Las Cruces Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Charges
ALBUQUERQUE – Benjamin David Romero, 38, of Las Cruces, N.M., pled guilty today in federal court to methamphetamine trafficking charges.
Romero and co-defendant Roque Henry Atencio, 42, also of Las Cruces, were arrested on Feb. 6, 2016, on a criminal complaint charging them with methamphetamine trafficking charges. According to the complaint, Romero and Atencio sold two bags containing an aggregate of 47.35 grams of pure methamphetamine to undercover law enforcement agents in Doña Ana County, N.M., on April 2, 2015.
Romero and Atencio were indicted on April 21, 2016, and charged with participating in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and distributing methamphetamine on April 2, 2015. The indictment included forfeiture allegations requiring Romero and Atencio to forfeit $2,000 to the United States.
During today’s proceedings, Romero pled guilty to the indictment without the benefit of a plea agreement. At sentencing, Romero faces a statutory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 40 years in prison. Romero remains in custody pending a sentencing hearing, which has yet to be scheduled.
Atencio has entered a not guilty plea, and is awaiting trial. Charges in complaints and indictments are only accusations. All criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of Homeland Security Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna R. Wright of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.