Farmington Man Pleads Guilty to Violating Federal Drug Trafficking and Firearms Laws
Defendants Prosecuted as Part of HOPE Initiative Which Seeks to Reduce the Number of Opioid-Related Deaths in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – David Kingsbeck 43, of Farmington, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court in Albuquerque, N.M., to violating the federal drug trafficking and firearms laws under a plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Kingsbeck was arrested on March 4, 2016, on a criminal complaint charging him with trafficking methamphetamine in San Juan County, N.M. According to the complaint, Kingsbeck sold approximately 57 grams of methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent on Feb. 16, 2016.
Kingsbeck and his co-defendant Rupesh Bhakta, 38, also of Farmington, were subsequently indicted on March 23, 2016. Kingsbeck was charged individually with being a felon in possession of a firearm on July 1, 2015 and Dec. 30, 2015, and distribution of heroin on Dec. 30, 2015. Bhakta and Kingsbeck were charged jointly with conspiracy and distribution of methamphetamine on Feb. 16, 2016. According to the indictment, the offenses took place in San Juan County. Kingsbeck was prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition because of his prior felony convictions for criminal conspiracy theft and escape attempt from felony.
During today’s proceedings, Kingsbeck pled guilty to distributing heroin and being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. In entering the guilty plea Kingsbeck admitted that on Dec. 29, 2015, he sold approximately 12.8 grams of heroin and a firearm and ammunition to an undercover law enforcement agent. Kingsbeck further admitted that he was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition on Dec. 29, 2015, because of his prior felony convictions.
At sentencing, Kingsbeck faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. He remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
On Dec. 8, 2016, Bhakta pled guilty to an information charging him with distribution of methamphetamine. In entering the guilty plea, Bhakta admitted that on Feb. 16, 2016, he distributed methamphetamine to an undercover law enforcement agent. Under the terms of his plea agreement, Bhakta will be sentenced within the range of 24 to 60 months in federal prison. Bhakta remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing which has yet to be scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and the New Mexico State Police. Assistant U.S. Attorney Rumaldo R. Armijo is prosecuting the case as part of the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative. The HOPE Initiative was launched in January 2015 by the UNM Health Sciences Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in response to the national opioid epidemic, which has had a disproportionately devastating impact on New Mexico. Opioid addiction has taken a toll on public safety, public health and the economic viability of our communities. Working in partnership with the DEA, the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative, Healing Addiction in our Community (HAC), the Albuquerque Public Schools and other community stakeholders, HOPE’s principal goals are to protect our communities from the dangers associated with heroin and opioid painkillers and reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in New Mexico.
The HOPE Initiative is comprised of five components: (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning. HOPE’s law enforcement component is led by the Organized Crime Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA in conjunction with their federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners. Targeting members of major heroin and opioid trafficking organizations for investigation and prosecution is a priority of the HOPE Initiative. Learn more about the New Mexico HOPE Initiative at http://www.HopeInitiativeNM.org.