Dona County Men Plead Guilty to Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Derek Cruz Rubalcava, 24, of Anthony, N.M., and Mark Jessie Rodriguez, 24, of Las Cruces, N.M., entered a guilty plea yesterday afternoon in Las Cruces federal court to methamphetamine trafficking charges. The guilty pleas were entered into pursuant to plea agreements with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Rubalcava and Rodriguez were arrested on a criminal complaint on July 25, 2014, in Doña Ana County, N.M. The two men subsequently were indicted on methamphetamine trafficking charges in a four-count indictment filed in Nov. 2014.
Count 1 of the indictment charged Rubalcava and Rodriguez with conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in July 2014. Count 2 charged Rubalcava with distributing methamphetamine on July 24, 2014. Counts 3 and 4 each charged Rubalcava with possessing methamphetamine with intent to distribute on July 25, 2014. According to the indictment, the two men committed these crimes in Doña Ana County, N.M.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Rubalcava pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. In entering his guilty plea, Rubalcava admitted selling approximately six ounces of methamphetamine to an undercover FBI agent for $4,600.00 on July 24, 2014. Rubalcava also admitted negotiating the sale of approximately eight ounces of methamphetamine to the same FBI agent for $6,400.00. He was arrested before the transaction was completed. At the time of his arrest, Rubalcava was in possession of a portion of the methamphetamine that he intended to sell to the FBI agent and the rest of the methamphetamine was seized from his residence pursuant to a search warrant.
Rodriguez also entered a guilty plea to a felony information charging him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. In his plea agreement, Rodriguez admitted supplying the methamphetamine that Rubalcava sold to the undercover agent on July 24, 2014. He also admitted supplying the methamphetamine seized from Rubalcava and from Rubalcava’s residence on July 25, 2014.
At sentencing, Rubalcava and Rodriguez each face a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison followed by not less than four years of supervised release. The two men are in federal custody pending sentencing hearings which have yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and the Las Cruces/Doña Ana County Metro Narcotics Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Gould of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.