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Press Release

Federal Indictment Charges Five Luna County Residents with Methamphetamine Trafficking and Money Laundering Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Five residents of Luna County, N.M., are facing federal narcotics trafficking and money laundering charges as the result of a multi-agency investigation led by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) into methamphetamine trafficking in and around Deming, N.M.  The charges were announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez of HSI in El Paso, Luna County Sheriff Jonathan Mooradian, Grant County Sheriff Raul Villanueva, Chief Ed Reynolds of the Silver City Police Department and Chief Brandon Gigante of the Deming Police Department.

The charges against the five defendants are the result of a multi-agency investigation led by HSI into a Deming-based methamphetamine trafficking organization allegedly led by Domingo Rodriguez.  The investigation was designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) program, a Department of Justice program 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.  It included a series of methamphetamine purchases by individuals working under the supervision of law enforcement officers.  During the course of the investigation, law enforcement authorities seized and purchased more than two pounds methamphetamine.  They also seized more than another pound of methamphetamine during a law enforcement operation yesterday. 

The five defendants, Rodriguez, 45, Leslie Frank Williams, 51, Oscar Garcia, 45, and Andy Garcia, 43, all residents of Deming, and Estella Aguilar, 44, of Tucson, Ariz., are charged in a nine-count indictment alleging methamphetamine trafficking and money laundering offenses.  Count 1 of the indictment charges all five defendants with participating in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy in Luna County between July 2015 and April 2016.  Counts 2 through 5 charge Williams with distributing quantities of methamphetamine on four dates between July 2015 and Sept. 2015.  Count 6 charges Williams and Rodriguez with distributing methamphetamine in Nov. 2015 and Count 7 charges Williams, Rodriguez and Garcia with distributing methamphetamine in Jan. 2016.  Count 8 charges Rodriguez, Oscar Garcia and Aguilar with participating in a money laundering conspiracy and Count 9 charges Rodriguez and Aguilar with a money laundering offense.  The indictment includes forfeiture provisions seeking a money judgment of $1,000,000, the sum allegedly derived from the drug trafficking crimes alleged in the indictment. 

Williams and Rodriguez were arrested yesterday, and made their initial appearances in federal court in Las Cruces, N.M., this morning.  Oscar Garcia is in state custody in Oklahoma and Andy Garcia is in state custody in New Mexico on unrelated charges.  Both will be transferred to federal custody to face the charges in the indictment.  Aguilar has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.

If convicted on the methamphetamine charges, each of the five defendants faces a statutory mandatory minimum of ten years and a maximum of life in prison.  If convicted on the money laundering charges, Rodriguez, Oscar Garcia and Aguilar each face a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.  Charges in indictments and complaints are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent unless convicted in a court of law.

This case was investigated by HSI in Deming and Las Cruces, the U.S. Border Patrol in Las Cruces and Deming, Luna County Sheriff’s Office, Grant County Sheriff’s Office, Deming Police Department, Silver City Police Department, New Mexico HIDTA Intelligence Center, the El Paso Intelligence Center, Department of Homeland Security ICE Enforcement Removal Operations and Office of Intelligence and Analysis.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark A. Saltman and Dustin Segovia of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office are prosecuting the case.

Updated May 20, 2016

Drug Trafficking