El Paso Man Sentenced to ten Years for Participating in
Las Cruces-Based Methamphetamine Trafficking Ring
ALBUQUERQUE – Melchor Arroyos, 53, of El Paso, Texas, was sentenced this morning in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 120 months in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release for his methamphetamine trafficking conviction. The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of the DEA’s El Paso Field Division, and Acting Special Agent in Charge Mark Murray of the Phoenix Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Arroyos, co-defendant Ernest Joe Marquez, 45, of Las Cruces, and nine others were arrested in May 2012, and charged with participating in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy from Jan. 2012 through May 2012. According to a superseding indictment filed in Oct. 2012, members of the conspiracy transported methamphetamine from El Paso, Texas, and Phoenix, Ariz. to Doña Ana County, N.M., where the methamphetamine was distributed to local drug dealers. Arroyos and Marquez were found guilty by a federal jury on July 31, 2013, after a three-day trial.
The trial evidence established that in March 2012, the DEA received court authorization to conduct a wiretap investigation and listen to communications occurring over Marquez’s telephone. The investigators learned that Marquez was conspiring with others to bring large quantities of methamphetamine from Texas and Arizona to New Mexico so that the drugs could be divided up, repackaged, and sold on the streets of Las Cruces. The investigation revealed that in April 2012, Marquez sent two women to Arizona to pick up a pound of methamphetamine. After taking possession of the methamphetamine, Marquez sold the methamphetamine to local drug dealers.
In May 2012, Marquez arranged for the delivery of another pound of methamphetamine. This time, Arroyos was responsible for delivering the methamphetamine. After Arroyos’ initial attempt to deliver the methamphetamine to Marquez was unsuccessful, the two men made arrangements for Arroyos to deliver the methamphetamine to Marquez at his home. Before Arroyos could make the delivery, he was arrested by an officer who executed a traffic stop on Arroyos’ vehicle and found a pound of methamphetamine hidden in the engine area of the vehicle.
Marquez has been in federal custody since his arrest in May 2012 and remains detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Marquez faces a minimum of ten years to a maximum of life imprisonment.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces offices of the DEA and ATF, with assistance from the U.S. Border Patrol, Hatch Police Department, the Motor Transportation Division of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, New Mexico State Police, Las Cruces/Doña Ana County Metro Narcotics Agency, and Las Cruces Police Department Gang Task Force. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sarah M. Davenport, Marisa Lizarraga and Aaron O. Jordan.
The case was the result of a five-month investigation led by the DEA and ATF, which was designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) program. OCDETF is a nationwide Department of Justice program that combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated effort to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations.
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