Eddy County Man Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Narcotics Trafficking Laws
ALBUQUERQUE – Ernesto Flores, 43, of Hagerman, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to violating federal drug trafficking laws.
Flores was arrested on March 12, 2015, on a criminal complaint charging him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on Feb. 4, 2015, in Eddy County, N.M. According to the criminal complaint, on that day, the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force, the Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force and the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant on a storage room and garage belonging to Flores. The officers seized an AK-47, two handguns, a stolen handgun, $4,900.00 in cash, drug paraphernalia and approximately 296.52 grams of methamphetamine.
During today’s proceedings, Flores pled guilty to a felony information charging him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Flores admitted that he possessed approximately 296.52 grams of methamphetamine on Feb. 4, 2015.
At sentencing, Flores faces a statutory minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison followed by not less than four years of supervised release. Flores remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA, the Pecos Valley Drug Task Force, the Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force and the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randy M. Castellano of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.
The Pecos Valley Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Eddy County Sheriff’s Office, Carlsbad Police Department and Artesia Police Department and is part of the HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force. The HIDTA Chaves County Metro Narcotics Task Force is comprised of investigators from the Roswell Police Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the FBI and the Chaves County Sherriff’s Office. 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.