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Press Release

Las Cruces Residents Plead Guilty to Federal Methamphetamine Trafficking Charges

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

ALBUQUERQUE – Two residents of Las Cruces, N.M., pleaded guilty today in federal court to methamphetamine trafficking charges. 

David S. Thompson, 29, and Marlene C. Sandoval, 38, were arrested in Nov. 2015, on a criminal complaint charging them with methamphetamine trafficking charges on Oct. 16, 2015, in Doña Ana County, N.M.  Thompson and Sandoval were arrested after law enforcement officers found crystal methamphetamine inside the vehicle Thompson and Sandoval were driving during a routine traffic stop.  Thompson and Sandoval were subsequently indicted on Feb. 17, 2016, and charged with conspiracy and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute.

During today’s proceedings, Thompson and Sandoval each entered a guilty plea to a conspiracy to possess methamphetamine with intent to distribute charge.  They admitted being pulled over for speeding on Oct. 16, 2015, by New Mexico Department of Transportation officers.  After obtaining consent from Thompson and Sandoval to search their vehicle, the officers found 499 grams of methamphetamine in a shoe in the vehicle.  Thompson and Sandoval also admitted that they intended to distribute the methamphetamine in Las Cruces.

At sentencing, Thompson and Sandoval each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison followed by not less than three years of supervised release.  Both remain in custody pending sentencing hearings which have yet to be scheduled.

This case was investigated by the Las Cruces office of the DEA, the New Mexico Department of Transportation Police, the Las Cruces Police Department and the HIDTA Regional Interagency Drug Task Force/Metro Narcotics Task Force.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark A. Saltman of the U.S. Attorney’s Las Cruces Branch Office is prosecuting the 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 April 19, 2016

Drug Trafficking