Skip to main content
Press Release

Las Cruces Man Sentenced to Fourteen Years for Violating Federal Narcotics Trafficking Laws

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Mario Orlando Jude Serrano, 34, of Las Cruces, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court to 168 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his methamphetamine trafficking conviction.

Serrano was arrested on Dec. 19, 2012, on a criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute on Dec. 18, 2012, in Doña Ana County, N.M.  According to the criminal complaint, on Oct. 18, 2012, HIDTA Regional Interagency Drug Task Force/Metro Narcotics Task Force officers executed a traffic stop on Serrano’s vehicle based on information from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) that Serrano was trafficking methamphetamine from Truth or Consequences, N.M., to Las Cruces.  Further investigation revealed that Serrano and his wife were carrying quantities of methamphetamine inside their body cavities when they were stopped by law enforcement officers on Oct. 18, 2012. 

Serrano was subsequently indicted on Dec. 11, 2013, and charged with conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute on Oct. 18, 2012, possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute from Oct. 18, 2012 through Oct. 22, 2012, and being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition on Oct. 18, 2012.  All crimes alleged in the indictment took place in Doña Ana County.  Serrano was prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition because of his previous felony convictions of possession of a controlled substance, felon in possession of a firearm, distribution of marijuana, burglary and receiving stolen property.

On July 15, 2014, Serrano pled guilty to the indictment and admitted that on Oct. 18, 2012, a total amount of 106.9 grams of pure methamphetamine was recovered from inside his and his wife’s bodies.  Serrano further admitted that on Oct. 18, 2012, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at a house where Serrano had been staying and found a handgun and ammunition which belonged to Serrano.  Serrano admitted that it was illegal for him to possess a firearm and ammunition because he had been convicted of multiple felonies.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces offices of the DEA, HSI and the Bureau of  Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the HIDTA Regional Interagency Drug Task Force/Metro Narcotics Task Force and the Las Cruces Police Department.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Renee L. Camacho and Terri J. Abernathy of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office prosecuted this case.

The HIDTA Regional Interagency Drug Task Force/Metro Narcotics Task Force is comprised of officers from the Las Cruces Police Department, the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, HSI and the New Mexico State Police.  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.

Updated November 9, 2015