Federal Jury Convicts Oklahoma Man on Narcotics Trafficking Charges in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – A federal jury sitting in Santa Fe, N.M., returned a verdict Friday afternoon finding Roberto Thomas guilty on narcotics trafficking charges, announced U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez and Special Agent in Charge Will R. Glaspy of the DEA’s El Paso Division.
Thomas, 22, of Long Grove, Okla., and three codefendants, Jesus Amaya, 51, and Juan Caballero, 31, both Mexican nationals, and Christian Tovar, 22, of El Paso, Texas, were arrested on May 8, 2013, on methamphetamine trafficking charges. The complaint alleged that the four men conspired to distribute 1.75 kilograms (3.85 pounds) of methamphetamine in Bernalillo County, N.M.
Thomas and his codefendants subsequently were indicted on a methamphetamine conspiracy charge on May 29, 2013. After his three codefendants entered guilty pleas, Thomas was charged in a superseding indictment that was filed on April 12, 2016. According to the superseding indictment, Thomas participated in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy from April 30, 2013 through May 8, 2013, and possessed methamphetamine with intent to distribute on May 8, 2013.
Thomas’s trial on the two-count superseding indictment began on April 20, 2016 and concluded late Friday afternoon when the jury returned a verdict finding Thomas guilty on Count 2, charging him with possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The United States dismissed Count 1, the conspiracy count, before the jury began its deliberation.
The evidence at trial established that Thomas and his codefendants were charged as the result of an investigation during which an individual working with the DEA negotiated to buy methamphetamine from Amaya. The DEA arrested Thomas and his codefendants on May 8, 2013, after Thomas and Caballero drove to the prearranged meeting spot in southwest Albuquerque to deliver methamphetamine to Amaya. The DEA found 1.75 kilograms of pure methamphetamine in the vehicle in which Thomas and Caballero were traveling. The investigation revealed that Caballero had obtained the methamphetamine from Tovar, who had transported the drugs from Juarez, Mexico, to Albuquerque.
Thomas was remanded into custody after the jury returned the guilty verdict. He will remain in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Thomas faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison.
Thomas’s codefendants previously pleaded guilty to participating in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy as follows: Caballero pled guilty on Oct. 10, 2014, and was sentenced on Jan. 6, 2015; Tovar pled guilty on Nov. 12, 2014, and was sentenced on Aug. 19, 2015; and Amaya pled guilty on July 6, 2015 and sentenced on Oct. 29, 2015. Amaya and Caballero will be deported after completing their prison sentences.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joel R. Meyers and Shaheen P. Torgoley.