Mexican national pleads guilty to federal methamphetamine trafficking offense
ALBUQUERQUE -- This afternoon, Miguel Angel Diaz-Gomez, 22, a Mexican national who had been residing in Bunkerville, Nevada, entered a guilty plea to a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy before United States Magistrate Judge Alan C. Torgerson under a plea agreement with the United States Attorney's Office. Specifically, Diaz-Gomez entered a plea to count one of a two-count indictment charging him and two others with (1) conspiracy to possess of more than 500 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and (2) possession of more than 500 grams of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. At sentencing, which has yet to be scheduled, Diaz-Gomez faces a sentence of not less than ten years and up to life imprisonment. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Diaz-Gomez will be deported from the United States after he completes his prison sentence.
United States Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales said that Diaz-Gomez and his co-defendants, Oscar Armando Quiroga-Gomez and Omero Menedes Escareno, were arrested on December 17, 2009, after a New Mexico State Police (NMSP) officer discovered approximately two pounds of methamphetamine concealed in the vehicle in which they were traveling following a routine traffic stop. According to the criminal complaint filed in the case, the NMSP officer stopped the vehicle because it was following another vehicle too closely while traveling at a speed of 75 miles per hour. The NMSP officer requested and received consent to search the vehicle after observing that Diaz-Gomez, the driver of the vehicle, and his two passengers, Quiroga-Gomez and Escareno, were behaving in a nervous manner and provided inconsistent information about their travel plans. After a drug sniffing canine reacted to the area near the front passenger door and towards the front of the vehicle, the NMSP officer obtained a search warrant for the vehicle. During the search, the officer located tow packages wrapped in electrical tape concealed in the dash just behind the passenger side glove box. The substance in the packages tested positive for methamphetamine and weighed approximately two pounds. Subsequently, laboratory analysis revealed that the substance in the two packages contained a total of 859 grams of actual methamphetamine.
In his plea agreement, Diaz-Gomez admitted that, on or about December 17, 2009, he entered into an agreement with Escareno, Quiroga-Gomez and others to transport the two packages of methamphetamine from Phoenix, Arizona to Minneapolis, Minnesota. He further admitted that he and Escareno, the owner of the vehicle, consented to a search of the vehicle when they were stopped by the NMSP officer. Diaz-Gomez has been in custody since his arrest on December 17, 2009 and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing.
Co-defendant Oscar Armando Quiroga-Gomez, 30, a Mexican national who had been residing in Phoenix, Arizona, also has been in custody since his arrest on December 17, 2009. Quiroga-Gomez entered a guilty plea to count one of the indictment on January 6, 2011, and faces a sentence of ten years to life imprisonment when he is sentenced on March 31, 2011. He will be deported from the United States after completing his prison sentence.
Co-defendant Omero Menedes Escareno, 20, a resident of Gila Bend, Arizona, also entered a guilty to count one of the indictment on February 2, 2011. Escareno has been on conditions of release in a half-way subject to pretrial supervision since his arrest on the case. Escareno faces a sentence of ten years to life imprisonment to be followed by a minimum fiveyear term of supervised release when he is sentenced on April 28, 2011.
This case was investigated by the NMSP with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John C. Anderson.