Alamogordo Woman Sentenced to 12 Years for Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Conviction
Defendant is One of 34 Individuals Charged as Part of Investigation into Methamphetamine Trafficking on the Mescalero Apache Reservation
ALBUQUERQUE – Robin Lee Lovelace, 56, of Alamogordo, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 12 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for her conviction on methamphetamine trafficking crime charges.
Lovelace was one of 34 individuals charged in December 2015 with federal and tribal drug offenses as the result of an 18-month multi-agency investigation led by the DEA and BIA into methamphetamine trafficking on the Mescalero Apache Reservation. Eighteen defendants, including five members of the Mescalero Apache Tribe and 13 non-Natives were charged in six federal indictments and a federal criminal complaint. Sixteen other members of the Mescalero Apache Tribe were charged in tribal criminal complaints approved by the Mescalero Apache Tribal Court.
The investigation leading to the federal and tribal charges was initiated in May 2014, in response to an increase in violent crime on the Mescalero Apache Reservation perpetrated by methamphetamine users. The investigation initially targeted a drug trafficking organization that was allegedly distributing methamphetamine within the Reservation, and later expanded to include two other drug trafficking organizations in southeastern New Mexico that allegedly served as sources of supply for the methamphetamine distributed within the Reservation. In Aug. 2014, the investigation was designated as part of the Justice Department’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, which 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. The investigation is one of the first OCDETF investigations to utilize electronic surveillance (wiretaps) in Indian Country. More than ten kilograms of methamphetamine were seized during the course of the investigation.
Lovelace was arrested on Nov. 20, 2015, on an indictment charging her and seven other non-Natives with methamphetamine trafficking and money laundering offenses. The indictment charged Lovelace with participation in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy, distribution of methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and use of a communication device to facilitate a drug trafficking crime.
On March 9, 2016, Lovelace pled guilty to participating in the methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy, distribution of methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and admitted that between April 9, 2015 and Oct. 16, 2015, she and a co-defendant conspired to sell methamphetamine to another individual who unbeknownst to them was an undercover law enforcement agent. During that same time period, she also sold methamphetamine to other individuals who then distributed methamphetamine to their customers.
Lovelace also admitted selling the following quantities of methamphetamine to an undercover agent as follows:
- 27.4 grams on April 9, 2015, in Bent, N.M.
- 56 grams on April 17, 2015, in Mescalero
- 84 grams on May 8, 2015, in Mescalero
- 112 grams on May 15, 2015, in Mescalero
- 112 grams on June 8, 2015, in Mescalero
- 140 grams on July 1, 2015, in Mescalero
- 580 grams on July 24, 2015, in Socorro,
- 140 grams on Aug. 6, 2015, in Mescalero,
- 140 grams on Sept. 3, 2015, in Tularosa, N.M.
- 212 grams on Oct. 9, 2015, in Alamogordo, N.M.
Lovelace also admitted that on Oct. 15, 2015, she facilitated the sale of 364.2 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent.
Thirteen of the 18 federal defendants have entered guilty pleas. The remaining five federal defendants have entered not guilty pleas to the charges against them. Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
The federal and tribal cases were investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA, District IV of the BIA’s Office of Justice Services (Mescalero Agency), BIA’s Division of Drug Enforcement, Mescalero Tribal Police Department, Hatch Police Department, FBI and Lea County Drug Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Terri J. Abernathy and Clara Cobos of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office are prosecuting the federal cases, and Mescalero Tribal Prosecutor Melissa Chavez is prosecuting the tribal cases.