Los Angeles resident pleads guilty to federal methamphetamine trafficking offense
Today, Ruby Isela Quinonez, 21, a resident of Los Angeles, California, entered a guilty plea to a one-count indictment charging her with possession of more than 500 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Quinonez entered her plea before United States Magistrate Judge Alan C. Torgerson pursuant to a plea agreement with the United States Attorney’s Office. Quinonez has been in federal custody since her arrest on September 29, 2010. At sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled, Quinonez faces a statutory minimum ten-year term of imprisonment and a maximum of life imprisonment unless the Court determines that she is eligible for a reduced sentence.
United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Quinonez was arrested after an officer of the New Mexico State Police (NMSP) executed a traffic stop of a truck in which Quinonez was a passenger and found two kilograms of methamphetamine concealed in the truck's gas tank. According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, on the morning of September 29, 2010, a NMSP officer executed a traffic stop of the truck in the vicinity of mile marker 134 in Bernalillo County and gave the driver, another woman, a warning citation. While interacting with Quinonez and the driver of the truck, the officer learned that Quinonez was responsible for the truck and noted discrepancies in the two women's accounts of their travel plans. At that point, an officer of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, Motor Transportation Division (NMDPS-MTD) engaged the two women in further conversation and obtained their consent to search the truck. The criminal complaint alleges that, during the search of the truck, the officers observed the gas tank appeared to have been removed and mud used to cover up recent tooling on the tank bolts. The officers used a fiber optic scope to clear the gas tank and observed plastic floating in the tank. After the officers transported the truck to the NMSP office in Albuquerque, they found four heat sealed bags floating in the gas tank. Subsequent testing revealed that the bags contained approximately two kilograms of methamphetamine.
In her plea agreement, Quinonez admitted that she knew about the methamphetamine recovered from the gas tank of the truck. She further admitted that she was going to get paid $5000.00 for delivering the methamphetamine to Kansas City, Kansas.
The case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the NMSP and the NMDPS-MTD, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David M. Walsh.