Arizona Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Cocaine Trafficking Charge in New Mexico
Charge Arises out of Seizure of 159 Pounds of Cocaine at Lordsburg Port of Entry
ALBUQUERQUE – Jesus Quiroz, 36, of Tucson, Ariz., pled guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to cocaine trafficking charges arising from the seizure of 72.1 kilograms (158.95 pounds) of cocaine at the New Mexico Port of Entry near Lordsburg, N.M.
Quiroz was arrested on Sept. 9, 2016, on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of more than 72 kilograms of cocaine with intent to distribute in Hidalgo County, N.M. According to the complaint, Quiroz was arrested after law enforcement officers at the New Mexico Port of Entry on Interstate 10 in Lordsburg seized 61 individually wrapped packages containing more than 72 kilograms of cocaine from a tractor and trailer in which Quiroz was traveling. At the time of his arrest, Quiroz was on probation for a state cocaine trafficking conviction in Arizona.
Quiroz subsequently was indicted on Dec. 14, 2016, and charged in a two-count indictment with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and possession of visual depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. According to the indictment, Quiroz committed the crimes on Sept. 9, 2016, in Hidalgo County.
During today’s proceedings, Quiroz pled guilty to Count 1 of the indictment charging him with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. In entering the guilty plea, Quiroz admitted that on Sept. 9, 2016, he drove a commercial vehicle containing 72.1 kilograms of cocaine into the Lordsburg, New Mexico Port of Entry. Quiroz further admitted that he intended to deliver the cocaine to another person.
At sentencing, Quiroz faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum of life in federal prison. He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the New Mexico State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Brock Taylor of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the case.