Five Men Charged With Running Crack Cocaine Trafficking Operation in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties
ALBUQUERQUE – Five men have been indicted on federal narcotics and firearms charges as the result of “Operation Rio Grande Stucco,” a DEA led investigation into an organization that allegedly manufactured and distributed cocaine base, more commonly known as “crack” or “crack cocaine,” in Albuquerque, N.M., and Santa Fe, N.M.
The five-count indictment, which was filed under seal on April 9, 2013, charges Gabriel Mirabal, 31, Dominic Anaya, 32, and Sam Elyicio, 36, of Albuquerque, and Michael Jaramillo, 22, and Robert Romero, 25, of Santa Fe, with conspiracy to distribute cocaine base in Bernalillo and Santa Fe Counties between May 2012 and April 2013. Jaramillo also is charged with distributing cocaine base in Santa Fe in March 2012 and Romero is charged with possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute in Santa Fe in July 2012. Romero also is charged with using and carrying a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime. Mirabal also is charged with possessing cocaine with intent to distribute in Albuquerque in Feb. 2013. The indictment was unsealed following the arrests of three of the defendants.
Mirabal, who was arrested on April 24, 2013, made his initial appearance in federal court on April 25, 2013 and was ordered detained pending trial following a detention hearing on April 26, 2013. Jaramillo and Elyicio were arrested on April 25, 2013 and were ordered detained pending trial following detention hearings held earlier today. Anaya and Romero, who both are currently in state custody on unrelated charges, will be transferred to federal custody to face the charges in the indictment.
If convicted of the drug trafficking charges against them, each of the defendants faces a maximum penalty of not less than five years or more than 40 years in prison. If convicted of the firearms charge, Romero faces a five year prison sentence to run consecutive to any sentence imposed on the drug trafficking charges against him. An indictment is merely an accusation. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the DEA and the HIDTA Region III Drug Task Force, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. The Region III Drug Task Force is comprised of officers from the New Mexico State Police, Santa Fe Police Department and the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and receives support from the HIDTA – High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area – program. HIDTA is a program of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy that 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. The investigation leading to the indictment has been designated as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (“OCDETF”) program, a nationwide Department of Justice initiative that 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.