Arizona Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Lauren Christine Nunez, 20, of Tucson, Ariz., pleaded guilty this afternoon in Las Cruces federal court to methamphetamine trafficking charges under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Her co-defendant Kevin James Fitzgerald, 19, also of Tucson, pleaded guilty to the same methamphetamine trafficking charges on April 16, 2013.
Nunez and Fitzgerald were arrested on the night of Jan. 19, 2013, and charged with methamphetamine trafficking offenses 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 thus indicating that the vehicle contained controlled substances.
This afternoon, Nunez pleaded guilty to a two-count felony information charging her with conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. In entering her plea, Nunez admitted that, in Jan. 2013, Fitzgerald and she agreed to transport methamphetamine from Arizona to Nebraska, where they intended to deliver the drugs to another person. She also admitted that the methamphetamine had been delivered to Fitzgerald and her more than a week before they were arrested on Jan. 19, 2013, and acknowledged responsibility for the methamphetamine found in their vehicle that night.
Nunez was remanded into federal custody after entering her guilty plea. She will remain detained pending her sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. Fitzgerald also is in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing. At sentencing, Nunez and Fitzgerald each face a mandatory minimum of ten years and a maximum of life in prison on each of the two offenses to which they pleaded guilty.
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.