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Press Release

Another Albuquerque Drug Trafficker Pleads Guilty

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Defendant One of 104 Individuals Federally Charged as the Result of ATF-Led Investigation Pursued in Support of Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – Devell Devoual, 35, of Albuquerque, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to a methamphetamine trafficking charge under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office


Devoual and co-defendants Dwayne Cunningham, 49, and Cedric Laneham, 39, were charged as the result of an ATF-led investigation that resulted in the filing of 59 federal indictments and a federal criminal complaint charging 104 Bernalillo County residents with federal firearms and narcotics trafficking offenses. The investigation began in mid-April 2016, when ATF personnel from throughout the country joined forces with federal, state, county and local law enforcement agencies in New Mexico to combat the high rate of violent crime in the Albuquerque metropolitan area. The investigators utilized a number of investigative techniques, including undercover operations, historical investigation and targeting of multi-convicted felons in possession of firearms.


The investigation was undertaken in support of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution. Under this initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies collaborate with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution primarily based on their prior criminal convictions with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.


Devoual and his co-defendants were arrested in July 2016, on an indictment charging them with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine between May 16, 2016 and June 2, 2016. The indictment also charged Devoual and Laneham with distributing methamphetamine on May 17, 2016; and Devoual and Cunningham with possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute on June 2, 2016. According to the indictment, the defendants committed the offenses in Bernalillo County, N.M.


During today’s proceedings, Devoual pled guilty to an information charging him with distribution of methamphetamine and admitted distributing more than 50 grams of methamphetamine on May 17, 2016. At sentencing, Devoual faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.


To date, 51 of the 104 defendants have entered guilty pleas, including Cunningham, and 18 have been sentenced. The remaining defendants, including Laneham, have entered not guilty pleas. Charges in indictments are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.


These cases were investigated by the Albuquerque office of ATF. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David M. Walsh and Norman Cairns.

Updated May 23, 2017

Drug Trafficking
Violent Crime