Farmington Felon Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug Trafficking and Firearms Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Gerald Soliz, 42, of Farmington, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to drug trafficking and firearms charges in three separate criminal cases. Soliz’s plea agreement recommends a sentence within the range of 100 to 125 months of imprisonment.
Soliz and two other Farmington residents were charged in three separate indictments filed in July 2017, alleging drug trafficking and firearms offenses. The indictments were the result of a multi-agency investigation into a drug trafficking organization allegedly trafficking methamphetamine, heroin and firearms in San Juan County, N.M.
The investigation, which was led by the FBI and the HIDTA Region II Task Force was designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, a Department of Justice program that combines the resources and unique expertise of federal agencies, along with their local counterparts, in a coordinated effort to disrupt and dismantle major drug trafficking organizations.
The first indictment charges Soliz with distributing methamphetamine on Nov. 3, 2016, Jan. 4, 2017, Jan. 17, 2017, and Jan. 30, 2017. The second indictment charges Soliz and co-defendant Chad McKinney, 31, with being felons in possession of firearms and ammunition and possessing and transferring a machine gun on Dec. 14, 2016. According to the second indictment, Soliz was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he had previously been convicted of possession of a controlled substance and child sexual assault, and McKinney was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because he had previously been convicted of forgery, unlawful taking of a vehicle and importing more than 50 kilograms of marijuana. The third indictment charges Soliz and co-defendant Marcus McGee, 43, with conspiring to distribute methamphetamine from Dec. 1, 2016 through Dec. 3, 2016, and distributing methamphetamine on Dec. 3, 2016. McGee was charged individually with distributing methamphetamine and heroin, possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition on May 23, 2017. McGee was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because he previously had been convicted of possession of a controlled substance.
During today’s proceedings, Soliz entered a guilty plea to charges in the three separate indictments. Specifically, Soliz pled guilty to two counts of distributing methamphetamine and to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
In entering the guilty plea, Soliz admitted that he distributed approximately 91.2 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent on Dec. 3, 2016, and approximately 249 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent on Jan. 4, 2017. Soliz also admitted that on Dec. 14, 2016, he acted as the middleman to arrange the sale of a machinegun and participated in the sale of the machinegun to an undercover law enforcement agent. Soliz acknowledged that he was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because he had previously been convicted of at least three separate felony offenses. Soliz remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing that has yet to be scheduled.
McKinney and McGee have both entered pleas of not guilty to the charges against them. Charges in indictments are only accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
These cases were investigated by the Farmington office of the FBI and the HIDTA Region II Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter J. Eicker is prosecuting the three cases.
The HIDTA Region II Task Force is comprised of officers and investigators from the Farmington Police Department, San Juan County Sheriff’s Office, Bloomfield Police Department and Aztec Police Department, and is part of 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.