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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, June 10, 2016

Career Offender from Albuquerque Sentenced to 36 Years for Conviction on Crack Trafficking and Firearms Charges

Gabriel Mirabal Prosecuted Under Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – Gabriel Mirabal, 34, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced late yesterday afternoon to 36 years (432 months) in federal in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for his conviction on narcotics trafficking and firearms charges.  Mirabal’s sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, 1st Judicial District Attorney Jennifer Padgett, Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of DEA’s El Paso Division, and New Mexico State Police Lt. Scott McFaul who serves as the Commander of the HITDA Region III Drug Task Force.

Mirabal, a career offender whose criminal history includes felony convictions for methamphetamine trafficking and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, was prosecuted under the federal “worst of the worst” anti-violence initiative.  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.  Because New Mexico’s violent crime rates, on a per capita basis, are amongst the highest in the nation, New Mexico’s law enforcement community is collaborating to target repeat offenders from counties with the highest violent crime rates, including Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties, under this initiative.

In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez said, “Through this initiative, the law enforcement community is taking repeat, violent offenders out of our communities one at a time and making New Mexico a safer, better place to live, work and raise families.”

“For ten years Mirabal engaged in criminal conduct that preyed on the weak and innocent,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy.  “Today, along with our law enforcement partners, DEA is pleased to inform the citizens of Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties that they can rest easier knowing that Mirabal will be locked up in federal prison for the next 36 years.”

“The ‘worst of the worst’ initiative is exactly the type of inter-agency collaboration that this district needs to get the violent repeat offenders like Mirabal off of our community’s streets,” said 1st Judicial District Attorney Jennifer Padgett.

Commander of the HIDTA Region III Drug Task Force Lt. Scott McFaul added, “I believe that prosecuting and sentencing these offenders under the ‘worst of the worst’ initiative shows our communities and repeat offenders that federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are serious about working together to take criminals off our streets.”

Mirabal was one of five men indicted in April 2013, on narcotics and firearms charges as the result of “Operation Rio Grande Stucco,” a DEA investigation into an organization led by Mirabal that manufactured and distributed cocaine base, more commonly known as “crack,” in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties.  The investigation was 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.  During the investigation, which utilized electronic surveillance (wiretaps), law enforcement officers seized more than 100 grams of crack, over a kilogram of cocaine, a loaded firearm and assorted ammunition, and body armor.     

The investigation resulted in the filing of a five-count indictment charging Mirabal and four co-defendants, Santa Fe residents Robert Romero, 27, and Michael Jaramillo, 25, and Albuquerque residents Sam Elyicio, Jr., 39, and Dominic Anaya, 34, with conspiracy to distribute crack in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties between May 2012 and April 2013, and substantive crack trafficking offenses.  After his four co-defendants entered guilty pleas, Mirabal was charged in a six-count superseding indictment with participating in a crack distribution conspiracy, two counts of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, using a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, and being a felon in possession of body armor.

Mirabal was found guilty on Dec. 15, 2015, when a federal jury returned a verdict finding Mirabal guilty on four of the six counts of the superseding indictment.  The jury convicted Mirabal on the conspiracy charge, one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, and being a felon in possession of a firearm, ammunition and body armor.  It acquitted him on one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and using a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.        

The charges against Mirabal’s co-defendants have been resolved as follows:

  • Jaramillo pled guilty on March 21, 2014, to a conspiracy charge, and was sentenced on July 30, 2014, to 78 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release.

  • Romero pled guilty on May 13, 2014, to crack trafficking and firearms charges, and was sentenced on Aug. 13, 2014, to 120 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release.

  • Elyicio pled guilty on June 23, 2014, to a conspiracy charge, and was sentenced on Sept. 22, 2014, to 125 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release.

  • Anaya pled guilty on Aug. 5, 2014, to a conspiracy charge, and remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.

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, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas J. Ganjei and Joel R. Meyers.   

The Region III Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the New Mexico State Police, Santa Fe Police Department, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and the Rio Arriba 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. 

Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Component(s): 
Updated June 10, 2016