Las Cruces Man Sentenced to 12 Years for Federal Drug Trafficking Conviction
ALBUQUERQUE –Luis Cipriano, 43, of Las Cruces, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court to 144 months in prison followed by four years of supervised release for his convictions on cocaine and methamphetamine trafficking charges in two separate cases.
Luis Cipriano and his co-defendants, Christian Cipriano, 23 and Luis Manuel Enriquez-Ramirez, 37, also of Las Cruces, were charged in a two-count indictment, 15-CR-1798, on May 20, 2015, with participating in a methamphetamine trafficking conspiracy and distributing methamphetamine. According to the indictment, the three men conspired to distribute methamphetamine on Aug. 19, 2014, in Doña Ana County, N.M.
In a separate case, Luis Cipriano and co-defendant George Ventura, 47, also of Las Cruces, were charged in a four-count indictment, 15-CR-1799, on May 20, 2015, with participating in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy and distributing cocaine. According to this second indictment, Ventura and Luis Cipriano conspired to distribute cocaine from Aug. 5, 2014 through Nov. 13, 2014 in Doña Ana County. The indictment also charged Luis Cipriano with distributing cocaine on Aug. 5, 2014 and on Oct. 10-11, 2014, and Ventura and Luis Cipriano with distributing cocaine on Sept. 8, 2014.
On Jan. 8, 2016, Luis Cipriano pled guilty to charges in both of the indictments against him. With respect to Indictment 15-CR-1798, Luis Cipriano admitted that on Aug. 19, 2014, he and co-defendant Enriquez-Ramirez negotiated to sell methamphetamine to a person who unbeknownst to Luis Cipriano was working with law enforcement. With respect to Indictment 15-CR-1799, Luis Cipriano admitted that on numerous occasions from Aug. 5, 2014 through Nov. 13, 2014, he conspired with Ventura to distribute cocaine to an undercover agent.
Christian Cipriano also pled guilty to charges in Indictment 15-CR-1798 on Jan. 8, 2016. He admitted that on Aug. 19, 2014, he drove Luis Cipriano to meet with Enriquez-Ramirez to complete a pre-arranged transaction to sell cocaine to a person who unbeknownst to the three co-conspirators was working with law enforcement. Christian Cipriano was sentenced on Aug. 17, 2016, to a year and a day in prison followed by two years of supervised release.
Ventura pled guilty to charges in Indictment 15-CR-1799 on Dec. 15, 2015, and admitted participating in a cocaine distribution conspiracy and to distributing cocaine on Sept. 8, 2014. Ventura was sentenced on March 1, 2016, to 146 days in prison followed by two years of supervised release. Ventura was also ordered to forfeit $7,600.00, which represents the profits he derived from the drug trafficking offenses charged in the indictment.
Enriquez-Ramirez has yet to be arrested and is considered a fugitive. Charges in indictments are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
These cases were investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA and are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Luis A. Martinez of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office.