Legal Permanent Resident from Mexico Facing Federal Drug Charge Arising from 12.57 Pound Cocaine Seizure in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – This morning, a U.S. Magistrate Judge sitting in Las Cruces, N.M., found probable cause to support a criminal complaint charging Jorge Luis Vargas-Talamantes, 29, a legal permanent resident from Mexico who resides in El Paso, Texas, with a cocaine trafficking offense. The charge arises from a U.S. Border Patrol seizure of 12.57 pounds of cocaine at a checkpoint in southern New Mexico on July 16, 2018. Vargas-Talamantes was remanded into custody pending trial, which has yet to be scheduled.
U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested Vargas-Talamantes on July 16, 2018, after seizing approximately 5.7 kilograms (12.57 pounds) of cocaine allegedly concealed in Vargas-Talamantes’ vehicle. According to the criminal complaint, the agents allegedly found the cocaine while inspecting Vargas-Talamantes’ vehicle at the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint on Highway 54 south of Alamogordo, N.M., in Otero County, N.M.
If convicted of the charges in the criminal complaint, Vargas-Talamantes faces a statutory mandatory minimum penalty of ten years and a maximum of life in federal prison, and will be deported after serving his term of incarceration. Charges in criminal complaints are merely accusations and criminal defendants are presumed innocent unless found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Border Patrol and the Las Cruces office of the DEA. Assistant U.S. Attorney Clara Cobos is prosecuting the case.