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Press Release

Albuquerque Man Pleads Guilty to Participating in Crack Cocaine Trafficking Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Sam Eylicio, Jr., 37, of Albuquerque, N.M., pleaded guilty this morning to participating in a cocaine base trafficking conspiracy.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Eylicio will be sentenced to 125 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release.

Eylicio was one of five men who were indicted in April 2013, on federal narcotics and firearms charges as the result of “Operation Rio Grande Stucco,” a DEA led investigation into an organization that allegedly manufactured and distributed cocaine base, more commonly known as “crack” or “crack cocaine,” in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties, N.M.

The five-count indictment charged Eylicio, Gabriel Mirabal, 33, and Dominic Anaya, 33, of Albuquerque, and Michael Jaramillo, 24, and Robert Romero, 26, of Santa Fe, with conspiring to distribute crack cocaine in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties between May 2012 and April 2013.  Jaramillo also was charged with distributing crack cocaine in Santa Fe in March 2012.  Romero was charged with possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute in Santa Fe in July 2012, and with using and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  Mirabal was charged with possessing cocaine with intent to distribute in Albuquerque in Feb. 2013.

Today Eylicio pled guilty to the conspiracy count of the indictment and admitted purchasing ounce quantities of crack cocaine and cocaine from a co-conspirator and then selling the drugs to others for profit.  As an example, Eylicio acknowledged negotiating the purchase of three ounces of crack cocaine and eleven ounces of cocaine from the co-conspirator on June 27, 2012.  Eylicio remains in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. 

Jaramillo entered a guilty plea on March 21, 2014, to the conspiracy count and admitted purchasing crack cocaine from two of his co-defendants and then reselling it to others.  Under the terms of his plea agreement, Jaramillo will be sentenced to 78 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release.  He remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing which is scheduled for June 30, 2014.

Romero pled guilty to two drug trafficking charges and a firearms charge on May 13, 2014, under a plea agreement that requires him to be sentenced to ten years in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release.  Romero admitted that on July 2012, he was stopped by law enforcement officers who searched Romero’s vehicle and found 11.1 grams of crack cocaine, which was packaged for resale, and a handgun Romero used for protection while distributing drugs.  Romero remains in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing which is scheduled for Aug. 13, 2014.

Mirabal and Anaya have entered not guilty pleas to the indictment.  If convicted of the drug trafficking charges against them, each faces a maximum penalty of not less than five years or more than 40 years in prison.  They remain in custody pending trial.  An indictment is merely an accusation, and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and the HIDTA Region III Drug Task Force, with assistance from the 1st Judicial District Attorney’s Office for the State of New Mexico, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. 

The Region III Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the New Mexico State Police, Santa Fe Police Department and the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and receives support from the HIDTA – High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area – program.  HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy that provides assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States. 

The investigation leading to the indictment, has been designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) program,  a nationwide Department of Justice initiative 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.

Updated January 26, 2015