ALBUQUERQUE – Ruben Acosta, 48, of Albuquerque, N.M., and Juventino Villapando-Torrez, 40, a Mexican national, pled guilty in federal court to methamphetamine trafficking charges. Acosta entered his guilty plea yesterday and Villapando-Torrez entered his plea today. Both entered their guilty pleas without the benefit of plea agreements.
HIDTA Region III Narcotics Task Force officers arrested Acosta and Villapando-Torrez on Nov. 28, 2017, after the two men distributed approximately 2,422.6 grams (5.34 pounds) of methamphetamine to undercover law enforcement officers at the San Felipe Travel Center in Sandoval County, N.M.
Acosta and Villapando-Torrez were indicted on Dec. 20, 2017, and were charged with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Bernalillo and Sandoval Counties, N.M., and distribution of methamphetamine in Sandoval County. According to the indictment, the defendants committed the offenses on Nov. 28, 2017.
At sentencing, the defendants each face a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum of life in federal prison. Villapando-Torrez will be deported after completing his prison sentence. Both men remain in custody pending sentencing hearings, which have yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and the HIDTA Region III Narcotics Task Force and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Uballez.
The HIDTA – High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area – Program is a program of the White House Office National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) that facilitates cooperation among federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement to foster intelligence sharing and to support the execution of effective enforcement operations aimed at dismantling drug trafficking organization in critical drug trafficking regions of the United States. The HIDTA Region III Narcotics Task Force is comprised of the New Mexico State Police, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Fe Police Department.