Federal Jury Convicts Anthony, N.M., Man on Cocaine Trafficking Charge
ALBUQUERQUE – A federal jury sitting in Las Cruces returned a guilty verdict this morning against Alejandro Lopez, 40, of Anthony, N.M., on a cocaine trafficking charge after a three-day trial. The guilty verdict was announced by Acting U.S. Attorney Steven C. Yarbrough, Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the Albuquerque Division of the FBI, and Lt. Bobby Holden of the Las Cruces/Doña Ana County Metro Narcotics Agency.
Alejandro Lopez and his brother Eddy Lopez, 37, were arrested on Nov. 15, 2012, on a criminal complaint charging them with trafficking in cocaine. On March 29, 2013, Eddy Lopez entered a guilty plea to a felony information charging him with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. Alejandro Lopez was indicted on that same charge on June 19, 2013.
Trial against Alejandro Lopez commenced on Sept. 16, 2013 and concluded this morning when the jury returned a verdict of guilty on the sole count of the indictment.
The evidence at trial established that in late Sept. 2012, a confidential informant (CI) working under the supervision of the FBI and the Las Cruces/ Doña Ana County Metro Narcotics Agency had several telephone conversations with Eddy Lopez during which the CI negotiated to facilitate the purchase of a kilogram of cocaine for $22,000 from Eddy Lopez on behalf of a buyer.
On Sept. 27, 2012, by prior arrangement, the CI met Eddy Lopez in a park in Anthony to complete the cocaine deal. Law enforcement officers conducted surveillance while Alejandro Lopez drove up in his truck, with Eddy Lopez as a passenger, and parked next to the CI’s vehicle. They observed Eddy Lopez take a package, which contained 794 grams of cocaine, from Alejandro Lopez’s truck and place it in the back seat of the CI’s vehicle. Eddy Lopez then told the CI that Alejandro Lopez would follow the CI as he delivered the cocaine to the buyer so that Alejandro Lopez could collect the $22,000 payment for the cocaine. After Alejandro Lopez dropped Eddy Lopez off at a nearby residence, he followed the CI’s vehicle until officers executed a traffic stop and arrested Alejandro Lopez on local charges. Shortly thereafter, other officers arrested Eddy Lopez also on local charges.
During the booking process, Alejandro Lopez made a post-arrest statement during which he admitted picking up the cocaine from a location near his brother’s residence and then picking up his brother before driving to the park where they met the CI. He also admitted that, after Eddy Lopez transferred the cocaine from his truck to the CI’s vehicle, he followed the CI for the purpose of collecting the proceeds from the drug deal. Alejandro Lopez acknowledged that he expected to be paid $100 for his participation in the drug deal.
Alejandro Lopez was remanded into federal custody after the jury returned its guilty verdict and he will remain detained pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Alejandro Lopez faces a prison sentence of not less than five years and not more than 40 years followed by at least four years of supervised release. Because Alejandro Lopez is a resident alien, he will be deported to Mexico after he completes his prison sentence.
Eddy Lopez faces a similar prison sentence when he is sentenced. His sentencing hearing also has not yet been scheduled.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the FBI and the Las Cruces/Doña Ana County Metro Narcotics Agency. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Maria Y. Armijo and Edwin Garreth Winstead III of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.