Arizona Man Pleads Guilty To Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Kevin James Fitzgerald, 19, of Tucson, Ariz., pleaded guilty this morning in Las Cruces federal court to methamphetamine trafficking charges under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Fitzgerald and his co-defendant Lauren Christine Nunez, 20, also of Tucson, were arrested on the night of Jan. 19, 2013, and charged with methamphetamine trafficking offenses in a criminal complaint. According to the criminal complaint, Fitzgerald and Nunez were arrested after Border Patrol agents found 9.2 pounds of methamphetamine in a vehicle Nunez was driving and in which Fitzgerald was a passenger at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on New Mexico Highway 26 near Truth or Consequences, N.M. The methamphetamine, which was contained in tin foil and cellophane-wrapped bundles, was discovered after a narcotics canine alerted to the vehicle, indicating that it contained controlled substances.
This morning, Fitzgerald pled guilty to a two-count felony information charging him with conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. In his plea agreement, Fitzgerald admitted that, in Jan. 2013, Nunez and he agreed to transport methamphetamine from Arizona to Nebraska, where they intended to deliver the drugs to another person. Fitzgerald also admitted that the methamphetamine had been delivered to Nunez and him more than a week before they were arrested on Jan. 19, 2013, and acknowledged responsibility for the methamphetamine found in their vehicle that night.
Fitzgerald was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service after he entered his guilty plea, and he will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Fitzgerald faces a mandatory minimum of ten years and a maximum of life in prison on each of the two offenses to which he pleaded guilty.
Nunez has entered a not guilty plea to the criminal complaint. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and all criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA and the Truth or Consequences Border Patrol Station of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brock E Taylor of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.