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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Farmington Man Sentenced to Fifteen Years in Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking and Firearms Conviction Moreno Prosecuted as Part of "Worst of the Worst" Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – Martin Moreno, 53, of Farmington, N.M., was sentenced today to 15 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for his conviction on drug trafficking and firearms charges.  Moreno also was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.

Moreno’s sentence was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, 11th Judicial District Attorney Robert P. “Rick” Tedrow, Special Agent in Charge Dennis A. Ulrich, II, of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas, and Commander Neil Haws of the Region II Narcotics Task Force.

Moreno was arrested in March 2012, on a federal criminal complaint charging him with drug trafficking offenses.  He subsequently was charged in a seven-count second superseding indictment with possession of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute; using and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and three counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.  According to court records, Moreno possessed the narcotics, numerous firearms and ammunition on Feb. 27, 2012, in San Juan County, N.M.  At the time, Moreno was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because he previously had been convicted of trafficking cocaine in the 11th Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico in San Juan County.  Moreno was arrested on state charges in Feb. 2012, which were dismissed after the federal charges were filed.

The charges against Moreno arose from evidence seized on Feb. 27, 2012, when the Region II Narcotics Task Force and HSI executed search warrants authorizing searches of Moreno’s residence, two storage lockers and a truck.  They also were based on Moreno’s acknowledgement that he was the owner of the contents of the storage lockers and his truck.  

In July 2013, Moreno entered a guilty plea to all seven counts of the second superseding indictment.  In his plea agreement, Moreno admitted that on Feb., 27, 2012, he possessed approximately 120 grams of methamphetamine, a kilogram of cocaine and a kilogram of marijuana, all of which were stored in a storage locker in Farmington.  He also admitted keeping a stolen pistol and ammunition in the storage locker for the purpose of protecting the drugs.

Moreno also admitted that in a different storage locker, he stored 14 firearms, including a machine gun, shotguns, hunting rifles and semi-automatic rifles.  He acknowledged that as a convicted felon, he was prohibited from owning firearms.

In his plea agreement, Moreno also admitted possessing additional amounts of drugs, including a small amount of methamphetamine and a supply of marijuana, and a pistol at his residence.  Moreno also acknowledged that the $3,000 in cash found in his bedroom and the $66,000 in cash found in his truck were the proceeds of his narcotics trafficking activities.

Moreno’s plea agreement requires that Moreno forfeit the firearms, ammunition and narcotics proceeds seized on Feb. 27, 2012.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of HSI and the Region II Narcotics Task Force.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Jon Ganjei and Samuel A. Hurtado 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.

Updated January 26, 2015