You are here

Justice News

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

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Career Offender from Las Cruces Sentenced to Almost Eleven Years for Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Conviction

Member of Drug Trafficking Organization that Distributed Large Quantities of Methamphetamine in Arizona and Doña Ana County was Prosecuted as Part of Federal “Worst of the Worst” Anti-Violence Initiative

ALBUQUERQUE – Jennifer Sanders, 43, of Las Cruces, N.M, was sentenced today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to 130 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for her conviction on methamphetamine trafficking charges.  The sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Terry Wade of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division, and Lt. Bobby Holden, Commander of the HIDTA Regional Interagency Drug Task Force/Metro Narcotics Task Force.

In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez said that Sanders, a career offender whose criminal history includes three prior drug trafficking convictions, was prosecuted under 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 primarily based on their prior criminal convictions 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 rate, on a per capita basis, is one of 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 Doña Ana County, N.M., under this initiative.

Sanders and her co-defendants, Jose Luis Niño, 41, and Aubrey Savage, 36, of Las Cruces, and Matthew Maley, 48, and Candice Marie Carpenter, 36, of Tucson, Ariz., were charged in a 14-count superseding indictment filed in March 2014.  The superseding indictment charged Maley, Sanders and Savage with participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Doña Ana County from June 2013 through Aug. 2013, and Maley, Niño and Carpenter with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Doña Ana County in Dec. 2013.  The superseding indictment also charged the defendants with various substantive methamphetamine trafficking offenses, and Maley and Niño were charged with being felons in possession of firearms and ammunition. 

Four of the defendants, including Sanders, entered guilty pleas to various counts of the superseding indictment while Maley elected to exercise his right to a jury trial.  On Sept. 25, 2014, a jury returned a verdict of guilty against Maley on four methamphetamine trafficking charges and a firearms charge.

The prosecution of the case revealed that Maley was the head of a drug trafficking organization that distributed significant quantities of methamphetamine in New Mexico and Arizona.  During July and Aug. 2013, undercover officers made several controlled purchases of methamphetamine from Maley, Sanders and Savage, including the purchase of a pound of methamphetamine on Aug. 21, 2013.  From Oct. through Dec. 2013, an informant purchased methamphetamine from Niño, who obtained the methamphetamine from Maley, and on Dec. 4, 2013, officers seized approximately 274 grams of methamphetamine when they executed a search warrant at Niño’s residence in Las Cruces.

On July 18, 2014, Sanders pled guilty to conspiracy and seven counts of distribution of methamphetamine.

Maley was sentenced on Jan. 20, 2016, and was sentenced to 262 months (almost 22 years) in prison followed by ten years of supervised release for his conviction on methamphetamine trafficking and firearms charges.

On June 11, 2014, Savage pled guilty to a conspiracy count, and was sentenced on Feb. 25, 2015, to 60 months in federal prison followed by four years of supervised release.

On July 16, 2014, Niño pled guilty to conspiracy, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and felon in possession of ammunition.  At sentencing, Niño faces a mandatory minimum of ten years in prison and a maximum of life in prison.  His sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

On Sept. 18, 2014, Carpenter pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distribution of methamphetamine.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and HIDTA Regional Interagency Drug Task Force/Metro Narcotics Task Force, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Y. Armijo of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.

The HIDTA Regional Interagency Drug Task Force/Metro Narcotics Task Force is comprised of officers from the Las Cruces Police Department, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, HSI and the New Mexico State Police.  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.

Drug Trafficking
Updated March 8, 2016