies participated in this morning's law enforcement operation: U.S. Marshals Service, FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, ATF, Region III HIDTA Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force and New Mexico State Police.
The New Mexico DEA Region I HIDTA Task Force is comprised of officers from the Albuquerque Police Department, Pueblo of Pojoaque Tribal Police Department, Rio Rancho Police Department, Sandoval County Sheriff's Office and Valencia County Sheriff's Office. 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.
Defendants Charged in U.S. v. Reynolds, et al., 13-CR-2225 MV
David Reynolds, 31, Albuquerque
Allen Cameron, 48, Albuquerque
Jose Martinez-Encinias, 41, Albuquerque
Humberto Hernandez, Jr., 37, Albuquerque
Erik Barros, 30, Albuquerque
Gene Solis, 19, Albuquerque
Manuel Griego, 34, Santa Fe
Daniel Jiron, 39, Albuquerque
Robert Herrera, 40, Albuquerque
Miguel Baca, 37, Albuquerque
Joe Sanchez, 21, Albuquerque
Arthur Gallegos, 27, Albuquerque
Christopher Ortega, 41, Albuquerque
Teddy Archuleta, 32, Albuquerque
Zebulun Smith, 31, Albuquerque
Defendant Arrested for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm
David Ben Reynolds, 25, Albuquerque
Charges in indictments and criminal complaints are only accusations. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.