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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Chase Smothermon sentenced to 45 years for abducting, torturing and killing one victim, brutally beating a second

            ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A federal judge sentenced Chase Smothermon, 32, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, to 45 years in prison for abducting and assaulting two men, one of whom was tortured, killed, and mutilated. Smothermon suspected the victims of stealing drugs and money from his home.

            On Jan. 24, Smothermon pleaded guilty in federal court in Santa Fe, New Mexico. An indictment charged Smothermon, and two other residents of Albuquerque, Mariah Ferry, 22, and Jose Torrez, 48, with kidnapping, kidnapping resulting in death, and conspiracy to kidnap. 

            Smothermon, Ferry, Torrez and other co-conspirators plotted to retaliate against two victims they believed had stolen marijuana from Smothermon’s home, where he resided with Ferry.  On Aug. 8, 2017, Torrez alerted Smothermon that the first victim, identified in records as J.S., was present at Torrez’s home.  Ferry drove Smothermon to Torrez’s home where they brutally beat J.S. with a baseball bat and the butt of a gun.

            Smothermon and his companions then put J.S. in the trunk of Ferry’s car and bound his hands, ankles and mouth with tape.  Ferry and Smothermon drove J.S. to another home, where he died shortly after arriving. Ferry and Smothermon then mutilated J.S.’s body in a shed.

            Later the same day, Smothermon contacted the second victim, identified in records as M.T., under a ruse that Smothermon wanted to buy marijuana from him.  When M.T. arrived at Smothermon’s home, Smothermon, Ferry and others bound, gagged and assaulted him for hours. After several hours, two other people took M.T. to another location where they held him overnight before eventually releasing him.  On Aug. 9, 2017, Ferry drove Smothermon and another person to a rural area where they buried J.S.’s body in a shallow grave.

            “Mr. Smothermon’s guilty plea and lengthy sentencing in this case are an example of how drug trafficking leads to violence,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Kyle W. Williamson. “DEA will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners to investigate drug trafficking and associated violent crime in order to bring to justice those who threaten the safety of our communities.”

            Ferry pleaded guilty on Feb. 13 to kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnap. On June 26, the court sentenced her to 30 years in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release. On Feb. 13, Torres pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and faces 14 years in prison.         

            The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated this case with assistance from the Albuquerque Police Department and Second Judicial District Attorney’s Office.  The Narcotics section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case.

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
20-150
Updated September 1, 2020