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Four Sentenced In Connection With El Paso Area Drug Distribution Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 11, 2013

In El Paso, four individuals have been sentenced for their roles in a cocaine distribution ring that operated in El Paso and southern New Mexico announced United States Attorney Robert Pitman and Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge Joseph M. Arabit, El Paso Division and Pecos Valley (NM) Drug Task Force Commander Carroll A. Caudill, II. 

This afternoon, U.S. District Judge David C. Guaderrama sentenced 53–year-old Edward Villa of Carlsbad, NM, to six years in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release.  Judge Guaderrama also ordered that Villa pay a $1,000 fine.  Last month, Judge Guaderrama sentenced Villa’s codefendants--56-year-old Tony S. Garcia of Las Cruces, NM, and 50–year-old David Lopez of Malaga, NM–to 90 months and 37 months in federal prison, respectively.  Tony Garcia’s nephew and fourth defendant in this case, 27-year-old of Gabriel M. Garcia of Las Cruces, NM, received five years probation after pleading guilty to one count of misprision of felony in connection with the scheme.

In October, Villa, Lopez and Tony Garcia all pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.  By pleading guilty, the defendants admitted that in May 2012, Tony Garcia together with Gabriel Garcia transported approximately two kilograms of cocaine from El Paso to Villa and Lopez in Carlsbad, NM.   According to court documents, during the exchange, Villa paid $24,000 to Tony Garcia for the cocaine.  Subsequently, traffic stops were conducted on both Garcia and Villa’s vehicles where authorities seized the cocaine and cash.

In a related matter, 35-year-old Cirilio Cortez of Carlsbad, NM, was sentenced in January to 121 months in federal prison followed by eight years of supervised release and ordered to pay a $5,000 fine for his role in the cocaine distribution scheme.  In addition, U.S. District Judge David Briones ordered that Cortez pay a $117,000 monetary judgment to the Government.  On April 27, 2012, Cortez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine.  By pleading guilty, Cortez admitted that he distributed over 50 kilograms of cocaine in the southern part of New Mexico.

“The Pecos Valley Drug Task Force is extremely proud of the working relationship that we have with the United States Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration. This partnership has insured another successful prosecution of those individuals who believe that they are above the law and chose to sell drugs in our community.  We will continue to work with United States Attorney’s Office and Drug Enforcement Administration to keep our children and our community safe and these predators off the street,” stated Commander Carroll A. Caudill, II, Pecos Valley Drug Task Force.

The case was investigated by DEA agents together with the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force in Carlsbad, New Mexico.  Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Crumby prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.

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