Federal Jury in New Mexico Convicts Mexican National on Methamphetamine Trafficking Conspiracy Charge
Defendant Conspired with Others to Distribute Methamphetamine in Lea County
ALBUQUERQUE – A federal jury sitting in Las Cruces, N.M., returned a verdict today finding Javier Amador-Flores, 49, guilty on a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy charge after a three-day trial. U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez, Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in El Paso, Chief Patrol Agent Jeffrey D. Self of the U.S. Border Patrol El Paso Sector, and Commander Byron Wester of the Lea County Drug Task Force, announced the guilty verdict.
Amador-Flores, a permanent resident from Mexico who lived in Denver City, Texas, was arrested on July 29, 2015, on an indictment charging him and four co-defendants, three of whom are Mexican nationals, with participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine in Lea County, N.M., from May 1, 2015 through May 6, 2015. Three of Amador-Flores’ co-defendants, Joel Dominguez-Morales, 41, Maria Marcelina Cardoza-Burciaga, 40, and Myrna Orozco, 32, a U.S. citizen, were also arrested. The fourth co-defendant, Jose Manuel Trujillo, 41, has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive.
Dominguez-Morales, Cardoza-Burciaga and Orozco pled guilty to participating in the methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy charged. Amador-Flores elected to proceed to trial.
Amador-Flores’ trial began July 18, 2016, and concluded this afternoon when the jury returned a verdict of guilty on the sole count indictment. The evidence at trial established that Amador-Flores participated in the methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy by receiving and storing shipments of methamphetamine at the residence he shared with Orozco in Denver City. Other members of the conspiracy distributed the methamphetamine in Lea County.
According to trial testimony, on May 1, 2015, an undercover agent arranged to purchase methamphetamine from Trujillo. On May 6, 2015, Trujillo informed the undercover agent that Dominguez-Morales would be delivering the methamphetamine to the agent. Thereafter, Dominguez-Morales met with the undercover agent at a restaurant in Hobbs and directed the agent to meet him at an abandoned bar in a rural area outside of Hobbs, where a woman would deliver the methamphetamine. Later that day, law enforcement officers arrested Dominguez-Morales and Cardoza-Burciaga near the abandoned bar and seized almost four kilograms of methamphetamine.
As part of their continuing investigation, on May 6, 2015, the officers executed a consensual search at the residence shared by Amador-Flores and Orozco, where they seized additional methamphetamine. During the trial, the jury learned that after his arrest, Amador-Flores made a statement to law enforcement officers in which he acknowledged that Trujillo and Dominguez-Morales were his friends and that he was aware of their drug trafficking activities. He also stated that Trujillo offered to pay him $2,000 to deliver the methamphetamine to the undercover agent on May 6, 2015. The evidence established that although Amador-Flores agreed to make the delivery for Trujillo, he did not do so because Dominguez-Morales was able to make the delivery.
The jury returned a guilty verdict after deliberating approximately two and a half hours.
Amador-Flores remains in custody pending his sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. At sentencing, Amador-Flores faces a statutory mandatory minimum of ten years and a maximum of life in prison. He will be deported after completing his prison sentence.
His co-defendants Dominguez-Morales, Cardoza-Burciaga and Orozco each face a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Dominguez-Morales and Cardoza-Burciaga will be deported after serving their prison sentences.
The charges against Trujillo are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent unless found guilty in a court of law.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Lea County Drug Task Force, with assistance from the Yoakum County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brock Taylor and Matthew Beck of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office are prosecuting the case.
The Lea County Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the Lea County Sheriff’s Office, Hobbs Police Department, Lovington Police Department, Eunice Police Department the Tatum Police Department and the Jal Police Department, and is part of the NM HIDTA Region VI Drug Task Force. The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program was created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) which provides assistance to federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States and seeks to reduce drug trafficking and production by facilitating coordinated law enforcement activities and information sharing.