News and Press Releases

Former federal fugitive pleads guilty to federal narcotics trafficking offense

January 7, 2011

This morning, Carlos Ruiz-Torres, 32, a Mexican national, entered a guilty plea to using a telephone to facilitate a drug trafficking offense before United States Magistrate Judge Lorenzo F. Garcia. As previously reported, Ruiz-Torres surrendered to the United States Marshals Service at the Santa Teresa Port of Entry on January 4, 2011 after absconding from the jurisdiction on December 10, 2010. Magistrate Judge Garcia ordered Ruiz-Torres detained pending sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled. The offense to which Ruiz-Torres pleaded guilty carries a maximum four-year term of imprisonment. Ruiz-Torres entered his plea under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney's Office. Under the terms of that agreement, Ruiz-Torres agreed that the Court should sentence him to a full four-year term of imprisonment.

Ruiz-Torres and 19 co-defendants were charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, cocaine base and marijuana in a 33-count federal indictment filed on March 23, 2010. Ruiz-Torres was charged in Count 1, charging all 20 defendants with the narcotics distribution conspiracy, and in Count 18, charging Ruiz-Torres and a co-defendant with using a telephone to facilitate the narcotics conspiracy.

United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that the following defendants have entered guilty pleas in this case:

  • Defendants Margarito Andrade, Sr., 58, Margarito Andrade, Jr., 27, Sergio Hernandez, 22, and Francisco Solis, 24, have entered guilty pleas to Count 1, the narcotics trafficking conspiracy offense. All four defendants are detained pending sentencing. Each of these defendants faces lengthy prison sentences.

  • Defendants Cesar Andrade, 32, Jose Andrade, 33, Guillermo Andrade, 30, Vincent Candelaria, 26, Christine Herrera, 74, Victor Pedroza, 33, Aurora Sanchez, 51, and Tara Trujillo, 25, have entered guilty pleas to using a telephone to facilitate a narcotics trafficking crime. Each of these eight defendants faces a maximum four-year term of imprisonment. Defendants Cesar Andrade, Jose Andrade, Guillermo Andrade, Vincent Candelaria and Aurora Sanchez are detained pending their sentencing hearings. Defendants Christine Herrera and Tara Trujillo are released under pretrial supervision pending sentencing.

  • Defendant Arnold Hernandez, 55, pleaded guilty to an information charging him with misprision of a felony. He is on release under the supervision of pretrial services pending sentencing and faces up to three years imprisonment.

Two co-defendants have pleaded not guilty and are pending trial, and two others are fugitives. United States Attorney Gonzales reminds the public that an indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Internal Revenue Service with assistance from the United States Marshals Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Reeve L. Swainston.

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