ALBUQUERQUE – Ever Omar Valdez, 26, and Javier Cruz 26, both of El Paso, Texas, pled guilty yesterday in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., to cocaine trafficking charges arising from the seizure of six kilograms (13.2 pounds) of cocaine at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint near Alamogordo, N.M., in Oct. 2016.
Valdez and Cruz were arrested in Oct. 2016, on a criminal complaint charging them with possessing approximately six kilograms of cocaine in Otero County, N.M. According to the complaint, Valdez and Cruz were arrested on Oct. 6, 2016, after U.S. Border Patrol agents at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint near Alamogordo seized approximately six kilograms of cocaine that was concealed in the vehicle in which Valdez and Cruz were traveling.
During yesterday’s proceedings, Valdez and Cruz each entered guilty pleas to a felony information charging them with conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute. Valdez and Cruz each admitted that on Oct. 6, 2016, they entered the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on Highway 54 in a vehicle containing six kilograms of cocaine concealed inside the vehicle’s rear bumper, which was found by Border Patrol agents during a routine inspection. Valdez and Cruz admitted knowing that the cocaine was in the vehicle and that they intended to deliver the cocaine to other individuals in exchange for money.
At sentencing, Valdez and Cruz each face a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum of life in federal prison. Both men remain in custody pending sentencing hearings which have yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA and the U.S. Border Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Clara N. Cobos is prosecuting the case.