Farmington Man Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking and Firearms Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Martin Moreno, 52, of Farmington, N.M., pleaded guilty earlier today to drug trafficking and firearms charges under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Moreno will be sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales, 11th Judicial District Attorney Robert P. “Rick” Tedrow, Special Agent in Charge Dennis A. Ulrich, II, of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Texas, and Lt. Neil Haws, Commander of the Region II Narcotics Task Force.
Moreno was arrested on March 8, 2012, on a criminal complaint charging him with drug trafficking offenses. Moreno subsequently was charged in a seven-count second superseding indictment with possession of methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana with intent to distribute; using and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime; and three counts of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition. According to court records, Moreno possessed the narcotics, numerous firearms and ammunition on Feb. 27, 2012, in San Juan County, N.M. At the time, Moreno was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because he previously had been convicted of trafficking cocaine in the 11th Judicial District Court for the State of New Mexico in San Juan County. Moreno was arrested on state charges on Feb. 27, 2012, which were dismissed after the federal charges were filed.
The charges against Moreno arose from evidence seized on Feb. 27, 2012, when the Region II Narcotics Task Force and HSI executed a search warrant authorizing searches of Moreno’s residence, two storage lockers and truck. They also were based on Moreno’s post-arrest statement which included an acknowledgement that he was the owner of the contents of the storage lockers and his truck.
This morning, Moreno entered a guilty plea to all seven counts of the second superseding indictment. In his plea agreement, Moreno admitted that on Feb., 27, 2012, he possessed approximately 120 grams of methamphetamine, a kilogram of cocaine and a kilogram of marijuana, all of which were stored in a storage locker in Farmington. He also admitted keeping a stolen pistol and ammunition in the storage locker for the purpose of protecting the drugs.
Moreno also admitted that in a different storage locker, he stored 14 firearms, including a machine gun, shotguns, hunting rifles and semi-automatic rifles. He acknowledged that as a convicted felon, he was prohibited from owning firearms.
In his plea agreement, Moreno also admitted possessing additional amounts of drugs, including a small amount of methamphetamine and a supply of marijuana, and a pistol at his residence. Moreno also acknowledged that the $3,000 in cash were found in his bedroom and the $66,000 in cash found in his truck were the proceeds of his narcotics trafficking activities.
Moreno has been in federal custody since his arrest and will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. In addition to the 15 year prison sentence, the plea agreement also requires that Moreno forfeit the firearms, ammunition and narcotics proceeds seized on Feb. 27, 2012.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of HSI and the Region II Narcotics Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nicholas Jon Ganjei and Samuel A. Hurtado as part of a federal anti-violence initiative that targets “the worst of the worst” offenders for federal prosecution. Under this anti-violence initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement agencies work with New Mexico’s District Attorneys and state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to target violent or repeat offenders for federal prosecution with the goal of removing repeat offenders from communities in New Mexico for as long as possible.