Albuquerque Woman Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Drug Trafficking Offense Involving Less Than a Gram of Methamphetamine
Defendant's Sentence Enchanced Based on Career Offender Status
ALBUQUERQUE – Earlier today, Christine Cardona, 35, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced to 72 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release for her methamphetamine trafficking conviction. Cardona’s crime of conviction involved possession of 0.73 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales and Thomas G. Atteberry, Special Agent in Charge of the Phoenix Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
Cardona and her co-defendant Maurice Andrew, 39, also of Albuquerque, were arrested on Nov. 4, 2011. Both have been in custody since that time. On Dec. 1, 2011, Cardona and Andrew were charged in a five-count indictment. Cardona and Andrew were charged with conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Andrew alone also was charged with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and carrying a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking offense.
Cardona was arrested on Nov. 4, 2011, by officers of the Albuquerque Police Department based on a state arrest warrant after they observed her leaving a motel room in Albuquerque. At the time of her arrest, Cardona was in possession of two small baggies later analyzed and found to contain methamphetamine. After she was arrested, Cardona admitted that Andrew and she were trafficking methamphetamine. Officers found $1030.00 in small denominations when they patted down Andrews following his arrest. When officers executed search warrants on Andrews’ vehicle and the motel room rented by Cardona, they seized a small amount of methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia including a digital scale and a firearm that Andrew admitted owning.
On May 3, 2012, Andrew pled guilty to a drug trafficking conspiracy and being a felon in possession of a firearm. Andrew was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because he previously was convicted of a drug trafficking offense. Andrew was sentenced to 37 months in prison on Aug. 27, 2012.
Cardona entered a guilty plea to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on July 13, 2012. Although Cardona would otherwise have faced a sentence of 18 to 24 months based on the amount of drugs involved and her criminal history, her sentence was enhanced based on her status as a career offender. Court records reflect that Cardona was classified as a career offender based on five prior criminal convictions: (1) concealing her identity and failure to appear in 2000; (2) importation of marijuana in 2001; (3) receiving or transferring a stole motor vehicle in 2004; (4) concealing a person from arrest in 2006; and (5) aggravated fleeing from law enforcement in 2006. Based on those five prior convictions, Cardona had served slightly more than 27 months in prison.
This case was prosecuted as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution. Under this anti-violence 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 for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.
The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Albuquerque Police Department, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lynn W.Y. Wang and William J. Pflugrath.