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Press Release

California Man Sentenced to Ten Years for Violating Federal Firearms and Drug Trafficking Laws in New Mexico

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico
Charges arise out of the Seizure of more than Nine Pounds of Methamphetamine during Traffic Stop in Lordsburg, New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Miguel Angel Arias, 26, of Oxnard, Calif., was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 120 months in prison for violating the federal firearms and drug trafficking laws.  Arias will be on supervised release for five years after completing his prison sentence.


Arias and co-defendant Marco Antonio Valero, 54, also of Oxnard, Calif., were arrested in Jan. 2017, and were charged by criminal complaint with methamphetamine trafficking and federal firearms offenses on Jan. 26, 2017, in Hidalgo County, N.M.  According to the criminal complaint, Special Agents of Homeland Security Investigations and officers of the Lordsburg Police Department arrested Arias and Valero after finding eight bundles of methamphetamine weighing approximately 4.2 kilograms (9.26 pounds) and a firearm and ammunition in the defendants’ vehicle during a traffic stop in Lordsburg, N.M.


Arias and Valero subsequently were charged on April 19, 2017, in a five-count indictment with participating in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy between Jan. 21, 2017 and Jan. 27, 2017.  The indictment also charged Arias with possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and Valero with possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute.  At the time, Arias was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted on a marijuana trafficking charge.


On June 30, 2017, Arias pled guilty to conspiracy, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.  In entering the guilty plea, Arias admitted that on Jan. 26, 2017, law enforcement officers found methamphetamine concealed in his vehicle when he was stopped in Lordsburg for speeding and following too closely.  Arias also admitted possessing a handgun, which was located under the driver seat of his vehicle, despite the fact that he was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his previous felony conviction.


On June 7, 2017, Valero pled guilty to possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and admitted possessing the methamphetamine, which was concealed in the vehicle in which he was a passenger on Jan. 26, 2017. Valero was sentenced on Oct. 24, 2017, to 63 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.


This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Lordsburg Police Department, and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark A. Saltman of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office. 

Updated October 31, 2017

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Violent Crime