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Press Release

Carlsbad Man Sentenced for Federal Drug and Firearms Offenses

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – A Carlsbad man was sentenced to 240 months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of possession with intent to distribute 50 grams and more of methamphetamine and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Manuel Pineda Montoya, 44, was arrested during 2023 joint enforcement operation in Carlsbad, New Mexico which resulted in the arrest of 12 alleged drug and firearms traffickers.

According to court documents, in May of 2023, Montoya was pulled over in three separate traffic stops – two in Eddy County and one in Lincoln County. During the first incident, officers located 3.8 kilograms of fentanyl pills, over $11,000 in cash, and two loaded firearms in Montoya’s vehicle. As a previously convicted felon, Montoya knew that he was prohibited from possessing any firearms or ammunition.

During the next two incidents, officers found a total of 6,710 net grams of methamphetamine in Montoya’s vehicle. In his plea agreement, Montoya admitted that he intended to distribute the methamphetamine to others.

After completing his term of imprisonment, Montoya will be required to serve five years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.

U.S. Attorney Alexander M.M. Uballez and Towanda R. Thorne-James, Special Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration El Paso Division, made the announcement today.

The Drug Enforcement Administration investigated this case with assistance from Homeland Security Investigations, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force, with enforcement assistance from the United States Marshal Service, Carlsbad Police Department, Eddy County Sheriff’ Department, Roswell Police Department, Chaves County Drug Task Force, DEA Airwing and Customs and Border Patrol.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Renee L. Camacho and Devon Aragon-Martinez are prosecuting the case.

This operation is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative, which provides for the establishment of permanent multi-agency task force teams that work side-by-side in the same location. This co-located model enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations to disrupt and dismantle the most significant drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations.  The task force initiatives are also part of the New Mexico High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program (HIDTA), a federal grant program that supports law enforcement efforts to combat the drug threat in the state.

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Updated April 12, 2024

Drug Trafficking
Firearms Offenses
Press Release Number: 24-145