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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Artesia Man Sentenced to Ten Years for Violating Federal Narcotics Trafficking and Firearms Laws

Reza Prosecuted Pursuant to Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – Joe Anthony Reza, 33, of Artesia, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., for his conviction on federal firearms and drug trafficking offenses.  Reza will serve 120 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.

Reza was arrested on June 6, 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with distribution of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime on Feb. 24, 2015, in Eddy County, N.M.  According to the complaint, agents with the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at Reza’s residence on Feb. 24, 2015, and seized approximately 117 grams of methamphetamine, three firearms, a marijuana plant and digital scales.  At the time, Reza was arrested on state charges which were later dismissed in favor of federal prosecution. 

Reza pled guilty on Aug. 19, 2015, to a felony information charging him with possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.  In entering his guilty plea, Reza admitted that on Feb. 24, 2015, law enforcement officers seized 117 grams of methamphetamine and a handgun from his residence.  Reza further admitted that he possessed the handgun for protection of his drug trafficking activities.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force with assistance from the 5th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brock Taylor of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office as part 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 work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.

The Pecos Valley Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, Carlsbad Police Department and Artesia Police Department and is part of the HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force.  The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988.  HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which 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 and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.

Violent Crime
Updated August 22, 2016